Hey, hey! We made it to Friday! I don’t know about you but I have been waiting for this day to come around all week – it’s my “work from home” day and I am so excited to have time to work on my writing assignments (I’m super behind on some freelance work) and to be able to hang out with my assistant:
Admittedly, she’s not much help but you get what you pay for.
Continuing on our meal planning project – Ten Summer Meals in 30 Min or Less – this is day five, meal five, Chinese Chicken Salad! Now, I’ve made this dish at least a dozen times and I know it tastes great as outlined in the recipe. However, I did make a few changes as I was cooking this meal and noted such with an asterisk. Why the changes? Well, I had a really hard time finding cabbage for one thing AND I also bought a fun sauce at the Salt Lake Farmer’s Market that I really wanted to try out.
Chinese Chicken Salad
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 8-10 minutes Serves: 3-4
- ½ Head of Green Cabbage, finely chopped
- 1 Package Top Ramen – Chicken Flavor
- 2 Chicken Breasts, cut into small squares
- ½ Red Bell Pepper, minced in food processor
- 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 3 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
- 3 Tbsp Soy Sauce, Reduced Sodium if possible
- 1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
- ¼ tsp Cinnamon
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- First, chop the cabbage nice and thin*
- For the dressing
- In a small dressing shaker* combine ½ of the top ramen seasoning packet with the olive oil, red wine vinegar, sesame oil and cinnamon. Shake well and refrigerate.
- For the chicken
- Cut chicken into small cubes.
- Add the soy sauce* and any desired salt and pepper.
- Saute over medium heat until thoroughly cooked.
Option to serve the chicken over a bed of cabbage – layering the cabbage, diced red pepper, chicken – then topping with crushed top ramen noodles (for a little crunch and texture) and dressing. This is a great option for serving HOT. I love how the hot chicken sort of melts the crunchy cabbage.
to mix up as a salad – combining the cabbage, red pepper, chicken, a few top ramen crumbles and dressing -mixing thoroughly and place in the freezer for a few minutes to get nice and chilled. This is my preferred method but both are tasty.
Which will you choose?
*I couldn’t find cabbage at any of our grocery stores – what’s up with that? Instead, I purchased a package of precut cabbage (labeled as cole slaw mix but it doesn’t have any sauce on it) and removed the carrots.
*I also couldn’t find my salad dressing shaker – in a pinch I used one of Spencer’s sippy cups. It worked perfectly! You could also use a mason jar or really anything with a lid.
*I subbed out the soy sauce for this amazing sauce I purchased at the farmer’s market last weekend: Noona’s Dipping Sauce which comes from Noona’s Kitchen.
Yesterday, I promised a book review of The Sparrow (<– Wiki link -watch out for spoilers!)
A few weeks ago I ran out of reading material – gasp! I hunted around the house but we have very few books here because when we moved from Seattle we packed up nearly every book we owned and sent it off to Half Price Books so our move was as light as possible. I ended up finding The Sparrow in our tiny collection and wondered how it even survived our trip out here; we’ve had this book sitting around our house for a few years now. I want to say, something like five years. Nick’s mom gave it to him a while back and since he is so good about reading it has done nothing but sit. Anyway, how it has lasted this long, I don’t know – but I’m glad that it did and that I finally opened the cover to see what it was about.
The prologue itself is enough to draw you in – ending with the creepy forewarning – “They meant no harm.”
The book is not my typical choice: I’m not one for sci fi or futuristic stories. And even though The Sparrow takes place in the future and is about a Jesuit “mission trip” to a newly discovered planet, it does not come across as sci fi or fantasy. Rather, it reads very realistically. The book is really about people – human people, human nature and our quest for understanding – the differences in beliefs and worldviews, how we come to experience and know “life” in the fullest of meanings. How we question the idea of “God” and His “preconceived plans.”
In the same way that it was easier to discuss race and hate by converting it to genetic mutations in The X-Men, this story does the same to discuss the “rightness” of missions to new places by providing a whole new place – Rakhat – to have the Jesuits travel to, in the same way missionaries first expanded Europe and then the new world and how we still send missionaries to places like Africa and Papua New Guinea. The author, Mary Doria Russell, is a cultural and biological anthropologist; so it is no wonder that she is able to create and then dissect this imagine culture and species on Rakhat with great detail and care.
In short, I want to say that I loved this book – that I fell in love with each of the characters, felt as though I knew them personally and wished for their wellbeing. I loved that the story evoked so much consideration in my own life – what I believe about God, what I believe about other worlds and other people.
And now that I have finished the story, I’m sad that it is done. I miss Anne and George and their dinner parties, their open and gracious life, their increasingly liberal outlook on life – they are the kind of people I hope Nick and I become in our old age. I miss Emilio and his gracious viewpoint on what it means to be a priest – how that translates from ideal to real life. I miss them all.
Have you read The Sparrow? What did you think of it? Or, if you haven’t read it – are you interested now?
What are you guys reading? I need a new book now!