Mmm Easy Meatballs!

I have been strangely addicted to beauty products recently. I am constantly looking at top 10 lists and reviews online.  L and I used to live in the land of beauty products, Korea. However I never really understood how amazing it was to have that all at my fingertips, constantly. Every corner a Tony Moly or a Innis Free shop. I am particularly partial to the Faceshop and their amazing face products. Face products, go figure. Anyhow

I have recently discovered the world of subscription boxes. Where have these been hiding!?  I’ve signed up for about 5 this month, all for makeup or beauty supplies. I have been moaning from jealousy of people living in America that can actually receive all these boxes! I’ve signed up in hopes that my friends will accumulate them for me and then so graciously ship them to me every couple months. There’s one for everything! I’m dying for them to be shipped internationally…but I’ve only found one so far (Meme box…Korea beauty products! Worth checking out!). The rest of them, like Ipsy, Birchbox, Blushbox, Glossybox, Pop Sugar, or Curl Kit, only ship in ‘merica. Sad face. They send sample and full sized products for you to try and you can use discounts to buy full size products on their websites. The boxes are all around $15 (more or less). I’m excited to see what they all send. Hey Ipsy! Send international…please?!


I digress…


I have always been a freakish fan of Ikea, if not for the day trip of “room shopping”, then for the food court perfectly placed halfway through your shopping experience. What is it about cheap hardware and plastic window treatments that can be so exhilarating yet appetite stimulating? You’ve done it Ikea, food and end tables. A genius Saturday spent indoors.


An Ikea trip just wouldn’t be complete without meatballs. That’s right. I said it. Meatballs. With cranberry sauce AND gravy. I’m not crazy. I just really like meatballs. However I’m sure the one’s at Ikea are only tasty IN the store when you’re starving. Do people actually buy them? Last night I wanted to make some meatballs. Who knows why…maybe I saw a GIF of Lady and the Tramp sharing a romantic plate of noodles (don’t know how that works. L and I need bibs when we eat. Children…)

 These aren’t a copycat… just a recipe I like. It is in no way healthy, as I don’t strive to be a healthy cook at all. Sorry Alex! J I used them in spaghetti sauce last night but would be awesome with BBQ sauce.  Or maybe you wanna go for that Ikea-Swedish gravy?


There are two ways to cook up these meatballs, depending on what you’re into. Ooo you saucy minx you! Pan fried and finished by simmering in sauce OR bake first sauce later. Whatever you fancy.


I think these with BBQ sauce would be delightful as an appetizer or party finger food.



Meatballs for spaghetti or BBQ sauce

(makes about 20 small balls)


1 jin of ground pork (get the more expensive grind otherwise you’ll just have tons of fat melting out of every meatball…yuck)

1 jin of ground pork

2-3 cloves of FINELY Chopped garlic

½ small onion FINELY Chopped (about ½ cup)

1 egg

1/3 cup of milk (I use soy milk, so anything will work here)

1.5-ish tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce *to taste*

1 tablespoon of mixed herbs

1 teaspoon of cumin

2 teaspoons of dried chili flakes

½ cup of fine breadcrumbs

1/3 cup of cheese (you can use any cheese that you can find. However it’s not necessary)



Substitutes for stricter Chinese supermarkets:

1. Worcestershire sauce: I use a mix of DARK soy sauce and a few splashes of Maggie’s seasoning. Use the same amount of liquid the recipe calls for.

2. Bread Crumbs- When I can’t afford to buy the tub of breadcrumbs at the western grocery store downtown, I use toasted/stale and finely chopped bread. Not exactly the same but does the trick.

1. Combine all ingredients in one big bowl. Get in there with your hands and blend well! It took me about 3 or 4 minutes. Then stick in the fridge for 30 minutes to half hour (I completely skipped the chilling part when I did mine as I was in a hurry. They turned out just fine, but if you have time I think the flavors would be much better if you wait.)

2. I used my hands to roll 1.5 inch balls and set them on a large plate. Some people are more exact with measuring this and use spoons. You my friends are far more patient than me.


Choose your own ending: Pan-fried and saucey or oven baked. Pan fried gives it a nice color and crust, baked gives nicer flavor and softer texture.


Pan-fried (then simmer in sauce)

*oil and 1 cup of water


1.Throw a bit of oil in a pan or skillet. When oil is hot start placing the meatballs (in 2-3 batches… don’t crowd them!) in the pan clockwise to keep track of “who’s to be flipped first”.

2. Every 20-30 seconds I would move the balls around with tongs or chopsticks. I moved them around until they turned brown on all sides.  When browned set aside on a new plate until you’ve browned all the balls.

3. Pour your sauce in a large saucepan or the same pan just be sure to wipe out the oil/greasy mess.

4. Add 1 cup of water to the sauce as well as about 10 meatballs and leave to simmer for about 30-40 minutes (or until most of the water has evaporated and the meatballs are cooked through)

5. Then you’re ready to serve!



1. Oil a baking sheet (or glass bake ware)

2. Place the meatballs, they can touch but don’t squish them. If you have a tiny toaster oven like me you’ll need to do a few batches. (I did half in the oven half pan-fried to taste the difference)

3. Bake for 45 minutes at 200 C or until fully cooked



The meatballs are easily frozen after they’ve been cooked.  Perfect if you need an impromptu appetizer or finger food for surprise guests or potlucks.


Let me know what sauces you use with the meatballs! I’ll share my BBQ sauce recipe sometime in the next week or two. It’s easy to make, even if you only have Chinese market ingredients!



Have a wonderful day!



If you’re interested in looking into any subscription boxes (for you lucky America residents) here are my referral links. I can get free gifts and you can get money off, for one or two of them.


Stich Fix (personalized clothing)


Ipsy (mostly make up)


Meme Box:

Korean service, not the traditional membership, you can actually pick what type of things you want in your box. Most of them are full sized as well! If you sign up you get points, if you buy a box you get points, if you email someone you get points. It’s nice. All the points are worth a dollar. I just signed up last month and I already have enough for a free full sized product! There isn’t a referral program that I know of to share. I just really like the company! J (They also have men’s products!)



Morning Market Trip #1

Down the road from our apartment there’s an open air market where L and I get all of our produce, and if we’re feeling brave, meat. It’s basically a giant farmers market but with a few more surprises (I will include a post all about the market soon! Complete with Chinese and lots of pictures). We try and buy a strange vegetable each time we go, just to see what we can do with it.

IMG_2717Those are just cucumbers…

Asking the sales people “What is this thing, in Chinese?” is coming out of our mouths constantly. Since we live on the outskirts of the proper city, not many people speak English. Our typical weekly budget for the market is 100RMB (about $15).

1 jin approximately 1 pound

handmade buckwheat noodles, carrots, head of broccoli, red cherry tomatoes, Chinese lettuce, spinach, 3 cucumbers, 4 waxy potatoes, a weird purple leafy veg (don’t know English name for it! It’s under the carrots), 2 ears of sweet corn, 4 onions (2 purple/2 yellow), pound of nectarines, pound of cherries, 6 bananas, a vine of yellow/orange tomatoes, and green peppers. We also picked up 2 jars of local honey AND a mint plant! mmmm…Mojitos!


Not bad for over a weeks worth of fruit and veg!


This is one of my favorite parts of living in China. Farmers market is the norm and it’s down the street. 🙂


Have a great day!





Been Chin-a reach ya

Been up to my eye balls in weekly assignments, somehow managed to finish four gigantic papers, pulled my hair out for deadlines, L had to talk me down multiple times from just throwing my Mac out the window. and …At last! I found the end of the term.

I’ve finished my first semester of graduate school. REJOICE! At least for a month. (although I still haven’t gotten my grades back for linguistics. Keep all things crossed!)

MA in Education and teaching license here we come!

This summer I will be going to intensive training and will not have a kitchen. Le sigh. No kitchen. Unless we want to furnish one ourselves. You know what? I think I’ll get used to it. My stomach will be saved by the local taco stands and curry houses. I just fear that my roommate will think Im crazy for eating every and any kind of food in site. Hoping she’ll have a similar appetite. The whole program is for International School Teachers. So for most of the students/teachers it’ll be their first time back in America for the year. I’ve come to terms with the possibility of gaining 10 pounds.

But before all this school madness begins again, I get to have a ladies trip. BAW! LADIES TRIP IN DC! Alex and Stevie are my crazy life and soul. Not to get completely mushy…but these two women have literally been there for every phase of clothes, boys, music, diet choice, job, and the lowest lows.

stevie and alex alexsbday stevie and alex


They’ve never and would never hold me back from galavanting around the world. Just as long as I make it home once in a while and bring cool gifts. They make my world a giant high. They think I’m nuts, and I’m totally OK with it. We’re all quite different. However, I know the world just wouldn’t go round without them. It is so incredibly hard being away from them for such long periods of time, but they’re still around me constantly. Thank goodness for modern technology.

For the next few blog posts I’m going to try and focus on food as well as my life in Beijing, China.

Things I love about living in the ghetto that is West Beijing

1. The man who has a fruit and vegetable cart that is pulled by a donkey
2. Hand pulled noodles at the morning market (video)
3. The old fella who walks his duck….with a leash
4. No English (weird one I know) but for anyone who is trying to learn Chinese, this is where you’ll learn it. 5. The wonderful family who runs the small shop in our apartment complex

Pleased to also announce I have gotten a full-time ESL teaching job at an international school in Beijing (not EFL). Looking forward to having my own classroom next school year.

If you have any suggestions for places in DC….DONT HOLD BACK.

Whoever you may be, have a wonderful day.



Makeshift Pumpkin Pie

A few weeks ago I posted how to make homemade pumpkin puree. The good stuff that you can use in the endless list of pumpkin recipes you’ve been stock piling on Pintrest. I had, have and will have a Pintrest problem, as in far too many of those emoticons, that make fun of women logging in hours of their free time on Pintrest, pertain to me. Oy. BUT up until a couple weeks ago I couldn’t access blogs, Facebook or any other normal time sucker because the Chinese Government has strict censorship laws. So I had to adapt and got my ideas from photos..if I was desperate I’d have my friend Alex share her screen on skype so I could get recipes and such. WOOoooooOo anywho… 

So with the pumpkin puree we made last time I created a never ending list of things Pumpkin that I wanted to eat and make. So the first thing on the list….Pumpkin Pie.  And since I live in China, it’s called “Makeshift Pumpkin Pie”. Although, it wasn’t toooo make shift. They actually sold sweetened condensed milk at the local store! WOOT! My American friend, K, was over to help! She’s my favorite baking buddy. Our other favorite friends include a few girls named Cabernet, Merlot and Sauvignon …what can we say? The two of us belong in a French Bakery…in France…soon. 🙂


So first, the crust. I don’t have special tools-just hands and a toaster oven. So I couldn’t do the cold butter, pastry cutter, blah blah blah.  So I found this recipe while in Korea..where I was even more limited. I had to play with the ingredients a bit so this is what I used,

You’ll need:
1 Cup Flour
1 Cup Cookie Crumbs
2 Teaspoons of Sugar
1/2 Cup Veggie Oil (splash more if too dry)
2 Tablespoons of milk (I use soy milk)

First you’ll need a big bowl. Then smash up some cheap Chinese brand cookies, from the corner store, in a ziplock bag and then dump in. It’ll give the pie a nice taste and texture.



In a bowl mix the flour, cookie crumbs and sugar. Then add the milk and oil (I used olive oil, but anything works). I mixed with my hands, but if you don’t like mess just use a fork. 🙂 Then press it into a pie tin (we found tin foil ones at Carrefour), or whatever baking dish you have. I’ve used my glass tupperwear that is ever so popular here. Once it’s in the dish stick it in the oven for about 10 minutes-or until cooked.


Next, the pumpkin pie filling, it’s super simple because my poor kitchen can’t handle much more than that.

All you need is:
2 cups of pumpkin puree (1 can)
2 eggs
1 can of SWEETENED condensed milk
1 teaspoon of pumpkin spice (OR… Nutmeg, Clove, Cinnamon, Ginger. Most of which you can find in Asia.)
(I added extra cinnamon because I can and I will)
And as always…a glass of wine…or 2


Stir everything up together in a large bowl, and pour into the pie crust. It’s that easy!


Since we had such small tins, K and I made 2 small pumpkin pies. K demonstrates much better self control than I do…because L and I ate all of the pie for breakfast the next morning. No joke. I have an English garbage disposal and an American pumpkin craving…The pie’s fate was doomed upon leaving the oven. But least we waited until the next morning?

IMG_2870The finished photo isn’t so pretty…we tried to cover the 2nd pie with tin foil for the first 20 minutes but it just made the top look like it fell on the floor. :/

So there you have it. A very easy Makeshift Pumpkin Pie!

Pie Crust

1 Cup Flour
1 Cup Cookie Crumbs
2 Teaspoons of Sugar
1/2 Cup Veggie Oil (splash more if too dry)
2 Tablespoons of milk (I use soy milk)

Pumpkin Pie Filling

2 cups of pumpkin puree (1 can)
2 eggs
1 can of SWEETENED condensed milk
1 teaspoon of pumpkin spice

Have you been making anything recently?

Hope you have a spectacular day,


How to Make Homemade Canned Pumpkin Puree

Apologies for the lag in posts! L and I have been hosting friends and family for the last 3 weeks and then I got pneumonia! I was ordered to stay in bed for a few days, but no one had to tell me twice. Oooo being sick is not fun living in West Beijing. There’s a hospital across the road from our house, it’s not a place you’d send your grandma. Nightmare-ish cleanliness around the building and creepy half-dead looking people chain smoking with their IV drips outside.

Phew. So if Pintrest has had anything to do with it, I am constantly reminded that it’s FALL here in China. And it’s absolutely beautiful! Leaves are starting to change, weather is getting crisper, the markets are getting more colorful, there are Chinese holidays which means no school, and limited pollution days! But the bad part of all of it, there are absolutely NO PUMPKIN SPICE LATTES OUTSIDE OF NORTH AMERICA. Humph. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked, just in case one store has maybe possibly by chance, changed their minds, “Please tell me, Ni yo pumpkin kafei ma?” (Translation: Do you have pumpkin coffee?). The blank stares or looks of discomfort usually equate to a no…huuuurm. Come On Asia(totally had this problem in Korea too). Let down 😦 . I have told myself that I WILL make homemade Pumpkin Spice Lattes in the next week. Woo Hoo!

With Pintrest in mind, and also my friends from home talking about eating pumpkin items, I’ve gotten super jealous that I can’t find these little cans of gold at our handful of fancy grocery stores in downtown Beijing (about an hour on the subway away from us). So I was determined to make my own “cans”. I have bought countless pumpkins from the Farmers Market up the road and until recently they’d just been sitting on my puny wee counter asking me what the heck I’m going to do to them. So far I’ve made a few things, and I’ll post them on here as I make them again. 🙂

-Red Curried Pumpkin Soup
-Curried and Salt n’ Pepper Pumpkin Seeds
-Pumpkin Bread
-Pumpkin Pie
-Pumpkin Muffins

….still brainstorming more ideas. Any ideas? (I’m thinking pumpkin caramels, ice cream, etc)

So on to Puree

Last week a friend, K, came over with her adorable orange pumpkin and we set up a massive assembly line of pumpkin-pureeing. We had 3 medium large pumpkins. These are NOT the pumpkins you carve and make Jack-o-Lanterns out of. These are a bit sweeter and require, what feels like, a pick-ax to cut through. We only had my one kitchen knife, so we took turns grunting, laughing, stabbing and yelling at the pumpkin and knife. We’d like to Thank the 1990’s for covering up the noisy massacre in the kitchen.

First things first, you have to cut the pumpkin. Below is a bit more than 1 of our pumpkins sliced up. They have to be small enough to fit in the steamer. *ELBOW GREASE!*


Once everything is sliced up, put the seeds in a big bowl of water. While the pumpkin is steaming you can work on getting the guts and strings off of the seeds.

Then place the wedges in your steamer. We had two because of how much we were trying to get done.


It takes about 15-20 minutes in the steamer to cook. Once they start cracking or you can push a fork through the meat easily, they’re ready.

**If you’re doing multiple batches like we were, remember to keep filling up the water. We forgot at one point and almost ruined K’s pot!**

When the pumpkin is done take the wedges out and put in a big bowl or plate. This is the fun part! You can let it cool a bit, maybe while you’re putting the next batch of wedges in the steamer. All you need to do is take a spoon or a butter knife and peel off the skin of the pumpkin. It should be really easy. Make sure to get all the bits because the skin doesn’t taste great biting into a pie or baked good.

When you pull off the skin put it in a discard bowl, it’s better than running back and forth to the trash bin. Then put the meat in a separate bowl. Wow is that awkward for anyone else….calling pumpkin “meat”?


When the “meat” heheh. Sorry. When the cooked pumpkin is separated from the skin keep that in a separate bowl as well. When you have all your cooked pumpkin in one place you need to start blending it. This is a new addition to my kitchen. YAY! Unless you’re a super lucky one who has a big industrial size food processor or blender (pffft!), you will have to do it in batches. I filled the blender about half-way up and had to physically shake it while getting the pesky chunks on top to sink to the blades.


After pureeing the pumpkin keep it in a bowl until you’re finished with all the batches. This is when a glass of wine…or two…helps quite a bit. A friend/extra set of hands really helps this part of the process, but it’s not necessary. Maybe instead a sense of humor?
A little less than 2 cups of puree is equal to an actual can of Pumpkin Puree, 1 3/4 to be exact. So we took the 1 cup measure and put two heaping scoops in each ziplock (our makeshift cans). Make sure to roll the tops of the ziplocks in so it reduces the mess.


3 pumpkins gave us about 7 cans of pumpkin puree. Keep in mind that fresh pumpkin does contain a bit more water than the stuff you can buy at the store. Letting it sit and separate for a while allows you to spoon off any excess water.


And there you have it. All in all it took about 2.5 hours to steam/separate/puree 3 pumpkins, but we weren’t in any rush. And there were also ample wine breaks.

You can just freeze these, from what I’ve read, about 6 months..but I’m sure they’d be fine after that as well. Which means I’ll be doing another mother load in the next couple weeks to keep puree in the freezer for when L and I are hiding out in the house from winter.

Things you’ll need:

Pumpkin (not Jack-o-lantern kind!)
Strong Knife
Elbow Grease
Chopping board
Sense of humor
3 medium-large bowls (depending on amount)

*1-2 glasses of wine- optional but strongly encouraged.

Homemade is just so much better tasting, and it’s more fun. Hope this gets you to your farmers market and giving your tummy some pumpkin love.


My Kitchen Part 1

If I’m being generous, I’d say my kitchen is the size of a large closet. There’s barely enough room for 2 people to prep/sing karaoke/cook/wash dishes/dance, let alone little curious noses wandering in and out for a taste of what’s cooking. By no means is my kitchen constantly clean, nor is there enough room for everything I have accumulated thus far, but it’s my little hub. And like I said before, it’s totally my happy place. I struggle with saying the word “our” when describing the kitchen. My boyfriend likes to remind me of true ownership (OUR), but we both know it’s MINE.

With all that, I do like what we’ve done to the place.

My little counter

When we moved in to this apartment, it (the kitchen) was totally trashed and not taken care of. It looked like no one had cleaned it in over a year. Dust bunnies had bred like Catholics, thick brown grease seemed to be dripping from every surface, ants made their way down the walls for feeding time at the ranch, and the fridge literally smelled like a basement full of comic books. YUCK! So after a 3 days cleaning spree, we gave the place a face lift. The nice thing about Chinese apartments is that they’re usually furnished, which means if you’re lucky there are kitchen supplies. We weren’t super lucky  but did get a few staples:

2 rusty woks
1 rice cooker
1 large stock pot
1 very small pot with lid
1 dull perri knife
1 butchers knife
1 scissors with a broken handle
1 spatula
5 sets of chopsticks
some small (tea party sized) plates
tiny soup bowls

my kitchen

Since moving in I’ve added to the collection. I wouldn’t say a lot, just because our home here feels so temporary. Some things you really just have to live without for a while, others you can’t. This is why I’m writing this blog. To show people how to make due with limitations from geographical surroundings and resources, not just necessarily the size of a kitchen. I’ll share recipes, info about ingredients found here in China, necessary DIY projects we do for the apartment, homemade staple ingredients, and anything I think could be helpful or humorous! 🙂

If you have any ideas or requests you think I should make as a challenge please feel free to let me know! I’ve recently acquired the book, “How to Cook Everything”, by Mark Bittman. SUPER EXCITED TO GET THROUGH IT!!!! 🙂 I’ve mostly taught myself to cook. And while living in Korea last year, I really had to become good at “make shift cooking”. So many ingredients just don’t exist in Asia. But I think a better basic background knowledge will help me (and you 😉 ) immensely. This month I’m going to do a few things for the blog.

And coming this fall…..

My kitchen (staples, how to, DIY projects)
Introduce the market I shop at
Maybe a couple Pintrest projects
What cool things I’ve been eating
How to organize the place
Rice cooker recipes (including duck and cookies!)
Cooking for 2

Hope you have a delicious day!


10 Ten Reasons Why it Sucks to Love Cooking in China


This is my way of sharing my strange and animated adventures in my teeny tiny kitchen and endless Asian markets. I’m Rosalie. A 20 something ex-patriot who will go to great lengths for great food. As pesky and annoying as my limited kitchen may be, I love it. It’s my happy place. I dream of taking proper cooking classes, but for now reading any and all cookbooks, asking a million questions, Googling recipes, experimenting all I can, will suffice. 

That being said, my top “10 Reasons Why it Sucks to Love Cooking in China” (Apologies to my 7th grade English Teacher who made sure we would all remember to NEVER use the word suck, it truly is for lack of a better word).

1. It’s Expensive

…in comparison to restaurants. A cheap dinner around where we live can cost you anywhere from 5RMB-25RMB ($0.80-$4.00). Cooking materials here can be cheap but they can also range to outrageously overpriced. Yay imports! Maybe that’s just the low teaching wage talking, but hey 50RMB ($8) for a minuscule chunk of fresh lamb, sir you must be joking.

2. Produce can be questionable

There are countless news stories talking about food safety in and out of China. I take all precautions that I possibly can. I go through, what seems like gallons, of vinegar soaking and hopefully killing off any strange gross creatures I can’t see. It’s a pain in the butt doing round of produce soaks after a big shop at the market. It takes up an afternoon sometimes shopping and cleaning for everything. *grumble*

3. Meat IS questionable

Although I wouldn’t claim to be vegetarian by a long shot, I chose to not eat much meat. I truly NEVER know where it comes from, it’s expensive, and, thanks to my Father, I genuinely only know how to correctly cook beef (which is a bit harder to find and in turn more expensive). …More on family later 🙂

4. Smalllll Kitchen!

This is a normal complaint from city dwellers. So mine is no different…my kitchen is a large closet.


Holy people traffic batman.

6. No car (not every expat’s problem but for most)

Not having a car to just throw everything in when you’re finished shopping and errand running for the day is a little less than convenient  But YAY for smaller carbon footprints!

7. Chinese is hard.

I’ve only been here 6 months, so I should give myself a break.* I am a WHIZ at charades.* Bargaining for grocery items, blank stares, full on ignoring you, humph…insta-download Chinese in my brain meow please! All I want to do is speak to the adorable old couple who I buy my peaches from.

8. Spices have to be imported

You can’t find most spices here. Sometimes I long for the spices aisle at home….ooo Droool.

9. Baking doesn’t quite exist

I miss ovens, powdered sugar, and good old fashion quality butter.I have a puny little toaster oven that does the job for small cookies or roasted vegetables…it swears it can do a whole chicken. But I just don’t trust it enough yet.

And the worst part….

10. The cheese here is terrible if not, non-existent.

Yeah. I know. I meeeese Cheese so much. Food just doesn’t seem the same without that ooey-gooey-milky-wonderfulness.

And with all of that, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m in love with the challenge of making delicious meals with different resources. Whether it’s downsizing and changing a recipe completely or changing up the ingredients and doing makeshift tools; this is why I’ve started this blog. Learning and sharing about my mistakes and fortunes in the kitchen.


Hope you like it!