January 28, 2010

Blueberry Upside-Down Loaf Cake

During the warmer months, we have a door-to-door peanut salesman (I kid you not) who pays regular visits to the office. On any normal day I would just direct him to the back to bug the guys, seeing as how I have little need for a 2 pound bag of peanuts. One morning though, he happened to wander by when my boss was in the office, a rare moment really, but his timing was spot on. I thought for sure boss-man would have a fit and order the man never to return, but it went quite the opposite really. Having little reservations about spending $5 for a pint of berries, (I would never) my boss went ahead and grabbed six bins from the man!

January 22, 2010

Spaghetti With Garlic and Lemon

I have to admit, I'm really not enjoying this whole winter thing. I hate waking up shivering and seeing my breath in the air, ugh. And I'm not hiding the fact that I'm desparately trying to hold onto every ray of sunshine that I can get. Ok, I may be juuuust a little dramatic on the subject - it's not like we're seeing snow... I guess since moving to South Carolina I've become thin-skinned. Who am I kidding, I've always been a baby when it comes to being cold. I would much rather be starving than cold, but lucky for me I don't have to settle for either...not just yet at least.

January 20, 2010

Oooo So Cute Mini Banana Cupcakes

Several months ago I found Miss Bakerella while browsing around the blogosphere and I haven't been able to get her off my mind. She has the most adorable, most pinch-your-cheeks little creations...I could just eat them up. So, being totally inspired by her work, I just had to whip up a batch of cupcakes. I had bananas aging quite rapidly on the counter so I took the lead with her banana cupcake idea and ran with it. Of course the only thing that makes a pretty dessert better for me is a mini version of it (ooo so cute!) and since I had just bought a new bag of mini muffin liners I used it as my launching pad. Banana, cupcake, mini - got it.

January 16, 2010

Left Over Lovin': Short-Cut Cheese Ravioli

I've been keeping up fairly well with this whole pantry challenge thing, which means we've been eating left overs. It's not that we have anything against left overs here, they're just...yuh know, boring after you've just had them. Because no likes a boring dinner I've had to get a little creative in the kitchen. I've previously professed my love for these wonderful little wonton wrappers and I had half a package of these babies threatening to go bad on me if I didn't use them up stat. So tonight we get to enjoy some left over lovin' ravioli.

January 12, 2010

Apple Carrot Orange Muffins, Just For You!

Today is My Perfect Little Helper's birthday!! It's sort of a bittersweet moment when your baby turns 4, so you'll have to excuse me huddling in the corner weeping...being distracted. Since she really wants to go to Apple Bean's (aka Applebees to the rest of the nation) for dinner, we won't be doing cake tonight. So to start off the day on a special note I stuck a candle in a pretty little apple orange carrot mini muffin (which just so happened to fall into the bag of sprinkles...oops!). She loved it and she got to make her wish at the beginning of her day...here's to hoping she wished for a hamster.

January 6, 2010

Easy Asian Style Chicken Dumplings

I loooove me some dumplings and I get some pretty serious cravings for Chinese food, cravings like no other. Back when Hubby and I were poor though, we had to sacrifice and improvise. Improvising was really just a nice way of saying we couldn't afford to pay someone else to cook our food...and that was ok, once I figured out how to make it myself. I originally made these dumplings with a dough from scratch (really, it's not as impressive as it sounds) but today these are easy dumplings. You see, now that we're slightly less poor we can indulge in silly little things like wonton wrappers. I love wonton wrappers - really there's no reason for it, they're cute and they make things easy...like dumplings.

This is one of the very first recipes that made it into our keeper cookbook and we really do love it. We love it so much that we're giving it to you so you too can love it! Ok, the meat filling is supposed to be pork but last night I had some ground chicken, so I used that instead (thanks for the suggestion Hubby) and it worked just as well as the pork really. Here's how make these wonderful little bundles of...meat.


Mix the ground meat of your choice (pork and chicken are great) with some soy sauce, oyster sauce and greens onions (feel free to expand here - minced fresh ginger and garlic would be de-lish. Also, if you don't have oyster sauce handy it will be fine substituting with all soy sauce). Do not use salt to season as the sauces are quite salty themselves, even using the low-sodium soy sauce. Then I get a little bowl of water and I set up my assembly line of wonton wrappers. Work with just a few wrappers at a time, I use 4 because they are fickle little suckers and they will dry up on you in a hurry.

Once you have your little army lined up, dip your finger in the water and brush the edges of the wrapper, this will help them seal closed. Fill with rounded teaspoons of the meat mixture. Don't over stuff them, tempting as it may be, or you risk splitting your wrapper during folding...and that's not pretty. Fold over diagonally and press the edges together, trying to squish out any air bubbles that me be cozy-ing up with the filling. Set them on a plate once they're all stuffed.

Now we're going to get these puppies into the hot tub. Boil them about 5 minutes or so until the meat is cooked through - I always tend to cook them an extra minute just because no ones wants to bite into a raw dumpling, eeewy. Usually two batches works out well for me but you don't want to over crowd the pot. And there you have it, perfect little Asian style dumplings mmmmmm.

(they look a little brain-like don't they?! adorable!!)

Easy Asian Style Dumplings

3/4 lb ground chicken (or pork)
1 1/2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 or 2 greens onions, chopped (I usually just use 3-4 scallions, which are a bit smaller than the green onions, but adjust to your tastes)
wonton wrappers - I use Nasoya wrappers and tend to get about 20-25 dumplings out of this recipe, but I just go until I run out of the meat mixture so the amount may vary
optional: minced garlic or ginger

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine the chicken, soy sauce, oyster sauce and green onions until thoroughly combined.

Set the wrappers (4 at a time) on a dry surface and wipe the edges with a finger dipped in water. Place rounded teaspoon of the meat mixture in the center of each wrapper.

Fold each wrapper in half diagonally pressing the edges together to seal, making sure to press out any air bubbles. Set filled dumplings on a dry plate in a single layer.

Boil dumplings in batches of about 10 dumplings (don't over-crowd the water) until the meat is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove to serving plates and enjoy with a dipping sauce of your choice (mine is ranch dressing...hey don't knock it until you've tried it!).

Dumplings on Foodista