Three words that can make your blood run cold, oh and crockpot chicken for days

What’s for dinner?

I’m pretty sure that phrase is said all over the world. It may come over the phone, via text or you may be bombarded by those words the minute you walk in the door from work. It doesn’t matter what language you speak either. The question is always the same. Oftentimes the knee-jerk reaction is anger and frustration because we didn’t prepare in advance.

We know we are going to eat every day, right? Why don’t we plan for it?

If you have mental roadblocks and struggle to create dinner ideas out of thin air, then you need to start adding structure your eating reperatoire. Get some paper and a pen (or pencil if you feel ink is too scary and permanent and smacks of commitment). Grab some cookbooks or grab your mouse and start cruising for meal inspirations. Throw cookbooks at your family and ask them what they feel like helping you make. Food is a two-way street, people. If you eat, you need to help make it or help clean up at the very least. Every cookbook I own has a multitude of post-it notes sticking out from recipes I think sound appealing. Some of my post-its include hand-written notes such as ‘make again’ or ‘this was awful, do not make ever again’. Write out the recipes that spark interest and jot down the ingredients. Remember to write out the quantities needed too. You don’t want to have to run out again for something you forgot. In our technology infused world, I suppose the easiest thing to do is to snap a picture of the ingredient list with your phone camera and you are away to the store.

This summer has been stupidly hot. Plus, parts of our province have been ravaged by wildfires, so the smoke has held the heat in and made it worse. Who wants to spend hours in the kitchen cooking in the heat? Not me! Out comes the crockpot and my life is happy once again. Remember the BBQ sauce from a few posts back? We are going to use that as a base for this chicken dish.

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BBQ crockpot chicken:

  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 8)
  • 1 batch of BBQ sauce
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds

Whisk the oil and spices into the BBQ sauce. Layer the chopped onion into the bottom of the crockpot. Place the chicken on the onion and cover everything with the sauce. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Take the chicken out, shred with two forks and stir in as much sauce as you like.

I like to put this on spaghetti squash as an alternative to a traditional meat sauce. It is also fantastic in a paleo-style wrap like the recipe by Otto’s Cassava Flour or in butter lettuce cups. The leftover chicken and sauce also makes for a damn fine pizza that does not need cheese. Add some leftover chicken to a breakfast casserole or savoury egg muffins. This one minimal effort prep can give you at least 4 totally different meal ideas. If you still have some sauce leftover after the chicken is gone, use it on roasted cauliflower or coat chicken wings with it.

Lazy girl out for now.

Thoughts on the evolution of the modern family and how our eating habits and health declined soon after

SPOILER ALERT! There are no recipes to tips or hacks in this post. No nugget at the end. This shall be strictly words. A rant if you will. If you choose to read anyway, thank you, I appreciate that. If you decide to close the tab, I understand, and hope to see you again on another post.

Health is like an RRSP.

You gotta buy into it. It’s best to make small, continual investments to see the gains. Start young. You can’t invest everything at the eleventh hour and think things will be ok.

In the not-so-distant past, households, could be sustained comfortably on a single income. This enabled one of the adults in the family to prepare meals for the rest. Shopping was done several times a week and with trips to the butcher shop and green grocer almost daily. You knew the butcher and he knew your name. The green grocer would let you know there were lots of squash coming in the fall as the crop was good this year. You supported one another in the community by purchasing from their shops.

Someone decided that we needed more. No, we more than needed more. We wanted it. Not wanted. Deserved. Yes, that’s it. We deserved it. We deserved more. We deserved bigger, better, faster and stronger. We devised ways to do more with less effort. We wanted a bigger tv, another car, a boat would be nice, Janey wears XYZ brand of jeans, why can’t I, primary school kids have to have the latest iPhone. We needed more money to get these things faster than our parents, so dual income houses became the norm. Meal time became a chore because both parents weren’t getting home until late afternoon/early evening and the kids were starving. We fixed this problem. We created instant food. Not instant like the Bugs Bunny cartoon with the Acme Instant Martian ~ just add 1 drop of water, kind of instant, but food you can have it ready in an instant, or fraction of the time it would have taken to prepare from scratch.

We took our double income family and decided our kid was going to be the next hockey player/football star/doctor/lawyer/dancer/singer/ultimate fighter so we scheduled every waking moment with activities and lessons. We began placing a lot of importance of what our kid was rather than how or who our kid was. This over scheduling compounded our time problems too. Modern kids are more stressed than ever trying to do all the things we have them signed up for. Some training starts early in the morning for ice time, pool time, then a day of class, lunch bag filled with everything in a colourful package and wrappers, then after school care and more training sessions until dinner. Some more practices in the evening and weekends are reserved for games, tryouts, festivals and recitals. School work was supposed to be done in there somewhere. Meals on these nights are often on the fly. It is not uncommon to see a child with take-out coffee, whipped up coffee milkshakes and energy drinks to keep them going during their day. Those poor bodies. The justification is that it is a half-fat latte or a diet pop. We now recognize and are recognized by the drive-thru employees, pizza and chinese food delivery drivers. Weird thought: we tip these folks for bringing us sub-standard food. Why?

 

More and more of our meals came wrapped in plastic or in a cardboard box. We only need add water, oil or margarine. Occasionally there would be a sectioned meal covered in foil and frozen. These icy meals allowed everyone to choose something different for dinner and all could be popped into the oven at the same time. The family could still eat together but with personal choice satisfied. Of course, each choice came with the mandatory dessert of either apple spice cake or chocolate brownie. Inevitably, in the processing/handling stages, one or two of the veg would work their way into the dessert square. This was modern cooking.

Food products now come with extended expiration dates. Food is supposed to spoil, isn’t it. It is not meant to last indefinitely on a shelf. We are meant to get what we need for a short period of time, consume it within its window of readiness and then repeat. This constant replenishing of food allows us the opportunity for different vitamins, minerals and nutrients from our next selection. Variety baby!

Is it any coincidence our health issues have increased in alarming rates in this same time period? Type II Diabetes, or Adult-Onset as it used to be coined, is now becoming common in younger children. We all know cancer stats are rising. More children are battling cancers. I believe the rates are around 1 in 7 for breast cancer. I recall back when I was in school, it was 1 n 20. Increased numbers and varieties of auto-immune diseases. Autistic Spectrum Disorders and other cognitive function challenges are pretty common. As if Alzheimer’s Disease wasn’t enough, we now have Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. This is being labelled as Type III Diabetes. The list seems endless.

What have we done to ourselves? Is it too late? Can humans be saved?

I think so. We are drowning but someone has chucked us a rope. We need to grab it and haul our sorry carcasses out of the water. No one is jumping in to save us.

Is it difficult to read every label? Yes. Is it time consuming? Yes. Can you avoid it? Yes, you can. Buy things that do not come with labels. Shop the aisles of the grocery store. Buy vegetables that are still vegetables. Buy fruit that is actually real fruit. Not crap like blue-raspberry flavoured gummies. Choose proteins like fish, chicken, pork, red meat, and organ meats (if you are game) that are ready for your personal flavour profiles. Write out meals for the week. Buy what is on your list. Prep it. Cook on the weekend. Use crockpots, pressure cookers and batch cooking to your advantage. Get others to help in the kitchen. Teach a child how to snap asparagus. You are teaching life-skills. Talk about the ingredients while you work. Taste things raw if appropriate.

The question is, how badly do you want to feel better?

 

The creator of Pili Nuts and why you want, nay, need them

Meet Jason Thomas. The man behind Hunter Gatherer.

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You can probably guess by his t-shirt and the banner behind him, what he was representing at PaleoFx 2017. You guessed it. Pili Nuts.

First, let’s make sure you are pronouncing it correctly. “Pee-lee” not “pill-ee” or “pill-lie”.

Over the years, I had heard various bloggers and podcasters talk about them and how addicting they were. As soon as I saw the Hunter Gatherer name on the exhibitor list for PFX17. I plotted my course to Jason’s booth. Ok, truthfully, I jumped up and down once or twice, I was so excited at the prospect of meeting him. As with many folks at PFX17, there is a real person with a real story behind each product. Jason was no exception.

But first, the nuts.

He smiled as he handed over my first sample. Coconut oil and Himalayan salt. His smile was almost smug. He knew what would happen. I would be hooked. The offer of the Turmeric and Black Pepper came next. Again, that knowing smile. Spicy Chili? Yes please. The final sample offered was the Raw Cacao. Done. That was it. My eyes closed and I think I may have swooned on my feet. To say I needed a moment alone with a bag of Pili Nuts would have been an understatement. The mouth-feel of each flavour is incredibly satisfying. This very humble looking nut hides a deep, rich and buttery taste with a silky smooth composure. Think macadamia nut, but smoother. Much smoother. Smoother than Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra kinda smooth. Yeah, that smooth.

I had the chance to chat with Jason while I was in Texas. This was no easy feat, as his is a very popular booth. Jason very graciously allowed me to monopolize his time for an interview and let me rearrange his demonstration table for some pictures. Don’t worry, I put everything back when I was done.

He told me about his days as a crossfit athlete, how a cycling injury derailed him for weeks and how a pili nut tree in the Philippines changed his life.

 

 

 

“The pili nut starts out as a green fruit. As it ripens, it goes very dark. Once it is ready, the fruit is harvested by knocking the tree and the ripe fruit falls to the ground. The outer fruit is removed and an ultra-hard nut is revealed. It is so hard, each pili nut is opened by hand using a machete. There are machines that can do the job, but the guys with the machetes are much faster.

“Once you open the pili nut, there is a brown covering, a testa, similar to the covering on a peanut that needs to be removed. We soak them for a minimum of 8-10 hours, usually overnight to remove that coating. The nuts are then cooked low and slow for 24 hours. Finally, we package them and ship them to the United States.”

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These little flavour bombs pack a huge nutritional punch too. They are naturally extremely high in fat and low in carbohydrates. The soaking and spouting process Jason uses enables your body to access the minerals and vitamins more readily. The high fat content also makes them very satisfying. Not only do I snack on them right from the bag, I like adding them to my salads as a topper. Not the raw cacao ones obviously. Those have occasionally found their way onto my chocolate avocado pudding and chocolate chia puddings.

If you want to read Jason’s complete story, check out his site www.eatpilinuts.com and be sure to order some of all the flavours. Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on these.

Let’s chat about Gary Oldman, Sid Vicious, Beethoven, doing things My Way, oh, and tzatziki too

Those of you with good knowledge of “useless information” will already know how Ludwig van Beethoven, Sid Vicious and Gary Oldman are related.

Ludwig and Sid couldn’t be more opposite in terms of musicality. Mr. Oldman portrayed each of these musical men with incredible depth. He also gave us Sirius Black but we aren’t going to be talking about anything Harry Potter here. Maybe another day.

Immortal Beloved provides a fictitious account of Beethoven and some of the women he is rumoured to have loved. A will and letter made out to his unnamed “Immortal Beloved” alludes to many potential identities. In the end, it really is just speculation to this chapter of his life and whom he loved. If Beethoven did not pine for an unrequited love, would he have composed the beautiful pieces we know and love today? Or perhaps, she was his muse and we all owe her a debt of gratitude for the inspiration she provided.

In the film Sid and Nancy, we see the toxic relationship between these two take root and ultimately cause the destruction of their young lives. Did Nancy love him? Perhaps in her own insecure and possessive way she did. If Sid were still alive, would the Sex Pistols still be releasing new material and touring in their 60’s and 70’s like the Stones and KISS? We will never know, so Sid Vicious shall remain skinny, pale and shirtless with a padlock chain around his neck for eternity. Perhaps that was the inspiration for the Tiffany Lock? Unlikely as that Love Lock debuted in 1969 as a keyring. Maybe the padlock was his version of that Tiffany piece.

Cue the wavy dream sequence. Sid is performing My Way. Cheering audience. Bright lights. White dinner jacket. Lyrics adapted to his own taste. Paul Anka and Frank Sinatra would have been suitably appalled at the creative license taken with the poetry. I shan’t pull a spoiler. Wanna know how that ends? Watch the movie. This is probably one of my favourite scenes of all times.

In the end, it’s all about what works for you.

If you know the rules of grammar, you are allowed to break them. That’s how I roll. I apply that same principle to pretty much everything I do. Take this tzatziki. A friend was recently told to stay away from dairy at the advice of a Naturopath. She asked if I had a dairy free version in any of my books. The creative gauntlet was thrown down and I went to work. I may or may not have rubbed my hands together like a mad-scientist, complete with evil cackle. The first two versions never made it to public taste testing. The third was ok but not nearly enough oomph. This final one seemed to do the trick.

 

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Tzatziki my way:

  •  1/4 cup Paleo mayo
  • 1 large or 2 small cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1″ piece English cucumber grated

Mix it all together and let sit a bit to allow the garlic to release its flavour. Get your veg, cue the tv and tuck in.

If you were so inclined, you could use roasted garlic for a deeper flavour but, laziness prevails over here and, well, that’s My Way.

Appreciation for things in the past and easy weeknight Greek salmon

The beauty of hindsight is 20/20.

Growing up, one of my dad’s friends/work associates was a fisherman. He was a big man, probably 6’6″ or so. He spoke many languages (read: 6 or 7) including Japanese and German. The knowledge of many languages came in handy when selling his catch on the public docks. He would show up at our door, often unannounced, with a garbage bag of surplus whatever he had caught. Sometimes he brought shrimp, other times it was sockeye salmon. At the time, I didn’t eat either of these things and would retch inwardly at the sight and smell of these “gifts”. The polite me would say thank you as a well raised child will do.

I have memories of my mom canning salmon for what seemed like forever. Boiling and peeling shrimp consumed entire weekends. There was one salmon that was so big, it took my mom, older brother and myself to hold the body still while my dad used, possibly, a hacksaw to cut off the head. We placed that behemoth on the empty kitchen table, covered the entire floor and table in newspaper to catch the gore and had some family time beheading the beast. Scales were flying in every direction. The cats were sharking all around the kitchen trying to claim a prize.

Flash forward many years and the knowledge of the health benefits of wild caught fatty fish. Oh and the appreciation for well prepared seafood. Living on the west coast, seafood is readily available here. Want to be a real hunter/gatherer? You can be at the water, go out in your wee boat, throw in a line and if luck is smiling on you, catch your dinner all in an afternoon.

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Hot weather means I don’t want the oven on for extended periods of time. I don’t want to heat the house any more than I have to. Hello broiler!

Easy Greek salmon:

  • 1 side fillet of salmon, approximately 1 pound, cut into 4-6 servings
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 2 tablespoons Greek salad dressing

Cover a rimmed cookie sheet in foil. (easy clean up here) Grease the foil with the ghee in the area you will be placing the salmon fillets.

Place oven rack to the highest position and set the broiler on high.

Cook the salmon for approximately 8-10 minutes. Remove and baste with the Greek salad dressing. Return the fish to the broiler for another 2 minutes. Test for doneness.

Serve this with a big chunky salad drizzled in the same dressing.

Wasn’t that easy? You seriously can’t use the “I don’t have time” excuse to whip this up for dinner. Start to finish takes around 20-30 minutes and that includes cleaning up.

 

Prep once, cook twice and making the easiest Greek salad dressing

Is making salad technically “cooking”? Hmmm. . .

I know I have mentioned a certain laziness I possess. Maybe not lazy per se, but I have bursts of insane busyness followed by moments of sloth-like conjoining to the couch with a book or cat or Netflix or any combo thereof. When I am in busy-mode, it’s best to stay outta the kitchen unless you like loud music and organized chaos. It’s not uncommon for me to have about 4 different things on the go at the same time along with splattered notepads scrawled with cryptic notes and thoughts on future versions of whatever I am making.

When I am in accomplishment mode, I like to have things do double duty for me. Prep once, eat twice. Take the easiest Greek salad dressing going. This will be bathing all the beautiful chunky veg of my Greek-styled salad and then get slathered on some wild sockeye salmon that will be going under the broiler for dinner tonight.

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After trying probably 7 other extra virgin olive oils, my heart has settled on this one by Kasandrinos. The taste is light enough to drizzle on food as a finish without masking the other flavours. I keep a mini bottle in my purse to put on salad when I am dining out. Yes, I really do. I don’t care if anyone looks at me weirdly. I order my salads without dressing and ask for a slice of lemon on the side. Eyes on your own plate people.

Be an ingredient snob within your means.

Use real garlic, not the stuff in a plastic jar that is sitting in citric acid. Citric acid is often derived from corn or sugar beets. Those two crops are often genetically altered for all the reasons any crop is modified, so if you are trying to steer clear of GMO’s, you owe it to yourself to use real garlic. Just one more reason to read your labels. Hate the tedium of mincing garlic with a knife? Buy a garlic press or heck, a Slap-Chop for that matter. Placing the flat of your chef knife on the clove and giving it a quick pound will smash your clove of garlic and make slicing or mincing much easier. This also releases the oils from the clove if you are going to drop it into a dish whole.

Easiest Greek salad dressing:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 freshly squeezed lemon
  • 1 clove of fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 generous teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Whisk everything together and let sit until ready to use it in your salads or as a marinade. This allows the garlic and oregano to release their flavours into the oil and acid mixture.

Whisk it again before using.

When life gives you lemons, do a double or triple squeeze

Quick and easy kitchen hack.

Lemons. Limes. Yes you can buy them juiced in coloured plastic bottles that are reminiscent of the fruits from where it came. Yes, that may very well be convenient too. However, you deserve better. The freshness and lively flavour from squeezing a real lemon versus pouring it out of a bottle are like night and day.

Cutting a lemon in quarters and trying to pinch squeeze it isn’t anywhere near as effective as a hinged citrus press. You can pick these up in almost any grocery or kitchen store without breaking the bank. Invest in one. You’ll be glad you did.

How to get the most out of your lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit. Wash the peel of your fruit first.

  1. roll the room temperature fruit firmly on the counter
  2. trim the ends off so you see the flesh of the fruit, not just the white pith
  3. cut it in half
  4. squeeze for all you are worth

     

  5. flip your lemon over and do it again

     

  6. Like Britney Spears, flip it over again and do it one more time (I’m paraphrasing here as I don’t listen to her music)

Using a citrus press also minimizes the inevitable lemon juice spraying in your eye problem. Your work space will also remain cleaner too. I will add the squeezed “shells” of the lemon to my water to give it the lightest flavour without bathing my teeth in excessive acid.

Go get your squeeze on.

 

Thoughts on James Bond and when dessert doubles for breakfast 

Sean Connery. David Niven. George Lazenby. Roger Moore. Timothy Dalton. Pierce Brosnan. Daniel Craig. What do these names have in common?

These gentlemen are the most well known faces of 007. Depending on your vintage, there is an argument as to who played Bond best. Sean Connery and Roger Moore have donned the tux for the most movie roles so far but Daniel Craig is racking up his credits.  Each of these actors brought a certain quality to their portrayal of our favourite agent.

The question is, will there be another 007? If so, who would fit the bill best? With his quintessential tuxedo, gadgets and quick wit, the safety of the free world was never out of reach.

Probably the most quoted James Bond line is “shaken, not stirred” in reference to his martini preference. We won’t get into how a true aficionado would view a shaken martini with disdain due to the increased ice melting and subsequent potentially cloudier cocktail. We aren’t here to discuss the merits of a perfect martini. As with everything in life, it comes down to personal preference.

What does James Bond have to do with breakfast or dessert for that matter? You’ll see.

Back to breakfast. Or dessert. Maybe both.

Chia pudding is such a time saver in the morning. The few minutes it takes to prep this before you head to bed, will pretty much guarantee you a great sleep. You will drift off to slumbertown with a smile on your face knowing you have the luxury of hitting the snooze button at least once and still have time for a satisfying breakfast.

Chocolate chia pudding:

Shake or stir (see, you knew I’d tie this to James Bond somehow) everything, cover with a lid and leave in the fridge overnight to work it’s gelatinous magic. Done.

Get up in the morning and spoon into a fancy bowl if you are that sort of person. (Or eat right out of the container you mixed it in.)

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Some days I add a few raw cacao nibs or Paleo style granola on top for a bit of crunch. One of my favourites is from This Pie is Nuts. I met Diana at Paleofx this year. Her smile is infectious and you walk away feeling energized from being in contact with her. Her heart and soul is evident in every bite. This Granola is Nuts is both Paleo and Vegan. See, she looks after everyone. You can eat this with wild abandon. This stuff is addictive, in a good way.

 

 

 

 

***I thought you said this was Vegan? Skip the collagen and you are good to go

 

Let’s chat about an attitude of gratitude

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When people ask me how I am, my reply is always swift and honest.

I’m awesome. I’m fantastic. I’m like gravy, good with everything. I’m so good, there should be two of me. (for many, that would be a scary concept) I’m on top of the world. (literally, aren’t we all on top of the world? Buried folks not included, obviously)

How? (each day as it comes) Don’t you have days that suck? (yes, but I don’t let that take the wheel and steer my head and heart) Don’t you ever get angry or upset? (yes, but again, I don’t let that take the day from me) Don’t you ever feel crappy? (compared to what?) Aren’t you ever disappointed? (no, what were your expectations in the first place?)

This all becomes a lesson in perspective doesn’t it? A quick flash back to my grade 8 Industrial Education teacher, Mr. Nelson, and that helps refocus my mindset. The post regarding him and how he shifted my outlook at the age of 13 is here. Talk about an epiphany.

Back to that attitude of gratitude. Or mindset if you prefer.

I wake up. Right off the bat, that is a win. Not everyone has that luxury. Some folks pass in their sleep. They are not given the opportunity for another day. I have shelter and an abundance of food and clean water. I have a job. I have been fortunate to create a family of my own. Not everyone can. My family is more complete because we have furry family members who share our lives and keep us humble. My family is healthy. Again, this isn’t a claim everyone can make. My heart goes out to those who have loved ones fighting battles. Perspective. Always perspective.

I was privileged to have known all four of my grandparents until I was well into adulthood. Many of my grandparents even had the chance to meet their great-grandchildren. How cool is that? Some folks never know their own parents, let alone their grandparents. One of my grandmothers gave me a great piece of advice when I was young, regarding less than pleasant tasks. I say this aloud and think on her often.

“Once begun, half done.” Thanks Evelyn.

The mindset that once you begin something you aren’t really looking forward to doing, you are halfway done, is liberating. This applies to cleaning bathrooms, grocery shopping, a long day at work, writing an essay etc.

Focus on positive instead of negative. Is the glass half full or half empty? Doesn’t matter does it? It just means that I had some and now there is room for more. I don’t allow my thoughts to linger on the guy who cut me off on the highway or the lady in the grocery store who is standing in the middle of the aisle, blocking it. I could care less about them. They aren’t my circus and definitely not my monkeys. I have better things to occupy my mind. You never know what those folks are dealing with in their world. Maybe he was racing home to a sick child or parent. Perhaps that woman is in a daze because her husband was just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and the idea of grocery shopping was the only thing that seemed normal at the moment. You don’t want to trade your troubles for someone else’s.

I’m grateful for my life, what I have, what I have done and what the future holds for me.

Everyday.

 

 

Sunny days and barbecue sauce

Long weekends. There is something magical about an extra day off.

The morning was spent sitting outside with a cup of coffee and a cat on my lap. I watched the neighbours pack their campers and trailers and haul their homes-away-from-home down the road to go camping. I’m happy for them. The camping life has never held any kind of enticement for me. The street fell silent. I closed my eyes and listened.

The breeze moved the leaves in the Ornamental Cherry Tree back and forth. I opened my eyes to see a hummingbird pay a visit to the feeder then move to the hanging basket on the eave. Daisy lifted her head at the sound of the hummingbird, but closed her eyes again and went back to sleep as she knows she can’t catch them. They are simply too fast. The sound of buzzing caught my ear and I spotted the largest, fuzziest bee lumbering around in the rose bush to my left. It seemed to be stumbling around in the flower as if drunk. His legs were coated yellow in pollen and he floated to the next flower to sample its wares. He flew away, heavily weighted with the mornings collection. It looked as if he was wearing bright yellow jodhpurs. The sights and sounds of summer were in full effect and I had a front-row seat.

Dinner. It always comes down to that doesn’t it?

I had an idea of what I felt like making, but needed some barbecue sauce. This is probably the most personal preference condiment around. Just look at all the varieties on the grocery store shelf.

Some folks like thick and sticky, some like it hot and make your forehead break out in a sweat and some prefer a honeyed taste. Mine is a straight forward version that works on everything from chicken and ribs to burgers and as a topping on meatloaf. This comes together really quickly with stuff you probably have on hand. Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients.

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Barbecue sauce:

  • 1 large can of plain stewed tomatoes (28 oz)
  • 1 can of tomato paste (6 oz)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup coconut aminos
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I use Kasandrinos)
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, ground (I use a mortar and pestle)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)

Put everything in a large saucepan on the stove. Whisk to combine and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and continue simmering for 5 minutes. Use right away or keep in the fridge for up to 3 months.

Note: when this sauce is warmed, the “heat” factor definitely moves up a notch.