Tag Archives: Cooking

Pint-Sized Goals

Ian still doesn’t know yet, but he has a New Year’s resolution aspiration. I haven’t told him, and quite frankly, I don’t think I’ll bother. For a year-and-a-half I have pandered to and abetted in a lifestyle I don’t approve of. Somehow the proverbial arm got twisted up my back and I have adapted a little too easily to life with the use of the remaining appendage. At three-and-a-half, I don’t think it’s too early to set goals and keep them. It’s a life skill, and who am I to get in the way of that(?)

I’ve decided to put my size-8-thanks-to-my-last-pregnancy foot down and grow a back bone; well, one that doesn’t bend as much anyway. I’m tired of him preferring a chef’s concoctions over mine, it’s despicable and down right rude. So, Chef Boyardee, your days are gone. I have been quietly phasing you out over the past three months and I am happy to say, you’re gone! We used the last tin of you last week and–he didn’t even finish it.  We didn’t use your services all that much, but enough to get my knickers in a twist.

So far, we have dabbled with (and consumed) pork, chicken-flavoured rice, corn (that’s HUGE!), braised beef, real mashed potato, egg (salad) sandwiches, black beans, pistachio and cashew nuts. And I’m not done yet.

There are occasions, like last night where I pandered to my own taste buds, because I can. I could feel myself hitting this rut and I didn’t want to go near it. So, I looked up chicken breast recipes on a popular recipe sharing website and found the top hit: Bourbon chicken. It is also bourbon-free! Yes, it is just a clever name. It is reminiscent of Teriyaki chicken with a Chinese red chili chicken back-hander. It is amazingly tasty. Ian didn’t have any…

Prep. Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins

2 lbs boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 tsp ginger
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup apple juice
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
5 ½ tbsp soy sauce

Heat oil in a large skillet.  Add chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned.  Remove chicken.  Add remaining ingredients, heating over medium Heat until well mixed and dissolved.  Add chicken and bring to a hard boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Serve over hot rice and ENJOY.

You can thank me later.

Small Town Cooking

I wouldn’t necessarily say I live in a small town, it’s more of a small village.  But not necessarily in the British sense though: small amount of people over a vast amount of space.  I have to say, it took us about a year to finally feel like we wanted to be here.  It was a huge culture shock to us both.  We got here and had to adjust from “it would be a great place to vacation” to “farce, we have to freakin’ live here”.  Ian?  He took it in his pee pee-holding, snot-pickin’ stride.  It’s nice though, going from crazy-you-might-die traffic to complete calmness.  Heavy traffic here is 6 cars in front of you at the four-way stop.  There’s no traffic lights, certainly no roundabouts, and for that matter, very few pavements (sidewalks) – including on my street.  Most people know each other, and for the most part, you can tell an out-of-towner because they’re the ones not wearing Wrangler jeans and not walking with an invisible horse between their legs (and that’s just the women).  Eighty percent of the women here are, shall we say, non-threatening?  But very sweet people, of course.  There’s been a few days I have dropped Ian off at pre-school wearing absolutely no makeup and feeling completely comfortable with it.  I would never have dreamed of it in Utah.

Anyway, I had a point.

For Hallowe’en, we went to our local Church’s Trunk or Treat.  Everyone was asked to bring chili, so I obliged.  I thought variety might be the best approach, so I searched for a great Chili Verde recipe, as I had never made it before.  You know the kind, a soft green colour, made with chicken and not beef.

Anyway, I got there, sat my covered casserole dish down and opened it up.  A sweet old man who is known for his incessant teasing stopped and stared at it.

“What’s that?  That’s not chili.”
“It’s Chili Verde”, I offered.
*silence, crickets chirping*
“It’s made with green salsa and chicken instead of ground beef.”
“Oh.”

I made it again for dinner tonight and couldn’t help but think about the potential ruckus I could have caused.

Welcome to Montana.

Time Keeps on Ticking

If I said I was worried, I’d be lying. I’m petrified.

Christmas around my Mum’s house is a feeding extravaganza.

1. Prawn Cocktail: shrimp, served on a bed of lettuce, chopped tomatoes and cucumber served with a helping of Thousand Island Dressing.
2. Homemade Lentil Soup: made with a ham hough, cooked in a pressure cooker and served with fresh crusty French bread.
3. Turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, two veg, roast potatoes, mash potatoes, chipolata sausages wrapped in bacon and a big helping of stuffing.
4. Trifle.
5. Black Forest Gateau or a Pavlova of some sort.
6. After Eight Mints.
7. Crackers and Cheese.
8. Death by Consumption.

You could say it’s a lot like Thanksgiving here. Thanksgiving at my MIL’s is very similar: a huge Turkey dinner with all the trimmings, sides galore and more food than people. Consequently, a combined contribution between both of them could feed a small African country.

Here is my dilemma: I have never cooked Thanksgiving dinner. Ever. Thanksgiving is not a holiday that we have in the UK. We go from Hallowe’en straight to Christmas. Stores put their Christmas decorations up mid-October and Christmas jobs begin around the same time. This is my eleventh Thankgiving and the very first one we are spending as a family, but with no other family around. You may recall we returned to Utah last year to celebrate with Bryan’s family, and on the return journey, spun off the road and lived through a small nightmare. We decided against that this year (especially with the baby) and have opted to stay put this holiday season. So, with that brings the pressure of cooking a Thanksgiving dinner.

Now, I am no stranger to cooking, in fact, I am a total foodie. My cookbook collection expanded by seven books just this year alone. What scares me is the food sychronisation, timing, if you will. I’m totally intimidated by a clock.

I have one week to get my act together.