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Work & Play

We cook this dish every monday

Monday, November 19th, 2012 6:03 am | By Stephanie Woo

Every Monday, I cook a traditional Taiwanese dish, called 魯肉飯. It’s like spaghetti bolognese, except we use soy sauce instead of tomato sauce, shallots instead of onion and we eat it over rice instead of spaghetti. We also put hard-boiled eggs in it. Every Monday afternoon, you’ll find B and M in the kitchen helping me do the following:

After cutting off the ends of the shallot, I hand them over to M, who loves to peel pretty much anything

After she finishes peeling them, she puts them in the food processor for dicing later on

She picks up the cutting board with all the shallot skin…

and throws them in the dirty dish basket (this is where they put all their dirty dishes and food-related trash)

Later on in the afternoon, B and M help me peel the hard-boiled eggs that go into this dish

M helps me put cinnamon sticks and other spices into the pot

Time to eat dinner! It’s no accident – their favorite foods are the ones they help cook!

魯肉飯 Recipe

6 shallots – peeled and finely diced

4 shitake mushrooms – soaked and diced, separate mushroom and the mushroom water

1.5 pounds ground pork

6 hard-boiled eggs

oil for sauteeing

4 tbsp soy sauce, 3 tbsp rice wine, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 tsp five spice powder, 3 star anise, handful of rock sugar

Add 2 tbsp oil in wok. Add shallots and saute for 20 minutes on low heat, making sure it doesn’t brown. Remove from wok. Put mushrooms in wok with 3 tbsp of oil, sautee, then add 1 tsp salt and sautee some more. Add shallots and ground pork. Add soy sauce, rice wine and sautee till most of the pork is brown. Add 5 cups water. Add mushroom water. The water should cover the meat, if it doesn’t, add enough water till it does. Let boil. Add cinnamon, five spice powder and star anise. Turn to low heat. Cook for 40 minutes. Add hard boiled eggs and handful of rock sugar. Cook for another 30 minutes. Serve hot over rice.

The Hands are the Instrument of Man’s Intelligence

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012 3:54 pm | By Stephanie Woo

Montessori believed the hands were the instrument of man’s intelligence.

I’ve been looking for the best way for my kids to use their hands in different ways. In our house, we never sit to learn ABCs or 123s, instead, we clean! If you have children, you know what it’s like to clean up after them. It’s a constant affair.  Since Montessori believed that our job as parents is to be their educators, not their slaves, rather than cleaning up after them all the time, I’ve been teaching them to clean up after themselves.  How on earth am I making this work, you ask? Well, the only reason is because children love to clean when given the chance!

Brooke loves to wipe so much that she will spill her milk on the couch deliberately so she can get a tissue, wipe up the spill, then throw away the tissue. She does this every morning.

Here she is wiping up the spill on the floor.

And again wiping the table with a rag after she eats.

Here is a video of Mackenzie when she just turned 14 months –

Children at this age can also help put toys away, set the table, clean up the table, throw things away in the garbage. I just introduced them to window-cleaning with a squirt bottle and squeegee. Get them involved and show them how it’s done. It still amazes me what they can do.

This Is How We Make A Smoothie Together

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012 6:10 pm | By Stephanie Woo

We start by cutting up the bananas with small knives with round heads from IKEA

Then we put the pieces of bananas into the blender

We add some frozen blueberries and cherries. Brooke is trying to cut the cherry too.

We take a look at all the things in the blender before we blend it up!

We sit at our table to drink the delicious smoothie

God, that is sooo good!

Gimme some more!

Brooke tipped the cup into her mouth over and over trying to get that last drop till there was absolutely nothing left!

And that is how it’s done, people!