Saturday, June 27, 2015

Project Update: Late Night Edition

Late night. Waiting on some Unisom to kick in, so I figured it’s maybe a good (or maybe a bad) time to update the blog. My contacts are out for the night and my not-sleeping led me to sneak out my bedroom sans-glasses so as to not disturb the sleeping hubs, so, to see what I am writing, I am hunching over with terrible posture that will no doubt make me pay tomorrow. I am willing to risk it. The best time to write is when you have time.

I have been busy lately! Lots of pool repair, working on making a custom swimsuit pattern for my own self (with foam bra cups and underwires!), and trying to make the most of this lovely summer. It is going well!


The pool repair/maintenance is going well, but unfortunately still going. Before we really opened up the pool and raised the water level, I replaced a bunch of fallen tiles and repaired some crumbly concrete coping. After that, we raised the water level and proceeded to make a pool chemical conversion from Baquacil to chlorine. That took a while to complete, but it worked beautifully and now we are in much better control of our pool water chemistry. Without the pool store! Liberating, and budget friendly. My husband really did a great job on that. Next I ripped up all the cracking, shredding, and missing caulk around the pool and replaced it. None of that was rocket science, but neither was it really any fun. It was, however, necessary… and majorly moneysaving as a DIY. I still have to repaint restain the pool coping and pool deck. I have the paint stain, I have the non-slip additive… if only it would stop raining for long enough to get it down! One of these weeks!


Here’s the chemical conversion… nasty “baquagoo” formed for several days, we scooped what looked like Jabba the Hut out of our skimmer, and eventually it cleared up to a marvelously clear state and has remained so ever since.



I made a swimsuit.

She says casually like everyone can do it. It fits. It’s totally imperfect in every way in terms of construction and design, but I flippin’ sewed a swimsuit that I might even wear outside. It’s damn comfy too. This was my wearable muslin for a balconette-type suit, so it has chocolate brown lining and nude underwire casing. Yeah, and I don’t care. It has foam cups and well fitting underwires and doesn’t create a wardrobe malfunction when I lean over. I feel like the bomb even though I am not presently showing you modeled pics of this little suit. Sometimes the satisfaction of learning new skills is enough. I may get there, but it takes more than a little courage, a sunny day, and a friendly unicorn to come help take pictures for me to do that. So we’ll see. Don’t hold your breath. One of my new years goals of 2015 was to get out of my comfort zone with sewing , and this fits the bill. Done. Check. Now I want to make another! And some lingerie! Which I also won’t model for you! Exciting!? I thought not. ((hopefully pics to be added during daylight hours!).


School’s out, and we’ve been having fun. Swimming, badminton, tennis, baseball, berry picking (strawberry, juneberry, and now wild black raspberry), jamming (strawberry rhubarb), library summer reading program, and spending as much time as possible in the company of as many of our favorite people as we can. I don’t know if I’d say the living is easy, per se, but it sure beats a Michigan winter, and handily :) We are making some wonderful memories and trying to live each day intentionally, if not blogging much. And that’s okay. DSC_7924DSC_7935DSC_1248

Monday, June 1, 2015

Chicken Pad Thai, shortcut version

I love me some delicious pad thai. Mmm, mmm, mmm. Shrimp, chicken... it doesn't much matter. Until this past year, I had never thought about making it at home. But my kitchadventurous sister-in-law introduced me to homemade pad thai and my life will never be the same! Thanks, L!

I normally use a great recipe from Cook's Illustrated (which I highly recommend!), but there is a time and place for a shortcut. That time and place was Sunday... I was stuck at the grocery store getting bread for sandwiches this last week of school, a birthday gift for my big boy, and a couple last minute ingredients for the planned pad thai on our dinner menu. But the afternoon disappeared and as I was running down the international foods aisle closing in on meal time, I saw pre-made pad thai sauce, by Thai Kitchen. It was on sale. I grabbed two jars and prayed it would be good.

Turns out, sometimes desperation pays off. The finished chicken pad thai was delicious and came together fast enough to keep the family from starving. Always a good thing. The recipe here is a hybrid from the Cooks Illustrated and the one on the Thai Kitchen pad thai sauce jar. Like all pad thai, unless done wrong, it is gluten-free and dairy-free.

Shortcut Chicken Pad Thai

Makes about 4-6 servings

14 oz package rice noodles
1/4 cup vegetable oil, divided
4 lightly beaten eggs
2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 jar Thai Kitchen Pad Thai Sauce
1 bunch (8-ish) thinly sliced green onions
2-3 cup bean sprouts
1 can tiny shrimp
1/2 cup coarsely chopped unsalted peanuts (optional)
Fresh chopped cilantro (optional)
Lime wedges (optional)
Bring 6 cups water to boil in medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add rice noodles; let stand 8 to 10 minutes or until noodles are soft but firm. Rinse under cold water; drain well. Set aside. Heat half the oil in large skillet or wok on medium-high heat. Add eggs; scramble until set. Remove from skillet. Add remaining oil to skillet. Add chicken; stir fry until cooked through. Add rice noodles, Pad Thai sauce and green onions; stir fry 3 to 4 minutes or noodles are tender. Stir in bean sprouts, tiny shrimp, and scrambled egg. Place noodle mixture on serving platter. Sprinkle with peanuts. Serve with cilantro sprigs and lime wedges. 
This recipe is equally good as leftovers (plan ahead and sprinkle the peanuts on each portion, because those will get soggy in the fridge). These pictures are of my lunch the next day, when no one was too hungry to wait for fiddly pictures :)