I had a wonderful housewarming party this weekend -- complete with a 40 pound roast pig, a keg full of ice cold beer and a feast of epic proportions from salads to fried rice to cupcakes. Life is good, what can I say? Granted most of my girlfriends were completely grossed out by piggy, I happily enjoyed sneaking pieces of the crispy pork skin and sandwiching it between those delicious Hawaiian rolls that every one likes...don't judge me, it's delicious.
I guess the entire concept might've seemed a bit barbaric to some but I had to do it big, because finally having our house at a presentable state was a huge accomplishment -- a feat that seemed merely impossible just 6 months ago is now finally completed. I needed a centerpiece that would scream VICTORIOUS!, because frankly I am ready for a vacation from anything house-related for awhile.
Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes anyone? Someone didn't wash their hands before eating... I would continously make these little treats throughout our house building process as a way to convince Collin to keep working -- "If you finish building the deck I'll make you those cupcakes you like..." poof, deck is done. He deemed me the nickname "slave-driver Zhang" but in my defense, if I didn't crack the whip every once in awhile how would we stay on track? (just kidding boo!).
When Babe finally arrived, his massive size took me by surprise -- this sucker was big, almost as big as my friend Sonya here. Perhaps I might've over estimated the pig consumption among 40+ people as I am currently holding 20lbs of leftover pig in my freezer. Hey, no worries! Just don't question why my site will be posting pork recipes for the rest of the month...
My friend Heather captured these shots of me cooking fried rice -- I made Pineapple Fried Rice with cilantro, cashews, onion and of course, PINEAPPLE! I didn't mean to have a cooking demonstration at the party but I'm not gonna lie, it added some pizazz. It was as if I had my own miniature cooking show right in the comfort of my backyard -- Cooking with Joy -- it has a nice ring to it. As a result, the rice actually became the favorite dish of the night and thanks to my trusty apron, I didn't get a spot on me. ( Win! :) )
So what does one do with 20 lbs of excess pork? Make Hawaiian Pork Sandwiches that's what. I had a bunch of those sweet little Hawaiian rolls left over, I put two and two together and came up with the tastiest little sandwich combination. For those of you who don't order a whole pig just for shits, you can go to your local asian market that sells BBQ pork, peking duck, etc and more than likely you will find pig that's fried, cooked and sold by the pound.
Ingredients for Hawaiian Pork Sandwiches: (serves 2-4)
- 1/2 lb cooked pork, chopped
- 2 tablespoons bbq sauce
- 8 miniature Hawaiian rolls
- 1/4 c mandarin oranges
- 1/4 c red onions, small diced
- 1 teaspoon jalapeno, small diced (you can increase the quantity if you like spicy food or omit it all together)
- 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
- 1 lime wedge, squeezed
Place chopped pork and bbq sauce into a bowl and mix thoroughly. In another bowl, combine the mandarin oranges, jalapeno, onion and cilantro with the fresh lime juice and allow to sit for 20 minutes or can be kept overnight. You can toast the buns if you choose --or eat them as is. Split the buns in half and top with the pork mixture and relish. You can use some fresh field freens as shown or leave them out completely. Serve immediately with a glass of ice cold beer.
Drooling yet? You should be.
So onto the cool stuff...the before and after pictures of our house makeover!! The past 6 months of bitching complaining was for good reason...see for yourself.
Check out the swirly retro ceilings! Check out the crusty old carpet and linoleum! How was this stuff ever in style?? We raised the ceiling, knocked down a few walls, put in wooden floors and got a new door.
And here is the master bedroom...YUCK. Please note the heavily yellowed close doors, apparently the tenant before us was not a fan of cleaning supplies *shudders* and those retro curtains...tsk tsk. We tore down the weird light fixtures, fresh paint, hardwoods and installed a nice ceiling fan (excuse the messy bed).
Boy, were the bathrooms a nightmare. I'd say crappy would be an understatement in this case. I mean who even has sinks like that anymore? We knocked out more walls, found some hidden space that we later made into a shelf in the living room, dressed it up with new tile and new fixtures and VOILA! A master bath fit for a stud.
We also raised the ceiling in the guest bath, gutted the old fixtures and replaced it with new ones. My aunt Lori and mommy Wells actually tiled this entire bathroom by themselves, what talented ladies!
AAAAAAH my dream kitchen tranformation -- looking how undreamy it was when we first started. You can't see very well from these pictures but the old stove top was activated by BUTTONS...I don't even think my parents used buttons on their stoves in China. Collin is convinced someone will buy this "vintage" stove, I give it 3 months or else it's outta here (*insert whip crack here*). We pretty much kept NOTHING from the old kitchen except for the old cabinets which we made into Collin's workbench in the garage. We put in granite counter tops, stainless steel applicances and custom made cabinets -- a wonderful change from the past elf kitchens I've been cooking in for the past 4 years.
And finally the living room. We knocked down a lot of walls, put up a beam, new hard wood floors and some fresh paint. Most of the furniture is courtesy of my mom, she gave us most of her belongings before she moved to Shanghai so that helped out a lot when we moved in. As you can see Layla made a point to get into some of my shots, what a boob. Though I have a lot of decorating left to do, like I said, I'm going on vacation from house chores for the next couple of months :).
None of this project would be possible if it weren't for the help of family. Collin's parents put in hundreds of endless hours of blood sweat and tears to make our house to what it is today. Aunt Lori and Uncle Dave made a trip down especially to help us renovate bathrooms and clean up debris. We worked Carter all Summer helping with installations and texturing (I made sure to feed him well during this time so he wouldn't quit on us) and Layla...well she just sat there and looked cute the whole time, what a HAM. I think our first home will always be my favorite home -- solely because of all the different people who helped us along the way. I can't begin to express my love and gratitude to everyone who took part in this huge project, a part of me is even a little sad that this project has come to an end. It's crazy even now for me to look through these before and afters, I just can't believe my eyes. WE DID IT! Through the stress, the unexpected challenges, the countless late nights -- our first home is complete. And it's perfect.