For the first time in my life, I fell asleep sitting up. That was Monday night. Until now it had been an easy pregnancy, but at twenty-three weeks I am, as the Brits say, absolutely shattered. When I was startled awake, Andy noticed I had dozed off and was instantly sympathetic, “Oh, babe!” he said, “it’s only 8:30 but I think we need to get you to bed.” I happily complied. While it usually takes me 15 or 2o minutes to fall asleep, these days Andy notes that I’m out in seconds.
I am not very good at “taking it easy.” I get that from Mom, who keeps plowing forward until the work is done. Everyone kindly suggests that I go easy on myself, that I take time to rest, but I’m finding that difficult.
There’s my job. There’s our Big Harvest Potluck coming up next week. There’s a few remaining tasks for our book. And on top of that, Andy and I are about to undertake major renovations on the kitchen and bathroom of our apartment, which needs more time and planning than I have been able to give it. It also means we’re moving out of our place and in with Mom and Dad on October 1 for four to six weeks.
Though I have come home dog-tired at the end of each day, weary with all that’s left to do, I have not stopped feeling wildly giddy with excitement about this little person growing inside me (who is now 11 inches long and weighs 13 ounces!) And I have not stopped cooking. While it might be easier to skip dinner prep, I know that over time it would make me feel worse if, on top of being tired, I was also not well-nourished. So I am cooking simple, easy, soul-satisfying meals. If nothing else, I feel good that at least I got dinner on the table.
I made this Thai Coconut Stew a few weeks ago and Andy and I agreed it was the best thing to happen to our day.
- 8 ounces rice noodles, your choice
- 1 quart chicken broth
- 1 whole rotisserie chicken
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 onion, cut into medium dice
- 3 garlic cloves
- 3 tablespoons red Thai curry paste
- 1 can (13.5 ounces) regular coconut milk
- 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into short, thin strips
- 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal
- ½ Napa cabbage, cut into large chunks
- ½ cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- Bring 2 quarts of water to boil. Place noodles in a heatproof bowl; pour boiling water over the noodles to cover. Let stand until tender, about 5 minutes; drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, bring broth and 2 cups of water to simmer over medium-high heat in a large soup kettle. Separate chicken meat from bones and skin. Add bones and skin to the simmering broth; shred meat into large bite-size pieces and reserve. Reduce heat to low, partially cover, and simmer until bones release their flavor, 15 to 20 minutes. Strain and reserve broth, discard bones and skin, and return pot to the stove.
- Heat oil over medium-high heat in now empty pot. Add onion; saute until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and curry paste; continue to cook to heighten flavors, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Add broth, coconut milk, chicken, bell pepper, and carrots and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, partially covered, until carrots are just tender, about 10 minutes. Add cabbage to the stew; return to a simmer and cook until tender-crisp, a couple of minutes longer. Add noodles and cilantro; continue to cook until heated through. Serve immediately with lime wedges.