Friday, September 24, 2010

Making Applesauce

What do you do with 9 apples from an organic orchard that are very quickly going bad? Decide to make applesauce for the first time!

Wash, peel, and core all apples.

Be proud of yourself when you manage to get a peel all in one piece.

Wish you had one of these but feel happy you at least have one of these:

Cut up apples into smaller pieces.
Heat up water in a pot and throw some cinnamon in.
Throw the apple pieces in.

Set your timer for every ten minutes so you can come and check on the apples but not have to sit in the quickly warming up kitchen. Enjoy your lillies while you are not checking on the apples.

Stir apples pieces when you check on them - sometimes.

Accidentally post to your blog when you only have notes and not the actual blog post. (Was anyone lucky enough to see it? I bet it went out to RSS feeds everywhere! Or at least to the 17 people who are subscribed. 17? Nice!)

Enjoy the smell of apples and cinnamon coming from your kitchen. When the apples are smooshy enough, drain the excess water. Using a fork if that is your only smooshing device or a better one if you've got one, smoosh up the apples until they are smooshed to your liking.

Top with a little more cinnamon and eat up while it's still warm.

Pretty Sure the AQI Site is Lying

Here's what the site is currently showing:

Here's what it currently looks like outside:


Welcome to Autumn!

We have just finished Mid-Autumn Festival here, which somehow also coincided with the beginning of Autumn. I guess that's better than having the Mid-Autumn Festival weeks before autumn begins at all.

I received several mooncakes my first year here and wrote about them. Last year, I don't remember having any except for an ice cream one at Haagen-Dazs. This year two of my students brought me mooncakes. The first one was a small chocolate one, about two inches across. I only got through two small bites before putting it away. My student asked why I wasn't finishing it. I told her that I was saving it for later.

The second one was beautiful with little golden flakes.

Would this one taste better since it was so pretty? Nope. I wasn't able to even get a bite down at all before it went to the same place as the chocolate one. Oh well. I guess mooncakes are just not for me.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

View Comparison


This morning:

Hopefully after the next few days' predicted rain, we'll see blue skies again.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Longyunshan "Dragon Cloud Mountain" Hike

On Saturday, I met up with some other Beijingren to hike Dragon Cloud Mountain. The bus ride was about 2 1/2 hours so I had some time to listen to a couple NPR podcasts on the way while taking in the scenery outside the window.

The story behind Dragon Cloud Mountain (as I remember it):

A dragon lived in the heavens and came down to the mountain one day. He thought the scenery was so beautiful that he wanted to stay and help the villagers there. But the dragon also wanted to see all of China so he decided to have one of his nine sons stay at the mountain. This way, the dragon could always come back and visit his son. The son's name was Mr. Bai. Bai means 'white' in Chinese which is how the river at Dragon Cloud Mountain got its name - White River.

Some of our hike was on dirt trails, some on rocks, and some on metal paths stuck into the wall.

A kung-fu movie was filmed on this mountain and they decided to leave some of the set in place - a house and a fake tree.

Our local guide brought along his scythe to point out interesting things.

We also saw several creatures on this hike. I didn't take a picture of the spider that was as big as my palm or the cicada that was stuck in its web, but I did snap the snake and praying mantis.

After our snack break, we took off our shoes and socks and crossed the river. The water was about knee deep at the deepest and was a refreshing end to our hike.

After the river crossing, we walked through the village to have lunch at a local restaurant before heading back to Beijing. More photos from the hike here.

Also, we've had a few thunder and lightning storms since I've arrived back here. One night, the thunder was so loud and the lightning so bright that it woke me up. I took a little video but it doesn't quite show how crazy it was - especially being up on the 30th floor and seeing the lightning outside the window!