Spring is not yet here in Boston, we still have minus degrees at night with snow on the side of the roads. However, this doesn’t mean that we haven’t had any glimts of spring here and there. About a week ago, we had a warm day where I had to take off my jacket when biking. I lived on that for days!
Anyway – as I know that spring is on the way, I have started thinking about an upgrade on my bike. That, and the fact that both my tires are so old that they need to be replaced. And that my brakes don’t really work in wet conditions. I found that out the hard and scary way.
As my first tire blew, I borrowed a friends bike and realised how amazing his bike was and how dangerous mine really was. It’s incredible how you get used to things. Dangerous and wobbly things…
So, I have now started to think about what I want in a bike and I think I might try going for a cheaper bike. A comfortable bike where I can add a basket on the front and one that has a parcel shelf on the back. Oh how I sometimes miss European ‘lady bikes’.
So, I’ve had a look around at other people’s bikes and online and I think a Schwinn or Huffy cruiser or hybrid might be the best option for me. I’ve been to some big chains around Boston but they have yet not arrived in stores yet. I could just order something online and hope for the best, but I like being able to see and feel it beforehand. So perhaps renting a car for a day and drive out to the bigger chains outside might be in order.
I think the only question now is – what colour do I want?
Light blue Huffy
Light blue hybrid Schwinn
Are you sensing a theme yet?
There was a time when we used to eat chicken more than any other meat, but not anymore. Now that we live in the US, we’ve become a lot more aware of the treatments of animals and we’d rather pay a bit more for our meat and just not eat it as often.
However, this means that we just have to come up with ways to stretch the chickens we do buy, a bit longer!
We started with a Sunday roast in a slightly different way. We tried it spatchcocked for the first time and it made it very moist yet with crunchy skin. The large amount of herbed butter I stuffed the skin with also helped on that account. We made oven roasted veg (carrots/parsnips/sweet potatoes/white potatoes) as well as some steamed broccoli. It was very tasty and I ate a lot of the skin as it was herbed and crackly and absolutely delicious.
In the evening, I picked the chicken clean of all it’s meat and put the carcass in the slow cooker with the neck and innards that came in a separate bag. I also threw in a whole red onion, some carrots that had seen better days, a twig of rosemary and thyme that was starting to wilt, black pepper corns, bay leaf and a whole bulb of garlic that I had cut in half (horisontally). I filled up the slow cooker with as much water as I could and poured in a splash of my fire cider. I let this simmer on low for the next day or so.
The following evening, I ladled up as much of the liquid that I would, strained it from any bits and poured it into silicone muffin shapes that I placed in the freezer overnight. I then push the frozen stock out, into ziplock bags and store them in my freezer. This means I now have smaller portions of great tasting chicken stock (warmed up a cup that I drank whilst ladling the liquid – very tasty!) that I can add to anything I want (my fav sweet potato will be made soon!) or just have a cup, from time to time.
Next phase, I filled up the slow cooker with water again and let it simmer on low for another day.
The following morning, I removed all the bits from the slow cooker and went through what to keep and what to discard. All the bones, skin and sinew from the carcass was discarded but all the liquid, pieces of veg and innards (heart, liver, lungs?) went into the next meal. Yummy leftover meal.
I chopped up all the veg into smaller pieces and finely chopped all the innards (my husband hates this so I will see if I can hide it with all the other bits) and placed it back into the strained liquid. I strained it because I wanted to ensure that there were no small pieces of bone that could turn it into our last meal.
I squeezed all the garlic out of their peel, added another carrot that I had laying around as well as a chopped up sweet potato. 4 big mushrooms were chopped and fried up in butter with garlic and some smaller pieces of a red pepper I found. In the end of the frying process, I added in two new bay leaves as well as a lot of dried thyme. I wanted to heat them up a bit to maximise the flavour.
When all the liquid from the mushrooms had been fried away, the content of the pan also went into the slow cooker.
This simmered away on high for a couple of hours before I cut up the last bit of chicken that we hadn’t managed to eat yet. I added lots of herbs and spices (turmeric, chipotle chili powder, garlic, salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, thyme) and took out some of the liquid (along with a stock ‘cube’ from the freezer) to boil some quinoa in. I added a tin of (drained) sweet corn and served the soup over the quinoa, topped with some grated cheese.
So, all in all, we have had from 1 whole chicken and some veg:
*Roasted spatchcocked chicken with roasted & steamed veg
*Leftover chicken with veg x 4 meals
*Chicken stock – approx 3.5 quarts (our slow cooker is 4 qt in total)
*Chicken and veg soup. This looks like at least 8 portions
Isn’t this brilliant?
Tomorrow morning we will be flying off to San Francisco to visit some friends and today is therefore filled with preparations. I’m making filled crepes for myself, a banana smoothie each for the two of us as well as chewy bars/bites.
I started following this recipe from Paleo Mum and realised I had some other things I also needed to use up. My modifications turned it into this:
2 very ripe bananas
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ish of cinnamon
a bit of sea salt
1/2 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
1/2 cup chopped pepitas/pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
2 tbsp chia seeds
1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
2 tbsp chopped dried currants
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts
5 slices of unsweetened freeze dried mango, chopped/crushed into small pieces
Set the oven to 350F/175c.
Mixed the first five ingredients smooth in a blender. Mix all the other ingredients in a bowl before stirring it all together. Grease up a 23x23cm/9×9″pan and pour in. I used both a mini cupcake pan (12) and a 20x15cm/8×6″ glass pan.
After 10 minutes, the house smelled of banana bread and yumminess and I took out the golden mini bites, still leaving the bigger glass pan. After almost another 10 min, I took out the glass pan which was now golden around the edges. I cut them before letting cool.
From this batch, I got 12 mini muffins and 12 smaller bars.
These bars turned out to like a mix between a muffin and a bar, the banana and dried fruit sweetening it up enough without adding any sugar or honey. They are easy to cut into pieces and take a couple with you and we will thoroughly enjoy them tomorrow on the flight!
January has been busy with our birthdays (mine & my husbands birthday are 1 day apart) and a big event with our non-profit Maker group. We have been going at full speed and it’s not until this week that we’re trying to catch up on lost sleep.
This is what has been going on in January (with the help of my instagram)
Many birthday cakes were made! The husband wanted something with lemon/raspberry/white chocolate flavour so I obliged and made him a Paleo Lemon poke cake from Beauty and the Foodie but replaced the blueberries with raspberries.
Icing was harder than I thought (getting coconut oil not to float to the top before drizzling on, hmm) but turned out great.
For myself, I wanted a small cake with many layers I could place in my birthday present from my husband. Chocolate could work as I had some leftover raspberries I wanted to use and so I found the recipe for Paleo Chocolate Cake from Super Glue Mum. I made this cake in two small round tins which fit in my new cake dome and turned it in to a four layered cake.
The cake was tasty, but very moist. So moist that it was a bit hard to cut the layers.
I realised I had some cream cheese left from a couple of days earlier (never really happens), so I made a cream cheese frosting with some honey, vanilla extract, butter and cream cheese that I spread on each layer along with some smashed up raspberries.
All in all, a great cake – but once I assembled all the layers the glass dome didn’t fit!
The plate in the foreground was some amazing chocolate chip truffles a friend of ours gave us during our birthday celebrations. We also had some left over trifle that our other friends had made for us but we forgot to put at the table when I took this snap.
I tried to finish many of my projects I’ve been thinking about for a while and these small pillows was a gift from a dear friend back in the UK. They just instantly brighten up our apartment!
One of our great presents were a cast iron pan from my sister. I had been looking at different frying pans for a while and considered getting an ordinary Lodge pan for birthday money received. Imagine my surprise (& confusion) when this one arrived in the post!
My sister knows me too well!
There was a chocolate festival in Harvard Square and oh boy did we get a lot of free chocolate things!
It was all amazing and delicious and the four of us were so pleasantly surprised. And then I was all chocolated out. One of the mini tub of ice cream is still in the freezer…
Our big event was scary, exciting and a lot of fun! We have a maker space for people in Cambridge and this was our first big event with speakers. We had a sponsor who arranged some amazing food and all in all it was a great experience.
This ring, I 3d printed, painted with one of my favourite nail polishes and glued on to a ring I bought cheaply from Michael’s. And then I completely forgot about wearing it…
Being so busy over Christmas, new year and January, I have completely forgotten about my knitting projects. This cardigan, I started with last year and didn’t have the urge to finish it until one my friends completed hers in three days. Almost there!
One of my promises to myself this year is to emphasize more on finishing my projects rather than creating so many I get overwhelmed. I have my many lists of projects to do, but will not start a new one before I have finished something properly.
So, January – jam-packed! I’m sure February will be even more amazing!
One of my new years resolutions/promises to myself is to incorporate more organ meat in to my diet. (Grassfed) Liver is one of those superfoods that has so much nutrients and minerals, that just starting with that would add so much goodness to my life. I have, however, a slight aversion to the texture and strong taste and am trying to come up with different ways to incorporate it without having to fry it up and eat it straight.
My mother was a fan of liver but neither me nor my sister could stomach it as young ones and she never tried to force us to eat it. We regularly ate bloodpudding which is, among other things, made with pigs blood. It is, however, also filled with lots of other things I now avoid (wheat and sugar) and is (because I’m now based in the US) no longer part of my diet. Liver pâté though!
Liver pâté is also one of those things I have grown up with, but the cheap supermarket version that you slice with a cheese slicer and have on your bread with pickles. Mmm, so nice for breakfast but is not the best meat/liver combination if you look at quality.
Therefore, I trawled the internet for a while before I found a couple of recipes without wheat. As usual, I didn’t manage to follow the recipe but it still ended up ok. I think next time I will only make it with beef liver or a mix with beef and chicken (the latter is supposedly very mild in flavour) as the pigs liver had a quite specific taste.
The butchers didn’t have lard the day I went to buy all the ingredients but gave me pieces of pork belly instead which I had to render myself. I was a bit worried in the beginning as I’ve never done it before, but there are several great tutorials online. It also left me with some wonderful cracklings in the end which I snacked on whilst cooking.
Simple Liver pâté
100g grassfed beef liver
100g organic pork liver
200g pork mince
200g pork belly which was rendered down
1 yellow onion
10 roasted garlic cloves
salt, white & black pepper
16oz/ 473ml Whipping cream without additives (pasturized – not ultra pasturized)
I chopped up the liver in small pieces that I fried with the onion until everything had browned slightly. I then added in the garlic, mince and poured over the rendered fat (lard) before seasoning with a squeeze of the anchovy paste and salt & peppers.
Once it all had cooked a bit longer, I added the mixture bit by bit in my vitamix, poured on some cream and blended to smooth mixture. In hindsight, I should have added less mixture as it became quite thick and made it hard for my blender. Once everything was smooth, I poured 2/3 of it in to 2 of my smallest bread tins before I placed it in a bigger pan that I filled with water. The water line came up to about 2/3 of the tins and I then baked them in the oven for 1 hour before I took them out and let them cool.
The hard part was taking the pâté out of the bread tin without ruining the bottom – perhaps I should have had some sort of parchment paper in the base to stop this from happening.
I poured the rest of the batter in to a ziplock bag for next time.
The pâté turned out really good for my first time, but as mentioned previously – I will try with different livers next time. I might even try it with been mince + pork lard which might even make it even milder.
As it’s only me eating the pâté, I took the two ‘loaves’ out of the pans, sliced them up and froze them all in ziplock bags. I left 1/4 of one tin out in a bag in the fridge for consumption that week and will take bit by bit out of the freezer when needed. Home made liver pâté don’t usually last more than 1 week in the fridge (provided you don’t leave it out on the counter/in room temperature for longer periods. This reduces it’s life considerably.
Home made spelt bread with pâté and pickles