27 October, 2010

Roasted Chicken with vegetables


Roasted chicken is a great dish any time of year, but it seems fitting for fall.  Maybe it's the glistening hues of the orange carrots or the roasted browned chicken that are reminiscent of fall to me. When the cooler weather hits here in TN I use my oven 100% more than I have in the past 6 months, so it's kind of exciting when I get to crank it up once again.  I know my hubs, DLP is more than elated when it happens. :)  My boys get pretty din-din happy too about it.
Roast chicken is something that anyone can make.  If you can't cook and you'd like to impress someone-roasted chicken is your dish.  Easy and decadent at the same time.
I don't have a set recipe.  I will give you my amounts of what I usually use (which can depend on what I have on hand).  You really can't mess this one up.  Trust me. 
I buy the big roaster chickens so I don't have to mess with gross giblets, necks, all that other ishiness (yes, that's a word my Swedish grandma uttered frequently when she was in the presence of grossness.)  I miss her.  She'd dig this chicken, no doubt.  
Roast Chicken with Vegetables
1 large roaster chicken (5-6 lbs is good) 
2 garlic heads
rosemary sprigs (if you don't have fresh use dried, but crush them in your hand to release aroma)
fresh thyme (if you don't have fresh you can use dried)
4 T. melted butter
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
potatoes, chunked BIG (1 potato per person)
2 large onions, chunked up big pieces
4 carrots, sliced in 2 " chunks
celery, sliced 2" chunks (optional)
1 c. chicken broth
tin foil
roasting pan 
1. Start by cleaning your chicken well and then patting dry.
I lined my roasting pan with foil which saves a lot of pan scrubbing later.  Take the bird and place in in your roasting pan.  
2. I then take 5-6 garlic cloves peeled put it inside the cavity.  If you have fresh thyme and rosemary put it in the cavity too.  This time I just sprinkled a little bit of dried thyme (don't overdue it)  and dried rosemary into the cavity also.  Liberally sprinkle kosher salt inside the bird.
3. Now melt your butter.  Brush the butter on the skin all over on the outside and then sprinkle with salt and fresh ground black pepper.  Cut little slits in the skin and put a few garlic cloves underneath it.  See the bumps under the skin in my photo below?  Those are garlic cloves.  It gives fabulous flavor.
4. Cut up your veggies.  I cut up the potatoes (big chunks), carrots (2"chunks), onions (big chunks), and celery if you prefer in 2" chunks also.  Toss them w/ some (1 T.) olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Add some garlic cloves to the veggies too.   5. Toss with clean hands and spread the veggies all around your chicken.   6. Pour 1 c. chicken broth over the veggies. 7.  Bake uncovered in a 375 degree oven for 2 hours. 
The picture says 325 degrees but I changed it to 375.  Oh the smells that will fill your house!

                    Dear Mr. Chicken,

                    I just want to say you look maaaavelooos, and thank you

                   in advance for your deliciousness.  :)

                               All dressed and ready to roast
                                 You gotta peek in on it a couple times.

When you take it out of the oven, let it sit about 15-20 min before you cut it.  This lets the juices redistribute through the bird so it stays juicy when you cut into it.
  Let me just say this was absolutely delicious. My family had seconds and thirds even!

                      Now, go roast your own chicken.

Rice Cookers

If you want to make really delicious rice, like you get in Thai and other Asian restaurants you need a rice cooker.  I use mine all the time.  I often use a Korean rice called Botan.  It's very good. I also like Jasmine rice.  Take a trip to your local Asian Market.  You won't believe all the different kinds of rice they sell.
Using a rice maker is easy. Follow instructions on your rice package.  You rinse the rice first and then add the water.  I just push down the cook button and when it's done it pops up all by itself.  No worries about burning the rice.  I believe this machine made by Cuckoo was under $20 when I bought it a couple years ago.  If you eat a lot of rice like my family does you should consider a rice cooker.

26 October, 2010

Pepper beef

Tuesday night stir fry.  Made with top sirloin sliced very thin.  Good stuff. :)

25 October, 2010

M&M's cookied

On my boys way out the door to their last robotics meeting of the year. They  informed me there were no cookies for their lunches tomorrow.  They attend home school tutorial all day on Tuesdays.  Being the loving, caring momma that I am :) I decided to whip them up some quickly after dinner.  
I do a lot of baking in the fall and winter so I keep large bags of baking staples on hand.  
                                         Cookie dough is magical.
 My mom got me these terrific industrial cookie sheets.  I love using them.  They are the best I've ever owned.  The cookies always come out wonderfully and the sheets are easy to get clean and stay looking new.

You may think M&M cookies are boring, but this is a very good recipe. Unlike chocolate chip cookies, M&M cookies have an almost cake like taste to them.  I always use butter rather than shortening.  I may not have a fluffy cookie, but I do have a delicious buttery cookie. I save the shortening for pie crusts.  

M&M's cookied

  • 1 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup shortening (I use BUTTER)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 c. M&M's
  1. In a large bowl, mix sugar, eggs, shortening, and vanilla thoroughly. Add flour, salt, and baking soda to creamed mixture. Blend well. Add 3/4 cup of M&M candies.
  2. Drop dough by teaspoonful onto cookie sheet. Slightly push a few candies on top of each dough ball with remaining candies.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 9 to 11 minutes.

23 October, 2010

Christmas Wish list

Printmaker's sideboard by Restoration Hardware $1679 (that's why it's called a "wish" list)

22 October, 2010

Cat, You Better Come Home

Last week my oldest son, a freshman in college, received a package in the mail.  I could tell it was a book.  I figured he'd bought one of his college books on Amazon as he's done before. When he got home from school I gave him the package.  A while later he came back downstairs and handed it back to me.
"Open it mom" he said  "It's for you."  I took the package and unwrapped it.  When I opened it I was so overjoyed (and a little choked up) to see one of he and I's favorite books from his childhood-Cat, You Better Come Home.   We checked it out from the library when Connor was probably about 5 or 6.  We loved the book from our first read and we read it together countless times.   It's about a diva cat named Puff who leaves home because she thinks she deserves a better life.  She finds in the end that no fanciful life can compare to the comforts and love of home.  It's the sweet tale of a cat learning contentment.  It's hilarious, really.  

It was such a thoughtful sweet thing to do, and something I wouldn't have expected from my oldest.
I love that kid so much.  I am so thankful to the Lord for giving us Connor.

My youngest son loves the book now.  

No matter how cliche' it sounds, reading to your kids is so important.  It's making an impact and you're making memories together. :)

Random Friday

It seems like the weeks are flying by. The first quarter of school is already done!  This weekend is going to be super busy.  Cayden has his robotics competition all day tomorrow from 8-5. Wow.   Then DLP has a dinner for work we have to attend in the evening. That's gonna be a looong day.  Above is  Cayden (red hoodie) with his team last week at Cool Springs Mall.  They needed to make some major adjustments to their robot for the competition tomorrow. Go Lipscomb!

* My little buddy Spurgeon looking super cute as usual. :)

BUCKYBALLS!  Have you seen them?  My middle son has been begging asking nonstop for these things for months! Then my youngest son caught on and had to get in on it also (the whining asking for Bucky Balls that is).   Finally, we gave in. These things are pretty fantastical (that really is a word.:)  They are little, powerful magnetic balls.  Obviously you don't want to get them too close to your laptop or other electronics.  I wouldn't buy them for kids younger than 9 or so. 
Look at this cute little ring they made me. Purdy! :)

Chanel COCO #7

This is an oldie but such a goodie!  I had a sample vial of this I got a few years ago that I used up (slowly) and enjoyed it very much.  It came to my mind the other day and I thought I must revisit it. COCO is a must if you love oriental scents.  I will tell you it's quite decadent, and a little goes a long way.  If you aren't a fan of heavier scents, this one may not be for you,   Notes in this one are coriander, pomegranate blossom, mandarin orange, peach, jasmine and bulgarian rose; middle notes are mimose, cloves, orange blossom, clover and rose; base notes are labdanum, amber, sandalwood, tonka bean, opoponax, civet and vanilla.  
If you want staying power this one has it.  Something about this scent goes so well with autumn.  

13 October, 2010

DOLCE & GABANNA rose the one #6

Dolce & Gabbana's "Light Blue" is a scent I love.  I received a bottle a couple years ago and I don't think I ever used a bottle of fragrance so fast. When I say "fast", I mean like 10-12 months time. Rose the One is another winner from D & G. I really enjoyed this scent which surprised me since I'm not a big fan of rose. Black currant, pink grapefruit, mandarin, lily of the valley, rose, litchi, peony, Madonna lily, along with ambrette seed, sandalwood, musk and vanilla are listed in Rose the One's description.
That being said, I do wish it had a bit more staying power as it lingers. I kept sniffing it all day and never tiring of it, but it faded too fast.  :(  Can we find a lovely light scent that will stick around?

09 October, 2010

Scent tally

In the running:Givenchy PLAY
Chanel COCO

No thanks:
Calvin Klein's BEAUTY
Kate Spade's TWIRL

Juicy Couture's VIVA LA JUICY
DOLCE & GABBANA'S rose the one

VIVA-LA-JUICY by Juicy Couture #5

Viva La Juicy isn't t a super new fragrance.  I tried this when it first came out back in 2008.  I wasn't a fan back then but I guess my scentbuds have changed since turning 40.  Viva's notes are:
 Wild Berries, Mandarins, Honeysuckle, Gardenia, Jasmine, Amber, Caramel, Vanilla, Sandalwood, Praline.  This one stays with you.  The scent is slightly heavy and warm.    I really like this scent.  The downside to it is that I may be a bit allergic to it.  When I wear it,  it makes my throat itch.  Bummer.  I do love the scent though and am going to try wearing it again before finalizing my juicy"no".  

Kate Spade's TWIRL #4

Kate Spade's newest fragrance Twirl debuted in September.  I was excited to try the scent being how I love Kate Spade's bright and crisp take on design.  I don't think I've ever eyed a K.S. bag I didn't have a serious jones for.  
Twirl is described as having notes of pink watermelon, blackberry, and red currant.  The heart includes orange blossom, star jasmine, tiare flower and magnolia, resting on a base created of glittering musk and French cookies (Macaroon).  
I loved the bottle.  Uh oh...that  doesn't resonate much fondness for the fragrance itself does it?   It smelled very similar to a couple other fragrances I'm familiar with, particularly  Yves Saint Laurent's Baby Doll.   I prefer something with more staying power.  Twirl faded too fast and wasn't original enough to interest me.

02 October, 2010

Cinnamon roll Saturday

After reading Pioneer Woman's cinnamon roll post this a.m. http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2007/06/cinammon_rolls_/  I had to try the the cinnamon roll recipe she called"the best" cinnamon roll recipe ever. I'd seen this  method before but never tried it.  I will say this is better than my usual Cinnabon recipe that I make with the help of my bread maker.  But they can't beat the cinnamon rolls my mom used to make when I was growing up.  I do like that there is no kneading these.  They're definitely worth the time it takes to make them.

01 October, 2010

1/2 Whole Wheat- Buttermilk- Blueberry Pancakes

  That is a mouthful to say.  This a.m. I used my regular buttermilk pancake recipe (that I could assemble blindfolded with my hands tied behind my back) and replaced 1 c. of regular flour with whole wheat flour.  My kids eat whole wheat bread but they are picky when it comes to their pancakes.  I have to say they loved the results and I will be making them this way from now on.  Of course nothing tastes better on pancakes than 100% pure maple syrup.  Happy Friday. :)
1/2 Whole Wheat- Buttermilk- Blueberry Pancakes:
1 c. Whole wheat flour
1 c. All purpose flour
4 T. sugar
4 T. baking powder
big dash salt
2 eggs
2 c. buttermilk (add more if you like a thinner cake)
4 T. canola oil.
Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Butter your skillet and pour in a large spoonful of batter.  Take a handful of blueberries and place them onto your pancake.  Cook until bubbles begin to appear.  Flip and cook until done (about 1-2 min.).