30 January 2009


I got my ticket in the mail for the Bellydance Superstars show in Park City on March 21st. It's my late birthday present to myself. Woohoo! I'm really excited to see these amazing ladies performing live.

29 January 2009

Wonton skin recipe

Since you asked, here's the recipe for the wonton skins I made. It is from the Joyce Chen Cookbook.

Wonton skins (recipe also used for egg roll skins and egg noodles)

2 c. flour
1 egg or egg white (I used the whole egg)
1/3 c. cold water

Beat the egg with water and add to flour. Stir thoroughly until well mixed. Knead for about 5 minutes into a stiff dough. Cover dough with a damp cloth and let set for at least 30 minutes.

This dough should be very stiff and after covering with a damp cloth the dough will be more smooth and softened a little. Since the dryness of the flour is influenced by the humidity of the weather, sometimes the flour has to be kept in a very dry place or it will not form together. You must then wet your hands, shaking off the excess water, and knead until the dough forms together. You may wet your hands for a second time but never over three times.

Put about 1 cup dry corn starch in a clean handkerchief or two layers of cheese cloth, tightening with string to flour the board and dough. [editor's note: dusting with cornstarch helped A LOT to keep the noodles from sticking to eachother.] If making noodles, divide the dough into four equal parts and form each into a round cake. Roll flat repeatedly until dough is very thin and about 12" in diameter. Flour both sides, then cut into about 1/16" wide strips. [editor: I used a KitchenAid pasta roller attachment, which worked great.]

To make egg roll and wonton skins, divide the dough into six pieces and follow the same procedure as for noodles. Roll out also to 12" in diameter which will make the skins thinner than the noodles. Cut the thin cake into four quadrants to make egg roll skins. Cut into nine even pieces for wonton skins.

Happy cooking!

28 January 2009


I really need to go skiing sometime this winter.

Why, you ask?

Well, because I haven't gone downhill skiing since moving to Utah. Ridiculous, I know.

I learned to downhill in junior high. Our ski club went up to the nearest mountain every Friday after school for night skiing. It was the big social activity with my friends - EVERYONE went. I skied nearly every week for three winters. Then high school came and most of my ski buddies were at the other high school. My high school didn't have a ski club. My ski trips dwindled down to 1-2 per winter, when a couple of friends and I would pile into my little Tercel with near-bare studded tires and slowly wind our way up the mountain for a day of fun. I missed it.

College on the California coast meant I went cross-country skiing twice while there, plus whenever I came home. The one time I went downhilling was my first road trip with J, when we skied Mammoth.

That's the last time I went downhill skiing. Mammoth Mountain, March 2003.

And here I am, living in the land of "the greatest snow on Earth". It says so on the freaking license plates, yet I have barely touched the snow. *Sigh* Anyone want to help me fix this?

27 January 2009

Bellydance show Feb. 21st

It's that time of year... time for another bellydance show! Mark your calendars. On Saturday, Feb. 21st, Shimmering Sands Bellydance is hosting Club Cairo. This event, modeled after Egyptian night clubs, features dinner and a live show. Dancers include Kinza, Mayyadah, Sumra, Shimmering Sands dancers (myself included) & Utah's kickass tribal troupe, Kashmir Dance Co.

But that's not all!

We'll have live music by Bazeen, and improv dancing by those three lovely ladies on the poster (Kinza, Sumra & Mayyadah). You can't beat dinner and a live show like this. Tickets are $25, and not for sale at the door. You can pick 'em up at the Persian Peacock (on Main across from the Tabernacle) or talk to me and I can hook you up.

Hope you can come - this is one of my favorite Logan events!

26 January 2009

Ooh, Chocolate...

The Chocolate Festival is coming! The Chocolate Festival is coming!

Saturday, February 7th is Logan's annual Valentine Chocolate Festival. The festival starts at 6:30pm at the Carousel Room of the Bullen Center (43 S. Main, next to the Eccles Theater). It's best to be there right at the start to get a chance at some of the professional chocolate masterpieces. $5 gets you in the door with a booklet of tickets to exchange for chocolate - but you can always buy more than one! Plus there are both a silent and live auction after voting is done, in which you can take home some of the delectable chocolate creations. Proceeds benefit the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, Logan chapter.

When else do you have the opportunity to mingle with awesome people while stuffing your face full of amazing, gall bladder-killing chocolatey goodness while supporting a good cause? (See that photo? That's an entry from a previous year. We're talking rooms FULL of chocolate like that. Still think you're busy that night?)

Loganites, let me know if you want to make a group outing of it. I'll be there.

Kung Hay Fatt Choy!

Our Chinese New Years Eve party was a success. We fed 14 people and had only a bit of leftovers. The company was great and the food was awesome.

This was the menu:
Cooked spinach salad with walnut dressing
Homemade potstickers with lamb filling
Seasoned black mushrooms
Wonton soup with wontons made from scratch
Char siu baos (steamed bbq pork buns)
Pork & shrimp lo mein (noodle dish)
Whole ocean trout, steamed
Sticky rice New Year cake
Almond cookies
Clementines and canned lychee fruit

These were all new recipes to us, so there was an element of discovery and experimentation in the process. The reviews were very positive. I doubt anyone went away hungry. Some even took home leftovers.

Homemade potstickers. Aren't they beautiful?

First course: spinach salad (the green stuff in the bowl) and seasoned mushrooms (in the brown bowl). The first batch of potstickers had already been devoured.

Remnants of the lo mein (red platter) and ocean trout (round platter). The ocean trout was amazingly moist and buttery tasting. Sooooo good.

I was having so much fun eating and cooking and socializing that I forgot to take pictures. So little photographic evidence of the feast exists (note the absence of wonton soup and bao pictures - we were all busy cooking or eating). Oh well. It was delicious. We'll definitely make these dishes again, though probably not all at once - it's a lot of work.

When you invite friends and then refuse to let them bring something for the meal, they instead bring you lovely, useful gifts. Like toilet paper. Thanks, Ellen! We'll think of you whenever... ok, maybe it's better that we don't. But thanks!

We wrapped up the evening by playing with Doodle's wooden play food (who'd have thought a bunch of biology nerds would love cutting apart pieces of wooden food attached with velcro?) and an awe-inspiring round of dish washing. To everyone who stayed and cleaned our kitchen: thank you. You are now our favorite people. And you're on the top of the invite list for next year. :-)

I'm off to enjoy the last bit of wonton soup and almond cookies.

Kung Hay Fatt Choy, everyone!
(that means Happy New Year)

24 January 2009

Chinese New Year prep, part 3

Char siu baos: success. Dee-licious! That's a bao above, but not a photo I took. The bao, and directions for making it, are here. Or more drool-worthy photos on Flickr here.

Almond cookies: success. Also delicious. I'll have pictures once our darn rechargeable batteries will stay charged. (grumble grumble)

This afternoon we'll be up to our ears in wontons and jiaozi (potstickers) if all goes well.

I'll share any recipes requested after this mad culinary spree is done. But now, back to the kitchen!

23 January 2009


In non-celebration-related news, I'm freaking out. I sent in registration for a bellydance festival months ago, hoping to do a solo. A few weeks ago I heard through a listserve that the festival was full, and that there was a huge waiting list. At that point I breathed a sigh of relief, assuming I was off the hook. Sure, my troupe will be dancing in that festival. But I didn't need to choreograph a solo. Until...

...today's mail came. In it, a letter announcing that I am scheduled to perform at the festival. Eek!

Wait, it gets better.

I was hoping for an early timeslot. Y'know, like around noon or so. The festival goes from 10 am - 10 pm, so I figured I'd be dancing in the morning and have a fairly small and inattentive audience.

Not so lucky. My dance time: 6:26 pm.

The "good" dancers, the ones people stick around to see, dance from around 4:30 - 10pm. AND I'M IN THAT TIMESLOT!

(cue expletives)

Guess I have to go figure out a choreography now. Aaaaaaaaaaah!!!!

Chinese New Year prep, part 2

Chinese barbecued pork: done. Remarkably easy.
Egg noodles from scratch: done. Easier than I thought, especially with a pasta roller setup.
Wonton wrappers: done. Ditto, as this recipe is the same as the egg noodle one. Two birds with one stone and all that jazz. Hooray!

J is in the kitchen right now working on char siu bows (or baos) - steamed barbecued pork buns. They're really more of a dim sum dish, but they're one of his favorites (and mine) so we're making them.

Tomorrow we wrap the wontons and make the potstickers (jiaozi) and almond cookies.

Then Sunday we'll steam lots of stuff, make rice, a cooked spinach salad, wonton soup, a noodle dish (lo mein) and sticky rice new years cakes (nian gao). Then we feast!

22 January 2009

Chinese New Year prep, part 1

J and I have decided to have a proper Chinese New Year celebration. Ok, so it'll be on Chinese New Years Eve (this Sunday), but still. We're going to make a bunch of yummy Chinese food, which we're both excited and kind of nervous about. Why nervous, you ask? Because neither of us have ever made any of these dishes before. And we'll be serving them to guests. So we'll see how it goes.

I think we've finally got almost all of the ingredients, so today I started prepping stuff.

Chinese barbecued pork - sliced and currently marinading in the fridge. We'll cook it either tonight or tomorrow.

Egg noodles/wonton wrappers - dough is resting, and will be flattened and sliced into noodles using our super awesome KitchenAid pasta roller/cutter setup shortly. If that works well, I'll make some more and cut it into wonton wrappers while Doodle is napping.

More updates as we make progress and learn what to do (or, probably more accurately, what not to do) when trying out some new Chinese dishes.

20 January 2009

Proud to be an American

It's a great day to be an American. I am happy and proud to have President Obama in office.

19 January 2009

Chinese New Year is coming...

...we're gearing up to "celebrate an ox-picious year".

(2009 is the Year of the Ox. Tee hee.)

Photo from Flickr.

16 January 2009

15 January 2009

Right now...

...I have a sleeping, nursing toddler on my lap, a full bladder, and a hankering for some secretly stashed cookies.

...I'm pondering Israel & Palestine, and that region's tumultuous history.

...I'm wondering why I'm so nervous to try out the darn button-holer.

...I'm marveling at how big Doodle is and how good she smells.

...I'm bellydancing in my head to the music (also in my head).

....I'm enjoying the warmth from our south-facing window.

...I'm grateful to live the flexible life of a grad student.

...I know I'm pretty darn lucky.

14 January 2009

Sewing projects

I've been sewing. For Xmas we always sew a bunch of gift bags, using festive fabric purchased post-holidays at super discounts. But the sewing has continued. Here are a few things I've made, some with J's help:

This was a birthday present for Doodle. She picked out the fabric, and I love it. J was vital in transferring the idea to fabric.

This purse, based on a purse my sister made for me years ago, is a present for a small friend whose birthday is coming up. I just need to get a snowflake button (found a lead on Freecycle, just need to call the person), and teach myself how to use the sewing machine's button holer. Anyone have tips on sewing button holes?

This is our infamous 60s couch. It's NINE feet long, and takes up most of one wall of the living room. The curtains were bugging me - their floral print next to the couch was just not working anymore.

One visit to the fabric store later, plus J suggesting we make it a "thermal curtain" = new, bright colored curtain with some fleece sewn to the other side to minimize draftiness from the window. It's bright. I really like it. Plus it goes with my tiger box (see the tiger pillow on the couch? That's the material. I'll post about the box soon).

I think that's it for my major projects right now. I need to get that darn button hole figured out, then the sewing machine will probably go back to the closet for a while. But it's nice to see the things I can do and make when I take the time.

13 January 2009

Threat to Wasatch Front air quality - urgent!

A new powerplant with preliminary approval threatens to harm the health and air quality of citizens of the Wasatch front. From the Utah Moms for Clean Air:

Consolidated Energy Co. has received preliminary approval to construct a power plant that burns petroleum coke and residual fuel oil next to the Holly Oil refinery in Woods Cross. This hazardous waste would be imported into Utah and burned making this "power plant" virtually equivalent to a new hazardous waste incinerator.

Petroleum coke is the dirtiest fossil fuel available, much dirtier than coal. It is the waste left over from refining oil. Compared to coal, combustion of petroleum coke emits higher concentrations of all the major components of air pollution. Every year this plant will release about one million pounds of pollution, including highly toxic chemicals and heavy metals that are especially dangerous to young children and the unborn. These toxic compounds are known to cause cancer, genetic damage and brain damage even in unimaginably small quantities.

There is a Division of Air Quality public hearing TONIGHT, Tuesday, January 13th at 6:30pm, where the public can voice their concern over this power plant. The meeting is at the DEQ Auditorium (Room 101), 168 N. 1950 W. in SLC.

If you can't make it to that, here are other ways to speak out about this power plant:

1. Submit your comments to the Division of Air Quality by Jan. 15, 2009.
Email: jjenks@utah.gov.

2. Write or call Gov. Huntsman and your state legislators stating your opposition to the petcoke plant.

Send correspondence to the Governor at
Governor John Huntsman, Jr.
Utah State Capitol Complex
350 North State Street, Suite 200
P. O. Box 142220
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-2220


3. Send an email or letter to the Mayor of West Bountiful: jbehunin@gmail.com
West Bountiful City Hall - 550 North 800 West, West Bountiful, Utah 84087
Even if you don’t live in West Bountiful, pollutants from this proposed plant will affect you if you live along the Wasatch Front.

4. Write a letter to the editor to one or more local newspaper(s): Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret News, Davis County Clipper

To help you write your letters, please refer to the talking points, background information, and a sample letter available here.


This is nasty stuff, folks. Please take a minute to write to the DAQ before Thursday, letting them know your concern and opposition to this power plant. Then pass this info (or even just the Utah Moms for Clean Air website) on to friends and family members who might be affected.

12 January 2009

Pumpkin poppy seed goodness

This is by no means a food blog. I'm far from a culinary expert. But if you're bored and have some pumpkin (or squash) and some poppy seeds lying around, you should try this recipe. It's yummy.

Pumpkin poppy seed muffins.

You can thank me later.

Update on the spotty kid

Spots appear to be gone. Today we're at seven days since her low-grade fever started, and only four days since the spots appeared. Either she got a really mild case of measles or Doodle has one kick ass immune system (yay breastfeeding!).

We'll keep her in quarantine one more day for good measure.

Thanks everyone for your concern for the bespotted Doodle!

11 January 2009

Penguin dance

Doodle the measle-laden toddler is doing well. In fact, she's in a good mood and not very spotty at all. However she has been in a very movie-watching mood. Specifically Mary Poppins. Not the whole film. Not even most of the film. She just wants to watch the penguin waiters dancing. As soon as that scene is done she wants "penguin dance" again. Penguin dance it is...

10 January 2009


Doodle has measles. So she's in quarantine. Joy.

08 January 2009


Doodle has gotten into Hide and Seek lately. We play a Marco Polo version of hide and seek that goes something like this:

Doodle, from hiding spot: "HIDING!"
Parent: "Where could Doodle be? Marco!"
Doodle: "Polo!"

...and so on, until we find her and she requests that we find her again. But last night she had a new variation. Trying to get us to come find her, she yelled "Marco!" I replied with Polo, but not enthusiastically or fast enough. This prompted Doodle to yell "MarcoMarcoMarcObama!"


One more example of Doodle's toddlerese: her request for lunch today was for a "cheesedia," aka a quesadilla. How's that for starting spanglish early?

04 January 2009

Holy domesticity, Batman!

I don't know what has gotten into me. Maybe it's the new year. Maybe it's the post-Christmas need to find places for newly acquired stuff. Maybe I've been replaced by a body snatcher. Whatever the explanation, I've been insanely domestic and productive (!) the past day and a half.

So far I have:
  • reorganized drawers and under the sink in the bathroom
  • cleaned the bathroom counter
  • sorted through unneeded silverware for donation
  • sorted and organized four shopping bags worth of fabric
  • organized the closet that the fabric goes in
  • packed away Xmas decorations (all three of them)
  • collapsed a bunch of boxes for recycling
  • done three loads of laundry, folded two of them
  • cleaned and vacuumed the living room
  • sewed a purse for a small friend's birthday in a few weeks*
  • patched a pair of pants that I ripped in June
  • sorted through my jewelry to purge some**
  • hand-sewed a felt carrot for Doodle because I felt like it (heh, I said felt twice!)
  • taken five shopping bags of stuff we don't need out to the car for donation.
And now I'm contemplating making a pie. Pecan. Followed by cutting up some beef to start jerky on the dehydrator. Then maybe I'll make bread.

Holy crap. Do I need an intervention?

* Note the lack of procrastination. This is major, people!
** A major feat. Doodle helped. I had some necklaces from junior high. Next goal: to maintain the space in my jewelry drawer, and not fill it with newly made necklaces just because.

03 January 2009

Joy, in shark form

This morning Doodle was pretending to be a shark, and was attacking us in bed. Only her version of a shark has the dorsal fin across the forehead, like you're shading your eyes. Plus she goes "Daaah, daaaah, daaah..." trying to imitate the "Jaws"-like ominous music J and I hum when we're pretending to be sharks in a pool. Then she pounces you and pretends to eat you, generally on the face.

It's so wonderful to wake up to a playful Doodle, or snuggly Doodle, or J and Doodle hiding under the covers (with Doodle saying "hiding!" as a prompt for me to find them).

These two bring me so much joy.