#BookReview: Under the Feet of Jesus

UTFOJ

“You have an accurate and professional mind.” Under the Feet of Jesus by Helena Maria Viramontes 3.5 stars Pros: Clear snapshot of farming life Complex characters Cons: Not plot-paced, a slower read Less about the teen protagonists (though they serve as main characters) 3.5 stars. I really liked the picture Viramontes gives us of field workers. It's a fascinating and heartbreaking world that I didn't have much exposure to. The words in the novel are all … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday First: Kolaches

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On my spring break trip, I discovered these pastry delights... Kolaches: Czech pastries They're soft, puffy dough pastries filled traditionally with sweet fixings. There were tons of bakeries selling these goodies around Texas. The more modern savory ones were stuffed with sausages or pulled pork. However, the tried-and-true types were dessert-like in taste. They remind me of danishes, but the outside layer isn't crumbly or flaky. It's a softer, pillow-like texture. Kolaches are great … [Read more...]

TaiwanYes Houston

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"You are admired for your adventurous ways." If you've been following my blog, you know I traveled to Texas over spring break. When I heard there was a Taiwanese festival happening when I would be around, I went and checked it out. Hosted by the Taiwanese Association of America, Houston Chapter, the cultural event is called TaiwanYes Houston. It's inspired by the vibrant Taiwanese night market. Except it's held during the day. Yeah, that confused me for a bit, too. However, like a traditional … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Chestnut Cake

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It's been a while since I've had roasted chestnuts. They make me think of winter and Christmas songs. But I did go for some chestnut cake recently. Chestnut cake: soft pastry with chestnut paste It's a sweet offering that uses chestnut paste in the middle of soft doughy layers. The Japanese chestnuts used on the inside are a bit like sweet potato in taste and density. Thumbs-up! Fun fact: Besides being eaten by themselves, chestnuts can be incorporated in a Japanese rice dish … [Read more...]

LA Times Festival of Books

My stash of books at the SCBWI booth

"A thrilling time is in your immediate future." The last time I went to the Festival of Books, it was held at the UCLA campus (go, Bruins!). Most recently, though, the event occurred at USC. A weekend-long event (April 22&23), it gathered together readers, writers, and book-lovers. There were sessions for listening to speakers and opportunities to get signed books. Rows of booths (I was at the SCBWI one) provided a chance to hobnob with authors and also seek out services: the library … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Taiwanese Snow

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So there's no snow in Cali (except up in the mountains). When I want to cool down, I grab some shaved snow. Shaved snow: cold and creamy dessert I love how it has a silky soft texture instead of the harder quality of shaved ice. Snow seems to consist of almost ice-cream-like pieces that melt in your mouth. Yummy! How do you stay cool? … [Read more...]

Texas Trip

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"Adventure awaits you." Over spring break, I traveled to Texas. Though I expected to hear more twang, I got quite a few ma'ams and y'alls. People were very polite and hospitable there. Here are a few highlights: Spotted some longhorns:   Grabbed kolaches as snacks--there are quite a number of bakeries specializing in these Czech treats: Listened to live music: Watched bats fly out into the night: Crossed the border into Louisiana and went crabbing! Where have you gone … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday First: Queso

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Hi, y'all! I went to Texas for spring break, and I heard about... Queso: cheesy dip for chips So I checked out a local Tex-Mex place and dipped in. At first, I thought it was just like Velveeta (not my favorite). But the version I had was made from white cheeses. An addictive combination of cheese and peppers, it was layered with beef picadillo. The flavor wasn't too spicy but did add extra oomph to the chips. I also loved the creaminess of it. A thumbs-up from me for queso! (I'll be … [Read more...]

Cattlepen Maze

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  #wordlessWednesday … [Read more...]

#BookReview: Superbeetle

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"Your respect for others will be your ticket to success." Superbeetle by S. Michele Chen 4 stars Pros: Taiwan setting Chinese words Cons: Some flat characters Modern family dynamics* (see note below)   I was super excited to get ahold of this. Because of its vibrant cover, I actually thought this would be a picture book. (Warning: If your kids don’t like bugs, the cover might put them off.) However, it’s actually a lovely chapter book with images scattered … [Read more...]

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