This weekend was such a whirlwind of events … company for dinner Friday night, company for dinner Saturday night, Sadie’s baptism yesterday, and a myriad of errands and adventures with the kids, it felt good to crash last night. When we got home last night, it was already dark out and it had been a long, but good, family-filled day. I started my day at 6 am, which, quite frankly, is way too early to be up on a Sunday.
As we walked in the door after getting home from the baptism, Nick asked if it was way past their bedtime. It was 6:30 pm. Daylight savings has been kicking their hides. Between the day full of activity and it being dark out so early, even two weeks past when the clocks went back, we’re still a little out of whack. They were in bed by 7. I kid you not.
On Saturday night, The Neighbors came over. The kids had been conspiring for a playdate for the past week or two.
Planets schedules aligned and Saturday night it was. It’s funny to watch them play. Nick and The Girlfriend act like an old married couple, bickering and terribly cross one minute and thick as thieves the next. Poor Madeline. She wants so badly to play with them, but, of course, they want to play on their own. It reminds me of when my sister was born. She is eight years younger than me and back then, I wanted to play with my friends too. Without her. I hope I was nice about it. Looking back on it, it’s possible I wasn’t, but at that age, I didn’t know any better. Nick and The Girlfriend do take time and play for a few minutes with Madeline in between activity changes, and she tries so desperately to keep up, climbing the steps after them shouting “Me! Me!” Adorable.
I currently don’t have a dining room. Well, technically I do, but a little bit of construction elsewhere in the house has made the dining room a convenient spot to put everything else that has been relocated. So without a dining room table, our dinner that night was going to be on the coffee table. Oh how I love my coffee table. Some day I’ll take a picture of it for you. I bought it some five or so years ago, and it opens up (as you would open a book to lay it flat) to make a giant space that is perfect for relocated dinners. Truth be told, I don’t mind sitting on the floor and bellying up to the coffee table, but these days, it’s a little harder to get up after sitting on the floor. Them bones, them bones…
When planning what to make for dinner, I wanted to keep it easy given the seating arrangements. I have been craving Spicy Asian Lettuce Wraps for a few weeks now, and knowing The Neighbor Husband loves them as much as I do, it was an easy choice for dinner. I think it might be one of my favorite chicken recipes from the folks at Cooking Light magazine thus far. From a 2005 issue, it takes seriously five minutes to make, and since you’re starting with a rotisserie chicken, it’s crazy simple and
cheap inexpensive to boot. I happen to be partial to Costco’s rotisserie chickens (one of the best bargains going for $4.99), and since they sell the butter lettuce called for in the recipe as well, it’s nearly one-stop shopping. The rest of the ingredients come right from the door of my refrigerator, so it’s under $10 for the whole shebang.
Although the recipe might have been more originally intended for Spring and Summer eating, I’m not one of those stews-in-winter, salads-in-the-summer type girls. No rules. It’s got such a nice salty kick from the soy and the chili garlic sauce, and the cool, crisp crunch of the lettuce, you can’t just relegate it to one or two seasons a year. Up until this weekend, The Neighbor Wife has never been a big fan of this one, but now she’s a new convert. It just goes to show you, sometimes you have to try something more than once … or twice … tastes change. You may surprise yourself. You know, like brussels sprouts.
I didn’t realize until now, when I just went to go look up the recipe for the wraps, that the last time I made this was to celebrate my 9th wedding anniversary. That seems like a lifetime ago now. At first, I thought learning that made me a touch sad, but upon further reflection, I think wistful might be a more appropriate word. Perhaps it was just time to associate a new memory with a favorite recipe.
The kids still won’t go near this one … yet … but that’s ok. It means the grown-ups didn’t have to share.
Spicy Asian Lettuce Wraps
Recipe courtesy of Cooking Light, March 2005
2-1/2 oz bean threads (cellophane noodles)
1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon chili garlic paste
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
2 cups, chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken
12 large Boston lettuce leaves
Cover bean threads with boiling water. Let stand for 5 minutes, until softened. Drain and rinse under cold water. Combine cilantro,soy sauce, chili paste and oil, stirring with a whisk. Add noodles and chicken and toss well to coat. Spoon 1/3 cup down center of each lettuce leaf. Roll up.