Spring Rolls + PB2 Peanut Sauce

Spring Rolls are the greatest thing ever and if you live anywhere near Worcester, MA, I’d definitely recommend trying out Dalat on Park Ave. I went to college right around the corner and this little Vietnamese place has the best spring rolls quite possibly ever.  That’s where my love affair of Vietnamese Spring Rolls (and Vietnamese food in general) began.  Now that I’m on the other side of the country, one of the greatest things about living in San Francisco is that there are spring rolls basically everywhere.  I decided one day that I wanted to try to make these myself (or perhaps it was my boyfriend’s idea – he is obsessed), and it turned out to be a success!  They are fairly time consuming to make, but require no oven and if you make enough, they can be an entire dinner.  I combined a few different recipes to come up with the below recipe and matching peanut sauce, so this is my take on Vietnamese Spring Rolls.  They’re great as an appetizer or if you make 4-5 per person, you’ll have a dinner.  I used this stuff called PB2 for the sauce (which is amazing – basically powdered peanut butter that you add water to – and only about 45 calories and 13 calories from fat) and it makes the sauce recipe a lot healthier.

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Ingredients for spring rolls:
1 lb small shrimp
Bunch of basil
Bunch of mint
Bunch of cilantro
Rice papers
Rice vermicelli (or 1/2 spaghetti squash – you can make it with this!)
Shredded carrots
Head of butter lettuce

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Ingredients for peanut sauce:
3/4 cup PB2 (or 3 tbsp peanut butter)
3 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp lime juice (or rice vinegar)
4 1/2 tsp soy sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp white sugar
2 1/4 tsp garlic chili sauce (I’d recommend this one by Sriracha)
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
1/4 cup water (if it’s already a little watery or not enough, you can omit this or add more)

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1. Prepare peanut sauce by mixing together all the sauce ingredients.
2. Cook about 1/3 of vermicelli package according to the package instructions (very easy, only takes about 10-15 mins total to cook).  You can also sub this with some spaghetti squash (as pictured) if you’d like.
3. Let peanut sauce and vermicelli cool in the refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes.
4. Once everything is “prepped” you can start making the rolls.  Fill a big bowl with water and dip the rice paper in one at a time for about 15-20 seconds until it is soft and pliable.  Remove from the water, shake it out gently, and place it on a damp plate.
5. Add a leaf of lettuce, some basil, mint, cilantro, shredded carrots, vermicelli, and shrimp all on top of each other. Pictures below.
6. Tightly roll the ingredients into a  cigar shape and close in the sides.  This step takes a a few tries!  It will be pretty sticky, and you might get a tear or two, but you’ll get the hang of it!
7.  Serve with sauce!

(Please excuse the Christmas tree plate!)

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Dusting Hack

So since I’ve graduated from college, I’ve kind of enjoyed cleaning.  Yeah, I’m aware, it’s weird to enjoy cleaning.  Also “kind of” is the key phrase here.  Theres a lot of things I’d rather do, but, to me, it’s not the worst thing ever.

When I moved into my apartment in Boston after college, I moved in with three people I didn’t know (although, after 4 months, I was fortunate enough to have one of my best friends move in), so I wanted to be respectful and I often found myself cleaning after going for a run or working out (yes, this continued when my friend moved in).  I was already sweaty and gross, and it was a great cool down “workout” from running.  If anyone says to you that cleaning is easy, they’re lying.  Washing the floors and scrubbing the counters takes some manpower!  Anyway, since I’ve gotten my own place, I’ve actually somehow found myself enjoying cleaning a lot more.  I think it’s mostly because cleaning up after myself is not as gross as cleaning up after myself + 3 other people, so that’s an added plus.  Also, I’m only cleaning a few rooms in a small apartment, not an entire house.  So at this point, the whole process is not that bad.  It also gives me some weird satisfaction to see things transform into clean.  And, like I said, I’m very organized, so I like seeing things put away and having a neat house!

Anyway, I was dusting some furniture recently and I was using some Lysol wipes, which work really well in catching dust and cleaning off the surface of things.  However, they don’t always get ALL the dust and there’s usually some wet residue left behind.  So I remembered that I had some old socks that I lost the pairs to under the sink that I was keeping for a situation like this.  I used the sock over my hand as a second swipe, getting all the dust.  Super simple, but they are like dusting gloves and work really well!

Step 1:

cleaning 1

Step 2:

cleaning 2


Boom.  Everything was shiny and clean.