Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chicken Pad Thai

I recently attempted to make some chicken pad thai. Adapted from this recipe, making the pad thai was actually a pretty simple process, the hardest part was finding the ingredients... and apparently reading the instructions! I made a few mistakes... you'll see.

The recipe below serves two. I doubled it so what you see in my photos actually serves four.

  • 8 oz. Thai rice noodles (or enough for 2 people), linguini-width
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups raw chicken breast or thigh meat, sliced 
  • marinade for chicken: 1 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 3 tbsp. soy sauce 
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced 
  • optional: 1-2 fresh red chilies, minced 
  • 3 cups fresh bean sprouts  
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro 
  • 1/3 cup crushed or roughly chopped peanuts (or other nuts, such as cashews) 
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock 
  • 1/8 tsp. ground white pepper 
  • vegetable oil for stir-frying, and wedges of lime 
Pad Thai Sauce:
  • 3/4 tbsp. tamarind paste dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water (look for tamarind at Asian/Chinese or Indian food stores) 
  • 2 tbsp. fish sauce, + more to taste 
  • 1-3 tsp. chili sauce, or substitute 1/2 tsp. or more dried crushed chili or cayenne, to taste 
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and remove from heat. Add your rice noodles and let them soak until they are soft but still have a tiny bit of a crunch to them. Drain and rinse with cold water, set aside.

Make the pad thai sauce by combining the sauce ingredients in a cup or bowl. Ok so here was my first mistake... I forgot the tamarind paste, but since tamarind is very sour, I substituted it for lime juice and it worked great.

Place chicken slices in a bowl and cover with marinade (1 tsp. corn starch dissolved in 3 tbsp. soy sauce). My next mistake... I cooked the chicken first! Clearly when you make a marinade, you're supposed to use it to soak uncooked chicken. I had a lot going on that day. I really don't know how this pad thai came out as tasty as it did. So I covered the cooked chicken in the marinade anyway. You would think this would make it too salty but it didn't. 

So if you choose to do this correctly, unlike myself, your next step would be to warm up a large wok or frying pan and add 2 tbsp. oil and the garlic. Stir until fragrant. Now add the chicken (with the marinade) and stir fry for about 8 minutes, adding a little chicken stock every once in a while so it doesn't dry out.  Your next step is to add the noodles.

If you pre-cooked the chicken you can simply combine it with the noodles in a large frying pan. Now pour the pad thai sauce over it. Using two wooden spoons or spatulas, gently stir fry this for a few minutes, making sure not to break the noodles. If it seems to become too dry, push the noodles aside and add a little bit of oil to the bottom of the pan.

Add the bean sprouts and pepper. Continue tossing for about 1 more minute. One last mistake... I forgot the bean sprouts, but I'm not a huge fan of them anyway. Now do a taste test, you might need a little more fish sauce.

Transfer to a serving plate. Add the lime wedges, cilantro, and crushed peanuts.

Despite the multiple mistakes, this pad thai was actually really delicious. I'll definitely be giving it another try soon.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Book of the Week: Vintage Craft Workshop

This edition of Book of the Week is dedicated to Vintage Craft Workshop: Fresh Takes on Twenty-Four Classic Projects from the '60s and '70s by Cathy Callahan. Considering I haven't actually read this book yet, I can't talk too much about it, but I did find a great review on Craftypod.

I love the idea of replicating classic, retro projects and reading about this book got me to thinking, why don't I find some actual vintage craft books? I'm definitely going to keep an eye out at future estate sales.

Photos via Coquette and ModCloth.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Inspiration: In Praise of Pyrex

I read an article recently in the May 2011 issue of Country Living about Pyrex and now I'm starting to realize just how much I love it. I see Pyrex at the swap meet all the time but don't think much of it. I'll definitely be doing a double take now.

The article pointed out that there are over 40 different pyrex motifs, and each one is symbolic of when the pyrex was made. I personally love the "butterprint" motif, a folk art pattern from the early 1960s (see the light blue pattern above), and the "friendship" motif, a vibrant early 1970s pattern complete with Pennsylvania Dutch birds (all pictured below).

I'm biased because I love all things bright and colorful, but how could you not love this stuff?!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pinterest Picks: Pastels

I'm not a huge fan of pastels. In fact... I try to steer clear of them at all costs. Well, thanks to Pinterest, I'm definitely starting to change my mind. I've come across some really beautiful pastel photos lately and thought I should share them. Here are a few of my Pinterest pastel favorites...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Marble Cake

Adapted from this recipe, this marble cake is simple but delicious, especially with ice cream!

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a 9x5 inch loaf pan. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Using a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined. Mix in vanilla.

Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the buttermilk. Set aside 1/3 of the batter.

In a bowl, mix cocoa and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water with a rubber spatula until smooth. 

Add the cocoa mixture to the reserved cake batter and mix until well combined.

Spoon batters into prepared pan in two layers, alternating spoonfuls of vanilla and chocolate to create a checkerboard pattern. To create marbling, run a butter knife through the batters in a swirling motion.

Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until a toothpick comes out clean, about 40 to 50 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then take the cake out of the pan and continue to let it cool on the rack.

The design inside will be a pleasant surprise!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Book of the Week: Hand-Stitched Felt

I don't sew much but I'd like to change that. I think I just need a little more inspiration. Kata Golda's Hand-Stitched Felt looks like it could provide that. Complete with step-by-step instructions and templates, Hand-Stitched Felt provides ideas for projects that can be completed in a hour or less (perfect for someone with a short attention span and no patience, like myself).

I can't get enough of the little hand-holding felt animals!

Photo cred: Sew To Speak

Monday, May 23, 2011

Terrarium Mania

You might recall (emphasis on the might) a post I did when I first started the blog about terrariums and a terrarium I had just created. Well... that poor guy didn't last long. I'm learning that I don't have much of a green thumb, but I refuse to give up! This weekend I gave my old terrarium a makeover and decided to try my hand at succulents. Now, when I say makeover, I mean... I dumped the old one and made a new one with nothing that is actually living (haha). I still think it looks pretty cute.

For this one, I used a thin layer of rocks, charcoal, potting soil, and preserved moss. That's right, preserved... meaning, I can't kill it!

Next up... my succulent terrariums!

I spent some time on Saturday at a local nursery picking out some small succulents. I usually spend more time than I need there because it's so nice to just walk around and take it all in.

I really like how these turned out. Just like my first terrarium, I began with a layer of rocks and then added a thin layer of charcoal. The difference between the two is the soil. For the succulents, I mixed equal parts potting soil and coarse sand. I planted the succulents and layered the top with rocks. 

I sure hope these last!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Enid Blyton

When I was a kid, I used to check these Enid Blyton books out of the school library ALL THE TIME. Just these three! The best part is... I don't even think I ever read them! So why did I continuously check them out, you ask? The cover illustrations! I loved these covers so much and I still do.

Recently something reminded me of these books so I started searching for them. This was tough because I had no idea who the author was or any of the titles. Well, I finally found them, and now, to my devastation... the cover illustrator is unknown! If the Enid Blyton Society doesn't know who illustrated these 1971 editions, it's probably a lost cause. Nonetheless, I'm going to keep investigating. Also... I NEED to buy these books now. Maybe I'll actually read them this time!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Sprinkles Please

Today I'm dedicating an entire post to sprinkles. Why? ...because it's Friday and I feel like it! Check out those heels covered in sprinkles! I HAVE to make them!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Shop of the Week: Adorn Jewelry

Shop of the Week is a brand new recurring Please Note post. Every once in a while I'll be featuring some of my favorite Etsy shops here on the blog. Today, we're taking a look at Adorn Jewelry. I fell in love with Adorn Jewelry after making my first purchase... a photo pendant of my Grandparents for my Mom.

Amy was so friendly and easy to work with... she even rushed my order. Described as 'tiny framed wearables', Amy's jewelry brings anything but a 'tiny' response. My Mom gets compliments on the pendant every time she wears it! Here are a few of my Adorn Jewelry favorites that are currently up for sale...

Go take a look!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

On the Contrary: Forest vs. Desert

Today's On the Contrary post was inspired by my good friend Jessica of The Lazy Lion. Jessica is beginning to plan her wedding and naturally she has been doing a lot of brainstorming about decorations. She recently showed me some cactus centerpieces and I can't get enough of them! Although I really like the look of a moss table runner (I use one for every Please Note display), I LOVE the idea of a desert theme.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bright Idea: In A Jar Recipes

This week's Bright Idea post is dedicated to jars and their many uses. When you think of glass jars, you usually just think of canning, when in fact there are many interesting uses for these everyday containers. Here are a few that recently caught my eye...

I want to try them all!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Raspberry & Goat Cheese Stuffed French Toast

For Mother's Day breakfast this year, I decided to try this french toast with orange butter recipe from the February/March issue of ReadyMade and it came out beautifully! If you're looking for a delicious, simple breakfast, I definitely recommend giving this a try. The orange butter adds a little something extra and it's simple as well!


  • 1 stick unsalted butter at room temp
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
Mix these three ingredients together to make your orange butter and refrigerate until ready to use.


  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 slices french bread, very thick (1 inch or more)
  • 4 tablespoons goat cheese at room temp
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter for frying toast
  • maple syrup to serve
Whisk together eggs, milk, orange zest, honey, and salt. Pour into a shallow baking dish and set aside.

Cut an opening that extends along the middle of each slice of bread making sure not to tear the bread. I found it easier to cut the slices in half first. Carefully spread 1/4 of the goat cheese into the opening and add some berries. Gently press and repeat with remaining slices. Dip each slice into the egg mixture for about 15 seconds per side.

Heat a tablespoon of butter in a large pan over medium heat. Cook each piece of bread until golden brown on both sides.

Serve warm with orange butter and syrup!