21 June, 2014

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

During the summer we grill all the time---like 4-5 times a week. I am fortunate to be married to a superb grilling man who really knows his way around a BBQ.  Lately, DLP and I are really loving stuffed chicken breasts on the grill.  Our favorite right now is jalapeño pepper & jack cheese wrapped in bacon (above). You can really get creative with these and wrap up whatever you like in there.  
Jalapeño & Jack cheese: serves 4
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2-4 jalapeño peppers, minced (or less if you don't like it as spicy)
4 chunks monterey jack cheese 
bacon for wrapping
salt and pepper
toothpicks (soak the in water first) 

Pound out your chicken to about 1/4" thickness. Lay them out and season the breasts  with salt and pepper.  Spread your minced jalapenos and jack cheese on each one.  Roll the breasts up tight and wrap each breast all around with the bacon.  Secure it with toothpicks to hold everything together

Grill 20-25 minutes turning every few minutes so bacon doesn't burn but gets crisp.  Grill until done (165 degrees). Don't over cook or chicken will be dry. Remove all toothpicks before serving. 

i'm so thankful for my middle son, Cayd, and his keen eyesight.  he helped me remove thousands a LOT of microscopic spines from my arm after i unknowingly brushed by the demon in a pot beautiful cactus at the greenhouse. rethinking my love for the prickly pear species. 

19 June, 2014

A Dining room...

Well, it looks as though this is my 2nd post of 2014. That's sad. I can't believe June is two thirds over already.

So, there's quite a few things i've got working this summer. Mostly though I've been working on my formal dining room.  Some old stuff & some new stuff i've collected for my dining room. Also, slowly but surely recovering a few of my dining chair seats. My main dining room wall is hung with sweet pictures by my boys, little paintings, special prints, and mementos that are meaningful to our family.  I call 'em my "love nuggets". I also love hanging them haphazardly and not perfectly on the wall. It looks so much homier and real that way.  I found the bright yellow covered urn a couple weeks ago. I love a bright yellow pop against my dark teal walls. This room has dark teal, yellow, and black as it's main colors. Here's a few pics of my dining room>>>  The color on my walls photographs totally different depending on the time of day.  I'd say the first picture depicts the color most accurately.  I found the the lamps (Chapman & Co.) at the thrift store.  I'm on the hunt for shades for them. The buffet table circa 1960's was from my parents. I love the patina on it.  My Dad made us the beautiful wine rack.  It's very special.  You can see my rug that's fairly new. My boys call it "the beehive".  Also considering curtains.  I'll take some more pictures of the room  when it comes all together and post them.

09 January, 2014

Sémola y huevos con chile verde

Sémola y huevos con chile verde (grits and eggs with green chile)

Happy 2014 everyone!  I hope y'all are staying warm in these crazy arctic-ish temperatures!  Lately, when deciding on suppers, all I want to do is make soup!  Last night was the second time this week I made soup for supper.  It's just kind of a necessity here in Minnesota I think.  Everyone's just trying to make it home.  Going from their cars to the warmth of the indoors in as little time as possible.  Race ya! No, I'd better not.  This girl forgot how to walk on the ice/snow after 14+ years in the south.  Ha!

Green chile or green pork chile is something I will always order at a Mexican restaurant. If they've got good chile, hopefully the rest of their offerings will be yummy too.

I haven't made green chile in quite a while.  This chile recipe is delicious.  It did call for a lot of cumin and chile powder in it. I prefer less so I will probably go much lighter on those next time I make it, but it was still terrific. That's why I wrote the measurements for the spices "to taste". What's better for breakfast or brunch than grits and eggs with green chile!

2 lbs. pork (i used boneless chops and a pork loin diced)
1 T. veg. oil
2 T. bacon fat 
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 T flour
4-5 c. reduced sodium chicken broth

15 oz can tomatoes, drained
6 cans green chiles3 large tomatillos, husks removed and cut in chunks
2-5 whole jalapenos (depends how hot you like it)
chili powder to taste (optional)
cumin to taste
salt to taste
Heat a large pot up good and hot and add your vegetable oil.  Add cubed pork and let sit in pot undisturbed for awhile so that it gets very brown. Add your diced onion and garlic on top of it. Stir and continue browning it all.  When it's good and brown remove from pot into another bowl. 
In a food processor or blender put the green chiles, tomatillos, and jalapenos. Process until smooth.  Test hotness to see how many jalapenos you want to add.

In the same pot you browned the meat in put your 2 T. bacon fat.  Begin to add your 4 T. of flour to the fat and let it brown a bit and get toasty.  Now add your chicken broth slowly and let it come to a low  boil until it thickens.  Now add your chile/tomatillo/jalapeno mixture.  Now stirr in the pork.  Add your cumin, chili powder, and salt to the taste you like.  Let it come back to a low boil and thicken more adjusting seasoning to you liking.  Let simmer..the longer the better but at least an hour.  Serve with tortillas as a main course, over burritos, or on a bed of grits and fried eggs.  Enjoy!

15 October, 2013

Fall trees & The Plummer House

We live at the top of the hill in our subdivision.  You wind up nearly a mile of road before getting to our house.  If I could stand on our roof I could really get the best pictures ever, but that won't be happening in this lifetime. These are taken from atop the hill on the street next to ours.  The fall colors are just breathtaking-even with an overcast sky.  I'm so thankful that God gives us such amazing beauty to enjoy!

^^^The Plummer House from a distance

One of my favorite places to visit in Rochester is the Plummer House. Built in 1917, it's the former home of, Dr. Henry Plummer, a prominent internist and endocrinologist who, along with Drs.William Mayo, Charles Mayo, Stinchfield, E. Starr Judd, Christopher Graham, and Donald Balfour founded The Mayo Clinic. It's a tutor style home with acres of lush gardens all around it. The slate roof is amazing.  The Plummer house is a must see if you visit Rochester.
^^^^i want these^^^
I'd love to have these two orbs on my front porch.  I'm not sure if they were used for planters, but they're unique and perfect.  The rich patina is my favorite, I'm not sure if they're wrought iron, copper, etc ?.. but they definitely look heavy. They're also bolted down, i'd imagine in an effort to curb other orb enthusiasts (such as myself) from doing anything stupid.

               A few shots of the gardens...is this a cool tree (below) or yeah? 

 Stone paths lead all the way around the house...

Here's a link to some more info on Dr. Henry Plummer.  He was quite a remarkable guy:

14 October, 2013

The Loveliest Lemon Curd

Lemon curd is one of my favorite things. It's the most luxurious condiment in my opinion. It's wonderful on an english muffin for breakfast, or dolloped on a slice of cheesecake for dessert.  It's so very versatile, and the buttery lemon color shining through the glass of a smallish Mason jar makes for a beautiful little gift. I've tried a few curd recipes in my time, and this one is my favorite.  

The Loveliest Lemon Curd
3 lemons
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 stick (1/2 c.) butter, softened
4 large eggs
1/2 cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Take a peeler, and peel the zest of 3 lemons, don't get any of the white pith under the peel (it's very bitter) Put the zest in a food processor with the steel blade and add the sugar. Pulse until the zest is very fine and combined into the sugar.

Cream the butter and beat in the sugar and lemon mixture. Add the eggs, one at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix well.

Pour into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over low-med heat until thickened. It'll take about 8-10 minutes stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken when it's just below a simmer. Remove from the heat and cool.  This can be kept in the refrigerator for about a week.

08 July, 2013

My favorite body scrub...

I found this scrub a few years ago while getting a mani-pedi at a Nashville spa i used to frequent.   I picked it up on a whim because I had a gift card I needed to use up before it expired.  To be honest, I'd never been huge into body washes or scrubs.  I've got a very sensitive nose and I'm pretty picky about my scents.. Sensory Fusion Pomegranate Salt Glow Scrub changed that! This product is just luscious!  It exfoliates with just enough coarseness, smells aMaZing, and is super for priming your skin before self tanner. Pomegranate is the only scent I buy, but lemongrass or mango ginger sound really yummy too.  Here's where you can find this magical stuff. mAgiCaL sTuff

05 July, 2013

Fantastic Flank Steak

  This is a great recipe that has become one of my favorite (and simple) summer things to make. I made this late tonight for the whole family (when my college boy was home from Nashville) and he likened it to eating at Flemings steakhouse!  Our family loves Flemings, and their steaks are fabulous, so that was quite the compliment!  The secret to this steak is marinading it a good 6-8 hours, only grilling it 5-6 minutes on each side (medium rare) and then covering it awhile to sear in the juices before thinly cutting it across the grain.  I made the classic cheesy potato casserole and it was the perfect accompaniment. The only thing missing was a nice garden salad...  Here's what you need:::

1 1/2-2 lbs Flank Steak
8-10 garlic cloves, minced
sprigs of fresh thyme
crushed rosemary (fresh is best but dried is okay too)
olive oil
salt and pepper
a stick of butter
Fresh Italian parsley, chopped

Put your flank steak in a shallow dish and drizzle with olive oil, rub oil all over the steak.  Salt and pepper well on both sides.  MInce 4-5 of the garlic cloves and spread on the top and the bottom of the steak.  Do the same with the thyme and rosemary, placing on the top and bottom of the steak.  Cover and refrigerate 6-8 hours.  Prepare your grill and grill meat on each side 5-6 minutes depending on the thickness of your steak and your preferred doneness. Take off the grill and cover tightly with foil for 10-15 minutes before cutting to keep the juices in. Now melt the stick of butter and your other 4-5 minced garlic cloves together in a little sauce pan and sprinkle some salt in there too. Chop up your Italian parsley.  After 10-15 minutes in the foil you'll want to cut the steak across the grain in thin slices.  Pour the butter and garlic over your steak and sprinkle the Italian parsley over the top. 
serve with some yummy cheesy potato casserole:

1 large pkg. of shredded hashbrowns
1 1/2 c. shredded sharp cheddar
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1/2 onion, minced
8 oz. sour cream
salt and pepper to taste.  
Combine all ingredients in buttered baking dish and place in 375 degree oven, uncovered for 40 minutes.  

I know this casserole often calls for butter, but I find it to be just as good without it.

04 July, 2013

Red White and Blue Trifle

Happy Independence Day everyone!  We are suffering from serious Nashville withdraw today as this is our first Fourth in 14+ years not spent in music city.  In our old neighborhood by now there would be some serious popping off of fireworks in the air and on our street.  It's dead quiet on our street tonight. BOO!There are strict regulations on what fireworks you can light off here.  My usually, over-enthusiastic, pyromaniac-ish boys have had to stifle their love for shooting off the big-boy fireworks and settle for a few smoke bombs and sparklers. My boys love them some fireworks. Well, at least I didn't have to be stressed over my kids safety and keeping all their fingers and limbs like I usually am on the 4th--that's a big plus.  I am glad we are together as a family tho'--all 5 of us.
For dessert I made this delicious trifle.  I chose simple and just used a box cake mix.  It's super simple and really pretty.  

Red, White and Blue Trifle:
1 box of white cake mix (i like Duncan Hines)
8 oz. cream cheese softened
1/3 c. sugar
1 c. heavy whipping cream
3 c. strawberries, washed, hulled and cut in half, dried
2 c. bluberries, washed and dried
1 c. raspberries, washed and dried

Make the cake according to box directions.  When cake is cooled cut into bite size pieces.  
Combine berries together in a large bowl.
In another bowl cream the cream cheese with the mixer and gradually add the 1/3 c. of sugar.  Blend well until the mixtures gets a bit airy.  Slowly add the heavy cream and mix until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Put a layer of cake in the bottom of the trifle bowl.  Spread half of the whipped cream over the cake.  Place half the berries over the whipped cream.  Repeat the layers.  Chilling it for a couple hours makes it even better.

Have a wonderful 4th!