"It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all." -Laura Ingalls Wilder

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bok Choy LOVE

I was a vegetarian for 5 years then got married to the biggest carnivore on the planet and sold my soul to make cooking easier. Honestly, my body was never made for eating large quantities of meat. When my husband is deployed I maybe eat meat once to twice a month and that's only because I have a huge hankering for it that I believe is my body's way of telling me it needs some protein.

So lately for both our health and our grocery budget I've been cooking meat far less frequently. Going to the farmer's market has helped tremendously because it's much cheaper than the commissary and offers many unique veggies and fruits. This week I picked up a big head of bok choy just because I love bok choy so much. I usually make a meal plan but I've been winging it a lot lately because I'm never totally sure what will be there in the stalls on Saturday morning.

Today after a long day at the beach and a few errands both Mr. Marine and I were pooped but totally ravenous. I was going to make spaghetti and meatballs but the meat hadn't defrosted so I poked around in the fridge and saw that beautiful bok choy and knew I had to make it. After a little bit of chopping and a tad bit of stir frying we had a delicious and easy meal on the table that satisfied us both (even the carnivore). So of course, I thought I'd share the recipe so you all can enjoy bok choy just as much as we do!

Stacie's Fantabulous Stir-Fried Bok Choy 
1 large head of bok choy, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium onion
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp red pepper flakes (add more or less depending on your taste)
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp powdered ginger or a piece of fresh ginger (I was fresh out of ginger root so I used powder)
1 tsp five spice powder
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp soy sauce
a "glug" of vegetable or canola oil

Dice garlic and onions and place in a large skillet with veggie oil, ginger, and red pepper flakes over medium heat. Once the onions start to turn translucent add in sesame oil, five spice powder, cornstarch, and soy sauce. When the spices start to get fragrant add bok choy and cook until the leaves are wilted and the stems still remain slightly crisp, approximately 5 minutes. Serve over rice.

Yum! I've also used bok choy in meat based stir fries but I feel it stands well on it's own. A great meal to eat in the heat of summer too since it doesn't use the oven. Next time I post a recipe I promise to take a picture before it gets devoured. We were just too hungry tonight!

Until next time,

xoxo Stacie


Friday, May 20, 2011

Milspouse Friday Fill-In #41

Happy Friday! We all know what Friday means...another Milspouse Fill-In! Thanks, as always, to Wife of a Sailor for getting this together every week. It's so fun to get to know other military spouses.

1. What is one of the things you always do special when your husband returns from a deployment? submitted by Keep Calm and Soldier On

I always cook my husband something extra special and usually new. My first trial with cheesecake and also with sweet potato pie came about because I wanted to make them for homecomings. Also I usually buy some of his favorite soda, Dr. Pepper, because we don't drink soda but that is a special treat for him.

2. What do you do to help your spouse and/or yourself re-adjust after a deployment or long separation? submitted by Diapers, Dogs and Deployments

We don't really have a specific plan when it comes to re-adjusting. It may take a few days but we both fall back into a  rhythm. I think the key is that we both make an effort. If he makes a mess I would usually complain about I have patience and keep my mouth shut, and he does the dishes or takes the trash out without being asked. Just doing little things and letting things go without nagging helps immensely.

3. Are you a crazy coupon clipper (I’m becoming one, so share your secrets with me)? submitted by Married My Airman

I'm not "crazy" when it comes to coupons, at all. I clip the ones for things I know I'll use and give the rest to one of my amazing, but crazy, coupon loving girlfriends. She gets so many things for free and it's fantastic! We eat "real food" though so getting 3 boxes of free Hamburger Helper does nothing for me. It's fun to watch her do her thing, though.

4. What’s your most treasured memory of you and your spouse (not counting your wedding – that’s a given)? submitted by Scrubs, ACUs and One Crazy Ride

On post-deployment leave after Mr. Marine's time in Afghanistan we went to the beach and swam together and we both had so much fun. He turns into a little kid when we do fun things (complete with goofy sideways grin) and it makes me so happy. Also, it was late September so there was barely anyone other than us on the beach. One more memory that makes the cut is when we went to the Atlanta aquarium and he pet sharks in the touch tank. He was so excited and it made me giggle.

5. If you could live anywhere overseas, what would you pick and why? submitted by Little Moments Like This

Ireland, without a doubt. Rolling fields full of sheep and greenery is my kind of place!

Until next time,

xoxo Stacie

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Puppy Love

A picture sent to daddy in Afghanistan.

When my husband and I first started getting to know each other before his deployment to Iraq it was just a few random emails back and forth, nothing all that exciting. Soon we mentioned our mutual dog love and our talks took off from there. We've both grown up around dogs (at times, multiple dogs) and when we got married couldn't imagine our lives without one. So after a great deal of research and calling around we found a Dachshund breeder out in Lumberton and headed out to "just look" one weekend.

There she was; a cutie-patootie little timid thing sitting on the couch. She initially shook a bit when my husband held her but after passing her off to me she calmed down and gave me a  kiss on my nose. The breeder brought out a few more puppies and we played with them all but my hands kept going towards the dapple long-haired female. We were smitten from the start and off we went with our little Sookie in tow.

A man and his dog.

Since she is our first "baby", she is spoiled. We bought her new toys, a little bed, and the best organic treats you could find. Well, and there was also that one doggie coat....please forgive me, it was cold in Maine that Christmas and I didn't want her to freeze! Along this journey of puppy parenthood, we've learned what to do and many things not to do. For the most part she's a pretty well behaved dog although we made some mistakes in socializing and unknown visitors make her nervous. It also took a long time to housebreak her (one of the downsides to the Dachshund breed is the sometimes difficult task of housebreaking) but nowadays she sits by the door and whines if she has to go. She is the best cuddle buddy, especially when my husband was deployed. She loves to swim and often shows her hound-like tendencies when she spots a squirrel from ten meters.

Sookie is one of my favorite things in the universe. I have always loved our family dogs growing up but being fully involved in Sookie's training and upbringing has given me entirely different kind of love for her. She is our dog. It's the perfect kind of puppy love!

Do you have a story to share about your favorite furry love?

Until next time,

xoxo Stacie

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Reunited and it feels so good...

Hooray! Huzzah! Mr. Marine is home again! This time, hopefully, for good. We only have a few months left of our Marine Corps journey then it's home again, home again (to Maine), jiggity jig! It's very exciting, but also stressful and a little scary. We met, got together, and got married while Mr. Marine was active duty. To think of our lives without the Marine Corps is a little daunting. I have faith we'll figure it out and get through the transition. Well, back to showering the ol' ball and chain with affection since he's been so starved the past few months.

Until next time,
 xoxo Stacie