Sunday, October 9, 2011

10 Very Hungry Hippos (10/2/2011)

    This week went quickly.  We stayed home to clean up the apartment on P-day, but spent the next 2 days working at the temple.  By the time we came home Wednesday night, the wind was howling.  Typhoon Nesat came by and the number-eight warning was issued early Thursday morning as winds gusting up to 121 km/h, which were recorded in some exposed areas.  We were safe and sound.  With the extra time off, we were able to catch up with some chores.  In fact, I made 48 tortillas that morning, preparing for the missionaries to come to dinner Sunday. 

People swim at a beach as a rain squall caused by nearby Typhoon Nesat approaches in Hong Kong on September 29, 2011. Hong Kong locked down on September 29, suspending financial markets, schools and transport services as strong winds from the deadly Typhoon Nesat brought disruption to the city.

Photograph by: Dale de la Rey, AFP/Getty Images

    By Friday morning, it was safe for us to go back to work.  October 1 was the Chinese National holiday.  The temple was on the holiday schedule and was open from 7 AM to 1 PM.  We had so many members who came to visit.  It was fun to see a lot of the Filipinas and friends.

    We were also invited by the Tolo Stake to attend a special activities day for the elderly.  We told them we'd go if they wouldn't call us elderly; instead, they could call us seniors.  It was all agreed and we went happily as seniors.  It started with a temple session at 11 AM; a luncheon at the Kowloon Tong Church Building (across from the temple); then 2 tour buses took us to Yuen Long to visit a cookie factory and a noodle factory.  At 5:00, we were taken to a seafood restaurant and had a wonderful seafood dinner.  Afterwards, the bus drove us to West Kowloon Waterfront Promenade to watch fireworks for the celebration of the National Day.  We didn't stay as we would have to wait over 2 hours for the fireworks to start.  So we; the Deans and us two elderly (senior) couples, headed home on the MTR and watched the fireworks at home on TV instead.  It was sure a fun day.  Thanks to all those who made arrangements to make this possible. 

Tolo Stake Activities for the Elderly

   Even though this was a General Conference weekend, regular church schedule was kept in Hong Kong because of the time difference from Salt Lake City.  The delayed General Conference would be held a week later, with Cantonese and Mandarin translations.  We had a wonderful fast and testimony meeting.  We enjoyed the testimonies being borne by 7 or 8 of the members of the congregation.  A young man from Beijing got up and shared his testimonies with us.  We came to find out he wasn't a member yet ,but loves being with church members.  He was so happy to find the Gospel and felt comfortable to come to church with us to share our love for the Savior.  What a cool guy!  

   After Church, we had all the young missionaries over for a delicious Mexican dinner.  There were 10 very hungry hippos at our apartment that day.  You probably wonder how we accommodate that many people in our 460 square feet flat.  Hmmm...first we moved the couch to one side of the living room against the wall, then we lined up 2 card tables and a computer table in the middle of the room to form a dining table.  Yes, it was room to room, but it worked and the missionaries didn't mind, neither did we.  We had a good time.  Listed below are recipes for those who may be interested.

Mexican Dinner

Shredded Pork Taco Filling


  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 (3 1/2) pound pork shoulder roast
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 large white onion, cut into large chunks

Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken

  • 1 (16 ounce) jar salsa
  • 1 (1.25 ounce) package dry taco seasoning mix
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

Refried Beans 


  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 3 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 5 teaspoons salt
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin, optional
  • 9 cups water

Spanish Rice

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup uncooked white rice
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Homemade Flour Tortillas


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons lard
  • 1 1/2 cups water


  1. Whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder together in a mixing bowl. Mix in the lard with your fingers until the flour resembles cornmeal. Add the water and mix until the dough comes together; place on a lightly floured surface and knead a few minutes until smooth and elastic. Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball.
  2. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Use a well-floured rolling pin to roll a dough ball into a thin, round tortilla. Place into the hot skillet, and cook until bubbly and golden; flip and continue cooking until golden on the other side. Place the cooked tortilla in a tortilla warmer; continue rolling and cooking the remaining dough.

Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups whole wheat bread flour
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • all-purpose flour for rolling


  1. In a large bowl, stir together 1 cup all-purpose flour, the whole wheat flour, and salt. Rub in the shortening by hand until the mixture is the texture of oatmeal. Make a well in the center, and pour in the boiling water. Mix with a fork until all of the water is evenly incorporated. Sprinkle with a bit of additional flour, and knead until the dough does not stick to your fingers. The dough should be smooth.
  2. Make balls the size of golf balls, about 2 ounces each. Place them on a tray, and cover with a cloth. Let stand for at least 1 hour, or up to 8 hours.



  1. Glad the typhoon wasn't a big deal there! Your dinner sounds so yummy! I'll have to try some of your recipes!

  2. Clarifications: No lard! I used butter instead. I don't know if it's better, but lard sounds gross. Also, feel free to experiment. We don't always have the ingredients we need here, so I do a lot of substitution. Let me know if you need more details.