Friday, May 24, 2013

Last summer

Just a little flashback to last summer:  Karen took some portraits of me and Laramie and I think they turned out so good. So here's a sample of some of my favorite shots...

She is honing her photography skills and loves using a variety of cameras. Some of these shots were taken with a vintage Olympus camera that was given to her, hence a slightly grainy quality.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


We have been wanting to go early-season camping, and in Montana, the beginning of May would definitely be considered early season! We brought warm clothes and extra blankets, but let me tell you, the tent was very cold at night. Basically, we froze. But we survived! And we had fun.

It was a family camping trip, so my brother and his wife and their two munchkins camped with us, as well as my parents, who were here for the week visiting.

The weekend included fishing, exploring with the girls, reading, a campfire (and marshmallows, of course!), and a friendly competition to start a fire the old school way, with a couple of sticks and some rope. After hours of trying, the guys were surely warmed up, though not with any flames. But it was entertaining! And let's just say that nothing bonds a family like sharing a toothbrush. Not just two people, or even three, but four people using the same toothbrush, because three of them conveniently forgot theirs. That is true family love! (And now I'm off to buy a new toothbrush.)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Vegetable gyoza with spicy dipping sauce

I'm going to be totally honest here:  Before I made these, I had never eaten gyoza in my life.  In fact, I had little to no idea what they were.  But I happened upon a recipe for gyoza as I was aimlessly perusing Pinterest one day, and right away their cute little dumpling appearance had me sold.  I like potstickers, (which are apparently kind of the same thing?) and these looked potsticker-ish, and so I kept thinking of them, basically daily, for a couple of weeks before I broke down and bought the ingredients to make them (does this have something to do with being pregnant? A gyoza craving.).  As it so happens, they are both fairly simple to make and totally scrumptious to eat; I was actually very disappointed that we had to share them with Kelly and Laramie, because I could've eaten much more!
Disclaimer: I'm not even going to claim that these are authentic.  I'm pretty sure they're not, especially as Kelly and I were too lazy to make our own wrappers and used wonton wrappers instead.  But, authentic or not, they're pretty tasty.  And as an added bonus, they're cute to look at!

Vegetable Gyoza with Spicy Dipping Sauce 
  • Sauce:
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Filling:
  • 4 cups diced shiitake mushroom caps (about 3/4 pound)
  • 4 cups finely chopped green cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced 
  • Preparation:
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
  • Store-bought wonton wrappers
    1. To prepare sauce, combine first 4 ingredients; set aside.
    2. To prepare filling, heat a large non-stick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook 3 minutes or until moisture evaporates, stirring frequently. Add cabbage; cook 3 minutes or until softened, stirring frequently. Stir in 2 tablespoons green onions and next 6 ingredients (2 tablespoons green onions through garlic); simmer 2 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside.
    3. Working with 1 wrapper at a time, spoon 2 teaspoons mushroom mixture into center of wrapper. Wet finger with water, moistening the edges of the wonton wrapper, then fold in half diagonally, pressing to seal all the edges. Bring the two points of the triangle together, sealing them with more water (they will now remind you of a miniature chicken, with the legs twisted behind it... or maybe that's just me.) Place dumplings on a large baking sheet dusted with flour; cover loosely with towel to prevent drying.
    4. Heat peanut oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add dumplings; cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until browned. Then add approximately 1/2 cup of water, cover and steam dumplings until all water has evaporated. Serve sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds and chopped green onions, if desired, with spicy dipping sauce on side.
    Recipe adapted from Cooking Light.