SPICY ORANGE CHICKEN
8 bone in, skin on chicken thighs FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
8 ounce can orange juice concentrate
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons PACKED brown sugar
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoons Frank’s original hot sauce
2 green onions, sliced and diced for garnish
Preheat oven to 450°.
Generously season chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
Arrange chicken pieces skin side down on a baking sheet.
Bake 45 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Flip skin side up 2/3 of the way through.
In a medium sauce pan combine the orange juice concentrate, garlic, red pepper flakes, ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce.
Bring to a simmer and cook 15-20 minutes until mixture thickens.
Pour sauce into large mixing bowl.
Remove chicken from oven and increase heat to broil.
Add chicken pieces to sauce, turning to coat well.
Drain fat from baking sheet.
Arrange chicken pieces and broil 1-2 minutes until bubbling and starting to brown.
SWEET & SOUR CHICKEN WINGS
1/3 cup Bragg’s liquid aminos
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup QUALITY sweet honey
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
3 pounds chicken wing pieces
sesame seeds to garnish
2 green onions, sliced thin for garnish
Preheat oven to 475°.
In a small saucepan whisk together the liquid aminos, vinegar, honey, garlic and ginger.
Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until reduced by half and starting to thicken, about 30 minutes.
Strain through a sieve and discard solids. You should have about 2/3 cups of sauce.
Transfer sauce to large mixing bowl.
Arrange chicken wing pieces on a jelly roll pan covered in foil and sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
Bake 30-35 minutes until golden, crisp and cooked through.
Transfer wings to sauce bowl and drain fat from pan.
Toss wings until well coated by sauce and most of sauce is absorbed, about 3-5 minutes.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions to serve.
GOOD MORNING everyone. It is a beautiful morning here! I had a GREAT weekend and am looking forward to a WONDERFUL week. I know many of you are preparing for your kiddos return to school and hope you’re able to have a bit of free time soon. On to this morning’s Happy Homemaker and Menu Plan Monday.
OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE & WHAT I’M WEARING – It will be triple digits again, but on the low end and the humidity is back down into the teens so it’s actually quite nice of an evening and especially in the mornings.
The pool is really nice again too. I have on black leggings with a favorite Pink Floyd t-shirt on my way to the gym and then the pool.
ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE – Green tea, peach yogurt and a banana
ON MY MIND/HEALTH UPDATE & PROJECTS
Menu Planning and trying to make it fit with what’s in the pantry and freezer as we wind down on our stay here is becoming a little more difficult, but cooking in general has become less of a challenge as I’ve adjusted to our new “normal” and lesser portion size. LOL, eating not so much though, but at least I’m alive to bitch about it! 😀
As I’m approaching a new milestone and the 3rd quarter since surgery I am a bit stronger, though I still tire quite easily, have not really regained my strength (though I’m trying – the gym and pool have really helped) and still have a LONG ways to go on getting my muscle tone back. The hardest part has been having so few clothes that fit and with winter approaching that will be my next challenge. Summer was easy since I’ve lived in workout clothes and swimsuits.
I’m also still battling a “Port Site Infection”, a fairly rare, but yet not uncommon surgical suture site issue. If it is not one thing it is another it seems. The doctor I saw here was really not much reassurance so I will see how it is when we get back north next month and see the new doctor my friend recommended.
I’m also wondering about when journalism as a whole became so backwards. When I took journalism in college I was taught a lot about articles titles and what they convey, font size, etc… Hubby and I were reading the newspaper yesterday (yep a real one) and I saw an article title that made sense, but could have made more sense with more respect for a state, with no abbreviations AND in the same amount of space, but better spaced! It’s like the proofreader and editor took the day off and the author took the easy way out without using their brain.
“Ore. hazelnut growers
expect bumper crop”
or it could have been:
Oregon growers expect
bumper hazelnut crop
FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA – we’ve had some amazing sunsets these past few weeks and they weren’t even smoke infused.
INSPIRATION AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE / WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS / APPOINTMENTS
LAUNDRY… just a couple loads of clothing and towels
LIVING AREAS… clean
KITCHEN… pretty clean
YARD… nothing much
BLOG… some recipe updating, future post planning and some holiday post planning
PROJECTS… still trying to get motivated to do the Christmas cards
TIN STAR– about a London detective that moves to the Canadian Rockies for a simpler life only to have it complicated by a BIG oil company moving into town and bringing all the organized crime and lifestyle with it or so it seemed until his undercover life comes back to haunt him and his family.
11-22-63 – about a time traveler going back to change the events around the JFK assassination.
We also watched a great movie this past weekend. I’d never heard of it, but found it on Netflix and really enjoyed it, THE GUERNSEY LITERARY & POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY. The story is told in reflection but is centered around WWII and the island of Guernsey (part of the Channel Islands) in the English channel off the coast of Normandy. I just LOVE period stories about WWII.
6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts or 2 pounds chicken tenders
1 cup buttermilk
Avocado oil or your favorite for frying or just plain old crisco
3/4 cup FINELY chopped or crushed pecan pieces
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons FRESH ground Himalayan pink salt
FRESH ground black pepper, to taste
Place chicken in large ziplock bag with buttermilk.
Chill for 8 hours.
Pour oil to a 1 inch depth in your favorite deep skillet, preferably cast iron.
Mix together the pecans, flour, salt and pepper.
Remove chicken from bag and discard marinade.
Dredge chicken in flour mixture, shaking off excess.
Fry chicken 6-7 minutes on each side until cooked through.
Drain on wire rack.
MAPLE CREAM SAUCE
4 slices thick bacon, diced
1 shallot, minced
3 tablespoons Wondra flour
1/2 cup PURE and QUALITY maple syrup
1/4 cup whole grain mustard (optional)
1/3 cup bourbon
2 cups heavy cream FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
Cook bacon until crisp.
Using a slotted spoon remove bacon to paper toweling to drain.
Add shallots to bacon grease and sauce 2 minutes or so until tender.
Add flour, stirring constantly until golden.
Add syrup, bourbon and mustard if using. Stir constantly until thickens.
Add cream, stirring constantly 5-7 minutes until desired consistency.
Meatloaf is really just an oversized meatball. So, why not make it a personal size so you can get more finished edges covered in delicious gravy?
Swedish Meat Loaves are spicy beef meatloaves smothered in a rich tasty gravy served over mashed potatoes with roasted carrots with Lingonberry jam on the side—in other words, Thanksgiving for the rest of the year.
SWEDISH MEATLOAVES with MASHED POTATOES, ROASTED CARROTS & LINGONBERRY JAM
2 Carrots, peeled and sliced into thick coins
3/4 pound Yukon potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/3 cup minced yellow onion
several sprigs Parsley, finely chopped
1 slice white bread
3 tablespoons + 1/4 cup milk
2/3 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup beef consomme
2 tablespoon Lingonberry Jam
1 tablespoon avocado oil
2 tablespoons butter FRESH ground salt and pepper, taste
PREHEAT oven to 425° and adjust rack to upper position.
Toss carrots on a baking sheet with a drizzle of oil and a large pinch of salt and pepper.
Roast in oven for 15 minutes.
Add potatoes to a medium pot with a large pinch of salt and enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and return to empty pot off heat.
Place bread and 3 tablespoons milk in a medium bowl. Break up bread with your hands until pasty.
Add in beef, 2 tablespoons minced onion, half the parsley, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon white pepper and salt to taste. Mix by hand gently until thoroughly mixed.
Shape mixture into two 1-inch-tall loaves.
Heat a drizzle of oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
Add meatloaves and cook until browned on surface but not yet cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.
Once carrots have roasted about 15 minutes, remove sheet from oven and give carrots a toss. Add meatloaves to same sheet and place back in oven.
Bake until meatloaves are cooked through and carrots are tender, about 15 minutes more.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in the same pan you browned the meatloaves in over medium heat.
Add remaining minced onion. Cook, sauteing, until soft, about 2 minutes.
Add flour and cook, stirring, until pasty, about 1 minute.
Slowly whisk in beef stock and 1/4 cup milk.
Bring to a simmer, then whisk until thickened, about 1 minute.
Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg to taste.
Add more water if too thick.
Place pot with potatoes over low heat.
Add 1/4 cup milk and 1 tablespoon butter mashing until smooth. Add more milk if too stiff.
Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
Plate potatoes and meatloaves.
Drizzle with gravy.
Add carrots and jam to the side.
Garnish with remaining parsley.
HOUSE SEASONING MIX
1/4 cup fine sea salt
1/4 cup garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon FRESH ground black pepper
Gazpacho is Spanish in tradition, but with the addition of the Feta cheese I feel like it is more of a Greek and Spanish fusion. Hubby loves the Mediterranean flavors while I pass on it every time, but it’s a GREAT recipe for a BBQ or picnic.
GREEK GAZPACHO PASTA SALAD
1 pound rotini, prepared al dente and rinsed in cold water and drained
14 1/2 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
1/4 cup FRESH basil leaves
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup avocado oil (or olive if you prefer)
Process tomatoes, basil, garlic, red pepper flakes and red wine vinegar with a pinch of salt until smooth.
Drizzle with avocado oil and gently fold in.
1 cucumber, halved, seeded, and chopped
1 red pepper, halved, seeded, and chopped
1 yellow pepper, halved, seeded, and chopped
1 small red onion, small diced
3/4 pound grape tomatoes, halved
In a large mixing bowl gently toss veggies together.
Drizzle with sauce mixture and fold again.
Cover and let marinade for 15-30 minutes.
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 cup (or more) pitted black olives, sliced
3 green onions sliced thin FRESH minced parsley for garnish
JUST before serving fold in olives, cheese and green onions.
BRUSCHETTA AVOCADOS – Luscious tomatoes, FRESH basil and red onion are tossed in a balsamic vinegar with a touch of garlic and avocado oil and then gently stuffed into avocado halves for a incredible summer dinner with no oven or stove to heat up the house. Adapted from Cafe Delites
2 ripe Roma tomatoes,finely chopped
2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
scant tablespoon avocado oil
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar FRESH ground salt and pepper, to taste
2 ripe avocados – peeled, seeded and halved
2 tablespoons balsamic REDUCTION – store bought or see recipe below
2 tablespoons FRESH chopped basil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper in a bowl.
Toss well to evenly meld all of the flavors.
Arrange prepared avocado halves onto a plate.
Spoon the filling into each avocado halve and drizzle with balsamic glaze.
Top with chopped FRESH basil and Parmesan cheese.
BALSAMIC REDUCTION (homemade)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon PACKED light brown sugar (OPTIONAL)
Combine brown sugar sugar with vinegar in a small saucepan over high heat and bring to the boil.
Reduce heat to low; allow to simmer for about 5-8 minutes or until mixture has thickened and reduced to a glaze.
NOTE: If not using sugar, allow plain balsamic vinegar to reduce for 12-15 minutes on low heat.
GOOD MORNINGeveryone. I can’t believe it’s Monday again already. We had a busy week and weekend too. We did lunch with some friends one day, dinner with some other friends one night, went to a BBQ, watched all the Nascar races as we approach the end of the season, did several days at the gym, and went to Pioneer Town for our anniversary that snuck up on us 😀
Pioneer Town really was a bit of a disappointment as it is no longer anywhere close to what you see on the Wikipedia page, but I’ll cover that in another post with my pictures. The NASCAR races were good and exciting though!
OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE & WHAT I’M WEARING – Still hot here. This week will still be in the triple digits yet again, but with a bit cooler evenings and tolerable, and with only 4 weeks until we make our slow trek north and with every subsequent leg the weather will get cooler and cooler. 😀
ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE – Green tea of course with a banana and peach yogurt
ON MY MIND – When did we as a society allow insurance companies to make our medical decisions? When I was a kid you went to the doctor, they did what was necessary, billed your insurance who paid R&C (reasonable and customary) and you paid the difference, usually 20% and everyone was happy. Now, the insurance company can decide that what my doctor is referring me to and for is either unnecessary or too far away and that I have to do without or choose a “closer” provider. And forget traveling! They have literally told me not to travel if I am going to need any medical attention that cannot be covered by urgent care! WTH?
THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY – I am progressing in this recuperation! BUT, that said this experimenting with food still sucks. I find myself going back time and again to the same old things that work, but that is such a SMALL list that it becomes quite boring day in and day out.
FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA – We had dinner with some of our oldest friends last Tuesday. It was SOOOOOOOO good to see them!
The restaurant we went to was GREAT and we were early enough to get a PRIMO table in the bar which happened to be having an ALL night happy hour. So, 4 1/2 hours later with excellent drinks and appetizers we all but closed the place down and had a GREAT time in the process. 😀
Our server/bartender was even kind enough to take several pictures. And you know what? We really haven’t changed all that much over the years! We are all very glad though that our “younger” adventures (some were pretty wild!!!) took place before the internet and there is NO FOREVER proof that it even ever happened! 😀
We don’t get to see each other often, especially when we were back east, but now that we’re all on the same coast again we’re planning an adventure for hubby’s next birthday or maybe before.
AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE / WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS / APPOINTMENTS
LAUNDRY… just a couple loads of clothing and towels
LIVING AREAS & KITCHEN… pretty clean
YARD… nothing much, just a little weeding
BLOG… some recipe updating, future post planning and even some holiday post planning
PROJECTS… not much this week
APPOINTMENTS… a couple of follow ups and meeting my ‘cuz for happy hour 1 night
TO DO… gym and then still deciding, maybe the mountains one day to cool off.
This is a rich indulgent brunch recipe that is also super easy to prepare in advance for those special holiday mornings.
CROISSANT BERRY FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE
15 mini BUTTER croissants
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup SUPERFINE sugar
1 pint strawberries, sliced
1/3 cup currants
1/2 cup small WILD blueberries
6 LARGE eggs
1 cup half and half
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
1 teaspoon QUALITY ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons PURE maple syrup
Preheat oven to 375°.
Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
Slice each croissant length-wise, being careful not to cut all the way through.
Cream together the cream cheese and sugar.
Spread approximately 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture onto the inside of each croissant.
Divide strawberry slices evenly between the croissants laying them onto the cream cheese and close the croissants.
Sprinkle with currants.
Layer the croissants into the dish, packing them tightly.
Sprinkle the blueberries throughout the dish.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, half and half, vanilla, cinnamon, and maple syrup.
Pour egg mixture SLOWLY over the croissants, making sure to get some into every nook and cranny.
Cover and refrigerate up to 8 hours or bake right away.
When ready to bake, COVER and bake for 30-35 minutes or until set.