Thursday, March 14, 2013

Spring Veggie Stir Fry

When I was a girl, my mother always let me choose what I wanted her to cook for dinner on my birthday. She had a cookbook with "international" recipes and every year I always chose a particular stir fry that included snow peas. Oh how I loved those snow peas! We never ate out at restaurants and my mom is a fantastic cook, but her repertoire didn't include many ethnic dishes. So my birthday dinner was always a special culinary treat and was probably the only Asian-inspired meal I ate for most of the year.

A dozen years later and I marry a fellow amateur food snob who especially adores almost any sort of Asian food. We used to eat out a lot more in our pre-offspring stage and also enjoyed roasting newlywed chickens and concocting eclectic spinach salads at home. Back then we had more time, energy, and money and we only had to please ourselves so we were exploring all sorts of different cuisines. Fast forward to now and I've noticed that the majority of times that we actually escape the house, just the two of us, we go out for sushi. Dinner dates are such a rarity that we go straight for the best comfort food that can't be replicated at our home. Utah is landlocked, ya know.

And now Ava has shown how much she loves Asian food. She cries when she finds out we got sushi without her and runs to the fridge to check for leftovers. She begs us to take her to "Jasmine", her favorite Chinese restaurant. And since she is now learning to speak Chinese and loves Chinese culture, all I have to do to get her to eat is tell her that whatever I'm cooking is a Chinese recipe. Plus, she's always loved broccoli and took roasted asparagus to preschool to share for her birthday treat.

So I've been searching for a good stir fry recipe; one that isn't way too salty or too sugary, has a depth and complexity of flavor, and lots and lots of vegetables.

This recipe was originally intended to be a gluten-free and vegetarian meal, but since our family is neither of those things (for deliberate reasons that probably deserve their own post...), I adapted it a bit for our tastes.
Because we're a meat-eating, protein-lovin' kind of family, I swapped out the tofu for fresh, lean chicken. (And because tofu does a number on my stomach) Also, my kids are sensitive to spicy heat so I only added less than a third of the Sriracha originally called for. I couldn't find any reasonable sprouts at the store this time but I love love love them and they add an extra dimension of flavor and texture. Also, I preferred to stir the dressing into the chicken and veggies rather than into the noodles so that I could cut back on the starch on my own plate while still enjoying the yummy goodness of the dressing. It's an easy dish to make and isn't very fancy but it makes everyone here happy. Last night I made it for dinner but Jon is out of town so Ava just had to text him to let him know he missed a VERY scrumptious meal.

Spring Veggie Stir Fry with Noodles
adapted from

Serves 4 to 6
What You Need:
For the noodles:
1 8-ounce package thick white rice noodles, cooked, drained
Salt, to taste
Sesame oil, to taste
For the dressing:
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha
Zest of 1 lime
For the stir fry:
12-14 oz. chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
2-1/2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
1/2 cup snow peas, strings removed
3/4 cup chopped asparagus
2 medium carrots, julienned
1/4 cup soybean sprouts
1/3 cup scallions, chopped
3/4 cup fresh broccoli florets
Roasted peanuts
What You Do:
  1. In a medium bowl, add noodles, salt lightly, and drizzle with a touch of sesame oil.
  2. For the dressing, in a medium bowl whisk together all ingredients. 
  3. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, toss together chicken and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and sauté until browned. Set aside. Add remaining sesame oil, snow peas, asparagus, carrots, sprouts, scallions, and broccoli and sauté, stirring often, until vegetables are brightly colored and slightly tender. Combine veggies with chicken and stir in dressing until warmed and coated.
  4. To serve, divide noodles evenly among serving bowls and top with veggies, chicken, and peanuts. Serve hot.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Cycling the Legacy

So, during the construction of the Legacy Highway in Salt Lake and Davis County, UDOT added a 50mile trail which parallels most of the highway. We decided to put some new Teerlink gear to test by riding as far as out little legs could carry us. We loaded up the VW with as much cycling gear as she could hold and headed north to the trail head.

The trail was segmented by great small pocket parks which made for great pit stops. The park had smattering of kids who Ava promptly made friends with. At mile 5 we ended up taking a break at Bountiful Lake. After Ava made sure the lake was filled with enough rocks we followed her ultra pink kit (picture Kermit the frog pedaling as fast as possible) back to the car to complete a 10 mile ride! Good times.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Group Photos Redefined

Can I tell you how cool this is! No longer do I need to smoosh my favorite gaggle of friends or family together in order to get a great group shot. The panographic shot has got to be the best method of capturing the true view of a group. That's PANO-graphic, not to be confused with its homophonic counterpart.

Celebrating Colby's Graduation from Police Academy

Marianne's and Jim's B-Day Party

Of course they are only good as long as they sit still! Otherwise they end up looking like an early 1800's black and white with blurred faces