morocccan chicken stew

moroccan chicken stew

morocccan chicken stew

I know we’re just entering September, but it’s felt like comfort-food weather for a while and that led me to this Moroccan chicken stew.

The summer has flown right by, and I think it feels like that more-so because the weather just hasn’t been all that summer-like for the most part. I think we’ve had the air conditioning on a total of 3 nights this summer. Don’t get me wrong, for those of us who love fall it’s been an ideal summer – cool nights, warm but not stuffy days, I really can’t complain!

When we visited Washington D.C on our baseball roadtrip, I experience humidity like I had never experienced before. The moment you walked outside you were drenched in sweat, and not necessarily because you were hot (though it was) but just sheer humidity covered you. It was disgusting. Coming home after that made me appreciate the cooler and less humid days of Ottawa. Sure we get days where it’s 99% humidity, but they don’t make up the majority of our days so it’s really not so bad.

Between work trips, personal trips, and wedding planning, I have all but lost my summer. That came off really cynical, i’ve enjoyed all of it, but I could use a few more months of beautiful weather!

Temple's Sugar BushThis past weekend, my bridesmaids, mom and I had a wedding day while Kevin was away at a bachelor party. Honestly, it couldn’t of gone any better. We took our time and made a full day of it starting with visiting our venue at Temple’s Sugar Bush just past Carleton Place. Piled into my SUV, I drove there and remember the feeling I had initially had “it’s so far.” When I pulled up to the parking lot, I remembered just how pretty it was, and the thought of distance was a fleeting one. It’s totally worth it.

I wanted a location that was going to be cozy and not too much. I’m actually surprising myself how non-bridezilla I am, and I think it’s a good thing! Going back inside reminded me why we chose Temple’s Sugar Bush as our ceremony and reception location. It’s the perfect balance between rustic and modern, with harvest style tables or as I like to think of them family-style tables. I want this day to be about bringing families and friends together to celebrate. My bridesmaids and mom approved! :)

We than made our way to Sinders Bridal House to try on dresses. I always thought this was going to be the thing I looked forward to the most, but quite honestly it was the thing I feared the most. I had a bad experience on the phone with another bridal house which made me feel incredibly self-conscious and uneasy, and i’m already self-conscious to begin with. My experience at Sinders was amazing; Ruth walked us through the store looking at different options. Before I got too overwhelmed I tried on about 12 or so dresses. Low and behold, I committed to the second dress I tried on with resounding approval (and tears) from my entourage, which included my bridesmaid in the states via skype!

But now, as the days get shorter, and the summer starts to dwindle down, I find myself craving comfort food. Stew really is one of those delicious comfort foods you can’t go wrong with. Curl up on the couch with a bowl of this Moroccan chicken stew, and you’re good to go! The best part of this recipe, you can make it in the slow cooker, so even on those super hot days you’re not warming up the house even more by turning on the oven.

Onto the Moroccan chicken stew recipe

Moroccan Chicken Stew
Serves 12
Comfort food at its finest and easy to make in the slow cooker for those days you don't have time or don't want to turn on the oven.
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
7 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
7 hr
Ingredients
  1. 4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinlees
  2. 1 can peas
  3. 1 (15 1/2-ounce) can chickpeas
  4. 1 medium onion, chopped
  5. 1 (28-ounce) can of tomatoes, diced and undrained
  6. 1 cups chicken broth
  7. 1 teaspoon ginger
  8. 1 tablespoon cinammon
  9. 1/2 cup coconut milk
  10. 2 bay leaves
Instructions
  1. Place all the ingredients in the slow cooker on low for 7-8 hours, or 3-4 hours on high.
  2. Once done, remove the chicken and using two forks, pull chicken in different direction to shred.
  3. Return the chicken to the slow cooker and mix well.
  4. Enjoy.
Notes
  1. This freezes well, so think about making a full batch and freezing some for another night!
porch&table http://porchandtable.com/
quinoa butternut squash salad

quinoa butternut squash salad

quinoa butternut squash salad

Sometimes I find it hard to make summertime meals that are hearty enough to fill you up, but don’t require much effort, enter quinoa butternut squash salad.

I’ve said it before, and i’ll say it again, traditional salads just don’t appeal to me. I’ve looked for ways to incorporate grains instead of lettuce, and pair it with some seasonal veggies. There’s something so amazing about the flavour and colour of butternut squash. 

I must admit, I hate peeling and chopping squash, it can be time consuming, but once you actually put a piece of roasted butternut squash in your mouth the misery that was seems to disappear. Whenever I can, I try to pawn off that task to someone else, usually Kevin. 

Given that we’re in full wedding-planning mode, I’ve been finding it particularly exhausting to do anything when I get home. Between wedding stuff, dog rescue stuff, and work, I hardly have a moment to just sit back and unwind. For that reason, when I can find a meal I can make once and enjoy for days, it’s hard to look away!

While we’re on the topic of weddings, we’ve more or less booked our venue, our photographer, and videographer. There are a few details still waiting to be sorted, but it feels like it’s really coming together! I’m hoping to try on dresses this weekend, and I think at that point it will feel real. 

Any advice you can offer a bride? I’d love to hear your tricks and tips!

But for now, on to the recipe.

quinoa butternut squash salad
Serves 8
Hearty salad that is just as delicious the next day as it was the first!
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Total Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 large butternut squash, peeled, cleaned, and cubed
  2. 1 cup quinoa
  3. 2 cups chicken broth
  4. 1 medium red onion, diced
  5. 1 cup black beans
  6. 1/4 cup water chestnuts
Instructions
  1. In advance, place the cubed butternut squash on a lined cookie sheet or in a lightly greased casserole dish and drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper.
  2. Roast the squash on 400°F for 30-35 minutes, flipping them over and around at the mid-way mark.
  3. Let cool.
  4. Bring the broth to a boil, and add the quinoa.
  5. Lower the heat and cook for 15 minutes covered. Afterwards, turn off the heat and remove the pot from the burner. Let stand for 5 minutes, still covered.
  6. In a large bowl, combine the black beans, onion, and water chestnuts.
  7. Once the butternut squash and quinoa have cooled down a little, mix it into the large bowl.
  8. Top with Salt & Pepper and Enjoy!
porch&table http://porchandtable.com/
Losing a pet - porch&table

a moment for pause – and paws

I’ve been a little quieter than normal, and part of that is because I’ve recently lost a pet. It was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make, and one of the most impossible decisions too. Full disclosure, there won’t be a project or a recipe in this post.

Let’s back up a little: In grade 8, I went to the humane society with my mom and we picked out a pretty little black and white cat I named Fiasco. I’ve always had the best pets in general, the ones that would let me do basically anything to them (including dressing them up) without complaining. I’ve been affectionately referred to as Elmira!

Losing a pet - porch&tableFiasco was no different. Some might say she was opinionated, but to me she just liked taking part in conversations. Talk and talk and talk she would. From early in the morning to let you know you could see a corner of the bottom of her food bowl, to mid-afternoon to let you know she was ready for a nap.

We grow so close to our pets, they become a part of the family. Fiasco started behaving strangely really quickly, and with little warning. Her breathing was laboured, and she had lost quite a bit of weight (which we didn’t think too much of, and frankly she could have used to lose a few pounds). Within 6 hours or so, we went from thinking she wasn’t doing well but hopeful, to saying our goodbyes to the cat I had since I was 12. 

You know you’re making the right decision, but as I said in the beginning, it’s an impossible decision to make. You don’t ever want to be face with it, and likewise, you don’t want to see someone you love in pain or discomfort. In the end, we were fairly certain it was advanced cancer that was eating away at her quickly. With my parents by my side, I snuggled her on my lap one last time, and she went to sleep, painlessly and quickly. 

I have a renewed and immense appreciation for those who take care of animals from vets to shelters and rescues. The jobs and decisions they face are emotionally draining, and I applaud (and send virtual hugs) to them. I volunteer with two rescues in Ottawa: Sit With Me Rescue, and the Ottawa Dog Rescue. I volunteer with them because I know how important pets are, and I want to help forever homes for these great pets-to-be. If it were up to me, I would have them all at my house and snuggle them for hours on end.

All this to say, snuggle your pets a little tighter tonight because there are those of us who can’t. 

p.s Sorry for the sadder than normal post, I swear I’ll be back to my old self soon enough!