Too Much Stuff

Too Much Stuff
Cuisine: Asian Veggies with Homemade Noodles
One of my missions since returning home to the mountains is getting rid of clutter in my life. I think that spending the winters in our rental homes in Florida has spoiled me…but in a very good way. The house there is clutter free and we so enjoy the lightness of that. When we get back home, this house feels heavy with “stuff”. Too much stuff! (My husband’s band plays that song…Too Much Stuff).

Between my mid- twenties and mid-thirties I lost everything I owned, except what was on my back or in my purse, to house fires, twice. It was devastating, numbing and freeing. The fires were about 9 years apart so I had time to rebuild my “stuff”. After the second fire, I quickly realized that “stuff” is just that…”stuff”. And after the second one I vowed to never be weighted down again with “stuff”. So, how did this happen to me again…too much stuff?

First, I remarried and combined my “stuff” with hubby’s “stuff”. Then his parents died and we inherited half of their “stuff”. So, now we have too much stuff again.

So, I am purging myself of “stuff” that I haven't used in years and really don't plan on ever using. I'm purging the “stuff” that just collects lots of dust and creates visual clutter for me. For example: I have (had) a collection of teapots, about 40. Some were collectibles, some were gifts through the years, and some were just plain whimsical, some were reminders of events in my life. Like the hot air ballooning Santa teapot. I crewed on a hot-air balloon team for almost 20 years so someone gave me that one as a Christmas gift and I loved it. But now, these are all going to the consignment store and no longer cluttering up the top of my kitchen cabinets. I really enjoyed them for many years, but ……well, it’s time to eliminate the work of the dusting and as I said before, the visual clutter. And I cleaned out my kitchen drawers. I love opening them now and only seeing what I use on a regular basis. So some of this “stuff” goes straight into the trash (I've dared hubby to open those bags), some is being donated, and some is being sold at consignment stores. Decluttering…it’s a beautiful thing.

As I was pulling off all that “stuff” that I put on the front of my refrigerator (boy does that visually declutter a kitchen) I thought to look inside and see if I also needed to declutter there. Wow, I had lots of little bits of assorted veggies. Hmmmmm…dinner plan……Asian veggies with homemade noodles. Quick, easy, delicious and my frig is decluttered. This recipe is very loose. You won’t need your pasta machine. You can use whatever veggies you have on hand…there are no rules. Certain veggies seem really appropriate if you have them or want to buy them for this…like bok choi, pea pods, etc. This makes enough for two. Serve it in big rice bowls. I could have served with chop stix but I threw them out yesterday because we had not used them in 4 years or more.
  • Pasta:

  • 1 c all-purpose flour (I always try to use at least ¼ whole wheat)
  • 1 egg
  • Pinch salt
  • 1-2 T water

  • Veggies and Sauce:

  • 1 T sesame oil (or olive, or corn…whatever you have)
  • 3-4 c of veggies julienned to about ¼” (my combo tonight was carrots, turnip root, cabbage, red bell pepper, garlic, zucchini, asparagus and spinach)
  • 1-2 c veggie broth (or chicken)
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • 2-3 T soy sauce to taste
  • 1 T oyster sauce (opt)
  • 2 T sesame seeds
  1. Pasta:
  2. Put flour and salt in bowl and create a well in the middle. Add the egg and mix well. If too dry add water just until the dough holds together. Put onto a floured surface and roll out as thin as you can. It doesn’t matter about the shape. I'm usually going for a long oblong shape(Mine ended up being about 6-8 inches wide and about 18 inches long.) Once it is rolled out, start at one end and roll up cigar style. Using a sharp knife, slice into ¼” slices. Shake them loose and let them sit for about 20 minutes to dry a little while preparing veggies.
  3. Veggies & Sauce:
  4. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok pan. Begin adding veggies and sautéing according to how long they take to soften. For example with the veggies I used…I began with the carrots and turnip root for 3-4 minutes, then added the garlic, bell pepper and cabbage for another couple of minutes. Then I added the squash and asparagus for just a minute. At this point I add the broth and soy sauce and oyster sauce and taste to find the right strength of flavor and saltiness. Mix your cornstarch to a thick paste with a little water and add to the pan, stirring to thicken. You can add more broth if you get it too thick. In a pot of boiling water, toss in the noodles and cook for about 5 minutes. Drain and add to the veggies. Toss well and serve in big bowls topping with sesame seeds.
  5. MAKE IT YOUR OWN: Of course you can use any combo of veggies you have on hand. There are no right or wrong choices. The greens could be Bok choi, spinach, kale, swiss chard or even collards finely shredded. Needless to say, some bean sprouts would be great. Substitute nuts for the sesame seeds….peanuts, cashews, etc. If you have fish sauce on hand, use that in place of oyster sauce. A little hot curry paste would spice it up nicely. Or some Hoisin sauce if you have that on hand. Experiment with the flavors, tasting as you go along. This recipe can be a little different every time you make it….keeping your food exciting.



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