Thursday, December 27, 2007

One of my go-to-meals: Pork Gyoza (Pot stickers in laymen terms)

Once upon a time I had grand visions in my head of starting a food blog. Such grand visions the darn thing never got off of the ground but I do have a bunch of photos from that time period burning a hole in my hard drive. So, I'm just going to post some of them here for you all, although I'm pretty sure that most people hate recipe posts. The band marches on.

Here at my household, we love some Asian-inspired food. I say Asian-inspired because I seriously doubt that most of my Asian dishes are made anywhere east of the United States. Chopsticks? We use forks. We like pot stickers, egg rolls, Thai lettuce wraps, etc. etc.. Pork Gyoza aka. pot stickers (you can also sub in chicken or beef or whatever suits your fancy or what is in your fridge) is one of those meals that I almost always have the components on hand for and is pretty easy to throw together to feed the crew with.

Just a note, don't assemble and then freeze them all together in a Ziploc. You get a huge ball of pot sticker mush. It is still delicious but you can hardly call them pot stickers at that point. I freeze the meat separate from the wrappers OR if you are ambitious, you can freeze them on a cookie sheet and then put them in a bag. That method is for overachievers only though.

Pork Gyoza

1/2 pound ground pork
3-4 green onions, chopped
chopped garlic
chopped ginger
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 pkg. round wonton wrappers (I find them in the produce aisle at most major grocery stores)
vegetable oil
chicken broth

In a bowl, combine the pork, onions, garlic, ginger, cornstarch, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil. In this version, it appears I added chopped green bell pepper.

To assemble these little pockets of deliciousness, set up a pot sticker "station. Basically, have your meat and a spoon ready. Open the package of wrappers. Have a small bowl of water at the ready. Have a cookie sheet and a moist paper towel close by.

Now, there are two options here. One, you can go all Chinese restaurant style and pleat your pot stickers or you can go lazy-Shannon style and just fold. Either way, you will need to wet the perimeter of the wrapper on one half so that you can achieve a proper seal. Put a small dollop of your meat mixture in the middle, and fold the halves together, pinching as you go.

I put them on the cookie sheet and cover with the paper towel so they don't dry out as I go.

To cook, heat a heavy pan over medium with a bit of oil in the bottom. Brown both sides of the pot stickers and then pour a quarter cup or so of chicken broth in the pan, reduce to low, and cover. Cook for approximately 4 minutes. Repeat in batches as required.

I serve with Costco-purchased egg rolls, white rice, soy sauce, and homemade sweet and sour sauce, and Sriracha if you like spicy.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Good tidings of Christmas...

and on to the New Year!

Well, in a week.

Anyways, as you all know, Christmas is done and over. Later today I am going to remove the ornament from the tree, wash the muslin fabric I used as a tree skirt, and Jeff will cart off the tree and toss it in the burn pile.

But before we do that, I'll share our Christmas with you.

We started on Christmas Eve at my parents house. It was great with all the cousins running around and playing with their new toys and just having a blast.

My mom got this necklace that I shared earlier:

My sister received these earrings:
Both of these pieces were made by Sudlow. She has an awesome Etsy shop. Go, spend some of your Christmas money there, you will NOT be disappointed. The necklace is tiny and gorgeous as are the earrings.

My father and brother-in-law both got tools and gift certificates (not because I don't like them but because I knew that they would both like them) to Harbor Freight.

And the cousins got an assortment of mainsteam toys.

That night, Jeff and I finished wrapping and hanging Darsie's stocking, only to hear at about 11pm, "ooohhh, presents" and see this...

Woops. Luckily, she is three, so we were able to convince her to open one gift and go to bed. hooray!

Christmas morning brought this:
and subsequently this....
I made Elise a kitty for Christmas and Darsie an owl backpack (you can see it hanging precariously from the tree above) and they both hate them. So, hooray for homemade items! In fact, Darsie's favorite toy was this:

It cost $1 from the Dollar Store.

Jeff and I budgeted $50 for each other and I think we both did pretty well and we also had a BLAST!
Jeff got: motorcycle gloves (he rides a harley to work every day, rain or shine and his welding gloves were molding, ick!), a case of Coke from Mexico, two tickets to the movie theater, and a subscription to some Hot Rod magazine. I got: Old Friend slippers (get some, they rule), a mat cutter so I can finally get some photos framed, and a gift card to Starbucks (dooooo wa!).

Christmas afternoon we headed to Jeff's parents house and enjoyed a totally awesome standing rib roast and more gifts.

It was seriously one of the best Christmas's ever. And you know, the best part for me was watching the kids play with all of their toys. It was just so much fun.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Swistle recently had a post up about what to buy the "pinholes" in our lives (aka, assholes). We all have those select few or one or twenty that we don't want to put 5 hours sewing them mittens or put the effort of picking out the PERFECT gift for. Or am I the only one?

So, what do YOU buy these people? Candy? Underwear? A box of coal? My standby present is normally photos of the girls but there are just some people who doesn't even deserve that. The alternate options - Gift Cards.

These are even good for those people that we don't really know what to get for them, like teachers.

I guess the only downfall is that then the person knows how much you REALLY like them. I would find it hilarious to give someone $2 at Starbuck's. Just enough to give them a gift card but not enough to buy a latte. priceless. and mean.

Monday, December 10, 2007

My homemade Christmas, part 1

Because I'm lame, I almost always give away what a present is before that person actually gets it. I get all giddy and excited and hooray (or as Darsie says, dooo-wa!) and yippee-like.

So, in true Shannon fashion, I'm going to share a couple of gifts. SO, if you are a member of my family (except for my husband) STOP and go make me cookies.

We are buying the majority of presents. In fact, the cousins are all getting something with a major toy company logo on it somewhere. I only have so much time for handcrafting (although I guess I could buy handcrafted items. In my defense, I asked Jeff about a puzzle for the boy cousin and he said that boys hate puzzes).

I finished this kitty the other night as a gift for Elise. She has her eye on D's pet octopus and when given the opportunity clutches it and tries to eat the eyes off of it, so I thought a stuffed creature was appropriate. AND, when I saw this web site, I knew I wanted to make her one. (Go to and click on free downloads on the right, the kitty pattern is there).

Say hi to the kitty! If you do want to make one, let me know as I have a couple of tried and true tricks. I also used fleece instead of buttons for the eyes because of the aforementioned eating of eyes things. I also have a very jealous three-year old who now wants a pink cat.

I also bought these earrings for my sister.

As well as this necklace for my mom (five grandbabies).

See, Etsy rocks.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I'm kind of bumming out on the Internet thing.

Oh Internet, fruit of my desires, how I wish I could share with you. I am getting super excited about Christmas. This year, instead of our usual mad dash on Christmas Eve to buy presents for EVERYONE, I'm planning ahead, like a whole month ahead! (Just shut up all you people that start buying for next year the DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS!).

And I would like to share, I really would. But my husband reads my blog. He has been sworn NOT to look at the bank statement (don't worry, I'm under my $50 budget!) but I can't trust him to not READ.

I would love to share the lovely things I am creating and buying for other people but I'm clueless as to who reads my blog and since it is easy to find me, I can't divulge. I just CAN'T! Even though I am super tempted.

I feel like such a tease.

I will share what I'm planning on making the girls (key term...planning). Darsie will be getting a tutu, a shirt appliqued with a D on it, a ribbon d-ring belt, and possibly and owl backpack. Elise will be getting a stuffed duck and a shirt appliqued with an E on it. Jeff will be getting a lump of coal.

Now that I said that, I guess I need to get working on these things. Tomorrow I am off to the fabric store. WOOHOO! And Target for t-shirts! Be still my beating heart.

OH HEY!!!!!
We got blinds for the windows in our bedroom. I know you are all super excited. So, let me unveil the results....

dun duh DUH!!!!

As you can see from the above photo, we live in a veritable dorm room. Darsie sleeps in her bed tucked into our sitting area (see left side of photo) and Elise is sleeping in her bassinett on the right side of the photo. The bed is never made and I need to take those boxes out to the garage for recycling.

But look! BLINDS! We went with 1 1/2" faux wood blinds from They were a good price, I think $150 for the four windows in our room. Our only obstacle came trying to install those valance covers. They came with these funky clip things that would NOT WORK. Our solution, double-sided velcro and shabang! Four full complete and functional blinds.

Here is a post-barf photo of the preschooler. She is all better, I think. No puke at least. I kept her home from school on Monday and Tuesday but I think we are going to brave physical therapy today. She may or may not have passed on her bug to the head of the household but he went to work, so we shall see if he comes back or not. He is the Brawny man though, so he would have to be dying or something to come home.

I just had to share this photo, too. You may not realize what has occurred here if you haven't been to my home but just imagine going SEVEN MONTHS using your fingers and your toes to open cabinet doors. (HINT, Jeff put up the door hardware). Isn't it pretty and shiny? Now I have to go through and wipe all eight million cabinets because seven months of no hardware makes for some really icky cabinets.

Please, go and read this. It is some funny, funny stuff.

Anyways, that is all. Happy Wednesday.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Are you alive?

I'm still here, plugging along. I've just been in a funk the last week or so, somewhat akin to a week old can of tuna. The weather here in the pacific northwest is definitely not helping. I joked to Jeff that he needs to start building an ark. It has been pouring for the last 24-hours and our backyard looks like a muddy river. It snowed the 24 hours prior to our torrential downpour and that was beautiful but short lived.

We also have a sick preschooler. Everyone (except for the dog) had multiple baths/showers yesterday due to being thrown up on. There was a puke incident this morning with just juice to drink, so I am keeping D on water for the time being. Poor thing. She is enjoying the tv a lot at least.

I'm scouring Etsy for some really cool items as I need to get my gifts ordered ASAP.