Daily Rebecca - dishing up a little bit of everything.

Simple Thai Chicken Pasta

November 20th, 2014

Winter is a tough time of year for food bloggers.

Losing daylight before 5pm makes it nearly impossible to get nice food photos, and this totally bums me out.

The other night I made a batch of this Simple Thai Chicken Pasta and in my florescent kitchen lighting (gross, I know!) it didn’t look so bad, so I thought I’d take a few pictures to see if I could capture it.

Let’s just say they are a far cry from the naturally lit beauties I love.

Should I try to talk Andy into having reheated dinner every night so I can cook at noon just to get good photos?

No?

I didn’t think so ;)

Thanks to my beloved Picmonkey, I was able to fix one of the photos enough to post it, but man I miss me some evening sunshine!

Back to the recipe though…

A simple list of ingredients comes together pretty quickly in this recipe.  The contrasting flavors of the tangy dressing, nutty peanut butter, fresh grated ginger, and fragrant sesame oil give this dish a lot of bang for your buck.

Paired with an Asian salad, this dinner would be a nice easy option to serve for company.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

*This could totally be made with almond or cashew butter if peanuts are an allergy!

simple thai chicken pasta

5.0 from 1 reviews
Simple Thai Chicken Pasta
Recipe type: Main Dish/Pasta
Cuisine: Asian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb boneless chicken breast, cubed
  • 8 oz bottle Newman's Italian Dressing (or other quality Italian dressing)
  • 2 tablespoons chunky peanut butter (or creamy then add a few chopped peanuts later)
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper
  • ½ cup sliced green onions
  • 1 lb angel hair pasta
Instructions
  1. Marinate chicken in ⅓ cup salad dressing for 1 hour (or longer if you have it)
  2. Mix peanut butter, soy sauce, honey, ginger, red pepper and remaining dressing in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Prepare pasta according to package directions, then drain.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large wok or sauté pan over high heat, add coconut and sesame oil. When the oil is hot, add carrot and red pepper and stir fry 2-3 minutes or until softened.
  5. With a slotted spoon, remove chicken cubes from dressing and add them to the hot pan. Stir fry with the carrots and red pepper until cooked just cooked through (maybe 5 min?). Add green onions and stir fry for 1 minute more.
  6. Add cooked pasta then peanut sauce, and mix to fully combine everything (tongs make this easy!)
  7. Enjoy!

 


Grace’s Field Trip to the Circus!

November 19th, 2014

On Friday Grace had her second preschool field trip.  The first one to the cider mill was fun but WINDY!  This one to the circus was also fun and an all-around positive experience!

We invited my dad to come with us and the four of us had a terrific time :)

I’ll never forget my dad taking me to the circus when I was a little girl.  We stood in line afterward so that I could ride an actual elephant.  I remember how excited I was to be up so high on such an exotic creature.  My dad has fond memories of eating peanuts at the circus when he was a boy, so creating new memories with my girls was special for both of us.

The day couldn’t have gone any better if we had scripted it.  Well, unless we could have dropped the price of the cotton candy from FOURTEEN DOLLARS to something more logical like $5.  It did come with a goofy hat (seen below on Avery) but STILL.

I almost refused to let my dad buy the ridiculously overpriced treat, but both girls had their hearts set on it, so he generously bought them a bag and made their day.

Otherwise, things were perfect.  We left in plenty of time not to be in a hurry, dad treated us to Starbucks on the way (cake pops for the girls and the most delicious peppermint tea for me), parking was a breeze, the place wasn’t crowded at all, our seats were outstanding, and the show was really great.

I think Grace and Avery’s favorite part was the cotton candy!

avery with cotton candy

Avery was literally shoveling it in by the fistful and she had machine-like speed and efficiency!

Meanwhile, I was cringing at all the sugar she was consuming while trying to just chill out and appreciate her blissful enjoyment of the overpriced confection.

Grace loved the cotton candy too, but she has a much daintier approach and a better gauge when it comes to pacing herself with sweets so I wasn’t nearly as worried about her.

grace with cotton candy

Notice Avery’s entire hand in her mouth in the picture above versus Grace’s little pincher bite.  It’s so fun to see how differently they approach things :)

elephant balance

The elephants were my favorite part of the show, followed closely by the tigers.  You would not believe how many gorgeous tigers they had!  I think I was pretty entranced with them which is why I don’t have a picture.

Elephants are my favorite animal and our local zoo doesn’t have one, so they totally stole the show for me.  I mean check them out!

elephant finale

Incredible.

Dad treated the girls to a pizza lunch during the intermission and they were both good sports about eating while standing up.  I didn’t bring a bib for Avery (doh!) but her napkin bib did the trick :)

lunch time
When the show was over we made a quick pitstop to the restrooms then snapped a selfie before heading back home.

Group Photo

It was a really special day for all of us.  I’m glad the preschool facilitated everything because we’ll all treasure the memories but I’m not sure I would have made it happen if it was up to me seeing that the show was in town and making arrangements.

Gotta love when things line up like that :)


One Year…

November 13th, 2014

Today marks 1 year since the passing of my dear mother-in-law Jeanne.

She has been greatly missed by all of us over the past 365 days.

In fact, I’ve found my sadness growing as time passes.

Each month and holiday and family party that goes by without her reveals just how great the void she left really is.

We miss you Jeanne.

The words from this post I wrote last year are every bit as true today…

———————————————————————————–

Dear Jeanne,

You went home to be with Jesus one week ago today, and when Andy called me in tears just moments after you died, I realized what a profound loss your death would be for all of us.

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You know the saying, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”?

You are gone, and I’m now feeling the gravity of what a special woman you have always been.

Oh how I wish we would have had more time together!

Time not tainted with cancer’s theft.  The brain tumor you battled for over a decade robbed you of your fullest life and it robbed us of the whole of who you were.

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I want you to know that I’m sorry that I misunderstood you so much of the time.

You and I were probably about as different as two people can be.

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You were quiet, selfless, and demure.

I am loud, selfish, and brazen.

So many times I’d watch you bite your tongue when people would bowl you over.

I’d get agitated and wish that you would fight back…put them in their place and stand your ground.

Regrettably, I often saw your response (or lack thereof) as wrong.  I wanted you to be more bold….more outspoken…more me.

I failed to see that you were making a choice to defer to someone else.  I believe it was most often out of love or respect for the other person…like you knew that God was your defender and “blessed are the meek”.

You knew that meek didn’t mean weak.

Your meekness was, in fact, deep strength.

Any old buffoon (me) can stomp their feet and demand to be heard.

But it takes a woman of strength to quietly respond in love.

Oh how I admire that now.  I’m so sorry I didn’t see it then.

Can I chalk any of my ignorance up to my youth?

I think you’d wink and let me if I asked you face to face :)

You weren’t always quiet though…sometimes you were real feisty.

I loved those times.

You’d shoot off a zinger at someone who had it coming, and they almost didn’t know what to do with it.

Quiet little Jeanne had gotten a word in edgewise and it was a good, sharp one.

Those times were reminiscent of the sassy young woman who liked a good cigar, cheap wine and a fast ride in her Firebird :)

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I honestly believe you were God’s special gift to Tom Gould.

Hearing the stories last week of how it looked like it was all going to end before it even began, I’m so grateful that God had a plan for the Gould family and that it involved you.

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When I heard about the time (right after you started dating) that you were making lunch for him and the girls and he got a phone call from a hysterical ex-girlfriend and didn’t know what to do so he HANDED THE PHONE TO YOU, I about died.  The fact that you took the call from that girl and smoothed things over in your calm and quiet way just blew my mind.

If I had been your friend at the time, I would have told you to run for your life!  That this guy and his crazy situation was just too much.  That the smart thing to do would be to get the hell out of dodge!

But God had other things in mind.

He wanted to weave a messy story into a thing of beauty for His purpose and He used you.

If you had walked out the door that day and never looked back, my entire life would be different.

I am eternally grateful that you decided to stick around, even after all of that.  You gave me the most beautiful gifts I’ve ever received…a wonderful husband and two beautiful little girls.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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I’m so mad that you’ve been battling that stupid tumor the entire time I’ve been married to Andy.

I have memories of you from when I was in high school and college, but as hard as I try to focus in on them, they just aren’t as clear as I want them to be.

I do know that you opened your home to as many teenagers as your boys would ever show up with.  Any time.  Day or night.  We were all welcome and your home felt like home to us too.

You let us eat your snacks and take over your living room, dining room, kitchen and basement.  Sometimes all at the same time, edging you out of your own space.  We’d wrestle on your furniture.  We were loud and rambunctious and most likely annoying.  But you never gave us a grumpy look about it.  We never felt like you were waiting for us to go home.

Nope, you smiled your sweet smile at us, listened to whatever we rambled on about and gave tender hugs whenever someone needed one.

I love how you conveniently had a ton of laundry to do on Friday nights.  You’d walk down the basement stairs carrying a basketful of whites so that you could sneak a side glance at all the teenage couples cozied up under blankets on the couches in the basement.

You weren’t obvious about it, but you provided a non-threatening accountability for us not to engage in any shenanigans on your watch.  Thank you for that :)

You accepted and loved each one of us exactly where we were and at the same time you held a high standard for us all.  It never felt like you expected us to change or be something that we weren’t, but we knew that you wanted the best for each of us and it made us want it too.

I want our home to be that way for every one of our children’s friends.  I want my doors and cupboards and couches and refrigerators to be open to any and every friend that my kids bring home.  I want to continue the legacy of hospitality that you modeled because it brought so much encouragement to each of us and it glorified God in such a special way.

As soon as our friends from high school got word that you had gone home, they flooded our Facebook feeds with kind words, memories and testaments of what you meant to them.  All these years later, they remembered what a special woman you were and what a welcoming place your home was for each of us.

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And then there is my favorite thing that you did…bring two special boys into this world.

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You raised these boys into men who are wonderful husbands and fathers and who carry with them your quiet strength and selfless love for others.  They are so smart and yet they continually pursue learning, they work hard, they love their families, they love God and they are a gift to all who know them.

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I hope to raise children who are even half as wonderful as the four you poured your life into and who have been blessed to call you mom.

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Poor Brad had to be participating in Movember this month…but I know his mustache would have made you chuckle :)

Then there are the 13 precious little blessings who called you Grandma, Gram, Mimi and Gigi.  Four different names for one precious grandmother :)

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I’m going try my darndest to make sure that each one of them hears stories about who you were and what you liked and how much you loved each of them.  You can count on me to talk about you every time I have a glass of wine, a margarita, a Krispy Kreme donut, a chocolate covered cherry or any one of the many rich foods you loved :)

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That tumor may have taken you from us early, but I have great hope and joy in the fact that we get to spend all of eternity with you.

Until we see you in Glory, sweet Jeanne…

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