Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New Menu Monday: Asian Beef Noodles

I am a recipe collector. It has started getting out of hand years ago when I used to sell Pampered Chef. In the package you get at least one recipe with every product purchased. So, after the holidays, when everyone went back to work and school, I took all my recipe books off the shelf and started taking them apart. I cut out and kept the recipes I knew I would make and put the rest of the pile in the recycle bin. Someday I will put together my very own cookbook. Right now they just live in a binder. There were a few we had never tried before. One of the Pampered Chef recipes I found is Asian Beef Noodles. It sounded very easy and fast. I can't remember which product this particular recipe came with:

1 pound lean boneless beef top round steak, cut into 1/4-inch strips (I used sirloin because that's what I had on hand)
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 small pieces (1/2-inch) fresh ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
2 cups water
2 packages (3 ounces each) baked beef flavor ramen noodles
3 cups broccoli florets
2 carrots, sliced
2 green onions

  1. Heat stir-fry (or large non-stick skillet) over medium heat until hot. Lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. Stir-fry beef, half at a time, 3-4 minutes. Remove beef from skillet; set aside
  2. Add garlic and ginger to skillet; stir-fry 30 seconds. Add water; bring to boil. Add noodles, broken into pieces, broccoli, carrots and seasoning packets from ramen noodles.
  3. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Simmer 3 minutes or until noodles are tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Return beef to skillet; heat through. Sprinkle with green onions.
Serves 6. Copyright: The Pampered Chef, Ltd., 2001

Everyone liked it. I liked that is was quick and easy to make. I thought it was a little salty. I don't think it was quite 6 servings. You could probably add just about any vegetables you like and it would be good. You could probably also make it with chicken. I would make it again!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Top 10 Reasons I Haven't Blogged in Over a Month

#1 - Christmas!
Need I say more? Well, I will anyway. Christmas parties, shopping, wrapping, hosting, decorating, cooking, eating, etc.

#2 - Christmas Knitting
On Jim's side of the family we draw names and give homemade gifts. I usually knit something for the person I draw and Jim usually helps the boys build something for their cousins. I planned ahead. I started my gift knitting just after Halloween. I finished two weeks before Christmas. I thought that was good planning on my part. I wanted to enjoy the holiday and not feel rushed. Well, Jim had an unusually busy time in his workshop this year. He and his friend started making these Oil Vials this fall on their lathes. they are made out of real olive wood from Jerusalem.They took some orders from people in the neighborhood and from family. After a few weeks word spread and they got more orders. They kept getting orders until about a week before Christmas. In total, they turned about 120 oil vials! That kept him super busy. Needless to say he was unable to help the boys with their Christmas projects. That leads me to...

#3 - Last-Minute Christmas Knitting
Just when I thought I was going to be able to have some fun time before Christmas, I started realizing The boys needed help with their gifts. I spent most of my evenings knitting the cutest things for my niece and grand-niece. The first got a cute, pink, felted purse and the second got some adorable, purple, kitty slippers. The third cousin got a store bought present. It needed to travel to St George so we decided that would be OK.

#4 - Jib Jab
I meant to post some of the crazy videos we made for Christmas on the blog but was having too much fun with the boys once they started their vacation. I rarely get on the computer anymore because they are all on facebook. And, Kyle had discovered that he can watch past seasons of his favorite shows on Netflix. It's not my computer anymore. But on the bright side, and a little late, here's some funny Christmas cheer...

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

#5 - Jim's Favorite Time of Year
Most of Jim's company shuts down the week between Christmas and New Year. Jim looks forward to this all year long. We love having this time to spend together as a family. You can usually find us hanging out at home, in our jammies, playing with our new Christmas toys. But this year was slightly different. The boys earned some money and used it to buy season passes to a local ski resort. They headed to the slopes as much as they could during their time off from school. All they needed from us was a ride up to the shuttle stop in Eden, UT. We tried to split the drop offs and pick up's with other parents in the neighborhood so we didn't have to go up there twice in one day. They are LOVING it!
#6 - Happy New Year
We have found a fun New Year tradition that works for us. It is something my family used to do when I was really little. We get together with friends in the neighborhood and have a multi-family sleep-over. We play games, watch movies and eat way too much. When midnight comes, we let the little kids jump on sheets of bubble wrap. It sounds like fireworks but we don't have to go outside in the cold. This year we didn't get to do the sleep-over but we did everything else. I spent most of the day slicing, dicing and preparing. The New Year spread is quite comparable to the usual Super Bowl spread. We started pretty early and it had to last all night so it is nice to have a lot of yummy snacks readily available. It was a super fun night and a super sleepy January 1st!

#7 - Austin's Eagle Project
Austin LOVES animals. When he was deciding what he wanted to do for his project he knew he wanted it to help animals in some way. When we were at the county fair we stopped at the Davis County Animal Shelter booth and asked them about projects. The lady took our number and we went up to see here at the shelter. She showed us the bland cat room. She asked if we could do something to brighten things up and make something for the cats to play on.
Austin was Super excited about this. So excited he could hardly wait until after the holidays to get started. But that was something he needed to do because Jim was so busy with his other projects. We finally got started with the building. It is nice to have two other scouts in the house to help out with the labor!
On the day before his 18th birthday we headed to the shelter and installed these colorful, playful boxes for the cats to play on. The people at the shelter were so appreciative and we had so much fun with the cats while we were there. We got Austin's paperwork signed just a few hours before he officially turned 18! He still needs his board of review and we will probably have his Eagle Court of Honor this summer after Kyle completes his project. We can have them both at the same time.

#8 - Shoveling Snow
We were worried about this winter because we didn't have a white Christmas. The day after Christmas it started snowing and has snowed in regular intervals since then. We don't get too much because we are so far west but The walks and driveway still need to be shoveled or it turns into a frozen slab of ice. Generally the best time to shovel is the middle of the day (as long as it is not snowing at the time) so the driveway has time to drain and dry before the sun starts going down and it starts to freeze. That means I get to be the shoveler because I am the only one home at that time of day. I usually don't mind it as long as I can stay warm. It just takes some time because we have a very wide driveway!

#9 - Reality Check, Again...
As soon as the days start getting cold and very short, I start to feel yucky. That's my cue that it is time to visit the doctor again. We switched up some meds and I got my yearly chest x-ray and heart ultrasound. He also wants me to go and get a lung function test so we can make sure we know if I start getting pulmonary hypertension (but I keep forgetting to make that appointment). As long as I stay warm, get plenty of rest, take my meds and take my daily walk, I feel good - normal - well, at least my "new normal".

And #10 - We Bought a Business
I have always been very reluctant to make my boys go out and get an after school job. I feel like right now their job is to work hard at school, work hard at scouts and work hard at whatever their other interest is at the time. For a while it was sports and music. It still kind of is but things have shifted over the years. I want my boys to be well rounded but I also want them to be hard workers. Kyle had a early morning paper route for a little over three years. He was able to use his savings to buy a car.

Jim has a friend at work that started this business with his family. Now his kids are grown and have gone away to college. He mentioned it to Jim and they sent some work our way. We started by cleaning out foreclosed homes for banks. We have done about six. Some are pretty gross. Others are not too bad. It is something we can do on a Saturday for a couple hours and the boys can each earn just about as much as they would flipping burgers. They can still do their normal weekday stuff and homework. It's win/win. The other part of their business is putting up the posts and signs for real estate agents. We officially bought the inventory and data for their business called Kizmet Clean Up and Kizmet Posts.

We are now the proud owners of about 200 vinyl 6-foot posts and all the tools and equipment that goes along with the business. We get an email from an agent when they want a post up or down. We have a check list of things to do. I make a little packet of paperwork and after school the boys, usually Kyle, head out to put up the post. Some days we don't get an email. Some days, like yesterday, we get seven! In a month or so, as soon as I get the hang of being a business owner, I will probably start doing a little bit of marketing to build a bigger client list.

I think this will be a good thing for the next few years. I think it is important for the boys to learn to work. I also think it is important for them to feel like they have some ownership in the work they do. And I think it is important that they see the rewards from hard work. I like that they were able to buy their own season passes for the ski resort. I like that they are also saving some of that money for their future.

* * * * * * *

Now that things are settling down a bit, I hope to write more often. (If I do the posts won't be so long!) I also hope all is well with everyone and that the New Year brings wonderful things for you and your loved ones!