Soy Ginger Pork Stir-Fry

Rain and clouds never fail to make me extra lazy. I didn’t manage to get anything done until Mark got home at about 4 in the afternoon yesterday because I was tucked snugly under the blanket on my couch.

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It’s my first autumn/winter in North Carolina and I’m mildly surprised at how warm the weather still is in November. We had a short shower yesterday, which brought temperatures down into the mid-60s and me under the blanket, on the couch.

Gloomy days also has this way of making me miss home, so I decided I’d whip up a quick dinner that never fails to remind me of home. I also got Mark to eat an entire serving of choy sum this week; a type of Chinese cabbage found in many popular dishes back home — a staple when I was growing up. 

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What reminds me most of home and family often is my mom’s simple home-cooked meals. Her soy ginger pork stir-fry is one that’s incredibly easy yet delicious at the same time. I used some leftover pork chops and marinaded them in soy and oyster sauce and some fresh cracked pepper plus salt to taste.

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Ginger is also common in a lot of Chinese cooking. Growing up, my grandma and mom would say that its pungent and slightly bitter heat is good for keeping warmth in the body. Adding some Chinese rice wine, this dish is often served to women after childbirth with the belief that it will help nourish and heal the body after labor.

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I brown the ginger with garlic in a pan to start and the smell in my kitchen is divine. Towards the end of cooking, I like to throw in a handful of chopped scallions just for color and a little bit of crunch. I love scallions, or green or spring onions, as some would call it. I’d put it in everything if I could!

Here’s a cool trick I learned. When using scallions, save the ends where the little roots grow (as pictured above) and submerge them in a glass or jar filled with water. Place them on a sunny window and the onions will start to grow, meaning you get to use them again! And again. Anddd again. Rinse the root out about once or twice a week and replace with fresh water. This should help you save at least 50 cents from the grocery store.

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Last night I also wanted a good serving of veggies with my dinner so I stir-fried some broccoli with garlic and oyster sauce and made a cup of brown rice as sides for both Mark and I. Needless to say, I went back for seconds.

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I think mom would be quite proud that I’m finally able to prepare some of her simple dishes and hopefully, she’ll pass more recipes to me as I grow older.

Soy ginger pork stir-fry

2 pork loin chops, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/3 cup water
A knob of ginger (I used one about the size of my thumb), peeled and julienned
Handful of scallions, chopped

2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
A pinch of salt


Add ingredients from marinade into a bowl and mix well. Stir in pork slices and mix until evenly coated. Set aside for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Using a medium to high heat, heat pan or work with vegetable oil.

Brown garlic. Be careful to watch as it browns (sometimes burns) quickly. Add ginger and fry until fragrant. Then, stir in the pork marinade and cook for about 10 minutes or until it is almost done. Add water to help scrape the pan and giving the dish its luscious sauce. You can always add more water if you want it saucier. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 5 to 7 minutes, until pork is done and tender.

Toss in scallions and a little bit more salt and pepper to taste. Serve with steamed rice.

What’s your favorite hand-me-down recipe?


Banana Granola Muffins

I’ve been approaching life with the same negative outlook for as long as I can remember.

I remember the growing pains that came as a low-esteemed 14-year-old. The angst I had as a confused 17-year-old and then the depression in my late teens and early 20s. Unwillingly, I had carried some of the pain throughout the years into adulthood and today, I’ve decided to get rid as much of it as possible.

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Somehow, someway, I must have done something right to have met a man who loves me for who I am. And though it is still taking me time and effort to accept this fact, I can say today that I am the best I have been in a long while.

My day today comfortably ended with a cup of chamomile tea and a pleasurable bite into one fresh banana granola muffin. It’s nice how certain foods bring you that sense of familiarity even in a sea of change. Banana muffins have always been one of my favorite breakfast foods and being able to make it from scratch in my very own kitchen makes it that much more satisfying.

Life has been mundane but not mediocre for me lately. I left my job a month ago and moved to live with Mark in Havelock, NC — a small military town right outside of a Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. He found a cozy townhouse where he works in and right now, it’s just me and him. I have yet to get a job here but am actively looking for one. There is still what seems to be a mountain of paperwork I have yet to complete but I’m doing the best I can and hopefully, I will have it all filed before the end of the year.

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Other than that, living with my significant other has been a challenging yet exciting adjustment that I’ve made. Before this, Mark and I were in, what I would call, a “short” long-distance relationship. Long enough that we didn’t get to see each other as frequently as we would like, but short enough that we could make it to each within a day’s drive.

We lived three hours apart and got to see each other only over the weekends, so our relationship consisted of a lot of texting and FaceTime dates. We took turns visiting each other over, which got old (and expensive!) really fast.

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I would be lying if I told you that the transition went smoothly. I think it has been harder for me simply because I was moving again to a new town, losing my income and friends but I’ve been coping. Mark has been incredibly supportive of my needs and I’m sure that it’s just a matter of time before I feel at home again.

Today, I tried my hands at some baking and the results were pretty satisfactory. Mark isn’t that much of a picky eater, so I’m lucky I get to try out recipes without wasting any food either. I might make some adjustments to the recipe in the future but I’m glad I have these banana granola muffins to look forward to for breakfast this week.

Banana Granola Muffins
Recipe adapted from Kelly Senyei, from Just A Taste.

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup granola of choice
2 large ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup vanilla non-fat yogurt
6 tbsp butter or margarine, melted and cooled
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and baking soda. Then mix granola. In a separate bowl, whisk together mashed bananas, eggs, butter, yogurt, vanilla.

Slowly fold in the wet mixture to the dry mixture, adding in batches until both mixtures are combined.

Scoop batter into the muffin pan, and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick or knife inserted into the muffins comes out clean.