I've been desperate for a tropical escape. I know, I know. It's not even really winter yet. Talk to me in February, and by then I'll truly know what it feels like to need to get out of the northeast! I'm dying for the hot rays of sunshine to cure my Vitamin D deficiency and boost my mood.
On the bright side, I was lucky enough to have some time off a couple of weeks ago to rest, recharge and prep for Christmas. And, although it wasn't the umbrella-drink, toes-in-the-sand kind of vacation, I made the most of having some time to do the things that fill me with joy.
I had a lunch date and a nail appointment with mom.
I snuggled with my sweet Lola.
I crafted and Christmas-ed to my heart's content. I had a (much, much too long) list of craft projects I wanted to tackle, but I only managed to finish two. One was a winner, and one...not an epic fail.
Thirty Minute Apron...
No link to the source because the instructions were so bad that it took me about 3 hours, 30 minutes
and 3 trips to the craft store. Handiwork only a mother could love. Not an epic fail though because we wore them to bake Christmas cookies like last year. Our recipes for coconut macaroons, peanut butter blossoms, sweet and saltines (aka almond bark) and Magic Cookie Bars (my favorites!) turned out much better than in the past.
2 packages (10 oz each) frozen spinach, thawed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup minced shallots
2 teaspoons minced garlic
5 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta
4 skinless salmon fillets (6 oz each), rinsed and patted dry
Heat oven to 350°. Squeeze spinach of all excess liquid. Set aside. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots; cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute more. Add spinach, tomatoes, salt, pepper flakes and pepper; cook, stirring, 2 minutes more. Remove from heat; let cool about 15 minutes. Add ricotta; stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Pack about 1/2 cup spinach mixture on top of each fillet, matching the shape of the fillet. Place fillets on a rimmed baking sheet or in a glass baking dish; bake until cooked through, 15 minutes.
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 inch cube of ginger (about 30 grams), roughly chopped
1 small sweet onion, peeled, quartered
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Tablespoons butter
2.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into four
2 cans coconut milk, not shaken
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 can of baby corn cobs
1 cup peas or frozen vegetables of your choice
For the spice blend
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground tumeric
1 teaspoon salt
Combine ingredients from the spice blend together and set aside.
In a mini food processor, combine garlic, ginger and onion and pulse until it forms a paste.
In the bottom of a slow-cooker placed on a burner , heat olive oil and melt butter. Add pureed aromatics and stir well. Cook for a few minutes, then add spice blend. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.
Move aromatics to one side of the pot and add chicken pieces to the pot. Cook chicken slightly on all sides, using a sturdy wooden spoon to move it around the pot. It should get thoroughly coated with the spice mixture.
Open the cans of coconut milk and remove the cream from the top using a soup spoon. You should have about 1 cup. Pour the coconut milk over the chicken and with both cans, it should just barely cover the chicken.
Drain the corn cobs and chop in half. Add to the slow-cooker.
Place the slow cooker in the base and cook on low for 4 hours.
Whisk cornstarch with coconut cream until smooth and add to the chicken. Stir well. Add frozen peas or other vegetables of your choice. Cook for another half an hour or until you deem the chicken cooked and the vegetables hot.