Chicken Peanut Bok Choy Stir Fry

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Last night felt like a huge welcome home — the first meal I’ve cooked in ten days!  Yes, between impromptu backyard barbecues, Jesse treating us to gigantic calzones on a Friday night when I had to stay home and catch up on work for the third evening in a row, and then a quick emergency trip up to B.C. to wire myself the remainder of my Canadian money that I’ve been saving since college, so that all my accounts are consolidated for my upcoming down payment on a house(!), I haven’t actually bought vegetables and done a full load of dishes and cranked out a good solid meal in over a week.  Even with my crazy insane-o-pants schedule, that doesn’t happen too often.

Earlier this week Jesse and I had been musing about what appliances and accoutrements we each have in our respective kitchens, realizing with satisfaction that when our kitchens eventually merge, there will be little to no redundancy, and between the two of us, we will suddenly own every appliance created (including a crock pot, pressure cooker, AND deep fryer).  Well, except for a KitchenAid, but I still maintain that that one’s unnecessary.

Now, I just recently acquired a super awesome heavy duty cast iron skillet, which I’ve been using to cook pretty much everything I consume, but during the mental tour of my kitchen, when I got to my well-seasoned wok, which sits in one of my big underneath cupboards, I realized that I’ve perhaps never cooked Jesse a wok meal before, and it gave me a serious hankering to do just that.

This is pretty much a re-run of my go-to Pad Kee Mao routine, but this time with chicken and some toasted peanuts for some extra protein, and to bulk it up.  I wanted leftovers, and Jesse is a serious eater.

First, I got these rice noodles soaking in some hot water, while we discussed whether or not a home warranty is necessary (I’m thinking no, when your boyfriend is a super smart contractor, right?  I’m all about taking the money that could be going to an insurance company and putting it into my own “emergency/repairs” fund).

I sauteed those up in some garlic and dark soy and sugar, and set them aside, then in the empty wok, browned some chicken and raw peanuts, with salt and chili flakes.

I sliced up some carrots and celery (on the diagonal, of course.  That’s what differentiates an Asian stir fry from an American saute!), and got these cooking with half a sliced onion and some minced ginger.  Then I whisked up a simple sauce of soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger powder, chili paste, fish sauce, and sesame oil, and added it to the veggies slowly, so that the liquid absorbed but didn’t overpower the stir fry.

Towards the end, I added a few handfuls of adorable little shitake mushrooms, and half a bunch of this awesome looking bok choy.

I spooned a little more sauce over the top, then added back in the chicken, peanuts and rice noodles, and mixed them all together until perfectly combined.

Served it up and garnished with fresh lime, sriracha, and extra sauce to taste.

And then, we drove up to Tonalli’s on Alberta and got ice cream cones.

This Week’s Groceries

New Seasons 6/14

  • Half gallon milk: $2.89
  • Shitake Mushrooms: $2.38 — would have been way more expensive but he charged me as a portobello.  Score!
  • Carrots: $1.06
  • Broccoli: $3.02
  • Bok choy: $1.76
  • Pascilla Peppers: $0.26
  • Garlic: $1.08

TOTAL: $12.40


The Perfect Snack

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I had a plan this week to tell you about my very first foray into the world of crockpot-tery, because this week Jesse borrowed me (OMG did I just write that?  That is some serious Midwest rubbing off on my subconscious…) his to experiment with, and for dinner on Tuesday, I made us mole pulled pork tacos, wild rice pilaf, and buttermilk cilantro slaw.

And while I will tell you about that at some point, I realized this week is no time for deep blogging.  It’s one of the busiest work weeks of my entire year, and I already have my plate full.  

But, I wanted to take a moment and tell you about how good it feels to listen to your body.  I spent most of Tuesday, which is technically my day off, at the shop prepping for this weekend.  By the time I was on my way back home, a slow, rainy drive that included a detour to downtown Portland to pick up our incredible raffle basketI was ravenous.  

I started plotting my snack attack at stop lights so I’d be 100% prepared when I got home.  It was 4:00, too late for a serious snack, but too far from dinner to just have a handful of salt & pepper potato chips.  I was contemplating peanut butter on toast, but as soon as I had that thought, I felt my stomach frown from the inside, and remembered that for some reason, Gluten & I haven’t been getting along lately.

I wouldn’t even go so far as to call myself gluten intolerant, but every once in awhile, I just need to take a break; even the wheatiest, grainiest of whole grain isn’t doing me any favors, and my body reminds me of this as soon as I even have a thought about it (with the exception of pasta salads, for some bizarre reason.  I could eat these every meal of every day and still be psyched).  

But the peanut butter…now we’re getting somewhere.  I suddenly had a flashback to String Summit last summer, when my friend Andrea broke out a bunch of celery and started making ants on a log for everyone, just because.

In case you’ve forgotten, ants on a log are the perfect balance of goopy, crunchy, sweet, salty, satiating, and refreshing.

I’d better stock up on celery until my body decides to let Gluten back in the house, because in a snack world devoid of satisfying crunch, this is kinda perfection.

Did I just blog about ants on a log?  Yep, I went there.

How are we doing on groceries this month?  Well, I had to do this week’s shopping on Monday, as per the usual, so technically that was still in February, but I’m counting it as part of March.  So in February, thanks to some serious frugality, I came out about $7 ahead!

Here’s where we’re at now:

New Seasons 2/27
Thompson raisins: $0.99
Dried ancho chiles: $0.68
Dozen eggs: $2.89
Red leaf lettuce: $1.50
Green cabbage: $2.83
Yellow onions: $1.03
1 lb. strawberries: $3.99 — how are these coming from Cali in February??! No arguments here.
Baby red potatoes: $2.89
Shallots: $1.35
Garlic: $1.26
Bunch radishes: $1.49
Collard greens: $2.49
Pork stew meat: $9.02
TOTAL: $32.36

Trader Joe’s 2/27
Raisin Bran: $2.79
Cottage cheese: $1.99
Sundried tomatoes: $1.99
Olive oil: $5.99
TOTAL: $12.76

Fred Meyer 2/27
1/2 gallon milk: $2.99
Chicken sausage: $4.99
Cucumber: $0.50
Deli turkey meat: $2.50
TOTAL: $10.98

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