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Re-remembering To Focus On What Matters Most

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Kids Watching Impending Weather RKWeymuller Photography

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Keeping the outside world in perspective must have been what I needed to learn these past few weeks. This month my computer gave up and died.  So, I went from the autobahn of internet functionality to a small country road and, truth be told, my phone’s keyboard was not a joy to write from, hence my absence this last week from posting.

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Red Tulip Lanes RKWeymuller Weymullerphotography

I’m gradually inching my way back, configuring my new computer and merging from the slow single lane dirt roads back to pavement and the fast pace of the online freeway. Somewhere along the way, I realized that sometimes an unexpected diversion, as maddening as it may be, is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Seeds got started,

Garden Snap Peas with Innoculant

Inoculated Garden Snap Peas!

games were played,

Life Size Chess Game Won RKWeymuller Weymuller Photography

Wahoo!

Focus shifted and family life was highlighted.

RachelleKWeymuller Caramelize Life Weymuller Photography  Rachelle @ Caramelize Life

“Making Life Sweeter Through Food, Travel and Community”

It’s A Garden Work Day Today!

It's A Garden Work Day

It’s A Garden Work Day

We’ll be out in the garden working as hard as the ants do this weekend, our family is just a wee bit smaller than theirs. Happy weekend to you!

Head Shot Rachelle
Rachelle Weymuller @ Caramelize Life
Making Life A Little Sweeter Through Food, Travel and Community”

Staycation-Mango Spring Rolls

RKW Spring roll wrap Those of us in the Northern Hemisphere are happily in the process of switching our mindset and culinary menus from the thick layers of Winter warm to Spring layers and lighter, fresher fare. It’s at this time when I eagerly await the first bulbs to emerge from their sleep and buds to pop from the trees.

Afternoon walks linger when the warmth of the sun’s rays replace my winter down coat. Our living room view becomes its own Planet Earth series time-lapse moving from once black and white to muted grays and browns and now the Technicolor slowly pours on with vibrant shades of green and yellows.

The song birds are back and I half expect Julie Andrews to burst out from the greening fields with the “Hills Are Alive”. But I don’t think this crosses everyone’s mind like it does mine; all those car rides with my 5-year-old requesting to hear the sound track over and over again, could be the reason for my Spring memory replay.

But Spring is a time to hit the refresh button. Spring cleaning, depending on who you are, can invoke a number of ideas. First the house comes to mind but next my cravings begin to change from rich hearty foods to those that are lighter and fresher. Not much is growing for us yet, and I am aware that mangoes are not “in season” (are they ever here in the Pacific Northwest?) But I know many who traveled south…way south, for Spring break. So, for those of us who didn’t hit the Southern Hemisphere, but rather, enjoyed our staycation; here are mangoes for you!

Staycation- Mango Spring Rolls- makes 6 -10
This recipe was inspired from The Solitary Cook‘s recipe found at Food 52 made with a good friend one afternoon.

RachelleKWeymuller/Caramelizelife.com Mango Spring Rolls

Ingredients For Shrimp Steam Bath:
(this might be the spa part of your staycation, lean over to indulge in a steamy facial 😉

3 cups/24 ounces of water (enough to cover mango skins, limes and shrimp)
2 mango peels – washed (use the fruit for sauce and spring rolls 1 each)
1/2 sweet onion- quartered
1 lime- sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 teaspoon sea salt
black pepper to taste
2 dried japonés chiles – chopped (add more if you like more spice, my kids don’t)
8 ounces shrimp uncooked, washed and deveined ( go for wild caught spot prawns, rock shrimp or US farmed shrimp if possible)

*Have ready a bowl of ice water  to immerse the shrimp and keep them from overcooking
For The Shrimp Steam Bath:
In a stainless steel pot add all ingredients but the shrimp and bring to a boil.
Once water is boiling add the shrimp and reduce heat to medium.
Cook until shrimp are pink about 3-7 minutes.
Drain cooked shrimp and immediately place in bowl of ice water to keep them from overcooking.

Shrimp Steam Bath

Shrimp Steam Bath

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ingredients For The Mango Sauce:

2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce (we were out so we used Bragg’s Amino Acids and it worked well)
2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
2 Tablespoons Sesame oil
2 limes (zest from 1 lime and juice from 2 limes)
1 mango fruit – (from the steam bath) pit removed

For The Mango Sauce:

Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth
Place in serving a dish and set aside until ready to eat

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

RKW Spring Rolls

Ingredients For The Spring Rolls:

8 oz Vermicelli Noodles (Beans Thread)
**************************************
1 mango-(from the steam bath) pit removed, small cubes
1 bunch cilantro (20 stems and leaves) – chopped
1/2 a cucumber – peeled, seeds removed, chopped
1/2 cup  green onions – diced
All the cooked, now cooled shrimp – tail removed and chopped
Juice of 2 limes
*************************************

8-10 rice paper wraps (spring rolls skin)
9 inch cake pan (for softening rice paper wraps)
1/4 inch hot water (for cake pan and rice paper wraps)

RKW_0097 noodles for spring roll

Cooked Vermicelli Noodles

 

For The Spring Rolls:

Soak Vermicelli 3 to 5 minutes in hot water then drain and set aside.
Combine; mango,cilantro,cucumber, green onions, shrimp and lime juice to a bowl and toss.

Prepare rice paper wraps:
Add hot water to 9 inch cake pan
place 1 rice paper wrap at a time, submerged in hot water, for 10 seconds to soften.
*Keep hot water handy to add when water in cake pan cools.

CL-mango-spring-roll RKW_0082
Build your Spring Roll!
Place softened rice paper wrap on your work surface
Put a small amount 20 or so Vermicelli noodles down the middle of the roll/wrap
Place 2-3 Tablespoons of filling(mango, cucumber, green onion etc) down the middle leaving room on the sides to fold
Begin to wrap the spring roll (similar as you might a burrito) starting with the side closed to you, then fold each end and finish by rolling the last over the opposite side ( the only one left) and seal.
Set on a serving platter with the seam side down, I like to use a chilled metal one (Yay, a wedding gift I am happy to use).
Repeat.
I have found that if there are left over Vermicelli noodles the kids love it plain or topped with a little extra mango sauce is a great left over snack.

Mango Spring Rolls

Mango Spring Rolls

Enjoy!

Head Shot Rachelle
Rachelle Weymuller @ Caramelize Life
“Making Life A Little Sweeter Through Food, Travel And Community”

Have Stomach Will Travel

It seems that traveling with a car load of people especially the majority under the age of 18, means stops are not to fill up the gas tank but rather the kid tank. I confess, I don’t meet the under 18 rule but I do get an honorary membership to this club when traveling. I make it my scavenger hunt to find new restaurants while on the road. These little glinting gems are the carrots to keep me going during long days in the car.

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

Yesterday we found one such sparkling gem tucked away in the Old Town of Anacortes– The A’Town Bistro.

Kids Menu-Grilled Cheese, Fries and Salad

Kids Menu-Grilled Cheese, Fries and Salad

If you find yourself cooped up in a car this Spring Break and happen to be anywhere near this sweet little town, a stop in will be a treat for the senses.

Stacked Eggplant And Beet Salad

Grilled Eggplant Stack And Beet Salad

YUM!

Tuscan Angel Hair Pasta

Tuscan Angel Hair Pasta

Le Sel De Table

Le Sel De Table

Cheers!

Head Shot Rachelle
Rachelle @ Caramelize Life

“Making Life A Little Sweeter Through Food, Travel and Community”

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