Chow Mein

This year, I’ve tried a new recipe every week. We began meal planning, and oh man. We save so much $$ and so much time and we eat so much better. Some weeks, I don’t have time to make anything new…others, like this week, we’ll try three new recipes. It all evens out in the end. Some day, I’ll get around to sharing all those recipes. Most of them are good.

But, Oh. Em. Gee.

Every once and while you stumble upon a recipe…well that blows your hair back. Changes your life. Makes you happy. Gives you reason to believe that the world has some good in it. Makes you say obscenely dramatic statements about how good it is…all because you are on a high (nutritionally that’s probably accurate).

This is one of those recipes. Who freaking new that making delicious chow mein (the original recipe calls it a Panda Express knockoff) was so freaking easy and so freaking quick and so freaking easy. And I should mention it’s really freaking easy.


I just…I can’t…the taste….sigh. Just make it.

Panda Express Chow Mein Copycat

Yields 4 servings


  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 (5.6-ounce) packages refrigerated Yaki-Soba, seasoning sauce packets discarded*
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced diagonally
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • (Homespun Haley addition: 1 Tablespoon of toasted sesame oil – takes a slight edge off of the soy sauce…though totally not necessary.)


  • In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, ginger and white pepper; set aside.
  • In a large pot of boiling water, add Yaki-Soba until loosened, about 1-2 minutes; drain well.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and celery, and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in cabbage until heated through, about 1 minute.
  • Stir in Yaki-Soba and soy sauce mixture until well combined, about 2 minutes.
  • Serve immediately.


*Yaki-Soba is ramen-style noodles and can be found in the refrigerated aisle of your local grocery store.


Skinny Balsamic and Dijon Dressing

I really don’t know how to make you eat this. I can beg…but at the end of the day, this is just a silly little blog post, that won’t impact you on any large level I assume. But in case any of you are listening and taking me seriously (which I know I make it hard to do), please. Please make this. Please. Like pretty please. 
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If you were to chug the whole lot (which is not recommended), 160 calories and 11 g protein. Compared to another popular creamy dressing, Newman’s Own Caesar dressing, 825 calories and 5.5 g protein. Pretty much anything that says creamy = lots of calories in exchange for lower nutrition in comparison to more health-conscious dressings like this. Might I suggest you pour this over some romaine and top with roasted unsalted sunflower seeds? Don’t mind if I do.

Creamy (& skinny) Balsamic Dressing

5 oz. silken tofu

1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

1 Tbs. Dijon mustard

1 small clove garlic, peeled and smashed

1 tsp. warm honey

Place all ingredients on a food processor, chopper, or immersion blender. Add 1/4 cup water, (I forgot to do this…and it was just fine!) and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper if desired (I didn’t…my Dijon added enough kick).


Please. I’m begging.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

I have this vision of a clean but gently broken-in kitchen, a breeze though an open window rustling the dish towels and a pie, baked up in an Americana Pyrex dish, perched on a sill to cool. All is simple, tidy and smells like heaven. I’d be off somewhere gardening in the shade, reading a book or spreading corn out for the hens.

But dammit it’s like 100 degrees in my house and everywhere I go I’m sweating like a pig. I’m trying desperately to walk without my thighs sticking together. I keep dropping my garden shovel to swat away spiders with little shrieks of terror every 5 minutes and the heat makes reading outside impossible unless “reading” really means “napping”. So why on God’s green earth would I want to heat up a big metal box to 375 degrees within my 989 square foot un-air conditioned home? Why?!

This is why. IMG_4326 IMG_4300

This crumble is worth it. It’s worth realizing its hotter inside your house than outside. It’s worth an extra trip to the store if you don’t have rhubarb. It’s worth the red fruit stained blob on your floor. It’s worth the 40 – 50 minute baking time. It’s worth the sweat that comes with opening and reopening the sweltering hot box to check to see if it’s done.

IMG_4293 IMG_4295 IMG_4297 IMG_4302 IMG_4319As I peered down into this crumble, anxiously trying a bite after it had cool for about…eehhhh like 5 seconds, I just closed my eyes and there I was. Standing in that cottage kitchen, the dishes washed, the laundry folded, the garden blooming, the chickens clucking, a pleasant breeze and the sound of life off in the distance.


That would be the sound of our road being torn out and re-paved this week, snapping me oh so pleasantly back into reality. The rumbling of said construction causes every dish in the house to vibrate. Oh and I haven’t actually done the dishes, there is a layer of crusty something on the counter that will have to scraped off, the mile-high stack of dirty clothes are on the floor in my room, the chickens are pecking each other and my thighs are still stuck together.

I think I’ll just get a bowl of this and go sit in a corner.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble –

Yields 6 to 8 servings.

For the topping:
1 1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons Demerara sugar (or turbinado sugar aka Sugar in the Raw)
Zest of one lemon
1/4 pound (1 stick or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
1 1/2 cups rhubarb, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 quart strawberries plus a few extras, hulled, quartered
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch of salt

1. Heat oven to 375°F. Prepare topping: In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugars and lemon zest and add the melted butter. Mix until small and large clumps form. Refrigerate until needed.

2. Prepare filling: Toss rhubarb, strawberries, lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch and a pinch of salt in a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. (I used an oval dish this time, because they fit better in the bottom of a shopping bag.)

3. Remove topping from refrigerator and cover fruit thickly and evenly with topping. Place pie plate on a (foil-lined, if you really want to think ahead) baking sheet, and bake until crumble topping is golden brown in places and fruit is bubbling beneath, about 40 to 50 minutes.