Fridays Lunch

I have not been able to find a reliable source for farm raised chicken in the area, so this chicken was store bought. It was on sale for less than $6.00 for 8 chicken thighs. This was a good deal as I was able to make this stretch into 6 meals. That is less than a $1.00 per meal. So although ethically I feel bad for these poor chickens I did get a good deal.

 

Image

 

  • Curried Chicken Salad over baby spinach
  • Carrots and tomatoes with cheese wedges
  • Pears with a sprinkle of coriander
  • Dried apricots stuffed with goat cheese and slivered almonds

Shopping List

  • Chicken
  • celery
  • scallions
  • raisins
  • cilantro
  • honey
  • curry powder
  • salt and pepper
  • carrots
  • grape tomatoes
  • cheese
  • dried apricots
  • goat cheese
  • slivered almonds
  • pears
  • ground corriander

The shopping list is a little long, but hopefully you have some of this in your pantry…and if you don’t, lets stock up your pantry!

Thursdays Lunch

My little bean is 6 months old this week. So we are starting real food. It is going alright, she likes peaches ok, she really likes avocados but she dislikes sweet potatoes. Which is a shame because I cooked a whole sweet potato. So I incorporated it into todays lunch…but if you are trying to make this lunch you could skip it in favor of cream cheese stuffed celery and salsa, or plantain chips with roasted peppers and goat cheese, or oven roasted bell-peppers, onions and tomatoes.

Image

Thursdays Lunch:

Image

(sorry about the crappy picture, I made this at 9pm after a long day, shaky hands and bad lighting…too tired to do it right)

Mexican Theme

  • Oven Roasted Chicken
  • Black bean mango salsa
  • Sweet potato pancake with goat cheese and cilantro
  • Strawberries with honey and cinnamon
  • Plantain Chips (use sparingly)

Ingredients

Chicken ( you can pick yours up from the store if you don’t have time)
Black beans (I used canned)
mango (they are on sale)
scallions
tomatoes
cilantro
sweet potatoes
goat cheese
strawberries
honey
cinnamon
plantain chips (salty not sweet)

Chicken Tortilla Soup without the Tortilla…

This week is always the week that I develop my eye twitch. Every. single. year.

There is so much going on and so much to do. Big Art shows and ACT and AP testing and prom and graduation and mothers day and gallery showings and community involvement…oh did I forget to mention I have a baby who still needs me? and a husband? and a house? and a dog and three cats? and bees and chickens? and a garden? Sheesh.

I want to do a series on PCOS/low glycemic lunches…and I will I promise…someday.

“Time, time, who has the time?” said the little white rabbit. So here is a quick and easy meal. Perfect for a snow day. This has a good amount of protein for a soup, as it has beans and chicken. You want to make sure that you add some sort of healthy fat, like avacado, so that you can absorb the nutrients from the tomatoes and chiles.

photo (11)

Chicken Tortilla Soup with optional Tortilla

Ingredients
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 cup canned chiles (if you read my past post, I froze roasted chiles from the farmers market)
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
5 tomatoes diced (if you read my other post, you will see that I freeze my tomatoes from the garden)
1 (14.5-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
4 to 5 chicken thighs, skin and bones too
1 tsp of cumin
1/2 tsp of Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp of red chile
2 limes, juiced, plus wedges for garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 avocado, pitted, sliced
1 cup shredded Monterrey cheese

Directions
In a large saucepan heat the vegetable oil. Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes. Once the onions have softened add the garlic and chiles and cook for another minute. Pour the chicken broth, tomatoes and beans into the pot and bring to a boil. Once at a boil lower heat to simmer and add your chicken thighs. Cook the chicken for 20 to 25 minutes. Once chicken is cooked remove from pot. When cool enough to handle shred it and set it aside. Add lime juice and fresh cilantro to the pot. In a serving bowl add a mound of shredded chicken. Ladle soup over chicken and top with a lime wedge, avocado slices and cheese.

Lamb Vindaloo

Image

I teach art to high school characters. Recently I thought it would be fun to teach them needle felting. Needle felting is an easy craft that almost anyone can do and is extremely satisfying. To needle felt you need two materials: Wool roving and a Felting needle. As I was planning my lesson I thought I should talk to the kids about the properties of wool, where it comes from and how it has been used in the past. When thinking about where wool comes from I was inspired to contact a local farm that would sell us wool directly and it would really show students that we can support local business. So I took an afternoon to visit the farm. Different color wools were strewn around the kitchen, while at least 6 kittens played amongst them. The owner prepared a bottle and took me out to see her lambs and feed the babies. She then showed me around her studio where she prepares the wool for dying and selling. It was one of my best afternoons is such a long time.

 

While there, the owner mentioned that she sold some of her lamb as meat. I am a realist. I like meat, I think it serves an important role in my diet, and as I am going to eat it I like to know where my meat comes from. The lambs at Cathy’s farm are well taken care of and loved. They have a lovely life. I bought a whole lamb and thanked the lambs for providing me their lives for the continuation of my life and my family.

From “Slow Cooker Revolution,” by the editors of America’s Test Kitchen.

Lamb Vindaloo

• 3 onions, minced

• 3 tbsp. vegetable oil

• 3 tbsp. sweet paprika

• 8 garlic cloves, minced

• 2 tbsp. tomato paste

• 4 tsp. ground cumin

•1/2 tsp. cardamom

• 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

• 1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes

• 1 c. chicken broth, plus extra as needed

• 3 tbsp. Minute tapioca

• 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

• 2 bay leaves

• 1 tsp. sugar

• 1 (4-lb.) boneless lamb shoulder roast, trimmed and cut into 11/2 -in. chunks

• Salt and pepper

• 1/4 c. minced fresh cilantro

Directions

Microwave onions, oil, paprika, garlic, tomato paste, cumin, cardamom and cayenne in a bowl, stirring occasionally until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. (No microwave? Sauté the onions in the oil with the spices and tomato paste.) Transfer onion mixture to slow cooker.

Stir in tomatoes with juice, broth, tapioca, vinegar, bay leaves and sugar. Season lamb with salt and pepper, and nestle into slow cooker. Cover and cook until lamb is tender, 9 to 11 hours on low or 5 to 7 hours on high.

Let stew settle for 5 minutes, then remove fat from surface using large spoon. Discard bay leaves. (Adjust stew consistency with additional hot broth as needed.)

Stir in cilantro, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Chicken Salad Two Ways

IMG_1228

One of my favorite go to lunches is a simple chicken salad over lettuce. It can be eaten cold, tucked into a plastic container and toted to work, it has a great amount of protein and is pcos friendly. This is a great use of left over chicken!

 

Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad from Plumpie

2 chicken breasts (bone-in, skin-on)
1/4 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
1/3 cup granny apple, diced into small chunks (1/4-1/2 inch)
1/2 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
1.5 tablespoons shallot, minced
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons light mayo (I use Duke’s but use your favorite)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or champagne vinegar)
1 tablespoon rosemary, minced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rub chicken breasts with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Set aside to cool.

Once chicken is cool enough to handle, remove skin and cut chicken breast off the bone. Shred chicken breasts using your fingers or two forks or dice with a knife to about 1/2 inch cubes.

Mix together greek yogurt, mayo, apple cider vinegar, and rosemary.

In a large bowl, combine, shredded chicken (about 2 cups), pecans, shallots, green apple, and cranberries. Toss with dressing until well combined.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill for at least an hour until ready to serve.

 

Curry Chicken Salad from Barefoot Contessa

 

Ingredients

  • 3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups good mayonnaise (recommended: Hellman’s)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup chutney (recommended: Major Grey’s)
  • 3 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 cup medium-diced celery (2 large stalks)
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts (2 scallions)
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 cup whole roasted, salted cashews

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin, and dice the chicken into large bite-size pieces.

For the dressing, combine the mayonnaise, wine, chutney, curry powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until smooth.

Combine the chicken with enough dressing to moisten well. Add the celery, scallions, and raisins, and mix well. Refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. Add the cashews and serve at room temperature.

 

 

World Traveler….. Beef Guinness Pie and Mole Verde

I probably shouldn’t have started a blog if I wasn’t going to update it. But I didn’t know I was going to get pregnant, and I didn’t know that I would be traveling around the world pregnant and the toll that would take on my body.

So where have  I been and what have I brought back? (other than a nasty strain of some sort of bacterial yuckiness)

I started my summer in Ireland!

Ireland is lovely, with the kindest and most hospitable people I have encountered. We ate a lot of pub food and it was great! I asked the barkeep what pregnant women drank in the pub, he laughed and said, “Guinness of course!” Here is a recipe for Guinness Beef Pie. Granted, this is usually made with pie crust or potatoes. For PCOS eliminate the crust/potatoes and eat as a nice stew.

Beef and Guinness Pie (from Gourmet)

  • 2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup Guinness or other Irish stout
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons drained brined green peppercorns, coarsely chopped
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • Instructions:

    Pat beef dry. Stir together flour, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. Add beef, turning to coat, then shake off excess and transfer to a plate. Heat oil in a wide 5- to 6-quart ovenproof heavy pot over moderately high heat until just smoking, then brown meat in 3 batches, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes per batch, transferring to a bowl.

    Add onion, garlic, and water to pot and cook, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of pot and stirring frequently, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in beef with any juices accumulated in bowl, broth, beer, Worcestershire sauce, peppercorns, and thyme and bring to a simmer, then cover and transfer to oven. Braise until beef is very tender and sauce is thickened, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Discard thyme and enjoy!

    Ok, so I returned for 5 days, in which I helped plan a bridal shower and then jetted off to Mexico! This is my 5th time in this area so it wasn’t much of a new adventure. My sister was getting married and we stayed at a resort, which doesn’t count much for traveling….
    “Toursits don’t know where they have been and Travelers don’t know where they are going.” Paul Theroux-
    I figure I am in the Travelers category.
    My favorite little known Mexican recipe is for Mole Verde. Give yourself plenty of time to make this, and don’t be surprised if you eat the whole thing in one sitting.
    <

    Mole Verde (from Rick Bayless)

    1 large white onion, sliced
    4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
    1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
    Salt, about 1 1/2 teaspoons
    1 good-size (3-pound) chicken, cut into quarters
    2 bay leaves
    1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
    1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
    A generous 1 cup (about 4 1/2 ounces) hulled raw pumpkinseeds (pepitas)
    12 large sprigs cilantro, roughly chopped, plus a few extra sprigs for garnish
    3 small romaine leaves, roughly chopped
    Hot green chilies to taste (roughly 3 serranos or 2 small jalapeños), stemmed and roughly chopped
    1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil

    Instructions:

    1. The chicken: In a large (6-quart) pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Add half of the onion and garlic, all the carrot, 1 teaspoon of the salt and the chicken back (if you’re lucky enough to have a separated one), neck, heart and giblets. Skim off any foam that rises after a minute or two, partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Add the dark meat quarters, skim again after a couple of minutes, then add the bay, thyme and marjoram, partially cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the breast quarters, skim when the liquid returns to the simmer, partially cover and cook 13 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let the chicken cool for a few minutes in the broth. Remove the breast and leg quarters from the broth and set aside. Strain the broth, discarding the solids, and spoon off any fat that rises to the top.

    2. The pumpkin seeds: In a large (10-to 12-inch), heavy skillet set over medium heat, spread out the pumpkinseeds and toast, stirring regularly, until all have popped (from flat to rounded) and turned golden (no darker); once they start popping, the whole process shouldn’t take longer than 5 minutes. Spread out on a plate to cool; reserve a couple of tablespoons for garnish.

    3. The sauce: In a blender, combine the cooled pumpkinseeds with the remaining half of the onion and garlic, the cilantro, romaine,
    and green chiles. Add 1 1/2 cups of the chicken broth and blend to a smooth puree. Heat the oil in a large (4-quart), heavy saucepan over medium. Add the puree and stir constantly until very thick, about 10 minutes. Stir in 2 cups of the broth (you’ll have about 4 cups broth left over for soup or another sauce), partially cover and simmer 20 minutes; the sauce will look coarse at this point.

    4. Scrape the sauce into a blender, loosely cover and blend to a smooth puree; if necessary add a little extra broth (or water) to give the sauce a medium consistency. Rinse your saucepan, return the blended sauce to it, taste and season with salt, usually a 1/2 teaspoon. Add the chicken and warm (but don’t bring to a simmer) over medium-low heat, about 10 minutes.

    5. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a warm serving platter, then ladle the sauce over and around it, decorate with the reserved pumpkinseeds and cilantro sprigs, and it’s ready to serve.

    After returning, I had a stomach virus and a head cold. I blame it on the airplane flight. It has been 2 weeks since I have returned and I still need to be close to a bathroom. Hoping to one day eat normal again!

Baked Lemon Chicken and Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce.

I promise I will get back to writing recipes soon. There certainly is no need for yet another Mommy Blogger. Last week I made a Baked Lemon Chicken with fresh asparagus from the farmers market and a lovely hollandaise sauce from our eggs. It was wonderful. Did you know hollandaise is very very simple and that anyone can make it? Here is a recipe….
BLENDER HOLLANDAISE SAUCE 
Start to finish: 5 minutes
Makes about 3/4 cup

Ingredients:
3 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cut into small pieces

Directions:
In a blender, combine the egg yolks, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium-high, add the butter and heat until foaming.

Blend the egg yolk mixture at top speed for 2 seconds then, with the blender running, remove the cover and pour in the hot butter in a thin stream of droplets. By the time two-thirds of the butter has been added, the sauce will be a thick cream. Continue pouring, but don’t pour in the milky residue at the bottom of the pan. Taste and adjust seasonings.

If not using the sauce immediately, set the blender carafe in tepid, but not warm, water.

 

Here is my pregnancy announcement…. sorry about the watermarks, I worked on this for about a week and wouldn’t want anyone to steal it. (if anyone is interested, I will gladly make you your own pregnancy announcement, custom to what you would like for $60, you would own the image so you could print, or post as long as you gave credit)

 

 

The Pregnancy Card

Longmont

Last night the winds came howling though our town with the force of a thousand horses. The news reports gusts of up to 87 miles per hour. I can say with out a doubt that wind is my least favorite weather phenomena. There is something about the continuous howl, sifting through the cracks in windows, the force of air thrown against a building. It makes me anxious and unsettled. It is the worst at night. It isn’t fear that keeps me awake, but just the feeling of unease. Being pregnant doesn’t help. Last night I was so antsy and uncomfortable I wanted to crawl out of my own skin. This appears to be a pretty common feeling among pregnant women.

I went to the dr. on Monday. She was very excited for me, and confirmed the pregnancy and sent me for an ultrasound. I  was not surprised when the typical belly ultrasound wasn’t showing what needed to be shown. Enter “the wand,” if you have been reading the news lately you will know what I am talking about. If not…well look it up. It isn’t pretty. So after being poked and prodded, a black area appeared along with a teeny tiny white dot of flutter. Hello Sea Monkey. They reported back that I am 6 weeks along. Very early, very much not out of the danger zone in any way. 6 weeks, for all of you out there with irregular cycles, dealing with PCOS, this should come to no surprise, but my cycle was off by two weeks what a normal cycle would be. So without an ultrasound it was impossible to judge how far along I was. Which means that by the time we actually conceived this baby, we had already gave up trying. As such, this baby is a fluke.

I am doing pretty well. I only have occasional nausea so far. A kid in class today was eating something, and just looking at it made me go green. I have an aversion to vegetables. Any plant material is enough to turn my stomach. I also am having problems with red meat. Not so much that I get sick, but the thought of eating it makes me slightly queasy. But bread and cheese I can do. I like to eat sourdough toast with butter and a banana. I like grilled cheese sandwiches. All of these things are not on the pcos plan, which is a shame. I am having trouble finding meals that I can stomach that are on the plan. Fruit and chicken….but I am afraid that might get boring. I don’t really know what to do other than just use the old, “I’m pregnant and am going to eat what I please” card.

Tonight is parent teacher-conferences and I don’t think I will be able to make it through. I am sure many of you have come up against this problem, but it is hard to keep this a secret. My co-worker comes in and says, “hey, do you want to go and get coffee before conferences start?” which is our tradition. Um, no…I am not drinking caffeine. “huh? Why?” can I tell you later? Like that isn’t the biggest tip-off of all time. I am so so tired. I am having trouble keeping my eyes open to write this. I slept badly last night because of the wind, and this is so draining. I don’t think I can make it another 2 hours and 15 minutes. I am thinking of pulling the pregnancy card again, and going home early. No one comes to talk to me anyways.

The picture is a view outside my school window and the red dust that has sifted through and onto the window sill.

Fried Chicken (not PCOS friendly)

This week I found myself staring into the freezers at the grocery store. To what was my attention drawn? Chicken Nuggets. Stupid, processed, sodium-preservative-filled nuggets. I knew that there were cravings but this was the end all and be all for me. I cannot recall a moment in my life where I have ever hovered over these frozen balls of minced chicken and thought it was a good idea.

But you know what? This pregnant chick-a-dee walked away from the freezer and to the meat case and grabbed some real chicken tenders and came home and made her own. Officially this is not PCOS friendly, but when you are pregnant and want chicken tenders you might as well make them yourself.

Fried Chicken with Honey

For The Coating

  • 2 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions

  1. Prepare to fry the chicken: Fill a medium heavy pot halfway with oil (enough to cover chicken). Heat until a deep-fry thermometer reaches 340 degrees.
  2. Meanwhile, make the coating: Stir together buttermilk, eggs, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Whisk together flour, coarse salt, and cayenne in another bowl. Working in batches, dip each chicken piece into buttermilk mixture, coating completely (do not shake off any excess). Dredge in flour mixture, patting onto chicken to coat completely. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Working in batches, carefully place chicken in oil, and fry until deep golden brown, 6 to 7 minutes for small pieces
  4. Serve the chicken: Transfer chicken to paper-towel-lined plates, and let drain. Season with sea salt, and serve with honey for drizzling or dipping.

I have been having many ups and downs. Sometimes I feel like I am not pregnant at all and the tests must have been wrong, other times (like today) I feel worn out and tired. I don’t have any sickness to speak of. Occasionally I feel a bit sick, and I certainly am having a hard time at work. If it was stressful and overwhelming before, it seems almost unmanageable now.

Thai Green Curry Coconut Soup

If you haven’t noticed. We eat all sorts of varieties of food at our house. We are so lucky to have the opportunity to try and to make different foods from around the world. Last night I made a quick and easy Thai Chicken soup. I am including a picture of the curry that I use. Inside the tub is the most beautiful green curry paste, and all of the ingredients are whole, no chemicals.

Easy Thai Green Curry Coconut Soup

Ingredients

5 chicken thighs (or whatever you have in the refrigerator)
1 onion diced
1 tbs coconut oil
1 can of coconut milk (which is different than creme of coconut, don’t make that mistake)
2-3 Tbs of Green Curry Paste (depending on how spicy you like it)
1 sweet potato diced
1 tbs of fish sauce (not optional, go buy it now)
salt and pepper and a sprinkle of sugar

optional ingredients:

carrots, mushrooms, green beans, broccoli, sugar snap peas, zucchini, tomatoes, really whatever is left in the refrigerator that you need to get rid of….)

Instructions:

1. Heat oil in a dutch oven or deep pan. Add onions and cook until about translucent. Add chicken skin side down and cook until skin is brown and crisp. Flip over chicken. Add curry paste and mix with the onions until fragrant, 30 seconds.  Add half  of the can of coconut milk, and enough water to cover the chicken. Add in the sweet potatoes and any other vegetables you would like to add. (be careful not to add any vegetable that might get mushy from over cooking….peas, broccoli, zucchini etc.)

2. Place a well fitting lid over the top, and let simmer until chicken is cooked through. 30 minutes or so.

3. Uncover and add the rest of the can of coconut milk, and the fish sauce. Adjust the salt and pepper to your liking and add just a dash of sugar.

4. Serve in bowls