Monday, 2 March 2015

Pot-stickers Three Ways


My friend Alyssa and I decided that it would be fun to make pot-stickers with various fillings for dinner. I had never made pot-stickers before but recently made Crab Rangoon with success. I found that making the pot-stickers was even easier and well worth the time. 

We chose three combinations
1. Sweet chili sauce with ground chicken, red bell pepper, cabbage, ginger and garlic
2. Ground pork with green onions, cabbage, ginger, and garlic
3. Bell pepper, cabbage, onion, mushrooms, broccoli, ginger, and garlic

What you will need

3 tbsp sweet chili sauce
1/2 lb. ground chicken
1/2 lb ground pork
1 1/2 cups of mushrooms chopped fine
1 small onion chopped fine
2 green onions chopped fine
1 red or orange bell pepper chopped fine
1 2 inch piece of ginger finely grated
3 garlic cloves minced
1/2 head of cabbage chopped fine
1/2 crown of broccoli chopped fine
2 packs of wonton wrappers
Vegetable oil for sautéing


Dipping sauce

1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar




 Instructions

  1. Chop all veggies fine. Grate ginger and mince garlic. 
  2. Place chili sauce, chicken, half the red bell pepper, 1 tbsp ginger, 1 minced garlic clove, and 1/3 the cabbage in a bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Place pork, 1 finely chopped green onion, 1/3 the cabbage, 1 tbsp grated ginger, and 1 garlic clove in a bowl and stir to combine. 
  4. Place remaining bell pepper, cabbage, onion, mushrooms, ginger, and garlic in a bowl and stir to combine.
  5. Lay out wonton wrappers on a large cutting board in batches of 10. Start with veggie mixture and place a tbsp of the mixture on each wonton wrapper. Have a small dish of water next to you. Wet a silicone basting brush and coat the edges of each wrapper. Coat only one at a time and seal into a rectangle, triangle, or bring together into a little pouch. We chose to folded each variety differently so as to distinguish the fillings. 
  6. Once you have sealed all the veggie pot-stickers, place on a platter and set aside. Then repeat step 5 for the following 2 varieties. 
  7. Heat oil in a medium saucepan and begin sauteing in small batches of 6 to 8 at a time. Saute until golden on each side. Probably about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. 
  8. combine all dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together. 
  9. Serve on a large platter and enjoy!

There are endless combinations you can use for the filling and these make a great appetizer or even side dish. 

From the Harvest Table,
Amber

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Throw a Tiki Party in the Winter!




My friend Sylvia and I decided it would be fun to throw a Tiki inspired party during the winter to remind us of the beautiful sunny summer days ahead. Plus let's face it, it may be the closest we get to a beach for quite a while. Sylvia just started up her own full service florals business called Snapdragon Studio. Midwest Girls Society partnered with Snapdragon Studios to create a tiki themed  DIY floral workshop with friends and family. If you love what you see and would like to invite Snapdragon to put on one of these hands on workshops for you and a group please contact us at snapdragonstl.com. Plus if your looking for full service flowers for your upcoming event and live in the St. Louis area please contact us for a consultation. We would love to work with you! Here are some highlights from the party.






We provided each party guest with the tools, flowers, and containers to create their very own beautiful arrangements to take home with them. Sylvia provided the group with information on each flower available as well as some great tips and techniques for creating your own unique arrangement. It was so much fun to see how varied each ladies approach was. What a great way to spend an afternoon! 


No event would have been complete without some great cocktails and appetizers as well. I had always been intrigued by the retro era of the Tiki bar. Some of the most delicious cocktails were created out of this era and have become classics that remain relevant in the world of craft cocktails today. When choosing the menu we wanted to keep it simple with respect to the original tiki era while giving it a modern spin. 


Cocktail Menu

The classic Hurricane
Double Rum Spice (a Midwest Girl's original)

Appetizers

Rum and Coconut Glazed Grilled Shrimp
Crab Rangoon with Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce


Traditional Hurricane

Double Rum Spice


If you have a small bar, bakers rack, or buffet you can create a fun and tropical themed bar to set the mood for your party. Decorating the bar with fresh fruit is an economical way to create a tropical tiki theme without going way over budget. Also fresh flowers or air plants are also a nice touch along with any bar ware you have. I am really into trays and found this fun and tropical bamboo tray that I saved from years ago. Be creative and use things you have that can translate into a tropical theme. 



Recipes

The Classic Hurricane

2 oz light rum
2 oz dark rum
2 oz passion fruit juice
1 oz orange juice
Juice of half a lime
1 tbsp simple syrup
1 tbsp grenadine
Orange slice and cherry for garnish 

Instructions
  1. Squeeze lime juice into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  2. pour remaining ingredients into cocktail shaker excluding the garnishes.
  3. Strain into an iced filled fun retro tall glass, or a hurricane glass if you have one. 
  4. Garnish with a cherry and orange slice.
  5. Enjoy!
recipe curtousey of cocktails.about.com

Double Rum Spice  (A Midwest Girls original recipe) 

Lime juice of 1 lime wedge
4 oz dark rum
2 oz pear juice
2 oz home made cinnamon simple syrup
2-4 oz club soda 
1 lime wedge or other fruit for garnish 

Instructions

  1. Fill tall glass with ice, squeeze lime into glass.
  2. Fill glass with remaining ingredients in the order they are listed above. Stir and garnish with a lime wedge or other fruit of choice.
  3. Enjoy! 

Making Cinnamon Simple Syrup (A Midwest Girls original recipe)

  1. Heat 1 cup of water over high heat with 2 cinnamon sticks until boiling.
  2. Add in 2 cups of brown sugar, stirring constantly, removing from heat immediately and let set up. 
  3. Pour into a jar once cool. You now have a great syrup to use in cocktails! 

Crab Rangoon

8 oz fresh or canned crab meat
8 oz cream cheese softened
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp soy sauce 
1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 green onion minced
freshly ground pepper to taste
24 store-bought wonton wrappers (I used square ones)
1 tbsp cornstarch 
2 tbsp water
1 egg yolk
vegetable oil for frying (make sure to have two large bottles)

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl combine all ingredients up to the wonton wrappers, blending to a paste. Taste for seasoning and set aside.
  2. Create wonton sealing mixture by dissolving the cornstarch in the water and add egg yolk, stirring until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Place a heaping tsp on each wonton wrapper. Dip your finger in the sealing mixture and lightly paint the borders of the wonton wrapper. 
  4. Enclose the mixture in the wrapper by folding over the the edges of the wrapper to create a triangle or crescent. I additional brought the points of the triangle together sealing with the mixture as well. Make sure to press down with finger tips to ensure the edges are well sealed. Repeat with the remaining 23 wrappers. 
  5. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Heat oil in a large heavy bottom pot until it reaches 350 degrees F, using a candy or frying thermometer. Work in batches and fry the wontons until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Drain the wontons on paper towels and keep warm in the oven while finishing the remaining batches. 
  6. Serve with Sweet chili dipping sauce (available at Trader Joe's and most grocery stores in the Asian food section)

Coconut Rum Glazed Shrimp 

2 lbs large shrimp   
1 can coconut milk
2 tbsp lime juice 
1/2 cup light brown sugar packed
1/4 cup dark spiced rum                                                       


Instructions


  1. In a large bowl, combine the coconut milk, brown sugar, rum, and lime juice. Whisk until sugar is dissolved. Set aside half of mixture for the glaze. Add shrimp to remaining mixture still in the bowl. Gently coat all shrimp with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. While shrimp is marinating, make your glaze by placing reserved mixture in a small saucepan over low-medium heat. Bring to a simmer and while stirring constantly, allow mixture to thicken slightly, reduced to about ½ - ⅓ cup. Remove immediately from heat.
  3. Remove shrimp from refrigerator and thread onto metal skewers or wooden skewers that have been soaked in water. Discard any remaining marinade. Grill shrimp over medium heat, about 2 minutes per side or until shrimp have turned pink. Remove from grill and brush shrimp with glaze. Turn skewers over and brush the other side with glaze. (I used a grill pan since it was so cold outside and this worked nicely)
  4. Enjoy!
recipe courtesy of Home Cooking Memories





We hope you are inspired to try out these fun recipes and throw your own tiki inspired party! 

Cheers from MWGS and Snapdragon Studios!




Wednesday, 24 December 2014

In the Kitchen: Holiday Peanut Clusters


Since I was a little girl I helped my mom make peanut clusters. I love making these delicious sweet and salty treats and everyone I know loves eating them! They are no bake and very budget friendly. In fact there are a total of three ingredients! Yes that's right, just three ingredients. So when you are feeling overwhelmed about all the baking and cooking you need to do this holiday season whip these little gems up in no time at all. 

What you need 
1 can of Spanish peanuts (do not make these with regular peanuts, the shells and salt on Spanish peanuts is what makes this treat so tasty. 
1 bag of semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips 
5 squares of almond bark, vanilla flavored




Instructions

  1. Place chocolate and almond bark in a large microwaveable bowl and heat in microwave for 2 minute intervals, stirring with a spatula in between heating. 
  2. Once mixture is completely heated and well mixed add in peanuts and stir to combine.
  3. On your kitchen table lay out paper bags that you cut open or parchment paper, taping down the edges.
  4. Using a spoon scoop small balls of the mixture onto the paper bags. Place 1 inch apart. Allow clusters to dry before removing from paper. I usually let them dry overnight. 
You can make these treats up to two weeks in advance and store in airtight containers. I usually make them a week in advance. They taste especially good when refrigerated. I hope you will try this tried and true family recipe of mine this holiday season. 

From the Harvest Table
Happy Holidays!
Amber 







Monday, 22 December 2014

In the Mirror: December Ipsy bag

Hey, Hey, ladies! It's crazy how fast this month went by!! I hope you're all done with your Christmas shopping! 3 days away!! Still need a stocking stuffer?  Maybe one of these goodies from December's ipsy bag would be the perfect thing! If you're still unsure if $10 a month is worth it... Check out my previous months reviews here and here...
NYX Butter Lip Balm - Overall a decent balm, no frills... It goes on smooth and keeps your pout moisturized. The color I received is fuschia. A$4 it's a good little throw in every pocket, because I don't mind I lose a few kind of  lip balm...lol
Tarte Lights Camera Lashes - I've always been curious about this brand so I'm glad I got to try it! It went on nice and thick but not clumpy. It definitely added volume and length. It came off easily and my lashes didn't feel dry or crunchy. At $20 I would purchase this, 
Bumble and Bumble Repair Blow Dry - Love this! First off, I love Bumble and Bumble products! Since I have naturally curly hair, a blow-out serum is very necessary. It's a heat protectant and uv protectant in 1, every girl needs this!  $30 may seem steep but remember a little goes a long way and your hair needs it! 
Cailyn Eye Polish - Isn't this is the most interesting packaging for an eyeshadow? I thought it was nail polish, lol... However, it's actually quite clever. Have you ever had a loose mineral eyeshadow and it goes everywhere? This doesn't! It stays on the little sponge when you lift it out and goes liberally on your lid with little pressure... I really like my shade in 'Goddess'. I wish the packaging was a bit smaller but at $15 I might re-purchase.
 Stay Merry!!

In the Mirror

rae xo

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Inspiration: Gift wrapping



7 Days!!
Till Christmas!

We wanted to bring you another gift wrapping inspiration. Find our other gift wrapping diy here. This is so simple, yet festive and fun... We purchased brown paper wrapping and rope jute at the dollar store. The greenery is cut from leftover sprigs from our Winter Wreath and gold twine from the craft store. Be creative and make it your own!


Be happy and merry!

rae & amber xo

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

In the Kitchen: Cranberry Salad


I love serving this tart and refreshing cranberry salad for the holidays. Plus it's a great dish to make ahead of time. I grew up enjoying this wonderful recipe from my grandma. I can't imagine a holiday without it! It takes a bit of time but is well worth it. 

What you need:

1 lb. fresh cranberries 
2 apples
2 oranges
1  to 1 1/2 cups sugar
2 packs of cherry jello
1 cup of hot water
3/4 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
1 small can crushed pineapple 
3/4 cup nuts ( I use pecans but walnuts are nice too)

Instructions:

  1. Grind cranberries using a food processor if possible. You can also chop by hand but I recommend a food processor. 
  2. Next grind apples and oranges in a food processor.
  3. Add sugar to all the fruit in a large bowl and stir. Set aside in your refrigerator for 3 hours.
  4. Combine 2 packs of cherry jello with 1 cup of hot water. Add 
  5. 3/4 cup unsweetened pineapple juice, 3/4 cup of nuts, and cranberry mixture. Chill for at least 6 hours so it sets up. I make this dish a day in advance so it is well set. 



I hope you enjoy making this recipe and sharing it with your family and friends this holiday season.
From the Harvest Table,
Amber 




Friday, 12 December 2014

In the Home: Holiday Decorating!


I love decorating for the holidays! I tried to use what I had while creating new looks for my home. I purchased a large glass bubbled bowl, featured above, from a fun and affordable antique store and piled in vintage ornaments I already had with a few new ones too. If you are concerned about these getting broken with kids and pets in the house you can always place it up higher than your coffee table or use plastic ornaments instead. Takes just minutes to put together!




I wanted a festive focal point that was easily removable for my dining table. This mirrored tray is a piece that I use throughout the year to create different looks for my home. I placed a snowflake tree topper, a large candle, votive candle holders, paper garland, a vintage glass santa, a vintage red decanter (family heirloom), and a candle holder filled with new and old ornaments to the tray to make for a really bright and festive center piece! Mixing and matching what you have makes for an interesting center piece that is unique each and every year for the holidays. 


My mom gave me this cute little sleigh you see above. I added green holiday foliage stems from Michael's Craft store, pine cones, a woodland squirrel, a bird's nest, and some white Christmas lights to create this holiday look. 




The beautiful Buffet that my father-in-law built for us this past year has served as a great way to decorate for the holidays, as seen above with sprigs of holly and pine branches, pine cones, and two glittered reindeer! 




The vintage bar cart at our house also came from a cheap antique store. If you find one of these for $50 buy it! They are a hot ticket item right now and they sell for hundreds online. I just added candy canes, a few ornaments, and some frosted holly berries to make the bar more festive for the holidays! 

 My vintage foil Christmas tree was gifted to me by my aunt Teresa, who is a fabulous antique dealer who finds the coolest things! I have decorated with this tree for many years and it always makes me happy to set it up each and every year. 


My husband Nathan received this beautiful vintage sled from his grandmother and grandfather in 1982 when he was just 2 year old. I decided it would be so lovely to feature it as part of our holiday decor and added some LED start lights to make it twinkle. To the left is my favorite childhood memento. A little red chair I used to sit in at my grandmother and grandfather's house. I asked if I could have this years ago and have featured it in our home throughout the years. It is so much more meaningful to use mementos and keepsakes you already have when doing your holiday decorating. So get to digging in your closets, basements, and sheds and see what you find to decorate with! 

Happy Decorating!
From the Harvest Table,
Amber 
All designs are MWGS originals