Sunday, January 20, 2008

Nothing exciting to Report

We had a great Christmas season but things are deffinatly slowing down. Looking for a job has become a major priority for Mike. Annabelle is busy learning her alphabet and singing almost ALL the time! The novelty of snow is starting to wear off as temperatures drop but I need to get a few more sledding days in with Annabelle before I say that I am sick of it.

Mike went to California earlier this week to interview for a job making . . . cheese! He has had another interview here in Utah with a different company. Of course we'll let you know when we make a final decision - probably not for a while yet.

I am excited to announce that for the first time since probably 1999 I finished reading a novel that wasn't an assignment! The book club in my ward is reading "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini. I had heard about the book before and it took a lot of self-control to read the book in a week. I think a 24 hour period would have been my first choice. I had forgotten how hard it can be to put a good book down! I am not necissarily reccommending the book because there were a few parts that made me cry a little more than I'd like to admit - but if sad and even haunting literature doesn't affect you then maybe you can handle reading it :) I'm not sure what book I will read next and I am open to suggestions so long as the book isn't so intense that I won't be able to sleep at night because I am so worried about the characters. I'm a little hypersensitive I guess.

Monday, January 7, 2008

New Recipes for a New Year

Quite a while ago my friend Nicole decided she would post a dinner recipe each month with a picture and invited us (all her readers) to do the same and the result would then be something of a recipe swap. I had every intention of doing so but with Mike working nights last semester I very rarely made a dinner recipe that was worth sharing. BUT now Mike is actually home for dinner! To help me get in to the habit of making dinner again I have made it a part of my New Year's Resolutions AND to top it all of my wonderful mother-in-law gave me a new cook book.

I am always hesitant to try a recipe with ingredients that I rarely buy or even worse don't even know what they are but I am working to get over that and the first evidence of this is from my new cook book "Rachael Ray: Just in time!" This recipe is for Mu Shu Stoup (I don't know how a stoup differs from a soup or a stew but that is what it is called). Rachael says that she made up this recipe to imitate Chinese mu shu which she likes to eat wrapped in soft pancakes things. It is healthy and by dropping a few pot stickers into the bowl you kind of get the idea of the whole pancake thing.

What you need:

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 lb. protein (medium shrimp peeled and deveined or chicken cutlets thinly sliced or pork loin chops thinly sliced) I used the chicken breast from my freezer

1/2 lb. shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (I defiantly didn't include the 'shrooms)

1 cup shredded carrots (shredding on a cheese grater worked for me)

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 small head of Savoy cabbage, cored and shredded (my grocery store didn't carry this but regular ol' green cabbage worked just fine)

1 (13 oz.) package pot stickers from the frozen food aisle (I found them in the produce section)

6 scallions (aka green onion), whites and greens cut into 1 inch pieces on an angle

1/3 cup tamari (aged soy sauce)

Black pepper

2 quarts (8 cups) chicken stock

2 eggs, beaten

Rachael Ray claims you can make this in 30 minutes. I guess it is possible if you are really fast, don't have a toddler helping or you have already cut and prepped your ingredients.


In a big pot heat 2 tbs of the veg. oil over medium-high heat. At the meat and cook. (Shrimp until it is pink = 2 or 3 min & the chicken or pork until lightly browned = 4 to 5 min). Add the mushrooms, carrots, and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, then add the cabbage and cook until it is wilted, 5 minutes.

While the cabbage cooks, heat the other 2 tbs of veg. oil in a large skillet and arrange the pot stickers in it. Add 2/3 cup of water and turn the heat to med-high. Cook for 8 minutes to evaporate the water, then let the pot stickers brown for another minute.

While the pot stickers cook, add the scallions, tamari, and some black pepper to the soup pot and stir to combine, Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, stir in the beaten eggs, and cook, stirring, until they are set and mixed throughout the stoup.

Place a few pot stickers in the bottom of each soup bowl and top with the hot stoup.

My notes: This soup is super yummy but is not very filling so if you serve it alone expect each person to have seconds or serve it as a starter. This recipe would feed 4 hungry adults or would be a great starter for about 8. The pot stickers are sooo yummy! I think I will be dissapointed with soup crackers for the rest of my life. I thought the egg into the soup would be gross BUT it cooks right away, so don't worry you won't be eating raw egg.

If you try this let me know what you think - and of course if you have a great dinner recipe that you want to share let me know about it.