Sunday, July 20, 2014

Super Simple Learning

Over the last 6 months or so Aimee has become increasingly interested in our phones-- particularly in looking at pictures (mainly of herself!) and in watching the short videos that we allow her to see on occasion. Although we still try to limit "screen time" as much we can, she does get a kick out of some of these silly videos and songs and they can be really helpful when you need her to sit still for 5 minutes while you put something in the oven, for example. They are, unfortunately, also my main negotiating tool for when I want to get Aimee to do certain things (note that I did not use the word "bribe"-- until just now oops!).

I've made it easy to organize her favorite videos by following my friend Stephanie's advice for setting up a youtube channel just for Aimee-- it's so much easier that way! At various times, Aimee will have a certain set of videos that she will frequently request to watch (and would probably watch on an endless loop if we let her!). Right now she is a big fan of the videos by Super Simple Learning. SSL has a pretty large library of little videos featuring your favorite nursery rhymes/preschooler songs. And the animation is pretty cute too. Here are some of Aimee's favorites (note you may have trouble with the links if you are reading on an RSS feed):


If You're Happy (which Aimee refers to as "The Happy Song")

Old MacDonald

Walking in the Jungle (the current favorite!)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Super Simple Supper

I have long been on a quest to find easy, tasty meals that I can make on weeknights. Bonus points if they are healthy and delicious enough to make on the weekend because, as work outside the home parents, we cram a lot of activity into the weekends so I am not always up for spending a lot of time in the kitchen even when I technically have more time to devote to cooking.

One meal we’ve been enjoying recently that fits these criteria perfectly is five-spice chicken and roasted ratatouille. With the ample hands-off cooking time, it is incredibly easy to make and is flavorful and healthy to boot. Jason is a big fan of the chicken, in particular, and I find the roasted ratatouille to be pretty versatile—as a side dish, as a filling for frittata or quiche, mixed with couscous, etc. It’s delicious in any form.

Five Spiced Chicken and Roasted Ratatouille
(The chicken recipe is from Hellobee and is the original recipe that I used to make the BBQ chicken recipe from the Memorial Day post—only adaptations are to quantity)

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1.5 teaspoons paprika (I used smoked paprika)
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
¾ teaspoon garlic powder
¾ teaspoon white pepper
3 teaspoons coarse salt
¼ cup chicken stock or water
2 medium zucchini
2 small or 1 large eggplant
1 red pepper
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
1 TBL olive oil

To make the chicken: mix together the ginger, garlic powder, white pepper, paprika and salt until well combined. Divide in half (save one half in an airtight container for the next time you want to make this dish!). Preheat the oven to 375. Place the chicken thighs in a baking dish. Loosen skin from meat with your fingers. Sprinkle some the spice mixture under the skin of each thigh; sprinkle remaining on top of the skin. Add water or chicken stock to the bottom of the baking dish. Cover the dish with aluminum foil (try and cover loosely otherwise the skin will stick to the foil). Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour.

To make the ratatouille: Chop the zucchini, eggplant and red pepper into 1 inch pieces and place onto a sheet pan. Add the pint of tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 375 for 45-60 minutes, stirring a few times to prevent the veggies from sticking to the pan (you can skip this step if you line your pan with parchment!)