I was never a outdoorsy kind of girl growing up. Nor was anyone in my family outdoorsy. Whenever my Chinese parents took me on family vacations, they mostly involved Disney World or venturing out in new cities, shopping or trying new foods. Even if we were going to places like Yellowstone, the vacation would revolve around my mother demanding my father to take glamour photos of her against various picturesque backgrounds like lakes, snow-capped peaks, forests or valleys, then driving the car to the next photogenic look-out point. In fact, the farthest hike my parents endured in Yellowstone was 3 miles, and it broke them.
Since I’ve moved to Los Angeles, however, a whole world of hiking possibilities were opened up to me. The San Gabriel Valley mountains in the east, the Santa Monica mountains in the west and Runyon, Griffith, Hollywood Sign, everything in between, kept me coming back hike after hike. I was getting addicted to the new hiking business. So on my week long holiday recently, I planned a vacation to Yosemite and took my parents on possibly the most outdoorsy vacation we’ve ever gone as a family. By the way, if you haven’t gone to Yosemite yet, go in late September/early October, when the crowds are long gone after labor day weekend and before the roads close and winter hits in November. Plus, it makes for 60-80 degrees perfect weather, for hiking of course.
On the first day, we hiked 2 hikes and 8 miles in total. At the famous tunnel view where Yosemite Valley sits between Half Dome and El Capitan, where tour buses and tourists lined up in troves to take photos of this iconic Yosemite view, we hiked on the mountain right next to it and got a much more serene and exclusive view of the valley on the hilltop dubbed Inspiration Point, where of course, my mother forced my dad to take countless photos of her in different poses against the valley. Some things just never change. In the afternoon, we hiked to Sentinel Dome and came to the top of this giant round rock. The 360 degrees view was breathtaking, and we saw Glacier Point and snow-capped peaks on one side, the lush evergreen forest tumbling away on the other side and a canyon cutting through mountains the other way. My mom and dad were dazzled away and thought it was a fair trade off for all the work they had to endure on their way.
In the following days, we hiked to remote waterfalls and then to the top of waterfalls, through steep mountain switchbacks, and on altitudes of 10,000 feet. Except for one time when my dad really had to sit it out midway through the hike because of altitude shortness of breath, my family successfully accomplished all the hikes I planned out for the trip. They enjoyed every part of it, and I consider my secret mission to convert them into outdoors loving folks a success.
Today, I want to share with y’all a one pot dinner recipe that a dear friend gave me. It combines dry cranberries, cilantro, lime juice, fresh orange and Dijon mustard, and you are probably doubting in your head what that combination of flavors would ever produce. Juicy, refreshing goodness- that’s what you’ll get in return! Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: Chicken with Cranberry Cilantro Rice.
Chicken with Cherry Cilantro Rice
- 3 large chunks of chicken breast, diced into small pieces
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- 3 slices of orange
- 1 tbsp of Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp of brown sugar
- 1.5 cup uncooked rice
- 1/4 cup dry cranberries
- 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
- 1 dash of salt and pepper
Cook the rice in a rice cooker by adding 1.5 cup of water.
While rice is cooking, Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Freshly juice lemon and lime, add to the chicken. Add Dijon mustard and brown sugar to chicken, and toss thoroughly to combine so that every piece of chicken is marinated in sauce. Leave the chicken marinated for 1/2 hour.
Heat up canola oil in a pan and saute chicken until fully cooked, for about 5-7 minutes.
When rice is cooked, add a dash of salt and pepper, dry cranberries, orange slices and chopped cilantro to rice. Mix well and cover the rice pot to let the flavors rest for 10 minutes.
Add chicken pieces to rice and mix. Enjoy!