Thursday, May 31, 2012

Craisin and Feta Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette

~My Current Favorite~
I like this salad because it's simple, has only a few ingredients, goes together quickly, and packs a healthy punch.

Fresh Green and Red Leaf Lettuce,
torn into pieces
Fresh Spinach, torn into pieces
Craisins
Red Onion, thin sliced
Walnuts, Pecans, or Sliced Almonds
Feta Cheese Crumbles
Vinaigrette:
2/3 cup olive oil
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup white vinegar
Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake to dissolve sugar. Drizzle over salad. Store leftovers in the fridge.

~Be Blessed!~

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza

Betsy made me do it ☺


Or maybe I should say she made me want to taste it. I was making pizzas over the past weekend and decided to try this version along with a traditional one and a BBQ Chicken and Pineapple one. Very simple and uncomplicated but full of delicious flavor! My husband enjoyed it a lot! Son #3 and I were the only other lucky ones to try it. The leftovers were enjoyed for a quick supper another night. Leftover pizza is a good thing at our house. ☺


I made my own pizza crust and prebaked it. Spread Ken's Farmhouse Ranch Dressing generously over it. Top with Roasted/Grilled Chicken and Apple Wood Bacon (precooked) and CoJack Cheese (shredded) and sprinkle with dried Parsley Flakes. Bake at 400° till cheese is melted and beginning to brown. So Yummy! Thanks Betsy for the introduction!



~Be Blessed!~

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lemon Strawberry Stuffed French Toast and some Beauty I'm Enjoying

Saturday Morning Breakfast


I was making french toast for some of the children this morning and it made me hungry for some as well. This is not my usual breakfast fare so I decided if I'm gonna load up on calories I may as well do it right.


Lucky? for me I had all the right things in the cupboard to make a really yummy one. Forgot the cream cheese for the picture but it's in there. ☺

2 pieces of Swirl Bread
Cream Cheese, thin layer on one
Lemon Curd and Jam on the other one
Dip in an egg/milk/cinnamon mixture and toast/fry in butter on a skillet.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar
Drizzle with Maple Syrup

YUM!
                                                                                                                 

I went outside early (before 6:00) to enjoy the morning beauty (who could sleep in with a beautiful day beckoning outside with the birds as cheerful as they are?!) I took my camera with me to take some pictures of the flowers.


I recently saw some double decker pots in an online magazine and told my husband what they looked like and he was able to make it happen ☺. I had some wire hanging baskets just laying around so he mounted two of them onto PVC pipe and drilled holes in the sections that are soil covered so that I can water them through the pipe instead of dumping the water directly into the pot creating a 'hole' in the plants. Does that make sense? That is one of my pet peeves of plant watering. He blocked the pipe at the bottom of the basket so the water can't go on down through and then put a spout fitting thingy (can you tell I no nothing about pipe stuff? ha)  on the pipe down further so I can water it through that for the big pot. Works like a charm! ☺ 

Knock Out Roses

Constance Spry (David Austin) Gorgeous!!

New Dawn Roses
Their scent is out of this world!

William Baffin Roses and Peonies

New Dawn

My Favorite - Foxgloves

This is another one that Lin made

Pink Knockout Roses

Some odds and ends that were lurking and I decided
to employ them on the patio.

Love the sound of the water!

I like to sit one one of the two swings on the patio in the afternoon and just listen to the birds, the water fountain and relax and cool off and breathe in the nearby Honeysuckle. It's a cool, peaceful place to sit alone or chat with the kids or a friend.

Hope you enjoyed a little tour of my yard. ☺ I must go run a few errands and prepare food, they tell me they're hungry! Some days it feels like I'm trying to fill bottomless silos. haha, it's all good!☺

Have a blessed and wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Honey Lime Ginger Chicken


This is what we enjoyed for our dinner tonight. Superb! So tender and delicious! Our schedule has been so crazy but eventually a person gets to a point where they need something normal in their schedule again. I was hungry for something grilled so I made this the normal in the midst of chaotic. I usually like to do our grilling when everyone is here to enjoy it with us but that didn't happen tonight. The two oldest had class socials and were not here over dinner time.

I've been wanting to try something like this with limes so today I took time to put this together. My husband and son and I really enjoyed this but Serena did not eat more than a bite because she knew I had used limes for it. I'm pretty sure that if I would make a quesadilla for her tomorrow using the same chicken she would eat it without batting an eye. Finnicky.

I dislike pounding chicken for various reasons so I usually take a sharp knife and cut small slits across the grain in the thickest part of the breast on both sides. I know it isn't considered the proper technique but it brings the same result of tender chicken and I get to avoid the pounding. ☺

The ingredients are as follows:

8 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast halves
zest of 4 limes
½ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
½ cup honey
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons White Balsamic Vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, shredded
2 garlic cloves, minced
1½ Tablespoons fresh Parsley
2 teaspoons Smoked Celtic Sea Salt, or regular salt is fine
2 small Serrano Peppers, seeded and chopped fine

Combine in a blender and blend until smooth. Place Chicken Breasts in a large resealable bag (gallon size) and pour marinade over chicken. Close bag and knead a little to make sure all of the chicken surface is covered. Place in refrigerator and allow to marinade for several hours. Bring to room temperature before grilling. I didn't really have time for this tonight but it's how I like to do it.

Preheat the grill to 400°. Place chicken breasts on the grates and grill to your satisfaction. We like it grilled till just as the pink disappears, then place it in a covered pan to allow it to steam. This finishes the cooking process and gives you the moistest, most tender result. Hope you try it! ☺ Enjoy!


~Be Blessed!~

Wow us Wednesday, time travel thursday, home sweet home

Monday, May 21, 2012

Recent Activities

Andre's Class

He's the handsome guy in the center back with a gray shirt
They're a great group of young people!



♥ these kids!!
My son really is this much taller than me!!
Would someone please tell me when this happened?!?!



Serena loves to run!

I like the look on her face in this one. Anticipation, joy,
a little apprehension.


The end of our school year is always very busy and involves lots of time in various activities. This past weekend Lin and I were one of two couples that went with our oldest son's Sophomore Class (as chaperons) to a cabin in the mountains for a weekend of fun and just hanging out, getting to know each other outside of a school setting. We had a lot of fun and I think they all enjoyed it. They sure do have a lot of energy!! We were blessed to be a part of their weekend.

Today was Track and Field for the 3 that attend a different school and so I spent most of the morning there cheering them on. It's always fun to see every ones enthusiasm and to catch up with the other Moms.

Tomorrow is a day at the local Park for all of them but at different times and then Wednesday is the final day for the 3 in elementary with a School Picnic and ball games. Also on Wednesday High School has a ball game at the Park, again, with another High School from the area. Then on Friday is the last day of school for High School. Whew!! Makes me dizzy!! But I really hate missing anything so I'll run this little 'rat race' for a little while till it's over. ☺ Trying to divide my time between everything and everyone and preparing food for some of these events and still get my work done at home is a bit of a challenge but I'm sure you all know what it's like.

I'm tossing around in my mind a recipe for some yummy grilled chicken I hope to make this week sometime, it involves honey, limes, Serrano peppers, a little garlic and maybe some ginger. And grilling. Can't wait to try it!

Thanks for stopping by. I'm off to watch two of the boys play ball.

~Be Blessed!!~

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Grain and Dairy Free Banana Blueberry Muffins


Recently my sister Ann was told she is gluten and dairy intolerant and that her body stores them as water. Wow! That was quite an eye opener but it makes perfect sense if you know the whole story. So as she starts on her gluten and dairy free journey I'm doing some searching and experimenting for her. I've noticed for at least a year now that I myself feel much better if I don't eat bread and things like that, so I've also been keeping my eyes open for a while recipes I think sound tasty. My in-laws have also been gluten free for a year also, so there are lots of good reasons for me to experiment with these recipes. I still have lots to learn but one day at a time usually gets us somewhere, eh?

I had found a grain free blueberry muffin recipe from Deliciously Organic (love her recipes!) but it was made with heavy cream and that didn't work so well for Ann. I was thinking about what I could use instead when I spotted the overripe bananas on my counter. Bingo! So I decided to add those instead of the cream and adjusted the flour amount a little and a few other ingredients. I was quite pleased with the tasty end result!

I store them in the freezer and just get one or two out as needed.

Ingredients:
6 large eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup coconut flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 375°.

Line muffin pans with papers. Whisk eggs, mashed bananas, honey, vanilla, and butter in a large mixing bowl; set aside. In a seperate bowl combine coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together till well blended and fluffy. Add wet ingredients to dry ones and whisk until no lumps remain. Gently fold in blueberries. With a size 20 cookie scoop fill each paper and bake for 18-20 minutes.

Made around 23 regular sized muffins.


~Be Blessed!~

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fresh and Fragrant Peonies and other random things


Every year when the Peonies are blooming we get a lot of rain which makes it necessary to bring in large bunches of these fragrant beauties.☺ I love to have a pretty, fresh bouquet in the house throughout most of the summer. It was looking like more rain tonight so I brought a bunch of these in.  I have mostly white ones, a few of the darker ones and one pink one that appeared out of the blue one year. Not sure where it came from unless the person who dug out the original clump left a stray tuber. That one is a pretty, deep pink with a yellow center and only a few petals. Very Pretty! The sprig of pink flowers in this bouquet are "Tinker Bells" They smell like lilacs. Love it!


I asked Serena to pick the few ripe strawberries this evening so the Catbird doesn't have them for breakfast, and when I came in she had them on the counter with a note that said, "Your reward is 27 strawberries, you're the best Mom in the world". Not exactly sure what I'm being rewarded for, but I'll take it! I hope what the note says is true, I try! but some days I'm not so sure. She is a sweetheart, of that I am sure!


My handyman husband doing his thing, helping my ideas take shape.


Serena's teacher's birthday is in August and not during the school year, so us room Moms chose to celebrate it anyway and last week we invited them over to our house for a birthday lunch and games. Turns out it was also a celebration for the students because they achieved one hundred 100%'s and she had told them if they do she would throw a party for them. Way to go 2nd and 3rd graders! Instead of buying her a gift we asked the parents to gift her with money in the amount they desire. She ended up with quite a lot! For fun one of the Moms got it changed into 1 dollar bills and taped it together (barely) and rolled it up and stuck it into a square tissue box. She ended up pulling it all out so the kids could count it. They thought this was great!  I found out they have a lot of energy!! After playing a few more games they walked back to school in time for dismissal. I think they enjoyed their afternoon off! ☺


Thanks for stopping by!
~Blessings!~

Friday, May 11, 2012

Lemon Chiffon Cake


Several years ago a friend asked me to make a cake for her daughters birthday party at school. She mentioned that her daughter likes a light lemony flavor so I decided on this Lemon Chiffon that I found here. I made the first one just like the recipe but have since changed it up a bit by using some cake flour instead of all All Purpose flour and omitting the sweet glaze for a wonderfully light and yummy treat.

More recently I used this cake for my husbands birthday treat and made it into a trifle with blueberries and real whipped cream. It was delicious. The cake is a treat just by itself, too.

Preheat oven to 325°.

Adapted from Tablespoon.com
Ingredients:
1 cup cake flour
1 cup + 2 Tablespoons AP flour (Gold Medal)
1½ cups white sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup cold water
½ cup oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons lemon zest
7 egg yolks
1¼ cups egg whites
2/3 teaspoon cream of tartar

My oven rack is normally in the middle position. Move it down one for this cake.

In a large bowl, mix flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat in cold water, oil, lemon zest, and yolks until smooth. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Gradually pour the yolk mixture over beaten egg whites, folding with a rubber spatula just until blended. Pour into an ungreased 10 inch angel food cake pan.

Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes or until top springs back when touched lightly. Immediately turn pan upside down on a funnel or bottle.


Allow to cool completely (2 hours or more) before cutting around the edge with a long, thin, sharp knife.


Turn upside down over a serving plate and remove the pan.



the one from 2010 made with the original recipe with glaze included

Enjoy!

~Be Blessed!~

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Fiesta Chicken Wraps (Favorite Sunday Lunch)



This is our current favorite for Sunday lunch. The whole family agrees that they are delicious and they are super easy for me because they require very little prep the day before, and who doesn't want a Saturday off?! ☺ I usually try to bake the bacon and wash and crisp the lettuce the day before and have it handy in the fridge. But that is about the extent of planning ahead that is needed.

I don't know about you but I spend a good deal of time in the spice aisles of the local grocery stores looking for something intriguing and different that I haven't tried yet. Recently I discovered the Fiesta Citrus Perfect Pinch Seasoning from McCormick and thought I would give it a try. We really like it on this chicken. We like to use the Applewood Smoked Bacon for these along with a Cheddar CoJack blend of shredded cheese. I like to shred my own since the pre-shredded has an anti-caking agent on it that I don't care for. We also like to use the Sun Dried Tomato and Spinach Tortillas.


I have used fresh or frozen chicken tenders and fresh chicken breasts cut into strips for these and both of them were good except the tenders were probably my favorite over the breasts since they are a bit more tender and seemed to cook in less time. Also I usually try to make extra for salad, wraps, and quesadillas later on.



Today I used 6 whole chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into strips. We used about half of it so there should be some good lunches in the next week if someone wants to join me.☺When layering the strips in the crock pot I like to lay the layers in opposite directions with generous amounts of seasoning on each layer. If possible I like to stir it once or so for more even cooking but it's not an absolute necessity. It's just something I do when I'm here and it's convenient.

Serve with Watermelon and Iced Mint Tea for a super easy and satisfying meal.

Chicken Breasts, cut into strips
or Chicken Tenders
McCormick Fiesta Citrus Seasoning
Shredded Cheese, CoJack and Cheddar blend
Applewood Bacon
Lettuce
Tomatoes
Hot Peppers
Homemade French Dressing
Large Flour Tortillas

Put chicken strips into crock pot with a generous amount of seasoning and cook on low for about 5 hours. Shred slightly with a fork. Place a desired amount of shredded cheese down the center of a tortilla and 2 slices of precooked bacon. Place onto a plate and microwave for 20 seconds or till cheese is slightly melted. Remove; drizzle with dressing and layer with shredded chicken and lettuce, tomatoes, and hot peppers. Wrap it up and enjoy!

Joining the fun here:
makin you crave, on the menu, creative blog hop, see ya in the gumbo, sunday showcase,
~Be Blessed!~

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Peanut Butter Cocolate Chip Cookies


I was craving some peanut butter and chocolate and needing cookies for lunches so I thought I would do it the easy way. They turned out perfectly soft and chewy. Delicious with a glass of milk.

¾ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup vegetable shortening
1½ cups brown sugar
3 Tablespoons milk
1 Tablespoons vanilla
1 egg
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1¾ cups AP flour

Chocolate Chips

Combine the first 5 ingredients and beat until well blended. Add the egg and beat until just blended. Combine flour, salt, and soda and add to the creamed mixture. Mix just until blended. Add chocolate chips and stir. Using a size 40 cookie scoop drop onto a cookie sheet and bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes or until the tops begin to brown. Enjoy!

~Be Blessed!~

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Mango Ginger Habanero Sauce & A Grilled Pork Tenderloin



In one of my recent grocery forays I came across a sauce that I had never seen before and thought it sounded like a potentially good marinade for Pork Tenderloin. Turns out I was right. I mainaded it for about a day and grilled it for a nice and juicy treat. The Habenaro gives it a little bit of heat but I like things spicy and the rest of my family didn't seem to mind it either.


This was the source of my inspiration.

I did recreate the sauce on my own and got it very close to the bought stuff without too much difficulty by guessing the amounts. It is also delicious served with cream cheese and crackers. I haven't tried it on chicken yet but I'm pretty sure that would be good too served over rice. ☺

My homemade version here:
1 lg. Mango
1-2 Tablespoons fresh Ginger Root, shredded
½ cup Honey
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup water
2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
½ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1 Habanero

Combine in a blender and blend until smooth. One recipe is enough for several small Tenderloins.



~Be Blessed!~



Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Blueberry Lemon Chiffon Trifle



Today is my husbands 40th birthday. I asked him a few days ago what his favorite meal is so I can prepare that for his special day and his answer was, "I really don't know. I like everything you make." Good answer, right?! ☺ He enjoys a good trifle dessert, and I've been wanting to make a Lemon Chiffon Cake (recipe coming later) so I decided to do some of our latest favorites on the grill and this trifle dessert. We had some of his family over last evening for a small celebration, two of his siblings live out of state and one had other plans. So even though they were not all here we still enjoyed his parents and his brother and family who came in honor of his birthday. His big party is coming later.☺

I decided to see if I could lighten up this dessert with less sugar and no fake ingredients (Cool Whip) by using real cream and honey or maple syrup for at least some of the sweetener instead of powdered sugar. I was pleased with the outcome. It was delightfully lemony and not as heavy. The blueberries were a nice addition too.

1 Lemon Chiffon Cake,
cut in 1 inch pieces
1 quart heavy cream, whipped
2 (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup lemon curd
¼ cup honey or maple syrup
Fresh Berries of your choice

In a mixer bowl beat the cream cheese and maple syrup or honey and Lemon Curd until its smooth. In a seperate bowl beat the heavy cream until it's stiff. Add to the cream cheese mixture and fold in until incorporated.

Cut cake into 1 inch pieces and layer with Cream Cheese mixture, Lemon Curd, and Fresh Blueberries. Repeat. The photo above is half of the cake and about half of the cream mixture.


~Be Blessed!~

___________________________________________________________________________


Happy 40th to my wonderful, ever patient husband. The list of positives about him that I could write here is long. I will simply say that the children and I are blessed beyond measure! We love you Lin!!

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