Christmas madness is relieved with quick easy dinners
November 15, 2016
Can you feel it? Someone has sped up the clocks. The rush to the end of the year and all-things-Christmas has hit. I am beginning to feel my stress levels creep upwards. Are you?
Each year I get caught up in this rush and the stress rises with it. This year I am not going to get stressed out and will not get caught up in the mad round of social activities, shopping stress, and end of year events.
I have said no to numerous events, I have scheduled family time in the lead up to Christmas instead of doing the social “rounds”. I am determined not going to over-commit and have everyone exhausted on Christmas Day. I am determined to go into the holiday period relaxed rather than stressed and with the intent of having more fun with the kids while they are still little enough to enjoy this magical exciting time of year (do check back with me in a month’s time). I have a content plan for here and a plan for events I am participating in in the lead up to Christmas. Dinner time can be a stressful time in some homes. The end to a busy day, everyone is tired, fussy eaters, food intolerance, partners working later than usual, there are many things to consider. Simplifying dinner is a good way to help keep stress levels low at this time of year, or any time of year.
A little while ago I wrote a post outlining some easy ways to use herbs to add extra flavour and nutrients to your family meals. You know that I am all about fresh ingredients. I enjoy collecting fresh herbs from our garden each day to add to our meals.
Spices are the other obvious way to add flavour to meals, making simple ingredients shine and boring meals exciting. They are not as easy as herbs to grow at home or to get the blend of flavours just perfect, this is best left to an expert such as Herbies. Adding an interesting spice blend to a roast chicken makes a much more exciting meal than a plain roast chicken. The family will think you’ve been slaving over dinner for hours!
It is not too tricky to combine a number of spices together if you are an experienced cook, but if you are like me, you will stick to the few prefect combinations you have stumbled upon and don’t go beyond that.
I am excited (and relieved) to be given the opportunity to try one of Herbie’s new spice kits, the “Cook’s Vacation” Kit. It comes with 20 different spice blends in a gift pack. It is a diverse variety of mixes that give the cook the opportunity to take a holiday from the kitchen or at least a holiday from thinking of new things to make for all the visitors over the Christmas period. This kit is designed to make someone who is not usually the cook a very good one, or to help a young one get started with confidence. Open the box and decide if you want to try a Brazilian, Mexican, Smokey BBQ, Greek or Portuguese mix for dinner tonight. There is a recipe on the back of each pack to inspire your meal. You can read more and see the other available kits here.
I was introduced to Herbies a couple of years ago when I was invited to meet and lunch with Ian “Herbie” Hempill”. The thing that struck me most was how passionate Ian is about spices, specifically the quality of the spices his company sells. Along with his wife, he is a successful author and spice authority, recognised as the leader in his field. I don’t wonder or worry about his blends containing poor quality, or non-listed, ingredients.
On the evening my son plays hockey the game time dictates if we eat an early or late dinner. Baking a chicken is one easy meal solution on this night as it can be cooked on the day, or the day prior and served hot or cold. I used this week’s hockey night as an opportunity to try Herbies Cajun Spice Mix.
To make this meal I simply added a drizzle of olive oil over the chook and rubbed 2 tablespoons of the Herbies Cajun Spice Mix into the skin and cooked it as normal. Dinner prep took just a few minutes. I served the chicken cold with rice noodles, salad and squeeze of lime. Dinner was jammed packed with flavour, no thought required, and enjoyed by the whole family.
Herbies have generously provided a Cook’s Vacation Kit for me to donate to a local charity called Hampers for Farmers and I have another to give to one lucky person who follows me on Instagram. Find me @kyrstie_afl and enter to win yourself one of these Cook’s Vacation kits this week so you too can have a relaxing, non stressful lead up to Christmas. Alternatively, you could cross a Christmas gift off your list. If you think you’d like to do that I suggest you don’t open the box to look at it because if you do the chances are that you’ll want to keep it.
Have you noticed things speeding up as we head towards the end of the year?
Head over to Instagram for the opportunity to win a Cook’s Vacation Kit.
*Disclaimer: I was gifted a Cook’s Vacation Kit to try. I was already a loyal Herbies customer prior to this, all opinions are my own.
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