I have already mentioned my best friend, Rachael, in another post. We’ve been friends ever since we were really little and I know we’ll be friends for life. Two years ago I was present for a monumental moment in Rachael’s life, the birth of her first child, a boy, Carter. I’ll never forget it.
I got the call at school as I was getting some children to work with mid-day. She had gone in for a doctor’s appointment (which was past her due date) and was told to head over to the hospital. She informed me that there was no hurry since she and her husband, Cory, were heading home to get their hospital bag. I finished my day at school and joyfully arrived at the hospital. Not much was happening. A run with Cory to Burger King (for him, of course. I abstained) and multiple walks down the hall and trips up and down the stairs later and still nothing was happening – inside the hospital that is. Outside winter was throwing mounds of snow on our town. Truth be told it was a huge blizzard, perhaps one of the biggest ones we had that winter (Carter’s two grandfathers ended up having to shovel my car out of the hospital parking lot as one whole side of it was covered in snow)!!
Eventually things began to happen- but slowly. Rachael would take a nap, feel some pain, and eventually sleep again. I didn’t mind being there at all- it was an honor and I was excited. My special someone at the time kept me company (and awake) with nice, encouraging texts as I waited to see this new little guy we’ve all been anticipating.
Finally, the following morning on February 6, Carter was born! I was thrilled! He was so cute and small. We had talked about what this moment would be like and it was finally here!
Well, two years later and that baby is now a precious toddler with lots of energy and a agenda all his own. I adore him. He makes me laugh all the time and I find his smile fiercely contagious!
So for his birthday party I wanted to make something different and unique to share with family and friends. I knew that Rachael would already have a full menu of delicious food! I wanted something simple that I could make up quickly. I couldn’t think of something that I wanted to make AND I had the ingredients and time for, so I decided to create a new dish! Though you could use any grain you’d like (quinoa, couscous, millet, brown rice, jasmine rice, etc.), I chose to go with bulgur wheat. I needed a break from the quinoa dishes I have been making. I cheated and used some leftover dressing I had made for a previous dish (I rarely use as much dressing as a recipe calls for). Voila! Asian Fusion Explosion Salad! If you wanted to throw in some mandarin oranges on the top, I think that’d be lovely! A much healthier alternative to fried rice!
Asian Fusion Explosion Salad
4 Cups of water
2 Cups of bulgur Wheat
2 peeled diced carrots
1 red bell pepper, diced
½ red onion, diced
2 scallions diced
¾ cup endamame
3/4 cup unsalted peanuts
4 celery stalks
¾ cup fresh, chopped Cilantro
For the Dressing
1/8 cup raw honey
1/8 cup canola oil
1/8 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1 and ½ teaspoon soy sauce (low sodium/light)
1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1 and ½ teaspoon peanut butter (bonus points for using natural peanut butter)
1/4 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon Sriracha sauce (Thai hot sauce)
1 and ½ teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 small garlic clove, minced
Combine the water and bulgur wheat on the stove bring to a boil and reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Take off stove and let sit. Cool in the freezer or refrigerator.
Add carrots, peppers, onion, scallions, endamame, celery and cilantro. Mix well.
Add dressing and mix well
Refrigerate and serve!
Carter’s party was great, as I knew it would be. It’s so nice to be able to come together to celebrate such a special occasion with friends, who really seem more like family. Happy Birthday Carter James!