Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.This coming week is my 18th birthday. As a family tradition, my mother has always made a special birthday dinner for whomever's birthday it is. Growing up, I absolutely loved local geese fajitas with sauteed peppers and onions, using the wild game that my father retrieved with our bird dogs. Not only did I whole heartedly enjoy them for dinner, but also cold the day after, which in my opinion may even be tastier. Other meals that my family requests of my mother include linguine and clam sauce, enchiladas, chicken caesar salads, and fish tacos with pan-fried striped bass from the Cape.
From scratch, homemade food, has always been my mother's thing. Though some people think this way of life is too "inconvenient," it is truly the not-so-hidden secret behind all of her dishes.
Therefore, whatever we wanted on our birthday, my mother was always in the kitchen ready to tackle it. Not only was (and still is) dinner always homemade and delicious, but desserts by my mother have always been exceptional. An example would be my 12th birthday, when I promptly told my mother I wanted an ice cream cake like I had at all my friend's birthday parties. Instead of going to Price Chopper or Dairy Queen to buy a pre-made cake ladened with chemicals and artificial dies, my mother literally made the entire thing herself. Though the girls at my party may not have appreciated it very much, I sure did, and still wish going back and snapping a few pictures before devouring it was an option. Whether a molded cake of Thomas the Tank Engine, Poo Bear, Veggie Tales, or simply a rich chocolate cake with buttercream frosting and raspberry jam filling, my mother knows her stuff! It is from her that my passion and love for being in the kitchen has come. I would never have been able to cook without a cookbook, bake without a noted baking time, or keep a clean kitchen while working, if hadn't been for my mother's guidance throughout my childhood.
Growing up means lots of changes, which in my case included becoming ill, much to my families surprise. Therefore, as you can imagine, birthday dinners became harder for my mother to come up with. Not because I am not eating, but because of the limited list of foods I can tolerate, which makes finding something special, that I haven't eaten in the past few days, hard. That being said, she has not ever given up on making something different or exciting for me throughout my sickness, and for that I thank her dearly.
Today's recipe was created out of an attempt to satisfy my craving for pad thai last August on my birthday. Though the original dish and this version are absolutely nothing alike, my creation was able to fulfill my bodies desire for what it perceived as a bowl full of yummy noodles. Growing up, I always had a thing for Chinese, Japanese, or any "Asian" food. Going out to sushi with the family, heating up rice noodle bowls from Whole Foods for lunch, or having an "everything but the kitchen sink" stir fry for dinner, were all regular occurrences in my early childhood. That being said, pad thai became the dish I would order, compare, and rate at most restaurants that served it. Some were mediocre, while others (mainly in NYC) were pretty authentic. If you ever get a chance, visit Pok Pok in Brooklyn, NY , they are incredible!
Though my recipe may not be deemed legitimate, it is still packed full of flavor. Free of any grains, I turned vegetables into the noodles, and frankly, no one realized what they were even eating. My older brother, the hater of all things squash, was slightly disturbed after I wrote down the recipe for him :). Because no one else in my family eats fully Paleo, they had their stir fry on top of rice, however, having it as is will definitely leave you satisfied without the carb load. If you don't have a good source of shrimp, the photo above can testify that using chicken is just as tasty! The recipe itself serves 4-6 people easily, depending on if it is your only main dish.
Asian Noodle Bowl
- 2 large zucchini -spiralized or peeled into strips
- 7 large carrots -peeled into strips
- 7 large swiss chard leaves (or) 4 cups chopped
- 1 can bamboo shoots
- 1lb deveined shrimp
- 1/2 cup green onion
- fresh bamboo shoots
- 6 tbsp Liquid Aminos (or) soy sauce
- 6 tbsp rice vinegar
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger (or 1 tsp dried)
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional, if tolerated)
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp tapioca starch
- 1 tbsp water
- Clean and devein your shrimp.
- Place a medium pot of water on medium heat until boiling.
- Clean and peel zucchini and carrots.
- Either use your Spiralizer to make the zucchini noodles, or take your veggie peeler and make long noodle like strips. Repeat this step for carrots as well.
- De-stem and chop swiss chard into 1/2-1 inch ribbons.
- Once water is boiling, place zucchini and carrots in the pot for approximately 2-3 minutes. *if you leave them in longer you will have soggy noodles. This step is to simply blanch them.
- Strain noodles immediately and rinse with cool water.
- Drain bamboo shoots and set aside.
- For the sauce, combine all ingredients except the coconut oil in a medium bowl except for the tapioca and water.
- In another small bowl, make the tapioca and water slurry and set aside.
- On a large skillet, heat the 3 tablespoons of coconut oil over medium heat.
- Once hot, place shrimp and cook until tender and pink (about 5 minutes), transferring to a bowl to cool.
- Next, add the chard and cook until slightly wilted.
- After the chard has begun to cook down, add your "noodles," bamboo shoots, pre-cooked shrimp, and sauce.
- Once stirred and combined, add your tapioca slurry to thicken the stir fry up. *If you want it thicker, simply make a double batch of the slurry.
- Stir with a wooden spoon until everything is incorporated and hot.
- Serve in bowls or over a plate of rice and sprinkle with green onion and bean sprouts.
Romans 12:12 "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer"