Sunday, August 30, 2009

thai drunken noodles

This is Jeremy's and my favorite "go to" dish that we order whenever we go out for Thai food. I tried making this a couple of months ago, without all of the right ingredients and it was a total flop. This time it was much closer, and tasted very good, but I still haven't quite achieved a dish that's comparable to the restaurant version.

Thai Drunken Noodles

-1 (16 0z) package wide rice noodles, soaked for 45 minutes (or until soft) and drained (I just soaked these while I was doing all of my other prep work)
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 yellow onion, sliced
-1 green bell pepper, sliced into strips, then strips cut in half
-any combination of assorted veggies of your choice (i.e. carrots, broccoli, green beans)... for this batch I used green beans and steamed them in the microwave for 5 minutes before adding to the wok
-1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
-fresh Thai basil leaves
-1 lb shrimp (or sliced beef, chicken, pork or tofu would be great also)
-1 egg, beaten
-2 Tablespoons canola oil

-6 Tablespoons oyster sauce
-1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
-juice of 1 lime
-2 Tablespoons fish sauce
-3 Tablespoons rice vinegar
-3 Tablespoons sugar

Heat canola oil in wok over medium high heat. Add garlic, onion and pepper, cook until starting to soften (about 5 minutes), stirring often. While veggies are cooking assemble sauce ingredients and set aside. Add shrimp to the wok and cook, stirring often, until shrimp are no longer translucent. Push shrimp and veggie mixture to side of the wok, add egg and scramble, breaking up into bits. Add steamed green beans, tomatoes, fresh basil leaves and sauce, stirring to thoroughly combine everything. Once it is all heated through, and the sauce has been absorbed serve. Garnish with fresh lime wedges if desired.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

thai coconut corn soup

This soup is super delicious and easy to throw together. The crab could easily be replaced with shrimp or chicken.

Thai Coconut Corn Soup

-8 cups chicken broth
-2 small cans crab meat
-1 can coconut milk
-2 cans cream style corn
-1 bunch scallions, chopped
-8 cloves garlic, minced
-1 inch piece of ginger, minced
-1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
-1 teaspoon chile sauce, such as sriracha
-2 tablespoons fish sauce

Saute garlic, red pepper strips and ginger in large pot over medium high heat for 5 minutes. Add broth, scallions, and chile sauce, cook for 5 more minutes. Add crab, corn and fish sauce, cook 5 more minutes. Garnish with fresh lime juice or cilantro if desired, serve and enjoy.

This post is being linked to The Recipe Swap at Grocery Cart Challenge.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

our anniversary celebration

we had a wonderful anniversary weekend. we took 3 days off of work and had a 5 day weekend. the weather was perfect, hardly any humidity and temperatures in the low to mid 80's. we managed to get to the park every day for a walk or jog. we squeezed in some time with jeremy's parents, hung out with a friend at a coffee shop/ book store and did lots of relaxing. for our actual celebration on our anniversary we got a hotel room (thanks to an awesome friends and family discount from a friend) in the french quarter, explored the area, and went out for a nice dinner. here's some of the pics from our day in the french quarter.

one of the courtyards and other rooms at our hotel

the door to our room... this hotel was so quaint and filled with charm

overlooking the courtyard


our bathroom with the jacuzzi tub

our bedroom

a local used bookstore that we perused

my dashing husband of 2 years!

us near the french market

the famous cafe du monde

and jackson square


me again

the restaurant where we ate dinner... beautiful ambiance

getting ready for dinner

heading out the door


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

2 years ago today...

On this day, two years ago, I married my best friend. I feel truly blessed by our commitment to each other, and love for God and each other.

Jeremy and I met at exactly the perfect time... as God's timing always is. Much earlier, and things never would have worked, for we would not have been in the right spot in our lives. We met at a young adult church service (at which Jeremy played guitar) when we were living in Myrtle Beach. We had both attended that service for over a year, and had seen each other all the time, but never actually spoken. One night a friend introduced us and we spent at least an hour afterwards chatting and going through the general introductory get to know you type of conversation. Within a few days he had invited me on our first date, for sushi. We talked at the restaurant for several hours, and then in the car for several hours before I finally went inside. Much to my surprise we never even touched that night... no goodnight kiss, hug, or hand hold. I had only been a Believer for about a year at this time, and definitely had never been on a date with a man of God, with integrity, seeking to honor Him in all things. When Jeremy left without a single sign of affection I was sure he wasn't interested, and wouldn't ever call me again. I was used to the world's way of dating, not the Lord's.

Much to my surprise Jeremy did call me again, and we continued to spend time together, still with no signs of affection. I wasn't sure if I was in the friend trap initially, or exactly what his intentions were. Along this path of getting to know each other we had talked and prayed several times about whether we were (or would actually date), about whether we could serve God better together, or as singles. After going around with this a couple times we ended up in official "dating" status. Jeremy had told me that God had put it on his heart to strive for purity in our relationship, to flee from physical temptation, so we would not kiss while dating (that's a rough paraphrase from how it actually happened, but that was several years ago).

Again, this was completely foreign to me, but I was relieved to understand why he hadn't tried to "bust a move on me" yet. It wasn't that he wasn't attracted to me, he was just more committed to honoring God (and me) through our relationship, than he was in indulging instant gratification. (Please know that I'm not saying that this is a requirement for all Christian relationships, it was just what we needed and what the Lord had for us). My heart melted at this! God had given me exactly what I had needed, a man of character, honor, and integrity! A man that I was sure was interested in me, and not just physical gratification. Since we didn't spend endless hours "necking" during our dating period, we had lots of time to talk, and really get to know each other, and that we did.

8 months later we got engaged, exchanged our first "I love you" with each other (as Jeremy had resolved not to seek my heart, until he could ask for it in marriage), and had our first kiss! 4 months later we were married.

Our wedding was small and simple by today's standards, but was perfect for us.

And two years later here we are; more committed to each other, and more in love with each other than ever. As our love continues to mature, we continue to become more united, and strive to serve our God.


Monday, August 24, 2009

baked oatmeal

This is a healthful breakfast that is easy to throw together, because I usually have all of the ingredients on hand. It comes out smelling wonderful and tasting like a big, soft, healthier version of an oatmeal cookie.

Baked Oatmeal

-3 cups quick cooking oats
-2 eggs
-1/2 cup apple sauce
-3/4 cup sugar
-1 cup milk
-1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 Tablespoon baking powder
-2 Tablespoons brown sugar
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-optional: 1 cups fresh of thawed frozen fruit, raisins, or nuts... I used thawed frozen blueberries, and it was delicious!

In a large mixing bowl, whisk 2 eggs, applesauce, vanilla, sugar and milk. Once creamy, add oats, salt, and baking powder and stir to combine. (If you're adding fruits or nuts, stir them in at this point). Pour batter into greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle top with brown sugar and cinnamon. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

spinach artichoke dip casserole

I made this Spinach Artichoke Dip Casserole from Kate's blog, Cooking During Stolen Moments.

This was a great recipe and I will definitely make it again, but with a few changes. For the casserole I omitted the chicken, so the dish would be vegetarian, and I used whole wheat instead of regular pasta to add nutritional value. I also used light sour cream and mayo to reduce the overall fat, and did not put any cheese on top, only the amount for inside the casserole.

Next time I would reduce the amount of horseradish by half (I loved the flavor that it added to the casserole, but found the amount called for quite overpowering as the predominant flavor in the casserole) and maybe up the cayenne a bit to maintain some of the spiciness from the horseradish. I'd also probably add a couple cloves of minced garlic. If I wasn't concerned with the overall fat of the casserole I would also add some shredded mozzarella cheese like I do in my spinach and artichoke dip, to give the casserole that stringy, cheesy, gooey, yummy effect.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

mashed white beans

this is more of a method than a recipe. any type of beans and seasonings could be used here to create endless dishes. black or pinto beans could be used, in combination with cheese, cilantro, chiles, and/ or cumin to create refried beans.

mashed white beans

-3 cups cooked white beans
-1 1/4 cups of water or stock
-salt and pepper to taste
-1 teaspoon dried oregano, basil, sage or rosemary
-2 cloves garlic, minced

heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. add garlic, saute 30 seconds. add remaining ingredients and simmer until warm, about 5 minutes. using a potato masher, mash the beans in the pan. continue to simmer until mixture thickens, stirring often.


Monday, August 17, 2009

strawberry shortcake

such a wonderful summertime dessert... fresh strawberries (sliced, mixed with 1 tabespoon sugar, and allowed to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes), whipped cream (1 cup whipping cream beat with 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla) and 5 flavor pound cake


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Favorite foods, re-post

I was completely lazy, and didn't take a single picture today. We did have a wonderful day though, filled with church (which Jeremy now plays guitar at on Sundays), a birthday lunch with friends, and a nice dinner at our place with our friends Scott and Rebekah.

I served some of our absolute favorite foods, so I'll just refer you back to
this prior post for my pictures and recipes for Asian Lettuce Wraps, Asian Coleslaw, and chocolate fondue with fresh fruit and five flavor pound cake. These are all seriously delicious recipes!


Friday, August 14, 2009

hot & sour soup

Ever since I was a kid hot & sour soup has been one of my favorite things to eat. It is a classic comfort food for me. When I'm sick, all I want to eat is either hot & sour soup or egg drop soup. I made my version vegetarian, but you could add strips of pork (which the traditional version has) for additional protein and flavor. I couldn't find any Chinese mushrooms at my local store, so I used sliced white mushrooms. Tiger lillies, shitakes, or wood ear mushrooms would be more authentic in this recipe, but it will be delicious with whatever you use!
Hot & Sour Soup

-8 cups chicken stock
-1/4 cup soy sauce
-16 oz mushrooms, sliced
-small can of bamboo shoots, sliced
-block extra firm tofu, cubed
-1 Tablespoon chili paste or sauce (this will make it VERY spicy, I suggest starting with 1/2 that... you can always add more)
-1 teaspoon white pepper
-1 teaspoon sugar
-1 inch piece of ginger, minced
-1/4 cup rice vinegar
-5 scallions, sliced
-2 eggs, beaten
-4 tablespoons cornstarch, mixed with 1/4 cup of water

Place stock, mushrooms, ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, bamboo, sugar, pepper, and chili paste in large pot, bring to boil. Simmer until mushrooms are tender, about 20 minutes. Add tofu, simmer 3 more minutes. Turn off heat. Once soup stops bubbling, slowly pour in beaten eggs while stirring the soup in long even strokes in one direction. Stir in the scallions, enjoy.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

black eyed pea, collard and potato soup

Each weekend I make a pot of soup that will serve as my lunch for the entire week, this is what I'm eating this week. It's quite a healthy and tasty meal. Next time I may tang or spice it up a little by adding red wine vinegar, a can of rotel, or red pepper flakes.

Black eyed pea, collard and potato soup

-1 lb black eyed peas, cooked until tender and drained
-4 cups of vegetable broth
-1 teaspoon salt
-fresh ground black pepper
-1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
-several potatoes, chopped (I used red so I didn't have to peel them)
-20 oz frozen collards, thawed

Combine everything except the collards in a stock pot. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender (at least 15 minutes). Stir in collards and cook 5 additional minutes.

This post is being linked to Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and Tempt my Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace.


Monday, August 10, 2009

sesame broccoli

Sesame Broccoli

-1 tablespoon sesame oil
-2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
-pinch of red pepper flakes
-2 tablespoons of sugar
-2 tablespoons of soy sauce
-1 1/2 lbs. broccoli, chopped

To cheat and speed up the process I stuck the broccoli in the microwave (for 5 minutes) prior to stir frying to begin cooking, but this step could be easily eliminated.

Heat oil in wok over medium high heat, add broccoli, cook, stir often. Once broccoli is turning bright green combine remaining ingredients and pour into pan. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until desired tenderness is reached.

This post is being linked to Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and Tempt my Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace.


vegetable beef soup

I know... what am I doing making big pots of hot soup in the hotest part of summer? I love soup... all year long, and I had frozen veggies and lean stew meat in the freezer that I had recently bought on sale, which meant that I just happened to have all of the ingredients that I needed for this on hand. The recipe below is the way that I would normally make this soup, but this time I changed it up a bit, and added a can of rotel instead of one of the cans of diced tomatoes, like my mother-in-law does with hers. This gives the soup a nice kick and some extra flavor. I've also made this by dumping all of the ingredients in a slow-cooker on low for 8-9 hours... it doesn't get much easier than that.

Vegetable Beef Soup

-2 lbs. beef stew meat (I like the lean stew meat)
-2 bay leaves
-1 tablespoon sugar
-1 yellow onion, chopped
-1 bag frozen mixed vegetables, thawed (I like the one with carrots, peas, grean beans, lima beans and corn)
-2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced into 1 inch pieces
-2 cups beef broth
-1 teaspoon salt
-¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
-1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
-1 tsp dried basil
-1 tsp dried oregano
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 (29 oz) cans diced tomatoes

Heat oil in stockpot over medium heat. Saute the onions until they soften (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and saute until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add the beef and cook until browned. (Sometimes at this point I'll add a couple tablespoons of flour, stir to combine, and cook for 1-2 minutes, if I want a thicker, stew-like consistency). Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until all the vegetables are cooked and the potatoes are soft (at least 30 minutes).