About Me

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I'm a Mother, Army wife, Nurse, and aspiring Chef / Baker depending on the day. I love my life as crazy as it is sometimes and wouldn't change a single thing.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Ode to my friend.

Dear friend,

You are there (sometimes) to teach me a new Jew word of the day.
You are bright and bubbly and always know what to say.

I love that you're an avid Facebooker,
Mainly because you manage to work in "You dirty pirate hooker"!

Dear friend don't nag me about my blog,
I'm boring and live the life of a pampered hog. ('sept I take showers :))

Before you get offended please know,
I do love you my dear Jew friend and hope to get you as a present for my birthday with a big red bow.

And I clearly suck at poetry.

The end.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Bringing a Whole New Meaning to Laziness!

Ok so it's not so much laziness per say as an odd quirk but:

Am I the only one that HATES going pee? (No comments on my facination with bodily functions)

It's just such a LONG process! And one I don't get anything out of.

I mean really .. when you spend time to bake a cake or cook a nice meal, it requires time and effort but at the end of it you get something supremely satisfying.

What do I get from peeing?? Part of me thinks it would be nice just to get a urostomy and call it a day...

Ok well a urostomy may be taking it a step too far but a catheter maybe? Then I'd only have to empty my bag every once in awhile.

*sigh* Off to go pee...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dogtags? Nope.. towels.

When you think of soldiers what do you automatically think of?

Uniforms, combat boots, tanks, and dogtags. Not me. I think of towels.

As I sat cross legged on the couch watching my secret obsession Flipping Out, I casually folded towels hardly paying attention to what I was doing.

I look down and I see "Weller XXXX" (the Xs were the last 4 of his social). It dawned on me at that moment I was living the Army lifestyle.

Of course I have been for the past 4 1/2 yrs and as with any other lifestyle, you get used to it. It becomes the norm and you find yourself not realizing you are any different than any number of Americans.

Tonight jolted me back into the knowledge that I live a uniquly special life that with all it's ups and downs, I'm grateful for.

My  husband leaves for long periods of time for training and deployments, not to mention the long hours at the office but you know what? I love it.

I love the feeling of accomplishment when I am able to handle car mishaps, AC repair, or even the excitement of plowing through each day as a mother of two very active kids.

I love  moving often. I am seeing so many new places, and people (not always a good thing :P).

I love seeing my husband salute the flag and tear up when I see him advance more and more in a career he believes in and loves.

I love the challenges this lifestyle has presented me with that I have conquered each and every time.

 And I love seeing my husband's name and last 4 of his social on my towels.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Red Cooked Chicken and Fried Rice

Today was a "kitchen day" so after making my orgasmic Apple Dumplings (yeah I said orgasmic) I dove into my International Recipe Cookbook and picked China!

I made Red Cooked Chicken and Fried Rice.

What was fun about this dish was finding the ingredients I needed. Checked Walmart and the Commisary and yet I kept coming up empty handed.

I always wondered why I saw so many Korean places outside of the posts we're stationed at. Well friends, I no longer wonder, I appreciate it!

I found an amazing little Oriental supermarket and a semi - English speaking employee to help me find the ingredients I lacked. This dish has some authentic Chinese ingredients that you won't find in your average grocery store so I'll star them and at the end of my list I'll elaborate on what to look for.

How to do it:

4 lbs bone - in, skin on chicken pieces (I used boneless skinless chicken breast and it worked perfectly fine. I'm not a big dark meat fan so I stick with the boob. Gotta love the boob!)
2 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP minced or grated fresh ginger
6 medium garlic cloves minced (it's about 2 TBSP worth)
1 TSP sichuan peppercorns*
3 star anise*
1/3 low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup dark soy sauce*
1/4 cup Chinese rice cooking wine or dry sherry (I used the dry sherry and it worked just fine)
3 TBSP toasted sesame oil*
3 TBSP light brown sugar

- Sichuan peppercorn have a purple-ish- red husk and shiny black seeds, if you can find them without the seeds that's best. If not you'll need to remove the seeds.

- Star anise is a dried plant thing that looks like a star with a stem and seeds (see below)

 - Dark soy sauce. Now you're probably thinking, "Why is soy sauce starred? I know what soy sauce is!"
It's starred because it turns out there are 2 kinds of soy sauce, light soy sauce which is what we are all used to, it's thinner, more saltier, and used as a condiment. The other is dark soy sauce. This one is thicker, a bit more sweet, and is used to cook with. I was not able to find this anywhere except at my groovy grocery store. This is what you should look for:

If you're lucky on the back it'll say "Sweet Sauce" but don't count on it :P

- The sesame oil is starred mainly because I couldn't find it at Walmart but I did find it at the commisary because they have a nice Oriental section so you may want to check there first.

Ok onto the directions:

1) Heat your olive oil in a pot on med/ high heat(I used a spaghetti pot since it's nice and deep)
2) Pat your chicken pieces dry before putting them in the pot. Let them brown on each side.. you don't need to worry about them being cooked all the way at this point. It takes about 5-8 minutes per side.Once they are browned remove them and put them on a plate.
3) Remove all of the olive oil except about 1 TBSP from the pot (or add more if need be) and add your ginger, garlic, sichuan peppercorns, and star anise. Cook over medium heat until it starts being fragrant (takes only about 30 seconds).
4) Stir in your chicken broth, soy sauce, sherry (or rice wine if you bought that), seasme oil, and brown sugar.
5) Put the chicken into the pot, bring it to a simmer and then cover it and put it on med / low heat.
6) If you're using the chicken breasts like I did you'll leave the chicken on one side simmering for 10 minutes, flip them over, and continue to simmer them on the other side for another 10 minutes. The chicken should be cooked all the way through (mine were).

Fried Rice:

I don't have an actual recipe for this one because I've just played around with different ways to make it and this is the way my family liked it best.

4 servings of white Minute Rice
light soy sauce
1/2 of a medium onion
2 carrots
3 eggs
olive oil

1) Cook your white rice according to the package directions (I always do it in the microwave because I'm lazy)
2) While waiting for the rice to cook, scramble the eggs and chop the onions and carrots.
3) Once the rice is finished, put it in a large skillet, douse the rice with olive oil, add in your veggies and eggs, and fry on med/ high heat.
4) Half way through the frying process add in soy sauce to get the brown color and finish frying the rice.
5) Let cool and add salt to taste.

I was honestly surprised at how good this was, not to mention not only did my husband love it but my kids ate it!! *insert shocked face here*

Don't be daunted by the list of ingrediants or the long directions list, in reality it honestly wasn't that hard to make at all!

A Pair of Apple Dumplings Baked in Cinnamon Sauce

Going by the title this could refer to my husband and I however:

This is one of the Apple Dumplings I made that was baked in Cinnamon Sauce.

Frankly this thing was a pain in my tuckus but it smells, looks, and tastes incredible!!

It's this amazing mixture of crunchy pastry, soft apples, sweetness, and the bite of cinnamon.

If you want to impress someone with a dessert, this is definatly the one you should go with!!

Geez, I sound like an infomercial.. oy gevalt.

Here's how you do it:

Make your pie crust:

5 TBSP soft unsalted butter
4 TBSP (1/4 cup) Crisco
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cake flour
1 TBSP sugar
1/4 TSP salt
3 TBSP ice water

1) Mix the Crisco and butter together until it's smooth and well blended.
2) Place the mixture into a piece of cling wrap making it into a stick (think stick of butter).
3) Freeze the mixture for at least 5 hours (it needs to be really hard because you're going to grate it into your flour mixture).
4) Once your Crisco / butter mixture is hardened, mix flour, sugar, and salt together in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
5) Grate the Crisco / butter stick onto a piece of wax paper. (If there is a small bit left just cut that into small little chucks).
6) Put the Crisco / butter mixture into the flour bowl and using a fork stir them together. Once it's been blended well enough, your mixture will be crumbly with the largest crumbs no larger than 1/4 inch in size.
7) Add the TBSPs of water until a soft dough forms and there is no loose flour left. Your dough should feel cold.
8) Gather the dough and kneed it gently on a flour coated surface 3 or 4 times. You may need to kneed a bit more until your dough is smooth but don't overwork it!
9) Wrap your dough in a piece of cling wrap and stick it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to set.

Cook your Cinnamon Sauce:

1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 TSP ground cinnamon
1 TBSP unsalted butter

- Put the water, sugar, cinnamon, and butter in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the sugar dissolves and the butter melts. Set the sauce aside to cool while you prepare your dumplings.

Make your Dumplings:

Pie Crust you previously made
2 Medium Apples (I used those bright red ones.. mmm) peeled, cored, and left whole
2 TSP unsalted butter
2 TSP sugar
1/8 TSP ground cinnamon (I used a bit more cinnamon than this because I love cinnamon)

1) Roll out your piecrust dough and cut two 8 inch squares. Transfer each square into a 9 inch pie pan that's been sprayed with cooking spray.
2) Cut a slice off the bottom of each apple so they sit flat and place the an apple in the center of one of the dough squares.
3) Put 1 TSP butter into the center of one of the apples and sprinkle with half of your cinnamon / sugar mixture.
4) Bring up the corners of the square to the top center of the apple and seal. (Pinch the seams to seal them but don't squish them against the apple)
5) If there are any breaks in your dough you can just press little pieces of dough into the breaks.
6) Use a fork to prick the pastry twice on top of each dumpling.
(I took the left over dough and cut out some little leaf designs and put them on top of the apples to make it look cute)


1) Preheat the oven to 400*
2) Bake for 15 minutes. At the end of the 15 minutes use a large spoon to baste the apples with the cinnamon sauce.
3) Bake for another 10 minutes. At the end of the 10  minutes baste the apples again.
4) Bake for a final 10  minutes.

The crust should be light brown with the seams slightly darker. Once they are out of the oven, baste them a final time with whatever cinnamon sauce is left in the pie pan. It'll be really thick and gooey at this point so it'll be slightly difficult.

Let them cool for 2-5 minutes and serve with whipped cream!