Valentine's Babies

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sneaky Veggies - Awesome Chow Mein Recipe

I'm a mother of two small kids - so of course I'm looking for ways to sneak vegetables into tasty dishes. I came across a recipe for Chow Mein and decided it was a great way to sneak in several cups of vegetables. And my kids gobble it up every time I make it.
This dish literally takes about 20 minutes to make - and it's one of my favorite weeknight dinners.
You can add in just about any shredded fresh vegetable you have on hand also - zucchini, peppers and parsnips are all easy to add in if you like.

Here's what you'll need to make it:

1 lb. cooked whole wheat spaghetti noodles
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup shredded mushrooms (optional)
1/2 bunch green onions sliced in long thin strips
3/4 cup water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sesame oil
1 Tbsp. ketchup
1 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. oil
toasted nuts for garnish (optional)

First, heat 1 Tbsp. oil (I used grapeseed oil)  in a large pan or wok. Add in cabbage, carrots, mushrooms & green onions.

Cook veggies until they are a bit wilted - maybe 5 minutes. They should look like this. While they are cooking, mix the salt into the water and set aside. In a separate small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, remaining 1 Tbsp. oil, honey and ketchup. Set this aside as well.

Add in the cooked spaghetti noodles and the salted water. Combine and mix it together and cook for one or two minutes. Then add the soy sauce mixture and toss everything together. Continue cooking and tossing for 2-3 minutes until everything is combined and heated through. Top with toasted cashews or peanuts and serve.

You can use regular chow mein noodles in this dish if you like. I just chose the whole wheat spaghetti for nutritional value. It's also easier to find in any supermarket. Instead of salt & water, you could use chicken or vegetable stock in the recipe. And if you like a bit of heat, add some ground chili pepper to your sauce. You'll find there are lots of great things you can add to your sauce if you have them on hand and want to add flavor. Tonight I added chopped fresh ginger & garlic to the vegetables before cooking them down and put a tablespoon of chunky peanut butter in my sauce. SO good.

Trash Blocks

We don't do much television at our house - in fact, we don't have a television. But our kids like to watch little shows from time to time on the computer. Lately they have been enjoying episodes of Mr. Rogers that we watch from Amazon Prime.

Recently, we saw him teach a method for making large building blocks out of two milk cartons. I started saving milk cartons and other sturdy boxes to make my little ones a set of giant blocks as well.

 First, I opened up one of the milk cartons and removed the plastic pour spout. Then I gently squeezed the top of the other one so I could easily stuff it into the first. I pushed it all the way down and used packing tape to secure the edges.

 It made a pretty sturdy little block.
 I did the same sort of thing with a couple of cracker boxes. And lots and lots of other boxes.

 And now we have a nice set of large building blocks.
 I figure the kids can build with them - and also play "grocery store" with them if they want. Sure beats the $40 price tag on those cardboard brick sets that I've seen in stores.

Merry Christmas!

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miss lily

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