Once I started working from home, the boys have assumed that anytime I crack open my laptop ‘I’m working’. If it’s between the hours of 9:00am and 3:00pm, they’re probably right, but the rest of the time it’s more likely that I’m searching for a recipe, registering the kids for a class or camp, looking up directions, planning our vacation, ordering books, watching Jackson’s newest movie (he’s a die-hard director), reading the news, checking the movie times now that I have a teenager who likes to spend Friday nights at the theater with his friends, scouring Craigslist for old books and vintage items, catching up with friends on Facebook, listening to music, and more. In essence, I - and the rest of my family - spend a lot of time on the computer.
Most of it is completely validated and enhances our day-to-day life, but gosh, when did I/we become so reliant! While I can completely justify my online usage, I’m extremely aware of the (bad) example I might be setting for my kids. I mean, if I’m going to talk the talk, then I need to walk the walk, and it’s hard to lecture them about spending too much time in front of screen when it’s obvious that I can be known to do the same.
So for the summer, while the kids are home from school for ten weeks, we’re going on a digital detox of sorts, abstaining from online usage for at least one hour every night to do something as a family. To be honest, this isn’t really a huge undertaking for us, but instead of being offline doing separate things, we’re going to be together playing games, gardening, and cooking, of course. In fact, we’re even taking it one step further and have signed up for the Tech Timeout Challenge, by life insurance provider Foresters.
My plan is to use this time to get Ben back into the kitchen. He used to be a constant cooking companion, but as school work has increased, sports commitments have grown, and his social life has ballooned to three times as busy as mine, he’s perfectly content to reach for the bread and peanut butter when it comes to feeding himself. He loves to make cookies and brownies, and often turns to the kids’ cookbook collection on the bottom shelf of our bookcase. I’m thinking it’s time he moves up at few rows, and digs into the meal-making tomes I know he’ll enjoy cooking from.
I’m so excited about a summer of cooking with my kids, and if you’re not planning your own digital diet – did you know you can download the pledge form here? - I hope you’ll follow along. I’ll be sharing our recipes, what did and didn’t work, and I’ll be keeping you up to date on how we’re doing with our detox. During my designated computer time, natch.
Bacon and Caramelized Onion Jam
Anything that calls for bacon is guaranteed to be a surefire success with Ben and this sweet and spicy condiment is no exception. Easy to make, it’s a perfect starter recipe for any teen boy who’ll happily smear this sauce over chicken, burgers, and thick slices of crusty bread.
- 1 lb. bacon, finely chopped
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup coffee
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard
1. Cook bacon in a saucepan over medium-high heat until all the fat has been rendered. Transfer the cooked pieces to a paper towel-lined plate and pat excess fat off bacon. Drain fat from the pan leaving about a tablespoon behind.
2. Lower the heat, add onions and garlic, and cook until translucent and soft, approximately 10 minutes. Add the brown sugar, coffee, maple syrup, cider vinegar, mustard, and cooled bacon to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 35-45 minutes or until thick and jammy-looking.
3. Store in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Note: To serve with pan-fried chicken breasts like in the photo above, wash and pat dry 4 pieces of chicken. Spread a small amount of Dijon mustard over each piece and season with salt and pepper. Grill or fry in a well-oiled skillet until golden brown and juices run clear, about 15-20 minutes. Spoon a large dollop of the bacon jam over each chicken breast and serve warm.
This post was generously sponsored by life insurance providers Foresters, but the opinions and images are my own. For more information, visit www.techtimeout.com.