A pot of hot rice pudding is simmering on the stove, I am tucked away on the couch with a blanket, the dogs are on my lab and we are waiting for the Seahawks – Packers game to start and the forecasted artic storm to hit. Perfect conditions to catch up on my blog. FY19 has been a bad blogging year, only 5 blog entries, I almost would have made it to #6 as I had big aspirations to write a blog entry during my Christmas vacation in Mexico but honestly there wasn’t really a moment where I wanted to sit inside in front of a computer and cool down, I rather spent the days outside in 80 degree weather cruising around on the ATV, exploring new beaches and envisioning our retirement in Mexico.While lying on the beach and thinking that 2019 is coming to an end, I couldn’t help but wonder how the year 2020 is upon us – to me 2020 always represented a very futuristic date. It also makes me think about my life so far. I can categorize my life pretty much into 4 big life passages: first there was the year 1968 when I was born and a lot of growing up had to be done in Germany.
I especially like the picture with the Nikolaus (arrives December 6th in Germany) with his companion Knecht Ruprecht (you don’t see him in the picture). But I was terrified of Knecht Ruprecht, story has it that if you were a bad child he would punish you right there, you can see my scared face. The picture below that is my mum and I in Paris at the Monmatre street fair. And the Hula picture I think was taken on the Canarian Island where I took part in a Hula dance contest, not sure anymnore if I won or not.
Then it seems the 90’s rolled around with some significant impact like first boyfriend, university, moving out of the parents’ home and first job, followed by the 2000’s with moving to the US and starting over a new life from scratch; catching the very last wave of Seattle grunge, living on Capitol Hill to suburbia life with husband, kids, horse, dogs, cats, house, a corporate (Microsoft) job, US citizenship and the entire kitten caboodle.
Below one of our first “selfies” after Mike proposed to me during a snowy night in Germany in Holzkirchen when we returned from the brewery on our way home to my parents. I don’t think people were taking selfies in 2006? And now its 2020 and big changes will be upon us in this new century – some planned and wished for like retirement and spending time in Europe and Mexico and some I am sure unforeseen and not wished for. But strangely enough it doesn’t feel futuristic at all – still no robot housekeeper (besides the iRobot vacuum) or beaming yourself to different places like Captain Kirk and the Enterprise.
2019 was a pretty good year with the exception of my beloved dog Sky passing. Brittany graduated with a Master degree from Cal State, we finished off our final items on the “remodeling list” (like a new roof and the a real fish/Koi pond for Mike), Michelle and Jeremy came and visited us for Easter, I got to spent time with my parents in Germany and then time here in the US, I left MS after 14 years and started a new job with Amazon and fun summer vacation with the Sudores and my parents at Lake Roosevelt as well as super chill Christmas vacation with Brittany, Vanessa and Mike in Mexico.It was sooooo relaxing not having to worry about all the Christmas insanity of gift shopping, house decorations, Christmas dinner planning/cooking/hosting/cleaning etc. instead Mike just went fishing most of the days and brought back the most delicious fish like Dorado and Snapper for the BBQ, Sierra for fresh Ceviche and white Bonita for the most delicious sashimi, which we ate pretty much every day, that’s how good it was. Our Christmas Baja Style also had a lot of “firsts” – all of us together for Christmas vacation, Britt’s first time outside the US, catching her own fish, reef snorkeling and driving a quad, a long searched Rooster fish for Mike, me going on 2 fishing trips without getting sea sick, a German Christmas dinner in Mexico, baby turtles hatching, bringing your own caught fish to a restaurant and they prepare it for you -we liked all of this so much that we have already booked 2020 Christmas in Baja again.
Let’s see what has happened since the last update. October is Mike’s birthday month and we hosted our yearly Fishlake trip with Sam and Sam. This year my friend Allison and her husband Bobby joined us and Troy and Brandi also stopped by. As usual the boys spend most of the day on the lake while the ladies spent some leisurely time in the cabin with the dogs and a quick shopping (and beer) trip to Leavenworth.
Then Mike’s favorite Holiday rolled around – Halloween – and finally he got to build his haunted house – it turned out amazing, he turned the entire garage into a haunted house and it was so spooky that some of our neighbors didn’t even want to enter it…Beatrice also made a quick pit stop at our house on Halloween…
November of course is Thanksgiving month and tradition has it that our friends are usually hosting Thanksgiving dinner since their family is much bigger than ours, so it makes more sense for us to join the party at their home and for me to focus on the appetizers and dessert. Since our friends are Asian/American, I thought fresh spring rolls would complement the Kimchi and fermented garlic stems that the Asian side of the house brings and indeed it was a good call. The peanut butter dipping sauce provides the “warmth and depth” for a winter appetizer. And if you try them out now, you have some time to practice rolling this perfect appetizer when summer comes around. For dessert we recently added to the Thanksgiving menu a chocolate fountain which the kids (and adults) have grown very fond of – as you can see below. I didn’t grow up with pumpkin pie and have never acquired the taste for it and there really isn’t anything “chocolaty” on the traditional Thanksgiving dessert menu, so a chocolate fountain makes perfect sense to me.
And here the last shots taken of our neighbors and friends Chrissy, Pete, Kiley and Liliana at Thanksgiving. Just shortly after Christmas they moved back to New Jersey :-(.
That pretty much sums up the last 3 months and now off to 4 months of rain and no sun…so far I think its day #5 without any ray of sun – it feels like as if I live in Alaska where some days the sun never comes up and there is 24 hours of darkness for 67 days. .
Now to the recipe of this blog – Fresh rolls with Peanut Butter Dipping sauce – makes 12
Fresh Spring Roll Recipe:
For the spring rolls:
- 1 package Spring roll rice wrappers
- 1 package think rice sticks (don’t accidentally buy Phad Thai noodles, you need thinner more vermicelli noodle style noodles.
- 1 large carrot , peeled and shredded or sliced into thin strips, I like to buy the bag of shredded carrots, broccoli and red cabbage, that makes the prep easy)
- 1 large English cucumber , peeled and sliced into thin strips
- 1 pound tofu cut into small strips (if you like it as is its fine, I like to fry mine up with a little bit oil, salt and pepper)
- 1 bunch fresh mint leaves
- 1 bunch fresh basil leaves
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro (for those who like cilantro…I don’t ;-))
For the peanut sauce:
- 1/4 cup peanut butter (I like smooth but you can also take crunchy)
- 1/4 cup or a little bit less water
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon grated garlic
- 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 – 3 teaspoons hoisin sauce
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- squeeze of fresh lime juice
- Sweet chili sauce for dipping
- you can replace the tofu with shrimp
- add in mango if you like a little bit a sweet taste
- Soak rice noodles 10 minutes in cold water, drain, then boil for 3 minutes, when done, drain and rinse with cold water.
- Gather all topping ingredients together, including chopped veggies, herbs, tofu and wrappers.
- Add about 1 inch of water to a large bowl or pan. Place one rice wrapper into the water and let soak for just 10-15 seconds. It should still feel pretty firm as you remove it and lay it on your counter or plate. (It will soften up as you add the filling ingredients)
- Layer 1-2 slices of each veggie, a few shrimp,2 slices of tofu next to each other onto the wrapper and do the same with the cucumber, then top with noodles, shredded veggies and few leaves of the mint/basil on to the first 1/3rd of the wrapper. .
- Now get a firm grip on the veggie/noodle pile and pull up the wrapper around it tight and roll it up like a burrito. You can fold over the sides first and then roll it up, I never do that, I just roll it up and then tuck in the ends.
For the peanut sauce:
Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix until smooth.
The rolls taste best the day they are made, but they can be stored for 2-3 days. Wrap each roll individually in plastic wrap to keep them fresh and to keep them from sticking together. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.