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Planning and Packing

This year is just not letting up. I’ve been busy, busy, busy. Same goes for Tyler. Tyler came down with flu-like symptoms this weekend and was so miserable he even went to the doctor. It turned out not to be the flu but likely some other virus, which was a little nerve-wracking, but he is on the mend now.

I think I mentioned it before, but when we decided to move to Shanghai we had the option of choosing a higher living allowance (to afford a furnished apartment) and an air shipment or a lower living allowance and a sea shipment (much much larger to accomodate furniture). We decided to go with the higher allowance and smaller shipment. I’ve had the shipment in mind since Tyler moved to Shanghai in October, but in the past few weeks we have started scheduling the shipment, so it has become much more real.

It became so real that I decided to start setting things aside for packing. One night, I even went so far as to map out the dimensions of our shipment in masking tape in our dining room.

Don’t judge.

I’ve since been filling that space with items I know are going in the shipment. I also did a little retail therapy for some things I thought might be hard to find in Shanghai, or that I just plain wanted.

Pam costs 58 RMB  or about $9.17 at CityShop in Shanghai. I thought I would save some money in the long run by buying the cute oil mister at Crate and Barrel.

From what I’ve read Ikea in Shanghai doesn’t carry measuring cups and spoons with U.S. measurements, so when I saw these on sale at Target I had to buy them. And the little bowls and spatula were too cute and inexpensive to pass up.

My sister-in-law got me this adorable mini cocotte to put salt in and this Chef’n Emulstir for homemade salad dressing. The Emulstir works really well and is just plain fun to use and will be perfect for avoiding spending lots of money on store-bought dressings.

And these items were a little more random, but still somewhat necessary. They called to me while I was at Crate and Barrel getting the oil mister, and I just couldn’t leave without them. I’ve been wanting a good wooden or bamboo cutting board, and this one gets great reviews, the rubber on the sides keeps it from sliding around on the counter tops. The silicone tipped whisk was a great deal and won’t scratch the nonstick cookware Tyler got us at Ikea. And the towel, well, I just love cute kitchen towels.

Some other things going in our 62 cubic foot shipment? Clothes, blankets, camping and outdoor equipment, my yoga mat and Tyler and I’s yoga blocks, some mixing bowls, cookie sheets and a a variety of cake pans and glass pans, random glassware, board games, cook books, candles, some office supplies, and more.

I’ll be relieved when the packing is done next week and the shipment gets on its way to Tyler. Our apartment already feels empty as I’ve been selling off our furniture and items we aren’t moving back to Michigan like it is my job, but having all that clutter out of the dining room will definitely help my sanity.

Do you like to plan out how you pack?

If you were moving to a foreign country what 3 items would absolutely have to make it into your shipment?

Balsamic for Dessert

The holidays are behind us and its back to the books for me.

I really enjoyed seeing Tyler, spending time with family, and eating way too much holiday food.

We enjoyed a delicious last meal with my family on the Monday night before my parents took us to the airport early for my flight.

For dessert we used something a little untraditional, balsamic vinegar.

At Foodbuzz Festival, I had the pleasure of talking to the people at House of Balsamic. They offered to send me a few products to try and review.

I love a good balsamic vinegar, so I was very excited when I received Saporoso: Balsamic Vinegar Aged for 6 Years.

I made everyone try a little on a spoon to see what they thought. My mom was impressed with how smooth it was and that it wasn’t vinegary like some balsamics.

I get bored of using balsamic vinegar on traditional dishes, so when I noticed some fresh strawberries in the refrigerator, I knew exactly how I wanted to test out the Saporoso.

My mom made some fresh shortcakes. We cut up the strawberries, added a little sugar, and let them juice to form a nice sauce.

After dinner we topped the shortcakes with the strawberry sauce and a little bit of ice cream. Then I drizzled a teaspoon of the House of Balsamic Saporoso over each dish.

I loved the little bit of tartness that the Saporoso added to and how well it combined with the vanilla ice cream.

House of Balsamic provided me some more suggestions on how to use the Saporoso:

  • On crepes
  • Drizzled over a vegetable frittata
  • Brie and chive strata with balsamic
  • Grilled asparagus with lemon zest and balsamic
  • Lemon linguine finished with balsamic
  • Grilled vegetables with balsamic drizzle
  • Roasted potatoes with rosemary
  • Baked ziti with balsamic
  • Grilled tri-tip
  • Drizzled over vanilla honey pound cake
  • Apple tart with ice cream and balsamic

I love the idea of drizzling it over a frittata or strata.

What is your favorite way to use balsamic vinegar? Have you ever tried using it for a dessert?

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