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hello kitty
10 January 2012 @ 07:25 pm


  • 7 oz. Thai rice noodles (1/2 box), linguini-width
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups raw chicken breast or thigh meat, sliced
  • Marinade for Chicken: 1 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 3 Tbsp. soy sauce, 1t garlic powder
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • optional: 1-2 fresh red chilies, minced
  • 1.5 cups fresh bean sprouts, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 spring (green) onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander/cilantro
  • 1/3 cup crushed or roughly chopped peanuts (or other nuts, such as cashews)
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/8 tsp. ground white pepper
  • sesame oil for stir-frying, and wedges of lime

  • PAD THAI SAUCE: Heat on low/med until all is dissolved.  This makes enough for 2 batches of ingredients above
  • 2 Tbsp. tamarind paste dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1-3 tsp. chili sauce, optional
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar

  1. Make the pad thai sauce and let sit.
  2. Place chicken slices in a small bowl. Stir together the marinade, garlic and pour over chicken. Stir well and set aside.
  3. Warm up a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1-2 Tbsp. oil plus garlic and minced chili, if using. Stir-fry until fragrant (30 seconds).
  4. Add chicken together with the marinade. Stir-fry 30 seconds to 1 minute. When wok/pan becomes dry, add a little chicken stock, 1-2 Tbsp. at a time, to keep the chicken frying nicely. Continue stir-frying in this way until the chicken is cooked (5-8 minutes).  Remove all from pan.
  5. Prepare noodles according to package directions. Note: you will be frying the noodles later, so you don't want to over-soften them now. Noodles are ready to be drained when they are soft enough to be eaten, but are still firm and a little "crunchy". Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  6. Add the noodles to your chicken cooking pan, and pour HALF the Pad Thai sauce over. Using two spatulas, wooden spoons, or other utensils, immediately stir-fry the noodles. Use a gentle "lift and turn" method (like tossing a salad) to prevent noodles from breaking. Stir-fry in this way 1-2 minutes. If you find your wok/frying pan too dry, push noodles aside and add a little more oil to the bottom (but no more broth, or the noodles will become soggy).
  7. Add the two eggs and stir fry into the pan
  8. Add the bean sprouts and sprinkle over the pepper. Continue "tossing" 1 more minute, or until noodles are cooked. Noodles are done to perfection when they are no longer "hard" or crunchy, but chewy-sticky wonderful!
  9. Taste-test for seasoning, adding more fish sauce until desired flavor is reached (I usually add at least 1 more Tbsp. fish sauce). Add reserved chicken.  Toss well to incorporate. 
  10. Lift noodles onto a serving plate. Top with generous amounts of fresh coriander, spring onion, and crushed/chopped nuts. Add fresh lime wedges (lime is great squeezed overtop), and if desired, serve with peanut sauce on the side.
hello kitty

Almost No Knead Bread

Dry ingredients:

.9375 lb (15 oz ) All purpose flour

¼ tsp yeast

1.5  tsp Salt

Wet ingredients:

7 ounces water

3 ounces beer

1 T white vinegar

  1. Mix dry ingredients – measuring the flour by weight definitely makes a difference.  It is a lot of salt, but needed for the flavor of the bread.
  2. Combine wet ingredients – again, ounces are key.  Water can be room temp.  Beer should be a traditional American-style lager, eg Budweiser.  Testing with other darker/richer beers failed, the beer is there to add some hoppy flavor.  I have used fosters + Leinies with success.
  3. Pour the wet into the dry and mix together until all water is incorporated, there are no flour chunks and a rough dough forms.  This is a very wet dough!
  4. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 8-18 hours
  5. Scoop the dough out onto a floured board.   With dusted hands, knead bread ~15 times.  I did 15 times the first time and more like 25 the second time and had better results.  I don’t think I’m a very assertive kneader so I needed to do a bit more.
  6. Tuck the dough into a ball and work it in a circular motion to get a uniform surface.
  7. Place a large piece of parchment paper in a small skillet, spray with cooking spray
  8. Toss the ball into the pan.  Spray the loaf with cooking spray.  Cover with plastic.
  9. Let rise in a warm place until the loaf bounces back (retains shape) when poked and has doubled in volume.  This is supposed to take 2 hours @ room temp, but even in my warming drawer on bread proof, it took closer to 4.  Also it can be hard to gauge just how much it rises because it oozes out into the skillet.
  10. 30 mins before bake time, preheat a cast iron dutch oven at 450.  This is the key to this recipe.  The dutch oven acts like a professional steam oven and allows for a great crust and lift to the bread.
  11. Using the parchment paper, put the risen bread in the pot, replace the lid and back in the oven.  This is where you will see if it rose enough.  If you cheated the rise time, the loaf will collapse quite a bit on itself when getting put in the pot.
  12. Turn the oven down to 425 and bake for 25 mins
  13. Remove the lid and bake for another 15 mins – or internal temperature reaches 210F.
Take the bread out of the pan and onto a rack to let cool for 2 hours (I know, the temptation!) before slicing.  This step makes a big difference in the moisture of the finished loaf.
hello kitty
16 December 2011 @ 10:14 am
Let's rewind a bit.  Awhile ago, I posted a draft of our kitchen and settled on the best way to arrange things.  Part of my master plan included a 36" range.  I wanted an Aga well because they're pretty awesome and would fit in the style of my kitchen.  I know it cost a small fortune, but I found ample ways to justify it.  :p  But then Seb started trying to sell me on ranges from 1928, which was a no-go.  Not only do I not love the style, I just didn't think it could behave that well.

I said hey what about a chambers range because they are cute and turns out they're amazingly efficient and functional.  And there's this whole online world of people obsessed with them so there's plenty of resources in how to deal with it.  So I craigslisted for a couple months and found one in LaSalle, but proved a logistical challenge.

Lo and behold one came up 4 miles from our house, the next town over.  For $250.  You've got to be kidding me.  It was the woman's grandmas and she cooked on it every week.  It was in pristine condition.  So we loaded up old blue and with our neighbor's help, hefted this monster into the truck on our 8th wedding anniversary.  Tip, we used those silly 'movers lifting straps' and they worked.

I thought we'd plop it in the basement where we could tinker on it over the next 10 years until we actually do our kitchen.  But it landed in the garage and Seb, inspried by watching too much American Restoration took every single part off, and put the whole thing back together.  It took him 3 months.

So here she is in all her glory.  It is super fun and I feel like a restaurant chef.  On the left is a griddle top that has a broiler underneath.  3 monster burners (more BTU than my Kenmore Elite).  The back right corner is a thermowell, which is this insulated cooking chamber that I need a pot for and therefore have never used.

We're currently experiencing some issues with the oven.  The pilot won't stay lit and the temperature is being a little swingy.  There's something in the gas line.  But previously, it was amazing - it held the temperature on the button and is so well insulated it stays hot for 3 hours after cooking! 

With the exception of painting the numbers on the timer and the drip pans, all of the paint/chrome is original.  When we do the kitchen, we'll rechrome the top and handles and likely get the body reporcelained.  Debating what color I should do it in, I think black would look realllly schnazzy. 

Getting the stove in there has inspired us to do a little something in the kitchen.  This spring, we're knocking down the tiles, putting up insulation and peeling off the linoleum to refinish the original hardwood floors.  You know, a little something. ;)
hello kitty
03 May 2011 @ 01:46 pm

We talk about remodeling a lot.  We've gone to several useful (and useless) design seminars.  Our kitchen is the biggest pain in the butt and we are not really willing to let go of many of the historic elements - ironing board, pantry, double drainboard sink...

The most feasible design I've come up with so far is this.  Right now, I am having a hard time envisioning the stove literally next to the sink, but I think once the sink base and the cabinet next to the stove are made out of matching wood, it will be more cohesive.  I would like to center the stove, but that would only leave 1' on each side, which is not useable.  2' is actually pretty generous.  I also likely would get a 36" range.

the link is kind of a pain - you have to go to 'full screen' then use the slider at the bottom to zoom in.

Only downside with this is I'm not getting loads more of countertop space.  But I get a dishwasher, and with upper cabinets I'll be able to keep the counters clear and use the drainboard on the sink as well.  There would be a little triangle shaped piece of cabinet/counter next to the fridge, that I think could serve as a landing spot for keys and mail, with storage underneath.  That would mean the counters I do have are exclusively used for food prep.

I would shift things around in the pantry as well, I'd like to have a low baking countertop space and then a taller storage area for vacuum/broom.

Super duper excited.

hello kitty
25 April 2011 @ 12:09 pm
we have a wedding in oct and i'm trying to find a dress that i can incorporate lace into.  thinking that the cap sleeve and back of this dress could be sheer lace, and then the boob part would have fabric with lace overlay, then transition to just fabric skirt. 

hello kitty
21 March 2011 @ 08:05 pm
all done
hello kitty
07 December 2010 @ 01:31 pm

No rest for the weary.
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sleep log, fmiCollapse )

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hello kitty
18 February 2010 @ 08:56 am

The jetta is getting cramped!  Our biggest load includes: a dog, a bucket, a BoB, a complete firefighter's suit, oh yeah, and the two of us!  A year or so ago, we threw around the idea of getting a Jetta TDI Wagon when the time came.  We went to the auto show and seriously assessed every type of wagon and car-like SUV and besides the Volvo (ha!) we really loved the VW for amenities and wicked gas mileage.

So here's the situation (being completely transparent!).  Our current '02 Jetta has 134k miles, and KBB is worth $4k private party, $2k dealer trade in.  It is in decent mechanical shape and probably would last us awhile.  We had it since brand new and I really don't love the idea of getting rid of it until it dies a horrible, horrible death.

We have the opportunity to buy a fully loaded wagon that has barely been driven, KBB of $25k.  That car new is $30k.  So basically the guy ate that new car depreciation.  We know this guy personally, who is abroad and says 'make an offer'.

We started saving for a car last year and have $3k saved.  I am saving $360/month for a new car, which close to the monhtly amount of a 5 year loan. 

Assuming 1) we could get a loan with decent terms, 2) we take all our stuff and it truly fits better in this wagon, what do we do?  What is a fair price to offer for the car?


Current Mood: contemplativeponderous
hello kitty
08 February 2010 @ 09:14 am
Seb's niece is coming into town, and i was browsing the FAQ and came across this:

Is there an area set aside for nursing mothers

No, but Illinois law permits mothers to nurse their babies in any public place. If it's quiet you want, that no doubt can be found somewhere outside the auto show floor.

i know it's The Law, but it's nice to see them make it just so simple.  Arjen and I have been NIPing for a couple weeks. 

The first time was at LLL, which totally doesn't count, but it was my practice run.  Then I nursed at the ped's office.  That same night my parents *made* us go out to dinner at an Indian restaurant, and I nursed there.  I used his blanket as a light cover though, because I just felt a little odd, culturally.   I know it looks like you are holding your baby, but with half your shirt bunched up around his face, it's a bit obvious.

I do need to find/make some nursing tops though.  What is your favorite thing to wear for access?