Sunday, December 9, 2012

Greek Chicken

Greek chicken
I went on a trip with my family and we ate at this amazing Greek restaurant. I loved the food. Everything had tons of lemon and oregano. It tasted to so fresh. I decided to try to replicate the tastes. We are having a very mild winter so the oregano (and most of our herbs) are still growing.
This dish took me a couple of tries to get it "right." I tried it first with boneless skinless chicken breasts and it just wasn't as good as using chicken pieces with the skin on. I use thighs in this recipe.
I also used different types of potatoes. My favorite turned out to be small red potatoes. I like lots of lemony taste so I used two lemons and their zest. If you aren't crazy about lemons- well you may not want to make this dish. I also used lots of pepper (but then I love pepper).
The key to Greek chicken is fresh oregano
Greek Chicken

6-8 Chicken Pieces (I use Thighs)
4 Large Potatoes or 8 Small Potatoes, Peeled and Diced
A Couple of Sprigs of Fresh Oregano, Chopped
1/2 of a Medium Onion, Chopped
4 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
Zest from One Lemon
Salt and Pepper, to Taste
1/4 Cup (60 ml) of Olive Oil
Juice of 2 Lemons

Preheat oven to 350F/176C/Gas Mark 4 (regular or convection). Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Place the chicken in the pan and place the potatoes and onions around the chicken. salt and pepper the chicken and potatoes.
The great thing about this dish is it a one dish meal
Sprinkle the oregano and garlic over the chicken and potatoes. Pour the lemon juice and olive oil over the chicken and potatoes.
Ready for the oven
Bake in oven for 55-65 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165F/ 74 (the best method is to cook to the proper temperature). If you use your convection oven, you should start checking for doneness around 45 minutes.
Yummy greek chicken!
The bottom line: Will I make this again? Yes. It is wonderful. Next time I may grate the potatoes so they are like hash browns.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Iron Rich Toffee Cereal Mix

Toffee Cereal Mix
I have HHT, which stands for hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia. Never heard of it? It is a genetic disease that affects blood vessels and occurs in 1 in 5,000 people. Approximately 1.2 million people have hht worldwide which makes it uncommon but not rare. The most common sign of HHT is nosebleeds but it can and does strike other areas of the body. Want to know more? Go here or here.
I found out I had HHT when I was in my twenties. I had my pity party (it lasted several months) then decided that I am more than a disease. I am stronger than a disease and I can beat it. I decided to enjoy every minute of my life. Do I? For the most part I do. I love my family, my job, my friends, and my off time. I try to balance my love of food with exercise (not so crazy about the exercise). I take many moments to be awed by the people and the beauty around me. I chose to be positive. Having said that, I also make sure I am well-informed about the disease I have.
Every two years I go to an HHT conference. I find out where we are with finding a cure and what I need to be thinking about. I also go to be inspired by the tremendous, incredible, strong, resilient (there just aren't enough adjectives) people who struggle with the disease. I am continually awed. Also at some point in the conference I have a small pity party for myself and move on. I also have an "a-ha" moment.
This year's a-ha moment was iron deficiency. There were several great presentations on iron and iron deficiency. (People with HHT bleed and our iron stores run down). While I am not anemic, I am concerned that my iron stores are being depleted. So I did some research and came up with a game plan.
Here is my take on iron. There are two types of iron- heme iron (from animals) and non-heme iron (from plants). Most iron supplements are non-heme. Non-heme iron is not as readily absorbed which is why you take vitamin c with it (it needs an acidic environment in the stomach). Non-heme is also the iron with the majority of the side effects. Heme iron is found in beef, duck, fish, lamb, shrimp, and clams. Clams and oysters are the best sources for heme iron. I love love clams. I have already started making clams at least once a week. I will be posting those recipes later as I perfect them. Non-heme iron is found in fortified cereals, spinach (I love spinach), pumpkin seeds, molasses, beans, and raisins. It is harder to absorb and usually has more of the side effects (the big side effect being constipation).
I thought that it was would great to make an iron rich snack mix with some added fiber. The trick was to make it taste good so it would be a joy to eat. I decided to share it because I know I am not the only one who struggles with iron decency. For the cereal I used a mixed of corn, wheat, rice, and cinnamon chex and Cheerios.

Iron Rich Toffee Cereal Mix

8 Cups of Cereal
3 Cups (24 g) of Popped Popcorn
1 Cup (50 g) of Pretzels
1 Cup (130 g) of Pumpkin Seeds
1/4 Cup (55 g) of Butter
1/3 Cup (80 ml) Molasses
1/3 Cup (80 ml) Light Corn Syrup
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda

Preheat oven to 250F/120C/ Gas Mark 0.5.  Combine the cereals, popcorn, pretzels, and seeds in a bowl or cookie sheet.
The cereal mixture ready for the toffee
In a saucepan combine butter, molasses, corn syrup, and salt over medium heat and bring to a boil.
Remove from heat and add baking soda. Mixture will foam. Stir until completely combined.
After you add the baking soda, the mixture will foam
Pour over cereal mixture and stir until well coated. Spread onto baking sheets. Bake in oven  for  30 minutes turning every 10 minutes until mixture hardens. Cool and eat.
Cereal toffee
The bottom line: will I make this again? Yes- my family loved it.