• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon Gourmet Garden ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon red crushed pepper flakes or to your taste
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch green onions, sliced on the diagonal into one-inch lengths
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup light soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 lb flank steak, sliced at an angle, across the grain and very thin
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

WARNING: This is a very colorful post!

Saturday was my birthday. I’ll never say how old. Did you suggest 29? I’ll take it!

The morning temperature was a glorious 70 something degrees, the sun was shinin’ and there was a nice breeze in the air. By the afternoon it was a pleasant 83 degrees.

My guys took me for a lovely drive to the Le Creuset (I just love saying that name) outlet in Smithfield, NC. We have the most wonderful Carolina Premium Outlets there.

When I entered the store this is what I saw…

amazingly beautiful cookware and kitchen gadgets of all kinds and prices that made me smile from ear to ear…

and these beauties…

Oh, my gosh, how would I ever choose? God bless my three guys. After about an hour of browsing I saw it.  My soon-to-be present was sitting in the corner…

…waiting just for moi— hey I was in a French cooking store!

There she was…my new beautiful shiny red wok! To me, this was much better than a shiny red car… really!

The next day I put my new wok to good use and made Mongolian Beef. Yum! That’s all I have to say about that!

I thanked my hubby a thousand times because the wok made THE BEST Mongolian Beef and Chicken and Broccoli (to be my next post) and then the clean up was super simple!

I also got a pair of silicone cooking utensils that can stand heat up to 800 degrees!

I didn’t cook on my birthday however. We went to my favorite Asian restaurant Peking Garden with our dear friends the Forsters. We all gathered around a large round table with a huge lazy susan in the middle. We ate a lot and then more! Then we came back to our home to open presents and eat Amanda’s amazing orange vanilla cupcakes (my very favorite!).

I asked everyone to please not buy me anything but of course they wouldn’t listen. Want to see what I got for my birthday?

My youngest son Alexander gave me those beautiful earrings which I wore on my birthday. How thoughtful of him! Alex also made a terrific playlist on Spotify for the drive to the outlet including some of my favorites like Blonde, Interpol, Kings of Leon, Boston…

My oldest son Nathaniel gave me a set of wooden spoons with one of my favorite Bible verses on them. “Serve one another in love…” Galatians 5:13

He also gave me this beautiful drinking cup.

Oh, and do you see that pretty pie bird? My hubby gave me that, too. I’ve always wanted one. Found it at the Le Creuset outlet as well!

Amanda gave me the prettiest cutting board and pie plate that both say “Give thanks to the Lord.” Aren’t they so pretty?

Debbie and Billy gave me a gorgeous tray, matching chargers and napkin holders with leaves and acorns on them. They look so lovely on our dining table.

The most special thing about my birthday was being surrounded by family and friends. And Mom and Dad called (just like they do every year) and sang “Happy Birthday” to me. I treasure that. Now don’t tell my mom that I bought pretty things for my house with the money she and dad sent to me. She likes for me to buy something else for myself like clothes or something, but I just love nesting and so I bought some of the fall items you saw in my fall decorating post. Let’s just keep that between us — shall we? (that means you, too, Dad). xo

Needless to say, I love, love, love the beautiful shiny red wok my hubby got me and the time my guys took to spend the day with me at the store.

Here’s how I made my MONGOLIAN BEEF– it was soooo good!

Place the oil in your heated wok which should be set over medium high heat.

Place your ginger, red pepper flakes, garlic, onion slices and scallions in your wok. Stir fry for a couple of minutes. The onions should be tender but not too soft. Remove onto a plate.

Toss the thin slices of beef in cornstarch.

Add your soy sauce, water, and brown sugar to the wok. Heat until the sauce thickens. Remove from your wok and set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil to your wok and stir fry your beef for about three minutes. Now add your sauce and onions.

Serve over a bed of steamed rice (we love basmati rice the best) and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

So cheers to family, food, fun, and birthdays!

From our hearts to yours,

Elise and family