Sunday, April 3, 2011

taking care of the family

I mentioned in yesterday's post that the kids were sick this week. It was (thankfully) nothing major, just a variety pack of coughs, congestion, fevers and unhappy stomachs. This, on the heels of our first-ever ear infections (two for one!). Having made it through this winter with such good health, I felt off my game trying to tend to the needs of sick little ones.

In many ways, caring for sick children can be easier than chasing rambunctious ones. It involves far less moving about and much more snuggling, tea drinking, reading and laying low. Sometimes I even feel it is a bit of a reprieve. This time around, I found I didn't want to be slowed down. It was frustrating to be unable to get to all the things I felt needed to be done in my day.

Don't get me wrong, caring for my children is at the top of my list on any day, no matter their health, but by Thursday night, when dinner leftovers and dishes were still on the table at 10:30, Matt was stuck back at the office, a week's worth of laundry was waiting to be folded and I sat pinned beneath a feverish babe who would only sleep if I held her -- well, by then let's just say I wasn't feeling so warm and fuzzy and maternal. There's a certain level of accomplishment that helps me feel my days are successful, and it's usually no more than just holding steady, no major forward progress required. Settling in with sick kids, watching the work pile up all around can feel a bit defeating. Knowing how frustrated I felt, Matt stepped in to help take care of the family.

Friday, he unexpectedly came home early and took the recovered kids to the store so I could get things done (if by "things" we mean "napping on the couch"). He returned home with a sleeping babe and the necessary ingredients to prepare an incredible meal. It started with this:

A salad featuring green peas, shelled edamame, sugar snap peas and sprouts, tossed in a hazelnut oil vinaigrette and topped with crumbled goat cheese. Next up were keftedes, a delicious mix of shredded zucchini, fresh mint and dill, fried up and topped with greek yogurt.

And for the main event, thai shrimp curry:

All of these recipes were inspired by this month's issue of bon appetit magazine (thanks to Mom and Dad Holmes for that one). The original curry recipe called for a mix of halibut and shrimp (we opted for all shrimp) and for about a teaspoon more curry paste (we took it easy for the kiddos.) It was quick to put together and better than any version of this I've ever ordered at a restauarant. Here's our take on it:

Thai Shrimp Curry
1 T. coconut oil
1 c. chopped shallots
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 T. minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 t. Thai red curry paste
1 14 oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
1 T. fish sauce
1 1/2 t. lime zest
2 T. lime juice
1 lb. raw, peeled shrimp
1/3 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 c. chopped fresh basil

Heat oil in sauce pan and add shallots, pepper and ginger. Saute until peppers soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in curry paste, coconut milk, fish sauce, lime zest and lime juice. Simmer gently, stirring often, for another 5 minutes. Sprinkle shrimp with salt and pepper and add to curry sauce. Gently simmer until shrimp are cooked, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in fresh cilantro and basil. Serve with steamed rice and lime wedges.

This was incredibly tasty, and the kids loved it, too.

This special treatment was just what I was needing after the week we had. I'm glad to have found another easy, fantastic meal to add to the rotation, glad the kids are feeling better and glad for all the ways we take care of family around here.

This post is part of
Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist.


Katherine said...

This looks amazing Amanda! I don't have to juggle the million family responsibilities that you do and cannot make such amazing meals. After reading this, I feel inspired!----Kat

PinkCatJo said...

What a lovely meal - very thoughtful. It must have been great to enjoy it after a tiring week.

Glad to hear that everyone is feeling better now. x

Denise said...

I made the tortellini soup tonight and it was a hit. I am going to try this curry next week. Thanks for sharing these recipes!

Amanda Greco Holmes said...

Let's make it clear that Matt was the one responsible for the awesome cooking. I take no credit for this one! It was very thoughtful of him, indeed. Denise, I'm glad your family liked the soup. I love hearing that people are liking these recipes. The curry shouldn't disappoint. I can't wait until we have it again!

quercusalba said...

Matthew is quite the talented chef. I think you should keep him.