Hello dear readers! Marin mama is back! Back to the reality of life after spending last week in the magical world of Disney, sigh. We had the best family vacation and I’m happy to be home after a week of play and fun, but yet there is that part of me that still longs to be on vacation where there is no routine, no laundry and no schedules, just play and freedom. Vacations are just good for the soul and something we all need to do more often. I’m reminding myself of that as I’m typing away at this post. So last week we took a family road trip down the Pacific Coast Highway (I’m warning you that this post is chock full of photos). We loaded up on Monday and spent the day and night in Carmel with John’s parents. On Tuesday we slowly made our trek down to Santa Barbara (our pit stop on the way to Disney) We stopped at Nepenthe Restaurant in Big Sur for lunch (thanks Zirpolli family for the fabulous recommendation). We sat outside and got to enjoy this amazing view from our table.
I know, I’m a day late in posting and I’m not doing my usual weekly menu, Sorry! I know there are those of you that rely on the weekly menu for dinner ideas, so I promise I will be back with that next week. This week I’m taking a bit of a blogging vacation, as my kids are on spring break and I’m going to spend quality time with the family and re-energize and re-charge (I’m so in need of some re-charging). I didn’t want to leave you all hanging for a week without a recipe, so I’m going to show you this simple, 3 ingredient juice that you can make without a juicer or with a juicer if you have one! Yippee!
Remember when I showed you all how to make a mean green juice without a juicer? Well, I’m showing you another one of my favorite juices. This juice is both sweet and sour with a zesty and spicy kick to it from the ginger. I love downing one of these after a morning workout, as it reenergizes me and puts a kick in my step. John loves to have this in the morning before he heads off to work, as it wakes him up. This juice is packed full of fiber and chock full of vitamin C, and who doesn’t like or need a bit of that this time of year. You can make this juice in your juicer, but if you don’t have a juicer, don’t fret, I will show you how to make this juice without one. Ok, let’s get this party started!
Ok, here’s another quinoa cereal that I tell you is super simple to whip up, like 5 minute simple. I love my other quinoa and steel-cut oat cereal, but I have to plan ahead the night before in order to make it, and sometimes I just want to wake up and have some hot cereal, like NOW! I’m not the type of person who likes to fuss a lot when it comes to breakfast. I like to have my coffee and cereal ready within 10 minutes of waking. That’s just how I roll. I’m finally getting tired of my traditional cold cereal fix (after 20 some years) and have been experimenting with some new hot and healthy (ooh, I really like the sound of that) cereals. I recently saw these quinoa flakes (see below photo) at the grocery store (in the cereal section, next to the oatmeal) and decided to try them. I mean the package said it could be ready in minutes, and that sentence alone sold me.
It’s so nice to have an arsenal of quick and easy weeknight meals that don’t taste like they were quick and easy to make. I want to serve my family healthy, real food during the week, but I don’t always have the time to make something elaborate. I have a boatload of easy week-night meals in my repertoire, and this chicken dish is one of those. This is one of those chicken dishes that you will make at least once a month, if not more. It’s one of my favorite chicken recipes because you can throw the marinade together in less than 10 minutes and then let it sit anywhere from 8 to 24 hours. It’s a great make-ahead dish, perfect for a weeknight dinner or fancy enough for a dinner party.
My kids LOVED this dish as well as John and I. The buttermilk gives the chicken a wonderful and tangy flavor and the chicken stays so moist and tender. Zoe kept commenting that the chicken was so tender in contrast with the crispy skin. I wanted a mixture of dark and white meat, so I had my butcher cut 2 chicken breasts in half so that the marinade could seep into each chicken piece, and I also added in 3 chicken thighs for Eli and John, as they love dark meat. It was perfect because we all got our own piece of chicken with some crispy skin, and Eli even got to use a knife for the first time to cut his chicken thigh. I tell you, he was one happy camper.
I could also see throwing some chicken legs in the mix as well. If you think 3 1/2 pounds is too much chicken, then feel free to cut the recipe in half (chicken and marinade). This was the perfect amount for us, because we got 2 dinners out of it. The chicken makes great leftovers for lunch or dinner and even tastes great cold! I’ve used the leftover chicken to top my kid friendly caesar salad for an easy lunchtime meal. We served this up with some roasted fingerling potatoes (so easy to whip up) and my kid friendly caesar salad, (dressing was made ahead of time and lettuce was pre-washed and ready to go) and I tell you, it was a simple weeknight meal that felt like an elaborate weekend meal. You see, weeknight meals don’t have to taste like weeknight meals. Note: the below photo shows two whole breasts that I cooked up one time using the marinade. I have to say that we preferred the breasts when they were cut in half because the breast meat absorbed more of the buttermilk marinade.