North African flavors and a hike!

So, today was a day that Sean and I decided to wrestle away from all the crazy schedules and to-do lists.  We just survived a move, and work hadn’t slowed down for it one bit.  Now that we have gotten ourselves pretty well unpacked and nested for the most part, we needed a day just for family.  So, we declared Monday a school-free/work-free day to just BE.  We gardened, we played and we did one of our family’s favorite activities…we hiked!

But wait!  We didn’t leave until 1pm for a six mile hike…..I didn’t want dinner to sneak up on me and stress me out.  It was totally a day for making the kitchen gadgets work for me.  Enter the crock pot!

DSC_1379I chopped up some potatoes and added red onions.

DSC_1380Now for the unexpected: peaches!

DSC_1382The frozen peaches are going to be a beautiful component to play with the savory spices I’m about to add.  But first, add some more sweet with 2 tablespoons of honey and a cup of apple juice.

DSC_1384Add in 5 cloves of minced garlic and two chopped tomatoes.

DSC_1385DSC_1386Top with 4 chicken breasts (as you can see, I simply plopped in some frozen chicken for ease).  Then for the the spices.  Add in 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon dry mustard, and 4 pods of cardamon.

DSC_1387Just break open the husks of the pods and dump out the seeds for maximum flavor.

DSC_1390You are set, just give it a hit of 1 teaspoon of black pepper and a heavy dose of salt (the potatoes are gonna need it!).

DSC_1392All set…time to hit the trails!  I love living on the Central Coast!

DSC_1410With a 10 minute drive, we were in paradise!

DSC_1398The kids were immediately on an adventure.

DSC_1404Even Ash got to join in on the fun….in true SLO fashion!  I mean, this is dog central…and isn’t she a beautiful Border Collie (and Sean is looking pretty ruggedly handsome, too:)).

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The best part is what you find on hikes out here, especially when I compare it with my hikes when I lived in LA.  Check out the litter:)

DSC_1426And the whimsy we found in the trees.

DSC_1422There was magic everywhere we looked.

DSC_1467DSC_1489Haha and I loved that my 8 year old is so unaccustomed to graffiti that he pointed it out and had a sneaking suspicion that it might be left there by the ancient Chumash.  So awesome.  He thought it was beautiful!
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I was so proud of my little explorers who brought along their sacks and notebooks for the hike.  Such cool kids lovin’ nature!

DSC_1477By the end, we were all tuckered out.  I was soooo glad that we had dinner waiting!

DSC_1495DSC_1497Mmmmmm delish…hot and full of flavor!  Such a peaceful ending to a peaceful day!

North African Style Chicken Stew

  • 4 chicken breasts (or use thighs)
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 large potatoes (or 8 smallish medium)
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bag of frozen peach slices
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 4 pods of cardamon, seeds only
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • salt to taste (start with 1/2 teaspoon…but you will probably need more since the potatoes suck up the salt)

Combine all the ingredients in a crock pot and let the magic happen.  Cook on high setting for 3-4 hours.

Bon apetit!

~Chanda

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