Category Archives: Food

Bacon Wrapped Whole Chicken with Maple Herb Butter

Apparently fat really doesn’t make us fat after all?? Sugar does? Says this guy.
He’s adopted a keto diet over the past year and most of his calories come from fat. And somehow he isn’t blowing up…
(This picture makes me so happy. Rhode Island in summer!)

I love to cook chicken because it’s economical and I really enjoy eating it. But Brenden doesn’t like it much. Something about it not being “fatty” enough?

Well the other day I had a whole chicken sitting in the fridge and I knew if I roasted it and served it up for dinner I would get some “thank you”s but not a lot of “wow this is good”s. And sometime a girl just needs a “WOW”.

So I decided to wrap it in bacon. The best part of the experience was the kid’s reaction.

They were pretty amazed at the process:

“I’m not going to taste that. That looks gross.”

“Are you putting those carrots in its bottom?”

“Is it dead??”

They touched everything and loved it. And somehow we managed to not contract a foodborne illness.




Next time I will use twice as much bacon. I didn’t realize it would shrink so much!

I used a recipe from The Cookie Writer for a delicious maple syrup herb butter. I poured 1/2 cup beef stock into the bottom of a baking dish. stuffed the bird with chopped carrots (I cooked them again outside of the bird before we ate them) and doused the bird with the herb butter before we wrapped it.

The butter recipe:

  • 1 tbsp.fresh rosemary, chopped (I used dry)
  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped (I used dry)
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and pepper

The kids loved to mix mix mix and spread spread spread.

Then we wrapped it with bacon and baked it at 375 for an hour and 10 minutes. I turned it to broil and cooked it another 5 minutes to get the bacon extra crispy.

To salvage all the delicious bacon fat/chicken drippings I made a delicious out of control gravy to go over all of it. Not like a bacon wrapped chicken doused in butter needs gravy. But why not, right?

The gravy was super easy and rich thanks to the bacon grease!



Butter, drippings, corn starch, salt and pepper. Stir stir stir. It thickened right up.

There’s nothing like gravy with bacon grease in it. Oh my.

And bonus, I used the chicken bones and leftover meat to make a delicious chicken soup later. It was really rich and different thanks to the bacon flavor. Bacon bacon bacon. Sorry, I’ll stop now.

XOXO!



Slow Cooker Keto Chicken Tikka Masala

I’ve been trying to write this post for a week now. Life has been crazy with these littles. CraYzee.

(I chose this calm picture because it’s the exact opposite of how it’s been around here lately.) 🙂

I’ve been contemplating some big family changes that have my mind spinning on hyper-drive. I hope I’ll start to feel normal again soon? Probably not. I have a feeling I’m about to embark on a journey of weirdness and “non-normalness” like none other. Which has me saying “help” and “I’m excited” simultaneously. But back to the point of this post: FOOD!

I made this amazing Indian inspired dish last week and Brenden and I lovvvved it. I’m meal planning for next week and realized: it’s not on my blog! I love having all my favorites right here so I can meal plan somewhat painlessly. So into my arsenal it goes!

Let me tell you first: If you order Tikka Masala at your favorite Indian restaurant you’ll love this recipe. Like love, love. I found the recipe on ruled.me and made just a couple small changes. This is the first time I’ve made a Keto diet recipe!

The ingredient list:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. Chicken Thighs, bone-in skin-on
  • 1 lb. Chicken Thighs, boneless/skinless
  • 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 inch Ginger Root, grated
  • 3 tbsp. Tomato Paste
  • 5 tsp. Garam Masala
  • 2 tsp. Smoked Paprika
  • 4 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 10 oz. can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream (I used full-fat coconut milk)
  • 1 cup Coconut Milk (from the carton)
  • Fresh Cilantro, chopped (to top)
  • 1 tsp. Guar Gum (I used almond flour)

I had no idea why they called for one pound of skin on bone in thighs AND one pound of boneless skinless thighs. It didn’t make sense until I saw it all come together. The boneless skinless thighs provide a lot of extra meat and the bone in thighs provide the skin that melts into delicious flavor and fat during the long cooking process.

It was a labor of love though, considering I dislike (okay, hate) dealing with raw poultry. I had to cut cut cut into skin and bone. And if a vegetarian is reading this I’m sure they are like WHAT…?? Yeah, it’s pretty gross when you think about it. Which I try not to do.

I cut all the chicken into little bite sized pieces. I used kitchen shears for the bone in skin on pieces. Which made things easier, but also potentially more dangerous. My hands were freeeeezing and I could have just taken a finger off without noticing much. So I used a different technique to cut the meat. I didn’t cut the meat like I would cut paper. Instead I held the scissors vertically, point to the cutting board, and sliced downwards. Again, labor of love! But the end result was worth the time. I had delicious Tikka Masala leftovers for lunch for a week!

After the meat was all cut up I put it in the slow cooker and grated a knob of ginger over the top.

Next I added the spices.

Talk about fragrant! This is what Indian food is made of. (And I did not buy the salt-free blend on purpose! But I made up for it in pink Himalayan salt, don’t worry.) 😀
Next I added this stuff.

I mixed well and closed the top of the slow-cooker.

I turned it on low for 6 hours. (You can also cook on high for three hours but there is something about the low/slow heat that works magic on skin-on chicken thighs.)

After it was done I added some more coconut milk instead of the heavy cream (the cream at the top of the can this time) and left out the Guar Gum and used almond flour as a thickening agent instead.

Michael and I made cauliflower rice to go with it.

He’s wearing a pair of swim trunks his friend Waltie just gave him. He lovvvvves swim trunks. And wearing them while cooking in January?? Why not.

The end result is so worth the time and effort and I can’t wait to taste it again!

Oh and don’t forget the Cilantro!

 

 

 

 

 



Christmas Numero Tres… Co-Starring Braised Beef Short Ribs!

Three days of celebrating – I’m tired! We celebrated with my family Christmas Eve, Brenden’s mom Christmas day and Brenden’s dad the day after Christmas.

That’s a lot of eating and drinking and being merry! I can’t wait to get back on track and organized mentally and physically for the new year.

I made slow-cooker braised short ribs for Dinner for our Christmas Number Three. Compliments of Sarah The Cow. It’s amazing at how fast we are going through this cow share!

Regardless, this was the most delicious fall-off-the-bone meat ever. I found it on glutenfreehomestead.com.

At 9AM Brielle helped me get the meat in the slow-cooker. (3-4 pounds bone-in beef short ribs.) She sprinkled salt and pepper on the ribs after I washed them with cold water.

We cut up three carrots, a stalk of celery and an onion.
I put some coconut oil in a pan and browned the meat, 4 minutes on each side. Then into the slow-cooker it went.
I used the hot pan to fry the veggies up, about 8 minutes.

I added two tablespoons coconut flour (I’ve never used this before and it smelled so good in the pan!)

And 1 and 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste. Stir stir stir.

Add 1 and 1/2 cups red wine, bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 8 minutes to reduce. I used this fabulous $8.00 wine from Trader Joes.

Add 1 tsp thyme, 1/2 tsp rosemary and one bay leaf, and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Add two cups beef stock. Stir.

Remove from heat and pour sauce over ribs in the slow cooker.

Cover and turn on low – cook for 7-8 hours and be prepared to be amazed when you open it up and taste it. AMMMMAZED.

I made some fun sides, but my favorite was the bacon roasted brussel sprouts.

It’s exactly what it sounds like: Bacon and Brussels!



I love how there are actual leaves on the stove-top. My kitchen was A MESS during this whole process. Cooking with kids is chaos. 😀

Before dinner we did presents. AGAIN! By far the kid’s favorite present from Grandpop was this remote-controlled ROBOT dinosaur that I promptly named “Shiny.” Even though he is obviously a boy.

He’s so life-like it kind of freaks me out. He’s programmed to lean in when you rub his head, and even when I say, “pet his head” to one of the kids, he leans IN toward them. He was walking and sensed the Christmas tree and lowered his head to avoid bumping into it. At one point I touched his tail and I saw him re-balance himself, making tiny life-like movements. EEEEEK.

He’s a generally happy dinosaur, unless he’s in “hunting” mode, (yes, you can change his mood) or “cautious mode.” He’s so cute when he’s being “playful.” And the kids just love him. I really have no idea what their future will look like, but based on what their childhood looks like (ROBOTS) I have a feeing it’s going to be incredible. And pretty “futuristic.”

I get really weird when it comes to robots… I feel like one day they will become very involved in our lives.. and after meeting Shiny I have a feeling that time will be sooner rather than later.

Brielle and Michael have been so super cute together the last few days. When there’s no school and no playmates besides each other this is what happens!

Brielle loves asking Michael to “read” to her. This is a Noah’s Ark book that is all illustrations (beautiful illustrations, done by Peter Spier.) And Michael is making up the cutest words.

Whenever he stops: “Keep reading Michael.”

I love my pjs from my MIL and my throw from my FIL. Plaid on Plaid on Plaid! Pokie is giving me some serious kisses. She’s so sweet.

Whew THAT WAS FUN. And more than enough Holiday love and joy to last the whole year through. I’m so ready for 2017 and all the awesomeness it’s going to bring. There’s nothing more inspiring than a New Year!

I’ll leave you with this last bit of Holiday Cheer: A “real reindeer” and my favorite little dinosaur.

XOXO!

 



Bacon Cabbage Chuck Beef Stew: Paleo Comfort Food!

Good old Crock-Pot meals… I can be having a haaaale of a week and if I have dinner cooking in the slow-cooker I feel like I can (possibly) hold it all together.

This week I’ve had a couple of those days. Monday for example: Everything I did I had to re-do. The kids were sick and not sleeping. I was tired. I came home from running errands and put an entire load of freshly washed laundry BACK into the washer. It was in the hamper upstairs ready to be folded and I thought it was dirty and started the process all over again!

But in the background my good old Crock-Pot was dutifully “doing.” So I breathed in.

And let me tell you what I smelled.

We recently got a cow share. Hm. Does “beef” share sound better? Either way I have a freezer full of grass-fed beef that I know lived a happy and healthy life. We named it Sarah. Don’t think about that too long. I try not to. 😉img_5202 img_5203This is our first time doing a beef share, and it’s super fun to pull out different cuts for different recipes.

So Monday I pulled out a mammoth sized chuck roast. When Brielle saw it she said ‘That’s something a dinosaur eats.” and then “Is that BLOOD?” Yeah, she doesn’t eat red meat and probably never will after seeing this.

I found this recipe on The Nourished Caveman. It is so easy and delicious.

Ingredients
  • ½ pound of organic uncured bacon, in strips
  • 2 to 3 pound grass-fed and -finished chuck roast, cut in 2″ pieces
  • 2 large organic red onions, peeled and cut in slices
  • 1 clove organic garlic, peeled and smashed – (I used minced in a jar garlic)
  • 1 small organic green or Savoy cabbage
  • Sea salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 sprig fresh organic thyme
  • 1 cup of homemade beef bone broth (I used organic store-bought but now I can make some bone broth with the bones from this cut!)

We started by putting the bacon in the bottom of the slow cooker. Michael helped with this until I caught him with an entire piece of raw bacon in his mouth. Reallllly gross. img_5201
img_5204Then we sliced the red onions and added them to the bacon along with the garlic.
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Then we cut the beef and the cabbage. This was a group effort, which means a LOT more effort on my part, and zero time for picture taking.

This is the easy breakdown of all steps:

  1. bacon slices to line the bottom
  2. onion slices and garlic
  3. the chuck roast
  4. the cabbage slices
  5. the thyme
  6. the broth
  7. add few pinches of sea salt and a liberal amount of freshly ground black pepper
  8. Cook on low for 7 hours.
  9. Serve in bowls.

This is Michael adding the cabbage. It looks like a lot of cabbage but it will caramelize down beautifully!
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I love including them in the cooking. It is pretty time consuming (and more than a little messy) but I know it’s invaluable.

After the stew was done I stirred it all up, added some salt and tasted it.
It was sooooo good. I didn’t know how the onions and bacon would turn out because the onions were a big pile in the bottom of the slow cooker and the bacon was in raw strips (???) but they were a delicious caramelized tangle of goodness.

The beef was tender and to die for.

But the cabbage was my favorite. It had amazing flavor and was so delicious. I’m going to slow cook some cabbage alone with some bone broth very soon. The health benefits of cabbage are off the charts and I didn’t know slow cooking it would make it so tasty!

So there it is. And I’m eating leftovers right now! It’s perfect for a Fall/Winter day. XOXO

 

 



Mexican-Style Pulled Pork

Yet another slow-cooker pork recipe to add to my arsenal! Praise the easy recipe gods.

And this might be my favorite yet.

I had high hopes for this recipe for a few reasons. One being that it called for enchilada sauce. That just spelled “comfort food” to me. And let me tell you, it does not disappoint in this category.

This pulled pork can (and should!) be served over everything from baked potatoes to big fat rolls to corn tortillas. And the sides… I can’t even imagine the tastes that would compliment this. Coleslaw, Pinto beans, Collards, oh my!

We kept it simple tonight and ate the face off some tacos. With a side of spicy black beans.

Mexican-Style Pulled Pork:

You will need –

  • 2 to 3 lb. pork butt or shoulder
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup enchilada sauce
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 2 green chilies, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix the last six ingredients in the list (the spices) in bowl and rub it all over the meat.
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img_0719Put the seasoned meat in a slow cooker (turned on low.)

Now pour over the meat:
The salsa, the enchilada sauce, the green peppers, (I used 1/2 can of mild green chilies – sliced – instead) and the beef stock.
img_0722Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours.

Once it’s done, take the meat out and let it rest. Strain the sauce with a colander into a saucepan.) It’t hot! Cook the sauce over medium heat until it thickens a bit.

I added two tablespoons of corn starch to a portion of it and once it was dissolved I added it back to the pan. It thickened the sauce nicely! Totally optional, but gave it more of a gravy comfort food vibe.

Shred the pork using two forks, and put back in the slow cooker with the thickened sauce, combining with a few stirs. Cover the crock pot and cook on high heat for another 20 minutes. I didn’t cook it the additional 20 minutes, (we are impatient over here,) and it still turned out perfect. 

Open it up (again) and enjoy!!!!

XOXO

*This recipe (minus a few changes) is from Paleo Leap: My go-to treasure trove for all things Paleo!

 

 



Slow-Cooker Cochinita-Style Pork

Can I just tell you how much I love trying a new crockpot meal? Especially pork?

1) If we love them, I have yet another easy meal to add to my list of go-tos.
2) I love seeing Brenden happy, and it seems he’s happiest eating PORK.
3) Slow-cooker recipes usually have lots of leftovers, and leftovers are my best friend.

This is a style of pork I’ve never even heard of before! It’s a traditional Mexican slow-roasted pork that is prepared by marinating the meat in strongly acidic citrus juice. And the mix of spices is superb.

The recipe calls for Pork Butt. Which, if you want to be less grossed out you can just call “Pork Shoulder.” It’s a great cut of meat for the crock-pot because it has lots of good fat to render, and it’s a great cut of meat for your wallet because it’s more economical than most cuts. WIN.

The ingredients:
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  • 4 lbs pork butt
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 red onion, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 2/3 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 habanero peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

I always cut my veggies first, even before I even open the meat. I want the meat to be the last thing that touches my surfaces.

So first I dice the tomatoes, slice the red onions, and dice the red peppers. Already I am loving this meal, just look at these beautiful colors!
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I dump all of that in a big bowl, and put it aside for later.
Now I juice the limes and pour the juice in a bowl with the orange juice and the garlic. I dice the habanero peppers and throw them in there too.
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I set the bowl of juices aside and go on to the spices.
I mix all the spices in a little bowl and then the meat makes an appearance.
I always try to buy happy meat/meat that came from happy animals.
I rub the spices into the meat.
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Now it’s time to put it all in the pot!
I set the meat in the slow cooker and pour the delicious liquid over the top.
img_7292Next I pour the bowl of veggies on top of that.
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Once the meat is cooked (8 hours later) I shred it and mix it all in the crockpot to make sure it has access to all the flavors and juices.

This pork can be served with a sweet potato mash, or with anything really, but I chose to make tacos.

I made some black beans to go with it, and warmed some corn tortillas in a pan. I find that doing this without butter makes the corn tortilla perfectly warm and crispy while still being just a little chewy. (Which I love.)
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The most important ingredient they saved for last:
Cilantro.
Add some sea salt and plenty of cilantro to your final dish! It takes the entire meal to a different level.

It was a winner! Michael loved the pork by itself, Brenden and I loved the tacos, Brielle wouldn’t try it, (but what’s new??) and I’ll for sure be making it again.

Next time I plan to marinate the meat in the spices and juices overnight.

*This is yet another recipe from paleoleap. I could make a recipe -a-day from these guys and never get bored! Check them out for all things Paleo!

 

 



Mustard Roasted Fish and Lentils!

I’ve always included Brielle in my cooking, but just recently she’s really started to get into it. Now she wants to participate more than just stirring the pancake or cupcake batter.

This week she helped me make fish. We went to Whole Foods and picked it out together and I fielded questions like, “Mommy, why aren’t his eyes moving?” (We were looking at the smoked whole whitefish.) And when she saw the huge Octopus: “Mommy, can it eat??” Nope.. it’s dead.

So there were some heavy feelings at the fish counter, but we survived and walked away with a pound of haddock.

Then we waited 48 hours to cook it (way too long) and when I opened it all I smelled was bad fish. So we returned it and got more. I’ve been doing that a lot lately. If my produce or meat goes bad (within reason obviously!) I just RETURN IT. I mean, why re-buy it if you never got to use it in the first place? (No judging please.)

So we got the fresh, happy fish home and got to work making Mustard Roasted Fish.

Brielle did an excellent job spreading it out on the baking dish… and touching it in general.    IMG_9506
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First, lay the fish in a baking dish and preheat the oven to 425.

The original recipe calls for cream, but to make it dairy free I decided to use Mayonnaise instead. (Seems a little gross but it somehow worked!)

For the mustard sauce we put in a bowl:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Juice of 1/2 lemon (We used lime because we didn’t have lemon.)
1 shallot, minced

Stir stir stir.
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Then spread the mustard mixture on the fish.
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As you can see, we added (maybe a little too much??) Olive Oil to the fish first.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Then pop into the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. I like to turn on broil right at the end to get the top sort of brown and crispy.

Let me backtrack one quick second. That morning, before cooking the fish, I made LENTILS to go with it. Talk about delicious. And so many health benefits! Lentils are high protein, stablize blood sugar, lower cholesterol, increase energy, etc. etc. etc! We love them.

Rinse and drain one cup green or french lentils.
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Cut up one onion.
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Put some olive oil in a dutch oven or pot, (I am using a regular pot because my dutch oven burned up, long story..) And add the onion and sauté for a few minutes. Add some garlic, maybe a teaspoon? I never cut my own, I use the pre-minced jars.

Then add the lentils.
IMG_9519Next pour in 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth.

Bring to a boil and cover. Lower the heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.

Now add some spinach, a couple handfuls.
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And a cup of frozen peas.
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Cover again and cook for another 4-5 minutes and then season with salt and pepper.

Serve the fish over the lentils. Brielle didn’t have ONE bite of fish, which I expected, but it still broke my heart!
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We had a great conversation at dinner as Brenden and I ate our fish and Brielle ate a quesadilla and carrots, where we explained to Brielle that this meal was not in fact our favorite food either. But we still eat it because it’s healthy and good for our bodies.

Her diet is improving slowly, and I am working harder than ever to encourage her to eat healthier foods and have a better relationship with food in general. It’s a process for me. Blog post coming up about my struggles with that soon. When I find another free, (alone) 30 minutes!

Hope everyone is having such a wonderful summer.

XOXO

*This recipe is originally from Cooksmarts.



A New Take On A Summer Salad

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Okay, we have been eating salads every single night for dinner. Heaven! The shopping/prepping/clean up is sooo much easier! All I do is keep the same staples on hand and switch up the toppings.

Staples:
Spinach
A variety of olives and peppers
Our favorite balsamic vinaigrette
Grilled veggies that I cut up and marinate in balsamic and olive oil and roast and they are good the whole week!

I switch up the toppings:
Chicken Salad
Tuna Salad
Grilled Chicken Strips
Curried Chicken Salad

You get the point.

Well today I made Salmon Croquettes for our lunch salad! I say “croquettes” but really I have no idea what the difference between a “Salmon Croquette” and a “Salmon Cake” is. Is there a difference? For some reason I picture a croquette to be smaller and crispier. And maybe even yummier? so this was a croquette.

I didn’t measure what I used, I just eye-balled it. But I promise you can too. It’s the most no-brainer meal ever. And so freaking delicious.

I started with a can of salmon. Thank you Trader Joes.
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Open that up, pour out the juice (preferably into a grateful pet’s food bowl) and dump the fish into a bowl.
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Next add about a cup of Panko Bread Crumbs. Or regular bread crumbs! Or Gluten Free Bread crumbs. Really anything you want that’s a bit of a bonding agent.
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Now, two eggs. (No pic for this because my son was a total mess cracking the eggs everywhere.)

Now, ONION! 1/2 onion, diced. This is muy importante.
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Add it to the bowl and then some salt and freshly ground pepper.
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Now, mustard! About 1 tablespoon. Even if you aren’t a mustard fan please don’t skip this step. It really adds to the flavor! Any Dijon will work beautifully.
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Stir stir stir. Mix mix mix.
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Now heat a pan with cooking oil. Medium-high heat. Take about two spoonfuls in your hand and pat it down to the size you want. Add it to the pan. Wear an apron at this step because POP POP POP. And oil ruins shirts!
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Let me tell you, just looking at this pic makes my mouth water. And I just ate!
While you cook the croquettes (HA, I love saying that word mostly because I have no idea what it means,) prepare your salads!

I added some mustard to the side of the greens for dipping, and some olives and peppers.
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This is my favorite salad dressing of all time. But olive oil and vinegar and a little salt and lemon would be just as good on this dish!!
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Sprinkle the greens lightly with your dressing of choice and top with your piping hot salmon!
IMG_6242ENNNNJOY!



West African Chicken in Peanut Sauce!

Saturday was hectic.. Too much stuff going on in too little time. But there was a pound of chicken in the fridge that was expiring that day and there was no way I was going to let that happen!

Brenden went to the gym at 4:00 and I decided to use the 45 minutes between then and when we all went to the pool to save the chicken. We already had dinner plans, but this meal keeps beautifully and viola! Our Sunday dinner would be dunzo. So I got to work. (And work it was, the kids were a hot mess.)

It’s another Cooksmarts favorite. It’s rich and full of flavor, and good with rice or by itself.

You will need:
1 lb. Bonesless skinless chicken breast
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
3-4 carrots or turnips, peeled and chopped
Peanut butter, creamy (“natural” preferred but any variety is fine.) 1/2 cup
Garlic, 2 cloves
Fresh ginger, 2 tsp. grated
2 tbs tomato paste
2 cups chicken stock
Red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp.

Garnish: (all optional)
3 tbsp fresh cilantro
Peanuts, 1/2 cup, roasted and unsalted, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lime

Put the carrots (or turnips) on a microwave safe dish and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave for 4 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender and carrots still have a bit of crunch. Set aside.
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Heat a dutch oven or wok over medium-high heat. Add the chicken (season it with salt and pepper!) and sear on all sides, about 4 minutes. Don’t cook it through, it will cook in the sauce later. Set aside.
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Next make the peanut sauce.

Whisk together the Peanut butter, tomato paste, chicken stock, ginger, and red pepper flakes At first it looks pretty gross and then you smell it and realize, this is how they do that sauce, wow!!
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Now add more oil to the hot pan and toss in the garlic and bell peppers. Cook until it smells delicious, about 1 minute.

Now add sweet potatoes, carrots (or turnips) and the peanut sauce. Add chicken and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on med-low for about 10-12 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. I added a little more chicken stock because it looked too thick. But it depends on the consistency you want!
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It’s so good I couldn’t help but eat it straight from the pot.

Serve it with the peanuts/cilantro/lime juice or all by itself!

During all this cooking and picture taking the background dialogue was constant as per usual. Michael was at the sink “washing dishes” (a.k.a pouring water all over the floor) when Brielle brought her doll into the kitchen:

“Mommy, can you cute Peelah’s hair now?”
Me: “But her hair is so pretty, are you sure?” (She’d been talking about it for two days so I knew she was sure.)
B: “Yes, I really want it shorter. She really wants it shorter.”
I grab my kitchen shears. “Okay, how short?”
She gives me the length with her fingers parted in the air.
I show her on the doll. “Here?”
“Yes. Thanks mom.”
I make the cut.
And then I move to the OTHER side of the doll’s head and make the same cut on that side. Of course, right?? Wrong.
She melts to the floor, crying real tears. “I did’t want that side short!! Only this side!”

We spent the next five minutes taping Peelah’s hair back on ONE side of her head.

Here is her doll, “Momma, I love her just the way she is.”
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Peelah seems happy with her new hair too! 🙂

And the chicken was saved in a delicious new state, ready to be devoured at a later date (I couldn’t resist!) 😀

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

 

 

 



Coconut Rice

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Genevieve, my beautiful adopted sister, is home after a six hour surgery and a week’s stay in the hospital. To say my mom and dad are strong is an understatement. But I worry for them. I worry for their health and energy. But they are so steadfast in who they are and what they do that I just say “okay.” And get back to my life.

And tonight my life is this:

A house that is literally shaking at its foundations.

Is that everyone??

I have TWO kids. What about a house that has 3-+ kids?? My house seems like it’s about to explode at any minute!

My neighbor Kim was outside tonight gardening, happily trimming this and that, and I could see her peace being disrupted through her beige visor as my children’s voices escalated.

What a spectacle.

So I decided to check something off my list: Make Gen Coconut Rice. Yes, it’s as mouthwatering as it sounds. And it’s her favorite. So I got busy. And as usual the kids joined me.

I put some oil in a pot
Added some minced garlic
1 tsp of Cajun seasoning
1 cup of coconut milk
1 bay leaf
And brought it to a simmer.
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Then I added 1 cup chicken stock
2/3 cup white jasmine rice
1 teaspoon salt
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I brought it all to a boil and then simmered on low for 15-20 minutes until the liquid was almost gone.
Then rinsed and drained 1 can of dark kidney beans.
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And folded them into the rice. (Oh and I took the bay leaves out here too.)
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Then I added more salt (never be afraid of salt!) and more Cajun seasoning to taste.
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Michael and I had some, (we had to taste it before we sent it off to Gen!) Brielle wouldnt eat it because of the scary beans. 🙂

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Absolutely delicious. Next time I want to play with it a little:

1) Maybe add raisins instead of beans? At the beginning so they can cook and get plump?
2) Double it, there’s always reason for leftover rice.
3) Add sliced almonds instead of the beans (and maybe even with the rains??)
4) Add a pinch of brown sugar to the Cajun seasoning at the beginning?
So many ways to tweak it and make it even better!

And oh my this boy.. he just loves being in the kitchen with his momma.
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His personality is off the charts.. His hair cut is way past due and I love the look of it! He just learned how to “put your lips on my lips for a kiss” instead of his huge forehead on my lips for a kiss. I’m so in love!

XOXO