Posts with category - Eating Well

Good and Clean BBQ Chicken Picnic for the Masses

My niece and nephew have been in town for a month and their mother, my sister, came to join them for the past week. As always, the time sped by way too quickly – especially now that we both have kids to race around after there is hardly any time to actually talk between cleaning mud off of dirty boys (they found and emptied my mud buckets…) and protecting kids from barking dogs (not my kid, if he weren’t used to it by now…) and … and …. Ah well.

So yesterday my sister and her kids came over for lunch…what was I going to make? You see, to be blunt, they like sweet and salty processed foods – like much of the rest of North America – and Jack and I don’t eat that way. Hot dogs and cakes would be super easy to make unwrap and warm up but that just doesn’t float my boat so I decided bbq chicken was the way to go.

[insert fancy dancy beautifully lit photo of shiny chicken with crispy skin here]

I marinated the pieces of chicken in a mixture of….

…approximately 1/3 cup olive oil
…somewhere around 1/4 cup maple syrup, though I’m thinking it may have been a bit less
…a tablespoon or 2 of apple cider vinegar
…probably about the same amount of coconut aminos
…the rest of my paprika, was probably close to a tablespoon
…about a tablespoon of Korean ground chilli – adds colour and flavour but not too spicy for the little mouths
…turmeric, maybe about a teaspoon
…garlic powder, I was generous
…oregano, maybe 2 teaspoons
…a few shots, maybe closer to 6, of Franks Red Hot Sauce.

I think that was it. I made sure the chicken pieces were soaked and coated and then let it sit, covered in the fridge, for 4 hours.

The plan was to barbecue them but something happened and my darn barbecue just wouldn’t start (no clicky, clicky noise at all when we pushed the starter) so we oven roasted them for about 45 minutes.

Mmmmm. Mmmmm. I made tons, thinking we’d have loads of leftovers, and we have 3 small pieces left. The olive oil crisped up the skin, the spices gave it some gorgeous colour, and the maple syrup made it nice and sweet for my sister’s family’s tastes and made me feel better about having sweet food for mine.

The snacks we had were chips – made in olive oil with a bit of sea salt, and crudités with a quickly improvised dip made of …

…the rest of a container of greek yogourt (goat)
…the squirts from 1/2 a lemon
…oregano, teaspoonish
…ground pepper
…salt

For dessert there were mango ice thingies on a stick, made only of mango.

So we had a yummy picnic treat with food I felt good about serving.

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Eat well and love each other.

This is what underlies how I strive to raise Jack. That we should eat well and love each other.

Why those two things in particular? Because I believe that without those two things we are at a disadvantage but with them we are fortified to face anything, including changing the world we live in. It’s hard to make change with an empty stomach and an empty heart.

It goes beyond our little family of two. Not only should we eat well and love each other but it’s something we should share with others.

For example, eating well. Oh boy, that’s a charged statement. Eating well leads to being well and it is much more than filling our stomachs. Jack is lucky, lucky, lucky. He lives in an area with easy access to fresh, local food. And he lives with a mother who can afford to refuse to feed him fast food. Though sometimes I fantasize about just throwing some sliced cheese between two slices of bread or making mac and cheese or driving up to a drive-thru window because it would be so easy. Especially on those evenings where I forgot to defrost some meat or I know that I need to pick up some food before I can even think of what to make. But then I throw open the fridge door and I find what to make – even if it is just a fried egg with some fruit on the side. I don’t give in to the ease of processed food because of my next point.

Eating well has so much to do with loving each other. We eat together at the kitchen table twice a day every day. When I am not working, it is 3 times a day. I make all of our food. Except for the yogourt (we eat goat yogourt) and the prosciutto or bacon. Even then, I am careful to choose meat that has a minimum of ingredients. The prosciutto has 3 – pork, salt, pepper. The bacon is brined and then smoked. People (mainly my mother and sister) make fun of me for being so picky about what I choose to feed Jack and myself but I believe it is the right thing to do. Jack loves the food I give him. He stuffs himself with it. He laughs and asks for cinnamon to add flavour to his yogourt. By the time I get my plate ready and sit down for dinner he looks at me with his greasy little hands and cheeks and yodels, “Encore meat!” “Encore sweet potato!” “Encore papaya!” We have a good time when we eat and I love that I know what is going in that little body of his when we eat together.

I know that my mother gives him toast when he is there at breakfast time and his other grandmother gives him ice cream cones and it creeps me out but what can I do? The only thing I can do is let it go and remind myself that if he is at their houses then they are taking care of him and giving me some help.

Back to the loving each other part. Food plays a big role because it is something we share, it is something I make for him to make sure he is healthy, and mealtimes are where we sit together and talk face to face. We do that at other times, too, but I know that as he gets older his days will be busier and I want to start with a solid base of meal times = good food and face to face time. Plus, it gives me a chance to sit and smile at this beautiful boy of mine :)

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Passover with Jack

It’s Pesach, the first Seder was last night so yesterday morning was spent making desserts to bring to my parents ‘ house while singing Ma Nishtanh and Daiyanu with Jack…along with help from various singers on YouTube. He definitely prefers Ma Nishtanah. Funny, thought Daiyanu would be more fun.

First off, can I mention how easy it is to bake for Passover when one doesn’t eat grains to begin with? :)

I made moist and decadent spicy chocolate cookies.

Blend these in one bowl:
1/2 cup of cocoa
5 oz ground almonds (a little over 1/2 cup)
Almost a Tbsp of cinnamon
About 1/8 of a tsp of ground chilli peppers

Blend these in another bowl:
1/2 cup of honey
1/3 cup egg white (about 2 large eggs worth)
1/2 tsp vanilla
2.5 Tbsp butter

Mix the two together

I used a teaspoon to make small dollops on a cookie sheet (filled almost 2 cookie sheets)

I baked for 8 minutes at 325 degrees.

Rich, chocolatey, with a hint of spicy.

Jack LOVED the Seder. What could be better than to play with books, point at things, and eat for hours on end while surrounded by the people you love?

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These awesome cookies keep getting better

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I discovered this cookie recipe a while back in my search for a yummy (read – not dry and/or falling apart and/or tasteless and/or too banana-y) cookie that did not call for grains or sugar. Part of my quest also mandated a recipe that could be thrown together quickly – no futzing around with egg whites or whatnot.

The original recipe can be found at CrossFit Rebellion in a post called Paleo Cookies by Alima.

As I wrote, I found this recipe a while ago and I have been playing with it ever since – subbing maple syrup, adding nuts, coconut flakes, raisins…each time, the cookies come out pretty tasty but…

…Yesterday’s batch was the bomb!

It’s Alima’s basic recipe but with about 3 Tablespoons of honey instead of 4 and an addition of 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, and 2 delectably delicious chocolate chips atop each cookie.

The best is how easy these are to throw together, practically no mess, too.

Simple is good :)

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22 month eating machine

So I made a whackload of a kale, onion, garlic, sweet red pepper, ham, apple, raisin sautéed in olive oil with some balsamic vinegar and dijon mustard salt and pepper concoction with the hopes we’d have leftovers for another meal…

Yeah. Right. Here’s what’s left.

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I honestly thought he’d pretty much eat around the kale. But he devoured every bit of at least 3 servings! Kale, onions, & all.

Here’s the 22 month old eating monster full of energy after his meal. Can’t get him to stand still!

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Pumpkin & Rosemary Flatbread

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As you can see, it passed the Jack taste test with flying colours. I made the recipe up as I went along…

  • 1 egg (that’s all we had)
  • 3 TBSP chestnut flour (started with 2, added another)
  • 1/2 TBSP honey (about)
  • 2 TBSP pumpkin puree (roughly … and that’s only pumpkin, I made it the other day)
  • A few splashes of olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt (maybe…ish)
  • some ground black pepper
  • fresh rosemary, chopped…to taste

Mix it all up. I used a spoon. Pour the mix into whatever you want to bake it in and smooth it out. I put it in a 350 oven at first then raised it to 400 after 10 or 15 minutes. I’d say it was in the oven for about 20, 25 mins all told. It’s quite yummy. I’m thinking baked longer at a low temp would give great crackers…

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That’s Jack, stuffing his face with some.

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Happiness is :)

It doesn’t take much to make me happy these days, like life-changing happy. Something as simple as finding local bacon that has a short ingredients list

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Or, even more exciting, finding an online farmers market that I can order it from on a weekly basis if I wanted. And I do want :)

marchegourmet.ca is my latest discovery and it rocks. Last week I ordered a mix of meats and veggies, with the intention of picking the order up in Vaudreuil on the designated pick up day but the night before I received a call asking if I would mind having my order delivered to my house instead. Awesome. Everything was fresh and gorgeous.

This morning I googled (actually I yahooed, google is disappointing me as of late) kale and bacon, two of my marchegourmet purchases, and found a delightfully simple dish here. I modified it a tad by adding some thinly sliced onion about 1/2 way through the bacon cooking and using lemon juice instead of vinegar. Oh, and I stirred in some fresh thyme and tomato as I took the skillet off the burner.

I think Jack agrees it was rather yummy.

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If it’s the small, simple things that are making me happy, maybe those things are actually the big things. Maybe.

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Testing out the spoon

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I decided it was time for Jack to try cutlery and I figured a spoon with sticky food might be the most…successful. I was right! I must admit, I only took pictures of the beginning of breakfast…I’ll leave the rest to your imagination :)

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A white breakfast for Jack

I have not yet met a food that Jack does not shovel into his mouth with reckless abandon. The other day he enjoyed a triumvirate of white goodness

  • Chicken
  • Cauliflower
  • Banana

It wasn’t planned, it just happened that way :)

Jack

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Jack says that liver is yummy

…or at least he would if he said screetched more than

  • ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
  • mommommommom
  • ah ah ah ah
  • nanananana
  • bababababababa
  • aheh aheh

The other night I put some thinly sliced onions to fry in coconut oil and while that was happening I threw

  • coconut flour
  • paprika
  • garlic salt
  • ginger
  • cumin
  • black pepper

in a baggie, followed by some beef liver. Shook it all up, added it to the pan and a few minutes later we were eating the most delicious liver and onions, if I do say so myself.

It was so good I ate some cold leftovers the next morning :)

And Jack loved it!

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