Archive of ‘Dinner’ category

Salad Bowls and my Mom-Gut

It was a very normal afternoon. Bear in and out from the garage, the dogs hovering around my feet, and Abraham bouncing around the kitchen while I cooked dinner. I had a mild amount of mom-stress because I was up against the clock. Bear had to leave the house by 5:45, which meant dinner must be on the table at 5:15. I pulled one pot off the glass-top stove and flipped another one off while I got plates. My phone rang. “Hey! What are you doing?” my girlfriend asked from her drive home.
“Cooking dinner,” I said while Abe pulled his stool up next to me. He likes to help me stir and add ingredients.
“Oh, ok, are you…”
“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!”
My whole heart stopped. From my peripheral vision, I could see my son removing his hand from the hot stove. And what did I say?
“AAAABE-UH?!”
…as if shouting his name with concern and confusion based on the number of TIMES we have talked about never-ever-ever touching the stove would reverse time and undo what had just happened.
I hung up the phone and grabbed his hand, hurriedly getting it under cool running water. I filled a big, red mixing bowl that was waiting for the salad with water and sat it on the floor. I put a screaming Abe next to it and sat with him, dipping his already-blistering hand in and out of it. His screaming made it impossible to even think about whether I should go to the doctor or the ER or the Urgent Care or a bar. We did this for about 20 minutes before I realized this wasn’t getting better. So I called the Urgent Care.
“He needs to go to the children’s ER immediately,” the no-personality woman said to me.
“HE DOES?!” I asked, shocked that this was an ER emergency.
“Yes, take him straight there.”
I gathered myself. Abe was still sitting on the floor, less screaming, dipping his hand in and out of the water. I worked with Bear to walk Abe, the water bowl, and a small tupperware of dinner into the back seat of the car so that he never had to take his hand out of the water, nor starve.
What was so amazing was how, in between waves of pain, Abe would look at me and reassure me that he was OK. Reassure ME. I’m your mom, KID! Let me feel bad about myself right now, PLEASE.
I began driving Abe to the ER and suddenly, I heard the my Mom Gut talking.
You don’t need to take him to the ER. The ER is going to freak. him. out. Call Rhonda. She’ll know what to do.
Rhonda is a true-blue friend. She’s the person that lured me out of bed with chocolate during my divorce. She also knows how to stay calm in emergency situations.
After some explanation on the phone with her while I drove aimlessly as Abe sat in car seat holding a bowl of cool water, she told me exactly what to get from the pharmacy and exactly what to do. In that moment, it made far more sense to get medicine and sterile gauze than it did to sit for hours in an ER waiting for someone to give us medicine and sterile gauze.
Except that when we pulled up in the pharmacy parking lot, I realized we were going to have to walk with the big, red water/salad bowl throughout the store together.
“Abe. Here’s the deal…” He was still sniffling back tears. “You and I are a team right now. We are going to go into this store with the water bowl so you don’t have to take your hand out. We have to walk next to each other and go slowly so we don’t spill.”
“Can’t you just <sniff> leave me in the <sniff> car?” he asked.
“No, baby. That’s illegal. And scary. I can’t do that. We can definitely do this if we work together.”
“<sniff> Ok.”
I carefully helped him out of his seat while holding the water. We stood in the parking lot together, situating ourselves so that we could walk without him taking his hand out of the water.
“Mom? How am I going to hold your hand in the parking lot? For cars and stuff?”
So I put my hand in the water bowl. If both our hands are in the water bowl, we’re technically holding hands.
We navigated the aisles and aisles of first aid to find the burn cream and gauze we needed, made it through the check out line, and all the way back to the car without spilling a drop.

TEAM WORK.

The rest of our evening was spent finding ways to eat dinner, get our jammies on, and lie in bed while keeping Abe’s hand in the cool water. And I Googled. A LOT. At one point it was pretty clear Abe had shingles, which is when I turned my phone off.
Once Abe finally fell asleep (with his hand in the water), I crept into his room like a ninja. I ever-so-gently removed his hand from the water and held it in the air, waiting for him to wake up from the burn…
…but he didn’t.
I gently applied numbing creme and medicine to his burns, wrapped them in sterile gauze, and then wrapped his whole hand with a giant ace bandage. I was so proud of him and of me.

The next morning the pediatrician agreed that it was not an ER-worthy burn and to just continue doing what I was doing. The moral of this story is that I am a horrible mother and no matter how many times you tell your children not to touch a hot stove, they only have to touch it once…

(He’s fine.)

"Two thumbs up, Mom!"

“Two thumbs up, Mom!”

NOM-y Stir Fry (Cheap and Easy!)

Tonight? A simple, NOM-y stir fry. Easy to make. Lots of fresh veg and health!

Cut a few breasts of chicken into inch-wide cubes and throw them in a bowl with a pre-made marinade (I chose a San-J Tamari Marinade because it's low in sugar and gluten-free). Let your chicken swim or float for a few hours while you do other stuff. Other stuff like...

Cut a few breasts of chicken into inch-wide cubes and throw them in a bowl with a pre-made marinade (I chose a San-J Tamari Marinade because it’s low in sugar and gluten-free). This is only a tiny bit of my chicken, I used 2 breasts. Let your chicken swim or float for a few hours while you do other stuff. Other stuff like…

 

Put your brown rice into your rice cooker with chicken broth and a big hunk of peeled ginger. Then go do more other stuff.

Put your brown rice into your rice cooker with chicken broth and a big hunk of peeled ginger. This is obviously the “after” picture. Then go do more other stuff.

 

When you're ready for dinner, heat up some coconut oil because it's got a high smoking point and it's freaking delicious.

When you’re ready for dinner, heat up some coconut oil because it’s got a high smoking point and it’s freaking delicious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Give your chicken a good cookin' on both sides until it's NOM. Take it out of the pan and set it aside.

Give your chicken a good cookin’ on both sides until it’s NOM. Take it out of the pan and set it aside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chop up some onion (I only had white onion but I'd suggest green). You might need goggles 'cuz onion make ya cry.

Chop up some onion (I only had white onion but I’d suggest green). You might need goggles ‘cuz onion make ya cry.

 

I also chopped up some leftover cabbage from a stuffed cabbage casserole I made last night. I found it on Pinterest. I would have added more tomatoes than the recipe called for, but it was still delish. I fished the ginger out of the rice and gave it a once-over as well.

I also chopped up some leftover cabbage from a stuffed cabbage casserole I made last night. I found it on Pinterest. I would have added more tomatoes than the recipe called for, but it was still delish. I fished the ginger out of the rice and gave it a once-over as well.

 

I tossed a bag of organic frozen veggies into my pan. I love frozen veggies - already chopped up, in the perfect combinations, and affordable even when organic. These guys needed to hang out for a while since they were frozen. I gave them some soy sauce and some garlic because yum. Take those out of the pan and set them aside.

I tossed a bag of organic frozen veggies into my pan. I love frozen veggies – already chopped up, in the perfect combinations, and affordable even when organic. These guys needed to hang out for a while since they were frozen. I gave them some soy sauce and some garlic because yum. Take those out of the pan and set them aside.

 

I fried up the onions, cabbage, and scrambled eggs, setting each one aside after it cooked up. 

I fried up the onions, cabbage, and scrambled eggs, setting each one aside after it cooked up.

 

Then I put EVERYTHING back in the pan with a little bit more marinade and the chopped garlic. 

Then I put EVERYTHING back in the pan with a little bit more marinade and the chopped garlic.

 

Set it all over the rice and COVER in sriracha.

Set it all over the rice and COVER in sriracha.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As an aside, my son eats everything we eat. The only difference is I often deconstruct his meals. So tonight he got chicken, rice, and vegetables separately. This eliminates the, "I can't eat any of this because a red thing touched my chicken" syndrome.

As an aside, my son eats everything we eat. The only difference is I often deconstruct his meals. So tonight he got chicken, rice, and vegetables separately. This eliminates the, “I can’t eat any of this because a red thing touched my chicken” syndrome.

 

 

 

Fast

Here’s the thing I’ve learned about diet and exercise…or really any healthy habit:

I’ve learned that I love to control things.

Anytime I can control the shit out of something I will do it. Measuring out food, getting my workout in, watching the number of ounces of water I drink…It’s all control. And because of that Phaeton Level 12 Control I’ve reached, I’ve always just figured I’m really good at diet and exercise.

But diet and exercise, or any choice you turn into a habit, aren’t supposed to be about proving how much you can control. They aren’t supposed to be about willpower or strength or personal stamina. To me it’s supposed to be about your intention. What’s the INTENTION behind my awesome diet and exercise habit?

Welp. It’s control. My intention is to control the few things in life I think I can control because there’s so much I can’t. Maybe yours is to look good naked or a really pure reason like being an example to others so you can help them. But mine is control.

I only just freaking figure this out today.

Today is the first day of a 21 day fast that many churches ask their followers to participate in. When I first heard our Pastor mention this yesterday I was all…Nope. Fasting for 21 days? During the run of a theatre production? Amen and amen? Nope, and nope again.
Then, of course, I learned I wouldn’t be subsisting on water and rice cakes for three weeks. The suggestion of the church is that I fast consciously and with intention from anything I feel called to abstain from. The church recommends choosing what’s known as the Daniel Fast, because in the bible Daniel ate vegetables and water to protest King Nebuchadnezzar. I am going to try this kind of fasting, but I’m not going to be all rigid and freakish about it.

Why?

Because then I would be fasting to prove I was in control. To prove I could do it. I wouldn’t be fasting with the intention of staying conscious throughout my day, making decisions based on where and how I feel led to serve and based on what’s best for those around me. And that’s what I really want to do. My daily rituals and routines are all great, but IF the intention behind them is simply to prove I can do them…well then what good are they?

Soooo….

This week, I’m cutting out all meat except eggs. And I will continue to cut other things out of my diet as I go along until I’m fully vegan by the end of the 21 days. My experience will be mine, one of humility and honesty, just me and God. I won’t be sharing with everyone how well I’m doing, letting everyone know if I fell off the wagon to prove how “human” I am, nor will I be documenting each and every meal I prepare and eat. This will be my own little journey and it’s only me I have to face in the mirror every morning to answer the question, “Am I doing this all for the right reason?”

This is the last you’ll hear me speak of it.

If you can think of something you might give up for 21 days WITH THE INTENTION of gaining focus in your life, getting conscious with your choices, and whatever else fasting opens up for you personally, just know that silently I am right there with you.

This is the one and only time I will post a picture of the vegetables I've eaten over the next three weeks. So soak it up.

This is the one and only time I will post a picture of the vegetables I’m eating over the next three weeks. So soak it up. (I already want a cookie.)

Winter Stewp

Rachel Ray coined the term “Stewp”. Thick soup, soupy stew…It’s Stewp.
This is the Stewp I throw together every time someone get sick or it gets cold. Our recent apocalyptic cold snap here in Florida has resulted in MUCH needed Stewp.

I start with what’s left after Bear has demolished a rotisserie chicken. I put it in a big pot, cover it in water, boil it and then leave it on low for as long as possible. This time I let it go for almost 24 hours. At least 3 hours is preferable. (Using the store-bought rotisserie chickens with the leftover skin also helps flavor the broth.)

Strain the broth, but not directly down the kitchen drain. Strain it into a big bowl. (Admit it. One time or another you've drained your broth right down the drain and were left with a LOVELY colander full of neck bones and gizzards.)

Strain the broth, but not directly down the kitchen drain. Strain it into a big bowl. (Admit it. One time or another you’ve drained your broth right down the drain and were left with a LOVELY colander full of neck bones and gizzards.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get your broth back on the stove! Warm it up, it's cold!

Get your broth back on the stove! Warm it up, it’s cold!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now add the hard veggies, in my case carrots and celery. (I like the leaves so I leave them in the pile.)

Now add the hard veggies, in my case carrots and celery. (I like the leaves so I leave them in the pile.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dig up some parsley and rosemary from your garden and whatever other herbs you like.

Dig up some parsley and rosemary from your garden and whatever other herbs you like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strip the leaves off the stems and put the stems in your Stewp.

Strip the leaves off the stems and put the stems in your Stewp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(What?! Why?!?! Because they will flavor it so well, they're easy to dig out, and if you add the leaves themselves at this stage they'll get all smoosh.)

(What?! Why?!?! Because they will flavor it so well, they’re easy to dig out, and if you add the leaves themselves at this stage they’ll get all smoosh.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once they're all in there, happy and splashy, add in lentils. How much? How many? Oh, about a cup. I chose to execute four, graceful, beautifully executed palm-full dumps.

Once they’re all in there, happy and splashy, add in lentils. How much? How many? Oh, about a cup. I chose to execute four, graceful, beautifully executed palm-full dumps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now add your dry rice. DON'T. GO. CRAZY. If you have a standard soup pot going, I wouldn't add more than 1/2-3/4 of a cup. It's so easy to eyeball rice and turn your soup into...well. A large pile of rice.

Now add your dry rice. DON’T. GO. CRAZY. If you have a standard soup pot going, I wouldn’t add more than 1/2-3/4 of a cup. It’s so easy to eyeball rice and turn your soup into…well. A large pile of rice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you're adding quinoa, add about the same amount as rice. EXCEPT. Let it soak in some water for 20-30 minutes, strain it, and then add it. Quinoa can be bitter and give your soup a weird after-taste.

If you’re adding quinoa, add about the same amount as rice. EXCEPT. Let it soak in some water for 20-30 minutes, strain it, and then add it. Quinoa can be bitter and give your soup a weird after-taste.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let all that goodness bathe on medium for as long a it takes you to go pick up you kids from school. (That’s 30-45 minutes if you’re me.)

When you get home, add a giant hunk of garlic. (I added 2.)

When you get home, add a giant hunk of garlic. (I added 2.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add lots of veg now. I got a big bag of vegetable stir fry and gave it a good chop. This saved me tons of time.

Add lots of veg now. I got a big bag of vegetable stir fry and gave it a good chop. This saved me tons of time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I introduced the veg to all the other Stewp party participants and turn up the heat just a touch. It won’t take long for everyone to get dinner-worthy. If you aren’t in a hurry, then turn the heat DOWN and let it hang out longer.

Right before you serve, add your frozen veg. I added peas because I add peas to everything because they're delicious, OK?

Right before you serve, add your frozen veg. I added peas because I add peas to everything because they’re delicious, OK?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I added my herbs. Let everything warm up and through before you serve.

Then I added my herbs. Let everything warm up and through before you serve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What you’re left with is dinner-worthy for one, big, hunky, hungry Bear and is a delicious yum-yum nom-dinner for one, adorable, four-year-old Abe. Not to mention…it freezes REALLY well!

Have a beautiful, yummy, WARM weekend. 🙂

How to Clean Your Kitchen Lying Down

Bear and I are lucky enough that we get weekends with our kids at the same time. He has a son and I have an Abe, so when we are all together it’s a lot of…boys.

A lot.

My cooking skills and planning skills are truly put to the test on these weekends. If it were up to them, they’d sit on the couch watching movies, football, and probably a few episodes of Say Yes to the Dress (j/k, I was wondering who was paying attention) while eating out of the pizza box from last night’s order that’s been on the coffee table for more than 12 hours. They’re not animals. They’re not jerks. They’re just…BOYS spending a weekend hanging out. No rules. No concerns.

So, to get them up and moving, I plan trips to the zoo, lunches out with this week’s circular coupons to local restaurants, trips to the park, make-your-own-taco night, you name it. I am a Weekend Planner when we’re all together. Usually by Sunday evening they’re all so sick of following the schedule they probably want to poke holes in my tires, but they smile and say thank you.

Until Sunday night.

291919e47ae12af663f3eb82eba95761After a long day together, a few tantrums (those were Abe’s, not mine), and a meal in public without the iPad (“No iPad? This is terrible news,” Bear said upon entering the restaurant), I stood up from the couch to clean the kitchen.
“I got it,” Bear said. I didn’t even turn around. I assumed he was speaking to someone who was throwing him a football or perhaps to the piece of pepperoni that fell on the floor. I kept walking. “Babe. Go lay down. I got the kitchen.”
Now, Bear is an INCREDIBLE boyfriend. He shows up in every situation to make me feel loved and cherished. But this…this was like foreplay I’d never experienced before.
“Seriously? You’re going to clean the kitchen?”
“Yep! We got it! You go relax.”
I’m not lying. I’m not EVEN lying. He said this to me. And then I went and laid down. And I HEARD him in the kitchen doing things with dishes so I knew he actually went in to the kitchen after he said that to me.

And I went to sleep. It was amazing.

We all woke up in a tizzy the next morning (and by “we” I mean Bear, followed by his son, followed LONG after by Abe and me…we got the “sleep in” gene). I rushed to get dressed so I could get some breakfast out before everyone had to split. And as I walked into the kitchen…I saw it.

Pots. Pots everywhere.

“I didn’t really clean it like you clean it. But I unloaded and re-loaded the dishwasher,” Bear said pouring his coffee and smiling sheepishly.

Upon closer inspection, I realized the counters were not wiped down. The stove wasn’t tended to. The floors were not swept. This. This was not a kitchen that had been “gotten.”

“That’s okay,” I smiled.

I mean, how am I supposed to feel about this?!

It took me a full day to process my feelings (after washing the pots and pans, wiping down the counters and the stove, and sweeping the floors, of course). Bear says in general I need to relax and go with the flow a little better. He’s right. He’s damn right. But about this? I mean, really, ABOUT THIS TOO?! You said you “got” the kitchen and the kitchen was not “GOT” when I walked in. Do I just chalk it up to my boyfriend being a huge liar and move on with life!? BECAUSE THIS WAS A HUGE LIE!

Alright. I’m exaggerating. But truth be told this stupid little experience really did teach me some things:

1. Bear would do anything to make me happy. He might not do things the way I would do them, but he would do them if he thought it helped.

2. When the pots aren’t washed, counters aren’t wiped, and floors aren’t swept…it IS in fact possible for me to go to sleep.

3. Kitchens clean up the same way the morning after dinner as the evening OF dinner.

4. I should probably relax and go with the flow a little bit better.

5. I’m more of a control-freak than I thought.

Anyway. I’m incredibly grateful to have the life that I have with the man in it who supports me like crazy. I’m also incredibly grateful that he teaches me how to be better, both by communicating with me (he’s RIL good at that) and also by bringing my issues out into the light so I can actually SEE myself (by doing things like cleaning the kitchen the way HE cleans it). I suppose any good relationship does this: forces you in front of a mirror to take a good hard look at your particular brand of crazy. Without it, we all hang out being the same people forever and, frankly, now that I’m realizing what a control-freak I am, I don’t really want to be that anymore. And I’d have been really sad if I looked back later and realized no one ever mentioned to me what a control-freak I’ve been.

All that being said, the kitchen is cleaned to standard this evening. So, I can go to bed.

Lazy Sundays and Pickles

For the first time in likely 3 months, I had a Sunday completely and utterly FREE. I used to spend all of my Sundays watching mindless television, cooking food, and napping. Before life could even settle back down into a routine after my divorce I broke my leg, so nothing is what I’ve been used to. But I woke up with the sun (and then slept until 9:30) and promptly sat on the couch until noon surfing Facebook and the interwebs.

Then. I saw a post from a dear friend about making pickles and how easy it is. A friend of mine recently gave me a pickle recipe that I never got around to using because I didn’t have some of the ingredients (no mustard seeds, dill or dill seeds, white wine vinegar) and LORD knows I’m not making a special trip to the grocery store with a three year old for dill seeds. But this recipe my friend posted only took 24 hours and included ingredients I actually had in my fridge!
Oh. Except for cucumbers.

Key. Ingredient.

BUT!
I had zucchini.
They’re the same color!
They’re the same shape!
Perfect.

I simmered my pickling juice (it’s not a euphemism…it’s really what I did) and chopped up my zucchini, not to mention a leftover orange pepper I had (I said “pickled pepper” in my head and recognized it as a “thing” and decided I could add it in). I threw everything into a few mason jars, put them in the fridge, and then put on a mud mask.

 


By the way, this mud mask is amazing. You add equal parts water or cider vinegar to the powder, mix, and apply to your face. After one application my face felt kind of amazing and a TON of blackheads came to the surface and sort of shluffed off. Now that I’m mentioning this, you should know it took some problem solving to figure out how to apply it without creating a disaster in the bathroom.
Mix 2 tablespoons cider vinegar with 2 tablespoons Amazon Face Mask Dirt Powder Stuff in a small sandwich baggie.
Smoosh it all up in the baggie. (See? You still haven’t made a mess.)
Dip a popsicle stick (or a plastic knife, if you’re me) and PUSH a chunk of the mixture into your face before spreading it so it doesn’t fall off everywhere.
Take a picture of yourself.
Peel it off after 20 minutes in your yard. That’s because if you wash it on in the shower or the sink, you’ll clog your drain with Amazon Face Mask Dirt Powder Stuff.
Look how pretty you are.

photo

Back to the pickles. Twenty-four hours later I ate one of the pickled zucchini. Guess what? IT WAS DELICIOUS! I gave one to Abe and HE THOUGHT IT WAS DELICIOUS! He was EATING ZUCCHINI and he thought it was DELICIOUS!!! Score, score, score. Triple score. Jackpot. All the marbles. Check the Peas page for the recipe.

Anywho, this is an awesome and delicious snack food, goes perfect with The 21 Day Fix if you need to fill your green container, and is super easy to do. Eat well, lovebugs.

Ode to the Strainer (Italian-ey Chicken and Rice)

Since getting divorced, a huge passion of mine has fallen by the wayside: cooking. It’s hard to cook for one. A single chicken breast, no matter how eloquently prepared, is just kinda…sad.

But I really have a knack for making stuff up based on the taste I want to have in my mouth. Tonight, I REALLY wanted chicken cacciatori. My mom taught me to make it when I was about 23 and it’s one of my favorite italian meals.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any pasta. Or chicken breasts.
So, I decided to make a similar dish using what I had: brown rice and chicken thighs.

I started by straining a large can of stewed tomatoes. Stewed tomatoes are a STAPLE in my kitchen because they are cheap and can be used a gabillion different ways. And my strainer pops up way more than I tend to realize in cooking.

Tomato juices drip drip dripping.

Tomato juices drip drip dripping.

I got all the liquid out of the tomatoes and ended up with about a cup and a half of juice. I put the leftover tomatoes in a tupperware and set it to the side. I dumped the juice plus half a cup of water into the rice cooker, to equal 2 cups of liquid. I added salt, pepper, garlic powder, and about 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the tomato liquid.
Next, I measured out a cup of brown basmati rice. To be honest, plain brown rice or white basmati rice would have been better for this dish, but I’m using what I have. I also rinse my rice in a strainer.

Seeya starch.

Seeya starch.

Rinsing rice gets all the starchy rice dust off and keeps the results…how do I describe this…cleaner? It’s just feels less gritty than rice can sometimes feel if you don’t rinse. Soft, smooth rice. You get it.
Finally, I hit the herb garden. Bear built me an herb garden right before I broke my leg. Luckily, the hot Florida summer sun and daily afternoon rains did their jobs without much tending from yours truly.

The basil trees.

The basil trees.

I have tomatoes, purple and green basil, mint, flat leaf and curly leaf parsley, rosemary, chives, and oregano in there. Today I went out and snipped a big branch of basil, a hunk of flat leaf parsley (I prefer flat leaf for italian cooking, and curly for things like Mediterranean dishes), and a handful of ornery oregano.

Clean basil

Basil bath

Back to the strainer. I strained and rinsed all the herbs. Many of them have little bug-nibbles in the leaves and you know what? I think that’s cute and I like sharing.
Once they were all rinsed and dry, I plucked the leaves from each herb and set the stems aside as I went. Why? Because cooking rice with fresh herbs can really kill the herb flavor. It makes the leaves all mushy and kind of an unappealing, soggy mess. So instead, I use the stems in the rice cooker! Right on top they go, infusing all their delicious flavor into the rice as it cooks. As soon as the cooker ding-ding-dings, I’ll pluck them right off the top! No muss. No fuss.

The gang's all here!

The gang’s all here!

With the rice cooker ready to begin it’s long journey (sometimes up to an hour and a half for perfectly cooked whole grain brown rice), I got out my chicken thighs. Why chicken thighs? Because I buy organic chicken and sometimes that’s the only cut I can afford. Full of flavor and a nice, soft texture, chicken thighs sometimes get a bad rap. Give them a chance.

Stop looking at my thighs.

Stop looking at my thighs.

I trimmed all of the fat off of them and seasoned them liberally with salt, pepper, red pepper, and garlic powder. I cut them into nice little pieces and massaged them into the leftover tomatoes I’d set aside in the tupperware. I grabbed about 8 basil leaves, ripped them apart with my fingers, and massaged them right into my chicken and tomatoes. I left the whole party in the fridge while I finished up some laundry and waited on the rice to do its thing.

Chicken, tomatoes, and basil getting. it. on.

Chicken, tomatoes, and basil getting. it. on.

When the rice cooker showed 12 minutes left on the timer, I picked the chicken out of the tomatoes and popped the pieces into a pan with olive oil, giving them a quick high-heat sear.

Hot thighs.

Hot thighs.

Once they were all seared I took the chicken bits out and placed them on a plate and put some olive oil, garlic, and white wine in the pan. After a few minutes I added the tomatoes leftover from the tupperware and let all the flavors slow dance over medium low heat.

photo 5

Now it’s the tomatoes turn to get hot.

Just then, the rice dinged.

photo 1

Just pick those little stems right off the top! Easy peasy!

I chopped up all the herbs into little tiny pieces and added them to the rice. Remember, fresh herbs are FAR less pungent than dried herbs, so using a bunch of them (like a handful) is ok. Add a little at a time and taste as you go to be sure.

Nom.

Nom.

I added the chicken back into the pan with the tomato sauce to coat it and give it a little warm up.
Plated the two together, and let me tell you…it tasted NOTHING like chicken cacciatore. HOWEVER, it was freaking delicious and absolutely quelled my italian craving.

Sprinkle a touch of parmesan onto the chicken.

Sprinkle a touch of parmesan onto the chicken.

Check the “Peas” page for the recipe! And if you don’t have a strainer, it’s a cheap little kitchen tool you’ll use all the time.

 

 

Cabbage and Nuggs

No one likes cabbage unless it’s in coleslaw and full of sugar. So, I’m constantly in search of things to do with the head of cabbage I get in my farm bag every week.
So this week I found this recipe. Roasted cabbage disks. This is mostly cool because of the shape. Chop the cabbage into 1 inch thick disks.

 

Then brush them with olive oil and salt and pepper liberally. I think I baked these at about 375 for 30 minutes, maybe more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave them in the oven until the outside leaves get black and crispy. Those are the really delicious part. I also added celery seeds in the last 5 minutes of baking so add some yum but without burning them.
Ok, so now what?
You can add roasted nuts (walnuts, almonds, pine nuts) or maybe some fresh tomato sauce. Even try some salad dressing or coleslaw dressing. These actually ended up pretty delicious!

 

 

 

 

 

Next, chicken nuggs. My girlfriend makes these a lot and I always assume they take too long so I never make them. After she left some potato flour in my freezer (remember, we are g-free) for me, I decided I should just try. I dumped some potato flour, salt, pepper, and romano cheese in a bowl. I put some almond milk in another bowl. Just substitute all of this stuff for things you actually like, because I know you’re all rolling your eyes at all my hippy dippy ingredients.

 

I just rustled them around in the milk and then plopped them 4 or 5 at a time in the flour. I shook them around in there (remember the Shake n Bake? Is that still a thing? I could’ve used it…) and then set them on parchment paper. I did 2 chicken breasts and the prep took me about 12 minutes. No big deal!

 

 

 

 

 

I lined them all up on some parchment paper and popped them in the oven at 400 for 25 or 30 minutes with some already roasting brussel sprouts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look at those cute little nuggs.

 

 

 

 

 

Let me tell you, these were SUCH a hit. SO simple and delicious. We dipped in ketchup and blue cheese dressing (because my son’s tastebuds are polyamorous, and I don’t judge him for that)!!

 

 

Food Issues

Salty, snacky, kaley goodness.

First, here’s a fun little vegetarian snack: Kale chips. They’re better than they sound.
Buy a big bag of chopped kale in the produce section. If you get whole leaves you’ll just need to chop it to chip-size. Go through the bag and pull any leaves still attached to the rib and separate. Shout, “Get out of here, ribs.” Toss them in a bowl with some olive oil and salt. If you’re new to kale chips, you may want to add more salt until you get used to the taste. Pile them onto a baking sheet and stick them in the oven at about 300. You can pile these guys because when they cook and shrivel, you’ll be able to separate them out about 20 minutes in to cooking. Let them cook until they’re crisp but not burned, maybe another 15 minutes (but keep a close eye). They’re a delicious snack that Abe even eats!

 

Since this week is all about food, let’s keep that ball rolling, shall we?

We have food issues in this house.

Five nights out of seven, Abe eats the dinner I prepare for him. Often times it’s turkey roll-ups or sweet potato mash with cheese and a side of something fun like these new Plentils (lentil chips) David found the other day or some olives. Delicious, right? Then there are days like today. I made a delicious ham, mayo, and avocado roll-up for Abe, complete with multi-colored toothpicks. A side of Plentils and a yogurt stick (frozen, of course) made for, as far as I could see, a freaking delicious meal. Abe ate all the yogurt stick, all the Plentils, and refused the glorious roll-ups I slaved over. Fine, I thought. Don’t eat that part. Whatever.

But then. Then Abe was still hungry.

And he wanted cookies.

I don’t know about other moms, but I’m stubborn. If my kid doesn’t eat a little from every category at dinner, there are no cookies. Some might say a two-year-old can’t comprehend that idea. Maybe not, but I’m still not giving him a damn cookie for eating part of his dinner. I began heating up my own dinner because Wednesday is leftover night and…he requested an apple. An apple? Sure. You can have an apple. I handed him an apple and he proudly carried it around taking mini Abe bites and announcing, “Mmmm!”

Meanwhile, Charlie began whining at me for his dinner.

Abe brought the quarter-eaten apple back. “Here’go, mom.” Back to the fridge for something else…this time he wanted a jar of hot banana peppers. Thinking better on my first instinct, I told him he couldn’t eat that. I continued preparing my food while The Tantrum 2012 ensued on the kitchen floor.

More whining from Charlie.

Next? Uncooked collards and a plastic bag of field peas, requested the prince. I retrieved the bag of field peas only after he picked them up and gnawed a hole in the bag. After I showed him what the uncooked collard looked like, he changed his mind.

And, more Charlie whining. Now with extra staring.

Abe stayed at it for about 20 minutes, asking to eat different things around the kitchen. If they were actual food, I let him try it. If not, I told him to go eat his dinner. Have I mentioned that I haven’t gotten to eat dinner yet?! As soon as my dinner was heated up, I sat down at the table. Guess what Abe wanted to eat then? GO AHEAD. GUESS. Only trouble was, my dinner had cinnamon in it. Anyone who reads this blog knows he can’t have cinnamon; he gets chicken pox and nearly everyone dies when he eats it.  Imagine the joyful expression on his face when I told him he couldn’t have a bite of my dinner.

Oh, and more Charlie whining.

It was at about this point that I lost my mind, ran screaming into the bedroom, shut the door, and lept through the ceiling into the attic where I found some of my grandmothers old hats and videos and decided to just stay there forever. Even though I could still hear Charlie whining.

Ok none of that happened.

My husband stepped in and asked what Abe could eat. “Food!” I replied. “His dinner or anything else that is FOOD.”
“It sounds like you need to eat some food,” my husband replied.
“YES. VERY MUCH. I NEED FOOD,” I replied…softly.

My very smart husband turned on an episode of Curious George and Abe left me alone for a whole 15 minutes so I could eat.

And I sent Charlie away to live in a tree to find out how REAL dogs feel at dinnertime.

 

Farm Bag

After being gone for almost a week, my CSA farm bag sat neglected. My mother keeps Abe by herself while my husband and I are away on work and, as you might imagine, the first and only thing she wants to do at 7:30 every night is pop a bottle of Chardonnay and possibly, possibly a box of macaroni and cheese; never steam an acorn squash. Fresh potatoes, pumpkin, field peas, and cabbage eagerly welcomed me home, asking me to please, “Cook them up good.” Considering I ate my way through Monday, Friday, and the days in between, I decided this week would be a good week to go vegetarian, so I obliged the veggies.

This picture's a twofer- soup and the roasted seeds.

Tonight I made pumpkin soup. This is super, stupid easy. I sauteed onions and a 1-pound pumpkin (peeled and cut into cubes) in a big pan, then added some water to the bottom of the pan, covered, and let hang out until the pumpkin was smooshy. I dumped the whole thing (minus the pan) into my Vitamix (oh stop it, a blender will work fine) with 2 cups of chicken stock, a tablespoon of tomato paste, and a handful of kale. While it mixed, I tossed in one, fresh sage leaf.

So ridic delish.

I warmed it up on the stove when I was ready to serve and topped it with some yogurt (you can use sour cream if you like that better, I prefer some tang) and the roasted seeds from the pumpkin. So, so good.

THEN! I was all, “I can’t just serve soup. I’ll keep cooking…” I tossed some chopped onion, olive oil, and half a cabbage (thinly sliced) into the same pan I used for the pumpkin. I didn’t even clean it first. Julia Child is rolling over and Rachel Ray is doing the neck thing and chanting, “You go girl!” I let those 3 ingredients hang out for about 5 minutes. Then I added a cup of chicken stock and 12oz of field peas. I covered the pan and let those guys party.

Party in my pan (and you're invited).

 

About 15 minutes later, I added some fresh thyme, salt, and pepper. The field peas have such a wonderful flavor that I didn’t want to add anything else, but I could see adding rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame seeds to really pump the yum-factor.

I love meat. And I can’t ever go vegetarian forever again. But this week I can do it and I’m-ma make it look good. 🙂 Stay tuned.

I even used the pumpkin soup bowls without washing first...

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