Monday, August 30, 2010

mmm... dumplings

nǐ hǎo friends! I'm really excited about a recipe I recently discovered. I'm a big fan of steamed dumplings (or the steamed dumplings better known fried friend- Potstickers). Usually when I'm craving them I buy the Ling Ling brand at our neighborhood bulk store. I think, for being a store bought frozen food, they are pretty darn tasty. Not anymore my friends, not anymore. I've been wanting to figure out how to make dumplings for a while, but I thought it would be a lot of effort... and well, the thought usually stopped there.


I have been trying to cook (from scratch-ish) my favorite things that I normally buy pre-made. This way I know what's going into my food, I can make it healthier (if I choose to), and a lot of the time it's cheaper (per serving).
So last week when I was craving dumplings, I went to an old dependable friend Alton Brown from the Food Network. He is great at making seemingly complicated recipes simple and no fail. In other words, Desiree friendly. I came across this appropriately named Perfect Potstickers recipe.

The results:
Please excuse the picture quality, I couldn't find my camera
 ( honestly I really didn't look) and used the camera on my phone.
These things were not only pretty darn tasty, but reasonably cheap and easy to make. The time consuming part was wrapping the little buggers, but I'm sure if you had a couple extra hands it would go by much faster. I didn't. Also, I was able to freeze my leftovers, reheat in the microwave a few days later... and they still tasted awesome. Tonight when I made them, I doubled the recipe and froze a bunch (and of course packed some in moms lunch) so I could have have some on hand for a quick snack or emergency (meaning I don't want to cook) dinner.
I did make a few modifications to the original recipe:
  • Instead of ground pork I used ground chicken breast, I love bacon, so my diet has plenty of pork.
  • I added about a half cup of chopped cabbage. The brand I usually eat has cabbage and I had some in my fridge from taco night that needed a home before it went bad.
  • The first time I made them I used veggie oil, (as the recipe called) but tonight I made them with extra virgin olive oil and that worked just fine. The recipe doesn't call for a lot of oil so if you're watching your girlish figure you'll be fine, I just prefer the EVOO.
I love the soy/sesame sauce that comes with my usual brand of potstickers so I was happy to find out that they sell it here. I haven't actually purchased any, but good to know. Also, I think freshly grated ginger would be pretty tasty to add, maybe next time.

Probably more than anyone wanted to read about dumplings, more than I planned on writing, so thanks for reading... if you made it this far.

P.S. According to Wikipedia, 'Dumplings' are steamed, and 'potstckers' are dumplings that are fried instead of steamed.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

in a funk

So... I'm in a funk (as the title so appropriately states). I had a two week break between my summer semester and the fall semester. Initially I didn't think it was going to be enough of a break... I had too much to do and very little time to do it. I had to make sure Ethan was all ready for school, make sure I was ready for a new semester, Tiger scouts planning, catch up on laundry, housecleaning and possibly a little R&R.

About 4-5 days into my "break" I was climbing the walls, I needed a textbook to read, a test to study for, homework to do... ANYTHING!!!
I was thrilled when I got my textbooks (about a week into my break), I cracked them open right away. I had a week to get a head-start, and I knew with the classes I had, I was going to need it.

Fall semester officially began Monday, and since one of my classes is online, it began Monday as well. My other class, which is on campus, starts tomorrow (Friday, the 27th). With the withdrawals I was having during break and the excitement of just getting my textbooks, you'd think this week I would've been ecstatic, farting rainbows left and right.



Well said little dude... well said...

The past couple days, I have had no interest in the reading I should be doing, my love of making flashcards has completely dissipated, my nighttime hobby of watching iTunes lectures from Ivy League colleges (my Ivy League education on a community college budget) has come to a complete stop. I have even procrastinated using cleaning... CLEANING!!! I would rather be cleaning up the mess my son leaves behind after going to the bathroom than studying.
I know what you are all thinking, "Desiree, what's up? what's going on? and ewww..." I have one answer for you.


I'm hoping that when I go tomorrow for my A&P class that the fresh smell of textbooks, the bright colors of a PowerPoint presentation, new lead in my pencil, and my favorite bright orange notebook I use for taking notes will snap me out of it. It should. It will. I'll be totally fine....

If not, at least my toilet will be the cleanest on the block....

(and no, I won't clean yours)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Simplified Chaos

The past year I have been on a mission to simplify my life. The top reasons: money (or lack thereof), time (again, lack thereof), space (also lacking), priorities and all around feel good happiness.

With my decision to go back to school, sacrifices had to be made. I knew I wouldn't be able to work, go to school and raise my two kids and feel good at the end of the day about the time I would be able to invest into each (I didn't add social life there because it's hardly worth recognizing to begin with).
Making the decision to pursue nursing was an easy decision, although it took me a long time to realize it. It's kind of like the quote from When Harry Met Sally,
"when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."
My somebody became nursing. So knowing all of this, working wasn't going to be possible.

I had already been living with my mom for a few months when I decided to go back to school and, initially, it was only temporary. Not anymore. Think: George Costanza and toss in a pint of student, 2 cups of kids and a dash of divorce....TaDa, that's me (maybe with a little more hair)

With this simplification I have learned to live in a very small bedroom, use public transportation and stretch a buck. I have realized how liberating it is to get rid of a lot of "junk" I do not need, use, and mostly lack space space for (I know those of you who have helped me move in the past wish I had realized this a long time ago... I am sorry, thankful and you're right). I can tell you the cheapest places to shop for _______ (insert object here), take the kids for fun, and grab a beer to watch the game on a limited budget. I have mastered (OK OK, received my associates in) the art of compromise while living with my mom, basically, she's always right and a good "yes, ma'am" goes a long way (a glass of wine and a home cooked meal when she gets home is equally effective). I have worked on keeping the drama of life to a minimum, some stuff can't be avoided, but a lot can. I have had to give up on my love of clothes shopping, but replaced it with my love (adoration) of my local library. I love LOVE curling up with a good book and have learned how to read while I cook/clean/walk/play with kids/etc. Also, screw diamonds... my iPod, Outlook and OneNote are this girls best friends!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Testing 1,2,3

So here goes.... my first official blog post.
Um... hi
Isn't this great.
Hmmm.. well I can't even promise that it'll get better since this is purely experimental.
Feel free to add supportive comments, or non-supportive... In reality I'll just be happy to have comments, no matter what content.
Super, glad we laid down the ground work. Important in any relationship.

I guess I should lay out a brief back story as to why I decided to do this.
First, I seem to have really interesting conversations with myself when a) I am doing yard work b) cleaning c) on my way to and from school. All of which during I think at one point or another "I should write this down," but never do since, well, I am too busy or too tired from being too busy, or just plain lazy. Probably more has to do with the fact that I don't have confidence in the fact that (although I think my thoughts, opinions, ramblings are completely relevant) anyone will be interested. Hence....
Secondly, I am on some sort of a.... what's the word? Quest-ish to try new things...ish. yeah... more on that later..maybe. I'm sure.
Third, just because I am between semesters in school and find myself with a few extra hours a day and feel the need to fill my time. I've already caught up with my new favorite show Boston Med. I've caught up on reading the last couple months worth of posts on The Cameronomicon. and seriously thought about doing laundry. Therefore now I am left with a plethora of time on my hands for the next week until Ethan (my son)and myself start school. Then it's back to studying, homework (Ethan's and mine) Boy scouts, field trips, cookie baking (haha, couldn't even say that with a straight face) cookie buying, Den Mothering, fundraising, uniform ironing, left shoe searching, popcorn selling, etc... all in all my very busy, yet pretty boring (and I like it that way) lifestyle.

So, wish me luck, as I hope to update as much as I can...which isn't saying much.