Life at Warp Speed

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Crayola – buy 1, get 2 free! August 21, 2011

Filed under: Baby/Toddler,Deals,Preschool,Toys — lifeatwarpspeed @ 12:47 pm
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Toys ‘R’ Us – Newspaper Ads.

If I didn’t already have a huge stash of art supplies in our home school cupboard for M, I would totally be here. Toys “R” Us is having a buy 1, get 2 free deal for Crayola crayons and markers until 8/27.

I don’t buy any traditional, old school crayons for M. Instead, I stocked up on these Twistable Crayons which completely solves the problem of broken crayons and the subsequent tears when Mom can’t put the pieces back together. Toddlers can be incredibly hard on regular crayons even the triangular and jumbo crayons. So, this solves the drop & break and death grip problems. The shape is good for acclimating your child to the shape and feel of a pencil or pen. I also love that I can pack a few in my bag for M and not worry about them breaking or getting crayon all over everything since you can retract the tips. These also come as Twistable Color Pencils.

Another favorite Crayola product right now is the washable dry-erase crayons which completely eliminate the horrible chemical smell of dry erase markers. I don’t want to deal with the problem of M marking up the furniture and cabinets in our house or trying to scrub dry erase marker off his hands. Some people have complained that it is hard to erase with the cloth that comes with the pack. Actually, using baby or wet wipes takes the crayon right off the white board. I love these because I can just leave the crayons sitting out on M’s whiteboard tray which means that he can write his letters and numbers any time he wants instead of waiting until I have time to supervise marker use. These are a great even for toddler hands because the crayons are thicker like beginner crayons.

I also love the Pipsqueak Crayola markers and pencils. These are shorter markers with a thicker barrel which works perfectly for toddler hands. Also the tips of the markers are more blunted and rounded which is great for the tectonic plate level pressure that M’s hands put these markers through.

Have fun with your kids making interesting art projects!



Beef and Tomato Potstickers

Filed under: Chinese,Cookbooks — lifeatwarpspeed @ 8:00 am
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Nothing says summer to me like super sweet and juicy tomatoes growing outside my kitchen window. I love home grown tomatoes whose flavor can’t be matched by the supermarket. So, what do you do with all those tomatoes? During the peak of tomato season, I like to make one of P’s favorites: Beef and Tomato Potstickers from the Pot Sticker Chronicles. My rule of thumb with cookbooks is generally this. The better ones never seem have a lot of expensive glossy pictures. You won’t find any color photos in The Pot Sticker Chronicles, just stuffed to the brim with lots of recipes.

If you know me in IRL, you know that I hate buying frozen store-bought dumplings with a passion. Don’t even get me started on what I think about those Ling Ling ones that you find at Costco and the supermarket. I think it speaks for itself that no Asian market stocks Ling Ling in their freezer section.

Homemade potstickers are always better. When I make potstickers, it is usually major endeavor, I make hundreds at one time to freeze for later use. This is especially helpful when I have unexpected guests over and I need to make something quick. Whether I make 4 dozen or 24 dozen, the time sink is mostly in the wrapping. I usually make up the fillings during the day and allow them to chill in the fridge until I put M to bed a night. Then I set up my wrapping assembly line and turn on my Tivo and get caught up on my favorite shows while I get to work. It helps to wrap my remote in plastic wrap to keep things sanitary.

The filling is easily multiplied, and it doesn’t require that much effort to make 2 or 3 different fillings. Most people stick making with the pork and cabbage types. If you have ever traveled in China, you learn that there are all sorts of different fillings for dumplings. Today, I want to share this beef and tomato one that has a bit of a spicy kick.


You should not use a low fat ground beef for this otherwise the filling will not be juicy and as flavorful.

As always whenever you work with ground beef, do not over work the meat as it will make the texture of the beef too tough.

You can choose to seed and peel your tomatoes if you like, but it is not necessary.

Leftover wrappers can be frozen. I wrap them up  in plastic wrap, then again with aluminum foil. Then I put the whole thing in a freezer bag. Thaw in the fridge the next time you make potstickers.


Beef and Tomato Potstickers from Pot Sticker Chronicles by Stuart Chang Berman (

Serves 4 to 6 (approx. 48 potstickers)


1 pound ground chuck
3 medium tomatoes, finely minced and drained well
1 bunch green onions, finely minced
6 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1 whole egg
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce, or mushroom soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine
5 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon serrano peppers, finely minced
48 potsticker wrappers, store bought or handmade
1 egg white, lightly beaten, optional


1.    Combine all ingredients except the wrappers and egg white  in a mixing bowl and mix well with a pair of chopsticks. Transfer filling to a colander and allow to drain.
2.    To wrap dumplings, you can either use lukewarm water or egg white to moisten one side of each skin. Place about 1 tsp of filling in the center of each skin. Fold and crimp into crescent-like shapes. (Here is a youtube video on how to fold potstickers. Place on a floured tray. Potstickers may be cooked immediately or frozen on the tray. Once frozen, transfer the dumplings to a freezer bags for storage.
3.    You can either boil (Northern style) or pan fry (Canto style) the dumplings to your preference. I find that pan frying works best when you freeze the pot stickers first.

* If you want to reduce the heat, scrape out the the ribs and seeds of the pepper first. That’s where most of the heat is in a hot pepper.


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