Friday, July 13, 2012


I'm married to a true visionary!  This can be such a blessing....and can also drive me to madness!  I've never met anyone who can walk through Home Depot and find an alternate use for every single product on the shelves.  When asked if we need help, I usually just grin and say "no thanks" because explaining is way too complicated for my simple mind.

We've used plumbing fixtures for furniture, galvanized gutter for crown molding, cattle tanks for bathtubs, and on and on.  I plan to share more about the projects soon.  Today I'm remembering my introduction to "creative thinking" and recycling.....not to mention a life of crime!

Many, many years ago my dear hubby came home from work with a sparkle in his eye and a plan in his mind.  He'd seen a railroad cart in a trash dumpster and had to have it.  I was told to dress in black, put my hair inside a dark ball cap and join him for a ride.  We drove in the darkness to an industrial area, parked in a nearly empty lot and snuck inside an open fence.  He stealthily climbed into a huge dumpster and handed down a large dirty cart.  It was heavy and I was frightened, but exhilerated at the same time.  We quickly packed the treasure into the truck and headed home.   I didn't sleep much that night, partly from fear, and partly from the noise in his workshop.  By morning, he'd dismantled the cart into neat piles.  I was told this would soon be my new coffee table.  Hmmmmm.....not so sure about that one, pardner!

Within a few days the weathered wood had been sanded and stained.  The metal parts had been cleaned, primed and painted.  I wasn't so sure of the bright green and red, but like always, I trusted his artistic eye and keen sense of style.  This was the result:

This beauty now graces my living room and is such an amazing source of pride and memories.  It was our first "project" together, and set the tone for our future artistic adventures.  We've since built a new home and are still in the process of putting that personal touch into the final finishes.  I still value dear hubby's vision and eye for seeing the possibilities!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Homemade Egg Rolls

Everyone loves eggrolls, right?  Whether fried, steamed, or baked - they are a family favorite!  And you can feed a crowd with only a few ingredients!  Win/win!  So, here's my take on homemade Egg Rolls.

1 pkg prepared egg roll wrappers
2 or 3 lg carrots, shredded
2 or 3 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 lg onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, seeded and chopped (I used red)
1/2 head of cabbage, shredded
1 can bean sprouts, drained
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp cumin
cooking oil
optional - 1 can chicken (or 1 cup any other cooked and finely chopped meat or fish)

Shred and chop the veggies and mix in a large bowl.  Add soy sauce and spices and stir in meat if desired.  You can add other spices and adjust the taste as you like.  Let set 10 minutes.

Remove wrappers from packaging and cover with a damp cloth or paper towel.

Fill the center of each wrapper with a large spoonful of the vegetable mixture, taking care to drain any excess liquid from each spoonful.

Fold the corners to meet as shown,

then fold over and roll from the other side.

Seal with a bit of water and set aside - use a pastry brush or just dip your finger and run along the side like moistening an envelope.  Just press it gently down and it's sealed.

These cook quickly, so it's best to make them up first and cover with damp towel (or have another set of hands to help roll them as they fry) 

In a deep fryer, or large deep skillet, add at least 1 inch of cooking oil.  Heat to med/high.  Drop rolls carefully into hot oil and cook until bottom side is brown, approximately 3 minutes on my stove.  Turn and cook other side until done (approximately 1 1/2 minutes).  Remove with a slotted spoon or spatula and drain on paper towels. Continue until all are done.  Makes approximately 20 large egg rolls. 

You can keep them crispy in a warm oven for half an hour or so until ready to serve. 

Serve with soy sauce, hot mustard, or sweet and sour sauce.   Great appetizer or meal!  Yummmy!

These can be frozen and reheated in the oven to retain the crunch.  You can also steam or bake your eggrolls for a more healthy alternative.