I couldn’t put it all into words until I looked outside the window of Hal’s room. It was a perfectly dull grey day. Rain was marching monotonously from the downspout right outside the window over her dollhouse. It was spring break. No preschool. The hours felt exceedingly long. We were supposed to be on our way to Costco, the only thing I had planned for the day. Hal was using my legs as a slide with her purple owl in her lap. My legs aren’t long. They’re worse than short. She must have slid 1000 times before she used them briefly as a pillow then back to sliding. My face, it was planted firmly into my phone.
I scrolled through Facebook to find a post from Lindsay of Pinch of Yum about their time at the orphanage in Cebu. You should read it. My phone inched even closer to my face. There’s lots of different things to take away from the post. I found myself resonating with the staff, the caretakers, the people that show up everyday. At the very end of the post she writes about heroes—the kind that love radically. The caretakers came to mind again. With wet eyes, I grabbed Hallie before she went down the slide, squeezing her as hard as was healthy. She smiled.
We’re settled now. After years of transition, I’ve longed for this day. I’d bask in the monotony of it all. But now I find myself lost in it—in the play-doh shaping and water color painting. In the dinner making and the dirty dish washing. The repetition is as heavy as humidity some days.
I squeezed Hallie again as she slid down the slide of my now trembling legs. I should probably workout more. That was my first thought. But on second thought, I hoped that she’d remember me that way Lindsay mentioned—as someone who loved her radically. Parenthood, especially on the greyest days, is so much about showing up. Tomorrow I’ll mold play-doh into cookies for the hundredth time, not because it’s my favorite thing to do. I’ll make dinner too. Because I love that kid so much it makes my legs tremble.
In the name of dinner, we made Cucumber Soba Bowls, an adaptation from Jeanine’s new book, The Love and Lemons Cookbook. (The original recipe is titled Cold Sesame Cucumber Noodles on page 133). The subhead of her book reads—”an apple-to-zucchini celebration of impromptu cooking”. In true fashion, her recipes are quick, smart, and packed with flavor (and vegetables). It’s also the most beautiful book I’ve ever held in my hands. The typography, photography, and styling are magic. We’ll be cooking our way through Jeanine’s book. The original recipe calls for julienned cucumbers. To cut down on chopping, I used my new oxo spiralizer. I’ve used a couple different brands of spiralizers, but to no surprise, none compare to OXO. It’s sturdy and stores away as cleanly as it cuts.
This recipe is adapted from The Love and Lemons Cookbook, page 133. It comes together quick with a tangy vinegar sauce leveled out by the peanut butter and bright notes from the ginger. The cucumber noodles add the perfect cooling crunch.
2–4 tbsp. rice vinegar 2 tbsp. tamari or soy sauce (What’s the difference?) 2 tbsp. natural peanut butter 1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil, plus more for drizzling 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 tsp. ginger, grated squirt of honey (optional) 2 tbsp. scallions, chopped 8 oz. soba noodles 1 c. edamame, frozen 1 large cucumber, spiralized 2 tbsp. sesame seeds
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.
Meanwhile, assemble sauce. Into a bowl, add rice vinegar, tamari, peanut butter, toasted sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Taste. Sweeten with honey if desired or add a bit more rice vinegar. Stir in scallions and set aside. (Side note: for this recipe, I used the garlic press for both the garlic and the ginger.)
Once the water comes to a boil, salt liberally and add in noodles and edamame. Cook according to noodle package instructions. Once done, strain the noodles and edamame. Spray cold water over the mixture to stop from cooking. Noodles should be cold to touch.
Spiralize cucumber using the spaghetti or fettuccini cut.
Into a large bowl, toss noodles and edamame, cucumbers, and sauce until combined. Serve. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
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Disclosure: OXO sent the spiralizer for review which just felt like a no brainer. They make the smartest products. All opinions are 100% my own.