Monday, April 11, 2011

Butter Chicken - Indian food success at home!

A long time ago, Aaron and I agreed that we should eat out when we want to eat something which we do not know how to make at home. We don't stick to this rule strictly, but we follow it most of the time. For example, we don't go out for pasta because we make pretty decent pasta at home. We do order pizza because we have not mastered pizza. Exceptions aside, it's a pretty good rule for us. We save money and really appreciate eating out when we do.

One of our regular eating out experiences is the local Indian restaurant. My kids love the Indian restaurant. The food is delicious; the staff is kind and patient; the prices are reasonable. Until this week, I never tried to cook Indian food. The idea of it intimidated me. Heck, I can't pronounce some of the food, so how could I cook it? Kids have a way of pushing our limits, of stretching us and introducing us to experiences we might have missed otherwise.

Caleb wanted butter chicken at home. Apparently butter chicken is also called "Chicken Makhani," but our local restaurant always labels it butter chicken. Thanks to the internet and living near a large metropolitan area, I found a great recipe and the ingredients required for it.

Click HERE for the recipe.

Since it was my first time making ANY Indian food, I didn't diverge from instructions much. I ended up tripling the recipe because I figured I might as well make enough for several meals. I was a bit short on the half and half, so I used some skim milk to top it off. I skipped the cayenne pepper for the kids' benefit, and Aaron sprinkled some on top of his. I served it with some jasmine rice from Trader Joe's (microwaveable rice - weirds me out to be honest, but the cooking required enough effort that I decided to make the rice even easier).

The kids absolutely loved it! Aaron loved it! My neighbor and her daughter loved it the next day! Yes, this recipe required more preparation than most of what I cook, but it was SO worth it. It's flavorful but not hot spicy. This is definitely worth trying with your families.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Mid-Week Check In

I know Wednesday is mid-week for the rest of the world. Since I start my menu on Thursdays, Sunday or Monday ends up being my mid-week. I thought I'd post a quick update on food, weight loss, and... gardening!

Thursday's lentil and black bean chili was quite tasty but not well-received by the kidlets. The recipe called for some optional cayenne pepper, and I decided to add it since we were a bit short on chili powder. I'm pretty sure the kids would have eaten more of the chili had I skipped or reduced the cayenne.

Friday's dinner was nothing extraordinary, but I have managed to move my kids from regular fish sticks to a slightly less stick-like fish. Trader Joe's makes breaded halibut and breaded cod, both of which do not have stick shapes. Sure they are still breaded, pseudo-fried fish products, but they have a bit more verisimilitude to them.

Saturday we had delicious chicken on the grilled with Montreal Steak Spice (yes, steak spice and not chicken spice). I was excited to make the spice-roasted butternut squash again, but neither of my kids would eat it. Wah. Caleb declared it too sweet, which in turn meant Ellie wouldn't do more than lick it. On the bright side, both kids ate salad without dressing.

On Sunday, Aaron called for leftovers because our fridge was a bit full. OK, more than full. :)

As for tonight, I'm a bit nervous about presenting Mexican brown rice casserole to my kids again since they both summarily rejected it last time. I'll have to consider the spicing to see if I can make it more palatable to them.

Weight Loss
I've been in maintenance mode for the past month or so. Weight Watchers has this idea that if you maintain your goal weight for 6 weeks, you become a lifetime member. Lifetime membership means you no longer pay a monthly fee for meetings and online tools. This week will be my 6th weigh-in during maintenance, and I'm a bit nervous since I've been wobbling around between 150 and 152.4. I need to be at or below 152 to hit lifetime, and Ben and Jerry's Milk & Cookies is killing me. I would have hoped to learn some better self-control in the last year, but apparently I still have that battle.

I did make a decision to rid myself of many clothes which no longer fit. I promised myself never to be able to fit in those clothes again, so maybe a lack of internal self-control can be helped with some external controls.

Several of my friends started their seeds indoors weeks ago. They are so organized, ordering their seeds, planning their plots. I am not so organized and I got angry at New England's weather. We had snow on April 1 (not a funny April Fools' joke), and today the weather wasn't sure whether to rain or snow. I don't trust my seeds outdoors in this weather, and I don't have enough gardening-savvy to start seeds indoors. Besides I or the WonderBeast kills any living green thing in the house. So I'm still waiting to plant outdoors.

BUT, I turned dirt! The kids and I took shovels and dug into our raised beds to "stir" the dirt. I raked it level when we were done. We also are able to resume composting now that the bin is accessible again. The snow had covered it and frozen it shut. I feel much better not wasting our food scraps. I probably should review composting to see whether I can speed up the process given our lousy temperatures. Anyway, now that we turned dirt, I can start to think about crops and layout/spacing.

I'm looking forward to keeping you posted on our garden (see the old posts for what you can look forward to!) and our eating experiences.