Wednesday, October 28, 2009

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a "what's up" list What's up: Wu MaMa is home for the week, after 2+ weeks in the hospital. If she qualifies, she might be placed on a research project testing a new direct chemo treatment for liver cancer (which is more common in Asia than it is in America). School started three weeks ago. I've finally been to every class once as of last Wednesday. Several of my classes require students to "test in to" them, so they started a bit later than other classes. I'm teaching two freshmen classes. I like this classes because I get the upper-intermediate non-English majors. Most of my students don't know each other outside of class--this is a good thing for class dynamics; easier to take risks and not lose face so much. I also like that it is all four skills. Much easier to teach when I can blend all skills together. We talk about what we are reading; we write in response to what we've heard and discussed. Much more "real." I'm also teaching two really cool classes for junior and senior English majors. One is called International Career Path and the other is called Social and Global Issues. In these classes, the students spend one week preparing to discuss a topic and then one week discussing the topic with students in Japan using the internet and online chatrooms. Really cool. I love that my students are using English for a real reason and that they are using English to learn about their own culture as well as Japanese culture. Let me say it again, really cool. I strained my back last Friday. We spent our Moon Festival holiday (this past weekend) watching movies and doing not much more than that. Law has taken superb care of me when I've not been able to move quickly and take care of as much as I do when I'm feeling better. I've cried several times this weekend in appreciation for all he does for me. He truly has been so sweet. It's really hard to believe that he knows me SO well--all the good and ALL the bad--and chooses to still love me completely anyway. It is humbling. I'm studying Chinese again. I've not actually studied language in . . . oh, about a decade. I really wanna work on my reading and writing. And, to improve my oral self-expression. I'm really good at ordering food, shopping, and answering questions about myself, but I fail when it comes to carrying a conversation on a deeper more complex topic. I can listen and understand, but I'm unable to respond in Chinese the way I want to. Hence, the studying again. I stumbled upon Laura Story a little while ago. I've been listening to her stuff over and over. I've not done that in awhile. Her song "Grace" is available free here (you do have to register though). I could keep going, but for now, I need to go get ready for my classes tomorrow. I miss blogging, and...
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apricot chicken delight The first half of this semester was hard. Weird schedule, lots of new pressures and responsibilities, and a lack of energy. Unfortunately lack of energy is a vicious cycle--no energy to cook good stuff = eating out; eating out = not always eating the best foods; not eating healthy = no energy. So, during the midterm week, when I wasn't grading tests or catching up on laundry. I searched for some recipes to turn into the 30 meals project that Carrie, my RA in college (well, and my college roommate's sister-in-law) told me about on this post. (BTW, thanks Carrie!!) My requirements were that the recipes: could be made in less than 20 min, needed to be low-carbish, needed to delight mine and my husband's taste buds, and could be made with things easily found in Taiwan. Finding meals that meet all four requirements was no small task! Although Lawrance is generally easy going and not too picky about food, finding things we both love to eat often has proved to be a challenge. So, my first recipe test was something I found at Cooking During Stolen Moments: Apricot Chicken. It was SO easy and best of all packed full of flavor!! I kinda went a bit overboard using freshly cracked black pepper and might have used extra garlic--so our's was not only tangy, but spicy too--she does say to season to taste. :) This is probably the least low-carb recipe I collected since it uses apricot jam, but it is definitely something I'll be making again before too long. Side-note to anyone in Taiwan wanting to give this a try: I used half of a jar of Carrefour brand apricot jam (french name on bottle) to cover 6 chicken breast quarters.