Monday, March 30, 2009

wrap it up!

100_2587 With the weather warming up here, I tend to crave lighter and cooler menu items.  Some days all I want is a smoothie to get a good brain freeze!  I love making casseroles and stews because they are very economical and imagegreat for leftovers, but when the weather approaches the 110s all I want is something refreshing.  Do you guys get that way too in hotter weather?

Lettuce wraps are a really refreshing reprieve, and they are super easy to make.  I usually use butter lettuce instead of the nutritionally-void iceberg.  I didn’t have any butter lettuce, and didn’t feel like going to the store just for that, so I used Romaine and used them like boats instead of wraps.  And actually I think they worked out better because, while they don’t really ‘wrap’, they hold their shape well and don’t fall apart.  Yum!     


Mandarin Chicken Lettuce Boats

(adapted from CookingLight)


4 servings


  • 1 teaspoon  canola oil
  • 1/2  cup  minced green onions, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2  teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1  pound  ground chicken (I used 99% fat free)
  • 1  11oz can mandarin oranges
  • 1/2  cup  chopped water chestnuts
  • 1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 2-3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup  fresh orange juice
  • 3/4 tbsp black bean garlic sauce (I used Lee Kum Kee, this is pretty high in sodium, so I use it sparingly)
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • Romaine leaves (bottom end removed)
  • cooked soba noodles


Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, cornstarch, and chicken to pan; saut√© until chicken is done, stirring to crumble (the lower fat will be harder to crumble). Add mandarin oranges, water chestnuts, ginger, soy sauce, juice, black bean sauce and sesame oil to pan; cook until thick. Remove from heat. Spoon chicken mixture into center of each lettuce leaf with some soba noodles and enjoy!  So easy!  I topped mine with some chopped bell pepper for some added freshness and crunch, or you could add some chopped peanuts or almonds too.  This recipe could also be great for a little appetizer for a party!


This past weekend I also went to a gardening class for small spaces at the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.  It was really informative and I am going to be taking on the endeavor of starting a garden when we move and have a little backyard!  I probably won’t start it 100_2574since it will be mid-May and way too hot here when we move, but that is my goal for September.  I really want to start my own garden with various veggies and fresh herbs.   But, for now I have these little guys that I got to transplant.  There is bell 100_2573pepper (front), cinnamon basil (back), and asparagus (left).  I don’t know how long they’ll last before I kill them, but we’ll see :)  I can’t wait to try a real garden!

Gotta have compost!  And this is a great way to use things that would be thrown out anyway.  They also gave us a huge handout with tons of information about gardening.  I’m looking forward to reading it and gaining some gardening skills and tips for Nevada. 



Here are some of the paint colors we picked out so far.  I think Home Depot is going to be our second home!  We aren’t sure if they will look quite right, but it’s exciting to have some ideas.  I have a little notebook with all the house ideas.  I love doing stuff like this, writing things down, taking notes.  Kind of silly, but fun!  We are going to have a lot of work cut out for us.

I sure hope you all had a great weekend and are getting back into the swing of things.  I’m looking forward to spring break next week.  I won’t have time off work, but at least I’ll have a little break from classes! 



Mo said...

They look fantastic!

Emily said...

Love the lettuce wraps!

The colors for your new place look great! I can't wait until I have my own house to decorate someday.

Yay for spring break next week!

Sweta said...

I love the title of your blog Kristen-"Eating R.D".Everyone needs to eat-but,what and how much is what makes all the difference :-)

Vegan On Stage said...

I <3 lettuce wraps.. never used butter lettuce.. but i love it! i usually just use romaine too

Anonymous said...

Great recipe and GREAT paint colors!!!

I tend to actually lose hunger completely in 110 degree weather! honestly, I mean that recipe is great and I do eat despite the temp. but nothing ever seems appealing when my body starts to sweat immediately after leaving A/C !

kristen :) said...

Thanks! I get like that too and heat headaches, just blah when it's so hot, but always gotta eat or else I'll feel worse! :)

Thinspired said...

This is great! I like the idea of using butter lettuce or romaine instead of iceburg, and the soba noodles make it much more filling!!

Sweta said...

Thanks for leaving a comment Kristen.The bread/jam machine sounds great.My mom will love it-she used to make jams of anything and everything :-)
Sent you an email yesterday-hope you got it :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi there!
The twist on a lettuce wrap you created looks extremely yummy and I looove that it's so colorful! You take such fabulous recipes and transform them into even cooler!! What an inspiration it is to readers like me!!! Thank you!!

P.s. If you like Zoe’s granola, please do come visit me at, I’m hosting a giveaway!

Hope you have a faaabulous Friday!

Emily said...

Hi Kristen!
I'm actually taking a jazz class. I was a gymnast for about 7 years and also did colorguard in college and musical theatre-related dancing. I've taken a couple other dance classes at OSU and really like them!

It's really neat that you still take classes, too! I bet you are an amazing dancer!