Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A morning without coffee is like sleep.

Its Tuesday.  But it feels like Monday.  Holidays throw me off for at least a week so I anticipate being a day behind all week.  Nothing like cramming 5 days of work into 4.  On a bright note, however, I enjoyed a blissful day of pure nothingness with the family yesterday.  Lounging in the yard, napping on the couch, and catching up on a good book.  Beautiful day to recharge.

Sometimes, there are days where you just throw caution the wind and try something new.  Saturday was one of those days.  I decided to try a Martha Stewart recipe.  Don't get me wrong... everyone who knows me knows I am a huge fan of Miss Martha, but rarely have I attempted her culinary creations.  Her recipes, while tasty and beautiful, tend to be complicated and time-consuming.  Then I found this one:  Chicken Tetrazzini.  Not just any chicken tetrazzini... Martha's Chicken Tetrazzini. 

It took me an hour and half in a hot kitchen and I dirtied every pot I own (I even had to stop and wash one to use it again for another part of the recipe.)  As I was already well into making the sauce (the most important part!) I realized I was out of chicken broth and sent my handsome hubby packing to the grocery store.  Of course, I was in a panic knowing that my cream sauce would probably overcook before he got back.  One of my sweet little girls chose this opportune moment to walk into the kitchen and boldly declare that it smelled "mostly terrible, but a little good."  She's my diplomatic child.   (Amazingly, it turned out to be quite... amazing!)  The meal was spectacular, one of the finest meals I have ever made... and definitely worth the hour of clean-up in the kitchen.  (Yes, I have a dishwasher... 2 of them, actually, right at the end of my arms.)

So before I share the recipe, I should note the changes I made.  I substituted portobello mushrooms for white (simply because I was out, but the flavor was fantastic!), asparagus for peas (because hubby hates peas with passion) and I poached chicken breast in water seasoned with garlic and Italian seasoning. 

(This makes enough to have one casserole ready to eat and one to freeze!)

Chicken Tetrazzini (from Martha Stewart)

Serves: 8

Our freezer-friendliest chicken recipe makes one casserole that will serve four tonight, plus a second meal to freeze and pull out when you're in a pinch.

Total Time: 1 hr 10 min
Prep Time: 30 min
Oven Temp: 400

Ingredients

Coarse salt
Ground pepper
6 tablespoon(s) butter
1 pound(s) white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced 1 inch thick
1/2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
3 cup(s) milk
1 can(s) (14 1/2-ounce) reduced-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup(s) dry white wine
3 cup(s) grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon(s) dried thyme leaves
1 pound(s) linguine, broken in half
1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed, meat shredded (about 4 cups)
1 package(s)  10-ounce) frozen peas, thawed and drained

Directions

Preheat oven to 400. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (for pasta). In a large saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over high heat. Add mushrooms, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing frequently, until tender and browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, and set aside.

Make sauce: In same saucepan, melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add flour; cook, whisking, about 1 minute. Whisking constantly, gradually add milk, broth, and wine. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and add 2 cups Parmesan and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook pasta 2 minutes less than package instructions for al dente; drain and return to pot. Add sauce, chicken, peas, and mushrooms. Toss well to combine. Divide between two shallow 2-quart baking dishes; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Freeze (see below) or bake until browned, about 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

To freeze: After placing pasta mixture in baking dishes and sprinkling with Parmesan (step 3), cool to room temperature. Cover tightly with aluminum foil, and freeze up to 3 months.

To bake from frozen: Bake, covered with foil, at 400 degrees, until center is warm, about 2 hours. Uncover, and bake until top is browned, about 20 minutes more. Serve.

To bake from thawed: Thaw overnight in refrigerator. Bake, covered with foil, at 400 degrees, until center is warm, about 30 minutes. Uncover, and bake until top is browned, about 20 minutes.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday Morning Playlist

Perfect. Weather. 

I thoroughly savored every second of my walk/jog this morning, knowing full well that in a few short weeks it will probably be too blistering hot (at which point I will resort to my library of workout videos and my personal trainer, Jillian Michaels, via the 30-day Shred.) 

This morning I decided to do something different.  Instead of selecting one of my upbeat workity workout playlists on my iPod, I simply selected shuffle.  I have loads of music on my iPod and I am absolutely guilty of only listening to about 22% of my music 94% of the time. 

So here's what Mr. iPod graced me with:

1. God's Amazing Grace by Mary Dale (This was a sweet surprise... one of my late grandmother's songs.  She was a gospel singer.)
2.  Matthew Chapter 1 from the Audio Bible
3.  Something by Blues Traveler
4.  Papparazzi by Switchfoot (Oh yeah... got my swagger on.)
5.  Some hot Latin number from the National Geographic World Music collection.  Funky.
6.  Blue Skies Turn Blue by MXPX
7.  Pachelbel's Canon in D  (not bad for a cooldown.)

So... way to keep things interesting.  Gotta whip myself into shape... I miss running.  Next week, I will be starting the Couch to 5K program.  I attempted this last fall and quit around week 5.  I won't bother to offer an excuse as none of them are good enough.  I quit.  And I intend to redeem myself.

Coffee of the day... Starbucks Caffe Verona.  Heavenly.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The BEST Breakfast...

I just made a double batch of these breakfast bars.  They literally take about 5 minutes to mix up. They are super yummy and easy to take along for breakfast or a healthy snack. These bars are a staple at our house (I make them at least once a week) and my kids gobble them up like crazy.  Ever since I started making these, I refuse to go back to back to eating a store-bought granola bar.  They don't even come close! 

Breakfast Bars (EASY!)

INGREDIENTS

2 ½ cups old fashioned organic quick oats
½ cup whole flax seed
¼ cup organic dark cocoa power (or slightly less) (or 1/4 c. chocolate chips)
½ cup natural peanut butter
½ cup honey
½ t spirulina (optional)
½ - 1 cup HOT water

Stir ingredients together.
Form into individual sized paddies, like hamburgers.
Wrap in plastic wrap and keep in freezer or fridge.


Perfect with coffee.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Leading Man & 3 Princesses



This is him.  He's all mine.  He is my best friend and most days, he keeps me out of trouble.  I have been married to this man for almost 9 years! 


This is my oldest sweetie.  She is 7.  She is my perfectionist and she loves to read.  She has grand aspirations of being an astronaut when she grows up.  Have I mentioned that I homeschool her?  No pressure there. 


And the next little darling.  She's 4 1/2.  What can I say?  This kid lights up my life.  She has more personality in her little finger than most people have in their whole body!


And here's my ball of fire.  She's nearly 2.  I'm not sure where this one is headed yet, but let me just say she keeps me on my toes!  She's vivacious and cunning and I love her.


And me!  I am a mommy of 3 little princesses.  My hubby is sorely outnumbered, but he LOVES every minute of it.  He tells me that someday we will own a male dog just so we can add some more testosterone to the family. 

I homeschool my girls and I love to be creative in the kitchen.  I am a musician, a sometimes poet and my faith in God is my anchor. 

Coffee is my lifeblood and I believe in good chocolate.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Here goes...

So here I am in the blogosphere! I have entertained thoughts of starting a blog for a couple of years now so here goes nothin'. :)

My name is Kelly and I have a love affair with coffee (and on occasion a hot cup of tea.)  I believe there is nothing more comfortable than a well-loved pair of blue jeans and vintage T-shirt.  So grab a cup o' joe and sit and read while. 

I have no intention of this being a journal so please, do not expect to ever see every gory detail of my life at home. You will, however, read plenty about my 3 little princesses.  I do not offer advice, although on the offchance I do come up with something rather good you can feel free to give me credit! (Totally kidding.)  I will never try to sell you something, but you will see plenty of things that I really love (that you just might fall in love with yourself!)

Roam around and check things out. I'll be posting many of my favorite recipes and not just for food. There will also be recipes for things like homemade skin care and natural cleaning products.  I like to occasionally write poetry and I am especially intrigued by Haiku.  You will probably see that popping up somewhere along the way.

I am still getting the hang of this so don't be surprised if you see things changing around here for awhile. 

Stay tuned... tomorrow I'll introduce you to the family.
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