Tuesday, February 22, 2011

So Over It

Last week was amazing. Almost every day was above 50 degrees and we even had two glorious days that were close to 70! Then last night, it snowed. Winter, I am so over you!! Warm sunny days mean...

I can take caged-up, crazy boys outside to run out their energy during the witching hour and catch up with my neighbors!

It takes less than an hour to get everyone out of the house since we can forgo the coats, socks, gloves and hats!

I can wake up 10 minutes later to run since I don't have to bundle up in 25 layers like a snowman!

I'm done with soup, casseroles and comfort food. I'm over it. Bring on the crisp cold salads, dinner on the grill, fresh salsas, and margaritas!!

The nice weather last week got me fixated on making Green Papaya Salad (Tom Sum). I'm usually a curry-girl when it comes to ordering Thai food, but my girlfriend introduced me to this salad a few months ago and I haven't stopped thinking about recreating it. It's incredibly light and refreshing, with the perfect mix of sweet, sour, salty and spicy. It just screams summer time. And its like one calorie. Not that I really get hung up on calories, but if its one calorie and I love it, it's a win-win.

So I looked up a couple different recipes and it seemed simple enough. Except for that one main ingredient... Green Papaya. No ordinary papaya will do the trick here. Not a ripe one. Not a red one. I needed an unripe Green one so I could get that crunch.

So this weekend Superman ventured to the Asian store with me to scope out that Green Papaya. I had never been to Lotte, the huge ginormous Asian store about 10 minutes from my house. It was insane. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning when I walked in. Huge packs of basil for a dollar! Mangoes for 59 cents! Green papayas aplenty! I was throwing EVERYTHING into my cart.

Just like every other store on the weekend, this place was packed. It took a long time to navigate my way around (especially since I was pushing the obnoxious cart for kids with the race car in the front, banging Superman into a product display at least once every 2 minutes). By the time I got up to the register to pay there was a very long line waiting behind me. The cashier rang everything through, including the Cheetos Superman had already finished and the water he half drank. I reached in my purse to grab my wallet and felt... nothing. No wallet. In a panic, I asked the cashier if she could put the whole transaction on hold so I could run to my car and she could check out the long line of disgruntled customers behind me. She didn't quite understand and responded, No, I will wait. I told her to just void the whole transaction and I ran Superman out to the car praying my wallet was sitting in the glove compartment.

Let me paint this picture for you - this place is PACKED, there are gusts of 60 mph winds outside, I parked in the back corner of the parking lot, and I'm hitting every other customer in the ankles with my race car shopping cart trying to get to my car. I throw open the car door, lunge inside and find... no wallet. I told myself that the cashier understood that I wasn't coming back, and I left. I FELT SO TERRIBLE!! I really hope they gave up on me quickly, and I'm cringing at the thought of the poor soul who had to put back every single item that I threw in my cart in a fury of excitement.

But I wasn't giving up on Green Papaya Salad. I'm just over finding a Green Papaya. Besides, I want to share recipes with you all that are easy to throw together, and easy to shop for. So after browsing the internet a bit I found a good-enough substitute... Broccoli Slaw!

So Over You, Green Papaya Salad

1 package of broccoli slaw
2 tablespoons of Agave, palm sugar, honey or raw white sugar
juice from 1 lime
couple cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 tablespoon salt
Thai basil (regular basil is fine, but if you can get your hands on Thai basil, its money. oh and its $1 at Lotte, just remember your wallet)
1 or 2 Thai red chiles (they do sell these at Harris teeter, wegmans, and bloom)
green onions
1 tomato
1/4 cup roasted peanuts

Halve the red chili and remove the seeds if you want it less spicy. I was making this for guests so I took the seeds out.
I have this fancy shmancy pestle and mortar I've never used so I decided to give it a whirl, but you can totally just rough chop all these things! Besides, I actually didn't really like the peanuts ground up, and next time I would just throw them in the salad whole.
The ingredients I ground up (or rough chop under a food chopper or in a food processor) were the red chili, salt, peanuts, garlic, and sugar

This was fun

Then mix in the juice from one lime, and the soy and fish sauce. I added a little more agave because it didn't taste sweet enough to me. Then throw in the bag of broccoli slaw!

Thinly slice tomatoes

Throw em in
Chop up the basil and green onion, throw that in
Throw some peanuts on top, mix it up, and you're done!!
Served it with a piece of grilled chicken. Salmon would be yum too.
It's not quite like the real deal from the Thai restaurants, but it did the trick for me!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Lucky Winner is...

So I finally tried out this random number generator thingy that people have been telling me about. It definitely makes for not as cute of a post, but I only have two kids home right now and one has pink eye. Not a cute picture. And TGB would eat the ballots. See... not very cooperative.

So Random Number Generator it is.

And my buddy RNG picked...

Number 30!! Which after counting 400 times to make sure I counted correctly, seems to be...

My dear friend Gwen Turner! Gwen's blog is very inspiring by the way, and I am lucky to have been buds with her since we were freshman in high school!!

If you did not win but DID enter this contest, you can still purchase these at 10% off and free shipping through the end of the day TOMORROW. I just need an email to Hungrymomontherun@gmail.com if you are interested!

Hope you had a wonderful day filled with lots of love yesterday! Superman gave his girl-buddy Ava some flowers... I think they went over way better than a laundry basket. :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I Love My...

Last night as I tucked the wee people into their beds, Superman, in an effort to stall bedtime, announced, "Mom, I know what I'm going to get everyone for Heart Day."

"Oh yeah? What's that?"

"I'm going to get Ava a new doll. And I'm going to get my baby sister a new doll too. And you know what I'm going to get you, Mom?? A new laundry basket. A shiny green one."

Hm. It makes me laugh to think of how he preceives me. The thing is... I'd actually love a shiny new green laundry basket. All of our laundry baskets are broken from me dropping them over the upstairs bannister into the foyer with clothes in them (self-made laundry chute... it's faster that way). His innocence just makes me smile. If my husband gave me a shiny new laundry basket for Valentine's Day I would not be smiling. But from your kid... well its just darn cute. And I love that.

So, in a similar less romantic fashion, I want to give one of you one of my favorite things this Valentine's Day. My friend Katie, long ago, gave these the name of "The Chicken Choppers," although they are formally known as Salad Choppers. I use them ALL the time on this blog to shred/chop chicken. And you probably hate me big time when I do because it is so much faster then chopping, or heaven forbid the laborious task of two-fork shredding.

Its actual purpose on earth was to put whole salad ingredients into a bowl (a head of lettuce, a tomato, an onion, a cucumber) and then just go at it with the salad choppers in the bowl as opposed to chopping them all on a cutting board. Even cooler than that, I love using them to make salsa in one bowl in 5 minutes (just throw whole tomatoes, onion, jalapeno and cilantro in a bowl, and chop away). Perfect for a quick appetizer or one of my summer faves, Classic Salsa Pizza.
Same goes for bruschetta!

I use them to mash up old bananas for banana bread. I use them to chop up a can of whole tomatoes straight in the crock pot. I use them to cut up pasta for the kids right in the pot. And I can do it all with one hand, which is crucial when I need to free up my other hand for helping the kids. Okay or more realistically for my glass of wine. I often daydream about carrying them in my purse and whipping them out to cut up my salads at restaurants (like McDonalds, and the other fine establishments we frequent these days). Seriously, is it that difficult for them to cut my cherry tomato in half, chop the chicken, or give me a cucumber smaller than the size of a coaster?

I digress. Anyway, for the technical stuff... it's dishwasher safe, and has two parallel blades with micro-serrated edges so it's actually sharpening itself everytime its being used. It is amazing and definitely one of my favorite little kitchen gadgets. If you already own one, don't let that stop you from entering. I'm sure you can think of someone you know who would love to take it off your hands!

Giveaway Details

1. You must be a follower on this blog (not facebook)

2. leave a comment on this post that starts with "I Love My..." and tell me what your favorite, can't live without kitchen gadget is.

3. I will pick a winner on Valentine's Day. Okay more realistically, the day after Valentine's Day. Because I'll probably be really busy with my shiny new Laundry Basket. I know, that is not very long from now, but I procrastinated on getting this post up and I like to keep contests short and sweet :) So enter now or run the risk of two-fork shredding your chicken forever.

4. If you enter the giveaway and do NOT win, but think you really can't live without some salad choppers like I can't, shoot me an email and I will help you get it for 10% off and free shipping.
5. OH! And I forgot to mention I am picking the winner at RANDOM like I normally do. The "I Love My ..." is purely for my entertainment value. If it was a subjective contest however, Whitney's answer would totally win.
Good Luck!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Making it Happen

I know some amazing women.

I know women who get up and run mere days after having babies. I know women who work full time outside the home, have kids, and still make the time to run marathons. I know women who make time EVERY single day to be in God's word. I know women who drag multiple kids to the store every week and still manage to cut (and remember to bring) coupons?! I know women who blow me away with their home-decorating skills. I know (one) woman with six kids that still manages to make the time to be a wonderful, caring friend to others. I know single moms who do it ALL on their own! I even know TWO women who had twin babies just weeks apart. And they BOTH have one older girl. And they are BOTH named Kym (one Kym, one Kim). I know. That's freaky.

Something I really like about "the Kim's" is that they refuse to let the daunting task of twin babies keep them from making it happen. I love people who make it happen. I love and admire that so much. Whether that means prepping your meals on Sunday night for the whole week because you work. Or running in the very wee hours of the morning to get it done. Or feeding two babies simultaneously while cleaning up toys with your toes. They do whatever it takes to make it happen.

Kym (with a Y) just signed up for the GW Classic 10 Miler. Here's what I love about that. She doesn't run, her twin babies are 4 months old, and we are in the dead middle of a very dark and cold winter. I see so many excuses she could come up with to get out of it. But she doesn't! She found a training plan online and is building her way from the ground up to make it happen on race day.

This is why I love running so much. ANYONE from ANY background and in ANY circumstance can decide to make it a part of their lives, they just have to make it happen.

Kym sent me this recipe a few weeks ago and I've made it three times since. It is soooo easy, and SO yummy!! Kevin and I fight over who gets the last dumpling every time. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say this is one of my all-time favorite dinners. Thanks Kym, Kim, and all the other amazing women I know, for inspiring me to make running happen, and to make dinner happen! xoxo

Kym's Dumpling Soup

1 32 oz carton of Veggie Broth
1 to 2 tbl Soy Sauce
1 tbl Toasted Sesame Oil
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
3 carrots
Green onions
~ 1 pound frozen potstickers (I found it in the international freezer section)

Just pour the veggie broth in the pot! This time I fudged and used ground ginger, but I do prefer it with the fresh ginger! But, you do what you have to do to make it happen :)

Add 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil

Add the soy sauce

While thats all simmering, prepare the carrots to julienne

Now Im cheating because I have a julienne peeler which makes this a breeze. But it doesn't matter what shape the carrots are, they all taste the same. Either cut into sticks, or just chop them. Before I had a julienne peeler I used to just use a vegetable peeler and "peel" the carrot into thin strips.

Throw it in the simmering soup with the chopped green onions

Add the potstickers. You can find pork, veggie, chicken, even shrimp. Whatever suits you.

Let them sink and cook and really, just do nothing.

Ok this time I julienned some zucchini too because I was bored waiting for the dumplings to cook and I had zucchini leftover.

It really is this easy.

So I use this recipe as a base, but have also added handfuls of spinach, fresh basil and pressed garlic before. You could really add whatever veggie you wanted and it would be delish.
BUT what I think really makes this soup awesome is SRIRACHA. I am obsessed with sriracha. Its pretty spicy... but its a sweet, vinegary kind of hot and not a pointless kind of hot. Give it a try, your tongue and your metabolism will thank you.