Wednesday, February 29, 2012

project new recipe :: TUMERIC CHICKEN WITH COCONUT WILD RICE

for the last 6 weeks i've been addicted to pinterest and foodgawker.  why?  besides the obvious (they're awesome!), i can peruse them one-handed ON MY PHONE while nursing my baby boy.

and i do a lot of nursing.

so i'm multi-tasking and that's a good thing.  :)  especially nowadays when i'm lucky if i get out of my pj's all day, and i count it a success to have put my contacts in.

most of my pinterest time is spent looking at recipes and of course, food is all i DROOL over on foodgawker.  one of the things i was most looking forward to on my maternity leave was finally having time to cook again.  i LOVE to cook, but working full time + commuting 2+ hours each day left little (or NO) time for that.  of course when i told many of my mommy friends about my desire to rediscover my love for cooking while on maternity leave, they just laughed.  mostly at my naivety in thinking i would have any time to cook or rediscover anything with a newborn.  and as a first time parent.

well they were right.  the last 7 weeks have not been spent cooking or doing much else besides adjusting to life with a newborn.

and drooling over food blogs.

 but now that i somewhat have my head above water, i thought it was time to try one of the many receipes i've pinned on pinterest or favorited on foodgawker.  

armed with motivation to cook dinner a couple of days ago, i realized quickly that many of the recipes that have piqued my interest are indian or south-east asian influenced.   many are curry based and they all call for spices i've never owned or used, especially these three:

coriander - also known as cilantro...who knew?!  not me.  apparently everywhere else in the english speaking world (except the U.S.), the leaves and seeds are known as coriander.

cumin - the dried seed of the cumin herb and is a member of the parsley family.  the second most popular spice in the world after black pepper.  definitely didn't know that and now i feel even more out of the cooking loop for never having used it before.  

tumeric - a member of the ginger family; native to tropical south asia as it needs considerable rainfall to thrive.

so i ran to my local fred meyer and snagged up these three spices.  i also narrowed down my recipes to the first i would experiment with: turmeric chicken with coconut wild rice.  not too many ingredients required, not too many steps - just what i needed for my first venture back into the world of cooking.

final result - the recipe was a success and tumeric is now added to my spice repertoire.  very easy to cook with and pretty mild flavored overall.

my cooking goal is to try a new recipe each week. :)

**********

tumeric chicken with coconut wild rice
adapted from bev cooks
serves 3 (or 2 very hungry folks!)

ingredients

  • 1 cup black wild rice 
  • 2 cans coconut milk (apx. 4 cups) - or 1 can coconut milk, & 2 cups chicken stock
  • 3 Tbs olive oil (this isn't exact)
  • 6-8 cups spinach, tightly packed (apx. 1 large bunch)
  • 1 Tbs ground tumeric
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs salt (i used coarse sea salt)
  • pinch of freshly ground pepper
  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced in half (and can also be cut into smaller pieces)
  • 1 lime

method
  1. on stove top or in rice cooker, cook rice in the coconut milk according to instructions.  salt the coconut milk generously to add more flavor to the rice.  note: it will take at least 60 minutes for the wild rice to finish cooking.
  2. when the rice has about 20 minutes remaining, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet and cook spinach until wilted, approximately 2 minutes.  set aide.
  3. in a shallow dish, combine the flour, tumeric, 1 Tbs salt and a pinch of freshly ground pepper
  4. lightly dredge the chicken through the flour mixture
  5. heat remaining oil in the skillet and add the chicken - sear on both sides until browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes
  6. remove from heat and squeeze the juice of half a lime onto the chicken
  7. once rice is done cooking, mix the wilted spinach into the rice.  add more salt & pepper to taste
  8. serve chicken over wild rice
  9. ENJOY!


notes

  • had a difficult time finding black wild rice - finally found one brand/box of it at the large supermarket by my house, and it wasn't cheap.  $5 for 8 oz
  • the rice takes a VERY long time to cook - think 60-70 minutes, so get a head start on this.  i didn't know this when making this recipe, so dinner was quite a bit later than expected.
  • loved the texture of the wild rice!  the spinach is a great complement texturally to the chewy nuttiness of the rice.
  • the amount of salt added to the rice and to the flour mixture can vary depending on personal preference.  i found the original recipe needed quite a bit more salt, and i don't tend to over-salt dishes
  • cutting up the chicken into smaller pieces lessens the cooking time a bit


 {the newest additions to my spice cupboard!}

{the cast of characters for this recipe} 

{the final product, although i'm not proud of this picture as it doesn't do the recipe justice - i blame it on the extremely poor evening lighting in my kitchen }

Saturday, February 25, 2012

daddy & his love

oh how i love them.


{entering this into 'the paper mama's'  b&w photo challenge here.}

6 weeks into this mommy thing

seven weeks ago i was still pregnant.

now i have a six week old.  crazy.

here are a few highlights from the last couple of weeks...


sweet baby boy -

  • weighs somewhere upwards of 10 lbs (which he weighed when we took him in a couple of weeks ago when i was convinced he had a cold).  i'm guessing he's close to 11 lbs by now
  • was 21.5 inches long a couple of weeks ago
  • wears 0-3 months and 3 months clothes.  he outgrew his newborn clothes A LONG TIME AGO  - mama's got a big boy!
  • has discovered his tongue - it's so cute to have him stick it out and you can almost tell he's trying to figure out what what in the world he's supposed to do with it
  • is much more alert, especially in the mornings and especially in response to mama's voice
  • makes eye contact and rewards us with big smiles and sounds
  • has also started cooing - not full-on coos, but he's makes happy sounds as though he's trying to talk.  melts. my. heart.
  • enjoys visits from grandma - she tries to stop by at least a few times a week - he's very responsive to her voice and rewards her with big elvis smirks
  • loves being read to - favorite books: anything dr. suess like 'the thinks you can think', 'green eggs & ham', 'the cat in the hat' & 'one fish two fish red fish blue fish' - i've read that babies like hearing the inflections in a person's voice when they read to them, and i can say this is certainly true for ronan.  the more inflection i put in my voice (which isn't difficult to do with dr. suess), the more responsive and excited he gets - so fun!
  • has started filling out, especially his cheeks, double-chin, legs, and those piggly-wiggly little toes that i can't stop kissing!
  • hairline is still receding, although he still has a lot of hair, and it's fluffy, especially after a bath.  oh, and the mullet lives on!
  • nicknames: bud, mama's love, baby love, silly love, bud-a-licious, squirmy-worm, flirty mc-flirt, ro-ro, ro-man
  • must be going through a growth spurt.  the last few days he's been completely off his normal three hour routine of eating / wake time / naptime (baby-wise method, which we've implemented).  instead, he's been eating (chugging) every 1 - 1 1/2 hours, and hardly sleeping at all.  it's been a bit rough, but i know his little body is growing.  it's just hard to see him tired yet unable to fall asleep before he's hungry again.  
  • tried out the ergo and baby bjorn for the first time and he really seemed to like being nestled against daddy's chest when he was in them
  • still get hiccups ALL THE TIME.  i know it's normal and it doesn't bother him, but i HATE seeing his body shake with violent hiccups, sometimes for up to a 1/2 hour.  i keep him upright after feedings, burp him well, all the things i should be doing, but this little guy is just super prone to hiccups
  • had first blow-out diaper.  and there have been others since.  we'll just leave it at that.
  • started playing with his activity mat.  the singing toy scares him a bit.  the sad face he makes when the  music starts shouldn't make me laugh, but it does
  • is utterly FASCINATED with the black & white infant stimulation cards i put up in his crib (which i downloaded for free here).  i read that babies loves black/white contrast (since their eyes aren't yet mature enough to perceive other colors), and that is certainly the case with him.  he will stare at them, tries to talk with them, reaches for them. it's amazing to watch!
  • does tummy time daily, usually on his lounger. the last few times he's done tummy time on the lounger, in the crib, while looking at his black & white cards - multi-tasker!
  • apparently doesn't like socks or hats very much.  the socks get kicked off almost instantly - doesn't matter if i pull them up to his knees.  and he screams bloody murder when a hat goes on...well, it's actually just one particular hat now that i think of it...

mama
  • had my 6 week postpartum checkup and was given a clean bill of health - i guess that means i should start working out, but finding the time & motivation...UGGGGH!
  • when i DO start working out, i think yoga/pilates will be my way in.  my back has been killing me since i've had mister ronan, and i know it must be due to breastfeeding and strain that puts especially on my upper back.  besides a massage (which i hope to schedule for next week), i can't think of anything better that will start to strengthen my back up again.
  • also thinking about zumba - a new zumba studio opened up right by our house and i can't think of a funner (and more embarrassing) way to get back in shape
  • have been taking the little mister out and about more, although i definitely try and do it around his feedings as i don't enjoy figuring out the logistics of nursing in public.  we went to cafe sip-n-play again (and i did nurse while there), the mall (daddy joined us) to get some walking in, and out to breakfast together
  • still not eating dairy and chocolate - i eliminated them week 4 hoping that would solve his tummy issues and fussiness.  i've seen a tremendous improvement, so going to stick to it for now, but holy mama, it's hard!  i had no idea how much dairy i was consuming, and i miss it oh so very much.  needless to say, without dairy, caffeine, chocolate, spicy, broccoli and cabbage, my diet is bland and pathetic.  oh, and decaf soy lattes are lame...i want the real thing!
  • CANNOT wait for summer to get here!  next time, we'r having a baby in the summer!  ok, we probably won't be able to control that, but i now realize how much easier it would've been to have him when the weather was warmer.  i'm ready to go for walks without worrying about him catching a cold and being exposed during flu season


and...some pics from the last couple of weeks (taken with my lovely phone because i don't have time to edit too many photos nowadays) - i swear they look SO MUCH better on my phone!

 [enjoying his activity mat]

[mr. fuzzy-head has discovered his tongue!] 

 [yes, he is!]

[talking with mama] 

[mama & her love - taken by tracy] 

[my one-sock bandit...and the cutest piggly-wigglies i've ever seen] 

[just stack the nursing bobby atop the lounger - leave it to dad to come up with a 'super lounger' for bud!]

[so entranced with the black & white - pulling double-duty while doing tummy time]

[spellbound by nicole, who is, by-the-way, pregnant with her 3rd!]

[tell me more, tracy...you tell the best stories] 

 [loves his 'aunt' sarah]

 [and his 'aunt' tams - somebody was getting his flirt on!]


********************

and because i'm STARVING, a few of the things i miss so much i could just cry... 



[soon, you will be mine again!]



[i so desperately need you every day...]

[didn't know how good i had it until you were off limits...]


[is it weird to desperately long for the days when i can eat broccoli & cabbage again?]




Tuesday, February 21, 2012

a biscuits kind of day

one of the great things about having a hubby that (mostly) works from home is going on impromptu breakfast dates in the middle of the week.  this morning, after feeding and packing up ronan, we decided to head to pine state biscuits on alberta in north portland...just because.  it was the hubby's idea and i was more than happy to agree, especially since i'd been cooped up for a couple of days.

i'll let the pictures (all taken with the camera + app on my phone) tell the story...


{loved their light fixtures and the open beam ceiling}



{old tractor seats turned into bar stools - so cool}

{that's ONE biscuit - with mushroom gravy  - and a fried chicken breast on the side.  YUM doesn't begin to describe how good it was!}

{it's like the heavens opened up...}

{what our little man did the entire time}

{we demolished it!}


p.s.  lyg, next time you're in town, i'm taking you here!
p.p.s. nomers, when you come in april, i'm taking you here!
p.p.p.s.  next time, i'm trying their shrimp & grits AND their fried green tomatoes.  oh yeah!

Monday, February 20, 2012

our dallas visitors

last week my sister lyg, her hubby and their little mister luke visited for AN ENTIRE WEEK!  they live in dallas, tx, so i'm lucky if i get to see them once a year.  in fact, the last time i saw them was january 2011 when i visited them and luke was 6 months old.  on that trip, i fell head over heels for my newest nephew and wondered if i could someday love another child as much.  well, now that i have my own, i can say with certainty YES, but i will forever remember the luke that stole my heart.

before their visit, we spent 4 weeks pretty well cocooned in our home, just me, hubs and baby ronan, adjusting to life as a family of three.  so adding three more people to the mix made for a very busy household and a very fun week!

some of the highlights from our week -
  • the home cooked meals!  my sister loves to cook, and is much more resourceful and brave than i am in the kitchen.  so she cooked for us, and it was such a treat!  for this particular meal, she introduced us to swiss chard - who knew it was so good and easy to prepare?  i'm sold.  we feasted on a caprese salad, homemade garlic knots, spaghetti with swiss chard and pancetta, a roasted chicken, and for desert...ice-cream/sorbet done 3 ways - lyg, you rock!

  • help with crafty projects - the nursery still isn't finished and i knew that having my crafty sister around for an entire week would be the perfect opportunity to finish up one of the ideas i have for the nursery.   i guess you could say i 'used' her for her craftiness and creativity, but she didn't mind one bit!  :)   for this project we used frames i already had in the house as well as some she snagged at the local salvation army store.  we then made a quick visit to home depot and decided on three shades of green paint.  after sanding the frames down a bit, we she painted them and decided how they would be arranged on the wall.  i can't wait to see what they look like up when the collage is up on the wall above the changing table although i have yet to decide what to put in them...



  • sister time -  like most people, i feel most comfortable and at ease with my immediate family.  no one knows and understands me as well as they do and with them i don't have to worry about making sure the house is picked up or that i'm put together.  and that's a good thing because neither of those was true last week!   and that was ok.  we spent time lounging around in our pj's, watching the bachelor, talking about food, gossiping, pinteresting, more talking about food, and just having girl time.


  • a few firsts - until last week, i hadn't been brave enough to take ronan out and about on my own..  the main reason was fear of him getting sick (following strict doctor's orders given this is cold & flu season).  but following closely behind was my fear of nursing in public. not because of what anyone would say, but the actual logistics of it just seemed much too daunting.  well, my sister gave me the courage i needed to face my fears.  we ventured to cafe sip-n-play the first time, and since that experience went so well, we decided to take our boys and spend another day at nuvrei and shopping at pioneer place.  oh, and it was raining!  it's amazing the things that give me a sense of accomplishment nowadays.  :)
{at cafe sip-n-play - is it horrible that i find his sad face hilarious?  and seriously, the cutest hat ever!}

  • baby time - yes, mister ronan stole the show (in my *humble* opinion), but there were two other babies on the scene - mister luke (19 months old) and lilttle miss audrey (4 months old).  it was so fun to see the three of them together and to realize how quickly ronan's going to change.  :(   luke was a ball of energy, very mobile and with a mind all his own!  he was enamored with zoe-girl, and followed her around making barking sounds all week.  it was beyond adorable, and i can tell you zoe-girl definitely returned his affections.  it may or may not have something to do with luke being a treat factory!  :)  we enjoyed reading his cowboy book together (he's fascinated with cows!), coloring dinosaurs together and playing with his cars.  oh, and watching baby einstein together.  and his flirty side glances and full on smiles were just enough to melt my heart all over again!

{trying to get a picture of all three babies together - this was the best we could do!}

{uncle brandon meeting ronan for the first time - he had the magic touch...must be the mountain dew}
{still can't believe how big he's gotten!}

 {ronan & auntie lyg bonding time - he loved her!}

 {luke & ronan - oh, the adventures they're going to have someday!}

 {uncle reid showing luke how to really have fun - all it takes is a spinning mixing bowl!}

{the many faces of mister luke - can he be any cuter??}



it was such a treat to have them with us for an entire week, and the house seemed much too empty when they left.  i'm still staying optimistic that they will someday come to their senses and move to portland... it could happen!!

and because i can't help it (and because i took waaaaaay too many pictures) here are a few more from the week...


{the very first day, luke crawled into zoe's crate - needless to say, she was more than a bit confused...}



{i absolutely LOVE this family portrait!}





{oh, those eyes}


{me and my mister luke}