Thursday, June 27, 2013

Homemade Greek Salad Dressing



There is little quite as refreshing and yummy as a homemade Greek salad in the warm summer months.  All those fresh veggies paired with olives, feta, and a dressing with Mediterranean flavours is delish! 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Curried Chicken with Barley

 

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Confession: I do not like the dark meat of chicken.  I have tried every which way to cook it: roasted, braised, crock-potted, deep-fried, in soups, in tacos, in stir fries, in pasta dishes.  And no matter what I did I just could not find a way to enjoy the taste and texture of dark chicken meat.  Until now.

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Chicken legs, meet curry.

As I have shared here before, I prefer to buy whole chickens instead of boneless, skinless chicken breast because if you look closely you are usually paying the same price for two breasts as you could for an entire chicken.  Why waste that money and the rest of that bird for a little more convenience?  I was just about to give up on the leg portions of the bird and start freezing them and giving them away to a friend who likes them, when I decided to try one last flavour set: curry.  And I finally have a winner.

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Curry is most often served with Basmati rice, and for good reason as it is delicious that way.  But… Basmati rice, for all its delicious flavour, is about as nutritious as eating a bowl of sugar… no fiber and lots of refined carbs that are going nowhere but to my hips.  But- hulled barley (also called “pot barley”), which is the least refined version of the grain you can purchase, is very high in fibre and has a wonderfully nutty flavour and chewy texture that stands up wonderfully to a slow-cooked curry dish like this. 

Curried Chicken and Barley

  • 2 chicken legs, whole or in thigh/drumstick pieces
  • 1/2 cup of “hulled” or “pot” barley, rinsed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper (I used red), chopped
  • 1/3 cup cashews (optional)
  • 1/4 cup diced dried mangoes or other dried fruit (optional)
  • 1/4 cup butter or ghee
  • 1 T curry powder
  • 1/2 T garam masala (or just more curry powder if you don’t have this)
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 t ground ginger
  • 1 t sugar (optional)
  • 1/4 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t cayenne (optional IF you like it spicy)
  • 750 ml can of diced tomatoes
  • 400 ml can of coconut milk
  • salt and pepper

1. Rinse and pat dry your chicken legs, add salt and pepper.  If you want a lower-fat curry, you can take the skins off, but in my opinion the skins add so much flavour to the dish.  I meet in the middle on fat-intake and I cook the chicken with the skin on but remove it before eating it.

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2. Prepare the spice mixture by mixing all of the above spices (except salt and pepper) in a little dish.

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3. In a large, deep saute pan or a dutch oven (you’ll need a lid for the pan), heat the butter on medium heat.  Once the butter is foamy, add the onions an red peppers.  Cook for about three minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are glassy.

4. Add the spice mixture (all of it together at once), sprinkling it evenly over the onion mixture in the pan.  Allow the heat to warm the spices through (get ready to salivate!) , stirring occasionally for about 3 minutes.

5. Add the barley to the pan, stirring, allowing the grains to be covered by the seasoning.

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6. Add your chicken legs and allow them to simmer a few minutes on each side in the seasoning/onions, so they are good and coated with that yummy stuff.

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7. Add your canned tomatoes, with their liquid.  I have listed a 750 ml can of tomatoes here, but I only add them until the chicken is not quite covered (see photo above), and thus there was a little tomato left in the can.  You can eyeball it to what looks right for your dish,  but that is about where you want the liquid level to be.

8. Using a spatula, scrap up all that oniony, spicey goodness that is probably sticking to the bottom of the pan at this point.  Bring the tomatoes just to a boil and then turn the whole thing down to quite low, about a 2-3 on the burner dial.  Cover almost completely with a lid, leaving just about an inch for steam to escape, and cook, turning the chicken legs only occasionally, for 45 minutes.

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9. Add your cashews and dried fruit if you’re using, as well as the coconut milk.  Note- once again I did not use the entire can of coconut milk.  If you notice, when coconut milk sits the thick coconut cream comes to the top of the can.  I usually scoop all of that into the pan, then add a little of the coconut water left behind, until the chick is just barely covered again. 

10.  Bring just to boil and back down to simmer on 2-3, for 20 minutes.

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11. Now you have a choice… you can serve as is and serve a piece of chicken on the plate or bowl surrounded by the curry, or you can do as I did and take the legs out, take the meat off with forks, and put the meat back into the pan and discard the bones. 

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It turned out delish, if I do say so myself, and we ate it with some warmed up naan bread and a dollop of plain yogurt as a garnish.  Chopped fresh cilantro would take the dish right over the top into culinary delight but alas… I didn’t have any on me.  Im so glad finally to have found a recipe for chicken dark meat that I actually enjoy.

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Don’t forget to enter my Starbucks and Betty Crocker Give-away, winner being drawn July 12th.  As always, it’s a no-strings-attached give-away, just click on the icon below and enter a comment to win!

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Blessings, hope to see you soon!

 

Proud to be linking up today with  Just Another Meatless Monday at Hey Mom Whats for Dinner, Meatless Mondays at Veggie Mamma, Makin’ You Crave Monday at Mrs. Happy Homemaker, The Gathering Spot at Mamal Diane, Melt in Your Mouth Mondays at Make Ahead Meals, Show Me What Ya Got at Not Just a Housewife, and Traditional Tuesdays at Delicious Obsessions,  Healthy 2day Wednesdays at Authentic Simplicity, Whole Food Wednesdays at This Chick Cooks, Works For Me Wednesdays at We Are That Family,Full Plate Thursdays at Miz Helen’s, Share Your Cup Thursdays at Jann Olson’s, Think Tank Thursdays at Joyful Homemaking.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Scripture Sundays: Impress Them On Your Children

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These commandments that I give you today

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are to be upon your hearts.

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Impress them on your children.

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Talk about them when you sit at home

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and when you walk along the road,

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     when you lie down

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and when you get up.

Deuteronomy 6:6-8

 

photos by Mr. Old-Fashioned

Proud to be linking up today with  Share Your Cup Thursdays at Jann Olson’s, Think Tank Thursdays at Joyful Homemaking.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Old Fashioned Update: Now with more babies!

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Hello ladies!  Talk about a long time since I last posted.  As I said when I returned to blogging after baby number 1, my pregnancies are just too difficult to blog through.  Truth be told I really lose a lot of my nesting/homemaking instinct and desire when I am pregnant, and the longer Im pregnant the worse it gets (though I do get about a month reprieve where I feel creative again, around the six month mark, and youll notice that is when I did a post for Halloween!  Smile  But for the most part pregnancy consists of getting through the days and making the baby and focusing on my health and doing the basics to get my family through a tough season. 

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But of course its ALL worth it because we got this wonderful addition to our family, our son whom I am going to refer to as Little Dude on the blog.  He was born March 21st and weighed in at a whopping 9lbs 2 Oz!  He was delivered via C-Section as his sister was, and this time the recovery was longer and harder for mom than last time, so it took me a good two months to get back to feeling anything close to normal.  Now, by God’s grace, Im all healed and my Im so loving every day of being a mother of two.  Its an adjustment for sure, but its such an amazing blessing. 

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As my homemaking instinct has returned I am getting excited about cooking good meals, catching up with organizing and cleaning my house, and of course I want to blog again!  I miss the fun of putting together a post and sharing it with you and checking in on what you other ladies are doing in the blogosphere.  But as I don’t have to tell any of you who have kids, juggling a toddler and a newborn is a lot of work and I have just about zero time for creative pursuits right now.

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our beautiful Birdie Girl on a recent trip to the beach

In addition to that, our brilliant daughter Birdie Girl was diagnosed with Autism in January and so I am quite busy with reading reading reading all about the world of autism, therapies, etc, which takes up what little “free” time (read: what I do while breast feeding haha!) I have. So, in short: blogging feels like an impossibility!  And yet it is probably my only real creative outlet, so I hope to be able to return to it in some fashion.

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I think for the time being my goal is going ot be one blog post a week.  I know it’s a lot, and I likely wont have time to read other blogs just yet, but Im hoping to ease myself back into blogging with a few posts a month about recipes, parenting, faith, or whatever I have the brain space and time to get typed up.  I will also likely start sharing links and thoughts on my facebook page again, as that was a fun, quick way to share information and feel part of a community even when I couldn’t get a post done. 

I have so appreciated all the people who have read and participated in my blog here over the years, and I hope you are all doing so well.  God bless you all and I look forward to sharing more with you soon!!