I’ve been thinking a lot about this guy lately.
He’s starting at a new school this fall and will experience all kinds of change during this time called adolescence and junior high. It’s brought back all kinds of memories from my own adolescent years – everything from remembering locker combinations to who to sit by at lunch to what to wear. Ugh. I know he’ll do great, but it’s so hard to be a parent and go through all these transitions again with your kids. Especially when the transitions and years seem to be passing at lightning speed. I still think of him as a toddler some days, and long for cuddling with him, reading him bedtime stories, or playing dinosaurs and trains. He has been known on occasion to hover over my shoulder and listen when I’m reading a picture book to my youngest. I love that.
School starts in one day, and I’m about as ready as I’ll ever be. Back-to-school for us means busy evenings with homework and sports. My head is spinning thinking about managing our schedules, as I’m sure many others can relate.
Need a quick dinner recipe? This one’s so very simple and easy to throw together. Great for those nights when you feel like Chinese takeout, but prefer to make it yourself. It’s complete with protein and veggie and is easily customized with your favorite substitutes, i.e. shrimp, peppers, beef, broccoli, etc.
My version, which I sort of tossed together with whatever we had in our refrigerator, turned out to be a keeper. I like to serve this with a sticky rice, which is Jasmine rice, rinsed until the water runs clear and made in a rice cooker. All while you prepare the main event. Everything is ready to serve in less than 30 minutes. Feel free to add additional sides like potstickers, cream cheese wontons or egg rolls, or to keep it healthy – more sauteed veggies. An after-dinner lucky fortune cookie doesn’t hurt either.
Hoisin Chicken with Green Beans and Sticky Rice
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 lbs. chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups fresh green beans, ends trimmed
1 cup fresh mushrooms, cut in half
2-3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
Few dashes of tamari
Heat oil in wok or large skillet over med-high heat. Add chicken and stir fry for 5-7 minutes, until no longer pink. Add garlic and continue to stir fry until fragrant. Add green beans and mushrooms and continue to stir fry until green beans start to wrinkle and vegetables become tender. Add hoisin sauce and a couple dashes of tamari and stir to combine. Serve with sticky rice and soy sauce.
A little fact about me – I’m fascinated by dinosaurs and have been known to name all of them in our collection. Pterodactyls, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Stegosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Bronchosaurus, Triceratops, etc… Do you know yours? Happy back-to-school, crazy schedules and all!