Thai Coconut Curry Soup

I've never really cooked Thai food before. I love to eat it and I respect those who are able to concoct it, but I always thought I was unable to create the spicy, sweet flavors on my own.

I was inspired by a recipe that called for five ingredients for Thai soup. I decided to try it out but to add my own flair to it as well. Turns out I can make something that tastes like Thai! Watch out, it's spicy!

It's worth noting that you could probably find these ingredients at a normal grocery store, but usually it's a lot cheaper and there's a lot more variety at an Asian market. I found all of my ingredients at the Red Apple Market in Mountain View and it probably cost about $7. I wish I was able to find bean sprouts, but my grocery store didn't have them. I would add that next time.

Thai Coconut Curry Soup

Serves 4

2 oz. of yellow curry paste (I chose a 4 oz. can that looked like it had Thai writing on it. It also had a photo of soup on it, so that's why I went with it).
One 13.5 oz. can of coconut cream (not milk or water)
1/3 package of rice noodles (again, I wasn't sure what to get so I looked at the photos on the packaging)
1 cup chicken stock
1.5 cups water
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced (optional if you want less spice)
1/2 brick of extra-firm tofu, cubed
1/2 cup or so of cooked shredded chicken
2 tbs. cooking oil
a couple of dashes of fish sauce (the magical Thai ingredient)
a couple of tablespoons of fresh cilantro
several sprigs of fresh basil
squeeze of fresh lime

Cook noodles according to packaging. I boiled mine for six minutes and then strained and ran under cold water for one minute and set aside till I was ready to add to soup.

Bring the 1.5 cups water and chicken stock to a boil. Set aside. In a large saucepan, heat the oil and add the curry. Stir and cook for 30 seconds or so. Add the coconut cream, the water and the stock and stir till the coconut cream is melted and soup starts to simmer. Add the noodles, fish sauce, tofu, chicken and jalapeños to the soup and return to a simmer. Turn off heat and serve into bowls. Top each bowl with cilantro and broken up pieces of basil. Squeeze a wedge of lime over it all.

This soup was quite filling. It made more than I expected, and I'm happy to have leftovers for tomorrow!


Make Your Own Fitted Crib Sheet

My husband and I are putting together the baby room. We've got shelves, a bassinet, a comfy chair, a cradle and as of last week, the crib that all four of the children in my family used. It's a gorgeous maple crib made in Sweden in 1971. My father bought it in England when he was going to school there before my brother was born.

I love being able to use family heirlooms. Our family doesn't go very far back so means even more to me to keep things that have history.

I soon discovered the downside to this priceless piece of furniture when we tried to find a sheet at Babies R Us. Looks as though the crib mattress (which thankfully is in pristine condition) is an irregular size and stores just don't carry a fitted sheet in its dimensions.

So let's sew one! It was pretty easy. The hardest part was cutting, honestly.  Here's how to make a fitted sheet for your crib mattress.

Two yards of 100 per cent cotton fabric (length depending on dimensions of mattress)
36 inches of 1/4-inch wide elastic


Prewash your fabric to make sure it's preshrunk.

Measure your mattress' width, length and depth. Ours was 23"x48"x4". I decided I wanted the sheet to wrap around the mattress by three inches, making the depth of the sheet 7 inches. I didn't take into account seam allowance and hem, but it seemed to work out just fine for me. You may want to consider adding 3.5 or 4 inches to the depth to compensate.

Since the depth on each side of the sheet will be 7 inches, I added that length to each side of the sheet, or rather, added 14 inches to the width and the length, thus making the dimension of my sheet 37"x62".

Cut your fabric to the proper dimensions.

Cut 7"x7" squares out of each corner of the fabric. Discard the cut squares.

Turn under and iron the edges of the sheet. Turn under and iron again so you have no raw edges. Pin and sew hem on all sides.

In the areas you cut out the squares, pin the fabric right sides together where the raw edges still are. Sew each corner. You should now have a somewhat baggy fitted sheet.

Place on the mattress to make sure it's a good fit. If it's too baggy, increase the seam allowance of all four corner seams.

Next, cut your elastic into four 9-inch lengths. Find the center of one piece of elastic and line it up with one of the corner seams. Pin or hold in place. While holding or pinning the middle part of the elastic to the hem, stretch the elastic on the right edge as far as it will go and mark where the end of the elastic hits on the inside of the hem. This is where you'll start sewing the elastic.

Sew elastic in place and backstitch. Now stretch the elastic along the edge while you're sewing. The fabric should ripple up behind the sewing machine foot as you sew. Sew the length of the elastic, stretching it all the while. When you get to the end, backstitch in place.

Repeat this for the three other corners.

That's it! It's not quite as snug as a store bought sheet, but it does the job and you can pick whatever fabric you want.


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