I've taken a liking to cleaning up our yard, much to my fathers delight. I'm not sure where my domestic streak is coming from but my yard is thanking me for it. I cleaned out the brush and laid down some much needed new mulch this past weekend. Elijah made a concrete garden stone with colored pebbles in it at the Youth Centre today and it looks awesome out front.
Our boy came home at the end of July from 5 weeks visiting his mom. He had grown so much we needed to raise the seat on his bike so his knees stopped hitting his chin. We all fell back into our normal "kid in the house" routine pretty easily. Tuffy is still treating his human brother like another puppy. It's pretty funny to watch the two of them wrestle on the floor and play with rope....always followed by a loud "tufFFFYYYYYY" when the dog accidentally nips at him while going for a toy. Yep, life is back to normal. And while I don't think I was awful in the kitchen before this summer, if I was....life is back to normal there too!
Recipes just haven't come out the way I planned. Plus, many that I've picked I don't end up making for one reason or another (one recent one being: Josh doesn't fruit with his meat. So homemade orange chicken is a no go). Thankfully there have been a few that have passed the taste test. And ones where I learned my lesson.
#1 - The first was one we didn't even eat for dinner. This Paleo Slow Cooker Cinnamon Chicken was halfway done when Josh and I realized we both were craving Thai food and wanted nothing to do with chicken. But I did have it for lunch the next day on a salad and it was delish (but I really think it would have been better hot). Now, since I did not make mine ahead and freeze (which I assume makes everything mix together nicely), I rubbed some of the spices directly onto the chicken before putting it in the crock pot. I think I might try onions next time instead of bell peppers, but that's just a personal texture thing.
#2 - The next meal I made came from The Clean Program which I did right before I met Josh. I don't remember if this is the exact recipe or adapted over time but it's a balsamic chicken recipe and couldn't be simpler to make.
- A couple of leeks chopped in rounds (I tend to sub onions because I haven't been able to find good looking leeks in awhile)
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- Chicken breast with salt and pepper and rosemary
Lay the leeks in a large pyrex dish with the chicken on top and pour the vinegar over it all. Bake at 350 until done!
Usually this meal goes over well but this time I used Herbes de Provence because I didn't have any rosemary and I put way too much on. Plus I used SO much vinegar which is what happens when your dog comes in to interrupt your cooking with feet licks, you have a giggle attack, and the bottle empties over what you're making. Lesson learned.
Josh said it would have been better with pork loin - so there's an option for next time.
#3 - There was one saving grace of the meal though...Paleo Garlic Mashed Cauliflower. You really do have to try it to believe how good it is. Josh thought I was nuts and begrudgingly ate it the first time I made it and LOVED it. Just goes to show how your wife is always right. (well...about that at least) If you have a food processor I beg of you to try these asap. And don't feel you need to have a steam basket - I just boiled my cauliflower and they came out great.
#4 - And last but not least: Shrimp on a Stick. I made these on my quest to make meals that all three of us will eat with little to no substitutions. Considering how picky Elijah is and how hard that is to accomplish just between Josh and I...this is no easy feat. But these were fast, easy, and a family hit. I didn't use skewers and I made them in a non stick pan because our grill is way beyond it's last leg. In addition, I used panko instead of bread crumbs. Elijah isn't a huge fan and probably would have liked bread crumbs better but he did eat all of them. Success! And Josh loved their simplicity. He added some sriracha and I added some dill and everyone's stomach lived happily ever after.
What have you been trying out this summer that you love? What has tanked? At least when it really tanks we live in a world where takeout is a viable option.