Friday, July 3, 2015

Egg Rolls with Liz

My friend Liz makes the most amazing egg rolls and brings them in to us at work. Today she came over and showed Jeannette and I how to make them. Now my belly is full and my freezer has egg rolls ready to be fried for dinners. Yum.

Liz cooks like I do. Trying to get her to give me an approximate measurement is like pulling teeth. However, I did get some generalizations.

Here's what we used for the filling:

3 lbs ground turkey
1 whole garlic bulb
1 package of Asian vermicelli noodles
about 1/2 a head of cabbage, chopped
2 shredded carrots
a 9-oz bottle of oyster sauce
4 eggs (Did you know there were eggs in egg rolls? I didn't. Seriously, I figured the wrappers were made with egg noodles or something.)
salt and pepper

We think the filling would also be delicious wrapped in cabbage or romaine leaves.
Next comes the wrapping part. According to Liz, this brand of spring roll wrappers is the best. We used about 75.

There are various techniques for wrapping up the egg rolls. Liz kindly showed us the one that 2 year old Asian children can do. I think there may have been an implied insult in there....
After rolling them, seal them with an egg wash. Thanks for the stellar action shots, Jeannette.



This is a good point to pull some out for the freezer to cook later.
Deep fry the ones you want to eat now. We used canola oil, but Liz recommends grapeseed oil as it doesn't leave a flavor residue. Buy it at the Asian food's a lot cheaper.

Then she made a spicy peanut sauce.
This consists of: peanut butter, cilantro, lemon juice, hot red peppers, and fish sauce. I won't even attempt to give measurements. Just do it to taste.
You would think that I would have taken some nice amazing shot of a few egg rolls on a plate with a delicate and attractive bowl of the peanut sauce. But that would have meant that they actually ever made it to the plate.
Nope, we just stood around and dipped them into the peanut sauce and kept going back.
Great fun, and intro to a food that was relatively easy, yet I never would have tried on my own. Also, Liz shared a bit about her Hmong culture and background. Since my only knowledge of that stems from Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino, essentially that means I know nothing.

Saturday, June 13, 2015


So many things have changed for me in the past couple of months. Mostly, my heart has been broken. It's healing, but slowly.

I'm finding that the hardest part for me to accept is (surprisingly to me) not the loss of the man with whom I thought I would spend the rest of my life, but the changes that I see in him that I don't fully understand. It's like he is a stranger to me now. I feel like I've lost him twice. That's the worst. Not that I want to be friends. Please, no. Seeing him on a regular basis would be like salt in the wound. However, I'm ok. Not great, yet, but ok. And I know I will be fine. If I were a bigger person, I would say, "I just want him to be happy." But I don't....not yet. I really hope he's miserable without my love. At least for a long while, dammit.

I do, however, like living on my own. My time, my schedule, my quiet, my décor, my menus, my remote. I am indulging in a bit of selfish me time.

Life for now is in a wonderful little apartment in downtown Everett with my two furry feline roommates. One more and I can cross into crazy cat lady status. On my bucket list has always been living for a couple of years in a city where I can walk to most everything. Downtown Everett doesn't quite fit that bill (I was thinking more of downtown Seattle....or Chicago), but I can get most of my groceries at the little organic co-op down the street, my office is only a little over a mile away, and there are plenty of restaurants and the library close by. I do need a hardware store, and haven't come up with a walk-able solution for that. But I did find a couple of antique shops today. I'll have to dive into those in the near future. And there is a gorgeous view from the rooftop.

Books are being read, music is being listened to, kitties are being snuggled, friends are being treasured.

For me, right now...I am content.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

quote of the day

Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do however virtuous can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love.
-Reinhold Niebuhr

Friday, March 20, 2015


My fitness goal for Summer 2015 is to run a half marathon in September. Specifically, the Skagit Flats half marathon. Notice the word "Flats". And it's just like it sounds....all flat. Flat is good.

Also, to clarify, when I use the word "run", what I really mean is "finish". I know that I will be jogging part and walking part...and I'm ok with that. The important thing is that I get myself into good enough shape to not embarrass myself, have an asthma attack, or cry. Especially no crying.

I took a gander at the stats from last year, and check out these times from the over 70 women's group.

Age 77: 2:40:19.2
Age 80: 2:44:27.8

Wait, what? The "slow" one in that age bracket was 79 years young and ran it in 3:27:05.9.  That's just under a 16 minute mile. I'm impressed.

Oh, it's on, 80-year-old....I am taking you down...


That's bad.

Do NOT take out any octogenarians during the race, Karen. Sheesh.

Sometimes I cannot take myself out in public.

Happy Spring

Every spring is the only spring — a perpetual astonishment.
~Ellis Peters

When a new season rolls around, it instantly becomes my favorite. In the Pacific Northwest, even though the calendar officially announces the arrival of spring today, we have been in it's grasp for weeks already.  It's been a very mild winter, with not a single snowfall of any measurable accumulation. Rather disappointing, as I love the crispness and cold of the snow. The mountains, as well, are low on their usual reserve, which will make for good early summer hiking, but poor water supply.

Since this is my first spring in the new rental, it is such a joy to see what plants and flowers are coming up in the beds. I have a little hydrangea bush, peonies, a whole boatload of lilies which will need to be culled this fall, and an assortment of other small plants for which I need to find names and care instructions.

This weekend my goal is to pull together some sort of springy/summery décor. Pictures to follow. There, that obligates me.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

I Had a Dream

Last night I had a dream with one scene so vivid that I took the time to write it down today. It would make a great jumping off point for a novel.

I have friends that are published authors and for years have thought that I would love to write a book. This prologue that I wrote this morning might just be my kick in the hiney.

Friday, February 20, 2015

My Valentines 2015

Joe was so proud of himself that he picked out the roses and the baby's breath (and vase!) and arranged them on his own. They really are beautiful. I had a few of these sparkly hearts hanging randomly around the house and the little paper hearts tucked into unexpected places.  

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Collecting...and an Acquisition

One of my favorite quotes is by William Morris: 
Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

I think for the most part I try to live by that. As I was eating lunch and thinking about what I was going to write, my first thought was to start with the caveat that I am not a collector.

But then I thought about the things that I like:
  • vintage Pyrex, especially bowls
  • ironstone platters and pitchers, etc
  • creamers
  • vintage linens
  • Universal pottery Laurella dishes
  • mid-century teak furniture
  • interesting crockery
and I discovered that I am, indeed, a collector.

My hesitancy in labeling myself as such is that I really desire to be less bound up by possessions and things and to truly only have useful items in my home; and I like to delude myself into thinking that I am not a hoarder.

Also, the minute you start collecting something, invariably one of your friends will see that rooster you have on your kitchen counter, finds rooster salt and pepper shakers at a store, and buy it for you because they love you and they just know that you love roosters. Then another friend sees a rooster metal sign and gives it to you for your birthday.  Now, instead of just having that one awesome rooster that you found at the thrift store for $2 and thought was adorable (and you could easily dispose of when you tired of it) have the beginnings of a whole tacky collection.

Anyway, the point of this is....well, there is no point, just some thinking aloud. On to the acquisition.

When my mom was visiting at Christmas, we headed to the town of Snohomish and spent a very nice hour in an antique mall while my wonderful stepdad napped patiently in the car. As we were shopping, we were talking about the amount of Franciscan dishes that we see in the area, usually in the same few patterns (a lot of Desert Rose and Apple Blossom), but that I never see the pattern that I grew up with, Bird 'N Hand. I think my parents may have received this as a wedding gift, as it was only made from 1968-72. Perhaps it wasn't terribly popular, I don't know and that's why we don't see it. I do like it's simplicity, white with a black line drawn trim.

I mentioned to Mom that I would like to find a usable piece to have. She has a platter, but it is white with black trim and no design. I have kept my eyes open for years for a useful bowl or something.

Not more than 10 minutes later, a beam of heavenly light shone from above and brought my eye to the last remaining Franciscan Bird 'N Hand pitcher in existence. That may be a slight exaggeration, but I doubt you can prove otherwise.

And so I now have a piece of my childhood dishes. But I will not be collecting them. Never mind that I immediately went home that same evening and found a creamer on Etsy. And then ran into another creamer (for $3!) at the Goodwill last week. But I am not collecting them.

I think I shall consider myself a conservator. Doesn't that sound better?

Too Unfocused to Write

In my mind, my thoughts flow through my fingers to the screen like water down a hillside.  My ideas, plots, and opinions are clear and focused, and oh, so articulate.

In my reality, something always distracts me. Logging on to the computer to post, or to compose my thoughts, I Facebook posts, Pinterest, emails, my favorite blogs.

My reading has suffered as well, with the distractions of electronics. I listen to books during my half-hour commute each way, but find that is not the same as delving through the pages on my own. And yes, I like the pages. Reading on the tablet doesn't have the same satisfaction for me, for whatever reason.

My new plan is to devote Thursday mornings (as I am off) to at least one blog post, on whatever subject happens to be on my mind, and to reading. Reading first. This morning I began the Edward Rutherfurd book, Russka. I loved his Princes of Ireland and this is another historical saga.

Discipline. Care. Time.

Or should I say, caring enough to discipline myself to take time.

I'm off to dig in to another chapter. No more computer until this evening.