Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Healthy (kinda) Egg Rolls - Low Carb and free book!

Hello, everybody! The Fresh Pioneer is back and I have a delicious recipe for those evenings when you want something a little different.
These are officially low carb, but they're not low calorie. So, you can decide whether it fits into your diet, or whether you can have just one with a salad. (I didn't have to think too hard about this since I'm not fond of cabbage OR Chinese food. No brainer!) But I knew this would be a big hit with the family, and since we've had wayyyyy too many cookies and sweets lately, this seems a fun way to get back on the road to real food.
 What you see is a doubled recipe (alert- family of EIGHT!) but the measurements I'll give are what is listed on the back of the package.

1lb pork sausage
2 cups cabbage
1/2 cup bean sprouts
1 cup shredded carrots
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp garlic
2TBS oyster sauce
one package egg roll wraps (made with rice)

 Brown pork sausage. Use thirteen year old child who does not appreciate her picture taken.
 After the pork is browned, add in the carrots, cabbage, garlic, ginger and green onions. Stir over high heat for 2-3 minutes, like a quick stir fry.
 Remove from the heat and add 2 TBS of the oyster sauce. I checked the back and there was no MSG but it still made me nervous. So far, so good. Usually anything with that many preservatives gives me a killer migraine but I saw this on a list for people who are sensitive to MSG and derivatives.
 So, let the mixture cool, then remove the rice paper wraps from the container. Put a small bowl of water near as you assemble the egg rolls.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Put about 2 tsp of mix in the middle. It smells DELICIOUS.
 Wrap it up like a little envelope, sealing the last flap with a bit of water.
 Ta-dah. Now, into the oven for about 12-15 minutes, until browned.
 I order these napkins from Macy's because I fell in love with this line of china. (Wait, you say... why order napkins if you love the china!?) The china was sooo crazy expensive, even on sale, that one mug cost $49! I mean, seriously. In this family, we could break hundreds of dollars in dishes a week that way!
 Anyway, so I got placemats and napkins. And they are SOOOO pretty. I'm going to try and paint a replica of it... but it might be a fail. I'll let you knew what happens.
 Looking tasty! Now, the original recipe called for green cabbage an I'm sort of seeing why. These babies look purple!
 Hubby was pretty excited to see this as his appetizer. (This couldn't be his whole meal. He needs a big salad and maybe some corn or green beans. But I took pictures before I put everything on there...)
 Dipping in the soy sauce... And the other sauce is a spicy and sour... my fave!
 Steaming hot and the veggies are still crisp!
 Now, while I was cooking, the kids were out playing in the garden. And across the fence lives a lovely woman named Sandy. She's a cook for one of the elementary schools and she must think my kids are missing out on the goodness of cafeteria food (the good kind, not the horrible kind) becuase she always sends plates of goodies over! So, dessert appeared in front of me... angel food cake with a chocolate glaze and vanilla pudding middle. YUMMY.

I wasn't really sold on the oven baked part, so I fried the last batch in about an inch of oil, turning until each side was crispy. I really thought they tasted so much better... but of course, it raises the calorie content as well. I think if you only have one or two, the frying doesn't make a difference. For hubby, I think I'll keep his baked because he ate about seven. That would be a lot of grease!

Before I get to the free book part, I wanted to show you the coolest thing my husband made. Built in bookshelves! 

That's about 20 feet of bookshelves... isn't it awesome?? It took a while, even with all the shortcuts, but I show you all the pics next week. But I'm still swooning over them. Finally, all our books will be organized!

Here is working on it... and even though I told him, "It will be SO easy!", it really wasn't. But I'll share that next time. For now, enjoy the egg rolls and the... FREE BOOK!
Ok, everyone! Have a wonderful Wendesday and if you haven't read it yet, Purple Like the West is FREE!! It's the second in my historical romance series. And it fits right in with the recipe because the book is all about the Chinese laborers in California at the turn of the century.

 Here's the blurb: 

    Margaret Gilbert, a railroad executive’s daughter, is a pampered princess of San Francisco’s wealthy elite, but she chafes under the expectation that she will marry for status and dreams of independence. When she joins the local Ladies’ Aid Society, she’s horrified by the treatment of the Chinese immigrant laborers. Vowing to expose the abuse, she begins to investigate the complicated system of slave labor provided to the railroads, but no one will listen to a woman like her. 
When she meets Ezra Pendleton, heir to a newspaper empire, she concocts a plan to tell the world- without incurring the wrath of her father. Ezra is the perfect cover. She’ll make her family happy by feigning interest in a very eligible bachelor, become an undercover reporter, and keep her identity a secret.
         At least, that was the idea. Margaret starts to wonder if Ezra will turn out to be her plan’s fatal flaw. He is not the sort of man you can string along with flattery. He’s smart, wary, and is hiding a secret of his own. As the city falters under the stress of the Chinese mobs, the situation turns more dangerous than they could have imagined. Racial tensions in the city hit a breaking point and arson erupts close to home. By the time there is an outbreak of the plague in Chinatown, it seems as if all the darkest parts of the city will be revealed at once.
     Margaret and Ezra are thrown together in a common cause, but will their secrets destroy the love that  is growing between them? A story of faith, honor, and forgiveness. 


  1. I love the china too. What a great idea about the placemats. I keep thinking I will get a mug someday! And I love how these grills dont involve oil.

    1. My friend who can't have wheat is excited because it has a rice paper cover, not a wheat one. But of course she'll have to check all the ingredients for gluten. I think it's a recipe that can be tweaked to fit your dietary wants.

  2. love the shelves and the hunk working on them! the eggrolls look good too! I always though they were harder than that - I'd be tempted to fry them too -s igh - about 12 yrs ago I was really into my new fry daddy and would go to sam's club and get taquitos, chicken nuggets, and egg rolls and have deep fry fest for 1...and gained weight big-time! but everythign sure tasted good!
    where did you find the egg roll wrappers? what section of the store?

    1. They were near the fresh vegetables, in a case near the packaged salads and fresh herbs. There was a big display of Odwalla vegetable juices (like those big jugs of green goop) so, somewhere over there in the "healthy" food area! LOL Oh, also there was tofu, so many look around that kind of area?

    2. And yeah, the fry daddy is a killer! I bought one for a certain occasion (big fish fry party) and haven't used it since!


    And I'm going to try these egg rolls because I love egg rolls and low-carb is my middle name.... Which means every time I make home-made pretzels and bagels (Dave's favorites) I can't eat them...... BUT!!!!!! I can totally pig out on my veggie/sausage/cheese omelettes and I don't kill anyone!!!!! :) (Shh, I know it's shallow, but let me live in my fantasy....) But these are low-carb enough to be a feast, Virginia!!!!

    1. I thought they really satisfied that "I'm eating bread/ pasta" feeling. All that ginger still isn't a flavor I'm wild about, and I think there was definitely too much sausage (could have been halved and still been just as good) but they were TASTY.

  4. Oh my goodness...I am drooling over those bookshelves!!!!!!! In serious reader envy up here. I've always wanted built in bookshelves. How totally awesome is that???? Your husband is definitely a keeper just for his carpentry skills but I bet you can add some other qualities to your list as well. :-)

    1. YOu know, he's a keeper because he TOLD ME when I showed him the picture, "That's going to be a lot of work". I said, "No, it's a short cut, see? You buy the shelves and then just bolt them to a platform and put on the trim." He gave me this look... the one that says, "I think you're delusional".
      Anyway, about 1/8 of the way through, I realized I did not have the skills to make these shelves! Ok, I had the skills but not the muscles. He was heavy 80 pound pieces around, attaching a few more, heaving them again. Yikes. I slunk away to the library and tried to think of nice things to cook for him when it was all done.

  5. Finally a baked egg roll recipe. My butt and I thank you.

    1. LOL. I don't want to have a conversation with your butt. You can interpret.
      And I think a slightly lower temp and higher cooking time would be good. It seemed to really crisp the outside, but some of the folds of the rice paper were a bit chewy. But maybe it's always like that. I don't eat rice paper so I have no idea what it's SUPPOSED to taste like.

  6. VIRGINIA!!!!!!!!!! You're my Ginny in a bottle. :) I used to have this recipe, but somewhere in all the overseas moves it got lost. I was just thinking about these eggrolls last week and wishing I had that recipe. You made my wish come true!

    We used to eat these things as a meal. And you can go lighter on the sausage and heavier on the veggies, if you like. They are so yummy!

    I am happy dancing all over my office. Or will be just as soon as I step away from the keyboard. I can't wait to make them.

    WHOO-HOO!!!!!!! Happy day at the Obi house!

    1. When I saw your post yesterday, I thought of this recipe! Maybe it can be a good transitional recipe. One of those, "I can't eat another salad" days.
      And I definitely would go lighter on the sausage. Maybe because we don't eat that much meat, or because it was spicy (it tasted spicy to me- not hot, but spicy) it seemed mostly cabbage and sausage. I think when I make them again, I'll put in more carrots, use green cabbage (the purple color was fun, though) and less sausage.
      But it was GOOD!

  7. These look so good! I haven't made eggrolls in ages because I don't like the mess of frying. But baking? I'll have to try it.

    I have a recipe from Trim Healthy Mama called Egg Roll in a Bowl. It's basically all the insides of an egg roll, but without the wrap. I don't think it uses the oyster sauce though. Oyster sauce and sesame oil are the two things that really make Asian food shine for me!

    1. I was worried about using it, since the mix tasted so good without it, and I thought the kids would think it was gross WITH the oyster sauce. But it passed muster!

  8. What gorgeous shelves!!! And the egg rolls look amazing, too. I think I'm with you on the flying. Worth it. :)

    BTW, I've heard of oyster sauce but don't think I have that one in the pantry. I'll have to buy it and see what it's like.

    1. When I picked up the rice paper, it had oyster sauce on the back with the recipe. I thought about leaving it out, but the whole bottle was $2.50 or something, and it only needed a few TBS. So, I figure it will be with us for a while! I don't think it ahs to be refrigerated so I'm leaving it in the pantry with the soy sauce an other things we don't use much.

  9. Love your placemats! I know how it is when you build something. If it says it's easy it usually takes us a looooong time to put it together!

  10. Aren't they pretty? It's such a bright and graceful design. And I do love little birds (in pictures, not in cages in my house).
    I'll post the whole process next week and the blog where I saw it first. Such a great tutorial!

  11. I can't wait to try these! YUM! No gluten, no egg, filled with veggies. *Happy dance*
    Oh my goodness, your place settings look so gorgeous!!
    Yeah, I am still drooling over those beautiful bookshelves too. :D

  12. I thought of you, my friend! There aren't many recipes I read that have NONE of your allergens!