Eugenia Does Christmas

One can not think well,

love well, sleep well, if

one has not dined well.

Virginia Wolf


I find this time of year I do not think well. I do not sleep well. And I’m not sure if I love well. My good friend Eugenia likes to make her presence known and instead of reminding me of all the good surrounding my life Eugenia reminds me only of what I do not have nor have any future in having. Her presence is so large I often can not see anything else; she completely blocks my view of the sun sparkling on snowflakes. Of brightly lit Christmas trees. Of happy.

At times like this, I just want to stay at home and burrow under my softest blanket, turn on mindless tv, and indulge in a huge bowl of pasta and an even bigger plate of cookies. I want to forget the little, insensitive things said and done which have cut me to the bone. I want to forget crying in the baking isle of the grocery store (usually the lack of gourmet goods gives me a plausible excuse for a trip out to the big city ((read: hot yoga and Starbucks)) rendering a smile not tears). I want to forget this past year and I want to punch Eugenia in the gut.

At the same time, I also crave something to look forward to. Something to plan. Something to inspire me.

Well maybe I can start with that huge bowl of pasta. Something comforting (and who am I kidding: healthy) and maybe a little spicy to ward off the winter cold. As Mrs. Wolf advised: maybe if I dine well on that large bowl of pasta the rest will follow and holiday cheer will ensue?

Spicy Thai Inspired Peanuty Noodles

Source: Me


  • 1/2 C low fat chicken broth
  • 1/4 C light peanut butter
  • 3 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chopped basil
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 – 2 tsp sambal oelek (or crushed red chili peppers if you don’t have chili paste)
  • 8 oz. uncooked long pasta
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into thin strips (works best if partly frozen)
  • 1 red or yellow pepper cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup snow peas
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • lime wedges and fresh cilantro for garnish
  • Combine all the sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor and whirl until smooth. Set aside for later.
  • Cook the noodles as per package directions.
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook chicken over medium high heat until no longer pink. If using a non stick pan  try a scant teaspoon of sesame oil. Throw in the chopped veggies and cook a few more minutes until the veggies are tender-crisp. Add in the sauce you made earlier and heat until just bubbly and thickened (this will only take a minute or so).
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the noodles. Let sit a few minutes to absorb the sauce then serve with slices of fresh lime, fresh chopped cilantro, and more sambal oelek if desired.


  • This recipe serves two to three very generous portions. Generously double it if your a group of people.
  • I often use Nature’s Pasta Coriander Vermicelli.
  • Grab your chopsticks, maybe a Singha beer, and cozy up under that blanket while you dine and watch Christmas reruns. Enjoy!

One thought on “Eugenia Does Christmas

  1. Oh Mel. I hate that the holidays make you sad and remind you of what you have desired for so long. Thank you for always being so open in sharing your thoughts with us. I am sending lots of love your way this Christmas Season!

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