Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Thai Red Curry Recipe

Nom, nom!
So, this post is for my friend, Emily, requesting the recipe I follow for Thai Red Curry, and some pointers. I actually follow a pretty basic recipe, the one found on the back of the red curry paste I buy, with a few tweaks. 

However, first off, rice. It seems so many of my friends have no clue how to properly make rice (no judgment, I never had instant rice until I was like 15). And, when I say "properly" make rice, I don't mean buy an expensive rice cooker, what I really mean is buying, washing, soaking, cooking.

I was raised on Jasmine Rice, and honestly I had no clue there was anything else other than that until I was much older. My dad says that I am exaggerating when I say that one of my daily chores from seven on was washing rice, and as I got older I would have notes; "Sarah, wash some rice-- have that done by _____ time." Always allowing for a soaking period before cooking it for supper.

Whenever I am cooking something for dinner that also requires rice I always start the cooking venture off by washing my rice in cold water; repeatedly rinsing the rice until the water is clear, and no longer murky. Once the rice has been washed, I let it soak for at least one hour (if not longer) before cooking.

As far as a "followed recipe" while rice cooking, in my world there is no such thing-- I eye-ball it, and have never had any troubles. I imagine there is a recipe online that you can follow, but here are my tips; use cold water, let it soak, Jasmine rice takes only about eighteen/twenty minutes to cook to perfection, the ratio of rice: water is about 1: 1.5, bring your rice to a boil at first then give it a stir turn it down to medium-low/low and cover the remainder of the cooking time.

Now, Red Thai Curry goodness:

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon coconut oil
1 Tablespoon Red Curry Past (use more for spicier flavor, but not too much)
1 can Coconut Milk
1 Tablespoon Bragg's Liquid Aminos
ginger, garlic, cayenne-- to taste
1 to 3 Chicken Boobs (I usually grill the chicken, and then add it at the very end)
1 Red Bell Pepper
1/2 cup sugar snap peas (trimmed)
1/2 cup fresh steamed broccoli (I steam mine before cooking since I have a sensitive stomach)
1 carrot cut into strips, finely
4 green onion, julienne
1/4 Basil, ribboned
1 lime
kosher salt


Directions: HEAT 1/2 oil in a saucepan on medium heat. Add curry paste; stir fry 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until fragrant. Add coconut milk and bring to simmer on medium-high heat. Stir in Bragg's, and if you desire some ginger, garlic and cayenne-- I usually do tons of garlic and ginger, but haven't been using cayenne, because my stomach has been sensitive to too much spice. I usually turn down the heat on this, and let it simmer for some time-- this does cause some of a reduction, but this curry isn't particularly soupy (if you want a soupier curry add in 1/2 cup chicken stock). I sometimes forget about it for even an hour...It's fine, just stir the sauce from time to time.

When you're getting hungry start your rice, and get a medium pan out, add the other 1/2 Tablespoon coconut oil, and start stir-frying the veggies. Add your grilled chicken to the vegetables; simmer 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender-crisp. Add in the curry sauce, and stir in basil. I then usually juice half a lime over the curry, and give it another good stir before topping with fresh green onions and lime slices and turning off the heat.

I serve the deliciousness over Jasmine rice, obviously. :)





Monday, March 23, 2015

Chocolate Hazelnut Butter Cookies

This post is for my friend, Julianne, I promised it days ago, and finally have the time to get it done. This cookie recipe is simple, easy, and lots of fun to play around with-- I've added chopped Hazelnuts with mini dark chocolate chips before, I've rolled the cookie dough balls in powder sugar before baking, I've done Hershey Chocolate Kisses, and have always enjoyed these little suckers! 

Chocolate Hazelnut Butter Cookies
Ingredients
·         1¾ cups flour
·         1 teaspoon baking soda
·         ½ teaspoon salt
·         ½ cup sugar
·         ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
·         ½ cup butter, softened
·         ½ cup chocolate hazelnut butter (Justin's brand for everyday cookies, and use Nutella for when I am making cookies with a weed butter base)
·         1 egg
·         2 tablespoons milk
·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·         parchment paper for lining cookie sheets for easy cleanup
Instructions
1.      Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.      Mix flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add egg then milk one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. 
3.      Shape dough into balls.
4.      Place on top of parchment paper on cookie sheets.
5.      Cook for 10-12 minutes.

6.      Makes about 4 dozen cookies.


Monday, March 16, 2015

A Very Merry Green Jello With Carrots Visit

As of yesterday, I am officially done with my Salt Lake trip, and today (and yesterday) is a perfectly overcast and slightly damp Oregon day. And, for that, I am grateful.

As far as my trip; it was easier than I anticipated in some ways, and way harder than I imagined in others (goodbyes, man).

All-in-all, I liked being there, just like I've always liked being there. I enjoyed our family time, couldn't get enough of Jess, liked hanging out with Ian the little bits we could, and loved cooking a couple of nights for all of us for supper.

While just focusing on the good in front of me things were incredibly manageable-- it's like, I finally got the goodbye I deserved back in May, which I felt was robbed from me, because of the circumstances I was dealing with. Coming back to Utah, back to my loving family was healing.

When I was preparing for my move back in May 2014, I had conviction in my decision to move. I felt in my heart, and knew in my mind that the decision was right-- I didn't feel like I was escaping a dire situation, like I had felt when I made the rash decision to move to Hawaii when leaving Josh, his drinking and his abuse back in 2008.

When Marc and I broke up I had choices, and decisions to make. I was in a good place in my head with the therapy, and getting healthy prior to all of last year's crap, really made me feel the best I have ever felt in my entire life-- despite my deep depression last March. As I've mentioned in previous posts I felt alone, felt suicidal, and then I was dumped. That ended up being the best thing to ever happen to me, because it pulled out of the depression, and taught me that some people aren't a loss in your life despite prior significant meaning.

It was after my move to Eugene when I started to rebuild that I started focusing on the things I needed to heal from, forgive myself of, forgive others for. From May to July I embraced being home, and let waves of euphoria engulf every emotion as I enjoyed the summer's heat and being on my bike. Then from August on, I've been inside myself; fixing some deep cuts, feeling the things I need to feel, and expressing them, mostly in healthy was.

Going back to Salt Lake City for the first time since leaving made me feel the best I've felt in a lot of ways. I felt like I had control of my feelings; proving despite any anxiety I may had been having prior to leaving that I could conquer fears.
And, I had a lot of fears.

I had fears about running into Marc, fears of dealing with the emotions even thinking of Darcy invokes, I had fears over my curiosity about my house-- fears of my own anger taking control of me.

Here's the thing, going back to SLC reminded me that if love conquers all then surely, if I love myself then I should give myself the power to remember that I can conquer anything I want. Even my own scary anger.

I don't feel angry now that I've had the goodbye I deserve. And, there was no anger in me as I got to enjoy my family with absolutely no outside drama. I feel the best I've felt in a long time, because I allowed myself to fully enjoy the kids, and made it a priority to spend as much time with Jess as I could, something I really regretted when leaving in May.

And, coming home was a greater gift, because despite being sad I had to leave my Utah family, I came home to the things I've been working so hard towards since I left them, and I really feel as if they would be proud.

Plus, I came to Eugene and found love, friends, home, and family.

Anyways, I wanted to make it appoint to take some pictures with an actual camera while visiting-- I didn't bring my (older) dslr, but I did take my little point-n-shoot, along side my phone, and tablet and here are some pictures from the trip:


I wanted to get a good picture of the Littles at a place their grandparents would love

For some reason this desert city loves their fountains like I love these children

Silly pictures of these cuties

Hand Shelf

Very appropriate

They're just so full of the wonderful

City Creek

City Creek

We were attempting a picture with all of us, but were unsuccessful  

My snuggle bugs

Magnificent bastards, all of us

Miss Violet with her Prince of a brother escorting her through the Disney store

Brigham Young's Memorial Cemetery is a favorite place of the kids and I 

I love Vi in this

And, I love Liam's toothless smile!

And, this is probably my favorite from my entire trip. Our little man, Kieran, is 11!

Kieran took this family gem

Getting ready to take me to the airport

Best friends selfies
Coming home was happy

Violet with her tattoo my friend, Kendra, did for me for her

Rainbow Chard at the Eugene Airport


Sweet girl

He's so grown

Stop it, Kieran James, stop it now. 

Beautiful 

Perfect

Silly

Cheesecake Factory

Fountain time

Dear Lord, I just love everything about this kid

Liam

The Littles

Kieran and Liam

Violet and a two headed lamb

My snuggle bug

My little Beth so happy as always

Violet sound asleep in her sling, and in my arms

Sure, you can totally sling a five-year-old

Selfie masters


My first picture of the trip; Violet, Zuko, meee-tee-hee

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

"Thought I'd never see, the love you found in me. Now it's changing all the time-- living in a rhythm where the minutes working overtime..."

I survived my first bout of food poisoning with my boyfriend.

Apparently, Taco Bell doesn't sit well on a thirty year old stomach, but thankfully I had only a few bites, and did not get nearly as sick as Brad (poor guy). We woke up at the same time, were sick for three hours, and then I fell asleep with Bradford holding me-- I slept until 11, Brad until 1, he continued feeling off the rest of the day, while I was able to get to a place where I was able to go to work.

We are both feeling tons better, and I am so grateful for that, because as of today I am officially on vacation. I have big plans for the day; Check-in confirmation, printed my boarding pass, and I plan on getting my laundry in order, finish packing, do some light picking up around the apartment, and maybe treat myself to some home spa treatments.

I've been really lucky lately-- I've done a great job recognizing when I need extra care. I've been good at getting a handle on big, negative emotions before they become an issue, I can confide in my wonderful partner-- who's Vulcan ways soothe my savage soul.

It's so weird how things sometimes trigger me though.

Social media, as always, is the worst trigger, but also sometimes, a very important tool. I would get rid of Facebook all together if it weren't for the fact that I do enjoy looking at everyone's pictures-- I love seeing happy faces, children growing, nummy food, and all the positive things (most) people have the tendency to share.

However, there are certain things I have the hardest time stomaching; family members contacting me under the rouse of "caring," I had a friend write me with some pretty hard news and said news just makes my heartache, because even though I am absolutely in love with the hoop I am not at all active in the hooping community, and that's hard, because I can't really see myself rejoining the online hooping community anytime soon. Then there is a plethora of random things that feel like an attack, not on me, but are none the less offensive, or somehow hurtful.

I just get ridiculously sensitive, and things that normally wouldn't even bother me, just get to me. It doesn't matter mood cycle, and there doesn't seem to be a rhyme or reason: Today, I couldn't keep myself reacting to a post on Facebook that bothered me.

I don't know why it bothered me-- a woman I went to school with had posted a meme to her Facebook stating that there is more tar in marijuana than cigarettes, and then posted some meme about being safe and drinking with a nurse around...and, something snapped, and I said something about never experiencing abuse from a stoner, but experiencing different with a drunk.

I know this woman doesn't know me from Adam, doesn't know my story, and has no idea the connection in my head-- all she sees is an insane me, being a bitch.

She doesn't see an emotional me feeling sad about my friend's message, she doesn't see me concerned seeing someone I love make post after post about her first broken heart, no one can see the disconnect I feel in the hooping community, because the hooping community exists online, and this girl doesn't know that just a few days prior my brother hurt me by essentially calling me lazy via a social meme.

In short, there are times, I do not have the skin to deal with people. All I can do is look at MyFitnessPal, read blogs, catch up on YouTube hooping videos...honestly, there are times that the internet is just not good for my mental health, because even though I am a fabulous, brash, loud, and a wonderful woman, I am also sensitive, cry easily, and take things too personally.

It is in these times I find it particularly gratifying that I've been practicing thankfulness for so long-- most of the time, more often than not, I am told that people really love how positive I am, and that's because I know how to look at my life, and see it for what it really is; wonderful.

I have hooping, writing, cooking, and constant daily love. I have two friends that live close by, and a special little I get to watch on occasion. I have a job I absolutely love with kind and wonderful coworkers, I am not always the best at keeping in contact with my mom, dad, and siblings, but I can honestly say, that I know love from them, as they do from me-- and we're lucky in that. I have Oregon, and a full heart, good food, an apartment, and cats.

And, I have this amazing man in my life. I have a partner...I have a best friend, with me, and it warms my heart just knowing that we feel so much for each other, and that we'll do anything to care for one another. That he knows me well enough to know how much I need this coming weekend.

And, I do need this weekend.

When things have been too scary about going back I imagine a few things and it helps calm the anxiety, and helps put a smile back on my face:

1) I think about how its going to feel seeing my wife again. I think about her hugs, and the way it feels to have her arms around me, and how much I miss her in my day to day. I think about how she might smell after having her and Ian living in my room sans me. I think the way she laughs, and how beautiful she's always looked holding the littles in her arms. I think about Chili Verde, and Thai food, and our ever important lady dates, which generally turn out to be us hanging out at The Compound.
2) I think about my old running/walking routes around The Compound, when I first started really making head way with my health I was living in The Compound, and me taking the time to get out and be active was a supported thing-- I learned to control anger on my walks, I would hoop on my walks, I would let all sort of hurts go while I left it on the pavement, and I can honestly say that my areas around Jess' house are still the most comforting to me. The Compound is still my home.
3) I think about the babies. I think about what it will be like to see them, and feel them, hug them, and kiss them. Tell them how much I love them, and that if anything could ever make me stay in Utah it is them. I think of Kieran, Liam, and Violet, and I feel proud of this last year, because they've helped me get here too. I want tell them that I didn't give them life, but life has been so kind to me that it gave me all three of them.

Anyways, I hope to have some good pictures and memories to share after this weekend. Wish me luck!