Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chicken Stir-fry...easy and fresh

I'd like to share my chicken stir-fry recipe. It's a super easy recipe, budget-friendly, healthy and delicious! When I make it, I don't measure ingredients; it's really up to you what proportions of vegetables you use. The important part of this recipe is the technique.

So...the important things:
  1. HIGH heat
  2. Large skillet works best (the woks aren't ideal because they are designed for a commercial heating element which has a big big ring of fire)
  3. Cut your vegetables not in chunks...but in smaller pieces, like slices
  4. Get yourself a good knife. It makes a difference...trust me.
Ingredients (again, this will vary depending on what you like. I'll list what I typically use. I suggest that if you've never done this before, try my combination and then next time modify it based on what you liked/didn't like):
  • Chicken breast - if it's frozen, thaw it out. If it's left slightly frozen, it's easier to slice. I usually use just one chicken breast when I make stir-fry for my family of four but I also usually make another dish as well. If you want extra for leftovers, use two chicken breasts
  • Vegetables:
  • Yellow onion - cut the ends off, then cut in half. Put the flat end down on the cutting board then slice from side to side (not from the end to end - you don't want big half circles)
  • Green onion - maybe a couple and then cut in 1 inch or smaller pieces
  • Broccoli - I just put in a few pieces per family member - not a whole lot. Cut in small or thinner pieces
  • Baby Bok Choy - this is a Chinese vegetable that is mild and is good for you (being that it's a dark leafy green). Buy just a couple 'bunches' then cut the end off so they are loose and rinse them
  • Carrots and Celery - peel the carrot. Slice these so that they are thin, on the diagonal. I just add usually one rib of celery and one carrot. The celery is for flavor and the carrot is for color
  • Bell pepper - I might use 1/4 of the pepper just for color (if I have red) and flavor - slice in thin strips
Those are the basic vegetables. Here are some more. Basically, you can use whatever is in your fridge - there's no rule:
  • Asparagus - rinse and make 2" slices on the diagonal
  • Kale - rinse and chop up (I've never used kale, but my neighbor does)
  • Green beans or snap peas or snowpeas - rinse, take the strings off and slice on the diagonal. You can leave snap and snow peas whole too
  • Broccoli slaw - I've stir-fried just the broccoli slaw without meat and it was good too
  • whatever vegetable you like - just cut in slices (general rule). But, don't use potatoes or tomatoes or artichokes...lol
  1. Cut the chicken into thin slices first. I set the breast down so it's long from left to right, then start slicing into thin slices (1/4 inch or less). After the chicken is sliced, I cut the slices in half so they are more or less bite-sized. 
  2. Put the chicken in a bowl and add a sprinkle of cornstarch - perhaps a spoonful, depending on how much chicken you have. Sprinkle salt, pepper (optional) and some soy sauce-just a sprinkle (optional). Mix it together with your fingers so all the chicken has the seasoning on it. Set aside
  3. Cut your veggies. If you wanted to do this super quick, you can purchase pre-cut vegetables, but I don't recommend buying frozen vegetables or the frozen stir-fry mixes. I keep old pie tins handy and just cut the veggies and put them all together in the pie tin so they are ready to throw in to the pan. The exception is to keep the onions by themselves.
  4. If you want to add extra flavor with garlic cloves, get a couple and slice and cut them up. You don't need to mince them - just slicing will suffice. Add the garlic to the plate you have your onions on. Those both will go in first.
  5. When all your veggies are cut up, start heating up your pan. Turn the heat on high and let it heat up before you add the oil.
  6. Add oil - you don't need a lot - perhaps about 2 nice tablespoons. Swish it around the pan.
  7. Add the onions and garlic and stir it around and keep stirring so the garlic doesn't burn - before the garlic turns brown (within about 10-15 seconds of stirring the onions/garlic) add your chicken. You are going to use a spatula or wooden spoon and stir fry the chicken and onions until the chicken is almost done. 
  8. When the chicken is almost done (it will be all white and will be a little firm) toss in all the cut up vegetables. Keep stir-frying...mix and stir it up. You want to keep everything moving... When the broccoli and carrots are cooked then it's pretty much done. (That's why you don't want to have the broccoli too big) You can add a sprinkling of salt and soy sauce now and stir it around before you plate it.
Serve with steamed rice (the Chinese use Cal-rose or short grain rice, which sticks together). 

I'll post tips on heating up steamed rice next... enjoy the stir-fry!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Ink it Pink

Sharpies are my favorite! Have been for a long time. They are supporting cancer research at City of Hope and donating $1 for every signature uploaded to their Sharpie Ink it Pink gallery until the end of October. You can also view others' signatures including those of celebs. Be creative!

Group Drawing event

I have been looking at different art initiatives that I think would be neat for elementary aged students. You may have seen my earlier post on The Big Draw - I thought I'd check on youtube to see if I could find some videos of people drawing (I love to watch people draw). I found this one - it was interesting to listen and watch and get ideas on different things to do if I should ever have to plan my own group drawing event. I got quite a few ideas from watching this:
  • I liked the yellow paper ties that the women had on - I don't know the significance but perhaps it was to show they were the organizers? That would be fun - making paper ties to wear and then even letting others write/draw on your tie as a way to get to know and mingle with others in your group drawing event.
  • The cards that they were wearing (and had participants and observers fill out and wear) were a neat idea. I liked that they had everyone do a little self-portrait drawing and that the cards asked some random questions like "Your favorite book" and "Guilty pleasure". I think to fit this to an elementary-school age group, you could have "Favorite cartoon character" as one of the questions.
  • I liked that they had different 'venues' for drawing - one was the long connected butcher paper that was hung on the wall - everyone just picked a spot and started drawing. I think that drawing on a vertical surface is definitely a different experience than drawing on a horizontal surface and having a large canvas such as a roll of butcher paper is cool. There were also large single areas that people were drawing on as well as individual single sheets of paper. 
  • The above idea with the butcher paper canvas could be done and you could add music. I'm thinking...having different mural areas set up and consecutively students draw from one canvas then move on to the next and at each canvas there would be a different genre of music playing. At canvas #1 there could be classical music and drawing for 20 minutes. Then move on to canvas #2 where there could be popular music/dance music for 20 minutes...then on to canvas #2 and Flamenco guitar (or whatever!) Then everyone could look at the canvases displayed and see if there were differences in the energy of the drawings. interesting...
  • I saw where people where drawing on skin - my daughter does this with Sharpies (she actually does tattoos with Sharpies and they are so cool!). I don't know if this would be something that would be good for elementary aged kids but it was a neat idea.
  • Along with the above idea - you could draw on things other than paper - cardboard boxes, bananas and oranges, fabric/textiles, etc. 
Makes me want to go get my sketchbook and draw. :)

Fun drawing - celebrating the Big Draw

I like to draw even though I'm not all that great at it. I found out about The Big Draw yesterday and went browsing around to see what it's all about. It's pretty cool! Started in the UK, there are drawing events throughout the month of October.



"October 2010 is Big Draw month in twenty countries and on five continents. Launched in 2000, this annual initiative has grown from 180 events in the UK to over 1500 worldwide. The Campaign aims to use drawing to connect visitors with museum and gallery collections, urban and rural spaces – and the wider community – in new and enjoyable ways. Every Big Draw season offers unlimited scope for those who love to draw and those who think they can’t."
They have all kinds of neat events (see their tweets about them) mostly in the UK but also some internationally.
From their website I found Draw and Foldover - it's this really cool and fun flash-based site where you draw something straight from your computer (you get to pick from different pens and can even undo) and then it gets virtually folded over and passed on to another friend, again online, who adds to the drawing and so on. Each person adds to the drawing from head to torso to legs to feet until it's complete. Do you remember playing that when you were a kid? Ha! Of course when I was a kid there were no computers yet...lol! This is cool and you should try it! Then you can add it to the gallery and view other drawings and even vote for them. I love this! If you try out a drawing feel free to send it to me to add to. :)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cute stationery

Last week we enjoyed a day out at the Japanese department store where we had some delish ramen and browsed the bookstore which was filled with lots of fun stuff for people who like stationery. Everything in a Japanese stationery store is cute! It was our first time there - they had lots of origami paper, cute cute cute little stationery items, lots of nice pens, notebooks/composition books that are ruled/lined for writing in Japanese, trinkets, cool Japanese magazines. Many of the Japanese magazines came with swag - here, all I ever see packaged with magazines are CDs or DVDs. They had cool tote bags, purse/bags and more in the women's fashion and beauty mags. The kids magazines came with various toys - kind of like our Happy Meals do, but with better stuff.

I've never picked up a graphic novel, but they had tons of them there - big thick books full of anime/manga. There was a group of non-Asian (read: white) teens there admiring the manga titles - apparently they were longtime fans. Being that the novels were in Japanese, I had to ask them if they were able to read Japanese. The anwer...was no. Apparently you can get the gist of the story simply by looking at the pictures...no reading necessary! :) I thought that was amusing.

I bought a super cute Japanese Hello Kitty diary (agenda/planner) which I'll take a pic of and share. I also got a couple of folders (for lack of a better word) that have cute graphics on them...oh! and a cute pencil case that I gave to my daughter.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I am starting a quote collection! I guess I've always collected them, but now I'm going to try and keep them in one place. One of my favorite places to go for quotes is Quotegarden. I found that site about 8 years ago. It's a great site because it has quotes categorized in hundreds of categories.

If you have any favorite quotes please share it with me and post it in the comments section. thank you!