chocolate cake/cupcakes

A fluffy & moist chocolate cake mix! (pictured below as cupcakes with peanut butter frosting)

2 cups flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable shortening

To make the cake, add:

1 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs

Make the cake mix by combining the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk. Using an electric mixer or a food processor, blend in the shortening until no lumps remain. (Using the mixer on this makes a dusty cocoa mess, so its easier if you have a food procesor!) This is the dry cake mix part, and you can store it in an air-tight container for several months. Finish making the cake by adding the water, oil, and eggs to the cake mix in a large bowl. Mix on low speed until moistened, and then beat on medium for about 2 minutes. Pour batter into greased and floured pans (one 9x13-inch pan, two 9-inch round cake pans, or about 24 cupcakes) and bake at 350 degrees.

9x13-inch pan: 35-38 minutes
9-inch cake pans: 30-33 minutes
cupcakes: 19-22 minutes


2 cups white sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 tsp vanilla extract

Make frosting by combining frosting ingredients in a sauce pan and heating over medium heat, stirring constantly. Bring mixture to a boil and then boil and stir for 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Using an electric mixer, beat frosting on high until it starts to thicken to a frosting consistency. The frosting will continue to thicken as it cools, so don't beat it too long. Once it is spreadable, spread half of the frosting over the first layer of the cooled cake, working quickly. Place the second piece of cake on top and insert a few toothpicks if desired, to keep the cake layers from shifting. Finish frosting the cake. If your frosting is too thick, add milk.

jiaozi OR guotie = potstickers

I can't say enough good things about these delicious nuggets. They are perfect. Thanks to Shu dajie (big sister) for teaching us how to make this famous Chinese dish! You can obviously change the amounts, meat/veggies, and even substitute anything you may not care for. There are many kinds of Jiaozi in the world yet to be created! ....but plan on spending 3-4 hours with some friends!

Main Ingredients:
6 chicken* breasts, ground or chopped fine
green onions, 1 bunch
spinach, 1 med bunch
cilantro, 1 bunch
6-8 large white mushrooms
1 small eggplant, peeled
baby cabbage*, 1/2 bunch
garlic, to taste (1-2 cloves minced)
1-2 T fresh ginger, minced

3/4 cup oil (1/2 cup vegetable, 1/4 cup sesame oil)
2 T salt
1/8 cup soy sauce
1/2 T Hua jiao fen* (spicy peppercorn powder)
1/5 tsp chicken bullion powder

Extra Items Needed:
200+ round Jiaozi wraps*
oil for frying
large wok with lid
basting brush
soy sauce for dipping

Preparation (1.5 hours)
Chop all your main ingredients finely (see pict above), and mix together in a large mixing bowl. Add flavorings, and continue to mix well. You can cut back on oil if you desire. This mixture should smell really great. Put a small dab of stuffing into the center of the wrap, and pinch the top together. There are many ways to close the wraps, so watch this funny video if you want to see some action and great demonstration., or you can watch us "in action" too. Lay your Jiaozi on a large board before you fly/steam.

Frying (1.5 hours)
Heat small amount of oil in the bottom of your wok until hot. Place Jiaozi (about 15) neatly in the wok, on one side. Fry for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned. Flip each Jiaozi, and splash with water from a basting brush 10-15 times. Cover immediately, and steam for 4+ minutes until done. The water keeps them from getting too dried out. Serve warm with soy sauce for dipping.

Steaming (1+ hours)

You will need a large steamer, with 1-2 levels of steaming layers. Steam Jiaozi for 12-15 minutes, depending on the type of meat you use.

Happy wrapping & devouring!

*if you use beef, lamb or pork - you will need to cook the Jiaozi longer to make sure the meat is cooked thru.
glory to Shu dajie, a wonderful woman & joyful friend