Cooking for Mom (Video)

Mom’s dinner.

Spice Rubbed Chicken Tenderloins, Avocado-Tomato-Fennel Salad and Kaffir Lime-Star Anise Scented Rice

Cooking for my parents presents a welcome challenge.  Mom and Dad are old school Indiana Hoosiers, Dad from Indianapolis and Mom from Elwood.

As a result, they don’t eat spicy food and raw fish is out of the question. 

Mom and Dad also have their culinary boundaries.  Cinnamon belongs in dessert.  Period.  Avocados will remain an exotic luxury.  Star anise and cumin require a passport.  The Kaffir lime leaf comes from an alternate reality.  Flowers live in vases. 

On top of my parents’ food preferences, Mom has dietary restrictions.  She has Celiac disease, so no gluten.  In addition, she has thyroid issues.  Therefore, she needs to limit red meat and processed meat.  Moreover, she needs to minimize her dairy and saturated fat intake. 

So, when I cook for my parents, I cater to what they like.  And, I need to consider Mom’s nutritional requirements.  So, I give them familiar foods like chicken, rice and tomatoes but with slight tweaks. 

Spiced chicken tenderloins.

Chicken receives a simple spice rub.

Avocado, tomato, fennel, walnut salad.

Tomatoes pair with avocado in a walnut dressing.

Kaffir lime rice.

Kaffir lime leaves and star anise perfume the rice.

Edible flowers.

Finally, for an aesthetic twist, I garnish with some edible flowers.

Mom enjoys flowers. 

How’d it turn out?  When I put the chicken on the table, Mom considerately smiled and asked, “Do I smell cinnamon?”

Take a look at the video to see how dinner came together and hear Mom’s reaction. 

Serves 4

Chicken, spices and tarragon.

Spice Rubbed Chicken Tenderloins

1 pound chicken tenderloins

1 tablespoon fennel seeds

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

½ cinnamon stick

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt, to taste

Tarragon sprigs and edible flowers for garnish. 


Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Toast the spices in a dry skillet over low heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes.  Grind them in a coffee grinder.

Toss the chicken with the spices, olive oil and salt.

Place on baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes.  Let them rest for 5 minutes.


Place some tarragon sprigs on a platter.  Arrange the chicken on the tarragon and garnish with some flowers.

Ingredients for avocado/tomato/fennel salad.

Avocado-Tomato-Fennel Salad

2 yellow tomatoes, chopped

2 avocados, chopped

1 fennel bulb, sliced thin.  (A mandolin speeds up the process and creates uniform slices.)

1 cup walnuts, roasted in a 350 degree oven for 4-5 minutes

2 green onions

1 tablespoon walnut vinegar (Apple cider vinegar is a great substitute.)

¼ cup walnut oil (Olive oil works well, too.)

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon honey

Salt, to taste.

Edible flowers for garnish.


For the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, honey and salt.  Slowly whisk in the oil until you reach an emulsion.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss the fennel, tomatoes, walnuts, green onions and avocados one at a time with a little dressing.  Tossing them individually guarantees an evenly coated salad. 


Place the salad on a large platter and garnish with edible flowers.

Ingredients for kaffir lime rice.

Kaffir Lime-Star Anise Scented Rice

1 cup rice

½ red onion, diced

2 Kaffir lime leaves

1 Star Anise

1 teaspoon olive oil

Salt, to taste

2 cups water

Edible flowers for garnish


In a medium sauce pot over medium low heat, sweat the onion in the olive oil.  Add salt to taste and cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the rice, water, Kaffir lime leaves and Star Anise and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove the heat and let the rice sit for 10 minutes. 


Remove the Kaffir lime leaves and Star Anise and fluff the rice with a fork.  Place in a bowl and garnish with edible flowers. 

What do you cook for your parents? We’d love to hear your comments.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

8 thoughts on “Cooking for Mom (Video)

  1. Love how thoughtful you are when cooking for your parents!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! They appreciate it too!


  2. Another great recipe and video!
    Flowers make everything better. Even on chicken and rice.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow edible flowers 💐. Interesting 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They’re great! They liven up any dish and they’re inexpensive. Thanks for reading!😀


      1. Your welcome. Im going to try thank you!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’re welcome. Edible flowers are a guaranteed success!


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