Land of Smiles

Spring has arrived! Well, at least the dandelions have.dandelions

I know they are weeds and not necessarily desirable in the front lawns of suburbia, but how can you not smile looking at a sea of beautiful yellow and green? We came upon this vacant lot near the theater where Mr. N performed his five shows this past weekend and it just made me smile. Speaking of smiles, today is our last recipe inspired by the “Land of Smiles,” Thailand. This recipe came from a good friend of mine and isn’t an authentic Thai dish, but definitely Thai-inspired. The kids and I were up north visiting my good friend and her kids (leaving Mike to his NCAA tournies) and she prepared this dish for our arrival. We hadn’t yet officially started our cooking adventures in Thailand, but I knew this would have to make it to the blog. So today we bring you Slow Cooker Spicy Peanut Thai Chicken. The ease of this dish certainly makes me smile! seasonings

The recipe is simple, mix together peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, freshly minced ginger, sweet chili sauce and sambal oelek (ground chili paste). sweet and spicy

Then simply add the chicken to the slow cooker (we used boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 1-inch pieces) and pour the sauce over the chicken. Next add a bit of fresh cilantro and two ingredients which weren’t part of the original recipe, but that I wanted to toss in – bamboo shoots and green onions. Once everything is mixed together, cover and set your temperature. We cooked ours on low for eight hours, but you could cook this on high for four hours as well. Then go about your day… spicy chicken crockpot

While not really an authentic Thai dish, this inspired version has helped feed us and keep us sane during these busy weeks. And Miss A and I have enjoyed whipping up a very easy (again non-traditional) naan to go with the chicken. While you could also use rice, naan is a fabulous complement to the meal. We typically mix the dough in the morning, let it rest in the fridge for the day. Then we roll it out and cook it up in 15 minutes before dinner. Can you see why the Land of Smiles has us smiling?! naan

But the smiles don’t end there. This meal gets high marks from all of us! When the naan was complete and the chicken cooked through, we garnished the dish with fresh cilantro and toasted peanuts. Spicy Thai Chicken

Miss A is not a fan of the spicy chicken, but I think she’ll come around. She’s just beginning to explore spicy dishes. The naan, however, that gets 5 spoons from her (I think she may be getting closer to understanding our rating system, but I will miss her votes of 1,092.) slow cooker Thai chicken

Mike, Mr. N and I all really like this dish. It’s one we’ll make again and again. Partly for its simplicity and partly for its flavors. It’s a great weeknight flavor punch – spicy, sweet and those little crunchy bites of peanuts – yum! This easily earns 3 spoons from each of us. Thank you for the recipe Missy! Slow Cooker Spicy Peanut Chicken

Now before we sign-off for today and end our Thailand cooking adventures, Mr. N wanted to share one last fact about the Land of Smiles with you all. Did you know that Bangkok’s Thai name is the longest place name in the world? The Thai’s call Bangkok, Krung Thep, but its official name is Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Phiman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit. Whew!!! There is a bit of controversy surrounding the validity of the statement as North Wales and New Zealand also lay claim to the title, but you can read more on that here. While I can’t claim to know the true title holder, I do know this is a LONG name! And I know there is one thing I wish could last longer…childhood. Ensemble

Mr. N was in his first “real” play this past weekend. This wasn’t a camp play or school play, but one at a community theater for which he auditioned and rehearsed for months. In fact, he even got to miss two days of school to perform for other schools’ field trips. To say he was proud and excited is an understatement. Uncle

He was an ensemble character in “Charlotte’s Web” in a cast of about 25 other kids aged 1st grade through high school. He made friends, had a few crushes (shhh!) and even had his first kiss. Well, sort of – he was kissed by a younger girl and quite mortified by it! In fact, he told Mike that when he becomes a famous actor someday he’s going to have to get married really fast because he can just imagine how many girls chase famous actors trying to kiss them. So his solution – he’ll need to get married quickly. Oh boy…I think I’m getting some gray hair now. take a bow

Truthfully as a parent, watching him become part of a group – part of something outside of home, outside of school and larger than himself was a proud moment for Mike and I. Sometimes we have a hard time believing he’s only almost 9 when we see him reassuring other cast mates that there’s nothing to be nervous about – that this is exciting, and congratulating and hugging his other cast mates at the end of the production. Then other times we think, my goodness how is he almost 9?! Watching him perform his lines, projecting his voice, getting laughter and applause, I couldn’t help but think, “That’s the little 3 pound baby I held in my arms not that long ago.” Sigh. first play

I think it might be time for a life saver (a tasty dessert from Geni who knows all too well how fast children grow up!). Thank goodness for cameras, so we can preserve these little, and oh so brief, moments of childhood. childhood

Ehem. Now if you’ll excuse me…no, I’m not crying. It’s the heat from this spicy chicken. Okay, so I’m not fooling anyone, but I swear I’m smiling at the same time and the chicken really is quite good. Feel free to decrease the heat if you like. Print this recipe: Spicy Slow Cooker Thai Chicken

Thai Slow Cooker

55 thoughts on “Land of Smiles

  1. Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    Seriously, Mr. N looks like he’s going to be an actor in the future! He is great looking and so talented!! It must must have been a great experience for him and it also must have been a proud parent moment – congratulations! 🙂 Homemade naan and Thai chicken look really good! I need to slowly introduce more spice to the kids.

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  2. Deborah says:

    First of all -the pics of the play are adorable. What a cutie! And this dish sounds amazing – I’ve been totally into Thai flavors lately and I know I’d love this!

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  3. Profiteroles & Ponytails says:

    Oh where to start…the easy spicey thai dish …the first kiss or the lovely Miss A dancing in a field of dandelions! If only we could have gone to this performance of Charlotte’s Web — the girls would have loved it! Congrats to Mr. N on his first big production! I love how easy this dish sounds Kristy…I’m just wondering if the ponytails would be in Miss A’s camp on the spiciness???

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  4. dedy oktavianus pardede says:

    What a lovely spiced chicken and flat breat,
    try some yoghurt dip, it’s turned out great with spiced lamb and iguess it’s suits with chicken too…
    btw, this post remind me to my lovely niece, we share the moment together on making smoked salmon ravioli…

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    • Kristy says:

      Some yogurt dip would probably be lovely with this. It might even cut down on some of the heat for Miss A. I bet that was a ton of fun cooking ravioli with your niece. 🙂

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  5. Mary says:

    the chicken looks and sounds delish! I always cry my eyes out at my kids plays and concerts!!! My oldest is graduating high school this June!!!! I’ll be a basket case!
    Mary x

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  6. Charles says:

    Jeez Kristy – dress a child in a shirt and it’s incredible how much older they suddenly look. I dunno, maybe it’s because I always associate shirts with offices and work and things like that but it’s crazy… Mr N. looks all wise and sage here. So grown up! Yikes – that must have been a real tear-jerker. Still… once it’s all done with and he comes and gives you a snug then hopefully you realise he’s not too big and old for his mom just yet. Still got plenty of years before he’ll be going off to work or college! ❤

    That looks like a LOT of sambal oelek – I find even a tiny amount often has the power to pervade through the whole meal – I can imagine what it must have been like!! 😀 Yummy though, I love sambal – such a lovely complex flavour. Looks like a nice dish – I'd have chosen naan as well… rice is ok, but I'd always choose something bread-based (I'm such an addict!) 🙂

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    • Kristy says:

      You’re telling me Charles. Then watch that child a grown man’s shirt on stage reciting lines “in character,” and it’s hard to believe he’s only almost 9. Crazy. And yes you’re right – plenty of years before work/college. Thank goodness! Yes, we loaded in the sambal oelek with this one. It can easily be increased or decreased. Miss A prefers it more sweet, but the rest of us dig the kick. 🙂

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  7. Rachel says:

    Sadly we in Arizona kinda skipped over spring and went straight to summer (I miss spring), though we did see a bit of it with the mulberry tree in our front yard dropping all of its berries, which my hubby has collected and swears to make something with. It’s supposed to be in the 100s again next week. I’ve been following your blog for awhile, and love the posts and how the whole family works together to cook. I’m hoping I can do that with my son in the future (he’s only 1 1/2 at the moment). Anyways, I wanted to tell y’all that I nominated you for a WordPress Family Award: http://librarymom12.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/wordpress-family-award/

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    • Kristy says:

      Thank you so much for the award Rachel. That is so sweet of you – and truly appreciated. I know the AZ spring/summers well. Mike and I lived there for a bit before the kids were born. I do miss the heat though. I’m a huge fan of desert living! Good luck with the mulberries. That sounds fun to work with – and from your own yard! 🙂

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    • Kristy says:

      Yay! I hope you guys like it. I forgot to mention in the post that we have also shredded the chicken for one version – about 30 minutes before it was done cooking. It was really good that way too! 🙂

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      • Kelly @ Inspired Edibles says:

        Ah, like a pulled chicken, yum!! Well I have to say this dish was a huge hit Kristy! We all enjoyed the warming taste and incredible flavors. The crunchy peanuts and sprinkling of cilantro on top was the perfect finishing touch. I have a feeling this may well become a new family classic and does this mom ever appreciate slow cooker meals (I don’t care what time of year!) thanks so much for the recipe.

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  8. Norma Chang says:

    I am only a train ride away from Broadway, so please let me know when Mr. N comes to NYC. Yes, kids grow up so fast. My 2 have their own homes but I still refer to them as my kids.

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    • Kristy says:

      I know what you mean – I still call mine my babies and they just roll their eyes at me, “Mom, we’re not babies anymore.” Oh, but they are to me!

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  9. Purely.. Kay says:

    Oh stop it Kristy, you were totally crying :). So now we have an incredible actor and fashion designer on our hands. Life is about to get interesting :). And if he decides to come to Broadway and get married fast, just remember I’M IN NYC honey :). I will be ALL OVER that situation LOL. Watching them grow up, and still growing, has been a pleasure. I adore those two and you and Mike should definitely pat yourselves on the back :).. before the teenage years come around :). I adore you guys.

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  10. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles says:

    Kristy, I just printed off this recipe. It sounds too good – I will make it this weekend. Just hope I can find the bamboo shoots. I know what you mean about the bittersweet emotion of watching our young ones grow beyond their beginnings…3 pounds… isn’t that something? Three cheers for Mr. N! That photo of Miss A dancing in the dandelions is *gorgeous*

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  11. Caroline says:

    This chicken dish sounds fantastic! Spicy and sweet…can’t go wrong with that flavor combo. Congrats to Mr. N on his first play, that’s too exciting! The photos are adorable. 🙂 🙂

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  12. Three Well Beings says:

    Oh what a delightful family story this was, Kristy! A star is definitely born…the acting bug has bit him but good. LOL! Including future contingency plans for dealing with popularity and fame. How precious. And that photo of Miss A in the dandelions is pure serendipity. You go ahead and shed just a few simple tears, Mom, and just cross that line of passage all moms have to cross, and it is never easy! I thank you for even fitting in such a good recipe in the middle of so much going on in your family. This is a recipe I will definitely be making soon. It has all the ingredients I enjoy and anything made this simply has a place in my home! School should be getting out for the summer fairly soon, and you can have more time to lap up some family memories. I know you’ll take advantage. oxo Debra

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    • Kristy says:

      Oh believe me Debra – I shed tears for these two all the time! It’s always so bittersweet too. I find I cry for each passing stage, but am so proud of who they are, and excited to see where they will go. Such a mixed bag this motherhood thing! 😉

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  13. Bam's Kitchen (@bamskitchen) says:

    Kristy I loved this post! You made me have misty eyes too. I know it is hard to believe our little ones are growing up so fast and then before you know it they will be fleeing the nest. I am so happy you made this dish as all your thoughts and flavors are really hitting home today. Yesterday morning I sent my son off to Bangkok for the summer to participate in a summer internship. I have been rather quite misty eyed ever since. I know this is an awesome opportunity for him and I know he will be well cared for but stressed and worried as moms always do…. I am sure he will be loving lots of beautiful Thai dishes while he is there but not so home styled and decadent as your delicious dish you made today. Take Care, BAM

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    • Kristy says:

      I can just imagine how misty eyed you’ve been Bam. I would be too!!! What a fantastic opportunity for your son though! Still…we never stop worrying do we. 🙂

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  14. ChgoJohn says:

    What a wonderful post, Kristy! First off this recipe is definitely something I’ll try. I like everything about it, especially the slow cooker part. I’ve a new one and am very pleased with how it works. Next, I’ve visited Thailand and didn’t know that it was the Land of Smiles nor that it had a place with such a long name. Coming from someone with one of the shortest names I know, “N”, that’s really something. Speaking of Mr N, we may be witnessing the birth of a star. Could Broadway be in his future? Hollywood? Perhaps you should bring him here to our theater district. He needn’t leave for either Coast. He can act right here in Chi-town — and, more importantly, he and Miss A could open their restaurant here, too. Wouldn’t that be so much more convenient for everyone? 🙂

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    • Kristy says:

      I would say that it would be most convenient. 🙂 I sure hope they stick around…then again, I won’t be one to hold them back. They just better visit!

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  15. thecompletecookbook says:

    What a brave young man our Mr N is – actually before going any further, may I please ask for his autograph now, before he is world famous and quickly getting married – not sure he will have time later on. 😀 How wonderful to have such a beautiful family. I love the pic of Miss a running through the dandelions, which I have on good authority are good for bees.
    I’m not mad about peanut butter in food – something about being hot doesn’t quite work, although your dish sounds superb and homemade naan is so nice.
    🙂 Mandy xo

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    • Kristy says:

      LOL! I have no doubt he would gladly send you his autograph Mandy! 🙂 I’m usually not a huge peanut butter fan either, but the funny thing is, I actually prefer it warmed and melty to straight out of the jar. I wonder how this would taste without it…I’ll have to experiment.

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  16. Sawsan@ Chef in disguise says:

    Count me in for one of those life savers! Third grade ends in just three weeks and this year had been a really busy one, the amount of “maturing” they do in a year, in a month and sometimes in a couple of weeks! You see them grow and wish so hard you could slow time down! only if!
    I love everything about this dish Kristy, I will try this real soon but maybe with less heat

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    • Kristy says:

      Isn’t it amazing Sawsan! Third grade was such a big year for Mr. N. He’s so different today than he was 9 months ago. It’s incredible. At the start of the year his teacher said as much. She told us third grade goes by VERY fast and they grow up tremendously. She was right on both counts!

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  17. hotlyspiced says:

    I’ve been wanting to know how he got on in the play. He’s so young to be doing so many performances. What a great experience for him. My Alfie is eight as well (although won’t be nine until next year) and I’m about to leave the house to take him to drama class. He has a lesson every Monday afternoon and is very enthusiastic. I think this chicken dinner would be wonderful with home made naan. I love the image of Miss A dancing through the meadow xx

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    • Kristy says:

      I know Mr. N and Alfie would get along so well together. The seem so similar – acting, swimming, etc. And my goodness, I have no doubt that Miss A would practically idolize Arabella!

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  18. Geni - Sweet and Crumby says:

    Oh, I do know so well how they grow up too fast. It does seem like only yesterday we were holding them in the hospital. I love the photos…the play looks like so much fun and Mr. N. should be very proud. Working that hard and reaping the benefits is so rewarding and such a good lesson in general. Most great things only come with hard work. And this slow cooker chicken dish looks incredible and your naan. YAY. This a fantastic post Kristy great stories as always and delectable dishes. Thanks for the mention and have a great week. For us it’s only 2.5 weeks of school left before I have a college “man”. YIKES!!! More life savers all around.

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  19. sallybr says:

    Tears? It’s just my lunch, has these spices from Persian cooking… gets me every single time!

    lovely post, full of emotions, feelings, beauty of parenthood and childhood… hand in hand

    You will be a great-looking Grandma (Sally ducks quickly…;-)

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