Doing Valentine’s Mexican Style in a Canadian sorta way….

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Oh Man! Bonnie Tyler may have sung, “I need a hero,” but I need a breather! I am actually listening to her as I type and it is pretty intense. A whopping 19 million others have clicked onto this video. I can’t even begin to imagine who they are, but I am sure they are all pretty cool. Happy Valentine’s! I don’t need a superman to sweep me off my feet, but I do need someone to rub them…Sean? He is actually out right now with a dear old friend he has not seen in probably 3 years, but my feet will await, slippers off with great anticipation. Today was a radically fun and dazey day. Sweet friends Ashley and Shaun would understand. We had a quite an evening last night, one in which records were played and talks of God, life, marriage, and pasts. We were all stunned and half asleep when we peered at the time and it whispered 2 AM. Wow. So, needless to say, I don’t have a clue what I packed in 1’s lunch this morning. I don’t know how I even got dressed, but life as a mom is not about standing around and asking questions, it is about getting the things that need to get done, done. I know she went to school with a lunch, what it had in it, I do not recall. Boys 2 and 3 had their haircuts late this afternoon, and as we left the salon, Sean asked what was for dinner. As I glanced at the clock in our car shouting 5 pm, I determined and willed for a spicy warm Mexican Valentine’s Dinner. Mmmmmm. I have been craving this for a week. Unfortunately my organic avocados couldn’t hang in there, so we did without them, but the meal was scrumptious none the less. We had 3 Cheese Nachos, Black Bean and Red Quinoa Salad, and cheesy refried beans!

Three Cheese Nachos

Ingredients:
Favorite Taco Chips
1 or 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and seasoned (we used Trader Joe’s Taco Seasoning)
1 Red Pepper, cut in rings
1/2 Red onion, cut in rings
1/4 cup Cilantro, roughly chopped
1 cup Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
1 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
Salsa, optinal, on the side
Sour Cream, optional, on the side
Guacamole, optional, on the side

How To Play:
Turn oven on to Broil. Spread the taco chips evenly in a large 9 X 12 baking dish. Layer with shredded cooked chicken, peppers, onions, and cheeses. Top with chopped Cilantro. Place in hot oven for 5-10 minutes, checking often to make sure the taco chips don’t burn, but cheese is melted, perhaps even bubbling. I do realize that this may be a lot of cheese, we, or perhaps it is more so me, loves cheese, so please tweak the ingredients to your preference!

Serve with refried beans (heated with shredded cheese and salt), salsa, sour cream, guacamole, and Black Bean Red Quinoa Salad.

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Enjoy.

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My Happy Meal

I had no intentions on writing tonight, for it has been an extremely draining day.  I had planned to finish a book I have been reading, but I cannot find it anywhere.  I was reading before 4pm and somewhere between 4 and 6 it has disappeared.  I looked in every place possible, including the pantry and the fridge. Like I said, it has been a draining day.  I rode in an ambulance for the first time in my life this morning.  3 had put something in his mouth and began to gag then scream.  The gagging and choking scared me, so I phoned 911 for help and prayed.  They attendants were amazing and Lizzie, too, for taking 1 and 2 to her house, but it was the 5 hour wait in emergency that aged me by a couple of decades.  So, since my book is missing and my baby is sleeping in the room next to me, I thought I would share a refreshing meal for a drainer day.  I made this in a blur this evening, but the taste nonetheless brought life to my taste-buds.  I am sure everyone, besides McDonald’s has a happy meal they can go to or make, well, this is mine.  I could eat red radish tabbouleh everyday, especially this one.

Red Radish Tabbouleh and Goddess Delight Chicken Thighs


(Tabbouleh, Inspired by the Kind Diet)
Ingredients:
8-10 Chicken Thighs
1 1/2 cups Trader Joe’s Goddess Dressing (or any marinade)
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 cup bulgur wheat
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
2 scallions, white and green parts minced
1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes

How To Play:
Turn oven up to 350 degrees. Place chicken in a casserole dish. Pour dressing over top. Cover and cook for 45-50 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked, uncover and  let the chicken brown a tiny bit more for about 5-10 minutes.. While the chicken is cooking, bring 1 1/2 cups of water and the salt to a boil in a saucepan. Place the bulgur wheat and boiling salted water in a heatproof bowl. Stir once, then cover the bowl with a plate and set aside until the grain has absorbed all the water, about 20-30 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, oil, parsley, scallions, and radishes and mix well. Add more lemon juice and salt to taste.

Enjoy.

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.

What a man, what a man…


Remember that song by envogue?  It popped into my head this evening when I came home from shopping at Trader Joe’s.  Sean made dinner for us and it was scrumptious.  The weather is too cool for my liking, plus add the windchill and the rain, and you have the perfect equation for feet that can’t get warmed.  He made a curry lentil dish that not only filled me up, but heated me up.  So for those blustery West Coast days, cheers to the wind in more ways than one, and try out this snazzy dish taken from Oh She Glows. I also added leftover chicken  that had been marinated in Trader Joe’s salad dressing called Goddess Dressing with my lentils.  I just love my leftovers!  This will make for a good lunch, too.  Now to convince my kids how great lentils are, right?

Curried Lentil Soup

From Oh She Glows

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1.5 cups chopped onion (approx 1 medium onion)
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped (optional)
  • 1.5-2 tablespoons curry powder 
  • 1 cup uncooked green lentils, rinsed and picked over(we used red lentils)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Sea salt & black pepper, to taste 
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges

 How To Play:

1. Heat olive oil in heavy large skillet or pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion, optional celery, and carrot and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes or so.

2. Add finely chopped garlic and stir until vegetables are soft but not brown, about 5 minutes longer. Reduce heat if necessary to avoid burning.

3. Add curry powder.  Add the rinsed uncooked lentils and 4 cups water. Season with a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper, add in lemon juice, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.

4. When lentils are tender, poured about half of the soup into the blender and blend the soup for a minute.  This will create a very thick texture. After blending, stir the soup back into the skillet/pot and you will have a very thick soup with some chunky pieces left from the soup you did not process.

5. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional curry powder, if desired. Sprinkle with thinly sliced green onions and serve with lemon wedges.

Makes about 4-5 cups.

Enjoy.

Mexican Wednesdays

Life is busy.  I get it.  For us, the busiest day in the week is Wednesday.  It is a whirlwind.  No matter how organized I try to be, I can’t keep up with the time.  With meal planning, budgeting, and trying to be on top of things, Wednesdays means Mexican Food.  I think since September, we have been successful in doing this, however, Sean had a work event last night, so the kids and I ate leftovers and tonight, it is Mexican.  It’s a family favorite.  We like to use seasoned chicken, salsa, sour cream, guacamole,  cut up peppers, and eat it with red quinoa salad, from Oh She Glows.  It is super colorful, super tastey, and super easy for those busy, busy, very busy days…

Chicken Fajitas with Red Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

Ingredients:

2-3 Boneless skinless chicken breasts

Taco Seasoning (Trader Joe’s has an excellent one)

Whole wheat Tortillas (I like Ezekiel, but any brand will do)

1/2 cup of red onion, cut up

1 red, orange, or yellow pepper, cut into strips

sour cream

guacamole

salsa

2-3 cups of cheese, Old Cheddar and Monterey Jack (or your favorites)

Red Quinoa and Black Bean Salad (inspired by Oh She Glows)

How To Play:

Cook chicken breasts until no longer pink and add seasoning.  Once the chicken is cooked, take 2 forks and pull the chicken apart, until it is shredded.  Fajitas are best served buffet style, with all the prepared ingredients in separate bowls at the center of the table within everybody’s reach.  It is fun to build your own tortilla, you may have to help the kids, if kids are involved, but either way, it is still fun.

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad:(inspired by Oh She Glows)

  • 1 cup uncooked Red quinoa
  • 1 (14oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh Cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 Green Onions, chopped
  • 1 small avocado, chopped into 1 inch pieces

For the dressing:

  • 4-5 tbsp of fresh lime juice (Juice from 2 small limes)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh Cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin, or more to taste

How To Play:

1. Cook 1 cup Red Quinoa according to package directions.

2. While quinoa is cooking, prepare the chopped vegetables and whisk together the dressing.

3. Allow quinoa to cool after cooking for about 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Add the beans and vegetables and toss well.

4. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss well with salt and pepper to taste. Bring salad to room temperature before serving.

I also like to eat the salad on its own with the seasoned chicken. It is quite filling.

Enjoy.

Chicken Teriyaki and Steamed Baby Bok Choy with Gomashio

Last night I was a party mama, however at the end of the evening I looked like a partied out grandma.  My two girlfriends and I ventured out to the city to visit my sister.  She had been living in my basement for the last 10 months with her cat in the Valley, but the commute to work was killing her.  We thought it would be fun to go see her new place in Kits and go out for dinner.  I really wanted to go to spin class, so we decided to leave later in the evening.  We didn’t arrive until after 8pm and after a small time of chit chat, we agreed to go to the Eatery for dinner.  So, if you have never been, it has amazing sushi and the fanciest rolls.  The decor kind of frightened me, especially the sticky table and the crushed pack of cigarrettes I had to flick off my chair, but other than the intensely loud music and the scarey paper mache unicorn hanging from the ceiling, the food was absolutely awesome.  By the end of the night we all said our good byes with ringing in our ears and our make-up all smudged from our ever shrinking eyes, and laughed at the fact that we obviously aren’t capable of staying up past 10pm.  I didn’t get home until after 1am.  I fed 3 and then fell into a deep sleep only to be awoken by 2 needing to go pee at 5:30am.  This day has been tiring.  A good day, but I feel like I pulled an all nighter.  A quick dinner though to breeze through with bagged eyes though is this.  Chicken Teriyaki and Bok Choy sprinkled with Gomashio.  I’m not a huge rice fan, unless it is in sushi, but you can have rice on the side if you like.  A yummy rice is Trader Joe’s Rice Medley.

Teriyaki Chicken and Bok Choy sprinkled with Gomashio

2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breast

3 cups Baby Bok Choy

2 tsp Gomashio

 

For the Teriyaki Marinade:

 

1 tbsp fresh chopped ginger root

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup of soy sauce

3 tbsp of brown sugar

1.5 tbsp of sherry

1/4 cup of grapeseed oil (or preferred oil)

 

For Gomashio (Inspired by The Kind Diet):

1 Tsp of  fine Sea Salt

6 Tbsp of Sesame seeds

How To Play:

Mix all marinade ingredients in a small bowl, stir well, pour over 2-3 uncooked boneless, skinless, chicken breast.  Cover and refrigerate.  Marinate chicken for at least 2 hours or if you are incredibly organized, have it already marinated from the night before and ready to go…  Once you are ready to begin cooking, pour the marinaded chicken with all the juices in a medium skillet and cook until the chicken is no longer pink (I typically cut up the chicken at this time in the skillet, because I don’t like touching raw chicken).  At the same time, begin cooking the rice according to its package.  Once the chicken is done,  cover it with a lid and keep on a low temperature.  Steam the bok choy to your preferred like.   I prefer crisp bok choy, not overcooked, so I steam it without a lid for about 6 minutes and test it with  fork.

Sprinkle with Gomashio.

To Make Gomashio:

Heat the tsp of sea salt in a small dry skillet over medium heat.  Stir until the salt becomes really dry and slightly brown.  Pour the roasted salt into a mortar and pestle and grind to a fine powder.  Rinse 6 tbsp of sesame seeds in a fine mesh strainer. Place the seeds in the same dry skillet, and toast over medium heat until the seeds have a nutty aroma, puff up a little, and crush easily between your fingers.  Add sesame seeds to the portar and  and grind until the seeds are 80% crushed.  Transfer the gomashio to a glass jar with a tight lid, and store at room temperature for no longer than 2 weeks.

Enjoy.