This One’s For Laura…

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 8.17.00 AM.pngThere’s something about having friends from your childhood that instantly make you feel 15 again the moment you hear from them. That’s what it’s like for the group of girls who have been in my life since high school. We’ve been there for one another through the ups and downs of each of our lives and I feel lucky to know that no matter where we are, something always brings us back together.
Tonight, I dedicate this trip down memory lane to my dear friend Laura. During my teenage years I spent a lot of time hanging out at Laura’s house where I’d get to see her dad Nelson – one of the nicest and coolest fathers I had ever met. Whenever I stopped by, Nelson always had a smile on his face, asked how I was doing and kept the conversation going when most dads would have probably left the room and disappeared. I definitely think that much of Laura’s upbeat and optimistic personality came from her dad. When we were 15 and had the world at our feet, we never thought of losing our parents because they all seemed so invincible. Come to think of it, they were probably the same age we are now dealing with many of the same stresses we face on a daily basis.
Somehow, 30 years have passed since those days hanging out at Laura’s and I haven’t seen my dear friend in nearly 12 years. Sure, we chat on the phone once in awhile and text one another on our birthdays and talk about how important it is for us to find a date when we can all get together, but work and life always seem to get in the way and that never seems to happen. Until now.
Today I found out that Laura’s incredibly vibrant dad passed away suddenly as a result of a heart attack and as my dear friend prepares to say goodbye, I know it’s going to be incredibly hard to face a world without one of the most supportive and positive people on the planet looking out for her.
Luckily, Laura and her sister Karen got the chance to see their dad last week while visiting him in Florida and when I saw their pictures on Facebook, I couldn’t believe how great he looked — it was as if he had never changed from the days we used to hang out at Laura’s house and he’d pop in once in a while to make sure we were all doing fine.
Nelson Beller was one of the greats — a great father, grandfather and friend with an incredibly positive outlook on life. My heart aches for his two daughters Laura and Karen and all I know is that the memories of this incredibly happy go lucky guy who seemed invincible when we were 15 will never fade away no matter how old we get. Rest in peace Nelson Beller. You will be sorely missed.

Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Homemade Shrimp Lo Mein

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When my 14 year old has a food request, I like to honor it. There is not much that this teen and I can agree upon in these trying teen years so I try to work some magic in the kitchen to make the household a bit more Beaver-Cleaver-like. She meticulously removed the carrots but besides that, it made her night. I hope you like it!
Homemade Shrimp Lo Mein:

1 lb chinese lo mein egg noodles (can get at any Asian supermarket and in some ethnic sections of general supermarkets)
3 cups cabbage, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced into matchsticks
5 scallions, washed and chopped into pea sized pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1-2 tbsp of Tamari or soy sauce, more if needed (Tamari is wheat free)
2 tsp agave nectar or honey
2 tbsp neutral oil like grapeseed, avocado oil or canola oil
1/4 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup roasted cashews, chopped
8 oz. cooked shrimp, chopped
Steps:
In a large pasta pot, cook noodles according to directions, drain and set aside.
Do all your prep work while the pasta is cooking (carrots, cabbage, ginger, garlic, scallions, cashews, cook and chop shrimp)
In a wok or large frying pan over low to medium heat, heat up the neutral oil.
Add in the garlic, ginger and scallions and saute until the scallions start to wilt.
Add in the chopped cabbage, prepped carrots and cook until the cabbage starts to wilt.
Add in the noodles, the shrimp, the tamari, sesame oil, the agave and the cashews and stir to combine fully.
Serve immediately and enjoy!
For more great recipes please visit, takebackthekitchen.com