Chinese Hot Pots

Don’t know what hot pots are – here’s the definition I found on via Urban Dictionary:

“Can be considered an East-Asian variety of stew. Usually consisting of a simmering metal pot of stock at the center of the dining table, and several meats, leafy vegetables, mushrooms, wontons, egg dumplings, and seafoods sitting around it. Food is both cooked and served at the table. Meat is thinly sliced and takes about 15 to 30 seconds to cook. The cooked food is usually eaten some kind of dipping sauce.”

On Thursday, Steven and I went over to our friends Sam & Emily Rosen’s new home for homemade Chinese hot pots! We met Sam & Emily in our ward here at Wyview, but they recently moved out & bought a home in Orem!

Before we got to their home, I made a quick stop to the Asian Market on 500 W by Center St. close to the freeway.  I always drive by that market but I’ve never been in it before! I went in & it just reminded me of home so much.  Growing up, I would always go grocery shopping at Chinatown in Vegas with my mom every week. We would go into soooo many Asian markets for different kind of Asian foods and vegetables. I wish my mom taught me how to cook but my mom always thought it would just be faster if she made it on her own real quick instead of having to teach me (I know.. sad.. hahaha) but, the lady at the Asian market here in Provo told me the same thing! Her mom never taught her how to cook because it’s just easier not to!

So while I was at the Asian market, I wanted to make a type of dipping sauce my mom would always make when she did homemade hot pots in our home.  It was like a peanut butter kind of dipping sauce.  I actually FaceTimed her the whole time and she would show me on the phone what to buy and which ingredients were the right ones. It was actually pretty awesome. I felt this bonding connection that we’ve never shared before.  We both love cooking so it’s crazy that I was just starting to learn how to cook my mom’s Chinese food at the age of 23!! Anyways… I bought Bok Choy, Fish Cod balls, Fish tofu, and thin slices of beef for hot pots at the Rosen’s!

We got to Emily & Sam’s new home in Orem and it’s the cutest place. It’s crazy how much more room they have now instead of Wyview (where we live.) It was fun doing hot pots with them because it was a little mix of USA and Chinese foods. So I brought what was listed above, there was also sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, meatballs, pork, and rice noodles! It was a fun mix! Hot pots are known for socializing – a lot of articles say: “Don’t eat hot pots with people you don’t like.” It’s because you have to socialize while the food is cooking! SMART huh?

It was a fun night with the Rosen’s and we hope to do it again soon! Enjoy the photos!

xoxo,

Lizzie Lin Johnson

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Christmas in Carlsbad & Las Vegas

Our first “married” christmas together! Steven and I left Provo Wednesday, the 23rd and headed south to sunny Las Vegas, NV! We spent 2 days with my family before heading down to Carlsbad! It was nice because my mom and stepdad made an effort to actually have some sort of “Christmas” at our house for Steven.  Growing up, we would always have a Christmas tree but not a lot of presents under the tree because my parents would just give my brother and I money in a Chinese Red envelope. My parents worked the graveyard shifts at the Casinos so they were always asleep Christmas morning.  (I know, so sad..) Anyways, we brought gifts for my family and my family had gifts under the tree for Steven and I! We had the chance to open our gifts on Christmas Eve and it was a ton of fun! It was a special time for me especially because my parents put the effort in to make sure we had a Christmas in our home before we left for Carlsbad. My mom really loves Steven and it’s tender to see that I married the right guy who loves my family and vice versa!

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(That’s Shark Fin… A Chinese delicacy… worth $2,000)

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We also had the chance to spend time with my baby brother George, my dad and my stepmom Sandy! We had a huge FEAST at their home with Sandy’s family as well. After spending time with my dad’s family, we went to Erick Yamagata’s annual family Christmas party.  They are basically like my second family and every year i’ve gone to their family Christmas party! I brought Steven (Obviously) & introduced him to everyone of Erick’s family. I’m glad Erick & Tricia could get to know Steven better!

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Christmas Day –

We left Vegas and drove South another 5 hours to Carlsbad, CA where Steven’s parents live! We got to open presents with his family and it was a ton of fun seeing his nieces & nephews open their gifts! The BEST gift that was given was fart silly putty. hahaha you press your fingers down into this putty stuff and it makes a loud fart noise.  The kids were going crazy and Steven’s dad bought it for $.99 at the dollar store!! Also, Steven’s family stays in their Christmas PJ’s all day for Christmas.  But, when you’re married you buy your own PJs and Steven forgot about that so… sweatpants & leggings for us hahaha next year we’ll get matching PJs.

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(Steven’s dad in his Darth Vader ONESIE LOL)

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(I helped Ethan, Kylie & Lexi make their gingerbread house!)

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(First Christmas with my husband was perfect.  I can’t wait for many more!!)

I love love spending time with both of our families. I’m grateful for this Christmas season that reminds us of what matters most in life & how we can spread cheer to everyone that we see! Check out this AWESOME video and I hope you all have a great holiday break with your families wherever you may be!

XOXO,

Lizzie Lin Johnson