Archives for posts with tag: cooking

I have still been cooking. I have even been coming up with a few new recipes. I even revamped previous recipes to make it seem different and new. I have gotten zero posts up lately! I have an almost 9 month old (two more days!) Who just popped his first tooth through. Simultaneously he began a very intense case of separation anxiety from me and me alone. My time to get things done has decreased. I get more sleep. But my days are filled chasing around two little boys, both of whom are often literally clinging to my body. Ha!

As a mom you cannot do it all. Something has to give. Taking time to photograph and write down every night’s dinner has been that thing. I am usually trying to feed two children and myself at the same time. I am trying to keep dinner as tear free as humanly possible. Being a momma to two very attached momma’s boys is a delicate balancing act! I actually have a couple photographed and recorded recipes that I just never got around to posting. But my kitchen is vacuumed. A TON of laundry is folded and put away! My sink isn’t over flowing with dishes. There is room to add more. Kids have been exploring outside. Kids have been taken to their various activities. Kids have gone on a day trip out of state. Forts have been built. I have been getting in my runs and Pilates. Breakfast, lunch, and dinners have been prepared for all every day. Sitting down to blog, eh, not so much. Babies, amiright?

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Every season is different. There will come a time where Alexander will sit around without demanding my undivided attention every moment of the day. His big brother has those moments. He will get there too. This first year of infancy is all about survival. Things tend to even out after they turn 1. Or so I have learned in my parenting experience. I should end this small update and try to get one of those backlogged recipes up. Then I should go and throw some of those dishes in the dishwasher to make room for the future ones that are just itching to make their way into my never ending pile!

On Saturday I came across a new balsamic vinegar. I was so excited. It is a fig balsamic vinegar. I have recently fallen in love with figs. Although my mom informs me I loved them as a child. So let’s just say I have recently rediscovered my love of figs. Since I am always looking for new and fun ways to prepare my meals, this was a great find.


They have other oil and vinegar products as well. I grabbed a few. I am sure they will be making their way into my upcoming posts. This one though is mighty tasty. It even smells heavenly. I hope you enjoy this chicken dish as much as I did!


Fig Balsamic Walnut Chicken

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp finely diced shallot
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 Tbsp Fig Balsamic Vinegar 
  • 2 tsp fresh chopped thyme
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 small lemon, juiced
  • 2 vine ripe tomatoes, diced
  • several handfuls arugula, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • Parmesan cheese. For topping. (optional)

Heat the shallot in the olive oil until it is fragrant and softened. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add chicken, stir well. Add the fig balsamic vinegar, fresh thyme, lemon juice, and sea salt. Stir chicken well. Allow chicken to cook for another few minutes. Until you can no longer see any pink. Add the tomatoes. Continue to cook until chicken is entirely cooked through and tomatoes have softened. Add the walnuts, and stir well again. Combining everything. Cook for another minute or two. Then turn off heat, add arugula, mix, and allowed arugula to wilt slightly. Serve and sprinkle with a small amount of parmesan cheese, if desired.

I served it with potato bites. I made my Lemony Potato Bites but I added 2 tsps of dried Herbes de Provence. Just to switch it up a little.

I love nothing more than a delicious, bright, crisp, veggie filled salad. I am the person who quite literally will get a craving for a salad. Leafy greens are where it’s at! This salad and dressing I brought to a family party yesterday. I have previously made the dressing for other parties. At my son’s 4th birthday it was gone. Not a drop was left.

I do not consume store bought dressing anymore. Unless I am out at a restaurant. In my home though, I always prepare a dressing myself when I want one. They are actually very simple to make. There are no gross added ingredients. The sodium and sugar levels are in check. They are still flavorful! They are fresh!


Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1/4 tsp ground mustard seed

I combine all of the ingredients in an Oxo Salad Dressing Shaker. Close that bad boy up and shake well to mix. It is that simple. It is such a tasty recipe.

I do love the dressing shaker. Be warned though, it can pour out a little quickly. So drizzle with caution.


This is truly up to you and your tastes. For this salad I added spinach, arugula, radishes, purple/yellow/orange carrots, and cucumber. The last time I made this salad/dressing combo for a party I made it with spinach, arugula, orange carrots, tomatoes, and cucumbers. The dressing is tasty on any kind of leafy green/veggie combination.


Jack has been interested in small chores lately. Much to my enjoyment. Especially since he is still shy of 18 months old. I am not one to argue with him taking interest in the things I do around here.

He has been curious about my pantry and other food when I am unpacking the groceries. He actually enjoys playing in the pantry while I am cooking or doing something in the kitchen. The cans and jars make great stacking items. I let him explore away. I love love love watching him explore his world. I encourage all parents to let their kids get messy, destroy orderly things in the home, play with safe non toy specific items, and just explore the world around them. I try not to tell people how to parent in general, but that is something I really believe in. I always say “I am not one to stifle his creativity!” Obviously, unless it is downright dangerous. I am not going to approve playing in comet powder, ya know?

Just checking things out momma! Also ignore my pantry. I have never claimed to be an organized orderly person. I may be able to keep the house neat enough (usually, today is not one of those days) but my cabinets and such have a life of their own. I am ok with that. I have accepted that part of me. You should too! Ha!

Time to explore these neat items! No salt added tomato sauce? Don’t mind if I do, don’t mind if I do!

So he likes to help out in the pantry and I am not going to stop him. Sure sometimes I end up having to put away a bunch of things that were already put away but it is the thought that counts. He is interested in our home and the goings on. He is paying attention to the things I do around here and wants to participate. So I say, my precious boy, participate away!

Next up has been cooking. That has been in the last two weeks or so. Maybe a little less. It is half interested in the food and half wanting my attention because he is a momma’s boy. I say that but unless you have met him you have NO idea! It isn’t bad but it usually means that I am functioning while holding a 27+lb toddler. Not a big deal to me though. So I have tried to include him in the cooking time as opposed to him having a fit on the ground. First it started with me holding him and him helping with safe foods, no raw meat or eggs yet! Then we let him sit on one of our island chairs. That was a little nerve wrecking because initially we just let him sit on it and it is a very high chair. THEN the other evening when Jason wasn’t home yet I needed a solution. And DUH the kid sits in a booster seat at our normal table, so I transferred it to the island chair. Made life nice and easy. And he could help me cook. He was stirring food, stirring just in the bowl without food in there. Watching me and then mimicking me.

Showing him what to do with the spinach. Yes I sneak spinach into whatever I can since he hates green foods. 🙂

good job jack!

I was happy J was home to take these. This was the first time he really helped me out in the kitchen! I am so proud of my little chef.

Sous chef Jack

He is pretty talented at a young 17 months old! Watch out Jamie Oliver!

Yesterday I was running around doing things, or trying! He was playing in our family room/kitchen/dining room. (all three are connected so it is easy to run through them.) I was in the laundry room, off the family room, doing laundry. He peaked his head in and took interest. So I put the wet laundry on the door of the dryer and showed him how to put it in the dryer. It took him two seconds to pick it up. Then he started tossing whatever I put on the door in there! I was so proud. He was squealing with joy. I didn’t take a photo because I didn’t have my phone on me. I wasn’t about to run to grab it and ruin this lovely mother/son moment. It is in my brain though, and I won’t be forgetting it any time soon.

Another thing he has been doing a lot over the past month or two is trying to vacuum with his toy vacuum. When he makes a mess with food or a sensory bin he sometimes finds his vacuum and walks around trying to vacuum it up. He is fascinated by my vacuum and LOVES when I vacuum. LOVES it! Inspects the vacuum and tries to push it. That is where his interest in helping really began. I almost forgot about it because it has been going on for so long.

I posted a Facebook status yesterday. Regarding his interest in chores. I ended it with Dear daughter in law, you’re welcome! HA! I hope I can continue to raise my child to be helpful around the home. Or at least once he moves out and has a home and family of his own that he knows sharing responsibilities around the home is the way to go. That he can cook a meal and wash some laundry. I have been told his interest in helping me will change as he gets older. That may be true or maybe it won’t. Either way I feel I am instilling him with good habits. Showing him being helpful and doing things together is good.




I am a liar! Yesterday I did a 25 minute ab workout. I said I was going to take off but I just couldn’t. Jack slept until nearly 11, I had a lot of time on my hands. I made sure to give my legs a rest though.Tonight is Barre class.

It is recipe time! Yeah buddy! I was thrilled with how last night’s dinner turned out. I forgot to take photos of it. DOH! I will be better with that, I promise. I have to get into the swing of doing it regularly.

This one takes a bit of advanced prep. But it is simple enough. Just have to marinate the chicken.

I adapted this from Shape’s recipe.I made a few changes. I love the taste of Saffron. My mouth waters just thinking about it. I have been meaning to try this recipe for a few months. I finally got down to business. I was not disappointed at all.

They called for butter, which I eliminated. I really avoid cooking with butter at all costs. I substitute with olive oil and it was still super yummy.

On their recipe they had chopped fresh basil at the end. I FORGOT ABOUT THAT!!! I had the basil on my counter and I was running around trying to get the table set, Jack’s sweet potato and rice cooled off, etc. It slipped my mind. So feel free to add it. I will the next time. If you haven’t noticed I tend to function in chaos! Ha! It works well for me. It is not a bad thing. I thrive this way. I have accepted this trait of mine and I openly embrace it!

But below is how I prepared and cooked this delicious meal.

Saffron Chicken Brochettes with Forbidden Rice

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 & 1/2 red onions thinly sliced. 1/2 red onion chopped into bigger pieces to go on skewers.
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • Zest and juice of 3 lemons and juice of one additional lemon
  • ¼ tsp crumbled saffron threads, dissolved in 1 tbsp of boiling water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Special equipment:

12 wooden or metal skewers. I used metal. I prefer metal ones.


  • Please set aside 2 TBSP of olive oil, the juice from one lemon, and 1/2 of a red onion for later, when grilling.
  • Put the chicken and onions in a large nonmetallic bowl. ( I used a pyrex bowl of mine) Whisk together the oil, lemon zest, the juice from 3 lemons and the saffron water. Season with pepper. Pour over the chicken and onions, mix gently, and cover. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  • Meanwhile if you are using a rice cooker, prepare the desired amount of Forbidden Rice. This rice is delicious! It is chuck full of antioxidants, fiber, and other nutrients. I use the Lotus brand. It took my rice cooker about 1 & 1/2 hours to cook the rice on the brown rice setting. 1 cup of the uncooked rice. It was perfect and tasty. So just be aware to prepare your rice as needed.
  • Mix the olive oil and the remaining lemon juice together. Chop the bigger pieces of onion for the skewers. I did this because I LOVE grilled onions with my rice! MMM
  • Place the chicken and onions alternately on skewers. I didn’t keep a pretty pattern. Sometimes there were several pieces of chicken then an onion, etc. I just wanted to sneak some in there. Brush with the olive oil/lemon mixture and grill until cooked. I brushed them a few times after rotating the skewers. The recipe recommended the broiler but it is summer and yesterday was perfect weather. Not too hot not too cold. I was not cooking inside more than I had to. Grill worked great.
  • Serve chicken and onions over the rice and enjoy!

A little note about this Forbidden or Black rice. I loved it. I love whole grain anything. Jason is a big white enriched rice fan. I have refused to cook that for YEARS. He does not care for brown rice, but he tolerates it. I have tried a few other brown rice medleys but he saw them as just ok. THIS rice he really liked. I also mixed it in with Jack’s sweet potato. He is in that “if I don’t recognize it I won’t eat it” toddler stage. He did not even notice the difference and gobbled it up. If I can get him to eat this I will buy it as much as I need to.

We do not have gluten or wheat issues in this family but it is gluten and wheat free. Their site says it cooks in only 30 minutes. I am terrible at cooking rice on the stove top. I tried for years and never could get it just rice. I outsourced my issue and bought a rice cooker. Now my rice is fabulous! It takes longer but it is worth it for me.

Image from Lotus Food’s site