Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce

We have been eating alot of stir fry lately and this peanut sauce tastes very similar to one we had at a local Thai restaurant. This recipe is from the cookbook Not Just Beans by Tawra Kellam. I use whatever veggies I have on hand for stir fry(the more colorful the better!), but I will share the recipe exactly as it is printed, then you can adjust it however you like.

Stir Fry
Sauce Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
3 Tablespoons peanut butter
1 Tablespoon cornstarch or 2 Tablespoons flour
1 cup water

Stir Fry Ingredients:
3-4 slices ginger root, peeled and minced
2 cloves garlic, mashed or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon oil
2 Tablespoons water
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 onions,sliced
2 green peppers, sliced
2 cups cabbage,shredded
1/2-1 cup leftover cooked beef, turkey or chicken

In a bowl, mix peanut butter, soy sauce, and hot sauce. Stir cornstarch in 1 cup water. Add to bowl. In a deep skillet, simmer the oil with ginger and garlic over medium heat. Add vegetables, starting with the firmest as you dice the others. Stir after each addition and sprinkle on water as needed. Make sure you do not overcook the vegetables. Add cooked meat last. Push vegetables to the side and add sauce to the pot while stirring. Add additional water if needed. As the sauce clears, mix in vegetables. Serve over rice. Serves 4.

*I liked cooking the sauce separately in a small sauce pan and then mixing it with veggies right before eating. We think this would be a great sauce for dipping chunks of chicken in. I like to make sure it has a good kick to it to offset the strong peanut flavor.

* A stir fry tip I read a long time ago from the book The 15 Minute Meal Planner/ A Realistic Approach to a Healthy Lifestyle by Emilie Barnes and Sue Gregg : When cutting up veggies for stir fry, layer veggies on a plate or in a shallow dish according to cooking time required. Start with veggies that cook only a short time such as onions at the bottom of the plate. Next, add those that are semi-firm such as squash, green peppers, etc and end with very firm veggies on top such as carrots that take longer to cook. When it is time to cook, start by putting the top veggies inthe skillet first and work your way to the bottom of the plate. This helps to prevent some mushy veggies and others hardly cooked!I have found that this is also an easy way to chop everything up ahead of time and keep in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Too Busy?

I tend to be a very busy person rushing around and doing all sorts of things and activities. They are good things to do like taking care of my house, cooking and baking for my husband, church activities, sewing, etc. My husband laughs and asks if I ever take a break just to chill out . He says that he is tired just watching me! Sometimes I think he isn't busy enough while he thinks I'm the other extreme.
Well, we just returned from a trip to visit my family. He met some of my family for the first time and spent alot more time with those he had only met briefly before. He soon came to the conclusion that I come by this "busy-ness" honestly! While sitting and visiting, my mom, grandma and aunt all had crocheting in their hands. When going about the house, they are scheduled, efficient and purposeful. He understands now why, even when I sit down, I like to have something to do in my hands- a book to read, recipes to copy, hand sewing to do, lists to make, fingernails to file- something!
It is good to be busy. After all, "Idleness is the devil's workshop." But, I wonder... can I be too busy? Am I able to quiet my mind and focus on what is truly important? Do I turn off the radio and the TV so I can be alone with my thoughts and think about God and hear what He is saying? Today I want to make an effort to, at least for a few moments, do what God says in Psalms 46:10: "Be still and know that I am God..."

Frosted Banana Bars

I have been making these bars a lot lately. They are delicious and have become a favorite among our family and friends. As well as being an excellent way to use over ripe bananas, it is even better when made a day or two ahead of when you plan to serve it.
Frosted Banana Bars
Ingredients for bars:
1/2 cup softened margarine
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup softened margarine
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 3/4 to 4 cups powdered sugar

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Combine flour. baking soda and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in bananas. Spread batter into a greased 15 x 10 x 1 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool.
For frosting, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Gradually beat in enough powdered sugar to achieve desired consistency. Frost bars. Store in refrigerator.