Mustard Chicken Dish


I remember the early days of our marriage.  I really wanted to be the one to make the meals and to slave all day in the kitchen, like a Mrs. Cleaver type persona.  I had it pretty easy when before marriage.  I lived at home and was a full time university student.  My parents like to order in a lot, so I kind of did too.  There were times I was ordering in sushi 3 times a week.  Well, that lifestyle changed dramatically when I got married. My quest for food developed later when finances were becoming a burden as well as a reality.  I think Sean and I went from eating out 3 times a week to eating out once a month, if that.  A dish that my mom and I kind of made up together one day, while I still lived at home, is this mustard chicken dish.  When I made it for Sean, shortly after our marriage, it became a favorite of his. It is simple to make and tasty to eat.

Mustard Chicken Dish

Ingredients:
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil
salt and pepper, to season
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon French’s mustard
1 dash of hot sauce
2/3 cup parmesan cheese
1/3 cup shredded cheese
1 teaspoon paprika

How To Play:
Heat minced garlic in a large skillet with oil. Add chicken breast with salt and pepper sprinkled on it, cook until no longer pink. Feel free to add a bit of water, if it begins to burn, or the skillet seems quite dry. Add sour cream and mustard. Stir in the skillet until well combined and the chicken is well coated. Add hot sauce and cheeses. Stir until all combined, sprinkle in paprika. Serve with broccoli or asparagus and jewel rice (rice medley).

Enjoy.

Time keeps on ticking…

I have had no time whatsoever to make granola. This morning, because I am all out, I added chopped dried cranberries, a hand full of toasted pumpkin seeds, and a few chopped roasted and salted pecans to my flax flakes. It did the trick for now, but later today I will have the granola made. Last night we went to a cool little cajun restaurant in the city. We picked up sister Jojo and then Michelle. Michelle and I have been friends for over 15 years, which is crazy, because I sometimes feel as though I am still15, again, just sometimes, not always! 1 asked me the other day when she will be 21 and I told her in 16 years. Oh 21, it put a smile on my face, not because it was such a good year, in fact, I was miserably depressed then, but 21 seems so young…then I did the math of how old I will be in 16 years and I was hit with panic. I am getting old. Flashbacks to the dermatologist entered my mind, the cares of twenties, the worries of thirties, now forties? Perhaps mature seems a more fitted word, but it seems with every year comes new responsibilities. Maybe this is my issue. I sometimes feel so overly responsible as it is, to have more responsibilities placed on me, can I handle it? Well, I am not going to let it consume me. I am going to stay focused on the year I am now instead of the year I am not.
Here are a couple of shots from last night. Michelle had a hot Caribbean Chicken dish, I had jambalaya, Sean had a beef dish, and Jojo had ribs.




Chicken Taco Salads


I was excited to make turkey taco salads for dinner on Wednesday.  I had gone to the butcher shop, purchased frozen ground turkey, placed it in my sink to defrost, while 2 ripped through our weekly order of organic fruits and vegetables.   A couple of hours later, Sean called to see if I could pick him up from work.  As I hung up the phone with him , I checked on the defrosting turkey, only to be surprised to see I didn’t buy ground turkey after all.  It was ground lamb. Meh.  I’m not a major fan of lamb. Fortunately, I had a couple of frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts in the freezer.  “Waste not want not”, as Papa would say.  I ended up taking the ground lamb with me to Sean’s work and the men were able to use it for their chilli.

Chicken Taco Salads


Ingredients:
10-12 Taco Shells
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Taco Seasoning of choice
1/2 red pepper, chopped finely
3 green onions, chopped finely
Taco Salsa
2 cups grated cheese, Monterey, Cheddar, or both
Chopped Cilantro
can of black beans
guacamole
sour cream

How To Play:
Cook chicken in a skillet with approximately 1/4 cup of water. Once the chicken is no longer pink, take 2 forks and pull the chicken apart to make a shredded effect, add taco seasoning and sauté until well combined. Keep heated. Chop the red pepper and green onions, place in separate bowls. Grate the cheeses. In a large dish, or two smaller dishes, arrange taco shells. Place chicken evenly in each taco shell, top with pepper, onions, salsa (about a tablespoon for each), chopped cilantro, and finally the cheeses. Bake until the cheese is melted at 350 degrees, or broil them for 5-10 minutes, however, they could burn if not monitored. Serve with heated black beans, guacamole, and sour cream.

Enjoy.

Roast Beef Dinner

This is an easy dinner for those busy days of cleaning, sorting, playing, working and whatever it may be.  It is also a dinner suitalbe for red meat lovers. I don’t really fit in this category, because I like poultry and seafood, however, I cater to a family of carnivores. This is how I do it. I take 3-4 carrots from the fridge then look in my copper pot to see what goods I have in there…sweet potatoes, onions, yams, and potatoes. Grab them. Peel them. Chop them. Toss them in olive oil and sea salt. Place the roast in the roasting pan, shower it with olive oil, sea salt ,pepper and minced garlic. I gently place the chopped vegetables around the roast,  add a cup of water, cover, and then put it in the oven at 350 for about 4 hours. I peak in on it every hour, add more water and salt and then voilà it is done!  Happy husband.  Happy children.  Happy mom.

Enjoy.

Apple Crumble

Ever since I was little, I loved it when my mom would make an apple crumble.  I was probably around 7 and remember thinking that it was the ultimate dessert.  I, like many, loved the topping better than the actual apples.  It is funny how now my kids are asking for apple crumble.  I think when 2 was born, I made it almost every week and would eat it with either coconut ice milk or regular ice milk.  Both are tasty, I just wish coconut ice milk wasn’t as pricey as it is. As I make this crumble, I think of the fond memories of summer nights, sitting on my front steps talking with the other neighbors in the complex watering their gardens.  It is definitely a cozy comfort dessert that can be seasonally comforting for all times of the year.  If I lived closer, I would bring this crumble to my sister who is going through a rough time.  Her cat passed away last night.  She needs some comfort.

Apple Crumble

(Inspired by Rebar)
Ingredients:
4 apples (I use Jonagold)
2 handfuls frozen blueberries
2 handfuls frozen blackberries
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp arrowroot flour
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Topping:
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup flour (I use oat flour)
1/4 Tsp Sea salt
1/2 cup nuts or seeds of personal choice (I use whatever I have, walnuts, hazelnuts, and pecans)

How To Play:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel and slice apples and place in a bowl. Stir in the remaining filling ingredients. Pile the fruit mixture into an 11×7.5 oval dish. Prepare crumbly topping by mixing together all the ingredients with your fingertips to get a nice chunky texture. Cover the fruit with the topping and bake for 40 minutes, or until the topping is browned and the fruit is bubbly and hot.

Enjoy.

Monday Meal Plan

Like planning?  I do.  I plan lots of different things.  I think it really all began to take form when I was a landscaper in my early twenties.  We would have dead lines.  We would have to have a variety of tasks to get done by a certain hour, or if not, we would have to work over time in order to have the projects done.  I know many careers are like that, but something happened to me then.  I began to compartmentalize not only  lawn care and garden care, but everything outside of work.  I find I do it a lot at home, too, with the three kids, and cooking and cleaning.  I almost get a rush doing it.  Is it crazy?  Maybe.  I have been meal planning for nearly 3 years now.  I was influenced greatly by a good friend of mine, Lizzie.  She would do this all the time when she and her husband were first married.  So, this week…
Monday– Pot Roast Meatloaf, inspired by the one and only, Jamie Oliver
Tuesday– Roast beef dinner
Wednesday– Turkey Tacos
Thursday– Mustard Chicken with Jewel Rice and Broccolini
Friday– Date night with Sean, my good friend Michelle, and sister Jojo
Saturday-Chicken Teriyaki
Sunday– Leftovers

Pot Roast Meatloaf

(Inspired by Jamie Oliver)

Ingredients:
2 medium onions
olive oil
1 level teaspoon ground cumin
1 heaped teaspoon ground coriander
12 cream crackers
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 heaped teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 pound good quality ground beef
1 large organic egg
2 cloves of garlic
1/2- 1 fresh red chile (I used dried chile flakes. I just sprinkled it in).
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 can of chickpeas
2 14 oz cans of diced tomatoes (I didn’t have tomatoes, so used a jar of marinara sauce)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
12 slices of smoked bacon (I used 5-6)
1 lemon (optional)

How To Play:
Preheat on the oven to 475 degrees. Peel and finely chop one of the onions. Place in a large skillet on medium high with 2 lugs of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the ground cumin and coriander. Fry and stir every 30 seconds for about 7 minutes until soft and golden brown. Put in a large bowl to cool. In a food processor, blend crackers, until fine, add to cooled onions, along with the oregano, mustard, and ground beef. Add egg and salt and pepper. Mix well and shape meat mixture into a large football shape. Rub with a little oil. Place the meatloaf in a Dutch over type pan or baking dish and put in the preheated oven, and turn down the temperature immediately to 400 degrees. Bake for half an hour.
To make the meatloaf sauce: Peel the other onion and chop into 1/4 inch pieces. Peel and slice the garlic. Finely slice the red chile, or sprinkle dried chile. Place the onion, garlic, chile in a large skillet on a medium high temperature with 2 lugs of olive oil, the paprika, and a pinch of slat and pepper. Cook for around 7 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until softened and lightly golden. Add the Worcestershire sauce, chickpeas, tomatoes, and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and let it slowly simmer for 10 minutes. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper if needed.
To Finish off and serve: Pick the rosemary leaves off the woody stalks and put them into a little bowl. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and pour all the fat from the pan over the rosemary leaves and mix up well. Spoon your sauce around the meatloaf. Lay the slices of bacon over the top of the meatloaf and sauce. Scatter over the rosemary leaves. Put the pan back into the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the bacon turns golden and the sauce is bubbling (I cooked it for 20-25 minutes). Serve with a mixed leaf salad and some wedges of lemon for squeezing over. Since I am so into spinach these days, I made another spinach salad and cooked peas and carrots for the kids.

Enjoy.

Family Favorite

Last Saturday my sister came over for dinner.  Early that morning 1 and I went to Trader Joe’s and then to the butcher shop to buy the best farmer’s sausage in the world, because for dinner, I was going to make the family favorite, perogies and farmer’s sausage with a cabbage salad. I ended up eating a simple spinach salad, because my weight loss thing is annoying.  I haven’t weighed myself for awhile, because I ended up gaining a pound, and it has given me anxiety ever since to even think about stepping onto the scales.  I should have just eaten the perogies, they smelled so good!

Perogies and Farmer’s Sausage with Cabbage Salad

Large Coil of Farmer’s Sausage

Favourite Brand of Perogies

Ingredients:
1/2 onion, sliced
sea salt and pepper
1/2 savoy cabbage, shredded
2 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
1/2 tsp white sugar
1/8 cup olive oil
1 tbsp of sour cream (optional)

How To Play:

Cut farmer’s sausage into thin slices, place into a skillet. Heat thoroughly on a medium temperature. Once it is heated, remove from skillet. Put the sausage into a covered dish and put in the oven on a low temperature to keep warm. Add onion to the sausage fat in the used skillet. (I know, this is so unhealthy, but this is my Polish Grandma’s influence). Heat the onions until they are nice and translucent. In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil and add the bag of perogies with a sprinkling of salt. I do everything in guess-timations, but following the cooking instructions on the perogies package would work, too. Once the perogies are floating, remove them from the hot water, and add to the sautéed onions. Add salt and pepper. The perogies will  flavor nicely, due to the onions cooked in the sausage fat. Fry them until they are crispy on the outside and browned. To make the salad, add the vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, and oil in a small bowl, stir well and mix into the shredded cabbage. You may have to add more salt or sugar, depending on your preference. Serve warm, except for the salad, and add a tbsp of sour cream, for those in dire need of comfort food to the max kind of days.

“Interested in a Simple Spinach Salad?” Cried the spinach salad…

Spinach Salad with Goddess Dressing

Ingredients:
2 cups Spinach
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 green onion, chopped
1/8 cup orange, red, or yellow pepper, chopped
2 tbsp hemp hearts
small amount of shredded cheddar cheese (if I had feta, I would have used it, but I actually chopped up a cheese string)
2 tbsp toasted pecans
1 tbsp of Trader Joe’s Goddess dressing, or 1 tbsp of Olive Oil with 1 Tbsp of Balsamic vinegar (depending on my mood, I use either or).

How To Play:
Add the first 7 ingredients together in a bowl. Depending what dressing you are using, add to the salad and mix well with salad tongs.

Enjoy.

Recalibrate with a Date.


Tonight Sean and I had a date night.  I always find date nights a little getting used to.  I found myself getting quite deep in conversation regarding different topics with a great amount of passion, but the moment I became distracted due to placing my order, or saying, “yes” to the waiter, “the food is fine”, I would lose my train of thought and have no idea what I was talking about.  In my head I would see random pictures of the kids in snow suits…was that what I was talking about?  Or different things the kids were doing today, yesterday, or 2 days ago, but no, I was no where near talking about my kids, yet, they constantly consume my mind.  I believe this is normal.  Kids can never be put in the bracket of out of sight out of mind.  It just doesn’t work that way, at least for me.  I know some people who are experts at this phenomenon, they may not have kids, but they can do this with other things such as work, family, or friends. There is a longing in my heart to stay connected with Sean. It is extremely easy to get side tracked and caught up in the moment of life’s battles, distractions, and obstacles, as well as its celebrations, victories, and agendas, however, we as a couple have a commitment not only to each other, but to our children to be the best we can be for one another. I believe that date nights help with recharging, refocusing, as well as recalibrating. Marriage is a commitment. Friendship is a commitment. Parenting is a commitment. Life is full of commitments, unfortunately we can lose sight of the commitment, and become aloof, uninterested and disengaged. Date night. Fight for it!

No woman no Chai


Due to a lack of sleep because of night interruptions with a teething baby who also can not breathe through his stuffy nose, I feel like I am letting things go. I didn’t bother with make-up today, after I realized my hair hadn’t been washed for more than 2 days and both older kids should have their noses wiped and faces washed, but heh, I don’t care, I have no energy. Though I vacuumed yesterday morning at 6:45am like a mad woman, and had the whole house cleaned before 8am, I feel as though I am slipping. It also doesn’t help that I bought a different Chai tea that doesn’t taste anything like Chai tea, so I don’t even have my normal tea fix to reward myself with. Is this the real issue? Is this perhaps the reason why I feel blah? 3 won’t stop crying and 2 can’t ever be full. What the heck? All I want is nice cup of chai, a sleeping baby, and bag-less eyes. The countdown is on. In two more hours I will be running. I don’t need to escape my life, I embrace it, I just need to get out from the trying and the crying. I need a 25 minute recharge. Tonight’s dinner? Well, being that it is Wednesday, we are going to have chicken fajitas with black beans. We have our home group this evening, in which I have prepared the cookies, already. They actually taste super good when frozen. I love frozen treats. I just grab one out from the freezer and mmm, so yum. They are the vegan ones from “One too many” entry. There is nothing like frozen chocolate chips.

Not So Basic Fajitas with Black Beans on the Side

Ingredients:
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Tortillas
Taco Seasoning
1/2 cup red onion, sliced
1 red, orange, or yellow pepper, sliced lengthwise
grapeseed oil
sea salt and pepper
1-2 cups shredded Monterey jack, cheddar or both
guacamole
salsa
sour cream
1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil or coconut oil
1 can of black beans
2 tbsp cilantro

How To Play:
Cook the chicken until no longer pink in a large skillet. Add taco seasoning. While the chicken is cooking, begin heating a medium skillet with about 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil. Once the oil is heated, add onions and red pepper and about a teaspoon of sea salt. Let the peppers and onions cook until translucent and tender, add fresh ground pepper. Heat a tablespoon of coconut oil in a saucepan, add the black beans and heat thoroughly. Add cilantro, salt to taste and about 1/8 cup of cheese. Stir until well combined. Prepare tortilla by adding a fair amount of chicken, peppers, onions, guacamole, sour cream, cheeses and salsa. Wrap and serve with black beans on the side.


Enjoy.

Grump Day


Being that yesterday was Mexican Wednesday, we had Taco Salads. Some call Wednesdays, the hump day, however, for me it was the grump day.  I was so grumpy and it didn’t help that Sean had to work later than normal and we had a freak snow fall that I had to drive in to take 1 to dance.  Even though I took my drivers test in a blizzard, when I was 16, I didn’t care then.  I care now. I don’t like snow!  I had my heart on going for a run, to keep up on this weight loss journey, but I have to be flexible, because life happens and things can get in the way.  For our Connections group last night, I made an old university favorite of mine.  I remember when Ren liked Tim.  I remember when Tim liked Ren.  When all this liking would be going on, I would be in Ren’s parents’ kitchen stuffing my face with the most awesome appetizer in the world, hoping no one would notice the ever decreasing feta cheese spread.  To this day, I make this appetizer often. I am forever grateful to Tim for sharing it with me.  I prepare it with the fondest memories of my university life friends pouring over in my mind of the countless wine and cheese fondues, over eating of fine decadent foods, and deep conversations of not only life’s mysteries, but of God’s too.

Beef Taco Salads

The great thing about Taco salads, is that they can be made in a whole variety of different ways and always taste great.  Most times I use chicken, but in this case, I used ground beef.  When I have jalapenos, believe me, my salad is covered in them, but unfortunately, I had none in my cupboard.

Ingredients:

1 pound of ground sirloin beef

3 cups Arugula

1/4 cup Red onion, chopped

1/2 cup red, orange, or yellow pepper, chopped

taco seasoning of choice, I like Trader Joe’s, (sometimes I make my own by adding 2tsp chili powder, 1/2tsp sea salt, 1tsp ground cumin, and 1/2 tsp onion powder)

1 tbsp butter

1/2 cup organic roasted corn (or organic corn kernels)

sour cream

guacamole

salsa

1-2 cups grated Monterey Jack and Sharp cheddar cheese

Taco chips (I use Food Should Taste Good Tortilla Chips)

How To Play:
In a skillet cook beef until no longer pink.  Add seasoning and a bit of water if it looks too dry. While beef is heating, in a small sauce pan, melt butter and add corn, heat thoroughly.  Prepare salad bowls by adding arugula topped with fresh peppers and onions.  Add cooked seasoned beef.  Pour favorite salsa over the beef.  Sprinkle with corn and cheeses.  On one side of the salad bowl add a spoonful of guacamole and sour cream, while the other side has a wall of taco chips.  You can really make it any way you want, it is just the way I like to present it, all that really matters is that it tastes good.

Feta Cheese and Herb Appetizer

Ingredients:

1 Block of Feta Cheese (just over a cup)

2-3 Garlic cloves, minced

Fresh ground pepper

1/4 tsp dried basil

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp fresh rosemary, minced

2 tbsp Olive oil

How To Play:
Heat oven at 350 degrees. Place feta cheese in tinfoil inside a baking dish.  You can have the minced garlic placed on top or inserted into the feta, either way is fine, then dust feta with ground pepper.  Sprinkle over with basil, oregano, and rosemary, then pour olive oil over top.  Close the tinfoil tightly over the seasoned feta and bake for about 20-25 minutes until really soft.  Serve warm with crackers or prepared baguette.

To Prepare Baguette:
Cut baguette thinly on an angle.  Place onto a baking sheet.  Brush each piece generously with olive  oil and heat in the oven for 5 minutes at 350 degrees.

Enjoy.