Monday, December 11, 2017

Chicken, yams, Brussels sprouts and apples


Sometimes when I'm feeling adventurous, I make a list of a few ingredients I have on hand, and Google recipes to see what I can make for dinner. Okay, so I'm not being adventurous, I'm just very disorganized, and don't have a clue what to make for supper.

Tonight I had chicken breasts, Brussels sprouts and yams. This would be a great start for those sheet dinners, which are really good, but I thought I'd look for something different.

Here's the recipe I found on WellPlated.com.  It was really tasty! It's also "Paleo" if that's your cup of tea.


Chicken, Apple, Sweet Potato, and Brussels Sprouts Skillet

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 3 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered (about 3/4 pound)
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium high, until hot and shimmering. Add the chicken, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and black pepper. Cook until lightly browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to plate lined with paper towels.
  2. Reduce skillet heat to medium low. Add the chopped bacon and cook until crisp and brown and the fat has rendered, about 8 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate (I simply laid another paper towel on top of the plate with the chicken, then stacked the bacon on that). Discard all but 1 1/2 tablespoons bacon fat from the pan.
  3. Increase skillet heat back to medium high. Add Brussels sprouts, sweet potato, onion, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender and the onions are beginning to look translucent, about 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the apples, garlic, thyme, and cinnamon. Cook 30 seconds, then pour in 1/2 cup of the broth. Bring to a boil and cook until evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the reserved chicken and remaining 1/2 cup broth. Cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in reserved bacon and serve warm.

Bon appetit!

Friday, December 8, 2017

December favorites

A week of unresolved issues. . . Don't you hate those? In time, it will work itself out. All the more reason to join up with Friday's Fave Five and look for those blessings.

Dinner with friends. I was so happy to connect with two of my friends on Monday night. We haven't been together in months. We met at a new TexMex restaurant for a yummy supper and a couple of hours worth of catching up.  Love these two ladies.


Book Club and a new book. Our December book club meeting was on Wednesday, and we went out for our traditional Christmas Dinner and Book Exchange. I am SO excited to read my new book:


Dan baked rum cake! Dan spent the evening doing his annual 'baking of the rum cakes.' I came home to a house that smelled scrumptious! and rows of rum cakes lined up, ready to be packaged. (That's my job;)

Writing Christmas cards. I know many consider this a chore, and to be honest there are some years when I drag myself through it. But, I do love sending and receiving cards at Christmas time. I'm taking my time this year and including notes for those people that I only connect with at this time of year.

My own space. A couple of months ago, Dan generously gave up his space in the office and moved downstairs, so that I have a room of my own. This means the world to me. In fairness, he is building a workshop out back and claims that will be his 'room of his own.' But, I love having my own space where I'm surrounded by books and have room for a big desk (really an old table) and a chair. I'm working on putting it together a bit more, then maybe I'll share more pictures. For now -- keepin' it real! -- here's the desk where I'm blogging and writing out all those Christmas cards.


Hope you're all enjoying all the ho ho ho going 'round these days. Happy Friday,

Thursday, December 7, 2017

10 things

1.  In my last post, I still had Thanksgiving decorations up. Now, we're all decorated for Christmas.

2.  My favorite decoration is the string of lights around the door to my office. I did it on a whim, I'm the only one who can see them.

3.  Whenever I leave the house, I tell Lilly to "get in the kennel." She hasn't had a kennel for two years. She just goes to her bed in the office. I guess she thinks it's her kennel. Ha!

4.  I should have called this "3 things," and just stopped on that last one.

5.  I love Lilly.

6.  My new old favorite perfume is Ralph Lauren Blue. My mother-in-law gave me some for Christmas years ago and I loved it. I forgot how much I loved it until a bought a new bottle a few weeks ago.

7.  Yesterday at work, a young man was coming down the stairs. I didn't have my glasses on and I thought it was Luke. Even when I realized it wasn't, I ran over and hugged him. (Not really, but I wanted to:( )

8.  Enstrom's Toffee. It tastes like Christmas.

9.  Gingerbread Lattes.  They do, too.

10.  Madam Secretary is done for the fall season. Sunday nights are bleak.  Except:  Hallmark Christmas movies!! :)

I'm turning off comments, because I'm sure you just can't even think of a response for this post. However, I've overcome a bad case of writer's block. Thank you for listening.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Hello, December

It's been a nice, quiet week.  I haven't jumped into holiday mode yet, except for some Christmas shopping. The house is still decorated with pumpkins, turkeys and fall candles. I am enjoying this 'in between' time.

Here are some simple moments that blessed me this week:

*  Yesterday, I attended a seminar for work. I drove for about thirty miles east of where I live. It was a gorgeous day, the sky was so blue and clear, the sun shining.  I looked in the rear view mirror and the view of the snow-covered Rockies was just stunning.  One of my favorite parts of living in Colorado is having both mountains and prairie, and the views each provide.

*  At the seminar, I got to meet two women who I 'work with' all the time on the phone, but this was the first time we met in person.  Both are so lovely, so dedicated. I'm grateful for what they do for our clients.

*  I 'discovered' a book on my bookcase that I bought last summer and completely forgot about! Letters from Paris by Juliet Blackwell. I read it in just a couple of days, and I'm excited to read the next one by this author. 

*  I have been dipping into some Hallmark Christmas movies in the evenings. I record them and fast forward through commercials. The stories are so predictable, but I love the big city decorations, the music, and there's always snow at just the right moments.

*   The Sonos wireless music system that we bought about a year ago has become one of my most favorite things. It was something Dan had looked into and I thought it would be nice for him to have it because he's the 'music person' of the two of us. I find I actually use it more, probably because I'm home more. We have speakers in three parts of the house, and I can turn on any one (or all) of them with my cell phone, and play my own playlists or radio stations.  Last night we watched the Pentatonix Christmas special, and I'm going to add a couple of their songs to our Christmas playlist.

Such a good week all around. Happy Friday to all.

Linking up to Friday's Fave Five.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Sheila's Breakfast Cookies


Today I'm sharing a recipe for Sheila's Breakfast Cookies. The original recipe is from Martha S, but my mother-in-law found the recipe on line and we made a few adjustment, so that's what I call them. 

This recipe makes a BIG batch of dough, and the original directions call for making just eight cookies!  I've never done that, I think they would be the size of dinner plates! I make them BIG, but I still get about two dozen cookies from the recipe. I use a scoop that is about 1/4 cup to measure out the dough. The cookies freeze well, so it's worth making a full batch.

Here's the recipe:

Sheila's Breakfast Cookies

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tps. salt
4 sticks of butter, room temperature
3 cups dark brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 Tbs. vanilla
4 cups rolled oats

1 cup nuts, chopped
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1 cup chocolate chips
You can also add pumpkin seeds, coconut, banana chips, flax seed, whatever you like.

  1. Sift together flours, soda and salt. 
  2. Cream butter and sugar in a mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time. Beat until smooth.
  3. Add vanilla, mix. Then stir in the oats.
  4. Add flour mixture a little at a time. I use the mixer for this.
  5. Hand mix in the nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, and any other additions.
      Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes, if you're using a 1/4 cup scoop.


Monday, November 27, 2017

Preparing for Advent


Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.


Advent begins on Sunday. I'm already thinking of how to be more intentional in embracing the peace of the Christmas season.  I dug out this little devotional book that a friend gifted me a couple of years ago. Can't wait to begin.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Talking turkey

It's the day after Thanksgiving here in the U.S., and yesterday's theme of gratitude is spilling over into today. I hope those of you celebrating Thanksgiving had a happy one, and for my Canadian friends that you had a happy Thursday;)

Onto Friday's Fave Five.

1. Number one, I'm so grateful for my family on this weekend of Thanksgiving, and every day. (I'll put at a note at the bottom of this post for those of you who were wondering how my plan for cooking the turkey turned out this year). Those gathering at our house yesterday: Dad and Carol, Aunt Ann, Joe and Sam, and Emily, Marcus and the kids. One of the things I look forward to on the holidays is the group family texts that going flying around. It makes me feel like we are all together, so it was good to have one of those round robins going with my brothers and Dad (even though he was with us;)  Also, texting with my friend Pamela and cousin Jackie while preparing on Wednesday, made it fun, too! By Thursday morning, Pam and I made a pact to meet halfway next year -- which would be somewhere in Kansas -- and have dinner at a Village Inn! Ha!


2. It was so warm yesterday -- (highs of 72 yesterday and today) -- that we started the afternoon outside.

3. On Wednesday, I walked with my friend Joan for the first time in months. It's so easy to fall out of a habit. It was so good to catch up with one another, and we have made a steadfast promise to get back to our regular routine.

4. I have a new young mom to mentor at the women's center where I volunteer. The center provides support to women who have unplanned pregnancies. I love working with the young moms, they are so grateful for a chance to sit with an 'old mom' and talk about their babies and motherhood, and I learn so much from them! It's the best part of my week.

5. Dan hung Christmas lights today. It's warm today, but a little bit breezy, so I'm grateful that 1) he didn't get blown off the ladder, and 2) that I have a husband who really gets into decking the halls!

* A note on the turkey. This year, I opted to order the turkey pieced out, so that I didn't have to deal with carving, and the messy carcass afterward. Some of you asked me to let you know how it turned out. It tasted delicious and was very moist. I roasted it with fresh rosemary and thyme, and slathered it in butter. Dan liked this method, because he's never been thrilled with the job of carving the bird. I'm not convinced it was all that much easier, though.  I suppose if I'd cooked it the day before, which is how the Pioneer Woman did it on her show, then the cleanup would be minimal on the day of. But, clean up is clean up. Using a foil roasting pan helped, so that -- and spending a little more for a fresh turkey -- would be the takeaway from this little experiment. 

Happy Friday to all!