Life: Well, school is really in full swing now. Aiden is really doing good so far. He just seems so much for organized and pulled together this year. How does that happen so dramatically between first and second grade? For goodness sakes he’s keep a planner, and writing in it neatly! Plus, we really like his teacher, so obviously that’s totally awesome too.
Charlie is working nights right now, which kind of sucks. But he’s managed to set his schedule so he does four tens from 7-7, Monday the ought Thursday. (That is obviously 12 hours, but included travel time to the job.) So while the nights aren’t our favorite, he still get to see me and he kids everyday, and that helps a lot. Plus he gets Fridays to flip his schedule back and forth, so we still get a real weekend with him where he isn’t completely delirious. All things considered, it’s not that bad.
My swimming thing is still going strong. I ended up joining a gym so that I would be able to keep swimming during the school year, despite our new schedules. They have a really nice kids area, with a climbing thing, basketball, etc. so Tristan can play while I swim. Aiden is in school of course, but he comes to play on the weekends if I feel like going over. Which unsurprisingly doesn’t happen them at often because like usual the weekends are still packed. However, I have been swimming for an hour, M-F, for a few weeks now. I’ve lost some weight, and my leg is still improving. Clearly the plan is working over all, and I’m psyched!
There have been a few odd moments at the gym here and there. For example, a littl while back when I walked in to the ladies locker room there were two ladies totally bawling each other. It had something to do with the showers, and one woman using too much water, and the other woman reporting something or another about the use of too much water? I don’t know really, they started screaming and I totally ducked out of there. I am a sage avoider of angry gym ladies, regardless of why they are angry. Seems like a wise move to me, some of the ladies at my gym are crazy strong, and I like my head attached to my body. I’m not getting in the middle of that kind of thing. Fortunately the family locker rooms (where I have to spend a lot of time anyway, as Tristan is finishing up his potty training and we still have to go to the bathroom a zillion times a day) are very nice as well.
I also have to admit I’m not super impressed with the gyms cafe. Now I know I’m not going to get a killer burger and fries or get anything deep fried at the gym cafe. Naturally, the gym cafe is required to serve healthy type food and smoothies (we can’t forget the smoothies right?). But you would think a decent protein/grain bowl or salad could be found. But… not so much. Well I don’t really know about the salad, I was afraid to eat there again after the first time.
It was bad news my friends. I ordered the afore mentioned protein/grain bowl. It was supposed to have fresh spinach, lentils, quinoa (I should have known better when I read quinoa, huh?), sautéed zucchini, and chicken, plus pesto and tzatziki for dipping. Sounds healthyish but like it could pretty good right? I like zucchini and spinach, and most definitely pesto and tzatziki. But, NO! NO! It was most certainly not good. It was… It was… How to describe it without grossing everyone out? It was wet, and mushy, and orange, and looked like… well, never mind. You really don’t want to know. Let’s just say it was a major affront to good taste and all things edible and move on.
But, other then the occasional scary ladies and scary bowls, I’m seriously loving it. I was surprised to discover pools are completely dead at 8 am. (Yes there is more then one pool. So chi chi, right?) So, not only do I always have a lane to swim laps in to myself, I often have an entire pool to myself.
It is quiet in the pool because a. It’s empty and b. My children are in school/climbing something at the gym kids center. I glide back and forth across the pool, and just zone out. Do you know what it’s like for it to be quiet enough to zone out!?! Moms and Dads out there you know what I’m talking about right? I love my kids but they are LOUD! Heck my kids even talk in their sleep. Sometimes in the quiet instead of zoning out I ponder the excellent new recipes I might like to prepare and share in the future (whole grain blueberry muffins, blackberry shortcake, green chile and cheddar stuffed chicken?) The peacefulness, actually exercising sans torture, the still diminishing pain.. Yeah I’m very happy with it all.
Conclusion, life is super busy (swimming still eats up a lot of time and everyone’s got those new schedules…) but good lately.
Food: So clearly I needed to make something awesome with tzatziki after the horrid afair with the protien/grain bowl. I ask you, does tzatziki belong with more then leg of lamb? And it just so happened I had a leg of lamb in the freezer that I had impulse purchased a grocery shop or two back. (No one but a food blogger would impulse purchase a leg of lamb, I know. It’s cool, I’ve more or less made peace with the fact that I’m a little odd.)
Out of the freezer that leg of lamb came, and I started tossing together spices with a Middle Eastern vibe. I mean I really got in the cookingzone, it was all smokey paprika, cumin, cinnamon, garlic…
And then I was like, “Man, I should serve this with hummus for an appitizer.” So I whipped up some killer hummus. (I promise to post the recipe asap, because I know everyone desperately needs hummus.)
And the I got thinking side dishes that might be nice with lamb… A couscous, maybe a tabbouleh, no a couscous tabbouleh! Yes! (Yep, I’ll post this one too.)
And then I was like, “Aaak! What are you doing tzatziki is Greek, you idiot! All of this stuff is Middle Eastern(esque). None of it goes.” (Pretty sure I made up the word Easternesque.) But I decided, “What the heck, I’m going for it, we’re doing Middle Eastern, Greek, leg of lamb fusion.”
And then I laughed at myself for sounding silly and possibly slightly food blogger pompous. You’ve gotta admit lamb fusion sounds totally silly. And yet, maybe even unsurprisingly to some of you, all the flavors ended up melding together perfectly… So lamb fusion it is my friends. But we’ll just call it Middle Eastern Spiced Leg of Lamb with Tzatziki so we don’t sound completely dopey ok?
I ended up grilling the lamb and getting those gorgeous grill lines on it, and then finishing it in the oven (because I didn’t feel like supervising my BBQ for the rest of the time it needed to cook).
I know it’s September, but I’m really hoping it’s not too cold yet where you are, because I really want you to fire up the grill in this one. I felt like the lamb really ended up extra wonderful with even that little bit of lazy grilling going on. However, I do think the dish could be handled successfully 100% in the oven if you prefer, so don’t let poor weather deter you from making this dish. On the other hand, I also suppose you could also finish the lamb 100% on the grill if it’s still much too hot to bother turning on the oven where you are. So, you know, I guess my point it make this dish regardless of your preferred cooking method.
While the lamb was in the I finished up the side dishes, made the Tzatiki, and crumbled a ton of feta. By the time the lamb was resting we had
a Middle Eastern Greek fusion feast. Ahem, excuse me. We had a fabulous Middle Eastern Spiced Grilled Lamb with Tzatziki and assorted side dishes. It was a meal to remember.
Middle Eastern Spiced Leg of Lamb– Serves 8. Cook times chart adapted from The Kitchn.
- 3 and 1/2 lb bone in leg of lamb
- 2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
- 1 teaspoon multi color fresh ground pepper (submitter black if you don’t have multi color)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon smokey paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1. In a small bowl mix together salt, pepper, and all spices. Rub the outside of the leg of lamb with the spice mix. Use all the mix and cover the lamb well. Allow the lamb to rest at room temperature for an hour prior to grilling. This will allow for more even cooking.
2. Light and preheat the grill according to manufacture’s directions. When preheated reduce the heat to medium. Place the lamb on the grill, avoiding any hot spots, fat side up and cook until the side gets nicely browned and you get some grill marks. (About five minutes or so.) Flip the lamb over and repeat. Turn to get the sides as needed.
3. To finish the lamb on the grill: When all sides have good color transfer the lamb to a large piece of foil. Wrap tightly and return to the grill, reducing the heat so that the grill is at 325*. Cook until the desired temperature is reached, see chart below.
4. To finish in the oven: When all sides have good color transfer the lamb to an oven safe baking dish. Cover loosely with foil. Cook in the oven on 325* until desired temperature is reached, see chart below.
This chart gives approximate cooking times for a bone in leg of lamb; please note that cooking time can vary, so be sure to use a meat thermometer to check your internal temperature a few times as you are cooking in the thickest part of the leg. These times also account for a 15 minute rest time after the lamb has been removed form the heat, during which it will continue to cook.
5. When the lamb is cooked to desired temperature allow it to rest off the heat for fifteen minutes before slicing and serving. For best results slice by cutting against the grain.
Note: This recipe easily scales up. Simply double, triple, etc. the spices as needed, and use the cooking chat to determine the appropriate cooking time.
Tzatziki- Yields about 1 cup. Adapted from Ina Garten for Food Network
- 1/2 pint plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cucumber peeled and seeded
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/16 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dill
- black pepper to taste
1. Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until pureed and throughly mixed.
2. Transfer the mixture to a large piece of cheesecloth and set over all bowl. Place the mixture in the fridge and allow it to drain for three to four hours, this will cause the mixture to thicken to the correct consistency.
3. Transfer to a bowl, discard the liquid and chill if not serving immediately. Before serving adjust pepper to taste, and mix gently to incorporate any additional pepper added.