Hungry Hungry Hippie

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Lately in January

I am SO FREAKIN excited that I finally figured out how to get my blog to show up IN FULL in readers.  Probably the highlight of my month (exaggeration, obviously, but you’d be mortified to know how much time I spent trying to do techy computer crap to fix that).  I also re-opened comments because I’m hoping the time off made all the spam crap go away.  I haven’t gotten any in a really long time so fingers crossed.  I still have to approve comments, which is annoying, but I really miss reader interaction so let’s see how long this lasts before all the internet machines figure it out and manifesto length comments full of creepy fake links.

On that odd note, here are some random (mostly food) tidbits that have excited me over this past month.  I took pics of fun things, you see, that don’t fit elsewhere in a post with purpose and direction (read: this is a pointless post that I felt like writing for no reason other than to ramble about my latest obsessions).  Oh aren’t you excited now!?!  Me too :)

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We all know about my undying love for ginger everything so when I recently re-discovered this honey in the depths of our pantry (turns out spring winter cleaning has a legit positive beyond organization) I was super excited.  I ginger-ed it up even more by stirring a spoonful into some hot water steeped with chunks of freshly shaved ginger.  How many times can I write the word ginger in one paragraph?

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He is too much.

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We bought a stand up freezer for the garage.  So now we have insane amounts of storage (yes, that’s an extra fridge next to it).  I’m very excited by this.  It’s the small things.  :)  I’ve already stocked it like whoa.

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I’ve been on a massive pancake breakfast bender.  I make one huge pancake (1 egg + almond flour + coconut flour + baking powder) and top it with spoonfuls (several) of sun butter.

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Because of how many times I go back to the jar to re-slather my ‘cake in butter, I’m pretty sure I eat more sun butter than pancake, but I’m content with this choice.  I’d venture to guess I eat 1/4 cup per breakfast but there’s no sugar in my pancake so it’s all about the topping.

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As you can imagine, we got through jars of sun butter FAST in this house.  Especially now that it’s a favorite of pacman.

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So good.

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Much like our lemon and tangerine trees, our chard is booming like mad.  I am eating heaping salads for lunch and still can’t keep up.  It’s even more awesome because P likes to share the chard with me too.  He even likes the raw stems.

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Speaking of salads, this raw brussels slaw I made was bomb.  I marinated it overnight in a home-made honey dijon vinaigrette and that was all it needed to soften up the raw cruciferous greens.  Tossed with dried cranberries and it was a meal!  Definite food baby afterwards though.

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OMG this bark needed to get out of my life.  It was TOOOOOO good I couldn’t stand it.  The box says the serving size is 1/6th of the bark, but I ate half of it in one sitting.  Shocking I know.  Who are they trying to kid with that 6 servings BS.  Puh-leeze.

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And while we are on the subject of TJs dessert products, can we please discuss why nobody told me GF joe-joe’s exist?  I think I’m destined to eat an entire box one of these nights.  It’s hard to stop.  So.  Yum.

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Miso butter.  It’s a thing.  I like it.  On greens mostly, but I don’t think you have to stop there.  I plan to see how many things I can dump it on over the course of the next month.

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Cruisin’ NBD.

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Only 10 years behind the trend, we finally watched Frozen.  I already knew all the songs, obviously, but now they have context.  P was in bed so yes, this was how Kyle and I chose to spend our Friday night.

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Did you know you can eat cauliflower leaves?  I roasted them.  They are like a cross between bok choy and broccoli stems.  But anything with oil and salt is winning at life, so obviously they were good.

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Best in snacking award goes tooooooo…almond butter with bananas and a LOADED fro-yo (mostly with peanut butter and chocolate crap that we don’t keep at home).  The almond butter was a splurge because we had stopped buying nut products and nut butters a while ago, but recently I made the concession for this jar.  It almost saved my life this month too!  Alright, yes, I’m being dramatic but I had just finished a work out when I started to feel woozy.  I staggered into the kitchen and basically shoveled a spoonful in my mouth with half a banana.  Then I sat down and waited for it to hit my bloodstream.  Oof.  It was a rough morning.  After Kyle left for work, P had to suffer through my queasy start to the day, but eventually I got myself pulled together enough to parent in a decent manner (and shower!).

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Making pancakes with patty-cakes has become a weekend tradition.  He helps get the ingredients out and (kinda) stirs the batter with me and boy does he ever looooooove pancakes.  All I use for his is: 1 egg, coconut flour, all purpose gluten free flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and a pinch of coconut sugar.  Sometimes I leave out the sugar and instead add syrup on top.  And sometimes I omit any sweetener altogether.  He doesn’t seem to notice or mind either way to be honest.  What he loves is helping me make them, watching me flip them, and then eating them with his fork.  The above portion is 1/3 of the yield.  I usually make him 6 small pancakes and he eats them all in one meal.  At the present (although it’s bound to change any second) it’s his favorite breakfast.  Shockingly, he doesn’t request them though.  But if I offer them, he will not turn them down.

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Silly kid pretending to “sleep” in our closet while hiding under my clothes.  Notice the thumb sucking and hair twirling.  Signature move.

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In case you were looking to avoid buying Girl Scout cookies (I was) I recently discovered TJ’s chocolate coconut almonds, which taste EXACTLY like samoas (or caramel delites – whichever you know them as).  They are my all time favorite and obviously not a health food.  But the Trader Joe’s version has fewer weird ingredients, plus it costs less, and most important of all, the portions are smaller so you can eat more try to practice better self control.  To me, the Thin Mint people always lucked out because they got SOOOO many more cookies per box.  Not fair!  The pistachio crack pictured above is also amazing (as if you had your doubts).

And even though I have more to share, I’ll pause and wait for next week because (omg) January is almost over!  How cliche of me…fun things in store for Feb and March.  :)

The weekly menu

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This week’s plan starts off with last Sunday’s dinner.  We had friends over to watch the second football game of the day (Pats vs Colts) and let the kids run amok.

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Kyle BBQed chicken and I made a simple Caesar salad as well as roasted veggies (carrots, sweet potatoes, and brussels) with white balsamic and pancetta.

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The chicken was marinated in olive oil, lemon juice (from our trees), plus rosemary and thyme (from our garden).  I put thyme in the veggies too.

For dessert we had chocolate chip cookies and fruit.  Too bad the day was ruined by the Packer’s loss.  But it was still fun to hang out with our friends.  P and D are so obsessed with each other, it’s so cute.

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The next night I invented a dish which I’ll share in detail later.  It was sweet and sour beef and was a huge hit amongst the boys.  P ate all the components separately (I cooked the beef without marinade first).

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The next night I made this satay chicken salad but made several tweaks.  Most importantly I subbed sun butter for peanut butter.  I also realized I forgot to buy red onion and lettuce at the store, so I picked chard from our garden instead and nixed the onion.  I also added millet because I wanted a grain (read: more carbs) and per usual, cooked the meat plain (so P could have it, too).  Kyle skipped the cucumber, but both P and I ate everything else.  P LOVES chickpeas and millet and cucumbers and chard and avocado so this was a hit of a meal for him.  He had a little bit of chicken but not much.  I only made one breast for all of us to share instead of how much the recipe called for.

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Oh, and I didn’t have red curry paste so I used green instead.  The dressing / sauce may have suffered a bit in authenticity due to this (and the sun butter exchange) but it was still good.

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Next up was bangers and mash, which is, apparently, a thing.  I don’t know.  I had never heard of it but Kyle requested it, so I healthified it up a bit and boom.

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Instead of proper “mash” (mashed potatoes) I made a potato and cauliflower puree.  I used a (small) whole head of cauli and one (large) russet potato.  Cauliflower is so good.  Kyle is 100% hooked too so it’s definitely becoming a staple.  Also, P ate a bunch of it raw before I steamed it, so hooray for 3 out of 3!  [Side note: I’ve tried cooked cauliflower a few times with P and he’s never been a big fan.  He tolerates it for a few bites but then is over it and refuses any more.  Well, apparently raw is a whole new food because he was crunching and chomping his way through as much as I would give him.  So there’s a reminder for myself (and other parents?) that if a food doesn’t work one way, don’t give up, just try it another way, again and again.]

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Friday we had fried chicken with a creamy buffalo dipping sauce and celery.  Kyle had bread with his too.  We both had a TON of the dipping sauce, which I thought I made in excess, but apparently not.  All I did was combine Green Valley organic lactose free sour cream, greek yogurt, and buffalo sauce.  It was creamy with a kick and a perfect accompaniment to the chicken.  I breaded the chicken with cornmeal and coconut flakes and fried it in a pretty significant amount of olive oil (more than I usually do), which made it sooooooo good.

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The final meal planned was this tempeh and turmeric wellness bowl.  I’ve been missing tofu and tempeh and I decided to just make some separate meals for P this week to appease my taste buds (reminder: he’s allergic to soy).

So I made a bunch of tofu salads for my lunches – curry with dried cranberries and slivered almonds was my fave combo.  And in order to keep the kitchen sterile, I made them on the late night (so all allergens were cleaned up and put away while P was asleep and the food was ready to go come lunch time).

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Back to the tempeh recipe.  Kyle likes tempeh better than tofu, so it’s preferable as a dinner choice.

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Look at that golden sauce!  Turmeric is so trendy right now.  Naturally I had to see what the hype was about.  This is actually the second recipe that calls for turmeric from the weekly menu (the satay bowl used it as well).

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Per usual I prepped as much as possible in advance (including the sauce) during nap time so it was ready to go once the evening arrived.  I used the same pan as I cooked the tempeh in for the miso turmeric gravy and look how thick it got!  It was definitely different than any other sauce I’ve had thanks to the turmeric flavor.  It was present, but not overpowering, but distinctly there.  Kyle and I both liked it.

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The only tweak I made was using quinoa instead of rice because I wanted a bit more protein for P (he had the quinoa for dinner with chickpeas instead of tempeh).  I’d make this again for sure.

And now I’m off to work on the next week’s menu.

Friday with P

I started this post yesterday but chose sleep over finishing it on the late night.  And by “late night” I mean 8:30 pm.  Now that I’m an oooooold 31 (edited to update: apparently I’m 32) year old I prioritize sleep like I never used to and I aim for > 8 hours as a minimum.  Anyway, I finished the post this morning, so here’s a recap of our Friday. 

I wanted to nap SO badly today I was just plain exhausted.  Thank goodness it’s the weekend soon.  Although what a sad weekend it is without any football to watch.  :(

P woke up just before 7 and even though Kyle had already gone on a run and showered, I still hadn’t even stirred before I heard him on the monitor.  Clearly I was needing extra zzzzz’s but alas, motherhood calls!

I forced myself out the door for a super foggy run.  It was slow and blah but I did it.  I took P into the bathroom with me while I showered and got dressed and he sang songs and read books in my closet per usual.  Sometimes he takes all of Kyle’s ties off the hanger but today he was set on his books.  I didn’t really put much effort into getting ready because we had swim lessons later that day so I knew I’d be taking another shower anyway, so we were downstairs and getting our breakfast on by 8:15.  That’s definitely not the usual!

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P requested something unusual to start the day but I said why not and gave him (corn) tortillas with soy free Earth Balance per his desire.  He also had banana bread (above), blueberries, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.  No eggs today!?  What a weird day indeed.

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I had spelt toast with EB and a fried egg (taking a break from my 8 days in a row routine of pancakes and sun butter).

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See!?!  The solo pancake has become an OBSESSION.  I make it without measuring stuff so it’s a little different every time, but it’s essentially 1 egg, a few tbsp coconut flour, a few tbsp almond flour, a pick of baking powder, and cinnamon (plus water as needed to get the right consistency).  That’s it.  No sugar or sweetness needed because I add heaps and heaps of sun butter on top.  So so good.

After cleaning up we played in the toy room until it was time for swimming.

My little fishy did fabulous.  Last weekend was his first time back in the pool after almost a year’s break from lessons and we quickly realized we needed to keep up the weekly classes because he wasn’t as cool in the water as he once was.  I’m glad that his comfort level is already returning.

By the time we got home he was exhausted (as was I!) so we only read one book and then he immediately went to bed.

I showered and ate lunch in the meantime and then cozied up on the couch.  SO.  TIRED.  I felt like my eyes were only half open the rest of the day.  It may have been the chlorine but they definitely felt stingy and bleary.

P napped for nearly three (!!!) hours so obviously he was worn out from our morning.  Those length of naps are rarities and I wish I had slept some of that time too.  Normally I try to conquer the world of errands I have during naps but I didn’t have an ounce of energy in me.  I was even too lazy to go get my water despite feeling exceptionally thirsty.  Of all the days to get a 3 hour naps this was a very necessary one.  Thank you patty-cakes.

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After he woke up I made chai tea (caffeine!) with coconut milk to perk myself up.  Then I fed him lunch (applegate ham deli meat, rice cakes, grapes, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, avocado).

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Next up was a park date with friends.  P has gotten so independent at parks lately.

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I’m still a nervous mama, but I definitely let him do his thing.

We made it home by 5:15 and dada was already there to greet us!  Yay!  The boys played in the toy room while I made dinner.

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Fried chicken in the works.

P had leftovers because ours wasn’t all the way ready by the time I was feeding him (chickpeas, oatmeal with applesauce and chia and hemp seeds, pomegranate arils, carrots, peas, and corn).

After we played for a bit more we did the bedtime routine with pacman and then sat down to our dinner.

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The only way I made it to 9 pm is thanks to some late night chocolate.  And now it’s the weekend and I’m ready to go soak it up.  Adios!

Nasoya baked pork egg rolls

Here are the deets on those egg rolls I showed off last post…

As my dad just pointed out to me (via email) this would be a great app to make for a super bowl party.  He wants full credit for the idea now, so there you go.  You can thank him next weekend when you watch the Seahawks lose.

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Baked pork egg rolls (based on the Nasoya recipe on the package)

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Nasoya egg rolls wraps (I had a few leftover but they freeze and rethaw beautifully)
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 lb (4 oz) bean sprouts
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup Vietnamese sauce (see below)

Vietnamese sauce:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • pinch of crushed red pepper

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Stir fry meat and ginger in a skillet until browned.  Add cabbage, sprouts, and carrots, and place a lid on top.  Let them wilt and then add in the Vietnamese sauce.  Remove the lid and toss the mixture until well combined.  Add the green onions and cook until liquid has reduced and steamed off.

To stuff the egg rolls, see the photo below.  It’s way easier than you think (and I usually suck at these kinds of things).

Then line them up on a greased baking sheet and spray (or lightly brush) with oil.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until crispy and bronzed.

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Notes:

To make veg friendly you could sub scrambled tofu or tempeh.

How about some pics of the process…

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As you can see, the rolling process is not my strong suit, but Nasoya’s wrappers are SO EASY to work with!  They don’t stick together and they don’t break when you roll them.  Unlike rice paper, you don’t have to wet them, and best of all they stay closed without any special treatment!  I was so afraid I’d overstuff them and have a messy mess on my hands, but they all turned out great (perhaps not all were aesthetically pleasing, but whatever).  Once they were baked they looked professional enough to me!

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Check it out!

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The outside was crunchy and light, while the inside was moist and awesome.  And they look so fancy!

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Totally recommend this recipe!

The weekly menu

Apparently last week I had Asian flavors on the brain stomach.  As you’ll see from our menu it is definitely heavy on the Far East flavors.  Yummm…usually I stick to very basic Thai and Chinese cuisine when I’m cooking because I don’t have all the pantry staples (or culinary skills) that are required for other recipes, but I had a bunch of recipes starred in my reader (Vietnamese, etc.) that didn’t require too many crazy ingredients so I went for it.  Now, I’m sure my cooking is far from the real deal but whatever.  They tasted good.  So without further ado.

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First up, shrimp fried rice.

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Nothing fancy about this.  I made the rice in the cooker the day before.  Usually I save the easy meals for mid-week when I have no time with all of P’s activities, but I made this on Sunday because we were at a (kid’s) birthday party til late.  Rice, eggs, veggies, and shrimp with fish sauce, tamari, ginger, and (non sesame) oil.  P had the veggies and rice and shrimp separate before I added anything allergenic (i.e. tamari).

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Chili garlic chicken skewers with greek yogurt dip.

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Holy hell Jessica, this was a spicy mother effing dish!  I sautéed it in the pan (with all of the marinade) instead of ditching the extra sauce and grilling it.  But the reason it was so spicy is because I subbed sriracha for garlic chili paste, which, as it turns out, are not the same thing!!  Way spicy.  We ate alllll the greek yogurt dip with it just as a way of preserving our mouths.  Hot hot heat.  But despite all that, it was super yummy.  I’d make again for sure (using the correct paste though).

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We both paired ours with broccoli (plus leftover carrot rice pilaf for Kyle).

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This Vietnamese rice noodle salad was super good too.

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I decreased the amount of chicken in it, because I thought it was hearty enough without meat, but I was baking the chicken for P anyway, so i still added it to ours.

As nervous as I was about the THREE serrano peppers, they were fine and the heat was present but not insane.  I removed all the ribs and seeds but they were large peppers, so if you’re nervous you could use two and it would be great.  Also, don’t worry if your hands burn all day long after prepping them.  Mine did (literally the rest of the day – while out and about doing errands and stuff – on FIRE) and that’s why I was freaking out that I’d poison us at dinner, but for whatever reason (are my hands super sensitive or something?) there was no burning in my mouth.

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Continuing with the Vietnamese theme, here are Lemongrass pork patties with Vietnamese dipping sauce.

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This dish was outstanding.  It was also my first time working with lemongrass.  Not as intimidating as I thought!

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Everything about this recipe was good.  P ate his ground pork plain and had some of the lettuce as well.  Kyle had rice on the side with extra dipping sauce on top.  The flavors were all super and it wasn’t too difficult.  I could also see it working as a crumble (which I almost did instead) instead of sliders while still stuffing it in lettuce.  Definitely a keeper.

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The next night I made drunken chicken marsala and served it with quinoa.  A non-Asian dinner!

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This recipe is 100% worth keeping on a regular rotation.  It’s crazy easy, takes minimal time/effort, and tastes great.  I made it super last minute because we had a friend over for a baby play date til kinda late.  So I made this dinner from start to finish (the quinoa was already made but nothing else was prepped or started) while making dinner for P while he was in his high chair and waiting for food.  As in, not my usual planned ahead constitution.  But that just goes to show you how easy this was to make!  P ate plain chicken and mushrooms and quinoa from our meal (plus some other stuff).

As is my nature, I made a few tweaks in the recipe.  Instead of the dairy I used plain almond milk.  And we didn’t have marsala wine, so I just subbed what we had on hand (we keep the last itty bits of wine in the fridge for cooking purposes just like this).  I think it was a combo of chardonnay and cabernet, but mostly chardonnay.  Weird, I know, but it worked.  I also used garlic infused olive oil instead of minced garlic and butter.

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Friday night was so very welcomed, I’m not sure why but this week felt long.  I made yet another one of Jessica’s recipes (she is a favorite in our house).

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Say hello to the honey chipotle chicken bowl.  Full of awesomeness.

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This was my first time using adobo sauce and I would love suggestions on what to do with the chipotle peppers that went unused from the can.  I doubled the marinade for the chicken so I could use it as a sauce (both on this recipe and for other things later) because I anticipated it would be bomb.com.  I don’t understand marinating meat and then ditching the marinade when you cook it?  Why can’t you use the marinade too?  It seems a waste to throw it out.  I never do because I like extra sauce and flavor, but I’m wondering if I’m missing something.

Anyway, I baked it with some of the marinade and then sliced it and let the juices soak into the breast even more.

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When it came time to serve it I added extra honey chipotle sauce on top of our salads as dressing too.  Delicious winner.

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Last (but SOOOOO not least) were these pork spring rolls.  I used the recipe on the back of the Nasoya wrapper because it sounded better than anything I could come up with.

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I also used the extra Vietnamese dipping sauce that we had leftover from the pork lettuce cups.  I think I’ll do a separate post with the whole recipe because it was really good and I thought it would be harder to work with the egg roll wraps but it totally wasn’t!

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I almost made a peanut dipping sauce, but instead we just used plain tamari.  In all honesty though, no dipping sauce was necessary.  Totally flavorful and great on their own.