2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 25 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Freekeh Chicken with Root Vegetables and Prunes

Freekeh ChickenHere’s an easy one-pot meal with freekeh, chicken, parsnips, carrots, prunes, rosemary, thyme, tons of garlic, and broth. Don’t worry about the amount of garlic cloves that this recipe calls for though. Because the cloves are left whole, you get a more mild garlic taste, plus the whole cloves become sweet when braised. The prunes made a rich marriage between sweet and savoury, plus the tender chicken and chewy grain give you all the great texture!

Ingredients:

1 ½ cup freekeh*
3 ¾ cups broth, vegetarian or chicken
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 ½ medium onions, diced
6-8 carrots medium, chopped
4-6 parsnips depending on size, sliced
9 cloves garlic, whole
1 ½ cup pitted prunes*
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme to taste*
sea salt, fresh cracked pepper to taste
1 tablespoon (or so) olive oil

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 345 degrees F. In a Dutch oven, or any oven proof pot with lid, pour the freekeh and broth in. Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Remove the pot from the oven (careful, it will be hot!) and add all of the remaining ingredients in the pot making sure that some of the prunes and onions get into the liquid below the chicken. Drizzle a little olive oil on all ingredients. Place lid on and put in the oven on the middle rack.

Drop the heat down to 200 degrees F and cook for 1 hour. Check on it, give it a stir, and cook until the chicken is fully opaque, and vegetables are tender. This is usually only about another 15-20 minutes. Note: Cooking times vary. For added browning, remove the lid for a few minutes during the final cooking stage. If you notice the freekeh becoming too dry, you can add more broth or oil at your discretion.

* To learn how to properly clean and check grains, prunes, rosemary and thyme, click here.

Healthy Habits – Gear up for Grains and Cooking!

GrainsOkay, personally, I love the tips for March and April. I mean, who can resist encouraging people to cook more? Admittedly, there was a time when I ate out almost every meal. Besides the financial cost (which is staggering), you don’t realize how much more fat and sodium is in a restaurant meal in comparison to a home cooked one. The reasons are pretty simple, other than of course that fat and salt taste good (sorry, but they do!). A restaurant may use pre-made mixes and seasonings, full of sodium, MSG and a whole slew of unhealthy additives. Additionally, you may only use a teaspoon or so of oil at home to saute your veggies, but I can assure you, the restaurant is using a whole lot more. So, to combat this tasty, tasty enemy, we need to do more of our own cooking. Nothing complex or crazy, just simple, good, home-made meals. Yes, you can still eat out, I’m not banning you from your take-out menus, just try and keep things a little more in balance.

MarchCook More!
The third Healthy Habits is to cook at least 3 meals more per week than you are now, even if that means cooking breakfast or lunch. Try checking out some of the crock-pot meals that I posted a while back (check out the archives, dates 8/25 through 9/5) for ideas on how to prepare a great meal ahead of time.

AprilGo for Whole Grains!
The Canadian daily food guide says that an adult female (19-50 years old) needs 6-7 servings of Grain Products a day (8 for males). What does your intake look like? Try and add at least 3 servings of whole grains to your daily diet. See today’s recipe for Freekeh Chicken!

Tomorrow? May, June and July!