Monday, May 31

Coconut Chicken & Rice

I am always on the look out for new chicken recipes, so when I found this recipe from Rachael Ray, I knew I had to try it.  Of course I improvised and adapted the recipe for our family, so I can sort of claim it as my own.  Sort of.  But it was definitely inspired by Ms. Ray and she always encourages improvisation, so that's just what I did.


Coconut Chicken & Rice (inspired by Rachael Ray's Coconut Chicken Cutlets)

2 cups rice, white or brown (cook in rice cooker or according to package directions)

2 chicken breasts (sliced in half, so you have four "thin" breasts), slightly pounded
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup flour
1 egg
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated unsweetened coconut
1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3/4 cup apricot/pineapple preserves (RR's recipe calls for pineapple preserves.  I searched high and low here in Smalltown to find nada--I found them online, but I wasn't about to pay for shipping too!  This way turned out just as well.)
1 can diced chilies (4 oz.)
1 to 2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 to 2 tablespoons chicken stock

2 scallions, whites and greens sliced

Sprinkle salt and pepper on each side of each halved and pounded chicken breast. 

Have 3 dishes for coating the chicken.  One for flour, one for the beaten egg (also include a splash of water to thin it down), and the last dish for the breadcrumb and coconut mixture, which should be mixed evenly. 

Heat the EVOO in a large skillet over medium heat.  Coat each piece of chicken first in flour, then in egg, then in the breadcrumb and coconut mixture.  Pan fry until deep golden in color on each side, until thermometer reads 165 degrees or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear. 

In a seperate pan, over medium heat, stir together preserves, chilies, vinegar, and chicken stock.  Reduce until thickened, about 5 minutes.* 

Serve the chicken over rice, drizzling the sauce on top.  Sprinkle green onions for garnish.  We had a green salad for a complete meal.

*My husband is a saucy guy, so you may prefer to make a larger amount of the sauce for drizzling. 

This recipe is linked to:

Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday
Blessed With Grace Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap   

In Memory

For all those who gave their lives for our freedom.

Sunday, May 30

Family Time

Peanut is napping right now, getting some much needed rest after her fun filled weekend with her Grandma, Grandpa, and Auntie.  So, while the laundry is going, I will try my best to convey the fun we had over this last too, too fast 48 hours.

I know, I am such a multi-tasker.  I don't know how I do it.  

First, it seemed like it took FOREVER for them to get here.  I was just soo excited, and of course, they ran into to inclement weather (also known as torrential downpours), two car accidents, AND construction on the way here.  Needless to say, I was antsy, and according to them, so were they--so it felt like it took an extra two hours, but in reality, probably took an extra 30-45 minutes.  {Sigh}
As soon as they got here, I received a run down from Peanut (who was looking out the front window) of each of her visitors.  Papa! {Grandpa}  Geeni! {Auntie} (who were both sitting in the front seats)  And last but not least,  GaaMaw!  {Grandma}

Peanut was quite ecstatic, as she had three new playmates. Much more appealing than Mommy--rest assured, I know she loves me, but hey, she gets me 24-7. They played with the blots {blocks} and Grandpa built some pretty amazing structures.  Auntie built some forts with the furniture and blankets and Grandma let Peanut discover the joys of quilting looking through all her quilting tools and threads.  

Peanut was entirely pleased with herself when she figured out what a thimble was for.  (Peanut placed the one on Grandma....)

I know how much I enjoy Peanut, and it is even more special to see our family cultivate their relationships with her.  I just love it.

We also spent some time at the park, which of course, is always lots of fun for the Peanut--and it was fun for all of us too--the weather was FAB. U. LOUS.   We couldn't have asked for a nicer day.  

They blew bubbohs {bubbles} and collected pine cones for some Christmas crafts my Mom already has planned.  I know.   And Auntie swung Peanut in the air for lots and lots of giggles.

And just for the record, the biting the tongue thing is COMPLETELY a Papa thing (my Grandpa)--it totally helps to bite your tongue when concentrating really hard.   

Oh, and I will have you know that all of these pictures were taken with the camera on full manual mode, with me determining the best shutter speed and aperture.  

Which is why I took over 500 pictures this weekend, and in editing, whittled it down to about 90 pictures.

However, according to Scott Kelby, that is absolutely to be expected--even with the professionals.  So I wasn't even discouraged. 

Even though it was cut short, we had a wonderful time....I we CANNOT wait for the 4th of July.

And in other news, Happy Anniversary to me.  It's my one year blogiversary.  I have over 200 posts under my's to many, many more! 


Oh, and Auntie--just so you know, I have since gotten Peanut up from her nap and she is walking around saying "Dude" right now.....


Menu Plan Monday

I love, love, love having visitors.  And that is what we are enjoying right now.  {Insert sigh of contentment here}  To make this short and sweet, this week we will be having~

Sunday-Spicy Peanut Chicken, steamed veggies


Tuesday-Mexican Chicken, black beans, steamed veggies

Wednesday-Tuna Noodle Casserole, green beans

Thursday-Burritos with ground beef, black beans, cheese, tomatoes, sour cream, salsa

Friday-Honey Dijon Pork Chops, mashed pototoes, green salad

Saturday-Red Beans and Rice with Ground Beef

For other menu plan ideas, visit the Organizing Junkie

Thursday, May 27

I Finally Did It

My husband and I had a conversation several weeks ago.  In not so many words, he told me that I need to get out more.  Me?  Self-proclaimed home body?  Nahhh....  But I knew deep down he was right.  We've been here in SmallTown nearly six months (at the time of the conversation) and he thought it was high time I got out there and found some other moms. 

Of course it would have been easier if we were attending church here, but with DH working Saturday nights and Sunday mornings, it makes it kind of hard.  Plus, couple that with the fact that I am a paranoid germ-a-phobe and not wanting to put Peanut in the church nursery--well, that just makes it even harder. 

Sooo, when I got back from my trip several weeks ago, I started calling around to several area churches to see if they had any sort of mom's group.  I couldn't find one.  One day several days later as I was running errands with Peanut, the Christian radio station had a commercial for MOPS.  I had heard of MOPS in the past, and I don't know why I didn't think of looking into it, but sure enough, our town has a MOPS group that meets twice a month at church less than two miles from our house.  So I called the coordinator.  But of course, I have the worst timing in the history of the world (okay, maybe not that bad) and the group breaks for the summer and yesterday was their last meeting until September.  All that to say if I hadn't drug my feet for so long, I would probably be a little more connected had I been going all this time.  Nice. 

Despite all that, the coordinator I spoke with on the phone was really encouraging and said I should still come and check it out.  And I did.  Boy, was that hard for me.  It was like my first day of freshman year when I didn't know a soul.  But all the ladies there were really sweet and it was good to talk to some other moms and have a small break from Peanut (as much as I love her).  They have some activities planned over the summer and I am going to try and go.  And I will even take Peanut with me.  (I didn't take her yesterday because DH had the day off and the meeting started at 8:45 and lets just say she and I aren't typically rolling and ready to face the day until after 11 on most days--something else on the list of things to work on.)

Although I haven't found a bosom friend just yet, I am so glad I went.  It was good to stretch myself

Wednesday, May 26

Tuesday, May 25

Has It Really Been 17 Years?

As I sit down to write a recap of my fun filled weekend, it never ceases to amaze at how. fast. time goes by.

My dear friend Sarah came up to visit this weekend, making the 5 + hour drive just to see little old me.  It was so nice to have more than our typical 3 hour chunk of coffee time to be able to sit and visit and shoot the breeze.  Plus, she and her husband have a little girl a tad older than Peanut--who had an absolute GRAND time spending time with her new friend.  Peanut slept in until 9:30 yesterday morning (she normally gets up around 8 am) and then proceeded to take a three hour nap yesterday afternoon.

She was plum worn out. 

Anyhow, back to my original point.  How fast time goes by.  Sarah and I have been friends for nearly 17 years.  We met in French class our freshman year of high school.

Yes, I realize I am dating myself.

I was brand new to the high school and knew no one.  Actually, that's not quite true--my neighbor down the street was a year older and he picked on me mercilessly like an extremely annoying older brother.  But other than him, I knew no one.  And Sarah befriended me.  She was Sophie and I was Elizabeth (our French class names).  We graduated high school together and went to the same community college and college together.  We also took a fabulous trip to Hawaii together when we were the ripe old age of 21.  Fun times.  I was her maid of honor and she was one of my bridesmaids (my sister was my maid of honor) when each of us got married.

But, oh, how time changes things.  Instead of talking fashion, dating, and that creepy economics professor, now our conversations are centered around potty training, stretching a dollar, and how we can't believe that acid washed jeans are making a come back once again.  I mean, really--wasn't once enough? 

It was such a fun weekend.  And it was relaxing--I mean, it was for me--I hope it was for Sarah too.  :)   We talked and talked and watched our little girls be rambunctious together.  It was great.

It just so hard to believe that we have been friends longer than we haven't.

We are old.

Good thing life gets better with age.

Monday, May 24

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know, I know.  Isn't this a standard Baking 101 recipe?  Chocolate chip cookies are hardly rocket science.

However in my recent interest in the whole foods movement (you can read about it here and here--this is some stuff I've come across and have found very helpful--oh, and those sites probably only scratch the surface) I am trying to stay away from "man made" fats like vegetable oils and shortenings and going back to fats like good ol' butter.  And who doesn't love butter?   

This butter love presents a problem though.  I don't know about you, but whenever I make cookies with all butter--while they taste fabulous, they usually are a big pooled mess when they come out of the oven.  They simply don't retain their shape. But then I got smart.  

After I scooped out my cookies on the cookie sheet, I stuck each sheet in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.  (The freezer would work too and with half the time, but I just don't have the room!)  The cookies get nice and hard and then I pop them in the oven and bake as directed--and possibly a minute or two longer. And will you look at these beauties?   Nice, round cookies that retain their shape.  No pooling

In addition, I've been using more and more whole wheat flour in recipes to make my baked goods a little more when I make things like chocolate chip cookies, I only have to feel half as bad.

At least that is what I tell myself. 

This recipe is derived from the one my mom gave me in my recipe box.  I have modified it, but they are still darn good!  

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2/3 cup butter at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar (the original calls for 1/2 cup...I am trying to reduce the sugar too...)
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup white flour
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp baking powder

1-2 cups chocolate chips

Cream sugars and butter.  Add in vanilla and eggs, mix until smooth.  Mix in dry ingredients.  Fold in chocolate chips.   Drop by spoonfuls or cookie scoop on cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 14 minutes--or about 12 if you don't refrigerate.  :)

Now, when I ran this by DH (using whole wheat flour in the cookies), his response was "What's the point of chocolate chip cookies?"  That isn't what I wanted to then I did what any good wife would do...I ignored him and made them anyway.  And guess what?  He ate like three in a row.  Score one for me! 

This recipe is linked to:

Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday
Blessed With Grace Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap   

Life As Mom Ultimate Recipe Swap
We Are THAT Family  Works For Me Wednesday

Sunday, May 23

Menu Plan Monday

Just one meal roll over to this week...something always seems to come up! However, it's still nice to have the meal plan in place anyway to avoid that "dinner time dilemma."  We are having some visitors both this weekend and next, so we are very excited!

Sunday-Guacamole turkey burgers, oven fries

Monday-Sweet & sour pork and rice, steamed veggies

Tuesday-Coconut chicken cutlets, rice, green salad


Friday-Baked Potato Bar

Saturday-Baked salmon, rice pilaf, steamed veggies

For other great menu ideas, click here

Thursday, May 20

Her Newest Obsession

It's pretty stinkin' cute.  As soon as she and Daddy are both up in the morning or as soon he comes downstairs or gets home from work....she wants to play "blots" {blocks}.  Now.

Daddy builds some pretty magnificent castles.  Fit for a his princess. 

Tuesday, May 18

Works For Me Wednesday-Lasagna Tip

I was watching a cooking show a while back and they mentioned an easy way to make lasagna was by using the "no-cook" noodles.  That way you don't have to bother boiling the noodles and then potentially tearing the noodles when you are layering the lasagna.  That truly is a great tip--a real time saver. 


But you know what?  You don't have to do that. 

You can use plain ol' lasagna noodles.  And you don't have to boil them either.  Now, you do have to plan ahead and let it sit.  All you simply have to do is layer your dish with your uncooked noodles, tomato/meat mixture, and cheese mixture as you normally would then put the pan in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook it.  Allowing it to sit overnight is best, but  I made lasagna just last week around lunchtime and we ate dinner between 5 and 6 pm.   I cooked the lasagna for about 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven and it was cooked perfectly.   No undercooked noodles.

I have to admit when I do this, I always worry there won't be enough moisture, so after I layer the lasagna, I usually add about another 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water, just to be on the safe side.  And it turns out wonderful every time.

In addition, purchasing your standard lasagna noodles is about a 60% savings over the "no cook" variety!  (At least where I normally shop.)  How awesome is that? 

For other helpful tips, visit Works For Me Wednesdays at We Are THAT Family

Monday, May 17

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

I have very fond memories of weekend breakfasts as a kid.  My Mom used to do lots of canning when my sister and I were younger and one year she canned apples.  Lots and lots of apples.  The apples were cored, peeled, and sliced and then canned in their juices with sugar and lots of cinnamon.  They were so yummy.  

One Saturday morning, my Dad was cooking breakfast (his specialty) and he decided to put some of these apples in the pancakes he making.

Life has never been the same since.  

So I had some apples that I needed to use up.  And I needed to make breakfast this morning.  Of course, you can see where this is headed...while these pancakes don't include the delicious canned apples of my youth, these pancakes were still very good.

In addition, I have been trying to make things a little healthier around here, so I made these with some whole wheat flour.  And yes, these pancakes were still good despite that!  Of course, you can always use the whole amount of flour with all purpose flour if you so desire. 

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes


Peel 1 large apple and seed and core it.  I diced mine up pretty finely, however as I was doing so, I was thinking it may be just as easy to grate the apple--whichever you prefer.  Mix the apple with several teaspoons sugar and about 1 teaspoon cinnamon.  Set aside.


2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 cup milk
1 large egg
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Mix melted butter, milk, and egg.  Add sugar, flours, baking powder, salt.  Mix until just smooth.  

Heat griddle to about 375 degrees.  For each pancake, pour about 1/3 cup of batter and sprinkle about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the diced apples over the batter.  Cook pancake until bubbly on top and edges are starting to dry.  Turn and cook other side until golden brown.  Serve with syrup and additional butter, if desired.  Who doesn't want more butter, though? 

This recipe is linked to:

Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday
Blessed With Grace Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap  

Sunday, May 16

Menu Plan Monday

This planning my menu a month at a time is so nice...although it was a pain to do all at once, I don't dread each Saturday, thinking I need to plan my menu.  I just might have to do this more often.  So without further ado...

Sunday-BLTA's (avacodo's--didn't get to these last week)

Monday-Baked Potato Bar

Tuesday-Pork fried rice and sub gum

Wednesday-White Bean and Tuna Salad


Friday-Taco Salads

Saturday-Hot dogs, pasta salad, sliced fruit

For other great menu's click here.


Related Posts with Thumbnails