Monthly Archives: December 2013

Holy Yum Chicken (And Happy New Year!)

The title speaks for itself. It’s not my recipe, though. Chances are if you’re on Pinterest, you’ve seen this gem floating around being pinned hither and yon. It’s totally worth pinning. Fifty times. Yeah, I said fifty times. I wish I could make it fifty times a week, but then we’d probably get tired of it, and that would be a shame. Also there aren’t really that many meal opportunities in a week, so…:(

The Ryan and I decided to stay in and have a quiet evening tonight. Our friends are off with their families, other groups of friends, whatever. We weren’t invited anywhere, and that is fine with us. With all the things going on recently, it’s nice to just be able to lay on our couch and do nothing. This evening has consisted of watching Star Trek: Voyager and Stargate: Atlantis. Yeah, SG-1 is better, but Netflix got rid of it. 😦 CURSE YOU, NETFLIX! Though we got Atlantis on Amazon Prime, so. Meh. Oh, and now a documentary called Secrets of the Sun about how the sun is going to destroy life as we know it by smacking us with a solar flare and killing our electronics (the Ryan always finds the good documentaries). Science!!

Anyway, since it’s a “special occasion,” (though to be fair, 2013 was kind of badass. I got engaged to and then married the Ryan, I met Mommy and Daddy S’s baby Cambria when she was just brand new and a day old and have watched her grow alongside them, I made some amazing new friends, got closer to existing friends, took one more step toward my degree, and got to sit on a tropical beach paradise in Jamaica for a week. I mean, come on! That’s awesome!) I decided to make this recipe. I tried it a while back when we first moved here, and the Ryan liked it so much he actually put it as his favorite food (out of all the things I’ve ever made him! Lol!) on the questionnaire game we did for my bridal shower. Clearly, he digs it. And I don’t blame him, I love it too. It’s called “Holy Yum Chicken,” and oh man, does the title totally do it justice. But enough of me raving about it, you should make it yourself. And here’s how:

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I was a little bit tired, and had mixed the ingredients before I decided, hey, I should blog this! It has been a looooooong day. Actually it has been a long week, y’all. Santa was good and all, but I’m tired! Anyway, for the sauce you’ll need 1/2 cup dijon mustard (Emeril’s is my favorite: I can actually read all of the ingredients on the label, and I think it tastes better. Especially in this recipe. No, Emeril isn’t paying me to say that. But wouldn’t it be badass if he did? Hellooooo, money! But I digress). You will also need 1/4 cup of pure maple syrup.Β REAL. MAPLE. SYRUP. Not Log Cabin (as much as I love it) or sugar free nonsense, the real deal. And then 1-2 tbls of rice vinegar. I like to use 2 tbls because I find one leaves the sauce a bit too sweet for my liking. But it’s up to your taste. I like the tang. Add that deliciousness to a bowl and whisk it till it’s nice and smooth and ya can’t whisk no more!

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The original recipe calls for 1.5-2 lbs** boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I made the super fabulous mistake of only thawing out one chicken thigh that was folded in on itself and looked like two. WHOOPS! I frantically ran out to the grocery store to get more (as my oven was heating to a whopping 450 degrees, yep, you read that right), and elbowed my way through the New Years Eve crowd to find: bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. Well, crap. But that’s all there was that was organic, so I bought it and just dealt with it. I cut off all the skin and fat, and voila (having the bone there didn’t make a difference that we could tell anyway).

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Line an 8×8 pan with a double layer of tin foil (trust me, do it. Two layers), and stick your beautiful chicken thighs on in there. Salt and pepper each side, and then pour your mix right in. Move them around to get them nice and coated with the sauce on both sides. Mmmmm, look at that. Stuff those bad boys in the oven, uncovered, for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, I cut up some potatoes and tossed them in olive oil, seasoned salt, garlic powder, pepper, and a dash of paprika and stuck them in my new (YAY WEDDING STUFF!!!) Le Creuset 9×9 bake pan. πŸ˜€ Lined with foil, of course, but I love that thing! Best. Cleanup. Ever. Anyway, I baked those for 30 minutes (so 10 minutes after the chicken went in – it’s real easy to prep when you’re lazy and chop them with the skin on :D).

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Mmmmm, out of the oven. Look at those bad boys. While it bakes, you will be drooling, it smells soooooooooo amazing. Let them sit for about 5 minutes, and then remove them to a plate and cover (or don’t, because you know, 450 degrees is frickin’ hot!). Return the pan to the stove, and add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to 1-2 tablespoons water (this is the only part of the recipe I diverge from, because adding cornstarch directly to the leftover sauce has only ever left me with lumpy grossness, and you’re not really supposed to do that anyway), and whisk to incorporate until the sauce thickens. I’m too lazy for all that, so I just whisk it in and then turn the heat up a smidgen and let it come to a slight boil to thicken (don’t worry about safety, the sauce boils for a long time at 450 in the oven), and then whisk it more and remove it from the heat.

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Pour your sauce over your chicken, and voila! Dinner. πŸ˜€ And it’s soooooooooooooooooo good!!!! Β Holy Yum!!! Go make it NOW!

**Normally, I only make 2 thighs and I halve the recipe, but today since I had to go to the store, I ended up making the whole thing. And now the Ryan and I have lunch for tomorrow! πŸ˜€

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HAPPY NEW YEARS INDEED!!!!

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Filed under Baking, Cooking, Food, Holidays, Uncategorized

Tis’ The Season – For Kicking Cancer’s Ass!

Afternoon, folks!

Today I am taking a turn from my normal subject of food to discuss something that is very hard to discuss, but needs to be shared.

As many of you know, I did a post a few months back in which I was preparing food for Mommy and Daddy S for baby girl S’s little arrival. πŸ™‚ She is now 4 months old, and quite a happy little girl.

However, on Thanksgiving, Mommy and Daddy S announced that baby S – her name is Cambria, in case you were wondering, has been diagnosed with neuroblastoma cancer. As you can imagine, Mommy and Daddy S are absolutely crushed…but being the kind of people that they are, they are remaining positive and bright admist it all. The good news is that they found it very, very early. Their pediatrician is amazing, and we just so happen to live close to Washington D.C., and as such, Cambria is able to receive treatment at National Children’s Medical Center. Neuroblastoma is also, I guess, “the” cancer you’d want…if you wanted cancer (which no one does), because it has a very good rate of going into remission, and isΒ actually curable.Β That’s not a word to use lightly with the “big C.” But it’s possible. And if they hadn’t found this until she was much older, her life would be very different. For now, she’s just a bubbly 4 month old baby that has a bunch of new people paying attention to her and giving her lots of hugs. She has no idea what cancer even is, and that is a blessing in and of itself.

On top of all of that, the people around Mommy and Daddy S are pulling together to support them in any way they can, and the outpouring of support and prayers has been an awesome thing to watch. I am honored that they are my friends, that I know little Cambria, and I am inspired by their strength. πŸ™‚ I can’t even imagine what they are going through.

BUT! I can gain insight. And so can you.Β Mommy and Daddy S have set up a blog that will detail, for the coming months, Cambria’s fight with this cancer, as it looks as though she will more than likely be going through chemo (something babies are more tolerant of than adults, so it would seem). The blog is written from both Mommy and Daddy S’s perspectives, and it is quite insightful, as well as a great way to stay updated with the goings-on, as there are so many people inquiring.

The internet is an amazing thing these days! So many people can stay connected, share struggles, help each other, and do a bunch of other amazing things.

So today I come to you as a friend of these remarkable parents and this wonderful little baby, and ask for your support in helping them. A cousin of the family set up a donation fund for baby Cambria to help her kick cancer’s ass. With the end of the year, all of the family’s insurance deductibles (their plan has recently been downgraded after the Affordable Care Act’s implementation as well) will be reset to $0, and as you can imagine Mommy S (the breadwinner and only working parent) is not able to work much. Between pregnancy and maternity leave, she is basically out of PTO, so they’re taking a big hit. Any assistance possible is needed, and if there was any time to contribute to a good cause, this would be it. Help these parents help their baby. πŸ™‚ And help make the struggle ahead a bit easier, if you can. If nothing else, Mommy and Daddy S have asked for prayers for baby Cambria. So even if you can’t contribute financially, you can contribute spiritually.

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(Cambria on Thanksgiving)

 

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Snowy Sunday Lazy Soup!

Omg it’s snowing!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! For real, snow is my favorite. Forever. And ever. And ever! If you live anywhere in the United States that is capable of actually receiving winter weather, chances are you’ve had some this week. πŸ˜€ Sadly, it is supposed to rain tomorrow and will wash it all away, but for now, I am enjoying it immensely! ImageIt has been a fairly quiet day at the house, I’ve got a test tomorrow, one on Wednesday, a semester project due Thursday…you know how it goes, school forever. So, I’ve been spending my day reading page after page, and powerpoint slide after powerpoint slide. I finally decided to give up on it for a bit and do something else. I wanted to go buy ornaments for the tree, but the Ryan wasn’t keen on me driving in this weather, so I had to stay in. Sad, because yesterday during the break from my studies I managed to string lights up on the Christmas tree. πŸ™‚ It’s our first real, big tree, huzzah! (Last year was just a dinky 2 foot table top dude because we traveled out of state for Christmas, and the year before that we celebrated Christmas in separate states so we didn’t have one then either!)

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The house is still messy from the wedding, but I cleaned enough to put this guy up, as well as some of the other decorations we’ve got. The Ryan and I have both inherited Santa figurines from our deceased grandparents over the last few years, so I have decided to keep the trend going and collect Santas for decoration every year. I am really excited to build up my stash! πŸ™‚ And someday when we own a grown up house, I hope to have a fireplace to hang the stockings with care by. But for now, the bookshelf will have to do. I think later on this evening when I take a second break, I will put up all my tiny ornaments from last year’s tabletop tree. At least the top of the tree could be decorated. Anywho, for my first break, I decided to make the Ryan and I some lunch, and then started thinking about what I could do for dinner. I didn’t really feel like cooking anything, and I knew that the time I spent hovering over the stove would be time I wasn’t studying. So I turned to my almighty crockpot. Sadly, I won’t be testing out the new one just yet, as it’s still over at our friend’s house. I had to work the day after Thanksgiving, but people were demolishing my cider (which, by the way, tasted AMAZIIIIIIIIIIING!!!!!) so I left the crock pot there. Today I just have our tiny old one, which is just peachy. After Googling crock pot potato soup recipes, I settled on this one. I have all the ingredients, and since the Ryan didn’t want to go out (for stuff like, you know, bacon), it was perfect. Plus, all I had to do was cut stuff up and walk away. Yay! I decided to leave all the skin on the potatoes, mostly because I am lazy and wanted to save time (and was so not in the mood to peel them today), but also because that’s where all the nutrients are. I have an immersion blender, so I don’t actually care whether the skin is there or not. It’s going to get chopped up anyway. So I rinsed my potatoes and set to cutting them.Image

I chose to cut them into fairly small pieces, so as to help them get mooshy and cook better.Β Image

Normally I would have used a white onion, but I had this red guy leftover from an enchilada casserole I made up the other night (it was really good, in case you were wondering :P), so why cut a new one when I can use this? Also, another thing I have recently done was decide to freeze all my garlic. Why, you say? Well, the Ryan and I were out at the store one day and he saw a giant bag of probably 20 heads of garlic in it for a really good price. He looked at me (we all know how much he loves garlic) and gave me puppy face, so I was like hey, let’s buy this. I’ll figure out something to do with it! And then promptly didn’t because the wedding was crazy. I didn’t want it to go bad, so I researched ways to preserve it. The easiest was to break the cloves off and pop them in the freezer. They will keep for a long time, and you can thaw them out as you need them. They thaw out pretty quickly, though they get mushy, if that matters to you. Since I always send my garlic through a press, I honestly don’t care.

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I decided to go a little astray form the recipe and saute my garlic and onions first to bring out the aromatics and open up the flavors for the soup.

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Meanwhile, I made ready the potatoes (YARRR MAKE READY THE SAILS, MATEYS! Yeah, I’ve been listening to Scottish Pirate Metal over the last week. Don’t judge me!) by adding the basil and parsley, and I also found a recipe that called for adding butter for richness while I was browsing, and decided to do that as well. The recipe I saw called for 1/4 cup of butter, but I felt like that was WAY too much, so I just added a thin spoonful.Image

When the garlic and onions were soft and fragrant, I added them into the potatoes and stirred them around a bit to get them mixed in well. Then I added the chicken stock, stuck the lid on, and turned that bad boy to high.Β  Image

About 45 minutes before the 3rd hour was up, I decided to get the half-and-half out and mix it with the flour, and then let it sit to bring it down to a warmer temperature so it wouldn’t seize and curdle in the hot soup. I have had this happen to me in the past and it is no fun. Like how I stirred it with a fork because both of my whisks were in the dishwasher? Yeah, me too. πŸ˜› Image

When the time arrived, I quickly mashed the potatoes with a spud masher. Just to be on the safe side, I decided to go ahead and temper the half-and-half/flour mixture by slowly pouring some of the soup into the bowl.Β  Image

And then I stirred in the cream. Nom. And put the timer on for 30 more minutes. I might have also added the pepper and salt because I forgot that. And then I might have also added a dash of seasoning salt and some garlic powder too. Almost there!!

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I asked the Ryan to help me out with grating cheese to go on top, of which he did a mighty fine job. Just look at those skills!

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And then when the timer went off, I hit the soup with the immersion blender (which, by the way, is basically the greatest invention known to man. Thanks to my mother in law for it, I don’t know how I survived for so long without one!).

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And voila! Creamy potato soup. Nothing better on a cold, snowy night than cuddling up on the couch, eating a bowl of hot soup, and admiring your Christmas decorations. πŸ˜€

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