Check out these dumplings

Our dinner Sunday was on,  then off, then on again... When we woke up we were snowed in so I cancelled the dinner.  DH thought he could get out with the 4=wheel drive...NOT.    About 11am the plow came and cleared our road.  First thing he had to do was pull DH out.    So I called everyone and the dinner was on again...We had the duck with sweet potato crepes and blackberry/plum bourbon  sauce and dessert was a sour cream pear tart...

Today I am using the confit to make duck dumplings with plum sauce. I put the duck bits in the food processor, added an egg, soy sauce, ginger, Chinese 5 spice, and some onion..   I see a another culinary quest in the offing... I bought this little contraption to make dumplings but it is pretty useless.,,, but I think this is something fun to learn by hand...sorta like ribbon folding with dumpling wrapper.  I made one with it and hand folded the rest.

I have visions of serving them looking like this but actually they are looking more like this...

but I am intrigued with how to do them and there are endless videos on folding them

My favorite restaurant is a dumpling restaurant in Seattle... Din Tai Fung is a famous chain that has restaurants all over the world.  While you stand in line waiting to get in you can watch the help folding dumplings... I'm hoping to get there for my birthday.

Like any craft there are those who really excel.  I can only dream on being able to fold these works of art.  There are even dumplings folded to look like ducks and have a  duck filling.  I saw a girl folding dumpling wrappers which she said were Cinderella shoes... and they did indeed look like tiny slippers.

The best is this fish dumpling. Don't you just love it... I would feel guilty eating  it...

Well tomorrow we leave for Mexico and I am little anxious.. A limo is supposed to pick us up at the airport and take us to the wedding venue which is quite remote... I sent DIL pictures of us today in case we disappear she will have something the authorities can use while hunting for us....  more later on the outcome......
I am packing and hopefully we will get out.  We have been drifted in three times in the last two weeks. We were drifted in again yesterday.  Our neighbor plowed last night and it took him over an hour to get to the end of our road.     We had such a mild winter and now it wants to go crazy...
The spider bag is progressing and I'm done with the lace leaves and will start on the ribbon and thread leaves and am taking it with me to Mexico.. There will be plenty of people around to thread needles for me...
I hope to finish all the greenery sitting by the pool.  I over-dyed some more ribbon to take.  This much ribbon fits in a cup and I add a couple tablespoons of water and a few drops alcohol ink.  This ribbon was yellows and pinks....now green. 



Today everything is ducky!!!

With the bad weather, being gone and being sick it has been more than a month since I have fixed a "company" meal and I  am on Sunday..  DH especially requested I serve duck crepes (one of his favorites)  and I found a recipe  for duck breast in sweet potato crepes with a blackberry sauce..

I wonder why so few people cook duck... It couldn't be easier to cook than in a slow cooker. Besides being delicious it is really quite economical for a special meal. When on a restaurant menu it is usually a very pricy meal but I can get a duck for $2.98 a pound which compared to beef or seafood, is quite cheap and I can get 3  meals out of a six pound duck..  So today I thawed a duck, cut it up and it is in the slow cooker... I put it on a bed of onions, rubbed it with poultry seasoning and stuffed the breast with parts of an orange....added a little white wine and it will be done tonight and I will cool it overnight in the frig and take the meat off the bone tomorrow. I save the skin separately and put it under the broiler until it is crispy and delicious and then slice it thin and use it as a  garnish.

We can have one meal with the legs as they are large, another meal  (or two)using the breast meat  and finally I get a lot of "confit" (which is a fancy word for bits) from the wings, neck, back, heart etc. and it can be used with pasta, dumplings, etc..  The Maple Leaf Farm site is loaded with recipes using duck and has everything from appetizers to duck soup.

When it is cool I save the duck fat and freeze it to use later. There is a long, delicious culinary tradition of cooking with duck fat.  If you google "duck fat" there is no end to the sites singing its praises.   The high smoke point of duck fat makes it a chef favorite; it can be cooked at high temperatures without smoking or altering   flavors. The French have known all along: duck fat is low in saturated fat and high in unsaturated fat, making it one of healthiest animal fats you can eat. And a large selection of brands of duck fat are even sold on Amazon.

The day started out well with the duck but when I tried to finish the last of the cookbooks the last albums I bought didn't have enough pages and then I decided to work on the fiesta necklace and became discouraged and packed it all up and it is history for now.. So I wrote the blog and now will take a nice nap to rest my eyes and hope the afternoon goes better.


Foliage and Yoga Dog

I'm telling Morris..."inhale - exhale- relax" and he does!

Earlier I gathered up any bits in my laces that were leaf-like and dyed them.. I will use them as part of the base for the ribbon flowers. 

I used Kreinik very fine  gold thread for the webs.  It is a little heavy, but since this is a bag that will be used I went for a heavier thread.

Having  all the vines will make it easier to get a nice flowing motion to the foliage.  There will be many kinds of foliage in lace, ribbon and threads.... plus a few more webs.


Spider webs and Yoga Dog

This project is definitely talking to me loud and clear...especially since I decided to treat the back of the bag differently.  I wasn't sure how but now it is taking an entirely new shape in my mind.... coordinated but different...  Once I decided not to use that pattern it became a whole new concept.  Having the front and back the same was boring..  Who wants boring.. I should be able to finish the webs on the front this weekend and start on the leaves.

About the time I get seated to do my yoga and relax my shoulders and clear my mind, Morris burrows into my lap... We now call him "Yoga Dog"


Happy Valentine's Day.... Remember this from the 40th anniversary quilt?
This is the only crazy quilt that I have hanging on a wall and it is my favorite.


caught up and GREAT TIP!!!

No pending project has a deadline... a new experience for me... but all wedding projects are done and I can do what moves me and am finishing smaller UFOs.  One of my dearest friends became a new grandmother just before Christmas.  I found these lovely 2" MOP discs and decided to paint the baby on one for a Christmas ornament for next year.  Meet Federico, born in Como Italy on Dec. 18, 2017. 
My three oldest grandchildren are almost thirty and a year ago not one was even dating anyone special.  Now a year later all three may be married soon....one  the upcoming wedding, another soon after her graduation  and the final one has a serious interest in someone.  I never even gave a thought to being a great grandmother and now it is very likely indeed.
So while I am gathering bits for the fiesta necklace I am going to start on the spider webs... Already back tracking though.  I took the back side of the bag to CA to do the vine and never took a stitch so have decided to move forward on the front with the webs and flowers.  I can always have a tapestry back if necessary. If I have the webs done I can work on the flowers when we take Morris on his vacation in March.
GREAT TIP!!  This is one of my better ones. Many of you will recognize this green thing as a Starbuck's stopper or if you don't some of your friends will.  I started saving these little sticks several years ago because they were just the right length and shape to stir the craft paint which settles in the bottom of the bottle.  Worked perfectly but since then I have found many uses....
1. Great for applying dabs of glue
2. Mixing epoxy
3. For appetizer skewers
4. For shaping cuticles
5. Perfect to apply bait to mouse traps.

I saved them, DH saved them and soon all my friends were saving them for me.


Yoga and a project out of nowhere....

I did go to the yoga class the other night. 
I did enjoy it... I couldn't see or hear so will make sure I am up in front next time. I just watched the young woman next to me and she helped me... I'm taking a dense foam pad for my knees also next time....
I have tried to do it at home but I have to go into the bedroom and shut the door... Morris thinks it is play time if I am on the floor .  I definitely feel taller.

The biggest problem is staying calm when I struggle getting up from the floor.  I found this video which is great and  will really help.  I'm trying to work on this before the next yoga class Wednesday

How to Get Up and Down from the Floor | The spiral  Cynthia Allen is a Feldenkrais practitioner, and senior trainer .  There were numerous videos on this subject but I liked her the best.  It focused on using the momentum of your body (rather than strength) to shift your body. 

I've done the alterations on my jump suit for under the lace  jacket.  Now I just need to put finishing touches on this necklace  which has been on the table for months.  I wanted to incorporate a gold necklace and it just didn't work.  When I stopped trying it is all coming together and I will finish today. 
But as usually happens an unplanned project  has arisen out of absolutely no where.  I found these loop earrings last week at the thrift store.  They just screamed Mexican fiesta at me who NEVER wears big hoops like this.
So of course I had to buy them and lo and behold I found some beads in my stash that will go well and it is now on my to-do list.  The colorful beads are separate strings I got in a bag at a thrift store years ago.  They have to be restrung as they are on quite fragile thread.  The red squares are from an old bracelet and the cloisonné butterfly has been around forever.  I just need to find some more antique gold metal bits.

And thanks to a reader's comment I put the Shirells into Pandora and now have a whole bunch of fabulous female groups from the 50s added to my collection... Really gets me moving in the morning...


Yoga and Doo Wopping

I don't particularly  want to do this but I would love to be able to get down on the floor and be able to get up without help.  When my DIL Vivian was here recently she found  a small yoga studio only about 15 minutes away and she went every day.  Just before she left she signed me up for the beginners class which starts next week... I know I should go but every yoga photo I see is not user friendly. 
I have a stack of yoga and exercise dvds which are unopened and I just can't get motivated to do it alone.  I discovered a neighbor keen to do it also and DH has offered to drive us.    And if we can do it maybe we will sign up for their curvy class.

So last trip out to thrift stores a yoga mat and yoga pants were on my list... Found them and this foam massage thingy which I'm using on the bottom of my feet.

But on senior day at my favorite thrift store they play music from the 50s.  I wasn't  interested much then but now I like hearing those old songs.  I couldn't think of any of the group names and when I was in the lamp section they were playing a great song and  I had to  step lightly to the music and saw a man about my age nearby.  I asked him if he knew who the artists were... He said is was on the tip of his tongue and it would come to him... I kept running into him in the store and it got to be a joke.  We'd do a few Doo Wop steps and he'd say he was still  thinking.  At  one point a young lady giggled at us old timers... I told her that she was too young to be there on senior day and what did she expect...  But this time I wrote the names of the songs down to find them on Pandora.

I discovered if I entered the "Clovers" in Pandora all kinds of great music groups came up.. Dell/Vikings, Dion/Belmonts, Platters, Everly brothers, Drifters,  etc. and if I entered Fats Dominos I got him plus Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Sam Cooke  and on and on.  I have been doo wopping all over the house since Tuesday.  Bring on the yoga!!!!
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