Friday, March 27, 2015

skillet chicken with mushrooms and asparagus

Chicken with Pesto Mushroom Cream Sauce, for Two-- adapted from ATK The Best Simple Recipes (a book worth owning)! So much great info.
I do struggle taking photos of main dish meals-either they are just not photogenic or maybe I am just very hungry, it smells so good--we are so hungry, etc. "We must eat now", the children chant. Luckily this meal is on the table quickly.

Rinse one large chicken breast--pat dry and season well with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet, over medium high heat till just smoking. Cook chicken till golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to plate, tent with foil.
Add another tablespoon of oil and heat, add 4 ounces of mushrooms sliced, cook till brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in 3 cloves minced or pressed garlic, cook till fragrant about 30 seconds. Add 1/2 cup cream, 1/2 cup chicken broth, and chicken. Scrape to remove brown bits, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer until the chicken is cook through 165 degrees. Transfer chicken to a serving plate and tent with foil. Return skillet to high heat and simmer until desired thickness, about 5 minutes. Off heat add the 2 tablespoons  pesto, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Slice or shred the chicken. I served the chicken and sauce over very thin pasta and grilled asparagus. You could also use broccoli. I topped with Parmesan cheese.
Printable Recipe

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Happy Birthday Maren

I just finished the cutest quilt for granddaughter Maren. Last summer I took Maren to visit a friend of mine. She lives in a beautiful home and is an excellent decorator. Maren walked in the living room and whispered 'Nana, I love these colors'! The front room was decorated boldly in yellow and gray.
And just like that a quilt was born! I started with just yellow and gray--striking yes but I wanted the quilt to have a pre-teen feel so I added a few floral prints and a bit of red and pink.
This is a happy quilt. Maren is bright and energetic; she loves to chat, read and bake cookies. I also like to chat, read and bake cookies. I love to spend time with Maren--she is a delight!
This quilt was so fun to make. I learned the importance of a perfect 1/4 inch seam. Being just a few threads off adds up quickly. I have a few blocks that didn't quite make it into the quilt. They are reminders of what happens when one gets just a little off track. Small mistakes add up in quilting as they do in life.
The pattern for this quilt is in Growing Up Modern by Allison Harris. It is not a difficult quilt but it did take time, probably because I am just learning. Actually this is a great pattern to learn basic quilting skills--rotary cutting, straight stitch sewing and pressing. Happy Birthday Maren!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Rosemary Bread

This simple bread upgrades any meal to gourmet! It is easy to make. One wonders how a few simple ingredients can combine to make something so delicious. I suggest using fresh Rosemary--a little goes a long way. Rosemary is easy to grow. If you must purchase a sprig of fresh rosemary it keeps for weeks/months in the fridge.
This recipe comes from Our Best Bites, I have made it countless times and it always is a winner. It reminds me of the bread served at Macaroni Grill. Serve it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar--or use it as the bread for your favorite Panini.

Rosemary Bread
1 cup warm water, 105-115 degrees
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon yeast
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoons oregano
2 tablespoons fresh Rosemary
Mix water, sugar and yeast together--let sit for about 10 minutes or until bubbly. In the bowl of a stand mixer add  2 1/4 cups flour, salt, garlic powder, oregano and rosemary. Using a dough hook mix together. Slowly add the yeast mixture and olive oil. Mix together until well mixed adding the additional 1/4 cup flour only if needed. Dough should be moist and sticky.
Put a little olive oil in a bowl and add dough, Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 45 minutes or until double in bulk. Punch dough down and divide into two balls of dough. Place on an oiled stone. sprinkle loaves with kosher salt. cover and let rise again until double. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes. Eat warm!
Printable Version

Friday, March 6, 2015

It's a Quilt!

Seven years ago we were excited to welcome a new grandson to our family. I happily went to the fabric store, purchased some darling fabric, a simple pattern and set out to make a quilt for our new little bundle.
I guess life got in the way. Our grandson Henry was born--the quilt was not finished. If I could quickly finish it/start it I could still give it to him. Some how years passed.
Now Henry is a handsome seven year old. I am happy to say I have finally finished the quilt. It is darling but not quite right for a seven year old boy.
Luckily it matches my front room--so it will still be used to comfort little ones. I imagine it will be perfect to throw on the floor for a little one to play on. It will be used to make a fort for watching a movie or to cover a sleeping grandchild. I'm sure it will still get plenty of use.
Don't worry about Henry--I have a quilt at the quilters right now. It is perfect for a seven year old.

Here is Henry--last summer on a hike to Stewart Falls.

Henry at age 4--what a handsome young man!

With a pieced back and a Scrappy Binding this is one cute quilt!