Sunday, August 18, 2013
Zesty-Sweet Salmon Seasoning
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
optional: 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or ground chipotle pepper
Combine and mix well. Store in an airtight container.
To use, thaw, rinse, and pat the salmon dry before rubbing a tsp of the seasoning into each side of the fillets. Cook over medium heat in olive or coconut oil until the you can see the whiter, cooked edge creeping up from the bottom of the fillet. Using a firm spatula, flip each fillet over, and cook until it is no longer translucent and easily flakes apart. Remove from the pan as soon as it's cooked (internal temperature should reach 145 degrees) to avoid overcooking the salmon. To serve, drizzle a little lime over each piece.
I save empty spice containers. Target has a line of spices that are sold in clear containers, and the label peels off easily and they are great to reuse. If you do use them, be sure your spices are stored in a closed cupboard, since spices lose flavor if stored in the sun.
Play around with the amounts and types of spices. If you have garam masala or coriander, toss them in! If you don't have tumeric, then skip it! What's most important is having enough salt, savory seasonings, and a bit of sweet to balance each other out.
And next time I cook salmon, I need to ask my husband to take some pictures of the cooking salmon. I didn't expect it to be so difficult to describe what I'm looking for when I'm cooking the salmon!
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
I found a recipe that is very tasty at My Baking Addiction, which is based on Sargento's recipe. You can jump to one of those websites to see what they did, or you can keep reading to find out how I've been making it lately!
So I menu plan once a month, and weekly update the plan according to our ever-changing schedule and what I need to use up. Tonight, I threw that convenient plan out the window since my husband was going to be home later than usual, and I wouldn't have as much uninterrupted cooking time as I had planned on. (Have you ever tried to multitask in the kitchen with two hungry toddlers and a dog at your feet, when you can't see your feet because of a cumbersome pregnant belly? It certainly gets crowded in my kitchen!)
I ended up making BBQ Chicken Salad, which uses both BBQ sauce and ranch or bleu cheese dressing. I haven't found a brand of bottled ranch that is both tasty and inexpensive, and the packets you can keep in your cupboards usually call for sour cream and milk, and I never have sour cream on hand (It's just so good that I end up putting it on everything and use it up before I mean to).
BUT my sister-in-law gave me her kefir grains when she left to teach in South Korea, and I have been (miraculously) keeping them alive. I pour heavy whipping cream over them, about a 1/2 cup at a time, and forget them in the back of the fridge. If I forget them for too long, then I dump out the cultured cream, but after a week or 2 in the fridge, they are usually a great substitute for sour cream.
TL;DR, here's the recipe:
Bleu Cheese Dressing with Kefir
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup heavy whipping cream kefir
2 tbsp milk (optional for a pourable dressing)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4+ cup Danish bleu cheese, crumbled
Saturday, August 10, 2013
Yes, cleaning the house when you have toddlers and a dog is an exercise in futility, but I still can't help trying.
My favorite method? Clean add fast as I can for about an hour when the kids are most likely to be happy (for us, that's right after breakfast, before nap), then REMOVE THE KIDS FROM THE CLEAN HOUSE. After cleaning, we either play outside or run some errands until nap, so the house can stay clean for a few glorious hours. The house gets messy again after nap and before/because of dinner, of course, but it's easier to pick up when it's not the first time things have been picked up all day.
Bonus? My toddlers are learning that things belong in certain places, and can help clean up. When they're in the mood, of course.
Friday, June 28, 2013
Toward the end of the month, especially when we may have eaten more take out than we should, sometimes the budget gets thin and I need to meal plan primarily from our pantry. Some of my most creative and delicious meals have been served at the end of the month. I think I work best under a bit of pressure.
Tonight's meal was simple, filling, and cheap, and all of the ingredients were either from my pantry or had made their debut in another meal this week. I'm going to add it to the monthly rotation, because it was a hit with everyone in the family.
|Fancy, right? Our choice of hot sauce is always Sriracha.|
refried black beans (recipe here - I love Simply Recipes!)
cheddar cheese, grated
hot sauce or salsa
frying oil - I like coconut oil
- Make refried beans. I made mine from cans (because this meal was thrown together last-minute), so I just started at the "heat oil and toast cumin step." I did make a few modifications: I did not have chili powder, but I did have 2 serrano chilis left over from another meal, so I seeded and minced those and omitted both the chili powder and the chipotle chili powder. While your beans are simmering,
- Fry corn tortillas in your choice of cooking oil (should be a high-heat oil so it doesn't end up smoking you out of the kitchen) until they are as crisp as you like them. If they start to brown, they are going to be crispy, which is just fine. Flip them over carefully to cook both sides. You can also just heat them to serve soft tacos instead of tostadas.
- Remove them from the oil, set them on a few paper towels, and sprinkle them with the shredded cheese.
- Add the refried bean mix, lettuce, and salsa or hot sauce to serve.
Thursday, June 27, 2013
I really shouldn't be surprised. Don't many parenting books say that it takes repetition and consistency to teach kids manners? I've been practicing waiting with my son for quite a long time now. You see, when you have a sibling follow you after only 15 months, there will be times when mom just cannot meet your request immediately! So, I've been asking my son to wait, and I tell him specifically what to wait for:
"I can't read you a story right now because I'm (cooking lunch, changing your sister's diaper, driving, etc), but we can read a story when I'm done (or after lunch, when we're home, etc)."
In this way, I don't have to repeat "later" over and over again, nor do I even need to remember the request - it's up to my toddler to ask again if (when) I forget!
This just happened this morning. I of course took forever to eat my breakfast, while my kids sped through and started to play. My daughter has been obsessed for 24 hours with these washcloths we use to wipe them up after meals, and has wanted to carry one around, wiping things. What one toddler has, the other one will surely want, so of course my son asked for one, too. I told him I could get him one when I was done eating (because even though we don't make our kids sit (yet) at the table until everyone is finished, I certainly don't stop eating until I'm done, or I'd never eat a full meal), and then finished my eggs and started to enjoy my coffee. Completely forgetting what my son asked me, I got up from the table and started cleaning up. He gave an excited yelp and said, "Mommy, all done eat! Me towel!" which when translated means: "Mommy, you're all done eating! Now you can get me a towel!" I was thoroughly impressed that he busied himself with playing while waiting, then was so polite (delighted, even) in asking again.
Now before you believe this happens every time, and that my children never fight or whine, PSHHHH. I'm thrilled when it does work, but we certainly have our fair share of conflict management in our house. But even when things are bad and children are whining and crying, I can protect myself from losing my temper or just getting annoyed by having boundaries, even with my children. If I say that no, we cannot drive to the baby's house, and if you keep yelling about it you'll sit in a time out when we get home, then I can aim for that time out where a toddler can work through his temper tantrum in time out while I sit in another room, praying and resting.
In an argument the other day (stop trying to guess who it was with!), I was accused of needing to be "always in control" and that "things had to be my way." I agreed that yes, when it comes to my life, I feel a responsibility to not be a victim of my circumstances, and be resilient even when I can't control them. Even if life throws difficult things my way, I still get to decide how I react to them, and with the Creator of the universe offering me His strength and peace, what could I possibly fear? These personal boundaries have made me quite stubborn and pig-headed at my worst moments (sorry, husband!), but very logical and calm in difficult times. The boundaries have made me able to manage working with difficult clients (brides), setting my own schedule while working from home, and not feeling the need to be available to my students' parents 24-7. Boundaries aren't just useful in family life!
These boundaries are something I want to teach my kids. I want them to know how to say "wait" and "no," even to adults, and even to their parents (gulp). I want them to be in charge of themselves even when we are not around to set boundaries for them. I'm hoping my son is already learning this by playing while he waits for his mom to finish breakfast.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
I tried to read Nourishing Traditions after receiving it for Christmas, and I was so disappointed. Back then, I was disappointed because Sally Fallon, the author, made many health claims without footnoting. Since I was not about to spend a few months attempting to do my own research to find out if the few studies she referenced were legit and accepted by the scientific community, I quit reading it.
Today, I hesitantly pulled it off the shelf to see if there were any recipes recommended for kiddos with diarrhea. (Not that I know any kids with diarrhea. Ew. We don't allow that kind of stinky mess in our house.) While scanning a page the index had listed under "diarrhea," this sentence stopped me in my tracks:
"A Russian study of the inhabitants of the province of Georgia, where many live to 100 years and a few to age 150 [!!!], revealed that a large portion of these centenarians were beekeepers who often ate raw, unprocessed honey with all its "impurities," that is, with the pollen." (Nourishing Traditions; Fallon, Sally; pg 617)
The excessive exclamation points are my own. But the rest is directly from the book. I did a quick Google search for "world's oldest person," and the Wikipedia result lists Jeanne Calment, who lived until 122. She was from France. None of the top 10 oldest people on record were from Georgia, and not even from Russia.
Is Sally Fallon straight up lying to her audience? Or did Russia just share their super-secret old honey-eaters study with her, and no one else? We'll never know, I guess, because SHE DOESN'T CITE HER SOURCES.
Sally Fallon, & Mary G. Enig, Ph.D., please rewrite your book without any "science" to support your recipes so we can just ferment some veggies and brew some broth like other mothers have done throughout history.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
My son, who is not quite two-and-a-half, currently thinks his mommy is going to give birth to a flower.
The other day, we showed him old pictures of mommy's big tummy, and told him who was in there. We explained when he was in my tummy, it was before he was a new baby, and when his little sister was in my tummy, it was before she was a new baby. It seemed to make sense to him, and he would pat my tummy and say "new baby" in the cutest toddler voice.
A day or two later, our first bulb began to sprout - a tiny, brave crocus began to push it's way through the snow and mulch.
|The day we first noticed it|
|A day or two later|
We started to understand he was a bit confused when he gave the crocus a scoop of snow and called it "new baby." We were convinced he had a major misconception about new babies when he pointed to a flower in a book and said "new baby."
I don't think I like flower names very much for little girls, but I think this would make a pretty good reason to name our next kid - if it ends up being a girl, of course - a flower name.
He or she currently has a due date of November 4th, which means he or she will most likely come mid-October, if he or she copies the early arrivals of big brother and big sister. We are of course excited and looking forward to meeting our next little person, and we have so much more peace about this pregnancy and birth this time around. I think it has something to do with the confidence we have about parenting after getting through the newborn and baby stages twice, with awesome kids and still most of our sanity!