Vacation Eats and Spicy Shrimp + Rice (Recipe)

Scroll down for the recipe. It’s not that far.

My sister-in-law whipped up a delicious dinner for us while we were on vacation: Garlic Honey Lime Shrimp by Bee | Rasa Malaysia. (Her recipe is on her blog.)

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With her (oldest) little helper.

Of course, I wanted to share my vacation experience with my husband, so I tried to cook it at home. My attempt didn’t turn out as delicious as hers…

…until my husband got involved.

He’s the cook in the household — and he’s damn good. I fiddle around with one-pot, one-pan, Instant Pot kind of dinners (and bagged salads).

We sat down to my version of Garlic Honey Lime Shrimp — to which I added lime zest, fancy — and a side of roast asparagus with lemon, zest and fresh-grated Parmesan cheese.

The kind with the stamped rind.

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See how the shrimp are kinda… naked. (Perfectly cooked, though.)

The shrimp were missing something. Not enough butter? Not enough lime? No. The flavor was right, but the texture was all wrong.

My husband sautéed the sauce in the pan for maybe five more minutes and came back to the table with liquid gold.

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Teamwork, y’all.

It’s the other way around when we cook my favorite shrimp recipe (here it is) — something like a Kung Pao Shrimp. He does all the shrimp-cooking, and I do all the sauce-making.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Spicy Shrimp + Rice

SAUCE INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 Tbs. soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 1 Tbs. garlic chile sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. sesame oil

OTHER INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup of cornstarch
  • Enough oil to cover the bottom of your skillet (I think we used canola. Maybe olive oil once. Pick one. Vegetable oil works, too. Ghee. Butter not so much.)
  • 1 lb. peeled, deveined shrimp (raw or cooked, which will affect how long you cook)
  • Rice

DIRECTIONS

Rinse and dry the shrimp. Room temperature shrimp cook best. (I don’t know if that’s health code appropriate, so… don’t sue me.)

While the shrimp dry, whisk the sauce ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Add more honey, garlic chile or soy sauce to suit your taste buds. I use a ton of chile garlic sauce because I like spicy food — and heartburn, apparently.

Heat a cast iron or nonstick skillet on medium high heat. Cover the bottom of the skillet with oil. Make sure the pan is hot before you put the oil in — I put this in here because I get in trouble for this a lot when I’m cooking 😉

Dredge dry shrimp lightly in the cornstarch. Shake ’em off because you don’t want lumps.

Cook raw shrimp in batches until they turn opaque. If you used cooked shrimp, don’t overcook them. I can’t help you here. Either way, you want the cornstarch to be slightly golden and crisp.

Toss cooked shrimp in the sauce.

Make rice at some point during this. Small pot on the stove. Bake it in the oven. Instant Pot that ish. I don’t care how you make your rice. Or, do like I do, microwave some. From the microwavable rice section of your grocery store.

Serve with rice.

Garnish with some fancy cut green onions or julienned carrots. Obvs I don’t have that kind of time.

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Spicy Shrimp and… the rice was somewhere.

 

Mistakes I Make While Cooking Shrimp

  • I undercook them.
  • I overcook them
  • I cook them when they’re still cold, so they basically boil from the inside out.
  • I cook them when they’re still a little wet, so they basically boil from the inside out AND oil splatters attack me at will.
  • I use too much salt.
  • I use no salt.
  • I don’t use high enough heat.
  • I burn them.

Practice makes perfect 😀

A Host of Health Hullabaloo

June begins Month #6 of 2019’s getting our s*** together New Year.

I wish I had better news for you, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Getting our s*** together took a back seat to getting my physical health — and associated sanity — back on track.

I think I went to see a doctor once a week for two months. It was exhausting.

My biggest scare happened the last week of April, when a large, painful lump appeared protruding at the base of my throat.

Two doctor’s appointments, three vials of blood and a sonogram later, and we discovered fluid-filled nodules on my thyroid. Words like “cyst,” “cancer” and “biopsy” were flung about by my primary care physician and the radiology tech.

Eep.

Thankfully, the nodules deflated on their own before my scheduled ENT appointment. The ENT decided that — since they’d shrunk and he saw no solid masses in my sonogram — I didn’t have to have a biopsy.

Hallelujah.

Fluid-filled nodules rarely become solid masses, and solid masses rarely become cancer. However, the ENT said that if the nodules constantly flare and cause constant pain, he’d recommend REMOVING MY THYROID.

No.

I’m keeping that sucker. Stand down, cysts. Stand. Down.

Turns out, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis runs in my family. Another chronic something to add to the chronic list of chronic nonsense in my new normal. (An update on the chronic back pain to come.)

I just sighed heavily.

Filters

Still rocking accident grams.

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Finances

I don’t even know what a retirement account is anymore.

Fitness

Considering I hurt myself doing the most minuscule of movements, I’m giving up on this one. I’m going to sleep in, read books in the evening and enjoy my rolls. I weigh 140 pounds of no-longer-gives-a.

Food

Here’s a win.

No more takeout two or three nights a week. My husband and I cook dinner at home nearly every night. At least four nights a week. Another night is leftovers. Two other nights consist of what a Junior League friend of mine coined as “Snack Dinner” where we fend for ourselves (aka sandwiches).

Here’s an ongoing loss.

My toddler eats six things. “Cackers,” yogurt, Annie’s bunny-shaped macaroni and cheese (Not any other kind of macaroni and cheese. Don’t come at him with some tractor-shaped crap. Only bunnies.), peanut butter sandwiches, “nanas” and toddler pouches.

I see toddlers eating salad on Instagram.

How?

How do you do it?

If you approach my toddler with anything other than those six things, he loses it. We prepare a plethora of different types of food for breakfast, lunch and dinner — and my kid won’t eat any of it.

He doesn’t even eat chicken nuggets.

CHICKEN NUGGETS!

My baby-food baby used to eat soft carrots, mushy peas, blueberries and oatmeal. No more. Last week, I made him a colorful fruit salad of watermelon, blueberries and strawberries for dinner. It was practically dessert. Straight up trash, according to him.

Actual dessert? He’ll eat that. “Coocoos” (cookies), cake, ice cream, chocolate. Loves it.

I guess that’s seven things. I’ll let you know if he deems it necessary to ever eat eight things.

I ate canned beets as a child. They were terrible. But I ate them. Because I was fed them, and you don’t not eat at grandma’s house.

Jeez. This kid.

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Enjoying chocolate “coocoos.”

BABR: January Update

January was the single. longest. month. ever. Yesterday was January 74. My New Year’s Resolutions for finances, fitness, food and house should be complete since it’s already 2020.

What happened during the longest month ever?

My son played with penguins at the Sedgwick County Zoo. So friggin cute.

Fetched a stick. With his mouth. Because that’s what the dog does.

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And turned 2. He’s playing with the packing paper in his birthday present from Kiwi&Co. The actual present was trash as far as he was concerned.

New Year’s Update: Filters

I open Instagram Stories on accident a lot. Fun filters FTW.

New Year’s Update: Finances

False start. Planning to hot wire this car in February. (Side note: Got the actual car fixed, so we have at least SOME of our s*** together already.)

New Year’s Update: Fitness 

Like every red-blooded American woman in January, I said 2019 is going to be THE YEAR I get back into shape.

Yeeaaaahhhh. Right.

I joined Title Boxing Club in 2018 to slough off pesky baby weight — which came back like a flood when I stopped breastfeeding, rude. High energy. Hitting. Kicking. Skipping… burpees. Sweat rolling down my face and pooling on the mat. Exhilarating.

I’ve never been a fan of cardio, but I loved. boxing. And it was so good for my back.

Until it started acting up again. Until I got busy. Until I couldn’t swing 5:15 a.m. classes because I was so damn tired and in too much pain.

My goal for 2019 isn’t to get back into shape. I want to be pain-free. Fitness is absolutely a part of my road to recovery — I just have to find the right fitness.

I’m testing some options.

Kundalini yoga, which blends chanting, meditation and breath work with familiar yoga poses. The theory behind it is a little hocus pocus, but it’s the only yoga I can do. Most of the work can be done lying down or in a position that doesn’t challenge my back. Think bridge pose or holding a lunge for a long time and “breathing through the eyes.” Whatever, it’s nice.

Thirty-minute fitness classes at work on Tuesdays and Thursdays (which I’ve been proscribed from this week by my physical therapist because they’re hurting me), blending a dash of cardio with strength training and core. Combine these with Popsugar’s Active app workouts, and I’ve got 15-30 minutes scheduled every day.

My physical therapy stretches and abdominal work. The stretches relieve inflammation in my nerves, and the ab work teaches my transverse muscles — the deep abs that got all stretched and destroyed during pregnancy — to activate when I move. After 10 reps, my core is exhausted, but it’s not a workout.

I did pretty well with my fitness resolution for about two-and-a-half weeks. Now, I’m faltering.

False start? More like a stall. Hey, the Jeep needs new tires, too.

New Year’s Update: Food

I lost six pounds between Thanksgiving and my son’s birthday using Noom — counting calories, daily weigh-ins, little challenges. But I was over it. I cancelled that membership (theme?) and gained four pounds back just three weeks later.

Hey, when it’s Christmas break, and you have all the time in the world to plan your meals, go grocery shopping and prep smoothies — well, you’re for sure going to keep that up when you go back to work.

Ha, no.

Fitbit is free, so I’m going to try to use it like Noom — even though it’s not as good, and I don’t really want to.

New Year’s Update: House

It’s been vacuumed.

New Year’s Update: Time

January was 74 days long, and I still don’t have a second of time until 10 p.m. when I write blogs and don’t shower.

 

Whole30: Preparation

whole30 means no ice cream ben and jerrys half baked

I’ve been feeling lousy lately. Back pain, upset stomach, general malaise… acne. Postpartum, I was a mess of hormonally driven health problems on top of edema, so I was a sad tree trunk trying to take care of a newborn. Breastfeeding, while the. single. most. difficult chore of motherhood, improved my health and mood.

I was a SUPERHERO. Not only was I producing life-giving nutrients for my infant son, but I also had clear skin, perfect digestion, and I could eat whatever I wanted — and not gain weight.

Super (ice cream). Hero (Pop-Tarts). Shae (carbs carbs carbs).

ben and jerrys half baked

Do I need to mention my sudden and desperate urge to drink Dr. Pepper after a lifetime of never liking Dr. Pepper? Thanks, pregnancy.

I stopped breastfeeding my son the moment he had enough teeth to cause real damage. Thirteen months. I thought, I have my body back. No more pumping. No more middle-of-the-night comfort boob. I could drink again (I couldn’t).

The downside? All my fun health perks disappeared.

Physical therapy helps my back pain. At the end of the day, though, the pain is pretty intense. On top of back pain, I’ve started to feel… awful…. after eating, specifically at the end of the day. Right around 7 p.m. And acne made a comeback to my face. Who knew it’d want to relive high school, and then get worse. Weeee!

So, back pain, upset stomach, general malaise… acne.

My physical therapist sent me to my primary care physician because my back pain wasn’t improving. My primary care physician conducted a dozen blood tests looking for the cause of my inflammation and found nothing. My OB commiserated with my pain, upset stomach and general malaise — said the acne was normal.

Rude.

But they all asked me the same question, “Well, what are you eating?”

GAH, YOU GUYS.

If you know me, you know I enjoy eating whatever I want whether or not I gain weight. Eating is my second favorite. Right behind sleeping. Food is fuel, sure. It’s also a delight.

But I looked at what I was eating.

Ice cream (back pain). Pop-Tarts (upset stomach). Carbs carbs carbs (general malaise).

And the Dr. Pepper…

My solution, of course, is simple. Change what I’m eating, but which thing — ice cream, Pop-Tarts or miscellaneous carbohydrates — causes my symptoms. How am I to know?

Oh, yeah, they made a diet for that.

GAH, YOU GUYS.

If you know me, you know I hate dieting. In all my years of desired physical fitness — I don’t have this desire anymore; I only desire more sleep — but, in fitness endeavors, food was almost never part of the equation.

title boxing

So, fitness wasn’t always successful, but I was OK with that.

What diet am I talking about? The dietiest diet of them all… Whole30.

Whole30 requires what I consider an extreme elimination diet for 30 days. No ice cream (what). No Pop-Tarts (shut up). No good carbs (pasta, bread, pancakes, happiness). The actual rules make sense: no dairy, no added sugar, no grains and so on and so forth. Fruit, vegetables, nuts (not peanuts), seeds and meat-based protein — all OK.

While tragic, cutting some of my favorite foods out of my diet doesn’t scare me. The planning, preparation and follow through on all of the other foods are terrifying.

I meal plan well. I meal prep just OK. I don’t meal follow-through for crap.

Work, plus life, plus toddler… plus more toddler (same toddler, just more)… plus dinner… plus clean-up? No, I don’t want to do that. I get through about three days of good food, and then it’s two days of crap, and then another day of good food, and then scavenging the kitchen for food because it’s gone bad or we’ve eaten it or it’s weird to eat together.

Whole30 requires all of that. So much of that. Without excuse.

I planned my Whole30 for Aug. 2-31. However, because my mombrain separates its life into different buckets — work, life, toddler, more toddler, taking care of itself, etc. — I also planned a Date Day right in the middle of it with my husband at a favorite event complete with off-limits food truck food and beer.

Guess what you can’t have during Whole30?

viven wine dive wichita kansas

BEER.

GAH, YOU GUYS.

I love beer.

I bought the Whole30 cookbook and the beer tickets like, the same day because life and taking care of myself are not the same bucket.

They’re different buckets.

Here’s my new plan:

Cut my off-limits foods one-by-one. No more Dr. Pepper, ice cream or Pop-Tarts.

Reduce pasta intake and try not eat all the rice with all the soy sauce (because soy is also against the rules).

Then, practice.

I need to practice Whole30. I have mombrain and limited meal follow-through and UberEats. I’m set up for failure.

Plus, I really want to go to the beer event, drink the beer, eat the off-limits food truck food and enjoy Date Day.

iron childhead fest 2017

I will practice Whole30 for 15 days starting Aug. 2. During my practice, I will test some of the recipes from the Whole30 cookbook and find at least seven, solid, cookable-by-Shae recipes for family dinner during my actual Whole30, which is yet to be scheduled.

Because Date Day at the beerfest is happening.

#mealprep: Baby food edition, vol. 1

meal prep baby food

Baby food is a racket.

At my local grocery store, a 4-oz. jar of baby food sweet potato is $1. An actual sweet potato is $0.87.

When peeled, cubed, steamed and pureed with a little water, I can get at least 16 ounces of baby food sweet potato out of one actual sweet potato. Four times more food for $0.13 less than the cost of one jar of baby food.

cubed sweet potato for baby food

This is my argument for buying a Baby Brezza — it steams and purees fruits and vegetables for baby food.

baby brezza baby food maker with sweet potatoes

True, the actual device could have bought me 100 4-oz. jars of baby food — but my son could eat through that in a week.

messy baby eating carrots

He. eats. so. much. food.

Four to six ounces at a time, he eats! Plus, a side of oatmeal and some breast milk to wash it all down.

Three times a day.

ice cube tray baby food storage sweet potato

Before baby — even during pregnancy — I did a good job of prepping meals for the week. Meal planning, coupon cutting, grocery shopping — that was my jam. I made smoothies and overnight oats for breakfasts and salads for lunches with a separate container for salad dressing and everything.

I even prepared 13 freezer meals for the crockpot in effort to prevent copious amount of takeout during my maternity leave. (And I’ll never do it again.)

smoothie packs and freezer meals

So it should be no surprise that I am an excellent baby food prepper.

baby food ice cubes

I’ve pureed carrots — like a lot of carrots. And sweet potatoes — like a lot of sweet potatoes. (Carrots and sweet potatoes make so. much. food. It’s ridiculous.) Plus, a yummy little mixture of avocado, banana and breast milk he lurves.

avocado banana baby food puree

Take two small avocados and two small bananas and blend with or without breast milk to get 16 ounces of food.

A few carrots with a little water make just as much.

Don’t even get me started on how many cubes of food I can make with a couple of sweet potatoes.

Add an apple, a zucchini, some squash or crown of broccoli…

baby food cubes

This kid eats better than I do.

The Baby Brezza makes the steaming and pureeing of the food much faster — and way less messy. Another argument for purchasing what amounts to being a $100 food processor I’m only going to need for just a few more months.

Soon, he’s going to have more teeth…

…so he can chew…

…so he can eat big people food…

…because he’s an actual human person, not some sort of alien that stays my baby forever and only eats mush.

Such crap.

 

 

Our favorite homemade baby food recipe

Avocado-Banana Oatmeal
about 1/3 cup

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado-banana baby food cube thawed, see below
  • 1/4 cup baby oatmeal
  • 1-2 Tbs. water or breast milk

Directions

Thaw the frozen avocado-banana baby food cube in the microwave, about 30 seconds for one cube. Add 1/4 cup of baby oatmeal and 1-2 Tbs. of water or breast milk, depending on desired consistency. Stir and serve!

For the avocado-banana baby food cube: Mash two small avocados and two small bananas — or one large of each — and blend until smooth with a little breast milk or water. (I didn’t even need the Baby Brezza for this one.)

rock star baby bib covered in oatmeal