Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pot Stickers, a healthy version.

This is another recipe from my new cookbook. I am loving all of the things that I have tried so far and I have a list of over 100 recipes from the book that I am wanting to try. So that should keep this section of the blog going for at least the rest of the year. Although I will keep throwing out some of my families favorite foods and some things that I find from other locations.

Today's recipe is for Chicken Pot Stickers. It is a really easy basic recipe that I can already see a million variations for. So here it goes. I realize that this isn't the healthiest that these can get, but I know that they are much better than the pork stuffed with a zillion extra calories and preservatives type that you buy in the freezer section.

Chicken Pot Stickers.

2 T chili sauce (I left this part out of the girls sauce)
1 T finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 T Teriyaki Sauce
1 t rice wine vinegar
1 t peeled fresh diced ginger
pinch cayenne (again I left this out of the girls)

1/2 lb ground skinless chicken breast (I used turkey because that was what I had)
1/2 c finely shredded napa cabbage (sometimes labeled chinese cabbage)
1 scallion minced
2 t soy sauce (I used Bragg's Liquid Amino's)
1 t cornstarch dissolved in 2 t water
1/4 t mustard powder
1/8 t ground black pepper
20 (3 in square) wonton skins

4 t peanut oil
1 c chicken stock
1 t all-purpose flour
1 T toasted sesame seeds

1) To prepare sauce, in a small bowel, combine the chili sauce, cilantro, teriyaki sauce, vinegar, ginger and cayenne.

2) To prepare the filling, in a medium bowel combine the chicken, cabbage, scallion, soy sauce, dissolved cornstarch, mustard and pepper.

3) Cover the wontons with plastic wrap; have a small bowel of water near your work area. Working with 1 wonton wrapper at a time, spoon 2 teaspoons of the filling into the center of each wonton skin. Moisten the edges with water; fold diagonally to form a triangle. Seal the edges, pressing out all the air. Repeat with the remaining wonton's and filling.

4) In a large non-stick skillet, heat the oil until it is almost smoking. Place the dumplings in a circle in the skillet; reduce the heat slightly and cook until the bottoms are golden brown 5-7 minutes.
5) Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. Remove from the heat; sprinkle in the flour ans stir until dissolved. Pour the broth over the dumplings; cook, partially covered, until all of the liquid evaporates. Uncover and cook until the bottoms are crisp. Carefully loosen the dumplings with a spatula. Serve with sesame seeds sprinkled on top and sauce on the side.

DD's notes.

1) These are a pretty plain recipe, the flavor is in the sauce. The next time that I make them I think I will be mixing the ginger and cilantro into the meat mixture instead of just putting it in the sauce. I might also add some finely grated carrots.

2) This recipe is so easy to double it almost asks for it. Wonton wrappers are sold by the group of 50 in my grocery store, not 20, so I had plenty. I doubled this recipe and had enough filling to fill all 50 wrappers. I froze the second batch on a cookie sheet with parchment paper on top and then packaged into groups of 5-6. They cook from frozen exactly the same as fresh.

3) I made a lot more dipping sauce than it called for so that each person had their own mixture based on their individual taste.

4) While this is an easy recipe the wrapping of the dumplings takes a while. I spent roughly 30 minutes just on that part of the recipe. So make sure that you have the time to do that. I also folded the corners in so that the dumplings looked like an open envelope instead of leaving them in a triangle, I thought that they looked better that way, and that they took up less room in the pan.

5) The first time I made this I tried to use a pan that was too small and crowded them in. That was a BAD plan. They ended up all cooked into one huge mass. So when you cook them make sure that they aren't touching in the pan, it makes it a million times easier to get out at the end.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Red, White and Blue Hodgepodge

1. What is something about living in this country that you value? 'This country' is whatever country you call home. I value the freedoms that we have here, and the fact that we live in a nation that is dedicated to improving not only the lives of the people who live there but the people all over the world. I realize that often these goals are gone about in totally the wrong way, and often they are not met. But it is still an awesome thing to strive for.

2. What is a favorite something you own that is red, white and/or blue?  My favorite blue thing is my eyes. I love the color that they are, I think that they are awesome! I also love that they are the exact same shade as my mothers. We don't share many physical features so I love that we share this one.

3. Do you fly a flag at your house on patriotic holidays? Absolutely. We usually fly a flag at all times, however we need a new one so there is nothing up right now.

4. What ingredients do you think should be included in a great picnic basket? My personal ideal picnic basket would have a good loaf of bread, a variety of good cheese, and fresh fruit, with wine to drink.

5. What is one interesting piece of trivia you know? Interesting is of course a relative term. LOL, I am the Queen of random and interesting trivia. I don't know what piece to share with you today. Let's see, Memorial Day used to be called Decoration Day.

6. Wednesday, May 24th is National Escargot day...have you ever tried them? Eww or ooh? Yes I have tried them, they are neither eww nor ooh to me. I wasn't grossed out by them, but I didn't love them. If I was served them again I would eat them, but I wouldn't bother ordering them in a restaurant.

7. What is one thing you know for sure? I know for sure that I am happy where I am in my life right now, and that is a blessing. I love doing what I do, and being who I am. I also know that this is a huge thing, I don't know many people who can say that with complete certainty so I am grateful for that.

8. Insert your own random thought here. I am not having any luck with a random thought today. That's strange, generally I am full of random thoughts. Oh, here is one. I really need to start crafting again. I think I shall design a new 4th of July shirt this afternoon.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Breaking out the Oldies.

I am currently participating in a fitness challenge with some of my friends. The goal of this challenge is to keep us all accountable with our pre-swimsuit season fitness goals and also to throw some variety into our workouts. It has been amazing, and even with all of the problems that I am having with my health, you know the hives, I am finding that I am keeping up with my plan better and being less likely to just give up and gorge myself on some brownies.

This weeks challenge is so much fun that I thought I would share with all of you. This week we are supposed to break out an OLD workout video, and I mean old. We are talking about Sweatin' to the Oldies, Jane Fonda, Jazercise, something totally old school. If an old video isn't available to you try a second hand store or library near you I am sure that they have something fun.

For my first day I pulled out an old Belly Dancing for Fat Burning Video, first of all I am glad that I still have a VCR in the house, but that was just a happy mistake. I popped in the Video with AJ watching me, she said that she wanted to participate at first but quickly decided that playing Angry Birds was a much better use of her time. I started the video and quickly remember why I had stopped using it. I was popping and cracking joints all over the place, I never felt like my form was right, and I didn't feel like I got any sort of a workout at all. So needless to say I decided that video needs to be retired permanently and tossed it in the donation pile.

Today I am looking for my old Kickin' with Country workout with Denise Austin. I am sure that it will probably meet the same fate, but I know that it is here somewhere and I want to try it out. I am sensing a theme here and I hope that I can find some old stuff that isn't dance related.

So what have I learned this week? In the whole two days that I have had so far. It is that I have come a long way in my workout routines. I remember when these old video's were hard and made me work, now they just make me smile. That makes me feel amazing. I know that my overall fitness level is so much higher now than it used to be, and that is worth every second I have put in.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Itchy and Scratchy... the story of my life.

I am totally off on my creative thinking today, I admit it, maybe by the end of my post today I will have title for this, but as of right now I've got nothing.

I am using today as a catch up day both for me and to catch up everyone out there in blogging land on what is going on in my life right now. I realize that I went from a lot of blogging to absolutely nothing pretty quickly but I do have an excuse, it might not be a great one, but it's there all the same.

I am allergic to something. Now this statement is pretty ironic if you have known me for a long time. Of course I am allergic to something, in fact I am allergic to a lot of somethings. It has gotten better as I have gotten older, but I am allergic to a ton of things. However this allergy is different for two reasons. The first is that the cause isn't extremely apparent. After a lot of thinking the Dr and I have a theory, but no answer. The second reason is that it is giving me hives. Usually when I have an allergic reaction it is confined to the normal sinus, eyes, breathing area. This however is making me itch, all over, badly. Last week I even itched on the insides of my eyelids. That was fun. So we tried treatment 1, which was a ton of steroids and removing the possible offender. I am in the process of weaning off the steroids and the itch is coming back, so I'll be headed back to the Dr's office in a day or so to try round 2. Hopefully that is more effective.

In other news I made a great homemade pot sticker recipe last week, but forgot to take pictures. I did freeze some so I'll take pictures when I am cooking them and share.