No, I'm not considering today's all-day, country-wide curfew to be a Staycation. It's nice to stay home, but this post is to re-cap the other things we did last weekend for the real Staycation 2009.
For my birthday, Zeke had a hard time deciding what to get for me. In the end, he chose these really cute Fisher Price stacking blocks. We spent hours playing on the floor with them, making echo sounds by talking into the open side, making towers, and putting the smallest one inside of the biggest. It has been a super-fun gift.
Staycation Sunday was a dough-y day. I started out in the morning by making my homemade pancakes. We love pancakes in this house. I had also read online that whole wheat bagels made a good teething/finger food for babies. I know that whole wheat bagels are usually made with honey- a no-no for babies, so I decided to make my own.
And yes, you actually boil them before you bake them! It was a lot easier than I thought, and yummy too!
Ever since I visited China in 2003, I have had occasional cravings for Chinese steamed dumplings, or jiao zi (pronounced jow-tsa). When we were on our honeymoon in Vancouver a few years ago, I introduced Tom to this yummy treat. So, with a few creative substitutions, we made our very own jiao zi right here at home! The grocery stores here don't carry dumpling wrappers, so I had to start by making my own out of a little salt, rice flour, and normal flour. I rolled them out and cut them to size with a glass.
Filling and closing the dumplings was the hardest part for me. I know that there is a "right" way to do this, and it involves 3 or 4 precisely placed pleats. I was not able to do this. I've been taught a few times by my expert friends Amy and Kate, but never actually figured it out. Luckily, the dumplings seemed to work well if I gave them a few pinches and sealed up the top.
We don't own any of those fancy bamboo stack-em and steam-em things, so we opted for boiled dumplings. Our filling was a combination of ground beef and finely chopped pork chops (we can't buy ground pork here) and some other little veggies and ginger.
We dipped them in a special dipping sauce and were amazed at how delicious they were. This is definitely something we want to make again! Next time, we'll do it with other people, since the stuffing/wrapping of the dumplings is pretty time consuming.
On Monday night of Staycation, we had our neighbor friends over for some Chicken Tikka Masala. Casey introduced us to this delicious recipe awhile ago, and this is the second time we've made it. I think it might be a new family favorite. I even made a little homemade garlic naan to go with it. While the dinner was delicious, the real highlight of the evening was watching Zeke play with his friends Lucy and Ellie.
It is so fun to see how he is learning to interact with others. The girls were wonderful with him, we love hanging out with their parents, so everybody has a good time.
By Tuesday morning, our last day of Staycation, we were gourmet-ed out. After such a delicious weekend, we enjoyed a low key morning of painting, sipping coffee, an afteroon family pool party, and ordering pizza for dinner. Staycation 2009 was great, and I'm excited to try out my new recipes again soon!