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Archive for the month “November, 2012”

Dumpling Day

Thursday was officially “Turkey Day” for much of the United States, myself included.  Even more exciting than turkey on Thursday; however, was “dumpling day” on Friday.  They are a lot of work, but worth it.  This was a 5 hour process.  Here is the play-by-play.

Dough package on left turns into dough blob on the right

You’ll need to buy the dumpling dough flour.  For anyone in the Milwaukee area you can find it at the Asian International Market.  The dough flour, water, 1 egg, and a little salt turns into the dumpling dough, which can also be used to make noodles.

Chop, Chop, Chop

After the dough was made and resting we proceeded to do a lot of chopping.  We chopped the meat into teeny tiny pieces (next time we are just going to use ground meat).  Then we chopped green peppers into even tinier pieces.  Then we marinated the meat in soy sauce and chicken stock while we worked on the next steps.

Rolling Instructions

Next up was rolling, rolling is tough.  First you roll the dough into a ball, then the goal is to roll the ball into thin, perfect circles.

The dough circles get filled with the meat/veggie mixture

Then you fold and pinch

Folding is difficult. Extra instruction and review were needed.

November 23, 2012:  The dumplings should look something like this.

Finally you drop them into boiling water

The drop and boil has a sequence to it.

–  Boil the water, drop the dumplings, cover.

–  Wait for the water to boil again.

–  Add cold water.  Cover.

–  Wait for the water to boil again.

–  Add cold water.  Cover.

–  Wait for the water to boil again.

–  When the skin of the dumpling starts to pucker, they are done.

Serve with vinegar and soy sauce, mixed together.

Enjoy!  (We ate them so quickly I forgot to take pictures of the finished product.)


Our Seattle Transit Battle

First, I want to clarify that public transportation in Seattle is top notch. I wish Milwaukee would take a lesson from Seattle. It’s a smorgasbord of options… bus, light rail, train, monorail, ferry, cable car… So many options. The only bad news is that on Sundays if you want to go to Everett to see the Boeing plant, your options are limited.

November 18, 2012: Test Flight. I must look so scared because I am thinking about our cab ride.

We made it from downtown Seattle to downtown Everett by bus without any issue. Things went downhill when we found out that the next bus we wanted to take no longer made the stop that we saw online. Alright, time to take a taxi. Well, I think it was the driver’s first day. Here are two conversations you never want to have with your cab driver…

Becca: “Sir, we are lost, aren’t we?”
Driver: “Yes.”

Dave: “Sir, I think you are driving on the wrong side of the road.”
Driver: “Yes, we are lost.”

Next the driver made a left hand turn from the wrong side of the road back onto the right side of the road, which really surprised the woman in the car next to us who was making the same turn from the correct side of the road. Luckily she was an attentive driver.

These conversations with our cabbie reminded me of another conversation I had with some colleagues a few weeks ago. Things you never want to hear from your doctor…

“Hmmm… I’ve never seen that before.”
“Well, I’ve never seen this in someone so young.”

We made if safely to Boeing, the tour was great, and a nice old woman from Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin gave us a ride to the train station to catch our bus. If you are in the Seattle area I would highly recommend the Boeing tour.

Super Seattle

We are back from another Grassl adventure.  I love vacations with Dave.  We relax, have a ton of fun, balance each other perfectly, and get into just enough mischief to keep things interesting and share a great inside joke for the rest of our lives.   I honestly think vacationing with one’s spouse can be a challenge; and I’m happy to report I feel like we have mastered it. Our latest adventure was to Seattle, Washington.  I would say Seattle is just how I imagined it. It was cold, very rainy, lots of art, amazing food, and never a shortage of activities and things to experience and explore. The dreary rain can be a downer, or you can think of it as great napping weather.  We personally went to bed before 8 p.m. every night.  If you are headed there here are a few highlights to check out…

1) Space Needle.  It’s a mandatory activity.

November 14, 2012: Top of the Needle

2) Chihuly Gardens. Dale Chihuly is a glass artist from Seattle. He also started his glass blowing work at UW-Madison. We were not expecting to LOOOOVE this place as much as we did.  If you talk to me about the Chihuly Gardens in person I will talk your ear off.  It was breathtaking, even better than the Space Needle, in my opinion.  Traveler Tip: you can get a discount on your ticket if you buy a Space Needle and Chihuly Gardens ticket package.

November 14, 2012: Chihuly Gardens

3) Fremont Troll under the bridge. This is off the beaten path but worth the detour to actually see a troll under a bridge.

November 16, 2012: Fremont Troll Under the Bridge

4) Serious Pie, it’s seriously good. I was originally expecting blueberry or apple as my pie choices. Nope, pizza, the most amazing pizza you can imagine. I had a rosemary potato pizza and now am trying to figure out what else I can combine rosemary and potato in.

Serious Pie!

5) Boeing plant tour in Everett. Maybe it’s because we are engineers, but we loved this. There is something about being inside a building so big that it creates it’s own weather, is the world’s largest building by volume, and that can fit 75 football fields inside that is simply astounding. Unfortunately no pictures are allowed inside the plant.  I also found it fascinating to learn about the daring souls who test fly the prototype planes that have never been flown before and all they have is a bunch of engineers telling them, “Really, this should work.”

November 18, 2012: Test Flight

6)  Thai Food!

And a stir fry pepper with an uncanny resemblance to a moustache. Only in Seattle!

A special thanks to my parents who opted out of standard Christmas gifts and funded some of our Seattle fun instead.  Great memories are way better than stuff, thank you!

It Takes a Village to Host a Wedding

I’ve been neglecting my blog recently, not because I don’t have things to post, but because my weekend time has been filled with other fun, specifically weddings.  For some reason this fall Dave and I attended an unprecedented number of weddings.  I love weddings, so this was not an issue whatsoever. 

We attended two weddings of friends from the same family and let me just say that I wish this family had 20 children because I love attending their weddings.  Not only are they are filled with love and happiness and food, amazingly delicious food.  The specific food highlight is the hors d’oeuvre hour between the wedding and the reception.  It’s amazing.  Here are a few examples of the deliciousness…

November 3, 2012: 3+’ of Smoked Salmon, Fresh from Lake Michigan

The part I love the most about the hors d’oeuvre hour is that for every wedding multiple family friends join together to help host the hour.  It happens regularly.  Every time a child gets married the group of friends joins together to host the hors d’oeuvre hour.  It’s a community effort and I love it.  The group even has aprons with the dates of all the weddings they have helped at embroidered on them.

The deliciousness didn’t end there though.  I have two giant stuffed pork chops for dinner, Dave had a steak the size of his head, and there was a tower of cupcakes on our table.

The whole weekend was a big food fest for Dave in particular.  Here was the menu:

Friday:  1+ lbs. of spicy Sichuan noodles

Saturday breakfast:  skipped

Saturday lunch:  3 chicken burgers and chips

Saturday snack:  2 plates of hors devors

Saturday dinner:  1 steak the size of his head

Sunday breakfast:  a handful of pretzels

Sunday lunch:  a burrito the length of his forearm

Sunday snack:  5 scoops of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream

Sunday dinner:  a belly ache on the couch and in bed before 8 p.m.

Monday:  Detox

Got Gas?

We did… natural gas.

For more than a few months I’ve been smelling gas in our basement, generally in our mechanical room.  While we typically don’t spend a lot of time in our mechanical room so I ignored it or forgot about it for the most part.  That all changed when our refrigerator broke the other week and we had to start using the refrigerator that is in our mechanical room.  I couldn’t handle even going near the place but Dave couldn’t smell it like I could.  (We learned from the energy company that women can smell gas more than men, mystery of life solved.)

October 29, 2012: The Leaker

Let it be known that if you call the energy company and tell them that you smell gas in your house they will be out immediately to check it out, even late at night.  They found that the control on our water heater had gone bad and needed to be replaced.  They also gave us free holiday cookies.  And, unfortunately, turned off the gas to our hot water heater, which meant no hot water and cold showers until it was fixed.

It should also be known that if you call a plumber and tell them that you have a gas leak and need it fixed they are extremely responsive.  Or maybe it’s just our plumber, Jon.  I love our plumber.  It might be weird to love a plumber, but this guy is top notch.  I would highly recommend him to anyone in the Milwaukee area, he owns a company called ProServ.  He did all the plumbing and mechanical work for us four years ago when we added a bathroom in our basement.  Dave and I have concluded that he doesn’t send any of his technicians to our house because he knows Dave is an engineer and it can be a little intense.  Whatever the reason, Jon is amazing.

We are now breathing free and clear thanks to Jon and ProServ Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling.

October 30, 2012: All Fixed!

And if you happen to be keeping score, the Grassl household has…

1)  A broken treadmill.

2)  A broken refrigerator.

3)  Problems with our furnace (not yet featured in a blog).

4)  A recently fixed broken water heater control that was leaking natural gas.

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