May
13

 How many thousands of dollars would you be willing to pay someone to dig up your backyard/alley? Would you be willing to spend any amount of money at all? No? Me either. But I am. I am getting a brand new sewer pipe today!!!!!!!!! All the exclamation points represent excitement, but the excitement is fake.

How I feel about the day: go suck it. I know what you’re thinking – “that’s not all peace. love. quinoa-like” and you’re absolutely right. But.

All at once today (it’s only 1PM, people) the street cleaners were here and my lawn boy was mowing my grass. My grumpy old neighbor was yelling at the lawn boy to move his truck because she wanted to make sure the entire street got swept. She threatened to call the cops on me because my car was still sitting on the street in front of my house but she gave that threat to the lawn boy (say it to my face, lady!). The rain has caused my car alarm to go off randomly throughout the day for no apparent reason, including the 2:44 AM time slot. Internet forums tell me that the rain screws with a sensor but the dealership has no idea why unless I pay them for a diagnostic (why can’t they find the answer on the internet!?). AND I’m getting a new sewer line which means the entire alley is being dug up (guess who gets to pay for that), loud trucks and lift-thingys have my windows shaking and my head spinning, AND there are worker dudes EVERYWHERE (walking through my yard and shit). In addition to all of that activity, I’m in the kitch stirring up a Stir Fry that I’m dying to share here on the blog. I thought the sewer guys would be here yesterday so when my day was planned, it didn’t look anything like it has ended up being.

Mandarin Orange Chicken-less Stir Fry

mmmmk So all at once, alllllll of my patience is being tested today.

Earlier today, before it all began, I read a blog post from Just A Colorado Gal titled “Behind The Curtain: Life Unfiltered” – the basic message behind the post is that we can and do create perfect-looking lives by picking and choosing what to share via social media.

Today, my life is not perfect, it is hectic and full of stress. I decided to share that in this blog post instead of writing a happy-go-lucky blog post that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. That shit would be fake…. today, at least. So, thank you Heather (Colorado Gal).

I almost went outside and took photos of the huge hole in my alley and all of the big boy equipment surrounding it but I stopped myself, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it – I don’t want to be reminded of it later. After today, I want it to be a thing of the past – byeeeee.

Instead, I took photos of my stir fry as quick as I could, while being interrupted by the lawn guy who assumes being a vegetarian is rough. I  closed all of my doors and windows, and I am now planted on the couch with the music turned up, trying to pretend that the house isn’t shaking and that the windows aren’t rattling.

Also, I just got a new laptop so editing photos is all weird – I haven’t found my groove with this device yet. Oh, also, my dog was begging for food the entire time I was making/photographing/eating this stir-fry. BAD BOY!

Sigh.
“This too shall pass,” they say…. whoever “they” is.

Mandarin Orange Chicken-less Stir Fry

Typically, I edit and upload photos prior to writing my blog posts, but not today. I know I won’t be satisfied with the photos, but it’s the best I’ve got today – Heather, Just A Colorado Gal let me know that it’s ok to be a little less than perfect sometimes so I am embracing that.

Moving on (as though all is well).

Do you remember the first time you ever went to Trader Joe’s? Me too. It was years ago, in my late teen years – I was living in Fort Wayne, IN. I had to drive to Indianapolis to get to one, a 2 hour trip I made about once a month. Someone told me about the Trader Joe’s in Indy because they had been there for the 2 buck chuck ($2 wine) and that was something to be excited about.

When I moved to Denver, Trader Joe’s hadn’t yet opened any stores here – in fact, TJ’s opened up on Feb. 14, 2014 (Valentines Day!), exactly two weeks after I moved here. In between work stuff, and prepping for what could have potentially been a date that night (yeah, dude bombed my Valentines Day but whatever), I made a visit to the store on a very hectic opening day. I doubt I’d have been as willing to move to CO if TJ’s had none plans of opening up here. 

I have like a million other “Trader Joe’s”-related stories I could tell but this post is already getting wordy. I’ll save them for another post. Google SEO is probably all pissed off at me for having too many words in this post, but I wouldn’t know for sure because I know very little about SEO (sigh).

Mandarin Orange Chicken-less Stir Fry

The reason I tell you stories of TJ’s is because this Stir Fry is made with ingredients that all came from TJ’s. Trader Joe’s has more and more vegan “stuff” every time I visit their stores, and it makes me happy. My most recent obsession are the Chicken-less Mandarin Orange Morsels – I keep them in the freezer for emergency meals – you know when you need to eat but you don’t feel like cooking? THAT emergent.

I paired the Chicken-less Orange Morsels (that were hanging out in the freezer for emergent situations) with fresh-cut pineapple chunks, book toy, sugar snap peas, and garlic for a super easy, super tasty, super fresh stir fry. Also, it took me less than 10 minutes total to make. Also, isn’t “book toy” fun to say?

Look when you’re exhausted after a long day of work or you’ve got 10 guys in your front and back yard doing work that costs more money than you’re willing to spend, you ain’t got no time to be in the kitch slanging food for more than 10 minutes AND THAT my friends, is exactly why this meal is perfect.

Also, Trader Joe’s is perfectly-perfect at providing options, fresh and frozen, that allows you to make quick, legit meals. I’ve been passing off TJ’s frozen meals as home-cooked meals for years (shhh don’t tell anyone) – if you learn how to work the frozen meals in with some fresh ingredients, you’re golden. Pay attention to this stir-fry recipe, I’m giving you valuable information here.

Let’s get to it. Remember, EVERYTHING can be purchased at Trader Joe’s. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s accessible to you then I would recommend that you move somewhere else. I’m just kidding, I’m in a funk today which makes me bitchy. Well, maybe I’m not kidding. :-/ Also, wouldn’t it be cool if TJ’s were sponsoring this post? They’re not. This is alllll me, people.

Mandarin Orange Chicken-less Stir Fry

Mandarin Orange Chicken-less Stir Fry
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 package of Chicken-less Mandarin Orange Morsels (frozen food aisle)
  • ½ package of Sugar Snap Peas (produce aisle)
  • 2 bok choy stalks, coarsely chopped (produce aisle)
  • 1 cup pineapple, chopped (produce aisle)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (or 3, if you're me)
  • 1 bag (of the 2) Fresh Rice Noodles (near produce, and fresh pasta)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Instructions
  1. In a large pan or a wok, heat the chicken-less morsels until they are slightly crispy and browned (about 8 minutes) then add olive oil and garlic.
  2. Put a pot of water on to boil, this is what you will cook your noodles in - don't put the b=noodles in yet, they only cook for 1-2 minutes!
  3. Sauté the garlic with the chicken-less morsels for about 1 minute before adding the book toy, pineapple, and sugar snap peas.,
  4. Sauté the mixture for about 5 minutes (you want the veggies to be warmed but not softened - they are way better with a crunch) and then cover the mixture in the Mandarin Orange sauce that came packaged with the chicken-less morsels.
  5. While sautéing, put the rice noodles in the boiling water and boil them for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain, and rinse with cold water.
  6. That's all - serve the stir-fried veggies and morsels with the noodles. Ta-da!

 You know what else would be good in this stir fry? Ginger! I didn’t add it but you should if you have some. Chop it finely and add it at the same time you add the garlic.

How’s YOUR day? Mine will get better – I’m off to yoga soon.

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Crista