Tag Archives: Chinese

Random Musings from My Snow Days…

Yesterday and today have been official snow days for us. It’s been beautiful! And we’re loving sitting in the new room we finished this fall and staring out the big windows at the squirrels and cardinals, bluebirds and tufted titmouses, gathering food and playing in the winter wonderland that is South Carolina right now. And they’re not the only ones playing; the neighborhood children have been sledding on any flat surface they can get their hands on. And since no one’s driving out there, they’re sledding right down the middle of the road, giggling and guffawing.

My Snow Day Spot

My Snow Day Spot

Yesterday, we started the day by making Eggs Benedict–Bryan’s practicing his Hollandaise Sauce for his mid-terms. I read An Introduction to the Chinese Mainland Soul. It’s a short book, but worth the read, and a fascinating cultural insight into the Asian culture and mindset.  Today I’m reading Teaching in a Distant Classroom: Crossing Borders for Global Transformation. And while I don’t plan on teaching overseas anytime soon, it’s always good to open your eyes to other cultures and how to relate to people who see the world differently than you might.

We made a batch of tomato soup and griddled sandwiches for supper last night. And I did take a slight break from my television fast yesterday, but only after having read for several hours and listening to music with Bryan for a while too.  In addition to the books, here are a few of the articles I’ve read recently:

  • Listening to Lies by FancyNonsense.com (Such a practical and convicting article; and it’s for everyone–married or not. It talks about listening to what people are saying–not what you think they’re saying; and repenting of being a “me monster”–in a culture that tells you to believe “It’s all about me.”
  • Friendship and Marriage by Jay Younts (“Romance that flows from friendship will have a sure foundation.” This article mentions Timothy Keller’s book, The Meaning of Marriage; and it reminds me of Gary Inrig’s Quality Friendship, a book that Bryan and I read while we were dating that talks about being friends first and then deciding to be friends forever.)
  • To Live or Die (a new hymn by Chris Anderson of ChurchWorksMedia.com)

Now, it’s back to reading for me. Enjoy these last few hours of glorious white powder, as I hear the sun is coming out today to melt it all away. And maybe read one of the articles listed above–you won’t regret it.

Journey Journal: Days 123-128

Day 123: Friday, May 3, 2013

Today was fun–surprise lunch with my aunt and uncle who are here for various friends’ and family’s graduations. Met up with Bryan at “China” for some beef and broccoli and egg rolls. It was nice to catch up. After work, we headed to a graduation party for our friend Josh who just finished a Masters in English. It was good to catch up with Josh, his girlfriend, other friends and former English professors.

Day 124: Saturday, May 4, 2013

Rainy day…and I mean RAINY! Omelets for breakfast, then a Starbucks and Lowe’s run. We kept lunch light. For dinner, we went over to our friend Carissa’s and made her some curry. It was quite possibly Bryan’s best curry yet! And he broiled some fresh broccoli and steamed some rice on the side. SO yummy! We will definitely have to do that again.

Day 125: Sunday, May 5, 2013

Happy 1st Anniversary to my brother and his wife! We had a good day of services at church and a special Cinco de Mayo dinner with our young adult group (or part of it)–homemade tacos with fresh cilantro and avocados, chips and salsa. I especially enjoyed the testimonies of some of our church family who are headed out on missions trips this summer. The one that particularly caught my attention was from Brooke. In the morning service, there was a baby dedication; during Brooke’s testimony, she talked about how she had been dedicated to the Lord on that very platform over 20 years before, and she talked about how the church had loved her and trained her and equipped her to go out. It was a beautiful testimony of God’s grace in His Body. After the evening service, Bryan and I had leftover tacos, and he taught me how to play a new card game.

Day 126: Monday, May 6, 2013

Hoops and Yoyo apparently know how I feel today–too much Monday, not enough coffee! After work, Bryan and I went for a walk and then went over to Carissa’s house again to hang out with her and her puppy Gideon. I love how the conversation always turns to the Gospel when she’s around! We chatted for an hour or so before heading home.

Day 127: Tuesday, May 7, 2013

After work and Goga, we made grilled salmon with pickled carrots and daikon, fresh cilantro, and homemade tartar sauce on an onion bun for dinner. For dessert, I mixed together some peaches, blackberries, and blueberries with fresh mint, a splash of balsamic vinegar, some agave nectar, and a dollop of coconut milk with cinnamon and nutmeg. Quite refreshing! 100% plant-based! And deliciously nutritious!

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Day 128: Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Work has been especially busy, but good things are happening–it’s exciting to watch God work on the frontlines of Gospel advance…and behind the scenes too! After work and Goga (which is officially changing its name to iVIVA), I cooked up some linguini noodles and melted in some leftover curry sauce, adding some extra spices and a tablespoon of peanut butter to give it a little more of a Thai taste. Then I topped it with some fresh cilantro. The side dish is sautéed green onions, orange pepper, carrots, and daikon root with some turmeric, Thai basil, and lime zest. It turned out pretty good! For dessert, I repeated last night’s fruit and coconut milk treat.

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All-Natural Chung’s in the Freezer Section

Here’s a new All-Natural Chinese option I found in the freezer section at Publix this week: Chung’s All-Natural! We tried the Teriyaki Chicken (it was okay, but had a few too many red peppers for me), the Vegetable Egg Rolls (very good!) and the Vegetable Pot Stickers (little dumplings that are also quite good). The freezer packages come with little individual sauce packets as well!

The Egg Rolls came in a box of four and each pair was wrapped together, and the Pot Stickers came with a resealable bag, so you could easily stretch it to make two meals (like we did). Better for you than take-out but every bit as fast. The Egg Rolls were the most time-consuming, and they only took 12 minutes in the oven (3 minutes if you use the microwave, but we don’t own one). Dinner is served!

This is the full box of Teriyaki Chicken, half box of Vegetable Egg Rolls and half box of Vegetable Pot Stickers (chopsticks not included; fortunately, we keep them on hand).

What To Do with Wonton Wrappers – 3 Ideas!

Use a food processor to shred cabbage and carrots. Combine with 1 tsp. Chinese five spice.

All Natural Wonton Wrappers (20 per pack)

Add 2 Tbsp. of cabbage filling in the center of each wrapper.

Fold 2 corners into center and brush with egg or egg white.

Fold up like an envelope, brush with egg again, then roll up

Egg rolls (aka cabbage dumplings)

Bring pot of water to soft boil and gently place egg rolls into water.

Cook till egg rolls are transluscent, then drain and pat dry.

Pan fry in 1 tsp. of garlic wok oil and 1 Tbsp. rice wine (mine didn't stay together the greatest, so I'll keep working on this, but they tasted great!)

Cabbage Dumplings (I did 12 of these and 4 each of the next two options)

Option 2: fill wonton wrappers with 1 Tbsp. fat free ricotta and 1 tsp. fig jam. Option 3: 1 Tbsp. of favorite jelly or jam. For both: brush with egg and twist top to close. Bake for 15 minutes at 350F.

Fig Jam Wontons and Ricotta Fig Wontons

Served with Pork Medallions (prepared in 1 tsp. garlic wok oil, 1 Tbsp. rice wine, and sprinkled with salt and pepper)

Side of Fresh Fruit and Hot Tea Service

Jordan said his mommy taught him to cross his eyes during the song "If You're Happy and You Know It..."

Micah making silly faces

My Twin Sis and Her Hubby - Shel & Alan

Chinese Lunch with Grace!

Grace is a new friend of mine. She started working at my office a little while ago. She’s getting her PhD from Clemson in Economics and grew up her first 22 years in China. Today she brought me a cookbook that has Chinese on the top and English on the bottom of each page! It has really pretty pictures too. So she’s letting me borrow it and I’m looking forward to going to the Asian Market and cooking some authentic Chinese dishes!

She took me and another friend Angie to a Chinese restaurant downtown where she knows the owner and gets more authentic dishes than the normal customer. The owner wasn’t there, but one of the workers was able to help us pick some items that were more authentic than Americanized. The first thing Grace ordered for us was Seaweed Salad. I would have never ordered this on my own, but it was absolutely delicious!!

Seaweed Salad: a sweet vinegary dressing with sesame, ginger, garlic, crushed red pepper, and woodear

Then Grace ordered the Garlic Beef, Angie got the Garlic Chicken and I got the Mongolian Beef. It was delicious! We all had spring rolls (the smaller ones without meat), and I got brown rice. And, of course, we ate with chopsticks!

Here’s a new ingredient to me: woodear! I saw it in the cookbook Grace gave me, but then I also noticed that it was in the seaweed salad (finely sliced) and in the Mongolian Beef dish (whole). It’s a type of fungus, a mushroom that grows on trees in China. It tastes like a mushroom too, and the texture is not quite as rubbery as some other mushrooms. Here’s what it looks like:

Woodear

Sliced Woodear: dried on right, soaked to reconstitute on left

Overall, I was very pleased with our lunch! And it’s always nice to make new friends!

Merry Christmas, Y’all (from December 26, 2009)

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas, celebrating our Saviour Jesus Christ!

This year, I think we started (or brought back) some old traditions that will stay around for a while. We went to the Christmas Eve service at our church, then came home and fried egg rolls and had bacon wrapped water chestnuts and bacon wrapped dates, fried rice, and special Japanese soft drinks. 🙂 I think this should be a new tradition, as it was MUCH fun!

The bacon wrapped dates recipe is in a previous post. And I can’t provide the fried rice recipe, as our friends brought that. As for the bacon wrapped water chestnuts, drain the water chestnuts, then wrap 1/3 piece of bacon around each one, securing with a toothpick. Soak in soy sauce for at least an hour (overnight is recommended). Then bake with the bacon wrapped dates at 350F for 20-25 minutes. You may have to turn it to broil the last few minutes to get the bacon to crisp up. Or you can try broiling it for 15 minutes, if you’re in a hurry (this is what my mom used to do).

I went to the Asian Market this time for the ingredients for my egg rolls. They have a large selection of egg roll wrappers and all things pertaining to Oriental Cuisine (at cheaper prices than your local grocery store). We tried the rice wrappers this time. They were not as frail, but they also did not stick together as well as the flour version. We had to use an egg wash instead of just water to make them hold together after wrapping (trust me, you don’t want them falling apart in the hot oil). Prep the filling ahead of time, so you don’t have to do it all when you get home, as it can take a while. After filling the egg rolls, gently place them into hot oil (I use the long handled metal slotted spoon to place them in and pull them out) and gently flip them until crisp and/or golden brown. Some fry up faster than others, so you have to keep an eye on them. Drain on paper towels. Serve with your favorite dipping sauces (soy sauce, duck sauce, plum sauce, chili sauce, or hot mustard).

Egg Roll Filling:
Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a wok or large skillet. Add 2 cloves of garlic, 1 tsp. of grated ginger root, 1 lb. ground turkey (or pork) and cook till meat is no longer pink. Meanwhile, chop finely or shred 5 shallots, 1 c. carrots, 1 1/2 c. cabbage, and 1/2 c. to 1 c. of water chestnuts (buy a large can at the Asian Market and use the rest for the bacon wraps above). When meat is brown, add veggies to heat along with 1/4 c. soy sauce, and let veggies soften. Remove from heat and set aside (in fridge if longer than 1 hour ahead of time). When ready, spoon 1 Tbsp. filling into each wrapper, fold in sides, then roll from bottom to top (away from you), securing with egg wash (whisk 1 egg and brush between layers of wrapper so they stick). You can wrap them straight on, so the edge is a straight line, or you can start with a diamond shape, so you have a V on the outside for a little extra aesthetic interest. Either way, they taste wonderful.

After dinner, we sat around and chatted for a while (letting the food settle) before turning on the traditional Alastair Sim’s version of The Christmas Carol. My husband, Bryan, talked me into putting the first, smaller batch of homemade cinnamon rolls into the oven (prepped for Christmas morning). And his brother convinced me we needed coffee to go with them. I told him my mom used to make cinnamon rolls on Christmas Eve to bake for Christmas morning’s breakfast. Bryan said that’s a Christmas tradition we should keep (though I think I’ll make a smaller batch next time).

We woke on Christmas morning, and had a wonderful breakfast of cinnamon rolls, hot tea, scrambled eggs with Havarti cheese, and turkey sausage links. Bryan read the Christmas story from chapter 2 of the Gospel of Luke, and his brother read “The Gift of Gifts” prayer from The Valley of Vision. We opened stockings, and prepared to go to my husband’s parents’ house for a Christmas feast and gift exchange.

Merry Christmas to all!