spicy chicken dumplings

spicy chicken dumplingsYears ago, I was blessed with the opportunity to visit Chicago, courtesy of Kenmore.

And… with that trip I was able to take a culinary tour with two of my best food blogging friends, and we went to Chinatown and had Dim Sum.

Ever since that trip, I crave those little tasty morsels on occasion pretty much every day.  So, when there is an occasion for bite sized foods (Superbowl, New Years Eve..) you can bet I’m making some sort of Dim Sum.

 

dim sumThese were filled with a mixture of ground chicken breast, green onions, ginger, garlic and chilli pepper flakes for a slight kick.

Dipping them in a citrusy tamari  sauce flatters the filling like a string of pearls and the perfect black dress.

I made these using a bamboo steamer, and one pound of chicken, and spices I had on hand…add the $1.69 wonton wrappers and a grand total of $4.78 produced 36 dumplings. Bargain!Perfect for a party. Or a light dinner with soup.

_DSC3140Steaming these makes them way healthier, although you can also give them a bath in hot oil for a crispy fritter like dumpling. I prefer the steamed, chewy, figure friendly variety personally though.

_DSC3138_0138_edited-1Another thing, is the filling cooks as they steam so make sure you are very clean with the process and don’t cross contaminate surfaces. My advice is to assemble all of the dumplings and place them on a tray. Steam in batches and place the cooked dumplings on a different tray. Of course most of you know this already, but… to be on the safe side, I figured I’d remind you. Raw chicken is nasty before it’s cooked.

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but, of course you knew that… speaking of raw chicken. I had come across a sushi cookbook awhile back, and they had a sushi roll made with seared chicken breast.  Seared as in, still raw in the middle.

Ummm… thanks, but no thanks . I’ll stick with tuna.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy these tidbits.  Speaking of tidbits,  here’s the latest family news: (insert nightly news music)

My husband did the sweetest things ever this valentines day. ..this is the guy that used to say it was a hallmark holiday,  but now hes all in. Lucky me!

So, he surprised me with matching tattoos of our wedding date… lets see ….IMG_9326.JPG

And, a baby American parakeet or budgie,  (and yes there is more than one type). Personally I’m  hoping this is a boy mainly because:

a. Boys talk

b.I  have two girls already

IMG_9340.JPG

…..so hopefully  in a year or so we can breed them. These birds are amazing when they are hand fed, they are just little lovers.

Add a steak dinner and I’m  a happy girl.

But just to prove that things aren’t  always steaks and parakeets…i have so e bad news as well, because this wouldn’t be a real news segment without a bit of draaaaamaaaa.

My stepdaughter is on strike from visiting us for no apparent reason… which, in turn makes me depressed since I was her full time “mom” for close to eight years of her life. People keep saying, she’ll come around. Which I am sure she will, but will I even “know” her by that time?

There is an awful cold/flu going around my daughters school, and as y’all know I am a major germ-a-phob, add in the fact I work at the school two days a week, equals lots of vitamins and hand sanitizer. Maybe even a green drink. And a face mask. Just kidding on the face mask. It’s not that I am scared to be sick, heck- there are times I feel a cold coming on and I’m slightly joyful because it’s the only legitimate excuse I can come up with to stay in my lazy gear all day and read magazines on the couch.

But, with a birthday coming up, I am really opting out of being sick this week at least..

Back to dumplings:

spicy chicken dumplings
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chives
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 pkg wonton skins
Instructions
  1. In a bowl, combine the chicken and seasonings
  2. Place a small quarter sized ball of filling in the center of each wrapper.
  3. Dampen edges and seal
  4. Steam in an oiled bamboo steamer for 10`12 minutes,
  5. Serve with citrus tamari sauce or sriacha

 

 

 

lemon pastry cremes girl scout cookies

homemade lemon pastry cremeslemon pastry cremes~ (n) My favorite girl scout cookie that they discontinued, flaky cookies dusted in powdered sugar with a sweet creamy lemon filling inside.

 

There are a few food items I would say I actually obsess over. Long lost food items from my childhood that cease to be in existence any longer. I have made many attempts to recreate these, some were disastrous ,   Some,  I have successfully re-created.

Lemon Pastry Cremes being one of them. (insert happy dance and several woo-hoos)

Lemon Pastry Cremes recipeFlaky cookies with flecks of tart lemon zest,filled with a buttery lemon filling and dusted with powdered sugar.

I know, it’s January and the last of the Christmas cookies and candy canes have successfully been purged from the house, and now it’s time to purge them from the waistline, and… just as we are detoxing and denying sweets…

THEY happen.

You know who I’m talking about… those sweet little girls peddling their $5 a-box cookies. (Are they $5? $7? They go up every year…) They get you as you go into the grocery store,  all the while you’re intent on getting your fat- free -dairy -free -lactose- free- soy -free-nut-free dairy replacement beverage to go with your extra fiber sugar free fibrous  bark bran flakes…

and they’re there.

You want to say: “I’m on a diet/gluten intolerant/allergic to cardboard”

But, instead you say: “Catch me on the way out” partially hoping you’ll both forget for your wallet’s sake and your hips as well.

But… it happens.

It’s easily justified, they are only sold once a year, and only for a week at that.

…. but,

they freeze well.

There’s new flavors this year.

It’s not January without Thin Mints and Caramel Delites.

So, you buy four cases.

It’s okay. I’m not judging.

I bet they would sell cases more if sales were not during peak “diet season”.

They ought to sell them at back to school time… that’s peak snacking season. Think about it: after school snacks, cookies for lunchboxes, a little treat for mom while the kids are in school, and… don’t even get me started on all the fall flavored cookies they could churn out.  Oh yes, pumpkin spice caramel delite…. I can taste it already….

That’s it. I’m sending a letter to the Girl Scouts.

Dear Madame, (I’m pretty sure it will be a woman in charge, just a hunch)

It has occurred to me that there is an error in your cookie marketing campaign. You are promoting and marketing your goods in the wrong season of eating. May I suggest that peak diet season be replaced with peak snacking season?

We are all embracing our cozy flannels and sweatpants during this season, and your sales of decadent treats will be consumed in even greater numbers, without fear of the extra poundage even showing until well into swimsuit season.

With all due respect,

The Domestic Mama

There.

Point made.

Now: allow me to channel my inner cookie seller and entice your to make these cookies:

 

 

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Using your grandma’s cookie cutter? Oh yes, you’re making granny proud.

_DSC3054_0129Finally putting your micro plane to use? Another bonus.

lemon pastry cremesSharing these with your favorite people?

Homemade is always better than store bought… everyone knows that.

lemon pastry cremes girl scout cookies
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • For the cookies:
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • For the filling:
  • ½ stick butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Combine all ingredients and spread between cooked cookies
Instructions
  1. For the cookies:
  2. Combine the butter, cream cheese and lemon zest.
  3. Add the sugar and mix well
  4. Add the flour and mix to form a dough
  5. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours
  6. Preheat oven to 350
  7. Roll out dough to ⅛" thick and place on a parchment lined baking sheet
  8. Bake 7-10 minutes or until firm
  9. Allow to cook and fill with lemon butter filling (recipe above)
  10. Makes 24 sandwich cookies

lemon pastry cremes

 

endives with blue cheese, prosciutto and red wine reduction sauce

There are a few things in life that I had never tried until I was in my thirties such as:

endive

marscapone

homemade fruit cake

spiralized veggies

squash soup

arugula

vegan “meat” loaf

fried Oreos

salted caramel

Keurig brewed coffee

This year, I decided that I need to try a few new items….. With our local fair coming into town, I’m sure that won’t be hard. However, I would like to experience some (ah-hem) more classy cuisines as well.  For instance, exotic fruits and veggies…..I’d love to try that fruit that, (in some countries) is illegal to eat in public because it smells so bad. Apparently it tastes better than it smells… I forgot the name of it, I’ll have to add it to my “need to google” list.

In the old days I had a “need to research” list, and I would take a trip to the local library to “research” it. Now, the list  reserved for lazy days in front of the computer with a big mug of coffee and a danish.

As I said (or typed) before I never tried endive. (I know, crazy, right?!)

And, now it’s once of my new favorite vessels to serve bite sized morsels of goodness in.

_DSC3018_0031The “recipe” is simple; drizzle endive spears with Nudo Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and place inside the spear crumbled blue cheese, diced Roma tomatoes, and thinly sliced prosciutto.

Garnish with fresh basil and a drizzle of red whine reduction sauce; this sauce in particular uses Rios de Chile wine, a Chilean wine with rich notes, soft berries and a clean finish. Intensifying the wines sweet notes  in a reduction sauce further balances the salt  of the blue cheese and smokiness of the prosciutto.

YUM.

_DSC3013_0026I hope you also decide to try some new tastes for your palate this year…

what have you never tried before?

 

red wine reduction sauce
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Rios Merlot
  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until liquid has reduced to ½ cup
  2. Drizzle over stuffed endive.
  3. Also great with beef.

 A special thank you to Nudo Olive oil and Rios wine for sponsoring this post :)

 

 

 

 

cookies and milk

cookies and milkChildhood favorites don’t need to  should never be left in childhood.

There is nothing wrong with walking barefoot in the grass, playing in the rain or drawing with crayons.  Somewhere along the lines of growing up; a line gets crossed and childish ways are  set aside, and we move into other realms of reality.

Adolescence.

Adulthood.

Then, all of the sudden you realize it has been years since you dunked a warm chocolate chip cookie in a glass of cool milk.

Take the time for an afternoon snack.

Allow yourself a small dose of childhood once in a while, it does a spirit good. I’m not saying go throw a temper tantrum in the grocery line when the lady in from of you has 22 items in the 10 and under line, nor am I telling you to start picking your nose or sucking your thumb again.  I’m talking about the small things,  that now,  as adults, the pressures of the daily grind rob us of … those  little spots of joy that pop up everyday. For instance…

sunrises and sunsets

drawing a picture

mailing a letter

exploring nature

playing shadow puppets

hot buttered noodles

bubble baths

hot cocoa (instead of coffee)

and…

warm cookies and milk

I realized  that there will be a day I won’t have a young child in the house, and slowly the crayons and cartoons will be only a memory of younger times. It’s those things that are a part of childhood revisited that are worth savoring even as time progresses.

cookies and milk

crayons and cartoons

You don’t even have to go all Betty Crocker homemade either. Dunk an OREO, or nuke a Nantucket*

*(one of my favorite store bought cookies)

But, if you want to go all Betty, here is the ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Make a batch. Have a warm one, and share some with someone you know may need a little dose of childhood.

ENJOY :) Love, MK

And, if you are here to see if you’ve won some lovely olive oil…. drum roll please:

congratulations!

Katherine Klimas

stuffed shells made with homemade sauce

Please email me your mailing address!

 

 

 

 

cookies and milk2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cupcakes and cannonballs

frosty blue cupcakeCupcakes.

Innocent. Sweet.  A little more than a cookie and a little less than a cake. That in-between dessert.

Kind of like a pre-teen.

Seriously, what happens between ages 11-13? !This is the first time I have raised a pre-teen to teen girl and the morphing process is like a cupcake turning into a cannonball.

From soft and sweet to a wrecking ball…

Not exactly a wrecking ball, just a ball that’s swaying there… and you never know what it’s going to do.

Gotta love hormones, eh?

Sometimes the only thing that helps pre-teen angst is cupcakes.

cupcakesCreamy,  blue cupcakes with tiny white sprinkles.

Or, allowing her to watch a marathon of Cupcake Wars.

As far as pre teen boys go? I don’t know… that is a whole world I haven’t step foot in.

These cupcakes were made for her 12th birthday, back when her favorite color was blue, and she loved Taylor Swift.

Now she’s 13 and I am pretty sure her favorite color is black, her hair is blue (not my choice) and her music sounds like men getting tortured while guitars are smashed.

Oh how I miss Taylor…..

Cupcakes and cannonballs…. this too shall pass.

cupcakes

For the recipes click here:

cupcakes

frosting

 

 

 

 

 

2014 flashback

IMG_6723Here is a slight recap of a few events of the past year, I say slight because I took close to 8,000 photographs. A majority were for work, but on occasion I had my DSLR out for family and fun.

This year, it’s going to be less work and more play for my camera. Better yet, more work and more play.

The best play is work, and the best work is play.

Enjoy the moments before they become memories.

The picture above was somehow taken by me, and  I am pretty sure it was taken with my  iPhone. Because I am scared to death of heights. And, every year at the fair, my husband has to ride the sky ride.

And, every year I try like crazy to spend all of our cash so that “oh darn, we can’t go on it” and, every year he has a hidden $12 in his pocket.

Specifically for that ride.

And, every year for 14 minutes I am sweating bullets and praying the cables hold up.

Anyway…

1-IMG_6606I hand raised four baby birds last year. That was fun. The year before I raised a baby Amazon. He’s a big boy now.

IMG_7145Speaking of birds, this guy turns 13 this year.

He’s loud.

So, back to 2014 highlights:

IMG_7080No, these were NOT a highlight.

I just like the pic.

IMG_7492Another fun memory… camping in 96 degree weather .  The first night it rained poured .. right into our tent. So, we had to drive two hours to the nearest Wamart and we bought another. The box claimed it was “2 minute set up” Hahahaha!

It was more like five.

But, I am not complaining about that at all. Our last tent was a 1 hour nightmare to set up.

 

IMG_8873Favorite dog pic of the year! Doesn’t it just scream cuteness and coziness? Oh yes, it also screams “Is that turkey in your hand?”

IMG_6970Love instagram filters for moments like daddy-daughter dance

_DSC1705And, I love this. Total blessing to capture that.

IMG_7108And, sometimes, the expression on the gift giver is more priceless than the recipient’s response.

Is this too much people? I know this is a food blog.

Do you need something for your eye’s belly? Yes, I know we don’t have such a part in our ocular system… but, I swear there are days all I want to do is look at pictures of food and feed my eye belly.

New term for ’15: eye belly. Or something like that. Give me a day or two…

_DSC0864I made this for my daughter’s Godfather 60th.

_DSC2453Pie happened. but never made it here to post.

Maybe this year. :)

_DSC2958This is an up and coming soon post. To be honest, I am so behind with food posts. I have all these pictures to edit and lately I just can’t seem to get them nailed down…

I think part of that is because I used to do all of my computer work from 5-7am.

Now, I have a young child on my lap at 5:45 am and, well… add in the holiday excitement, no school, Santa and elves, she was quite the spaz all December.

Can I explain my December first? It’s not like yours, I promise.

First:

I’m director of children’s ministry = Christmas program to develop

My kid in the school Christmas play: sew a costume

My sweet friend “T”‘s birthday

Stepdaughter’s birthday

Husband’s birthday

Jesus’ birthday

mother is law’s birthday

mom’s birthday

our wedding anniversary

New Years Eve

Add the parties, cookies to bake, gifts to buy and wrap….

swoosh. It’s amazing I even had my camera out.

_DSC1058I’m glad I did.

It’s these tiny moments in time, that keep me from blazing through all the little moments that count.

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Enjoy the moments before they become memories.

<3 MK

 

 

 

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

 

I haven’t missed one day of posting all year.

I’m starting off with a good start, eh? Every year I intend to post more, write more, photograph more, and offer more giveaways. And, then… life starts to happen. You know, laundry, clutter, jobs, weeds, kids, husbands,(wait. make that singular husband. I only have one) dogs, birds, chickens…

ahhh life. :)

I’m also pretty sure every year I say I’m going to post here more .. well, this year I’m not going to say that.

I’m going to do that.

So, in accordance with the calendar flipping into a new year I decided I’m going to say less and do more.

I’m not going to say “I’ll do it , I’m going to say “I’ve done it”

I’m going to have to say no more to certain things,( like impulse shopping and another cookbook.)

Instead,

I’m going to stay home and use what I’ve got and make my own recipes up.  That will be fun for you guys, too. Because I know you love my stories about smoking out the house for days…Even if it’s a recipe I have shared here before, chances are the photographs need an re-do.

I’m also not going to stress about what people may or may not think of things I post and write about. 99.9% of my content is upbeat and positive, but if on occasion I feel like I need to vent about mother in laws, (wait. I only have one of those, too… thank goodness)  stressful step-parenting,weight loss,  fears over the economy and world, my faith, and my OCD on hand washing and clean floors.

Nobody is perfect, duh. I’m not going to act like it, either. I apologize if I have ever played out that image here. In recent years.

In old posts, I was way more open to share the trials and tribulations, and then … I’m not sure. I think I fell trap to the compassion trap, and comparison is the thief of joy.

I kicked that thief out. And I’m back. :)

Yay!

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A little food, a little fun, and a little laugh in between, enjoy!