Thursday, July 6, 2017

Slow Cooker Garlic Chicken

I tried a new recipe this week.  It was a win after a few modifications.  I made slow cooker garlic chicken and paired it with couscous and green beans.  Green beans are our favorite vegetable around here.  This was the first time I tried couscous.  It wasn't too bad but a little goes a long way.  I also cooked it a little differently than the package directed.  I don't like my pasta or rice to bite back.  I found this recipe here, but I modified it quite a bit for our family needs and personal tastes.  I am including two recipes.  One is for the garlic chicken and one is for the couscous.



Slow Cooker Garlic Chicken 

Ingredients:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1-2 Tbsp. favorite cooking oil
1 medium onion
3 garlic cloves
2 tsp. dried thyme
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup flour
salt and pepper

Directions:
-In the bottom of the slow cooker, add oil, thyme, onion and garlic.  Take the chicken breasts and roll in the mixture at the bottom of the cooker.  Add salt and pepper.  Lay chicken in a layer in the bottom of the cooker.
-In a bowl, whisk/blend together chicken stock and flour.  Make sure to mix until smooth with no clumps.  Pour the mixture on top of the chicken in the slow cooker.  Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.  We always shred our chicken up when it is done but you can keep it whole if you would like.


Couscous 

Ingredients:
1 cup dry couscous
2 cups water
salt

Directions:
Bring water and salt to a boil.  Add couscous to boiling water while constantly stirring.  This process will only take a couple of minutes and the couscous is done.  As soon as the water is soaked up, remove from heat.  Stir and fluff with a fork (much like rice) right before serving.


We made this into 4 meals but it was WAY too much and there was a lot of waste.  None of us could eat an entire serving.  Next time, I will be dividing it into 6-8 meals.  It is great leftover!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Banana Pancakes and Blueberry Mash

I made this recipe for breakfast hoping that my daughter would try something different.  She is still very afraid of different foods and has latched onto about 4 foods she will eat.  She is also a child who will starve herself until she is very sick.  We've been there, done that.  She obviously takes after me because she is INCREDIBLY stubborn.  I, being her worrisome mom, am very worried about her health at this point.  She is almost seven and is still very afraid of expanding her food choices.  I still get very angry at her previous doctors when I think about it.  She did not eat this either though, despite my pleading, manipulating, and yummy noises.

My husband, however, did eat some.  He normally hates pancakes but loves waffles.  He says, next time, I should pour it into the waffle iron. I will consider that a win!

I did not pull this recipe from anywhere in particular.  I looked through a lot of recipes, posts, and blogs and this recipe, and small variations thereof, is fairly popular.

Pancakes:

Ingredients:
3 bananas
4 eggs
cinnamon (optional)

Directions:
Mash or blend bananas.  (I used my Ninja blender.  It's awesome!  If you don't have one, you should check them out.)  Then, mix in the eggs.  It should be looking a bit like a batter now.  Sprinkle in cinnamon to taste or personal preference. Spoon into heated pan or griddle and flip as needed.  My griddle was otherwise occupied so I used a pan on my stove.  Cook low and slow...

HINT: Make the pancakes smaller.  I learned very quickly that this type of pancake cooks much easier and more even if you make them smaller.







Blueberry Mash

Ingredients:
Blueberries
Sugar (optional)

Directions:
In blender, blend up the blueberries.  Add sugar to taste, if desired.  Spoon over pancakes.  I prefer something like this instead of syrup.







Italian Chicken and Tomatoes (Reprise)

I have already posted this recipe once.  However, it is very popular and many have asked for the recipe.  I have also changed a few things to make it easier.  You can see the previous post HERE. The old recipe was using fresh diced tomatoes.  This is still great, but let's face it... We just can't always do that.  Tomatoes aren't great fresh all year round. This post will hopefully make this recipe easier but it is still completely healthy and safe for my daughter.  It also looks the same so you can see a picture of the recipe in the above link.

Ingredients:
4 chicken breasts
1 can diced tomatoes*** (see note)
1 Tbsp. Italian herbs and seasonings (I use McCormicks Italian Herb Mix.  You can see it HERE.)
Salt to taste


***Note: You can still use fresh diced tomatoes.  You can also use my diced tomato canning recipe to can your own during high season.  You can find that post HERE.  OR, we have found one brand which we can buy at the local natural foods store which doesn't taste horrible or come in a metal can.  You can see it HERE.  I can as many as I can but it never seems to be enough.


Directions:

In a slow cooker, poor in about a quarter of the diced tomatoes.  Next, place the chicken breasts in the slow cooker.  Then, pour the rest of the diced tomatoes and seasonings in the cooker.  Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.

I typically serve this with rice (Rice Recipe Here) and green beans.  It is amazing leftover as well.

Green Bean Fries

During the summer, we spend a lot of time getting produce from the farmer's market.  We would love to grow our own but it just hasn't happened yet.  I have tried herbs and tomatoes but there are too many animals in my neighborhood that like to steal my good garden plants at night.  I am working on a way to put a cover on some garden beds.  One day, we will grow at least some of our own.  For now though, we buy and preserve during the summer.  I have posted before about canning green beans.  They are one of our favorite veggies.  We canned again this summer but my husband wanted to try some fried green beans.  His favorite Chinese restaurant has them.  We did and they turned out really good!  So I'll share.  We tried to convince the 5 year old to eat them by calling them green bean fries.  She didn't go for it.  One of these days...

Green Bean Fries

Ingredients: 
Fresh Green Beans (with the ends snapped off and rinsed)
Eggs
Flour Mix (we used the same one we use for our Fried Chicken)

Directions: 
Heat up oil for frying.  We use grapeseed oil and have a fryer.  Boil some water to blanch the beans.  Boil the beans for 2-3 minutes and immediately rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process.  Coat the beans in egg, then the flour mix.  Then repeat the coating process.  Double coating is key.  We did one coat first and it was okay, but two coats definitely made them crispier.  Then toss the beans in the fryer.  If you are able, you also get a crispier bean if you double fry by pulling the beans out and letting the oil heat back up and dipping them in for a second round of frying.  However, this must be done quick with the beans so you don't overcook them.  They cook much faster than potatoes or chicken.  When they are done, we always spread them out on a paper towel to soak up the excess oil.
We paired these with baked chicken and rice.  It was a really good meal.



Thursday, July 28, 2016

No-No Corn Ingredients List

This is a list I have been working on for awhile.  There are other lists floating around but I wanted a handy list for my family.  Some of these ingredients are not ALWAYS made from corn but often are so they are not safe ingredients unless they specifically state that they are NOT sourced from corn.  These are ingredients which have been present in products to which L has had a reaction. They could be in foods or medicines.  She has an intolerance so her reaction is mostly intestinal/gastric but eventually shows on her skin as well.  Some with an allergy or intolerance can tolerate certain corn products depending on how they are processed but at this point, most don't know without trying the product to see if there is a reaction.

No-No Corn Ingredients List 

  • acetic acid
  • alcohol
  • artificial flavorings
  • artificial sweeteners
  • ascorbates
  • ascorbic acid
  • aspartame
  • astaxanthin
  • baking powder
  • barley malt
  • bleached flour
  • blended sugar
  • brown sugar
  • calcium citrate
  • calcium fumarate
  • calcium gluconate
  • calcium lactate
  • calcium magnesium acetate
  • calcium stearate
  • calcium stearoyl lactylate
  • caramel
  • caramel color
  • carbonmethylcellulose sodium
  • cellulose microcrystalline
  • cellulose, methyl
  • cellulose, powdered
  • cetearyl glucoside
  • choline chloride
  • citric acid
  • citrus cloud emulsion
  • cocoglycerides
  • confectioners sugar
  • corn
  • corn alcohol
  • corn gluten
  • corn extract
  • corn glour
  • corn oil
  • corn starch
  • corn sweetener
  • corn sugar
  • corn syrup
  • corn syrup solids
  • cornmeal
  • cornstarch, cornflour
  • crosscarmellose sodium
  • cyclodextrin
  • DATUM
  • decyl glucoside
  • decyl polyglucose
  • dextrin
  • dextrose
  • diglycerides
  • distilled white vinegar
  • drying agent
  • erythritol
  • ethanol
  • ethylcellulose
  • ethylene
  • ethyl acetate
  • ethyl alcohol
  • ethyl lactate
  • ethyl maltol
  • fibersol
  • flavorings
  • food starch
  • fructose
  • fumaric acid
  • germ
  • gluconate
  • gluconic acid
  • gluconolactone
  • glucosamine
  • glucose
  • glutamate
  • gluten
  • glycerides
  • glycerin
  • glycerol
  • golden syrup
  • grits
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • hominy
  • honey
  • hydrolyzed corn/corn protein
  • hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • hydroxypropyl methylcellulose
  • inositol
  • invert syrup/sugar
  • iodized salt
  • lactate
  • lactic acid
  • lauryl glucoside
  • lecithin
  • linoleic acid
  • lysine
  • magnesium citrate
  • magnesium fumarate
  • magnesium stearate
  • maize
  • malic acid
  • malonic acid
  • malt
  • malt syrup
  • malt extract
  • malted barley
  • maltitol
  • maltodextrin
  • maltol
  • maltose
  • mannitol
  • methyl gluceth
  • methyl glucose
  • methyl glucoside
  • methylcellulose
  • microcrystaline cellulose
  • modified cellulose gum
  • modified corn starch
  • modified food starch
  • molasses
  • monoglycerides
  • Monosodium glutamate
  • MSG
  • natural flavors
  • olestra/olean
  • polenta
  • polydextrose
  • polylactic acid
  • polysorbates
  • polyvinyl acetate
  • potassium citrate
  • potassium fumarate
  • potassium gluconate
  • powdered sugar
  • pregelatinized starch
  • propionic acid
  • propylene glycol
  • propylene glycol monostearate
  • saccharin
  • salt
  • semolina (unless from wheat only)
  • simethicone
  • sodium carboxymethylcellulose
  • sodium citrate
  • sodium erythorbate
  • sodium fumarate
  • sodium lactate
  • sodium starch glycolate
  • sodium stearoyl fumrate
  • sorbate
  • sorbic acid
  • sorbitan
  • sorbitol
  • sorghum
  • splenda
  • starch 
  • stearic acid
  • stearoyls
  • sucralose
  • sugar
  • threonine
  • tocopherol
  • treacle
  • triethyl citrate
  • unmodified starch
  • vanilla
  • vanilla extract
  • vanillin
  • vegetable anything that isn't specific
  • vinegar
  • vinyl acetate
  • vitamin A palmitate
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin E
  • vitamins
  • xanthan gum
  • xylitol
  • yeast/yeast extract
  • zea mays
  • zein


Natural All Purpose Cleaner

Vinegar and Citrus Peels: All Purpose Cleaner

Ingredients:
Vinegar
Citrus peels (orange, lemon, lime)

Directions:
In a large jar, pour vinegar over citrus peels.  Allow to soak for a week or so.  Pour into a squirt bottle with a little hot/warm water.

I use this to clean counters and appliances mostly but I have also used it on the tile floors.  The citrus helps to deter most insects as well.  The only thing it doesn't seem to keep away is ants.  We still have trouble with ants and can't find anything that keeps them gone.  But the citrus works to keep out spiders and other insects.

I don't have a picture of this.  I never think to take one when I make a new jar.  One of these days, I will remember and add a picture.  This method has been shared all over Pinterest and other social media.  It does work, is easy, and is cheap.  We already use citrus.  Now we just keep the peels in a jar for cleaner.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Homemade Lemonade and Lemonade Syrup

Two posts in one day! What?!  Well, it's rainy and yucky outside.  I haven't even been able to open my pool yet.  It's criminal!  Already four days into June and I can't open my pool!  So, I'm on my computer pulling new recipes and watching L play with her toys.  The house is a wreck because she is bored.  She has pulled out toys from the deepest corners of her toy boxes.  This is a child who does not enjoy just sitting and playing video games like other kids.  She is always on the go go go...  She did mention wanting to try lemonade though.  L?  Wants to try something new?  No way!  So I went and bought some lemons.  She, of course, cannot just have the lemonade at the store.  I have to make it from scratch.  But I already learned how to do this long ago.  So, this morning we squeezed lemons.  She thought that was really cool.  She only wanted to juice one though.  She didn't want to touch the "dirty seeds."  My sensory child...  They were slimy from the juice and pulp.  But she did sit and watch.  It was a good experience for her.  So now I will share the experience with you.  :)

And guess what... I remembered pictures this time!!!


Lemonade Syrup

Ingredients:
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (I squeezed about 6 medium lemons for this this morning)
1/2 cup water
1 cup raw organic sugar

Directions:
In a small/medium saucepan, bring lemon juice and water to a boil.  Whisk in sugar.  Make sure you are using non reactive cookware.  I used a silicon coated whisk. Pour into a jar and let cool.  Refrigerate syrup in jar for up to one month.

To make this into lemonade, stir 1 Tablespoon (per 8 oz.) of syrup into a cold glass of water.  Adjust to taste of course.  I find that two tablespoons of syrup in one of my larger glasses of ice water is perfect.


This is what my jar of syrup looks like: