meal trains and peanut noodles

To all of the parents who had children before I did, I’m sorry.

I’m sorry I wasn’t excited for your baby shower. I’m sorry I didn’t offer to watch your kiddo or vacuum your floors in those first few months. I’m sorry I barged in on you unannounced expecting everything to be the same. I’m sorry I didn’t support you with even just a simple check-in to see how you were coping. And I’m sorry I didn’t sign up for your meal train.

I’m sorry I didn’t get it then. But I promise you, I get it now.

lilia
Day 2 of motherhood and NOT COPING WELL.

I get that security and sanity are often the first things out the window, and no amount of “it’ll be okay’s” will bring them back. I get that, on a bad day, nipple cream can be the only good thing going for you. I get that the little things — like a walk around the block or a long shower — are often the most transformative. I get that sometimes all the time, all you need and want to do is cry. And I get that food is the last thing on your mind when you’re consumed by the immense responsibility of feeding your child every two to three hours, with no end in sight.

Boy do we get it. And boy does it suck.

While we personally seem to be entering the elusive “it gets better” stage of parenthood [HALLELUJAH!], we have also suddenly found ourselves surrounded by a slew of new parents wading through the newborn muck just as we did a few months ago.

Our deepest desire for them — and for us — is to get it right this time. To genuinely pray for them when things don’t go as planned. To encourage them in their breastfeeding or formula feeding journey. To supply the coffee when it’s needed most. And to sign up for that meal train, no. matter. what.

That’s because the meal train organized for us after Lilia was born was a legitimate God-send. [Special shoutout to Elizabeth Fuqua for spearheading it!]

We didn’t have to cook a single dinner for a solid six weeks thanks to the overwhelming generosity of those around us. It didn’t matter if it was a pizza delivery or pho carry out or a home cooked casserole — each meal meant that there was one less thing to worry about in a day wrought with worry. It meant sustenance after an unbelievably long day, longer than you’ve ever thought possible. And it meant a smile or a hug from a friend when you really and truly needed it the most.

So now that we are slowly clawing our way back to a new sense of normal, all we want to do is pay it forward and to show love the best way we know how… through food.

Because no one should have to go through parenthood alone. And they definitely shouldn’t go through it hungry.

This one is for you, friends! You know who you are.


Peanut Noodles

This dish is a take on one of our favorite meal train meals from our good friend, Laurel. Its massive proportions and comfort-food flavors made it the perfect “eat-straight-out-of-the-pan” dish for several consecutive days. So when it was time to conjure up something substantial yet tasty for our new parent friends, Matt and Laura, we immediately went back to this easy, delicious meal. We updated it to be gluten free by using rice noodles instead of rotini pasta, and we decided to briefly blanch the vegetables instead of sauté them so they would withstand multiple microwave reheats. It can easily be doubled, but you’ll find the below proportions ideal for feeding a set of new parents for at least three meals.

IMG_0203 (1)

Ingredients
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1- 1.5″ knob of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 5 Tbs. oil, separated [vegetable, olive, avocado, or coconut all work]
  • 8 oz. peanut butter [about 1/2 a jar]
  • 5 oz. soy sauce [about 1/4 of a jar]
  • 1/4 c. rice wine vinegar
  • Generous squeeze of Sriracha to taste
  • 10 dashes of sesame oil
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 bell peppers of any color, sliced
  • 2 heads of broccoli, chopped
  • 1- 14 oz bag of rice noodles
  • 1 c. water
Instructions
1. In a medium skillet, heat 3 Tbs. oil over medium heat and sauté onion with garlic and ginger until translucent.
2. Add peanut butter, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, Sriracha, and sesame oil and stir until well combined. Set aside.
3.  In a separate large skillet, heat 2 Tbs. oil over medium-high heat until simmering. Add chicken, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes on each side until meat is no longer pink and a thermometer reads 170-degrees. Transfer to a cutting board to cool and chop.
4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook noodles per package instructions. Add strips of peppers and broccoli florets at the end to blanch in the same boiling water.
5. Mix all of the ingredients together.
6. Garnish with cilantro, lime, and chopped peanuts.
peanut noodles
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