Girlfriends– a source of inspiration

I am blessed in my friendships— I have such wonderful friends around the globe.  I’ve been helped out of many a mess; shared in fun times; been proud of their accomplishments (I truly have some super-women friends); and inspired by so many of them.  One area (not surprisingly) in which I have been inspired, is in my cooking and baking.  I love cooking with friends too — my house or theirs, I find it a fun thing to do together with a glass of wine or cocktail in hand and fresh news to share. 

Two of my girlfriends are a constant in inspiration and cooking camaraderie.  One (AK) has 3 kids and one (SO) 2 kids— all that eat well (as in, they like our food).  I love when we can all get together and cook/eat/play.  We always have fun.

Recently for SO I tried out one dish that AK had cooked for my family- stuffed pork roast— which is stuffed with stuffing (as in traditional Thanksgiving-style sausage stuffing).  I think my girlfriend made it better than I did, but it was still quite good.  I was too afraid of getting the stuffing mushy that I erred on the side of too little stock to moisten the stuffing so it was too dry. The pork itself was great. 

I also introduced SO and her girls to kale chips which my boys and I love. I made some with sesame oil, canola oil and salt and some with olive oil, salt and pepper.  The boys were cheerfully exclaiming, “kale chips!” when they saw them.

Simple Sausage Sage Stuffing
4 links, casings removed, Italian sweet sausage
1-2 stalks celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
4 cups croutons
Handful fresh sage, chopped
Approx 1 cup chicken or veg stock
salt & pepper

In a large stock pot sauté the sausage until cooked.  Set aside. Then sauté the onion and celery in olive oil (or sausage fat) until onions are translucent.  Add sausage back in with croutons, sage, ½ tsp salt and pepper. Mix well and slowly add stock until stuffing sticks together nicely but isn’t too mushy.  Add more salt if necessary.  Let cool then stuff your meat/bird. (Tie if necessary to keep in the stuffing.)

I’d never stuffed anything with this type of stuffing besides a turkey or chicken.  Now, I figure I’ve tried something new thanks to my friend.  And this is only one of many dishes/desserts these two are introducing me to…and inspiring me to do it too.

Portuguese Pork Stew with Spinach

Portugal has been known for its wonderful cuisine and great wines for centuries. I imagine Portugal’s proximity to the spice regions as well as its history (who the Portuguese conquered and who conquered them), vast exploration and trade explain many influences on its food, especially the spices used.  This dish has very distinctive  Moroccan influences.  If we make it with clams (yes, clams) and chouriço or linguiçasausage it is uniquely Portuguese.  This time, I’ve added Spinach to make it a more balanced meal for the kids. 

Portuguese Pork Stew with Spinach

1 pound Pork shoulder or butt

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 red pepper (usually roasted but I felt like adding raw), chopped

1 tsp sweet paprika

1 tsp smoked paprika

6-8 threads of saffron

2 bay leaves

¼ cup white wine

1 ½ cups chicken broth

1 lg can tomatoes, chopped

handful parsley, chopped

handful cilantro, chopped

1 pack baby spinach, rinsed

salt and pepper to taste

You could also add potatoes and chickpeas to this dish. 

Take the saffron threads and crush them in your fingers into a small amount of hot water, set aside.  Over medium high heat brown the pork in olive oil and set aside.  Sauté the onion for 2 minutes,  add garlic and continue until onions are clear making sure you don’t brown the garlic.  Add the paprika and stir for a minute before adding the pork and red pepper.  Add saffron, wine, broth, bay leaves, and tomatoes. Bring to simmer, cover and reduce heat to low.  Cook for 25 minutes and stir in herbs.  Add spinach and continue to cook until wilted.  Served over brown rice.  It can be made in a slow cooker to cook for 6-8 hours if you prefer.  


My youngest son was in a bad mood when he got to the table and initially refused to eat saying he wasn’t going to eat it because it was “yucky” but once he had cuddle from mommy and a taste he happily ate it.  My middle son didn’t even make a fuss (he’s normally the one who complains when he sees dinner).  My eldest was eager to try it and deemed it “delicious” when asked his opinion of the dinner.


Out the door with dinner on the table

On Monday evening I brought my eldest to a swimming lesson that started at 6 pm but we had to leave the house by 5:30.  My husband was getting home just in time for me to leave the other two behind and give him quick kisses hello and goodbye.  I figured it was best to have dinner ready for everyone but my eldest and I would eat upon our return around 7:30.  I’d defrosted a haddock the day before so I needed to cook that.

Twenty-five minutes later I was out the door with dinner on the table for my two youngest and my husband: baked haddock with tomatoes, red onion, cilantro and lime (almost like a baked version of ceviche); basmati rice; baby spinach; broccolini and an avocado salsa. 

Baked Haddock with Tomatoes, Red Onion and Cilantro

                        This can be done with other flaky white fish as well.

1¼ pounds haddock

¼ red onion, chopped

2 plum tomatoes, chopped

handful fresh cilantro, chopped

juice from ½ lime

½ cup white wine

1 Tbsp olive oil

Sea salt and pepper to taste

(optional chopped Serrano pepper)

Coat oven proof pan with olive oil and place fish on top.  Cover with the wine, lime juice and other ingredients.  Bake for 10-15 minutes at 350F (depending on thickness of fish) until it flakes.  Serve over rice. 

 Avocado Salsa

2 ripe avocados, chopped

juice from 1 lime

handful of chopped cilantro

1 plum tomato, chopped

¼ red onion, chopped

¼-½ Serrano pepper or habanero pepper finely minced

tsp olive oil

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Gently mix ingredients in a bowl and chill for at least 10 minutes before serving.

I noticed when we got back that the two boys had done a great job on their dinner with one having left only a one inch piece of fish. Although I would have preferred to eat it fresh out of the oven, it was delicious.  Definitely something I’d serve again. My eldest son and I enjoyed ours together.  He dove into the rice first and then tackled the rest of it. Each and every boy ate all their veggies and my eldest gobbled up the salsa— I had to reluctantly give up some of mine! 

Time for cooking? Yes, if you have a slow cooker.

Honestly and truly I thought I would have had more time on my hands when the kids went back to school, but I can’t seem to keep up some days!  I don’t know what I was thinking! After getting three kids fed breakfast, helping them get dressed and two eldest on the school bus then the youngest three days a week to preschool, I run around doing errands, checking in on client portfolios and requests, and hope to get some housework done especially the never ending laundry, pick up one from preschool, help two with homework and drive to/fro after school activities… but what about dinner!?!  On the weekends there’s cub scouts, soccer, church, and a husband who’s worked every Sunday for the past month— he already works on Saturdays (just has one day off a week).  Oh, I also need to finish hours at the farm for my work-share and am volunteering for a PTA event and local library art show.  And the classroom volunteering hasn’t begun yet.  I am just a bit stressed at times and have had no time for writing. I need to say no every so often, but I honestly like to help out. 

I think I will be freer once PTA event and art show are over.  Then we’ll be into the holidays.  I did make a big change with our schedules and took my middle son out of a great magnet school in another town.  It was too much.  He was out of the house at 7:30 am but didn’t start school until 8:55 and then got home at 4:20.  He’s only 6.  And I had to drive him to a bus stop even though the bus went past our house.  We are already a part of the local school community which the other two are in.  My son also asked daily to return to his old school.  I will regret having him miss the wonderful opportunity of immersion Spanish, great international teaching and diverse atmosphere.  But it was best to take him out.  Our local school is great too. 

So, I am now taking this time to write before I run off to the farm and then hopefully get some housework done.   We haven’t exactly had slow cooker-weather, but I have used mine because it has been a huge help to retain my sanity.  I actually have tonight’s dinner started in my slow cooker (crock pot) right now.  The other day I made a killer chicken chili using it and had them eat early and ready for bed before I had to go to Open House at school.  I also put the brown rice in the rice cooker and used the timer so it was ready at 5.

The funny thing is that I just got my crock pot two years ago and barely used it for the first.  Now, I’ve figured it out— I think it takes a while to know what’s possible and how things turn out, to feel confident enough to use it often.


I was originally going to make the chicken gumbo I’ve wanted to make for weeks, but again, I had so many tomatoes, I changed dinner on the spot.  I made this recipe based on a friend’s chicken chili.  She makes a really delicious one with cinnamon in it.  I didn’t use her recipe, but adapted how I normally make beef or turkey chili to include cinnamon. So good and easy to make with the slow cooker. 

Chicken Chili

  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs, boned and skinned
  • 6-8 tomatoes (sm/med), skinned
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 red pepper (sweet), diced
  • 1 med onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1- 1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder (depending on tolerance)
  • tsp cumin
  • tsp cinnamon
  • tsp dried oregano
  • olive oil
  • salt/pepper
  • 3 cans of beans (kidney, black, pinto, etc)
  • 1 okra, sliced (optional— I was going to make gumbo that night)

 Mix 1 Tbsp chili powder with cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper.  Cut chicken into small pieces and coat with spice mixture.  Set in refrigerator while prepping onions, garlic, pepper, okra.  Blanch the tomatoes to remove skin and put in slow cooker.  I use my hands to crush the tomatoes into smaller pieces, you can use a knife.  Sauté onions in olive oil for 2 minutes over med-high heat, then add garlic, pepper and okra.  (I added okra later as an afterthought).  Sauté until lightly cooked but careful not to brown garlic.  Add to slow cooker.  Add about 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp ground pepper.  In same sauté pan, brown chicken with little more olive oil over med-high heat.  Spices need to open over the higher heat of pan.  Once browned all over, add to slow cooker.  Stir in beans and oregano.  Cover and cook on low for at least 3 1/2 hours.  Check seasoning about an hour through (if possible) and add more salt and pepper if needed.  Or adjust before serving.

It rocks!  The kids loved it.  My middle son whose most sensitive to spices added more rice to his dish and drank lots of milk.  It was fabulous for left-overs too!

Curry Love

I guess I’ve been on a curry sort of kick.  I love curries.  In my early twenties I worked for a few months in an Indian restaurant in Wellington, NZ.  Every Friday night, a night off, my friend and I would go out to dinner.  I always wanted to eat curries.  I guess it was being around them the rest of the week, smelling them, seeing them but often not tasting them that intensified my desire.  Living in Wellington, the capital of NZ, allowed me to try curries from all over, not just India.  I’d have Thai, Cambodian, Japanese, Malaysian, Vietnamese curries. Growing up on the East Coast of the US I didn’t even know there were other curries besides Indian or Thai until I lived in Wellington.   I love the spices that are in Asian curries and thanks to the Silk Road also in many North African and Middle Eastern dishes. 

I am passing on this love of curries to my kids.  They might not be eating Vindaloo yet, but if I keep the heat down, they really like it. 

I didn’t use a recipe for this lamb curry I made the other night, I figured out the ratios since I’d been using so many similar spices in other dishes.   My mother came over for dinner and she also loves curries and lamb (she’s a Kiwi by birth), so it was a win-win all round! 

Lamb and Chickpea Curry

  • 1 med onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp garam masala (Punjabi)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (adjust for heat)
  • 1 pound lamb shoulder or other stew cut, boned, trimmed of excess fat, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 3 large tomatoes or skinned
  • 10 small or 4 large potatoes, cubed (I used many tiny just harvested potatoes)
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil

Sauté onions then garlic in olive oil over med-high heat.  Add spices and stir for a couple of minutes.  Make a well in middle and add lamb. (I also threw in the bones that I couldn’t get all the meat off, as it eventually fell off in cooking.) Turn so all sides are browned and cook for an additional 2 minutes.  Add tomatoes and stock, stir couple of times, cover cook for 20 minutes.  Add potatoes, chickpeas, salt and pepper.  Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes until potatoes are soft.  Serve over basmati or jasmine rice.  You could put lentils instead of chickpeas and add a green veggie— spinach would be nice. 


We all loved it.  Even my middle son.  And believe it or not, he didn’t even complain when I put it on the table!  My youngest wanted more meat, so I kept giving him some of mine.

It’s a great dish for ease of clean up since there’s only one pan and maybe another for rice.

Ginger Garlic Roast Pork- Part 2 (Stir Fry)

I think I have some time before I start the laundry (ha! ha! ha!) so that I can write down the rest of the Pork recipe.

Before the pork is taken out of the oven (say 20 minutes before) start cutting/chopping the following veggies:

Stir Fry Veggie Mixture

1 onion sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 peppers of different colors (red, yellow, orange, green, purple)

1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise then into smaller pieces

1 container organic white mushrooms or shiitakes, sliced

2 carrots, julienne

1 bunch or package of baby spinach

(or throw in whatever veggies you have that would go nicely with following)

2 or 3 chunks of the Roast Pork from Part One, cut into bite sized pieces and fat removed.


1 Tbsp fish sauce

2 tsp sesame oil

1 Tbsp tamari soy sauce

1 tsp corn starch mixed with 1/4 cup water until smooth

handful cilantro, chopped

2 cups pork juices or 2 cups of chicken stock

Optional: Kafir lime juice or leaves

            Nam prik pao (Thai chili sauce) to taste

            Coconut milk in sauce or cook rice in one part coconut milk one part water

            Put rice on.  Sauté onions for few minutes then add garlic until done.  Add pork juices (without the fat) and cook for a few minutes.  Slowly add, while stirring, corn starch mix.  Add carrots and cook for another few minutes, then add the rest of the vegetables and pork.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, add cilantro and serve over rice.  Cooking vegetables this way retains their nutrients as they just go in the sauce.   

All three had been tasting the pork when it came out of the oven.  When my husband served it in the sauce with the veggies that’s when my middle son lost it.  He said it was because we added spinach and I reminded him that he likes spinach. He said “Not anymore.”  But it was over so quickly and he ate all of it and really loved it!  He was even taking individual spinach leaves and dropping them in his mouth!  When asked if it was good, my eldest son said, “No, it’s great!”  My youngest didn’t want to speak he was so busy eating!

Part 3

A few days later I used a part of the leftovers (a cup or two) in another stir fry I made with the pork, beet greens, chard, zucchini, carrots (cut “in circles” per my son’s request), carrot greens, broccoli and mushrooms. I made a similar sauce but no corn starch and with Thai basil and parsley.  I was going to use peppers too, but the only ones I had were extremely hot.  I sautéed the mushrooms with the garlic.  My youngest kept picking out all the mushrooms.  Not because he didn’t like them but he wanted to eat them first and asked everyone else for theirs.  It was vibrant and tasty.  This time around my middle son stated that he wasn’t going to eat it.  I said, “This is dinner.  You need to eat.  Come on and join us.”  He did.  And again he loved it.

When my husband got home we were already eating.  I put a bowl out for him and my youngest proceeded to eat that too.  I think he was foraging for mushrooms.

Part One Ginger-Garlic Roast Pork

Be careful what you wish for… the adage goes.  Well, I was wishing for school to start so that I could get back into a routine and also get some “things” done.  But with the new school year comes new requests to join committees and volunteer for this and that.  Now I have two schools asking.  But silly me, I keep saying yes to some of these calls to duty plus a big event at the town library and favors for friends.  I haven’t gotten much done of my own work, projects I want to start around the house nor any blogging posts; forget laundry, that always gets put back at the bottom of the list.   I need to remember to say no.  But I have such an innate propensity to help that I just can’t help it.  Not that everything isn’t without benefits like a new wonderful dress for helping the friend out, but I don’t have enough hours in the day!  And, I enjoy it.  I really do like helping.

And where is the schedule/routine I was craving?  The first two weeks consisted of one son having three days of school, one with two days on but starting a day later and the third with 2 days with one off in between.  The next week started with a day off then two on then one off and one on.  Except the youngest only goes three days a week, so it was just two last week.  Confused yet?

That is nothing compared to the bus schedule for the middle son.  The bus company changed the times to 25 minutes earlier in the morning but the school didn’t give them our name (let alone my sons!) that we didn’t get informed.  And don’t they realize 25 minutes in the morning is huge!  I try to write at night, but I have to get to bed to get up in time to get everyone going.   My husband is great, he often gets lunches and snacks together as well as his clothes.  But often the kids need help getting dressed (the eldest actually needs help getting moving without getting distracted and sometimes it turns into me dressing him), feeding breakfast, making sure all the proper papers and homework is in backpacks, brushing teeth and hair and then driving one to a bus stop 6 minutes away and youngest to preschool 40 minutes later. (Yes, I do intend to pack the backpacks the night before, but good intentions sometimes go awry.) Oh yeah, I need to dress myself too.  Make up and hair are not always attended to.  

All the after school activities are just starting now too.  I really think I forgot how wonderful the less scheduled summer days are!  Because I wish I could take back that wish of school beginning. 

Well, here’s the recipe I have been trying to post.  I didn’t make this, my husband created it and it was amazing.  We all loved it even though my middle son rolled out the backdoor crying because there was spinach in the dish.  He ate it and loved it, spinach and all. I will try a version of this in the slow cooker.  

Ginger-Garlic Roast Pork with Vegetables and Asian Spices Part One

This is a two step meal that takes a few hours total.  Hands on for at least 30 minutes. Its measurements are approximate so I’d be careful unless you are confident in the kitchen.

Used approximately 6.5 lb pork butt and cut out the bone and trimmed into 6 pieces.  Of that only 1/3-1/2 of the pork was used that night.  By cutting the large butt into smaller pieces and removing the bone, it was faster and more of the meat was exposed to the spices.   Preheat oven to 350F.

Pork Rub Mixture

Puree in small food processor:

  • 6 cloves garlic, cut into quarters
  • 1 knob of ginger, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 1 Tbsp dry or 1 Tbsp fresh lemongrass
  • 2 shallots, cut into halves or quarters
  • 1-2 Tbsp neutral oil (sunflower, canola)
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • optional cayenne or other hot pepper

Put pork in a large bowl (a piece or two at a time) and rub the mixture all over until well coated.  Place pork on a rack inside roasting pan.  Put a cup of water in the bottom of pan and cover entire pan/pork with foil.  Cook for about 2 1/2 hours until tender. 

Transfer to a cutting board removing some larger fatty pieces and pour the liquid from the pan into a separate container separating the fat from juices.   You can stop here and serve a delicious meat with some veggies.  My sons tried many pieces and kept coming back for more.   But my husband continued with his recipe. 

To be continued tomorrow.  Need some sleep.

Mis en place

Mis en place is a term in cooking which means everything in its place— before you cook.  This is one thing that I’ve picked up from my husband.  I used to be a bit rash in my cooking and not have everything prepared before I began to cook but that can be tricky especially when cooking with ingredients that need to be added in quick succession.  

I needed to use up the remaining chicken thighs that I’d used in the previous night’s dinner and I also had some eggplant I wanted to use.  I found a Mark Bittman recipe that I thought sounded delicious.  It was a vegetarian dish but you can add meat to it.  I added the chicken; lamb would be perfect too.  It is something that can’t just be thrown together without prior prep, but it’s worth it!  You will need to have all the spices mixed, the ginger, garlic, veggies and chicken chopped prior to cooking.  It takes about an hour. 

Mark Bittman’s Curried Coconut Eggplant with Potatoes (and Chicken)

I cut the recipe in half because I only had one eggplant.  I also added one small zucchini.  It was enough for the 4 of us plus there were leftovers for 2.    This is the original recipe:

  •  2 med to lg eggplants
  • salt
  • neutral oil (I used sunflower)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (adjust for kids)
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger (I kept this measurement)
  • 2 tsp sliced garlic
  • 3 large tomatoes, cored, peeled, seeded and chopped (I used 1 lg & 1 sm)
  • 3 lg potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (I used 3 med & one small)
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk (you might need to add more depending on consistency)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • minced fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

Prep the eggplant first by peeling, cubing and salting.  While draining mix the spices, (I ground the coriander seeds with a mortar and pestle.)  Then mince the ginger, slice the garlic, and peel and cut them the potatoes.  Mix all the spices together then prepare the tomatoes. (To peel slice an X into the bottom, dunk into boiling water for around 20 seconds then put into ice bath.  Skin will come right off).  Put oil and mustard seeds into a pan over medium heat and cover for about 3 minutes when they began to pop.  Add rest of spices, ginger and garlic and cook, stirring often until the ginger and garlic are soft.  Next add tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, chicken and coconut milk.  Reduce heat, cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring every so often.  Add chicken  and cook for another 15 minutes. (While that was simmering I put the rice on so it would be ready at same time.)  Add zucchini (optional) and if necessary some more coconut milk, salt and pepper then continue cooking for about 15 minutes (uncovered).  Once time is up, stir in the lime juice and serve over rice. 

You can also cook the rice in coconut milk (half water, half coconut milk) if you’d like.


My sons loved it!  I loved it!  My eldest liked it so much that he finished his brother’s after he’d devoured all of his!   It was a bit spicy for my middle son but he ate it with a mix of pleasure and pain and lots of water.  I hadn’t adjusted the cayenne but noted it for the future.  

Chicken, Andouille and White Bean Stew

Wish I had more time— to write among other things!  I tried writing this post last night near midnight after I had just finished filling out paperwork for my 6 year-old’s new school.  One thing I loathe when they get back to school is all the papers that come home— flyers and notices.  Last year all three were in the same school and I’d get everything in triplicate.  Now a different school along with the original, different schedules (not even on the same holiday schedule which will be tricky!), different lunch programs (it’s tough navigating that without dealing with two different providers) and I’m sure more papers coming home.  It takes up so much time— time to fill out, time to sort, time to throw away.

I was too tired to write last night and then today, when I finally got the chance, I got consumed by news of the earthquake in New Zealand where I have many loved ones.  I am putting off laundry yet again to write… for those wondering how I find the time! 

Last night I created a new recipe based upon a Southern or Creole-style dish.  I would have loved to have made gumbo but didn’t have any okra or filé so it wouldn’t have been authentic.  (Funny I got introduced to and fell in love with gumbo while working in Wellington, NZ)  And I didn’t want to overdo it with spices for my kids by serving red rice… so I went with plain white rice.   


I used organic free range boneless chicken thighs that I cut into smaller pieces.   This is a great way to stretch out your budget and reduce your cooking time.  I used chicken Andouille sausage which I like because it means less “meat” in our diet but you can use the more traditional made from pork.  Most of my vegetables and herbs were from our CSA and the organic white beans were canned.   It was a pleasant moment when I sat down to eat and watch the children dig in with such gusto.  My middle son asked if it was “chili” I replied that it was “chicken and sausage chili”.  They all loved it but my 6 year-old said it was a little spicy for him— that was mostly the Andouille.  I think it took me about 20 minutes of prep and active cooking and another 10-15 of simmering.   So, at least I found the time to do this.

Chicken, Andouille and White Bean Stew

  • 3-4 chicken thighs, skinned and boned, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 2 Andouille sausage links, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 can Cannellini (white kidney) beans
  • 3-4 tomatoes, peeled (or one can) and crushed
  • 1 med onion, diced
  • 1 lg or 2 sm celery stalk, diced
  • 1 sweet green pepper, diced
  • 1 sweet red pepper, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp basil, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Brown chicken and set aside.  Heat olive oil in pan and sauté onions and celery until clear.  Add garlic and peppers and cook until soft.  Add paprika and chili powder stirring for one minute.  Add tomatoes, chicken stock, chicken, sausage, beans and herbs. Cook for another 5 minutes stirring occasionally.  Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Serve over rice.

As I mentioned, it was delicious and the boys gave it thumbs up but with a bit of extra milk and water drinking to counter the heat.  I ate some leftovers for lunch today— even better which is often the case with tomato-based foods.


Rush, rush, rush… now cook.

It can be a real challenge to actually find the time to write this blog let alone cook a good meal and take photos while I’m cooking— I’m already multitasking with keeping kids occupied and/or mediating fights (and working my “real” paying job).   So sometimes, I skip writing/posting to my site because I just can’t do it all. The other day I had someone over while I was cooking, I was busy talking and cooking so I couldn’t manage to actually take my camera out and shoot photos of the food before and during the cooking process.   I’d have overcooked the veggies (actually I did slightly overcook the zucchini) and burnt the salmon (luckily not) if I tried that much multitasking.  But she left just as dinner was ready, and it looked so delicious (it was) I had to snap some photos of the end result. 

If I haven’t mentioned before, salmon is my go-to main course.  My kids love it, I love it and it only takes a few minutes to cook in a pan or on a grill.  And if it’s seasoned with salt and pepper before it’s cooked there’s no need for sauce— so, easy. 

Our dinner that was made in 40 minutes from start to finish including getting our charcoal grill started and hot enough.  It would have taken only 20 minutes had I pan roasted the salmon (started on stove, finished in oven).  I made mixed grains that take just 10 minutes to cook, broccoli and zucchini that each take 3-5 minutes plus the prep time.  Oh, right and I made a coleslaw.    

Everything was enjoyed… although it wasn’t eaten neatly or with them sitting at all moments.  It’s more important to me that they eat well— getting them to eat with proper manners and without getting up is still a work in progress. 


Simple Coleslaw

Cut 1/2-1/3 cabbage into 4 inch long thin strips and put in bowl with  2 shredded carrots.  In separate bowl mix 4 heaping Tbsp of mayonnaise, 1 1/2 Tbsp cider vinegar, 1 tsp sugar, 3/4 tsp celery salt, pepper to taste.  Pour over cabbage/carrots and toss.  Chill if possible or just serve!  Shredded apple or minced red bell peppers are nice in there too.