New Year’s Eve Recipe – Lumpias

My father was working as a chef part time when he met my mother. He was an aspiring actor at the time, but had a talent for whipping up delicious food. When we were kids, my mom did most of the cooking in our home. But on a rare special occasion, my father would cook for us. He had some great specialties – shrimp scampi, jambalaya, chocolate peanut butter fudge. We always looked forward to whatever it was that he was making. Today I am going to share one of his best recipes with you. It was one of my favorites, and the only one I have mastered.

We are going to make Lumpias. It is a traditional Filipino dish. It is their version of an egg roll and it’s made with meat. They are really delicious and pretty easy to make. We serve them with a tangy sweet and sour sauce. It compliments them very well.

Lumpias

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/4 cup water chestnuts, chopped
4 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 pkg. of large wonton paper
Vegetable oil for frying
2 bottles sweet & sour sauce, warm

Cooking Instructions:

In a large mixing bowl, combine ground beef, ground pork, green onions, water chestnuts, and soy sauce. Mix with your hands until all ingredients are combined well.

To assemble lumpias – lay one piece of wonton paper on a clean surface. Take a clump of your meat mixture (about 2 tablespoons), and roll it into a log. Place the meat extending from one corner diagonally across to the other corner. Leave about half an inch of your wonton paper uncovered.

Next, fold the open ends up and over the meat.

The fold one flap of the wonton paper up and over the meat.

Then tightly roll your lumpia all the way closed. You may need to use a dab of water to close the flap of your lumpia. Repeat until your meat mixture is over. Should make about 35-40 lumpias

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. When oil is hot, place your lumpias inside. Allow them to fry for approximately 12 minutes, turning them to fry on all sides. Reduce heat if they start to darken too quickly. You’ll know when they’re close to being finished, because they will bubble less and less.

Remove lumpias from frying pan and cool on a plate covered with a paper towel. Repeat with the rest of the lumpias.

Meanwhile, heat sweet & sour sauce in a small pot over low heat. Serve sauce on the side of lumpias.

ENJOY!

Hostess Gift – White Chocolate Pretzel Bark

Hello summer! I am so excited for the beginning of this long fun filled season. It’s the beginning of beach days, pool parties, afternoons at the park, barbecues, camp outs, and so much more. Last weekend was our first three day weekend of the summer for Memorial Day. We had a full weekend as a family planned. It included family, friends, and barbecues.

During this season, there are so many different invitations to hang out with friends. There will be no shortage of fun in the summer sun. I truly hate to show up empty handed. Even if my host or hostess says they don’t need anything. I have gotten creative with my hostess gifts. It’s one of my favorite things to do. Last Sunday, I created a patriotic themed hostess gift in honor of Memorial day. The great thing about it, is we have several patriotic holidays throughout the year, so it’s one you can put together for other holidays as well!

So I call this recipe my White Chocolate Pretzel Bark. It was a hit at our party last weekend. It was all gone halfway through the party. Next time I’ll have to make a bigger batch! It’s quick and easy, so try it out.

White Chocolate Pretzel Bark

3 bags White Chocolate Chips
3 cups Pretzels, broken
11/2 cups Oreos, crushed
1/4 cup Red & Blue M & Ms
Red, White & Blue sprinkles
Parchment paper
3 Tbsp. shortening

1. Begin by lining a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2. Next, separate your red and blue M & Ms from the rest of the colors and set them aside.

3. Sprinkle pretzels and Oreos evenly over the entire surface of the parchment paper.

4. Place chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and add shortening on top. Heat chips for 45 seconds and then removed the bowl and stir them around a bit. Return them to microwave and heat them again for another 40 seconds. Remove them from the microwave and stir them up with a spatula until all the lumps are gone and chocolate is smooth.

5. Pour melted chocolate on top of your pretzels and Oreos. Make sure you cover all of your pieces. Immediately after pouring your chocolate, sprinkle it with your M & Ms and colored sprinkles.

6. Place your cookie sheet in the freezer for about ten minutes, so your chocolate can harden. Then remove it from the freezer and use your hands to break it up into jagged pieces.

7. Now come up with a creative and fun way to package your delicious hostess gift. I guarantee that it will be a hit!!!

ENJOY!

A box is not a box…

It’s funny how some of the simplest things can be so much fun. I feel like as I have become an adult, I have lost sight of this fact. Children amaze me sometimes, because they are able to take pleasure in the simple pleasures. My baby girl can play for hours with a rubber spatula or a half empty water bottle. Her eyes just light up as she swings them around and bashes them into the floor. I can tell that she is having a ball by the pitch of her squeal and the scrunch of her nose. And I absolutely love it! They are some of my favorite moments with my Baby Girl.

When I was younger, I used to see things the same way. I could see all the possibilities that the world could hold. Becoming a mother has reminded me of that. It reminded me of all the fun my little brother and I used to have playing in old appliance boxes. My parents had bought a new refrigerator when I was four years old. My brother and I played in the box it came in for months. We turned it into a fort on out back patio and would play in it for hours. My mom still has pictures somewhere.

It was that memory that inspired our backyard adventures at grandma and grandpa’s house last week. My grandpa had gotten a new chair for the den last month and they saved the box in case he didn’t like it. My mother was about to toss the gigantic box out, when I had the idea to try letting Aaliyah play with it. I had no idea if she would like it, but it was worth a shot.

It was perfect! Aaliyah thought it was the coolest thing. She played in it for three hours. And believe me, nothing has ever held her attention that long before. She crawled in and out of it and played with the flaps. I couldn’t help but laugh. She loved it. I sat taking pictures and videos like a proud mom, while my mom and grandparents looked on. It made for an enjoyable afternoon. I recommend that you try it.

Cardboard boxes have a lot of potential. Especially the really large ones for refrigerators, stoves, and washing machines. I recommend trying a day of Cardboard Box Play.. It is a blast. And a great alternative to your usual routine. It will work for children a little older as well. Aaliyah loved it so much, I saved the box for our visits to see the Greats.