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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Moroccan Chicken with Lentils

Do you sometimes feel like it gets harder and harder to come up with new and exciting dishes to make for your family.  Dishes that you can feel good about feeding to your loved ones.  Dishes that introduce new foods to your picky little eaters that they will eat and enjoy?  You are not alone!

While searching for a dinner idea, I had two things that I wanted to use.  Chicken thighs (because that is what I happened to purchase at the store) and lentils (because I LOVE them and I need more ways to incorporate them into meals my children will eat).

I saw a few different ideas for Moroccan Chicken and decided why not.  The flavors seemed interesting enough and it was full of vegetables that my kids would normally never touch.  The house smelled wonderful as it cooked and I had two smiling and satisfied children (and one happy husband) after dinner.  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!

Moroccan Chicken with Lentils

1 Tbsp cumin
1-1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
salt and pepper
6-8 skinless chicken thighs
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small sweet onion
2-3 carrots (depending on size) peeled and sliced
2-3 ribs celery, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
drizzle of balsamic vinegar
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 cup lentils, rinsed and picked over
1/2 cup raisins

1. Mix first 7 ingredients and salt and pepper in a bowl.  Pat the chicken thighs dry and coat each thigh with spice mixture.

2.  Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add chicken and brown on both sides.  Remove chicken and set aside.

3. To the pan, add onion and cook until translucent.  Stir in the garlic, celery and carrots and saute for an additional minute.  Add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Stir in the tomatoes, chicken broth, bay leaves, lentils and raisins.  Season with salt and pepper if desire. Place chicken thighs on top.

4.  Bring mixture to a simmer, cover and simmer for 35-40 minutes or until lentils are tender and chicken is cooked through.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Green Morning Smoothie

We have all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  The meal that gets your body started and ready for whatever your day holds in store for you. But what are you fueling your body with to prepare it for the day?

I was always nervous about making green smoothies. I thought they wouldn't taste good, my kids will never touch them, I don't have the time to make them, and so on and so on. But I realize now, that these were the excuses I was making in my head, to keep me from putting forth a little extra effort, to give my kids and myself a nutritious and delicious jump start in the morning.

Once I bought the ingredients and committed to making a green smoothie each morning for a week, I didn't let that little voice in my head hold me back. My first one was a success and I was hooked! As the days went on, and I got into more of a routine, my kids started to get curious.  My son was the first to crack and ask for some.  I gave him a little glass full and he LOVED it.  He asked for more and that was it, he was hooked.  My daughter was slower to come around, but as she watched me and my son have our morning smoothies, she finally started to ask for some and now she has a small glass each morning with her breakfast. The one year old that I babysit even loves them!    

I did not force my kids to try them, I let them decide on their own.  I didn't hide ingredients from them, I let them watch what I put into it, and I let them take turns pushing the button, or peeling the banana, or getting me other ingredients.  Not once did they mention anything negative about what went into it. I realized that the negative thoughts I had around green smoothies, was all in my head.  

Green Morning Smoothie

Spinach - handful
Kale - 2 big leaves
1 banana
1/2 a (sweet) pear (also try apple, peach, mango)
4-5 frozen strawberries
1/2 lemon (peeled)
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp ground flax seed
8 oz water
*pinch of cayenne if you like a little kick

Add all ingredients to a blender, blend until smooth.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Homemade Healing Chicken Soup

My heart was touched when my Arleena ran up to her Daddy and gave him the best medicine for a cold… a lot of love.  The heart shaped card inspired me to also give Daddy some good super food medicine in my easy chicken soup.  I really believe there are so many healing remedies available in God’s goodness and my family relies heavily on these home cures.  

Tip of the Day...  Organic Apple Cider Vinegar: this can be used to thin out the mucous that builds up as a cold or sinus infection come on.  2 tablespoons mixed with water when you wake up and when you go to bed will help you even through allergy season.

 Below is the recipe to a very healing chicken soup.
Save or Print Recipe

What You’ll Need:

·         2 Tbsp Olive Oil
·         2 Cloves Garlic chopped or  minced
·         1 Tbsp Celery Seed
·         3 bay leaves
·         Sea Salt to Taste
·         1 handful (or more) of  Italian Parsley
·         4 or 5 large carrots sliced
·         1 lb left over cooked chicken
·         32 oz container of LOW SODIUM Chicken or Vegetable Stock
·         1 cup Water
·         3 cups Brown Rice cooked (1 cup dry makes 3) Use a pressure cooker to save time or simmer in soup for an hour to cook rice)
·         Hot Sauce  or Hot Spice Optional to open sinus

Step #1: In a large Stock pot combine olive oil, garlic and carrots on Med/high heat and sauté for 4 minutes.


 Step #2: add parsley and sauté for 1 minute:  

Did you know that parsley has many health benefits? Parsley is a good source of vitamin K, A, folic acid, vitamin C, potassium, as well as fiber. It has substantial flavonoid content, which gives it strong antioxidant benefit. So it helps reduce free radicals and inflammation. Parsley also has iron in it.

 Step #3: add stock, water and remainder of ingredients except rice and bring to a boil.  Allow to boil for a few minutes then reduce heat to a simmer.  Do not be afraid to add additional spice if you like it… there is no wrong way to make a good chicken soup.

Step #4: To make this dinner recipe simple, cook the brown rice in a pressure cooker (this can be done in 10-15 minutes), drain rice after being cooked and add to soup which will be ready to serve after removing the bay leaves.  Or the long way is to add 1 cup of uncooked brown rice to the soup and simmer per directions on rice package, usually 1 hour.   You can also make this dinner recipe simple by using Quinoa Pasta instead of rice which will cook in 7-10 minutes… this keeps the dish gluten free.  Be sure to remove bay leaves before serving and add some hot sauce to clear those sinuses. 

A few hints to make sure this is truly a healing soup…

1.       Use organic produce and meat
2.       Use organic stock that does not have preservatives
3.       Use sea salt without additives or preservatives

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