I mentioned last month on my Five Year Blogiversary post that I had quite a few things happening including some exciting news and purchasing my first house. Well, I’m ready to share my news and some house photos.

Over the last few months I’ve been busy with a big project. I had a hard time not talking about it, and while it wasn’t a secret, I just wanted to wait until I had more concrete things to share.

So are you ready for the news?

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I wrote a book! I was going to start off with some clues about it starting with a “b” and that it is four letters, but then I realized everyone was probably going to guess baby, which is not the right answer. Anyhow, I have a book coming out!

And it’s a book on mug cakes! Writing a book has always been a lifelong dream, so I am very excited.

The book contains 100 mug cake recipes. And it’s not just a regurgitation of recipes on the blog. I went back to the drawing board. There are about 10 mug cake recipes that I had already created that I kept. The other ones are all either brand new creations or complete re-workings of previous ones I made.

The book is already listed for pre-order on Amazon. I actually stumbled upon it yesterday without knowing it existed and was giddy all day. Then today, I got an email from my editor with the book cover!

I didn’t do any of the photos for the book– I just concentrated on creating and writing and let the professionals handle the photography, so this is the first preview I’ve seen of the photos as well.

I worked really hard on this project. I had about 2 months to create 100 recipes. It wasn’t a lot of time, especially since I was also trying to consistently update this blog, move to my new house, work, and do all the other life-related things. Every recipe went through rigorous testing, averaging about five variations each before I decided on the best version. That’s over 500 hundred mug cakes I had to try out. By the end, I was feeling a little sick (though that didn’t last long).

Over the next few months, I’ll try to share more details and previews as they become available. But for now I just wanted to share my news. And for those who have enjoyed my mug cake creations over the years, I hope you’ll consider ordering a copy when it is released or even pre-ordering now. I know it’s still a few months away from release and you can always buy it later, but pre-orders do help the book move up the rankings and generate some buzz.

Okay, now onto the next big thing in my life: my first house!

The Pie Hole is a popular pie and coffee cafe in Los Angeles, offering both sweet and savory pies.

During my last trip to LA, I stopped by their newest Pasadena store. I’d been curious for a while after hearing some really good things about their pies.

Earl Grey

I’ve had a craving for mini hot pots lately and while reading Jinxi’s Yes Pingo post, I was reminded that they have individual hot pots on the menu which I hadn’t yet tried. So off we went to go try out the hot pots.

Double Layer Sausage

One of my favorite Taiwanese night market foods is the double layer sausage. In Chinese, it’s written as 大腸包小腸, which literally translates as little sausage wrapped in big sausage. In Taiwan, it usually consists of a sticky rice that is rolled and stuffed into the thin transparent sausage skin and made to resemble a sausage. It is served sliced open with a Taiwanese sausage stuffed inside (basically resembling a hot dog). Both are usually grilled and are sometimes served on a stick.

I’ve seen the dish in various Taiwanese restaurants in the US, but they never serve it with one stuffed in the other. Instead, it’s always sliced and placed side by side, which takes away the fun element of a sausage stuffed within a sausage.

Another new development I’ve been seeing is a change in the the outer layer. Instead of just sticky rice, the sticky rice is actually stuffed inside a large pork intestine. It’s a little bit of a play on words because the word for “big sausage” in the dish is the same as the word for “large intestine.” This is the way that Yes! Pingo was serving it.

Being a fan of pork intestines, I actually enjoyed this. I do wish that the pork intestine was cooked to be more crispy, like the versions in LA. Mr. K felt this had too much of an offal flavor and preferred the crispy ones we’ve eaten in LA.

Spicy Hot Pot