August 30, 2013

Beef Pad Thai

When Joe and I first met I was 23 and ate like a 4 year old. I was picky, picky, picky. Joe, being a prep chef at the time was horrified that I would order chicken tenders and French fries - ok, ok stop laughing.

Over the years I've branched out and pad thai is one of my favorite dishes. However, Asian cooking scares the you know what out of me and I suppose I had never had pad thai that was so good I wanted to go through the trouble of making at home.

And then came pad thai from Thanh Truc in Woodbury. It's a teeny little place but has the best food. We went there for the first time back in March and I had their chicken pad thai which was good but about a month ago we went back and I had their beef pad thai and it was too die for.

I had found a couple recipes on Pinterest and finally decided I was going to attempt this. I mashed these recipes together to make my own and it is almost as good as take out. The recipes I had my inspiration from are here (I actually own her cookbook - fabulous!) and here.

The way I've adapted it, I can actually find all of the ingredients in the normal grocery store, although you may have to spend some time looking. The key to this is make everything ahead of time - the sauce, the meat, chop veggies, etc. That way, when it comes time to actually cook, you are just throwing stuff in the wok. Also, make 1 serving at a time - this will not work if you try to make a huge batch in the wok. Finally, the sauce will be salty when you taste it alone. Trust me, it's ok. When you add all of the other ingredients you won't notice it.

Servings 4ish
Sauce - I actually double this when I make it...the sauce will stay good for about a month in the fridge
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 fish oil
1/2 cup Tamarind juice
1 tsp chili powder

Pad Thai
1 section rice noodles
green onions
red onion
bean sprouts
Thin beef steak or chicken breasts - about 1 lb of each

The bag comes with 3 bunches - use 1 bunch at a time

Boil pot of water for noodles. When it comes to a boil, put in 1 bunch of noodles - seriously, just drop it in. Cook it for 4 minutes (yes, only 4!), drain and rinse with cold water. Take kitchen shears and randomly cut the noodles so they're easier to work with.

Combine brown sugar, fish oil, tamarind juice and chili powder is a small pan. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens a bit. Remove from the stove and put in another container off to the side

Cook the beef (or chicken) until cooked thoroughly. Set off to the side, let cool and then chop.

Chop carrots in a match-stick style, chop green onion, red onion and cilantro. Combine together in a bowl.

Heat wok with oil and spray with some cooking spray. Add some red onion and 1/2 tsp minced garlic and cook until the onion is a little tender.

Add some noodles and 3-4 tbsp. of the sauce.

Toss around a bit in the pan and then add your meat and toss some more.

Add some bean sprouts and then the carrots, green onion, cilantro mixture. Toss again and add some sauce if needed. Cook 2-3 more minutes.

Put on a plate and squeeze some lime juice over it and enjoy!!!!

August 29, 2013

Chicken & Shrimp Angel Hair Pasta with roasted veggies-

I love to cook and am always searching Pinterest to find our next meal. I made this dish while the Nana, Papa, Amy and Baby Cash were visiting and I wasn't sure how it would go over but they all loved it. I took two different recipes and mashed them together which I find myself doing more and more lately :)

I have one picture because it was hotter than you know where and I was trying super hard to get the heck out the kitchen. Amy actually wanted the recipe and made me blog about it because of my recipe mashing.

1 box angel hair pasta (or whatever tickles your fancy)
1 bag spinach (roughly chopped)
1 zucchini
2 peppers
2 onion
2 lemons
1 stick butter + a few more tablespoons
2 cloves garlic (or the minced garlic in a jar)
6 tbsp olive oil

Ingredients for chicken/shrimp:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 pound shrimp (I used already cooked, de-veined,etc)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika

Preheat oven to 425 or the grill if there's a heat wave happening in your city.

Chop zucchini, onions and peppers. Toss them in a large bowl with salt, pepper and olive oil. Put veggies on cookie sheet and put on the grill (or oven) until nice and roasted)

Cook pasta according to directions. Reserve 1-2 cups pasta water

Mix spices for the chicken and rub over chicken. Cook chicken until cooked through and set aside. In the same pan (should be lots of chicken drippings and goodness) add 1 tbsp water and scrape all of that goodness off the bottom of the pan into a little sauce (I use that term loosely). Add the shrimp and cook maybe 5 min. Set shrimp aside.

In the pan that cooked the chicken/shrimp add a tablespoon of butter or so and a garlic clove (or 1/2 tsp minced garlic from a jar) and add the chopped spinach. Cook until wilted, 5-10 minutes or so.

In a large stock pot (same one you used for the pasta) melt the stick of butter and 5-6 tbsp of olive oil. Grate the zest of the 1 lemon and add to the pot. Add 1 garlic clove and stir. Add in the pasta and stir to coat and add some of the pasta water if needed. Squeeze the juice of 2 lemons into the pot.

At that point I put all the noodles into a large pasta serving dish and slicked the chicken. I put the roasted/grilled veggies in a serving dish and made a "build your own bar."

It's nice and light and not too heavy for the hot summer. The grilled veggies mixed in were absolutely amazing! Oh, and I also served it with cheesy garlic bread - you can't have pasta without that!

August 26, 2013

Fair Food

Yes, food from the 2013 Minnesota State Fair deserves its own post :) I think I managed to take a picture of almost every single thing we ate this year, although some food may already have bites taken out of it but oh well.


Pronto Pup - 100% better than a corn dog

cheese curds

 Cinnamon Roll

Breakfast pizza

Walleye on a stick

Apple Cider Pop

Honey and Sunflower Seed ice cream

Deep fried pickles

Strawberry milkshake

We also had cheese on a stick, gyro on a stick (Joe didn't share), jalapeno poppers and a bucket of SweetMartha's cookies that we purchased on the way out (to die for). We shared everything so we were able to try lots and still be able to walk :) I can't wait until next year.

August 25, 2013

The Great Minnesota Get-Together take 10

August 1 marked 10 years that I've lived in Minnesota and I have never (and don't plan to in the future) missed the state fair. This year Nana, Papa, Auntie Amy and Baby Cash came up for the weekend to join us for the festivities. They boys (Mateo and Cash) were such troopers and were so incredibly good the whole time.

Here is some of the fun we had...oh and don't worry the food of the fair will be a separate post!

At the start

 Papa and his boys

Uh oh, Taye's drivin' out

Taye saw the minion and had to have his picture

 Taye's first roller coaster (the kiddie version)

 Princess Kay of the Milky Way 2013. Every year
the winner gets carved in butter - don't ask I don't
know...just google it
Trash Sculpture. A sculpture is built every year from the
garbage collected from the Mississippi. 

And I leave you with a video of Nana, Amy, Joe and Mateo going down the big slide. Nana in the middle, Amy to the right, Joe and Taye to the left behind them.

June 25, 2013

That baby orangutan is silly

Como Zoo is a "free" (they ask for donations) zoo in Saint Paul and in my opinion is a million times better than the MN Zoo. Granted the variety of animals is smaller but you can actually see them unlike at the MN Zoo.

We went with Nana and Papa back in April and Taye loved the orangutans, especially the baby one, "he had box on his head. Mama that baby orangutan is berry silly" in the words of Mateo Falbo. BTW, if you ask him who he is he says "I Mateo Falbo" its adorable but I digress.

Ever since that baby orangutan episode he has literally been begging to go back. Like, hands folded while saying "peas mama...I go see baby orangutan?"

So after the incredibly long MN winter we had, Mother Nature thought what the hell and gave us an incredibly dreary and wet spring. The weekend we went with Nana/Papa was only a tease of nice weather because Mother Nature is cranky like that.

So last week or the week before (I can't remember a darn thing these days) we went back to Como Zoo and just our luck they also had a new gorilla exhibit open. Taye was in love with all the animals and this time we got to see the orangutans outside! We also got to watch that silly baby poop!!! If you ask Taye about the zoo - that is the first thing out of his mouth - "we saw baby orangutan poop...that baby silly"

June 23, 2013

Traveling solo

In March we were in a jam with childcare due to some heath scares with our provider's parents. My first thought was to call Auntie Amy and see if she'd be up for watching Mateo (along with Cash-man) if mom and dad would take Mateo for that week. Of course she said yes and called mom and dad before I had a chance :)

Mom and dad met us in Black River Falls and Mateo could've cared less that he wasn't going to see us for a week. Throughout the week we called and Skyped and all he kept saying was "I at Nani/Papi's house. I go play now. Bye" and off he'd go. Of course if I was him, I'd have the same reaction. Here's some of the fun he had:

They're 18 months apart....

Craft time with Auntie Amy


Papa and the boys

Papa made a tent for Mateo for naptime since Cash needed the crib.
However, once Cash was awake he had to wake up his buddy too

Poor Cash - he had yogurt while Taye had ice cream


Making him earn his keep

Papa is a firefighter and had to show Taye how cool it is

Must be rough to be taken to the toy store...

And then get to test the toys up and down the aisles...

And then have Papa buy you Optimus Prime

Being goofy

Yep it was March and snowy