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Hibachi Chicken & Japanese “Yum Yum” Sauce. December 10, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — carapickelsimer @ 4:38 pm
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If for some reason I had to decide what my last meal was going to be, it would undoubtedly be Japanese food. I’m obsessed with the flavors they use while cooking. The garlic, ginger, soy sauce infusion is hands down my favorite thing ever. And because I’m an American and we love all things mayonnaise based, I’d cover that last meal with “yum yum” sauce-the white sauce that everyone loses their minds over at the Japanese restaurants. Hibachi Chicken with yum yum sauce. That would be it.

I was first introduced to this sweet nectar from the Japanese cooking God’s my first year at FSU. There was a little fast food Hibachi place called Mr. Robotos within walking distance of the campus, so every chance I got I’d pop in. Oh, my, goodness. I know when I say fast food you instantly think that it sucks, but it wasn’t like that. Everything was just made to order, quickly. I spent many of days in those very silver chairs trying bite by bite to dissect the secret ingredients for their delicious white sauce, and never, ever came close to replicating it. I have covered at least 10 different meals in their “yum yum” sauce, and have probably eaten my weight in fast food Japanese from this little joint. No doubt I can contribute at least 50% of my freshman 15 to this place. If you’re ever in Tallahassee and you don’t stop to try some of their delicious cuisine, your IQ goes down by 10 points, automatically.

When the time came to leave Tally, I was obviously devastated that I wouldn’t have this amazing cuisine as a lunch choice anymore, so I let go. We only ate out at the expensive Hibachi places for special occasions-I would have to get my “yum yum” fix then. To date, since leaving Tallahassee in 2010, we’ve eaten at a Hibachi restaurant ONCE. So, naturally, when someone says “yum yum” sauce, I start salivating like a teething bulldog. The thought never occurred to me that I could just google this stuff-I thought the Japanese had this creation on lock down to keep us “yum yum” crazed Americans coming back for more.

Nope. The code to this sweet nectar has been cracked. And it has been laying out there on the internet for Lord knows how long. You can imagine the excitement and disbelief I had when I saw it, staring back at me on my computer screen. I wanted to crawl into the picture and make little “yum yum” angels in it.

If you haven’t gotten the picture yet, I would brush my teeth with this stuff.

I wish I could say the following recipe was mine, but that would be lying. I found the recipe to the white sauce here, at a blog written by Rock Star Dad, Kevin. Go check it out!

Kevin also has the perfect meal to serve this with listed on his website. Here’s the pictures from my fancy feast! This is my version of Kevin’s “Don’t Touch My Hibachi” chicken.

2 cloves of garlic, chopped (Kevin’s recipe calls for 1-I always double my garlic because I’m obsessed with its flavor)

1/4 tsp ginger

3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 cup apple juice

1/3 cup light brown sugar

2 tbsp ketchup

1 tbsp cider vinegar

1/3 cup soy sauce or liquid aminos (liquid aminos has zero calories, and tastes just like soy sauce-thanks Kevin!)

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl for the marinate. Trim and slice your chicken, and toss it in.

Let it sit for 6 hours to 2 days, covered, in the fridge. I let mine sit up for about 8 hours and the flavor was so, so perfect.

I sauteed some onions and zucchini with a little bit of butter, garlic, and salt. I served it over a bed of rice, with a side salad, topped with ginger dressing. Then, obviously, I covered it with “yum yum” sauce and ate it all up. I didn’t even stop to take a picture of it because I was literally shoveling this stuff into my mouth. I couldn’t stop.

Needless to say, Mr. Man was speechless as he ate his plate too. It’s THAT good.

Thanks, Rock Star Dad!

Please make this for yourself. It’s to die for.

🙂

-C

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Surprise, Surprise! December 9, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — carapickelsimer @ 9:10 pm

Yesterday, Mr. Man came home and told me that we were not going to be moving back to Florida in three weeks. I was heartbroken.

His company is holding him here until the 22nd of January, and they’re only giving him the 24th & 25th off, which means no time for travel. We will be spending Christmas… who knows where?! WHY? Because I gave our landlord a notice to vacate our apartment about 2 weeks ago, which means on the 18th of December, we will lose our apartment!

I am devastated that my son’s first real Christmas will probably be spent in a hotel room, probably eating ramen noodles.

He probably won’t care, but I will. Christmas is supposed to be a time for family, friends, happiness, and all the other good stuff. We were supposed to be in Florida, soaking up the beautiful rays from the Sunshine State, instead of here in cold, dreary Wisconsin! We’re supposed to be opening presents on the morning of the 25th with our family, and fighting over the last piece of corn casserole. It’s just not supposed to be like this.

So just as I started to bawl hysterically about the fact that in 9 days I don’t have a freaking clue where my boyfriend, kid and I will be sleeping, Mr. Man grabbed my shoes, took me outside, and made me build a snowman with him.

But because he and I are from Florida, and this is the first time we’ve ever seen snow fall, we don’t know the first thing about building a snow man. So what did we do? We pilled the snow up as high as we could with a snow shovel, and then “carved” our snowman out. 

I’m pretty sure that is the most pathetic looking, delopitated snow man in all of snow man history, but it made me realize that sometimes things don’t go as we plan-and that’s okay. In fact, life pretty much never goes as we plan. But our snowman is STILL standing, even through 2 more inches of snowfall, and we love it, simply because it’s ours. It’s not perfect, but it’s ours.

And only then did I further realize that you can’t plan life. I should have learned this one by now, but up until yesterday it hadn’t registered yet. You just can’t plan life. The only thing you can do is prepare for life, and surround yourself with people who you love. So, for the next few days, we will be preparing for whatever God throws at us next. I’d like for it to be a two bedroom condo on the beach in Daytona Beach, FL, but I’m not going to get my hopes up.

Oh, and that man up there (and the little one that looks just like him) is the reason I smile. 🙂

Merry Christmas, everyone.

-C

 

Weekly Menu Planner. December 2, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — carapickelsimer @ 8:25 pm

So Mr. Man and I are in full time save mode-we’re moving back to Florida within the next 3 weeks, and we don’t know when we’ll be returning to work. We’re not 100% where we’d like to be financially, so we’re being as frugal as possible. Every week, I sit down with my weekly menu planner, and plan out a weeks worth of meals. This is especially important right now, because when it comes time to move I don’t want to have to throw anything away.

So here’s a look at our 3 shelf pantry. Is it organized the way I want it to be? No. I’d like for everything to be in baskets, but since we don’t have an actual pantry (and I can’t drill holes in the walls because our landlord won’t let us) and we’re trying to keep our “stuff” count low, this is what I have to work with. Promise you, when we get to the next job, our pantry is going to look 100% different.

Once we get an enclosed trailer, I will be able to keep a stockpile on hand, and shop with only coupons. I’m very, very excited for when this day finally comes!

Okay, so, here’s what I do for the week to plan my meals. I do this every Friday when Mr. Man gets his paycheck, and we head to Walmart as soon as he gets home. If your family gets paid on a bi-weekly basis, do this for 2 weeks out so you’re not making unnecessary trips to Walmart where it’s too easy to spend $100 every time you go in.

This is what I use as my weekly menu planner. I like it because I can write my shopping list on the side, and after the item I write (c) if I have a coupon for that item. I sit down and take a look at what I have in my pantry, cross reference it with the items I have coupons for, and think of the meals I can make based off of what I’ve already got on hand. Always check to make sure you’ve got enough to cover what you’re making. It also does hurt to check the sale papers to see what’s on sale too.

This has saved us so much time and so much money. For every one minute you spend planning, you save ten minutes in the future!

So here’s what my planner looks like when I’m done.

So that’s our menu for the week. Most of it is in my own short hand (veges are vegetables.. lol), and after using it for a few weeks, you will have a better indication of what works for you and what doesn’t.

Here’s how we live healthy, within our menu. We buy all whole wheat breads, and try to have a large salad with every meal. This leaves very little room for a cookie or two that Mr. Man has somehow snuck into the house. I eat oatmeal usually every other day, and alternate with whole wheat pancakes. Maple syrup? I cheat there. There’s somethings you just shouldn’t substitute. However, I use VERY little of it. The brand we use is 200 calories for 1/4 a cup, which is just enough to cover my pancakes. We also use no-yolk egg noodles, and I buy low/no fat on everything I can. We only buy 93/7 hamburger meat, and we buy frozen, prepackaged burgers for Mr. Man (yuk!) because it’s all he’ll eat-but it goes on a whole wheat bun. 🙂

Most pasta comes in a whole grain option as well, and it’s way better than regular pasta. Personally, I think it’s better tasting too!

I would recommend buying reusable Walmart bags! They will start charing for bags eventually, and when they do you can sure bet they’ll raise the price on these too! And, they’re better for the environment! They also hold a LOT more, so you don’t have to make as many trips in and out to bring everything in! 🙂

-C

 

Why I want to live healthy, for real.

Filed under: Uncategorized — carapickelsimer @ 6:38 pm

Put simply, my boys are the reason I want to live healthy, for real.

That’s my mini man, trying to share his green beans with me!

The simple truth is that we have control over our bodies. We have control over what we put into them. And what you put into them is directly correlated to what you get out. There was a time when I was living off of fast food every day, making terrible decisions about my health, drinking copious amounts of alcohol, and I felt terrible all the time. I was always sick, and I had very low drive to do anything. I wasn’t putting “feel good” fuel into my body. I never, ever want to be in that place ever again!

Now, I try to eat healthy, when boyfriend isn’t shoving cookies and snacks into our shopping cart. I am guilty of reaching for a gallon of sweet tea once in a while, because I’m from the south and it runs in my blood!

So why “for real”? Healthy living just doesn’t come from what you eat. Healthy living, for real, is about creating a positive universe around you and your family, and living life to the fullest extent possible. My goal for this blog is to write about God, love, family, cooking, home-making, travel, weight-loss, organization, and all things that make life simple, and fun-for real.

 

-C