monday off

Back to life but not quite back to reality yet.  Even though our honeymoon officially ended yesterday I had today off to regroup and organize my life a little bit after the wedding.

I started today with a great hot yoga class at the Funky Buddha.  And, in exciting news, I signed up for their year-long membership.  Since I’ve started practicing there, I’ve been on a month-to-month plan but I’ve committed to a year of yoga and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have access to unlimited yoga sessions for the next 365.

After yoga I had a quick bowl of Cheerios – we haven’t had a chance to hit the grocery store yet but Todd’s mom sent along a bag of groceries with Todd’s dad when he picked us up at the airport last night, so sweet!

My parents left us those beautiful tulips on Todd’s windshield.  What great parents we have!

Anyways, post-yoga and breakfast I met Todd out at our former home, his parents’ lake house, to clean out some more things.  Moving is not my favorite, not in the least but we made some good progress.

After that I went to Target for some necessities (bath mat, trash can, drawer organizers, q-tips) which took me a good chunk of the afternoon.  While I love shopping, make decisions has never been my strong suit.

When I got back home Todd and I enjoyed a quick Oberon before heading over to my parents’ house to open wedding gifts.  Todd’s parents met us there as well and we had a fun time talking about the wedding, eating pizza from Nantucket Bakery and opening gifts.  What a fun night!

We got home and started to organize a little but I was tired and as soon as the silverware drawer was fully stocked with our new place settings I nestled in to one of the two chairs in our apartment and found a Sex and the City marathon to watch.  Not a bad Monday at all.

I go back to work tomorrow and I’m so glad that it will be a four-day week.  After all of that relaxing in Cancun, I’m not sure I’m cut out for a 9-5 anymore. Only time will tell…

Hopefully this week I’ll have a chance to use some of the awesome new kitchen gear we have.  This poor blog has been sadly recipe-free for the last few weeks.  Wedding brain, I tell you what.

How was your Monday?

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hmp: pad thai

So tonight’s dinner, the first dinner of my Homemade Meal Project (HMP for titular purposes) was Pad Thai.  Pad Thai has recently become one of my favorite dishes and I’ve wanted to find a recipe to try at home for ages.  Today was finally the day!

 

I based my Pad Thai on this recipe from Savory Sweet Life:

Pad Thai Recipe
Serves 1-2 ppl.

Pad Thai sauce ingredients:
4 cloves of minced garlic
½ cup of palm sugar
1 ½ tbl. white sugar
1/3 cup of fish sauce
½ cup of tamarind juice concentrate

Pad Thai noodle stir fry ingredients:
Dried rice stick noodles – ¼ of the package
1 egg
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
6 tbl. of vegetable oil
¼ cup of red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup of mung bean sprouts
1 cup of carrots, match sticks
¼ cup of green onion cut diagonal in ½ inch segments
¼ cup of cilantro
1 ½ cups of either thinly sliced chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, or tofu
¼ cup of toasted peanuts chopped.
Lime wedge

Directions:
To make pad thai sauce, heat a small pan on medium low and add fish sauce, palm and white sugar, tamarind concentrate, and garlic. Cook sauce until palm sugar has completely dissolve. At this point, you will want to taste the sauce and tweek the sweetness or hotness (be careful, the sauce will be hot). To make it more spicy add a little Thai chili powder. Remove from heat and allow to cool 10 minutes before storing it in a jar or plastic container.

To Stir fry the noodles,
Boil noodles for 4-5 minutes and drain immediately rinsing with cold water for a few seconds. Noodles should be slightly firmer than Al dente. But don’t worry, they will continue to soften and cook later when stir frying. Using kitchen shears, cut the noodle clump in half. This will make it easier to fry and eat.

Heat 3 tbls. oil in a wok or frying pan on high and cook raw chicken, pork, beef, tofu or shrimp for 3-4 minutes. Remove meat/tofu/seafood into a small bowl. Next, heat up 3 tbls. of oil and then add garlic and red onions to the hot pan and stir fry for 1 minute stirring the garlic mixture so it will not burn. Add noodles and stir for 1 minute. Add 3-4 tbls. Of Pad Thai sauce continually stirring noodle mixture until well coated with sauce. Add cooked meat/tofu/seafood back and fry for 2-3 minutes. Move the noodle and meat mixture to one side of the pan and crack an egg on the other side. Scramble the egg with a wooden spoon and cook for 30 seconds. Add carrots, green onions, and sprouts and cook for one more minute frying everything together. Test the firmness of the noodle. If the noodle is too firm, fry for an additional minute. If your noodles need more flavor, add another tbl. of sauce and fry another half minute.  Remove from heat and serve. Garnish with remaining raw carrot match sticks, spouts, cilantro, toasted peanuts, and a wedge of lime. Enjoy!


I made a few tweaks to the recipe, the main one being that I used pre-made sauce.  I had very good intentions of making my own but Meijer didn’t stock any of the ingredients the sauce called for.  WorldFoods Pad Thai Sauce was a great substitution and in the long run, a time saver.

I also used pre-minced garlic which is a real lifesaver.  I hardly ever chop my own garlic since discovering this amazing product.  It saves a ton of time and effort and saves your fingers from smelling of garlic for day.

One other slightly large tweak was that I didn’t use any meat.  I like pad thai with chicken just fine but really love it with just the noodles, veggies and egg.  Such a simple, tasty dish.

Oh and I left out the bean sprouts…ick.

*I don’t love this picture but I’m wearing the awesome birthday apron that Todd for my from Anthropologie.  I love their aprons!  If you’re in the market for an apron, check their’s out.

Matchsticking the carrots was the most time consuming job.  Next time I’m going to search for pre-cut carrots of raid a salad bar somewhere.  But they turned out pretty and add such a great crunch to the dish.

 

Cutting all of those veggies was worth it though.  After chopping, Todd was helping me toast up the peanuts and we had a small dance break.  There’s nothing like cooking and having a mini dance party with the guy you love.

This was also my first time using a wok we received as a wedding gift.  Yes, we decided to go ahead and use some of our wedding gifts before the wedding but only after writing thank you notes.  What’s the point in making a perfectly good wok sit in the box when I’m making pad thai?

Love that wok!  Not even one onion dropped over the side, a definite improvement over our normal skillet cooking.

The pad thai turned out really well.  Next time I might add a little spice to it but other than that, it was magnifico!  I’m glad I finally made time to cook this up at home.

 

My love of food is rivaled only by my love for new clothes.  I’m a girl, I can’t help myself.  A box arrived for me today and it was full of clothes and accessories that I ordered from GAP and Banana Republic.  I somehow contained my excitement until after dinner and can’t wait to try out all of my new goodies!

Not a bad little night so far.  Time for marriage mentoring homework.  Tonight’s topic: conflict resolution, wish me luck!

What are some of the best shortcuts you take when cooking?

Do you usually make recipes as is or change them to your tastes or skill level?