Monday, December 12, 2016

32 Yolks

32 Yolks From My Mother's Table To Working The Line by Eric Ripert is an inspirational story of Ripert's culinary journey to becoming one of the top chefs. Ripert takes us on a fabulous journey from his painful childhood to the mentors that helped shape him as a chef.  He also gives us a detail account of what it is like to work behind-the-scenes at restaurants. I didn't realize the culinary world can be so cut-throat and competitive. I have never eaten at Le Bernardin, but I hope to someday.

I didn't realize the memoir was going to be in an audiobook format. While I like audiobooks and listen to them on a daily basis, I would have preferred to read the actual memoir. The narrator was a little dull.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Inspiralize Everything

Ali Maffucci's cookbook Inspiralize Everything showcases a number of recipes that uses spiralized vegetables or fruit. I recently purchased a spiralizer because I wanted to substitute pasta for raw vegetables. The recipes that I tried were mostly raw and nobody in my family enjoyed them, including me. Maffucci's cookbook uses spiralized vegetables or fruit but most of the recipes are cooked so they do taste much better. I've mostly only tried recipes with spiralized zucchinis so I am looking forward to trying a variety of vegetables. It never even occurred to me to spiralize fruits until I got this cookbook. The Bell Pepper Taco Skillet recipe was particularly yummy and easy to make, and I am looking forward to trying the Vietnamese Cold Jicama Noodle Salad. The noodle salad recipes look delicious and refreshing!

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Doodletopia Fairies

Christopher Hart released another how-to-draw book, and this time he will teach you how to draw cute and elf-like fairies. Along with learning how to draw fairies and their faces and bodies, you also learn how to draw a number of accessories: magical hats, antennae, tiaras, wands, wind power. The book also teaches you to draw different hairstyles, pouty faces and different fairy moods. The book breaks down as follows:

1. Complete Fairy Heads and Faces
2. Draw Fairy Bodies
3. Create Magical Clothing and Accessories
4. Design Fairy Wings and Flying Poses
5. Give Your Fairies Personality
6. Conjure Up Magical Powers
7. Finish Musical Instruments
8. Design Fairy Dwellings

If you like this fairy drawing book, you will also enjoy Christopher Hart's other Doodletopia books: Cartoon and Manga. I also have Christopher Hart's Doodletopia Manga, and I think I like it the best because I think manga and chibis are sooo cute!

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Fatal Gift of Beauty

Nina Burleigh's latest novel, "The Fatal Gift Of Beauty" was a definite page-turner. The book goes into detail about Italy's culture and beliefs. Even though the tragic murder of Meredith Kercher, I did not follow the news or trial closely. I recently watched the Netflix documentary "Amanda Knox" and read Burleigh's investigative story of Kercher's murder and Italy's trial of the century. I can now understand why the media was so fixated on this particular case. Still, so much of it still remains a mystery in some way.  But all of it was very tragic: Kercher's gruesome murder and Knox and Sollecito's imprisonment. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the Amanda Knox case or anyone who is interested in a murder mystery.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The London Cookbook

Aleksandra Crapanzano's "The London Cookbook" takes you on a journey throughout London to some of it's finest restaurants. I never thought of London being an epicenter of fancy food. The one time I've visited, I don't recall the food much. What a shame that I did not get a chance to visit some of the restaurants and tried some of their food. This cookbook is a compilation of some of London's best chefs and their dishes. The cookbook is broken down to the following: Light Fare; Soups; Pasta, Rice and Grains; Vegetarian; Seafood; Fowl; Meat: Desserts: Chilled Desserts: Cocktails. This cookbook is rather varied with a good number of recipes to try from. A good number of the recipes are rather easy and simple while some other recipes require more time. I really loved the black and white photography of London and wished there were more in the cookbook.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Bread Baker's Apprentice

Peter Reinhart's book, "The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering The Art Of Extraordinary Bread" is a serious book. It received the James Beard Foundation Book Award and The IACP Cookbook Award and the heavy book is over 300 pages. The book has detailed instructions on how to prepare, proof, bake, shape a multitude of bread. I don't bake a lot of breads, but the pictures look delicious. I never really thought a simple loaf of bread would be so difficult and time consuming, but it takes a lot of patience and an artistry to get bread right. This bread book is a bread lover's dream come true!

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Mindy Kaling Does It Again

Mindy Kaling's second and latest book "Why Not Me?" is a light-hearted and hilarious easy read. I read Kaling's first book "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?" and loved it. I was super excited to receive and read her second book. "Why Not Me?" does not disappoint either. It is just as funny as her first book. Kaling's books are similar to Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's books. As much as I love Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, I couldn't get into their books for some odd reason.

Kaling is very funny and witty. I can't imagine what it would be like to hang out with her in person. I hope Kaling writes a third book because I would definitely read it.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Big Bad Breakfast

I was super excited to get my hands on John Currence's latest book "Big Bad Breakfast." Breakfast is the one meal that I struggle the most with because I never know what to make so I end up eating the same thing over and over again. I was really hoping that this book would offer an array of healthy and delicious recipes. The recipes and pictures are definitely good, and some of the recipes are healthier than others. This is a serious cookbook jammed pack full of scrumptious recipes, all dedicated to the first and most important meal of the day.

The cookbook breaks down as follows: The Welcome Basket; The Incredible, Edible, Omnipresent Egg; Omelets and Frittatas; Pancakes, Waffles, Crepes; BFD: Breakfast for Dinner; Cereals, Grains, and Oher Pseudo-Virtuous Things; Breakfast Sandwiches; Sides, Condiments, Meats, and Extras; and Eye-Openers (Drinks).

I love that it includes a Homemade Frosted Cornflakes recipe! I don't really eat commercial cereal anymore (though I am always so tempted because it's quick and convenient) because it is heavily processed and all cereal goes through a process called extrusion which is toxic. I love how the cornflakes recipe is so easy and I just replace the sugar with honey since it's healthier.

I cannot wait to try the Low Country Cast-Iron Skillet Scramble, French-Style Omelet Master Recipe, and the Homemade Pop-Tarts recipes. There are a lot of yummy recipes in this one book that I will be turning to for a while.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, September 17, 2016


Victuals by Ronni Lundy is a cookbook and storybook about the Appalachian food and journey. Many of photography is absolutely stunning, tempting me to want to vacation in the Appalachian countryside somewhere and gorge on the yummy food. I was a bit disappointed though with the long story. When I get a cookbook, I enjoy lots of colorful and beautiful photographs. I don't want to read much, except for the recipes. While I'm sure the story is beautiful and well-told, I could not find myself wanting to read it. So I mostly flipped the pages until I got to the recipes and any pages with photographs. I really wish they had more photographs!

I am excited to try the English Pea Salad with Cream Dressing and the Perfect One-Eyed Jack recipe because I always have those ingredients on hand.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Mamaleh Knows Best

Marjorie Ingall's latest book "Mamaleh Knows Best: What Jewish Mothers Do to Raise Successful, Creative, Empathetic, Independent Children" was an interesting read. I was very excited to receive this book and to read it. I LOVE parenting books and have read quite a few, and Ingall's book was a quick and easy read. Most of Ingall's Mamaleh Methodology weren't new information, like how you should read to your child, not focus so much on grades but the education, how play matters, and you should let your child fail sometimes. All of those parenting beliefs have already been mentioned in various education and parenting books. According to Ingall, Jewish children outshines and outperforms so many cultures because their culture values geekiness, finding a passion, valuing an education and reading, questioning authority, giving their children independence. I don't really know whether the Jewish culture actually values some of these values or if it was only Ingall's family, but I do think these values are important regardless of your culture. I think the book is a good book if you haven't read many parenting or education books. Some might find Ingall's writing and tone funny, but at times I found her tone a bit harsh, opinionated and biased at times (mostly when she writes about how great and perfect the Jewish culture is). I have a hard time believing that a culture is so perfect.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Gluten-free for Good: Simple, Wholesome Recipes Made From Scratch

I love cookbooks with recipes that are made from scratch. I love cookbooks even more when they have recipes that are made from scratch that is simple, fast, and delicious. Gluten-free for good by Samantha Seneviratne is a good cookbook with a variety of gluten-free recipes (broken down by categories: breakfast and brunch, soups, sides and salads, hearty main, sweet and savory snacks, and dessert). The pictures look really appetizing, and honestly gluten-free food usually don't look all that tasty. For the recipes that calls for alternative flour, I did not follow the recipes exactly. I usually use einkorn flour instead since I don't have a gluten sensitivity. Plus, if I were to use almond flour (which many gluten-free recipes use), it would have to be sprouted almond flour because I believe nuts and seeds need to be sprouted first to make it more digestible. So I can't fairly comment on the recipes that used alternative flour since I did not follow the recipe to be exact.

I did enjoy the Miso Shrimp with Snap Peas. I love anything with miso since it is so good for you. I can't wait to try the Deviled Eggs with Pickled Shallots recipe. I haven't met a deviled egg recipe that I did not like. My children would love for me to try the Parmesan Cheese Crackers because they love crackers, and I would love a simple homemade cracker recipe.

I think this book is a solid gluten-free cookbook for those who can't eat gluten. There are tons of recipes to try, and I don't think I would miss bread and baked goods if I had this book.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Cook Korean! By Robin Ha

I really enjoyed Robin Ha's Cook Korean! A Comic Book With Recipes. When I received the book, I immediately began to read it. I really enjoyed the stories and history about Korean food. Combining a cookbook and a comic book together was a brilliant idea. I love korean food, but I have never made it before. I did end up making kimchi, and it was very tasty. It was a little daunting at first but it really wasn't that hard. The prep work of cutting all the vegetables was probably the most hardest part I thought. It ended up making a lot of kimchi. My next attempt will be the bean sprout salad, and I want to eventually try the beef short ribs (galbi).

If you are a comic book fan and you love cookbooks, you should definitely check out this unique cookbook. It's a definite keeper!

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Drawing Lesson

Mark Crilley's latest book, The Drawing Lesson: A Graphic Novel That Teaches You How to Draw is a graphic novel about a boy name David who receives art lessons from a woman name Becky. David sees Becky drawing at the park and asks her if she can give him free art lessons. Through their dialogue, you learn various lessons about drawing. David and you, the reader, gets a lesson about drawing what you see, shading, doing a loose sketch, understanding light and shadow, using negative space, checking proportions, simplifying things, creating a composition, and bringing it all together. I really liked this graphic novel because I love non-fiction graphic novels or graphic novels that teach me something new. I wish the illustrations were more cute (more manga-like since Mr. Crilley has written about drawing manga) and that the graphic novel was in full-color instead of the sepia-tone. All and all, I highly recommend this graphic novel for artists or anyone who enjoys reading educational graphic novels.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Home Sewn

In Cassandra Ellis' new book, Home Sewn: Projects and Inspiration for Every Room, you get a how-to-guide on how to sew just about anything for your home. The sewing projects in the book is broken up into sections: Living, Resting, and Eating and Sharing. For the Living section, you can learn how to sew lamp shades, linen ottomans (I plan on making this as I have to change out the fabric of my ottoman), sofa throws, silk upholstery and curtain tiebacks. For the Resting section, you can learn how to sew pillowcases, headboard piece, bed skirt, duvet cover. For the Eating and Sharing section, there are instructions on how to sew tea towels, tablecloth, placemats, coasters, chair covers. The book goes into detail about where you can obtain quality fabric, dyes, kits, and other sewing needs. The pictures are also divine and really lovely to flip through. As I am a novice sewer, this book is really handy to have on hand for my redecorating needs.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Doodletopia Manga

I've always been a huge fan of cutesy illustrations so I've always loved Manga. Christopher Hart's latest how-to-draw book, Doodletopia: Manga, teaches you how to draw those adorable, big and shiny-eyed manga characters. While this book teaches you how to draw the usual manga man/boy and woman/girl, I really enjoyed the illustrations of the chibis and cutesy animals more. I specifically got this manga book for my daughter, and together, we both drew many of the insanely cute animals. We both love the pig: chubby cuteness, the chibis, curl girl, yummy treats, and tiny vampire. Every illustration in the book is just like the description, it's SUPER-CUTE. I plan to give a copy of this book to my daughter's friend who loves to draw.

The contents in the book are as follows:

1. Introduction
2. Finish the Heads and Faces
3. Make Hilarious Expressions with Silly Selfies
4. Draw Your Own Versions of Manga Characters
5. Dress the Chibis from Around the World
6. Draw the Super-Cute Animals
7. Add a Team Leader
8. Have Fun with Emoticons
9. Stuff the Pages with Doodles
10. Master the Manga Mazes
11. Complete the Scenes
12. Create Manga Crafts
13. Doodle Free-For-All

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

In Memory of Bread

Paul Graham's book is a memoir about his journey with celiac's disease. It's a candid and rather honest telling of some of the hardships of having such a disease. Graham talks about the withdrawals he went through, craving certain foods that contain gluten, trials and errors of buying gluten-free foods, the cost of gluten-free foods, feeling the lost of being able to eat wheat. I can't imagine what it must be like to have celiac's disease. To not be able to go to any restaurant or stores or bakeries to buy food, to have to home make so many of what you eat, to go over to friend's house and have to bring your own food and drinks. I thought this book was rather interesting and was a quick read. If you love bread (gluten-free or not) or would like to learn more about wheat and a little of its history, I would recommend this book.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Broth and Stock from the Nourished Kitchen

I've been a long-time follower of the Nourished Kitchen so when I saw that this book was available to review, I jumped on the opportunity. I grew up drinking broth with every dinner meal. It was always so nourishing and hydrating for me. I crave broth even more now as an adult because I don't get to drink it as often as I would like (I would love to drink it with every meal). I've been making broth and stock for quite some time now (mostly following my family's recipes), but it is so nice to have a book chock full of broth recipes. Jennifer McGruther's recipes are broken down into basic master broths and stocks, meals consisting of poultry broths, meat broths, fish broth and vegetable broths. Many of the broth recipes use dry white wine (which I've never used before in my broth recipes) so I can't wait to try it the next time I make some broth. According to McGruther, adding dry white wine or vinegar releases some of the minerals that are present in the bones so your broth would be that much more healthy for you. I can't wait to try the Chicken Soup with Parmesan, Rice, Peas, and Lemon recipe and the Dashi-Braised Chicken Thighs recipe. Both of these recipes sound very easy to make, and I usually have the ingredients needed to make the recipes available in my fridge and pantry. I highly recommend this book if you love broth and would like more recipes to expand your repertoire.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Anya Fernald's Home Cooked: Essential Recipes For a New Way To Cook

If you enjoy rustic cooking, you will love Anya Fernald's latest cookbook: Home Cooked: Essential Recipes For a New Way To Cook. I didn't know who Anya Fernald was until I got my hands on her cookbook. I really enjoyed reading her story about how she got into cooking and her adventures abroad. Her recipes are very simple, lots of grilling. I liked her Carne Cruda (raw beef) recipe. I enjoy eating good quality raw beef though. However, her pictures do not do the recipe justice. The Carne Cruda looks like a glob of red, mushy meat even though it really is just that. Ms. Fernald includes a few raw meat recipes so if you are a fan of raw meat, this might be a good cookbook for you. I am dying to try her Oil-Packed Sardines recipe. It's a very simple recipe to pack your own sardines without having to buy them already canned.  Also, I am looking forward to pickling some grapes once Fall Season starts. I love pickles so I think pickled grapes would be a hit.

I love simple, rustic recipes so I enjoyed reading this book. I look forward to trying more of her recipes in this book. I wished the pictures were more visually appealing and eye-catching though. They seemed a bit drab to me.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Amily Shen's Wonderland: A Coloring Book Inspired by Alice's Adventures

Amily Shen's Wonderland inspired coloring book is both exquisite and gorgeous! The amount of intricate details Shen puts into each picture makes the coloring book worthwhile. It actually took me a long time to color just one page. I liked how it's not just an adult's coloring book, but also a story and puzzles to be solved that is mixed in with art.  For me, coloring can be very therapeutic and zen-like so this is nice to have on hand when I'm stressed.

I'm new to Shen's artwork, but her bio said she's published three drawing books. I hope to be able to find some of her drawing books.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Good + Simple by Hemsley and Hemsley

Are you ready for some back-to-basics cooking with a lot of nutrient dense recipes? I know I am! I was super excited to receive Good + Simple by Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley. Once I got the book, I immediately choose some recipes to try out. I loved the Spicy Miso Salmon with Broccoli Rice. I left out the chili powder so it wasn't spicy for my family. The Avocado Boats 3 Ways was also a hit. I have one child who loves avocado and another who hates it. The child who usually hates avocado loved the variation with the drizzled honey on top of the avocado. I love how this cookbook has a number of recipes that shows you how to prepare it 2-3 ways.

We also liked the Cucumber and Smoked Salmon Canap├ęs. I love all the simple recipes that are quick to prepare but are also healthy for my children. It was such a nice surprise and a huge plus that the cookbook includes smoothies and healthy juice recipes. Truth be told, I was looking for a juice recipe book because I bought a juicer recently and really wanted to get in the habit of juicing to help get the nutrients in my family's bodies.

I loved reading about the Hemsley sisters' philosophy on food and all the little tidbits included in the cookbook. Most of what they mentioned, I already knew and follow, but it's nice to be reminded why I had originally followed certain routines (soaking nuts, make bone broth, cook with leaf lard). I loved how they mention that "fat is your friend". I've always felt that there is nothing wrong with eating lots of healthy whole fat (we cook with leaf lard, use a lot of pastured and cultured butter, drink whole raw milk); it's all the other processed junk food that is bad for us. But companies blame fat and have convinced so many of us to consume a low-fat diet.

I have not had the opportunity to try out the baked goods recipes. I'm not much of a baker. Probably because I hate baking! However, my children love it when we do bake so every now and then, I will try to indulge them and bake some cookies. With that said, I am delighted to see some baked good recipes that DOES NOT use refined white sugar. I cannot wait to try Nicky's Chocolate Chip Cookies. Instead of white sugar, the recipe calls for maple syrup as a sweetener. I've never had a cookie with maple syrup in it so I am a little leery but excited at the same time to try it. I usually use rapadura as a sweetener when I'm baking so I'm looking forward to try an alternative.

I can't wait to try out the recipes that use a spiralizer. The spiralizer cuts the vegetables so it looks like spaghetti noodles. My children LOVE pasta, but I am trying to not eat it so often.  I MUST HAVE A SPIRALIZER! Now I just have to convince my husband that we need yet another kitchen gadget.

I wished the photography was nicer like some of the other cookbooks I've seen. But I guess since the recipes are so healthy and basic, maybe it's hard to make them look super pretty. Still, I LOVE the cookbook because it's exactly what I'm looking for in a cookbook at this point...simple and healthy recipes.

Disclaimer: I received the above book from Blogging for Books in an exchange for a honest review.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Food with Friends-Leela Cyd

I'm not much of a cook or a baker. I view cooking and baking as a chore-something I have to do. I really wish that I enjoy cooking more because then my family and I would have more delicious meals to eat. When I'm looking for a recipe, I usually just look online. So it's that much of a shock that I don't own a single cookbook. Food with Friends by Leela Cyd is the first cookbook I own. Let me just start off that the photography is gorgeous. The pictures are so stunning that I want to make everything in the cookbook. Leela is a photographer, and her website has more of her beautiful photography of food and places she's traveled.

My favorite so far was the Beet Pickled Eggs. I have always LOVED deviled eggs but this recipe takes deviled eggs to a whole new level. The color of the red/purple-hued eggs are simply stunning. The recipe does require some planning ahead of time due to the pickling so if you are making this for a party, plan accordingly. Another hit with me was the Roasted Plums with Burrata. I was really surprised to like it. I'm not much of a cheese person, and I've never had burrata. But this was very tasty! I also really enjoyed the Muesli with Plums and Blackberry Mash sans the muesli. In the muesli's defense, I usually hate oatmeal and all things relating to oatmeal (granola, oatmeal cookies, etc). So I just make the blackberry mash without the rolled oats.

I am looking forward to trying the Lemon Lavender French Toast, Tartines and Small Toast, Chard Empanadas with Pistachio Crema, and Sugar Cookies with Edible Flowers (the pictures look AMAZING and my children would love it).

A side note: I never thought of using bee pollen as a garnish. I have some bee pollen, and I never know what to do with it so I'm glad to learn that I can use it as a garnish on dishes.

Disclaimer: I received the above book from Blogging for Books in an exchange for a honest review.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Bad Kitty the Musical

We have read and thoroughly enjoyed both the Bad Kitty picture book and chapter books. We also listened to Bad Kitty audiobook in the car. Vanessa Williams does a good job narrating the book and playing the very Bad Kitty. When I found out that they were going to play Bad Kitty the Musical, I immediately got tickets for my family to watch. We were able to score student matinee tickets from the theatre so we attended with a roomful of school aged kids. The musical was a blend of several Bad Kitty chapter books like Bad Kitty vs Uncle Murray, Bad Kitty Meets the Baby, Happy Birthday Bad Kitty, Bad Kitty School Dazed.  The 1 hr musical was the perfect length for my young children. My children along with the rest of the children in the theatre laughed throughout the play. 

If Bad Kitty the Musical makes it's way to a city near you, I highly recommend it. And if you have not read the Bad Kitty books, I also highly recommend them. They will have you and your kiddo in stitches. The books are also very educational. Nick Bruel, the author, throws in fun facts throughout the books.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

How to make Dumplings and Dumptings!

My 3-year old LOVES, LOVES Grace Lin's Ling and Ting books. Every time we visit the library, she will run to the bookshelf and pull out one of the Ling and Ting books. Ling and Ting are identical twin sisters who seem to do everything together. They don't look exactly the same since Ting got a botched haircut so her bangs are crooked. The series of Ling and Ting books are easy reader books. My 3-year old isn't reading yet, but the books are very simple and easy for her to understand. She tells me she likes the books because Ling and Ting wears pretty dresses. I guess my 3-year old has a serious case of dress envy.

After reading Ling and Ting Not Exactly the Same for the gazillionth time, my children asked me if they could try some dumplings. I happily obliged since they can be finicky eaters at times, and I would never turn down an opportunity for them to try new food. I suggested that we make dumplings just like Ling and Ting did in the book. My 3-year old said that she wanted to make dumptings as well as dumplings. We made the dumplings and dumptings, and they were a hit!

Through reading books, not only have stories taught my children new vocabulary, stories have inspired my children to try new food in this particular case. That is a win-win in my book!

We followed TheKitchn's dumpling recipe but ended up tweaking it a bit to suit our family's taste bud and for what we had on hand.

1/2 medium head Napa cabbage (about 1 pound)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 pound ground pork
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2-inch piece fresh ginger, grated on a microplane or finely minced (about 3 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 large eggs, whisked
2 (12-ounce) package round dumpling, wonton, or potsticker wrappers

Instructions for Assembling Dumplings

  1. Slice the cabbage and mix with salt: Slice the half-head of cabbage down its length, through the root, to make 2 quarters. Then slice each quarter into very thin strips, cutting cross-wise. Toss the slices with the salt in a large mixing bowl and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Squeeze the liquid from the cabbage: While it rests with the salt, the cabbage will start to release liquid. When it's ready, grab handfuls of the cabbage and squeeze out the water. Transfer the squeezed cabbage to another mixing bowl.
  3. Combine the cabbage with the rest of the filling ingredients: To the bowl with the squeezed cabbage, add the ground pork, soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil, and eggs. Work the mixture together with your hands or a spoon until fully combined.
  4. Arrange your dumpling-making station: Clear a space on the counter. Set a small bowl of water, the bowl of filling, and a parchment-lined baking sheet nearby. Open the package of dumpling wrappers and arrange a few on the work space in front of you.
  5. Place 1/2 tablespoon of filling on each dumpling wrapper: It doesn't look like much filling, but using any more gets messy and makes the dumplings hard to pleat closed! Once you get the hang of pleating the dumplings, you can try adding a bit more.
  6. Dampen the edge of the wrapper with water: Dip your finger in the bowl of water and run it around the edge of the dumpling. This will help it to seal closed.
  7. Fold the dumpling in half: Lift the dumpling from the work surface and fold it in half. Press the top closed.
  8. Make a pleat in either side: Use your opposite thumbs to fold a tiny pleat on either side of the dumpling, then press firmly to seal the dumpling closed. You may need to dab a little water under the pleat to make it stick closed.
  9. Repeat with all the wrappers and filling: Continue filling and pleating the rest of the wrappers using the remaining filling — this is where having a few extra hands comes in handy! As you finish each dumpling, line it up on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
  10. Cook or freeze the dumplings: You can cook the dumplings immediately, or freeze them on the baking sheet. Once frozen solid, gather them into a freezer container and keep frozen for up to 3 months.

How I Discovered My Love of Reading

As a child of immigrant parents, I was never read to because my parents did not know a lot of English. At the elementary school that I attended, I don't recall my teachers reading to the class. I also don't recall being assigned any reading. Maybe I did read some books, but I honestly don't remember. All the reading that I had to do was later in middle school and high school and college and it mostly consisted of dry textbooks and boring books I was assigned to read for English class. When I had my daughter, I knew I wanted something different for her. I wanted to expose her to the library and to all the wonderful and magical books out there. Every week, we go to the library and we borrow three bags worth (that is as much as I can carry). I have to tell you. We read all the books. I am truly amazed at how many fabulous children's book there are. Every week, we keep discovering more! I am just as amazed at how many books our library has available. Slowly, as a family we have discovered the wide variety of books that our family enjoys. From the extensive list of children's pictures books to early readers to graphic novels to chapter books. 

For the first time in my life, I enjoy reading and discovering the book alongside my children. I am a little sad that it took me 30 something years to realize that I love to read. But I am grateful that I love books now, and I am so happy and proud that my children do too. I am thankful that my children's lives are going to be so much better because of books and because they have a Mom who reads aloud to them everyday.

There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.

–Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis