Life as a single Mother-Empty nest, Dating, Ex-husband, Best Friends, Full-time Employment, Unemployment, night school...How do these all relate to one another? Come with me:

Monday, February 23, 2009

Oscars, Chinese Food and Girls Night

Every spring I try to catch at least part of the Academy Awards, even if only for a few moments. I like to see short synopses of movies that I have yet to see, and that I may like to see. I also love to watch the telecast so that I might see some of my favorite actors and actresses receive recognition for stellar performances. Most years I am unable to choose a favorite movie to cheer for. Although I was only able to get out to see one of the films nominated for Best picture this year, The Changeling starring Angelina Jolie. But the other films nominated look wonderful and I will definitely be adding them all to my Netflix queue. I don't even think MILK was shown in this conservative state. Flashbacks to Broke back mountain (2005) (small shout out to Heath ledger much too young a life to be taken- for any reason)

In true form, last night, we (my girls and I) decided to put together our own intimate Oscar party, just us girls. My latest issue of Cosmo (can I say that?) had a couple of tasty looking, Asian inspired recipes (which I changed up a bit more to my liking). More about the menu (and recipes) at the end of this post. We cooked up in the kitchen together while watching the Barbara Walters pre-Oscar interviews, and later settled in on some large pillows using the coffee table as our low dinner table and eating a dinner worthy of the Oscars. Yum.

The Academy Awards were great! Hugh Jackman is such a hottie, but seriously he can't carry a tune to save his life. But that is OK because most of his musical numbers on the AA's had a bit of humorous touch to them anyway. We watched the first half-hour of the awards, and a few of the entertainment numbers, then began to feel a growing boredom of the long thank-yous.

But lucky for us, on another channel, at the same night and time as the Oscars, was one of my favorite reality shows. The Amazing Race.
So, during each of the commercials, we began a bit of remote control surfing. I know- we have mental issues in this family....I love The Amazing Race and watching the differences of each of the teams and how they interact with or not with the other teams. Every season I am pulled in by the strength of love between team members, balanced with the intensity getting on each others last nerve. And the physical, intellectual and emotional strength they must endure with these partners. Many years as a single mother, living through a divorce and attempting to blend a mixed family, I have known challenges of living with another person with differing points of view and ideas. It is a challenge on some days and most rewarding in others. However, doing this while racing other teams, while running into cultural, physical and mind-blowing challenging obstacles and being with that person 24-7 without an outlet, without ability to 'leave the room' so to speak, cannot be easy. No matter how much you love your teammate, it has to get tough.
Oh! But I have gotten a bit off-topic. Back to our Sunday night party.
We continued to rally between the two shows, Cheering on the teams from Amazing race while catching some wonderful performances from Queen Latifah, Beyonce, and many other acts between awards. Changing channels, and keeping up on two separate shows was a bit crazy but a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do. My daughters were not at all annoyed by my strange habit of dual-viewing, rather, they were reminding me, when I was distracted, to turn it back to see if Linda had found her way back onto the trail... (on the race) Poor Linda, and Steve was so supportive of her but also so emotional, they really weren't ready to be sent home.

It was all-in-all a great night, good food- TWO great shows and my beautiful babies at my side. We had so much fun! And I didn't even get the least bit sore sitting my 39 yr old body on a floor pillow for a couple hours. Only drawback? I ate so much I will have to figure out some new exercises this week.
Here is the great food we had to eat:

Pot sticker Dumplings with Ginger-Lemon Dipping Sauce-
I created this recipe on the fly (using the cosmo recipe of course). I began by browning a pound of ground beef. (Ground chicken or pork might have been better for this recipe but I didnt have any on hand).

Finely chop some button mushrooms, and water
chestnuts. Add them to the beef.

When the meat is warm, add some chopped green onions.

Add a teaspoon of chopped ginger

and a teaspoon of oyster sauce (found in the Asian food aisle of most markets).

Stir well and remove from heat.

Lay a stack of approximately eight egg roll
wraps onto cutting board and slice in two parts diagonally creating two triangular pieces from each. (sorry didnt take pictures here)
Using a basting brush, swipe outer edge of the wrap with cool water to moisten.
Place one teaspoon of meat mixture onto center of wrap.
Fold one of the longer corners over onto the other longer corner forming a smaller triangle covering the filling. Pinch tightly all edges making sure there are no open sections.
Set onto plate or cookie sheet separating to avoid sticking. I am sure you could dust them with a bit of cornstarch or flour to help with stickiness.
Heat ( I used Olive) oil on medium heat in a shallow skillet until it begins to sizzle. Add dumplings to the oil. Frying takes only a few seconds on each side. Less time is needed the more you cook as the oil gets used up and heats more. Allow to drain on paper towels.

Ginger -Lemon Dipping Sauce-
In a bowl combine the following: 3T Soy Sauce, 2T lemon juice, 1t. fresh ginger- grated, 1T. Sesame Oil, and 1 scallion thinly sliced. Stir and pour into a shallow dipping bowl.


Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps-
(Bonus! You get to eat these with your hands, unless you are like my baby and love chopsticks so much that you balance a wrap between the sticks).
Cut two boneless- skinless chicken breasts into small cubes, fry in skillet with 2 T olive oil until no longer pink. While the meat is browning,
Ccombine one packet of stir-fry seasoning, 2T soy sauce, 2T lemon juice, and 1t. sugar in a small bowl. Add 1/2 yellow and 1/2 red pepper-diced, 1/4 c. water chestnuts-diced, 2T scallions- thinly sliced, and a pinch of red pepper flakes to the meat. Cook 5 minutes on medium heat until peppers are tender. Stirring often. Stir in seasoning mix. Until meat is coated.
Continue cooking until liquid is absorbed.
To serve, wrap chicken mixture with individual leaves of romaine lettuce, garnish with bean sprouts, cilantro, mint or peanuts to your individual taste.

I didn't get pictures of the finished products... we were starving! here is a picture of my girls eating it. you can see the dumplings and the lettuce boats.

Although the wraps are generally low-cal, I think I ate enough of them and the less lo-cal deep fried dumplings to triple a single serving. But it was so worth it!

And congrats to Sean Penn and Kate Winslet!!!

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