Noodley Flexibility

“I Dwell in Possibility…”-Emily Dickinson

As I mentioned, no Macaron-Making class last night. Not happy here. In fact, I was so disappointed at the time that I really just wanted to throw a fit in the (very dark and deserted) parking lot of that cafe. Thank goodness it wasn’t PMS week, that’s all I can say.

But I didn’t throw a fit. I was disappointed and very annoyed but soon regrouped and moved onto Plan B for the evening.

Why? Because life throws you lemons and you just have to make lemonade sometimes. A lot of times, in fact. And this was just a little class too, thankfully nothing big or life-altering, but the approach is still the same. Big or small.

This morning, while in the shower (my best ideas happen in the shower, I swear. What’s up with that?) I got thinking about being flexible in life. We all know that if you have kids, Flexibility is Rule Number One. If you aren’t flexible, just throw in the towel. There’s no hope for an existence devoid of either heavy sedatives or a trip to a mental institution without it if kids are in the mix. But that goes for any other situation, too.

Yes, I wanted to go to my class. I wanted an evening out to cook and drink and learn. I also don’t want my kids’ school year to end quite yet. May has flown by at a ridiculously quick rate and we are almost on the doorstep of summer. ‘Tis lovely… summer, but it’s also a time to say goodbye to some great friends who will be moving on to other schools, a time to be away from some friends while we all scatter and do the vacation things…you know the score. And while we’re at it, part of me just wants to slow down LIFE, too. How is it that my kids are getting so big all of a sudden? Babyhood, nursing, changing diapers seemed to stretch for an eternity and now their school years are beginning and ending in a blink of an eye. What is UP with that?

We must adapt. Plain and simple. We have to remain flexible. Even if things are not your optimal Plan A, Plan B might be just as nice. Even Plan C might turn out to be a sheer, surprising delight. Remain open to the possibilities. Who knows. You just have to figure out how to make the lemonade.

So, no, I’m not going to be predictable and give you a recipe now for lemonade (although a friend of mine did make an amazing one the other day…lemon tea with ginger syrup. Talk about making me swoon)…I’m going to give you a recipe for Peanut Noodle Salad. To be flexible is to be bendy and noodle-like. Enjoy.

This recipe is courtesy of my fave, Cook’s Illustrated Light and Healthy. Super yum and great for summer picnics, lunches and late night noodling.

1 lb. spaghetti (Use the Barilla whole grain to make this a tad healthier. Tastes the same)
1 Tb. toasted sesame oil
1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
5 Tb. low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tb. rice vinegar
2 Tb. light brown sugar
1 Tb. grated or minced fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. Frank’s RedHot Sauce
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and sliced thinly
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced thinly
1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro

Bring (salted) water to a boil in large pot. Cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 3/4 cup of the cooking water. Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water until cool. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl. Add sesame oil  and toss to coat.

Whisk peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, ginger, garlic and hot sauce together in a bowl until smooth.

Add the peanut butter dressing, bell peppers, carrots, cukes and cilantro to the pasta and toss to combine, adjusting the sauce consistency with the reserved pasta cooking water as desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Slurp away!

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