Wednesday, July 27, 2011

"Ch ch ch chANGEs"....

Life changes come in many forms. Like when you go to the ER because you have some crazy-ass bout of food poisoning that has lasted for a week, and they tell you that is NOT something you ate, but something that will eventually eat YOU out of house and home, and that saltines and 7-up are the only things you will consume for the next 4 months. Another wake-up call is when your children all finally exceed the legal age of 18, and the day is finally here when you no longer have to worry about them....then your stomach turns into lead the first time one of them does something stupid/scary/BIG and it dawns on you that THAT DAY NEVER COMES. Those drug company commercials where old people are laughing and lying around naked in bathtubs on the beach are a LIE....we're too busy losing sleep over the mistakes our kids are making to frolic with pharmaceuticals in the sand - those people are obviously childless.

My daughter and her family are making a life change at this very moment - I think the steady harassment of family for them to move back to Oregon was not quite enough until the big hairy toe of homesickness stepped on and tipped the scales. SIL is probably heading back overseas for another year-long contract, and because I think this last year is the longest he's been home all at once for quite a while, the thought of being alone again was too much for her. Which is fine by me - if family gets overwhelming, they can get their own place and pretend they're not home when we come knocking, and leave the phone off the hook....I will just be supremely happy that they're closer than a 6+ hour flight to an airport where you fly over what smells like the biggest crap farm in the universe. How can you smell that on a PLANE way up in the air anyway??

This, in turn, will be a big change for us - we have Son #2 at home, but he is pretty self-contained, and only rarely grunts a need for something, like say a tow from the California border (haha, that was SO funny!). Depending on when a job comes through for SIL, we will quite possibly double the size of our household, and STILL we have one bathroom. There is a disturbance in the force, and Darth Stranger is starting to draw up plans for said commode #2 (haha, yes I said it) - even a half bath is better than none, so I am ready to give up part of my luxuriously sized laundry room so I can shower without the fear that someone at any given point will desperately need to come in and make me have to shower all over again.

Please understand, this is not a complaint - I am unbelieveably excited, but keeping it low key in case it somehow doesn't happen...that would be very bad - but just an observation that things are about to change big time for our family as a whole. My kids are all awesome, as are the people they attach themselves to, but are also very independent (see "stubborn", they get that from their father) souls, so we (see me) are all going to need to be flexible. Which means that if someone puts the steak knives in the cheese knife slot, or leaves the cereal bag open so it gets all stale and chewy, I'm going to have to swing with it. Altho eating the last graham cracker and not immediately getting in the car and going to the nearest open store for more could be punishable by death (I don't ask for much, but my GC's are WW crack). And the benefits will FAR outweigh any inconvenience....I have only dreamed of the day when my grandson would be instantly accessible for teasing and rubbing grammy's feet (gross...I am totally kidding), and my daughter back so the balance shifts back to girl power - along with my someday DIL, we are going to RULE!

Change is mostly good, it shakes up our complacency, makes our lives more interesting, and can help you to see what you're really made of. Which brings me to this: a recipe for change. I am working really hard at making things that are good for you but still edible, and when I tweak a terrible (see delicious and full of fat) recipe and actually make it better for you and STILL good-tasting, I feel like I just invented chocolate. OK, maybe not chocolate....but maybe graham crackers. So give this a try and tell me what you got rave reviews here, but our taste buds could have been the first thing to disappear when we started losing weight!

Not-So-Fatty Patty's Killer Noodle Salad

I think the original had more noodles, less veggies, used regular peanut butter and more oil, but this version is far less point-plus intensive and still packs an amazing flavor punch. And load up on even more veggies if you want - you can also sprinkle chopped peanuts on top, but beware...those points add up FAST!

3 oz. fresh soba noodles (they look like fresh ramen, but are not deep fried)
1/4 C. seasoned rice vinegar
2 T. Peanutbetter (that stuff I told you about at Trader Joe's)
1 tsp. sesame oil (this is where a LOT of the flavor comes from...)
2 T. sugar
1 T. soy sauce
1 tsp. red curry paste (uh, yeah...I use maybe 1/4 tsp. so as to not set my hair on fire)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 C. shredded cabbage
1/2 red bell pepper
1 C. sugar snap peas
1 carrot, peeled or a handful of baby carrots
1 rib celery

Cook the soba as per directions - it only takes a couple minutes - drain and rinse with cold water and put in large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk vinegar, peanutbetter, oil, sugar, soy, curry paste and salt to a smooth emulsion, set aside. To prep veggies, wash and cut peppers and carrots into matchstick size pieces, then slice the sugar snap peas crosswise diagonally into 1/4" sections. Toss all veggies with noodles, pour over dressing and mix to coat. Adjust seasoning to taste, and serve cold - SO good and only 7 points plus for the WHOLE batch!

If you want to make this for more than just you, just multiply it per person for a main dish (you could add sliced cooked chicken breast for more protein - 3 oz. will add I think 2 more points), or for every two people if it's a side. You can also get fancy and add some toasted white and black sesame seeds, a tsp. is zero points, so just don't add more than that per serving and you're good to go. And if you don't care about the fat, by all means use regular peanut butter, drizzle in some olive oil and crust the top with crushed peanuts - shoot, you can eliminate the veggies altogether and stop yourself up for a month of Sundays! Just don't come to my house when it finally breaks loose....I still only have one bathroom, and I like the paint to stay on the walls, thank you very much.


  1. I wish it was as easy as telling you not to fret so much, but I know if it were really that simple it wouldn't be an issue!

    That said, have you ever considered renting a porta-potty on a (very) temporary basis? >_>

    PS. The salad sounds really good! I'm excited to stay with you guys for a while, your good habits rub off on me.

  2. Never stop telling me....someday it might work. And I cannot WAIT....DETAILS girl!