One of my most favorite experiences of the summer is that first bite of sweet corn on the cob around the 4th of July when the sweet corn is just starting to be ready. The sweet corn crop continues through the rest of the summer […]
This weekend, I’ll be hosting a number of my mom’s side of the family for great food (quinoa tabouli!), great games (badminton!) and great conversation. It’s been a year since I’ve seen many of these amazing peeps so it’s about time we make an occasion to get together again. In the meantime, I’ve been busy attempting to clean the house and get the yard in order. However, those of you with kids know as well as I do that cleaning the house in the summer is an exasperating event for multiple reasons.
1. They don’t want to help but they have no choice (insert long drawn out whining about how it’s summer and why do they HAVE to work and learn responsibility?). I know, Mom is such a slave driver!
2. The moment the bathroom or kitchen is clean, it’s immediately disgustingly dirty with yogurt fingerprints, soap accidentally sprayed all over the floor or toothpaste on the mirror (the “but mom! it wasn’t my fault!” argument now ensues when asking them to re-clean their mess).
3. The toys finally get cleaned up and then the kids decide to drag them all out again 20 minutes later because, well, it’s just too clean without them on the floor (more whining about picking up the newly dispersed mess of toys for the 3rd time today).
4. The windows have been ceremoniously wiped clean of finger prints. This also lasts a mere 30 seconds. Thank you, children.
5. The carpet and floors are all vacuumed and washed. This lasts perhaps 31 seconds until one child forgets to take off their shoes and creates a trail of muddy flip flop feet across the floor. Awesome. I now say a short prayer and accept my fate… Dear family, please accept my semi-dirty house. A dirty house is a happy house 😉 Sincerely, one tired (and happily fulfilled) mom.
And so it goes on. Really, my girls are pretty good with their chores as they do know the expectation is that we all use the space in our house and therefore we all share in the cleanup duties each week. The other “chore” they’ve gotten very good at is helping me in the kitchen. Yesterday, the girls and I made and canned pickled onions, a balsamic caramelized onion relish and then made dill pickles for the first time. They did great! The next few days they’ll be helping me with a few food items like a caramelized banana bread made with Einkorn flour for Sunday breakfast, my favorite spicy yogurt dip, perhaps a marinated venison or steak cut into kebobs for grilling, and this fresh quinoa tabouli.
A staple among Lebanese families, tabouli (or tabouleh) is a cold salad made from bulgar wheat, parsley, tomatoes, onion, mint, lemon juice and olive oil. Bulgar wheat has a very similar size and shape to quinoa so I’ve replaced the wheat in the recipe creating a quinoa tabouli. I really enjoy the nuttiness that this ancient grain has and it gives the quinoa tabouli a light crunch as well. Quinoa is naturally gluten-free making this perfect for those of you who avoid wheat or just like to vary up your grain selection a bit. This light and delicious salad is equally amazing served alongside meat dishes or on a vegetarian spread as a part of any summery picnic fare.
- 1 cup cooked quinoa (cook in chicken broth or vegetable broth instead of water)
- 2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped
- 10-12 mint leaves, finely chopped
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Toss all ingredients into a bowl and combine.
- Serve cold or at room temperature.
Tabouli can be made 2-3 days in advance and refrigerated.
My adorable nephew came over recently to hang out with auntie and his cousins. I sure miss the days when my kids where that young, snuggly and innocent. Now my not-so-innocent angels are traveling to different states with the grandparents and going off to overnight camps and slowly becoming young ladies learning to navigate their pre-teens. Even my little fella will be in grade school this fall and has seemingly overnight turned into a bonafide big kid and riding his bike sans training wheels. Sigh. My kids may be changing but some things never do. Like the ability of maple baked beans to elicit childhood memories and serve as comfort picnic food.
Growing up, we used to pop open a can of tomato sauced baked beans and then add our own sauce to it or if we were feeling really un-creative, we’d get the Bush’s baked beans which were already fully seasoned. These were staples of easy end-of-day eating that went with nearly every cut of grilled meat we served but these beans were still processed and from a can. I’ve been determined to recreate our “home cooked” familiar flavor of baked beans and haven’t found a way to recreate it quite perfectly just yet without a lot of refined brown sugar. Instead, in my attempts to recreate our family fav I did manage to create an awesome adaptation of maple bourbon baked beans which are made without any refined sugars. Baked beans do take time to prepare from dry beans but the results are worth it. These slightly sweet and oh so scrumptious maple bourbon baked beans are a scratch made side perfect for picnic party heaven.
- 1 pound dry navy beans
- 1 vidalia onion, diced and caramelized if desired
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ cup spicy brown mustard
- ⅔ cup organic all natural ketchup
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup coconut palm sugar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (use tamari or coconut aminos for vegan option)1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
- 2 teaspoons pink Himalayan or smoked salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 shot of bourbon
- Soak beans overnight in cold water. Simmer beans in the same water 1-2 hours until tender. Drain and reserve liquid.
- While beans are simmering, caramelize the onion in a sauté pan with the garlic and a tablespoon or so of olive oil on LOW heat until it is tender, translucent and turning a nice caramel color. Be patient, true caramelization takes 30-45 minutes. If you don’t wish to caramelize the onion, simply sauté on medium heat until it starts to become translucent.
- In a bowl, combine mustard, ketchup, maple syrup, coconut sugar, worcestershire, molasses, salt, pepper, and bourbon. Stir until smooth.
- Add cooked beans to a crockpot or dutch oven and gently stir in onion and the sauce. Add reserved cooking liquid from the beans to cover about one inch above the beans. If you don’t have reserved liquid, just add water.
- Slow cook on low 6 hours or bake at 325 degrees about 4 hours until beans are plump and the sauce has thickened.
- Check beans and gently stir halfway through cooking. If sauce becomes too dry, add more liquid and continue cooking until done.
Happy Friday everyone!! I’m just going to call this first-time-for-everything-Friday. For the very first time, I’ve done a podcast! Many of you know that I also contribute clean eating recipes for the amazing athletes on the Breaking Muscle website. So today I’m excited to share this […]
Who can resist grilled food on a stick?!? (If you just raised your hand, I don’t think we can be friends anymore… j/k!). Indonesian in its roots, this version of satay is the slightly spicier Thai version that is popular around all of Southeast Asia. Marinating […]
Nothing says weekend to me more than a delicious cocktail. Hello, Friday… Is it happy hour yet? Being it’s going to be a marvelous 3 day weekend, I plan on starting the weekend-ing a bit early with these awesome honey lime margaritas. This tart and tasty trio of ingredients will have you wishing you were on Mexico time… or maybe just leave you lingering a wee bit longer with good friends and great conversation to enjoy the weekend wonder.
Honey lime margaritas are actually easier to make than a traditional margarita. They start with a honey simple syrup which is one part honey, to one part water. This is easier to make than a simple sugar syrup as you don’t have to worry about getting all the little crystals dissolved. Simply mix honey with warm water until well combined and there you have it! The PERFECT base for adding fresh lime juice and a touch of tequila. I found some incredible honey from a local farmer last year at the farmer’s market who makes a few varieties of honey – the clover and wild flower are my current favorites. It’s so fantastic to be able to support local farmers in their craft and to support the local economy. Plus, I know that it’s very fresh and I know how his bees are treated as I can go to his farm, observe and share great conversation. All good things in my book. I’m looking forward to visiting his stand again soon when the market opens again in a few weeks. Maybe I should bring him one of these delicious honey lime margaritas…
- ½ cup honey simple syrup (1/4 cup honey dissolved in ¼ cup warm water)
- ⅓ cup fresh lime juice
- 1 cup tequila (blanco preferred in this application)
- splash of triple sec (optional)
- salt for the rim (optional)
- fresh lime for garnish
- Rim a glass in salt if desired.
- Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake.
- Pour over a small amount of ice and serve with slices of lime.