I usually try to post on Mondays, however, yesterday was a tad cray-cray. I felt like I was going from the moment I woke up. I basically woke up, shotgunned 3 coffees, watered the garden, fed the birds, gathered all the house laundry to start, cleaned out the fridge, ran the dishwasher, headed out to the grocery store, and then the feed store. Came home, mowed the lawn, finished the laundry, took a shower, and...
Summer always feels that way to me. Not only do I have indoor housework to do, but pile on top of that the outdoor chores. My outdoor chores are to water the garden and mow the lawn. While that may not sound like much, I push-mow 3/4 of an acre. Some of you might think that's crazy, but I'm still young and mowing the lawn is my exercise of the day. I can get anywhere from 15,000 to 25,000 steps when I mow the lawn. Just to put that in perspective, when I walk 5 miles, I get a little over 10,000 steps. So yeah, mowing the lawn? Awesome exercise. I throw on shorts and a tank top, grab my arm band and my headphones, and head outside to get tan, listen to tunes, and get a workout in. Call me a nut, but I love it.
I love summer.
Speaking of summer, we are having quite the summer weather spell here. It was in the high 80's all last week, and the humidity is already back and stifling. The garden loves it though. I planted a bunch of herbs, lettuce, and some peppers outside last week, and most everything has already sprouted! Basil, cilantro, chives, dill, jalapeño, romaine lettuce, spinach, kale sweet peppers, carrots, and potatoes are just a couple of plants well on their way here. I was really shocked by my zucchini, cucumber, and pumpkin seedlings. I planted 1 seed per Jiffy pot (5 pots of each plant) and every single seed sprouted. Pretty amazing!
Now, if I could only get my tomato seedlings to take off. I'm on my second batch of seedlings, and they aren't looking too good. If I can't find anyone around here who sells organic starts, I'm going to be buying a ton of tomatoes at the farmers market this summer. Boo.
And speaking of farmers markets, this is a perfect summer stir-fry. I don't know about you, but there is always fresh broccoli, onions, and bell peppers at my farmers market. I love buying local broccoli during the summer, it's amazingly firm, green, and just tastes so much better than what you get at the grocery store. Our farmers market opens on May 1st, but I haven't had a chance to hit it up this year yet. I'm hoping to remedy that this Saturday though. I might even make this stir-fry if anyone is selling fresh broccoli...
Don't be intimidated by stir-fries. If you need some reassurance, here are some tips to achieving an awesome stir-fry-
1. Prep everything before you start- Stir-fries cook quick, so you want to have everything ready to go and within arm's reach of the pan.
2. Make sure the pan is hot, hot, hot- To get the right texture on your vegetables and meat, you want the heat high. By cooking over high heat, you sear the meat and veggies. This results in more of a crispy texture. If you cook over low heat, it's almost like you are steaming the ingredients. You'll get a totally different texture, one that's kind of mushy. That's a no-go for me.
3. Create a flavorful sauce- After cooking the meat and veg, you'll tie everything together with a sauce. If your sauce is bland, your stir-fry will be bland. Always prepare the sauce ahead of time, and taste test before adding it to the pan. I always try to make sure my sauce is slightly on the salty side before adding it. I just find it flavors the dish a little better that way, and I never end up with a salty stir-fry. And notice I said slightly salty.
Now, go forth and enjoy a stir-fry tonight!
Have a great day everyone! :)
Ingredients (serves 4-5):
1 head broccoli
1 tbsp peanut oil
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
salt and pepper
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsp peanuts, coarsely chopped
hot cooked rice
1. Bring a pot of water to boil. While waiting for water to boil, fill a large mixing bowl with ice. Add water, set aside. When boiling, add broccoli. Boil for 1 1/2 minutes. Immediately remove broccoli from pot with slotted spoon, add to the bowl of ice water. Swish the broccoli around a couple of times, drain, and set aside. Use same pot to cook rice.
2. Heat peanut oil in a large skillet of high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. When pan and oil are hot, add chicken. Cook over high heat, stirring frequently until chicken is browned (1-3 minutes). Remove chicken from pan, set aside. Add onion and red pepper to the pan. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until veggies have softened.
3. In a small bowl, combine chicken broth through corn starch. Whisk to combine. Add chicken broth mixture to the pan, along with the reserved chicken and broccoli. Cook over high heat, stirring constantly, 1-2 minutes, or until chicken and broccoli are warm and sauce has thickened. Remove from heat, sprinkle pan with peanuts. Serve mixture over hot cooked rice immediately.
|Recipe adapted from Cooking Light.|
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