Monday, January 30, 2012

Spicy Thai Peanut Noodles w/ Ginger Lime Chicken

Hi friends. (if you don't know me, but like butter, we should be friends.)

Newlywed life is full of adventures, big and small. Suddenly, I'm the homemaker. The chef. The wife. It's blissful. And challenging. But it feels great to create a space for the twos of us. And weekly menus!

That's the latest challenge: plan menus for the week that appeal to both of us (we can't eat cream-cheese-based foods all the time, unfortunately) and concoct menus that use the groceries we buy to best advantage and somehow trick MJ into eating his vegetables. I've even been doing price checking and coupon cutting. Yeah. Really. Clearly, I it's time to get back to blogging about these culinary newlywed adventures. Plus, Barbi said she was bored with cooking and requested a chicken recipe and I like her, so here it goes.

I wish I would have tripled this recipe. I could have eaten these leftovers—
hot or cold—for a week. Blissfully.

Spicy Thai Peanut Noodles w/ Citrus & Ginger Chicken
After lots of rich soups and hearty winter meals, my body was begging for something a bit...fresher. This was a perfect solution, full of crisp veggies and bold flavors—and still filling! I pulled much inspiration from these noodles a small snippet and a marinade by Bobby Flay, but both have been altered quite a bit. I tried to gear it to feed two hungry people and leave plenty of leftovers leftovers. It would serve 4 to 6, depending on how hungry you are. You could easily add another chicken breast with this amount of marinade and up the portions a bit. In fact, I would recommend that you do.

The marinade would make a fantastic salad dressing as well. I may have snitched a spoonful. Or two. 

4 green onions, chopped
one-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled & chopped
~ 1/2 cup lime juice (about 1 1/2 limes)
4 cloves garlic, peeled & smashed
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 heaping tblsp. sugar
2 generous tblsp. sesame oil
1/4 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper

2 chicken breasts, sliced into one-inch pieces

In a blender, combine lime juice, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sugar, pepper. Blend on high until smooth, then add onions and sesame oil. Blend again until smooth. (I used  my brand new Cuisinart mini-prep. pure. joy.) It should be a tan color and smell like amazing. Reserve 1/4 cup marinade for noodles.
Feel the power! Love this new Cuisinart!

Pour over chicken and let marinate for at least 20 minutes, but no more than 40. The lime will start to break down the chicken too much and it will get mushy instead of tender and juicy.

For Noodles
3 tblsp. sesame oil
3 tblsp. canola oil
1/2 to 1 tblsp. cracked red pepper (depending on your fire tolerance)
3 tblsp. honey
3 tblsp. brown sugar
3 tblsp. soy sauce
4 tblsp. reserved marinade
2 1/2 tblsp. chunky peanut butter
10 oz. whole wheat pasta (spaghetti or linguine)

1/2 of a green bell pepper, diced
1/2 of a red bell pepper, diced
1 cup shredded carrots
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

In a medium frying pan, combine sesame and canola oil. Add cracked red pepper and cook on medium for 3 to 4 minutes. Strain out red pepper flakes and set oil aside to cool slightly. In a bowl, whisk together honey, brown sugar, soy sauce, and reserved marinade. Add peanut butter and oil.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt to taste, and begin cooking pasta. In the same medium frying pan, heat two tsp. canola oil. CAREFULLY add chicken (the marinade will sizzle and splatter when it touches the hot oil). Cook on medium high, adding a bit of the remaining marinade after about 5 minutes.
When the marinade begins to carmelize on the chicken and turn a dark golden brown, be sure the it is cooked thoroughly, then remove from heat.

When they are cooked to your liking, drain noodles. In a large bowl, combine noodles, chicken, veggies, and most of the chopped cilantro. Pour sauce over noodle mixture and stir to coat evenly. Serve with a pinch of cilantro on top. Enjoy!

Our meal was even better with the addition of a great smoothie MJ whipped up of various things we had on hand. soooo good. I really love him.

MJ's Piña Colada Smoothie
3/4 cup fresh or canned pineapple
3 fresh (or frozen) strawberries
1/2 a can of coconut milk
~ 1 cup orange-pineapple juice
1 very ripe banana
about 15 ice cubes
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice

Blend on high until creamy, dreamy, and delicious. YUM.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

December 29th, 2011

This is my best friend and his cute mama. 

He married me.
(How lucky am I?!) 
On December 29th, 2011.
It was pretty awesome.

The most handsome groom I ever did see.

The night before, we had a party with lots of friends and loved ones.
There was a bit of cake smashing

And some dancing.

But the sealing that took place at the Newport Beach temple, just inside that window behind us, was by far the most spectacular experience.

Now I know that I'll have this wonderful man 
at my side 
for the rest of my life.
And if we faithfully keep the covenants
that we've made to the Lord
and to each other
death won't part us.
We will spend eternity as husband and wife.

We were so grateful to be surrounded by friends and family.

And loved the addition of some little cousins.

Had a great line-up of wonderful friends (many of whom traveled far to be there).

We felt the love of friends who have become family through years of laughter, tears, & love.

We showed off our classy sides.

We also kissed a bit.

The Murdoch Men looked particularly dashing.

There was more kissing. With some extra help this time.

I even caught some air.

I have new family members to love.

And a husband to share my adventures, trials, and triumphs.


Running through the fog to the beach that has always felt like home was exhilarating.

And then the sky caught fire.

My cousins, Tiff and Alan Hancock, of Hancock Photography, captured our day beautifully.

Standing in my groom's arms, 
toes in the sand, 
on the beach where I grew up was 
the perfect way to end 
our truly perfect day.

While planning a wedding in 56 days 
and keeping my budget under $5,000 for two receptions, 
life got a little crazy a few times.

But I like crazy. 
And I had a great guy to love me through the insanity.
And the support of so many who pitched in to make our wedding possible.
Our parents were incredible, our friends were kind, and we felt so loved.

 I love my newly expanded family.

With my Mr. by my side, life as a Mrs. is pretty fantastic.