Mussels in Wine Sauce Recipe

My, how I love me some mussels; and not JUST because you don’t pay for just a TON of shell when you buy them like you can with other shellfish! Can we talk about this issue for a second? I love clams. Love them. But when I go to buy them they, as are the lovely mussels in this recipe, are sold in the shell, by the pound. And that’s all well and good, but clams have extremely thick and heavy shells… so I feel like you’re paying a LOT for the packaging. Alright, here’s an analogy. You know when you go to buy software (you internets pirates wouldn’t understand…) and it’s in a box almost the size of a cereal box? And then you open it and it’s just a normal sized CD? Why so much packaging?! That’s your clam right there. And then you know how old school incandescent light bulbs are packaged in just thin sleeves of cardboard? One of the most fragile objects and it’s in this insanely thin, lightweight, and easy to open package? That’s your black mussels right there. So clams are QuickBooks and mussels are light bulbs.

clams

Look you jerks, I need that space in the recycling bin for beer bottles!

ligtbulbs

I have a bright idea…

I made these mussels for years in just the wine, garlic, and butter sauce- and oh my are they good like that. But the addition of the diced tomatoes, basil, and parsley really takes this recipe to the next level. Crusty bread for sopping up sauce a must.

3 Tbsp butter
3 cloves garlic
¼ cup finely diced onions (shallots if you want to get all uppity about it)
2 cups white wine
2 diced tomatoes
2.5 lbs black mussels
small handful mixed fresh parsley and basil, chopped

In a high sided sauté pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and onions to melted butter and sauté until aromatic. Add wine, bring to a simmer. Add mussels and diced tomatoes and cover pan. The mussels are cooked when they open- don’t overcook till they’re rubbery BUT WOE BE TO THEE WHO UNDERCOOKS so like, walk that knife edge, okay? Serve over pasta of your choice or just in a bowl by themselves with crusty bread on the side. Garnish with a generous amount of fresh parsley and basil.

Don’t eat the unopened mussels or risk… unpleasantness. I’d have put ACTUAL pictures of mussels in this post, but I’m writing this while still recovering from the stomach bug I wrote about in the last post and thought that a google image search of shellfish was probably bad idea in my current state.

On Meditation and Lettuce

“Pick a mantra that feels right to you” the meditation app says.

And I don’t even know the name of the app I’m using (but of course now I just HAD to check. It’s Meditation Studio) but it isn’t important. What is is that I was trying to follow a six minute Releasing Self Doubt meditation because I’d kinda felt like I’d been missing the mark, parenthood-wise lately. And I wanted to move past self recrimination to actually being a better parent and maybe self doubt factored in there and what the hell, I had six minutes to solve all my problems, sure.

Continue reading “On Meditation and Lettuce”

Turmeric Chicken Breasts

Turmeric is not one of those spices you get in the prepackaged 10 count spice racks, but don’t be afraid of it. It is readily available and not expensive. I bought my 1 oz jar for a little under $3 at my regular grocery store (not even the good one on the hill!), and in the spice world one ounce goes a long way.  Besides, it’s the next big thing in 2017, just like coconut oil was in 2014. Google it if you want to see a bunch of millennials smearing it on their faces and then claiming it’s the reason their skin is so good. (Newsflash: it’s because you’re 23, idiot)

This dish is easy, quick, and the chicken turns a beautiful yellow color. And then with the blackened bits from the griddle pan, Mmmm! This one is differently flavorful, but not so different as to require work to get to a point of appreciation. It’s not smelly cheese or sardines or anything, is what I’m saying. My kids loved it the first time they ever had it. Try it, you’ll see.

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How is it we all ended up with those tongs in our first apartments? Did any of us ever buy them or did they just show up somehow? Forget the Kennedy assassination conspiracy theory… I want to talk about the red handled shitty tongs conspiracy.   -Image by Sky_24

(20 minutes to prep, 2 hours to marinate, 20 minutes to cook)
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
¼ cup coconut milk
3 Tbsp. Asian fish sauce
Juice of 1 lime
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. local honey
½ tsp. ground turmeric

(Chili powder or any asian hot sauce aside for Sriracha is a good addition to the marinade if you want this with a kick. What do I have against the cliche of a hot sauce that is Sriracha? Well for one thing the spelling annoys me. And two, it’s very one note on the palette and not worth the hype. And three… I like being contrary, if I’m honest about it.)

Pound chicken to about 1/2 inch thick and cut into smaller pieces to get them to a more manageable, deck-of-cards-esque size. Combine all other ingredients in a storage container and whisk briskly to make the marinade. Add chicken to the marinade, making sure all pieces are coated. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Heat griddle pan (or skillet, if you don’t have a griddle pan) over medium high heat. Add chicken in batches, being sure not to crowd, and cook until done. The thickness that I pound mine and the temperature of the griddle pan means mine are cooked in about 3-4 minutes a side. But cooking time will vary depending on temperature of your stove, the pan you use, size of the chicken, air pressure (not sure about that), ambient temperature (even less sure about that), and other factors (seems likely and a good way to cover my ass here). Make sure you’re getting some nice and dark browned bits on the chicken as you cook- don’t be flipping too soon, is what I’m saying.

Would be good with rice, a spring greens salad, and a sauce made out of plain yogurt, lemon juice, and herbs. Or with roasted broccoli and couscous topped with some hot sauce and maybe cilantro…

*Full disclosure: your recipe writing food blogger over here just ate cold pizza for lunch after a “breakfast” of two cups of black coffee. Do as I say, not as I…

Shape

Insert round is a shape joke here.

Truth is, I’m not round is a shape. 149lbs for 5’7 is still 9 pounds within the ideal range of 121 to 158lbs. Squeaking by, but good enough for a Liberal Arts diploma, you dig? (I would know, wouldn’t I?) Nope. Tell it to my Ukrainian Endocronologist. Who also is a metabolism and diabetes specialist. Here I went in to get my thyroid medication level checked and slightly adjusted and an hour later I’m mid lecture about how I’m becoming insulin resistant and phrases such as “as we get older” and “no more flour tortillas” and “all the lettuce you could want” are getting bandied about WAYYYY to liberally for my taste. (My taste runs towards flour tortillas.) And I have to lose 10 pounds. Which I wanted to do, aesthetically, but to have to do it for medical reasons feels much different. Shittier different.

So here I am. While the shape was never really the issue, per se, it was, I believe, a firmness issue. See… I’ve become SUPER sedentary. I used to be a bit of a hardbody in my youth, what with full contact karate  twice a week and distance biking 3 times a week… and even when I went to college I was able to maintain hard abs and thigh muscles of a size that made fitting pants tricky through no effort. But that muscle tone? So long gone, and I for one blame the children. I think that lack of muscle and the level-of-movement-of-a-knick-knack lifestyle is the issue really. So while it’s 10 lbs to lose it’s really a muscle to gain thing I think. Plus actually losing 10 lbs.

Plus the thing about no more bananas. Or sugar. Or watermelon. Or yogurt. Or beer. Or bread. Or mangos (which have an undertone of garbage- so no issue there).

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Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, Mango.    (Image by Pat Herman)

Supposedly no flour tortillas or potatoes. Does my doctor know she’s talking to a Viva La Raza Irish chick? I’m a rule follower in general, but cutting down on those is going to have to be good enough. She’s Ukrainian. She’ll understand my Orange Revolution on those two. Hmmm… how many carbs in oranges? *typing sounds* And no more god damn oranges either unless I add THOSE to the dietary Orange Revolution… and frankly I think that’s almost required, really. So minimal flour tortillas, potatoes, and oranges- this I pledge.

Turns out my diet was about 86% carbs, so cutting them out actually gave me the “low carb flu” that felt, I assume, what withdrawal from heroin feels like. I’ve added some carbs back- but it’s a slippery slope of “I’ll just have one” or “I’ve been so good I deserve a reward” turning into full on former eating habits… sigh. I’ve lost, bouncing around, about 5 pounds so far. I worked out for the first time in hmmm- checks watch to see what decade it is– a long time. And I’m trying. Work to go. But there is all this life to be around for. And that’s the issue.

It rocked my world more than tweaking a fairly healthy existence should. Because it meant more than my shape. It meant health stuff. And me no like the health-stuff concerns. Having recently gone through a health-stuff loss and having family going through serious health-stuff currently it’s all just a little to close. But just because I have a toddler in diapers doesn’t mean I’m not getting older. How often have I said or thought “I’m too old for this shit?” ala  Roger Murtaugh. Well turns out that’s literally becoming true. Tell me what you joke about, and I’ll tell you what you are.

Anyway. Also found out I have the genetic markers for heart issues making me 5+ times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke and excessive inflammation and other scary things. But jesus, we all die of something- is it weird that scares me way less than the insulin resistance thing? As long as my heart doesn’t go before the catastrophic porch swing accident at 93 while holding my 98 year old’s husband’s hand … well then I should be fine. 37 years down. 56 to go.

Wish me luck.

 

 Other odd details not directly pertaining to the narrative here:

I measured at 5’5″ the first time I was at the endocrinologist. Was like WHAT THE FUCK I”M 5’7″ AND ITS INTEGRAL TO MY IDENTITY. Had myself measured at the chiropractor… 5’7 and 1/4″. Measured the next time at the endocronologist: 5′ 6″. NONE OF THESE SCALES ARE DIGITAL WHAT IS GOING ON?! I’m god damn 5’7″ and that’s final. I’ll be making them take my height again on Wednesday when I go back.

My doctor told me my thyroid medication levels were too high due to my height and weight, but my height is measuring wrong at your twilight zone of an office so what do we do now?

My blood work results were NINE pages long and went into genetic stuff and vitamin deficiencies. I now take COQ10 (whateverthefuckthatis), Fish oil supplements, Vitamin D, Vitamin A (whateverthefuckthatis), Sour Cherry Extract (whateverthefuckthatis) and I SWORE I’d be a “I get my vitamins from leafy greens” type of person and not a “I take handfuls of vitamins” type of person like somebody’s mother, but look at me now.

And my regular hypothyroidism has morphed into Hashimodo’s type hypothyroidism and I for one and glad someone with a cool name discovered that one. *Casts pitying glance at the folks with Asbergers*

 

Linking up with Fake Fabulous HERE

 

Stupid Complex but Easy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

So much, amiright? Yes this has 2 sauces involved, I know, I KNOW- but it’s so good! And let’s face it, bbq chicken sandwiches can be a bit one note- the garlicky white sauce adds such a step up here- and that sauce is so easy and awesome on other things… most notably fries dipped right into it. And no, I am not one of those European weirdos who eats fries with mayo. (World War Ewwww raging with that one.)

And look- this should really be your very simple pantry staple meal. You’re not even cooking a chicken! It’s rotisserie! And while I know that’s a lot of different ingredients I’d really recommend having mustard, bbq sauce, rice wine vinegar (the very best vinegar, really. Screw that dye heavy, overpower-everything balsamic) soy sauce, garlic… you get where I’m going here right? Have staples and you’ll be cooking. I can’t. I can’t let such a bad and unimaginative pun stand. Now I can’t think of anything else. Oh well. You quality staples buy. Good food makey makey.

As for the coleslaw… I buy prepackaged. I usually add rice wine vinegar (I SWEAR the rice wine vinegar cartel hasn’t threatened my family over here) since I find the packaged sauce too sweet usually. Serve it as a side and add some to the sandwiches. Is good.

rice vin

One Vinegar to rule them all, one Vinegar to find them, One Vinegar to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

Shredded BBQ Chicken
½ rotisserie chicken meat- shredded or cut into small pieces. Good way to maximize all of the … carcass is the only word here, but wasn’t one I necessarily wanted to use…
Sweet BBQ sauce
Rice wine vinegar
Yellow mustard
Water
Pepper

Combine in saucepan and heat through

White sauce
1/3 to 1/2 Mayo
Pinch sugar
Lots of black pepper
Splash rice wine vinegar
Splash soy sauce
Small handful chopped parsley
1 clove garlic through garlic press
(combine and refrigerate for 1-2 hours)

Serve with

Sliced pickles
Small dinner or Hawaiian rolls, cut in half and toasted
Coleslaw

Toast rolls at 350 degrees in the oven for a few minutes. Slather one side of toasted rolls in white sauce, pile on bbq chicken, add sliced pickles and/or coleslaw and enjoy!

(Kids like it too. Don’t let them see you put the white sauce on, but don’t omit it- you’re developing their palates whether they know/like it or not)

It’s really the easiest of choices, Sweetheart

Our oldest has been moody lately. Distracted. Preoccupied. I chalked it up to upcoming tween years, but was keeping an extra eye on her as well. She’s a sensitive one, this child. Quite introspective- and so I thought, perhaps, something had been bothering her.

Last night, as I helped her pick out an outfit for her awards ceremony today at school and spent some one-on-one time with her it finally came out. There had been something bothering her.

In one of her books a father had to make a choice, save his son playing on train-tracks, or crash the train barreling towards the son but killing the hundreds of passengers onboard. He chose to save the train. (And WHAT THE F*CK, young adult authors?! A Bridge to Taribithia, Ol’ Yeller, Where the Red Fern Grows, the goddamn Lion King (a movie, but still), this shit… they’d be safer reading Douglas Adams and Tom Clancy!)

And so I found that the root of her issue lately has been the thought of that father’s choice keeping her up. She hasn’t been sleeping well. She’s wondering about the worth of a life/ her life, could a parent choose someone else over their own child, and what’s right when both choices are bad… life’s hard sometimes, my child, but this one is easy. I told her the god’s honest truth- that the world could burn for all I care, I would always choose to save her and her sisters.

She slept well last night.