Thursday, August 28, 2014

Chicken Taco Salad

According to Pioneer Woman you can make this meal in 16 minutes! That may be stretching it a bit but with a helper you could pull it off in no time. This is the perfect season for this salad, fresh corn and tomatoes make it wonderful. I served it for my dinner group and it got rave reviews.

Chicken Taco Salad
3/4 cup Ranch Dressing (I used Lighthouse but I'm sure you could make your own)
1/4  cup Salsa--I used Pace Medium Salsa
3 tablespoons finely minced Cilantro
Mix together and refrigerate, covered.

2 Chicken Breasts or 6-8 Tenders
2 tablespoons Taco Seasoning, I used this recipe, it is my new favorite recipe--check it out. But I'm sure you can use packaged Taco Seasoning
2 tablespoons Butter
1 tablespoon Oil
Generously season chicken with Taco Seasoning. Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken, cook till golden brown on both sides and done in the middle. Remove chicken, allow to cool and dice.
Place the ears of corn in the skillet and roll around, cook on medium high until it has a bit of a charred look. Slice off the kernels with a sharp knife

Shredded greens--I used romaine, spinach and Napa. That is what was in the crisper, Napa is a Chinese cabbage, it has a mild flavor and a light crunch, I use it often. I shred the greens with a sharp Chef's knife and put them in a salad spinner. I like to prepare salad greens in the morning and let them chill. This gives you a great jump on dinner. Or use a package of prewashed greens.
sliced green onions
julienne carrots
diced red pepper
diced tomato
sliced olives
shredded pepper jack cheese
diced avocado
chopped cilantro
slightly crushed tortilla chips
2 ears of corn
I like to serve this 'Salad Bar' style. Put the greens, green onions, carrots and cilantro in a large bowl. Put chicken, corn, red peppers, tomatoes, olives, shredded cheese and avocado in small bowls. Let each person make their own salad--just the way they like it! Top salads with dressing and crushed tortilla chips. This salad is beautiful platted on a large platter, it is so fresh and colorful.
Printable Recipe
This is my new favorite salad. For very detailed step by step instructions check out Pioneer Woman.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Macadamia Nut, Coconut, White Chocolate Blondies

I made these yummy treats twice in the same weekend! That is how good they are. I was asked to make a treat with an 'Island Theme'. Not hard at all, macadamias came to my mind as well as coconut. White chocolate is a perfect complement to these ingredients. I checked my Pinterest boards and found.the perfect bar from The Brown Eyed Baker, a blog that always pleases.
I made a couple of very minor changes and was so happy with the results. Just a few notes that will insure a perfect bar. Measure the brown sugar by weight, it is easy to pack a few extra tablespoons of brown sugar in each cup. I love my scale and use in daily--many times! Please take a few extra minutes and toast the coconut, it really is better.

Macadamia Nut, Coconut and White Chocolate Blondies
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups brown sugar (10.5 ounces)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups toasted coconut (toast coconut on a parchment lined pan for 7-9 minutes at 350, stir often)
1 cup macadamia nut, coarsely chopped
1 cup white chocolate chips
Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt--set aside. In a large bowl whisk together the butter and brown sugar until combined. Add eggs and vanilla, whisk together. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl, using a rubber spatula gently combine the ingredients, do not over mix. Gently mix in the coconut, white chocolate chips and macadamias.
Using a small offset spatula smooth the batter into a 9x13 inch pan that has been sprayed, lined with parchment paper, leaving a bit of an overhang and sprayed again. Bake at 350 degrees for about 23-25 minutes. The top will be shiny and firm to the touch.
Cool completely in pan. Remove the bars using the parchment overhang, transfer to a cutting board. Cut in desired size bars. Can be kept at room temperature in an airtight container for 5 days, or frozen for a month.
Printable Recipe

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Under 8 Group

Just a few photos of the children that can't wait to be 8! Young cousins enjoyed a splash park, playing in Grammy's yard and getting to know each other.

Candise, Paul, Amber and Annie May. It is so fun to have my kids visit!

Amelia and Baylee--I'm not sure if this was before the biting incident or after, but they look like they are having a great time together!

Three Amigos--looks like fun!
And let's no forget the babies--these two cuties are close to walking!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

8 is Great!

I went to the funeral of a dear friends mother. I was amazed at how the grandchildren talked of her with love, admiration and excitement. Her children and grandchild were spread across the United States but somehow she had managed to help build a wonderful family culture. I had to know more--my children and grandchildren are also miles apart.
I went to lunch with Sara and begged her for info, I wanted to know more about this amazing grandma. Sara told me of how each summer she had the grandchild come to a 'grandma's camp'. They spent time in the mountains, hiked, made family flags and got to know each other. As a result the grandchildren got to know the grandparents better and the cousins built lasting relationships. Somehow I had to implement some form of this in our family.

Eight is Great was born! Greg and I decided to have a Eight is Great Camp for our five oldest grandchildren. We planned, adjusted schedules and made arrangements. We sent out invitations and planned for the big event. And it was a grand event!

We started our Camp with a Eight is Great cheer (remember I am married to a Silver Beaver who knows the value of a great campfire program). We talked for a minute about mining for Gold, Flecks of Gold or little bits of happiness that when combined make one wonderful life. At this point one grandson said, 'this is starting to sound like church'! But Greg knows that a Scoutmaster's Minute really should be a minute. We quickly started the activities! Which included:
--a Dutch oven dessert, Cherry Surprise Cake
--star gazing
-- LED finger lights
--sleeping out under the stars
--a hike to Stewart Falls
--cookout in the canyon
--water slide
--decorating canvas backpacks with fabric markers
--a rousing hour of Tenzi
--decorating treasure boxes--complete with stamped postcards and address labels, we hoped to encourage communication with cousins
--singing to the radio as we traveled about
--a movie, How to Train Your Dragon 2
--no event would be complete without dinner at Taco Amigo
--we had a good-bye cheer and talked of 'next time'.

This all took place in 48 hours! It was a perfect amount of time, for the children and grandparents. It really was a magical event. It was exciting to see the grandchildren get to know each other. I do think it was the beginning of something wonderful!
Thanks to my children for helping us make this happen. In two years we will have 4 more over eight year olds. I think I better start planning!