Saturday, May 20, 2017

Chicken Tacos

So easy, so delicious.
Toss your chicken breasts in a plastic bag with some:
ground cumin
chile powder
garlic powder

And mix it all together well.  Let the chicken sit in the spice rub while you prep your taco toppings and any side dishes and preheat your bbq.
Cook the chicken until done, then thinly slice.

Take your tortilla and layer on:
sliced chicken
sour cream
hot sauce

And whatever else your heart desires.

Quick and tasty.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Book Club - Long Way Down by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman

'Ewan was in Star Wars mode again. "Charley," he told me, "be mindful of your thoughts for they betray you." '

'I gazed the length of the stillness to low walls and the flat envelopes of the desert beyond. The place was beautifully kept with cactus growing in spiky flowers between the silent graves.'

'Time and again we had seen the effects of war and brutality on this trip, just as we had ridden along the Road of Bones in Russia.  We had spoken to mine victims in Ethiopia, child soldiers in Uganda.  Now here again we were in a country that had been ripped apart by war; the genocide of a million civilians that, as Kagame said, had achieved absolutely nothing.  But in each of these countries we also found hope for the future.'

Monday, May 15, 2017

Snapshot - Happy Sunday

This week our Thistle Farms food box contained 2 very pretty carnations; a treat whether you're a mom or not.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Cookie Cups

We have, much to the chagrin of myself and my expanding body, apparently become dessert people.  This has been caused by our Family Sunday Dinners with The Grandparents, so I blame them fully and completely.  It just doesn't seem like a complete dinner without something for dessert.  A terrible habit, which I want to break.  
But anyway, this dessert was for The Grandmother's Birthday!  I wanted to do something small, so there wouldn't be a lot of leftovers, and something a bit different.  I found this on Buzzfeed - cookie cups filled with no-bake cheesecake filling.

The cups were simple enough, although I balked at pressing the (store bought) dough into the muffin tins - I was afraid they would be impossible to remove, because it was taking a heck of a lot of force to squish it into the tins.  So instead we (The Mister helped with 2 before he lost interest and wandered away) flattened them into rounds in our hands and then formed them in the cups.  I don't know how easy they come out the original way, but these ones popped right out after baking and a few minutes of cooling.  

The filling was cream cheese, cool whip, powdered sugar and vanilla. I didn't really follow the amounts, I just tossed in what I thought looked good.  I really really loved the filling.  I could have eaten a big bowl of it as is, but I didn't, thank God.

Here they are plated up and waiting while we hunted for a replacement candle for the one that broke in transport.  Admittedly they look very plain, but they were very very delicious.  I am not a big fan of cool whip, so I probably wouldn't make this particular filling again (but it was very good!) but the cookie cup idea I hope to remember, because they would be equally fun filled with fruit, ice cream, or even whipped cream.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Gumbo Love by Lucy Buffett

Everyone has that one (or two, or 84) places on their bucket list that they would love to go to - say, Paris, or London, for some - and one of my dream destinations has always been to go to the Gulf Coast - to see the ocean and visit Texas, or Alabama, or Louisiana.  To see the water and the beaches and of course, eat the FOOD.  It's pretty unlikely that I will fulfill that dream to see that part of the world, but I feel a little closer to it thanks to Gumbo Love by Lucy Buffett.

I am going to say right up front - I love everything about this book.  The photographs are gorgeous - food and scenery that leaps from the page to grab you.  Lucy's introduction shares a bit of her life story and her personality comes through.  One of my favorite parts of the book is her "Ten Grateful Ingredients For A Bright Life And A Happy Kitchen".  There is always room for more gratitude and optimism.

And the recipes!  Once you've read the short section on gulf coast cooking essentials - roux, file, stocks and more - you get to Chapter 1 - desserts first!  This made me happy and continues the wonderful tone of the book.  In total there are 10 chapters of recipes and one of menu planning and suggestions.  The book covers a lot of territories - snacks, mains, vegetables, salads,  sandwiches, drinks, sauces, and soups and - yes, lots of Gumbo.

The recipes are clear and easy to follow, with helpful hints substitutions offered by Lucy.  Most recipes are a page to a page and a half long, and none feel overly complicated or daunting.

I wanted to start with a gumbo (of course!) and  we chose Gumbo Z'Herbe or Green Gumbo - loaded with veggies and greens and sausage.  It took about 2 hours to make, and was AMAZING.  Even the kids ate some, which is high praise.  The Mister and I loved it and each had 2 bowls and argued over the leftovers.  It was a dish I was pretty impressed with myself for making - damn, I'm good.

To make the gumbo I also had to whip up a batch of Lulu's Crazy Creola Seasoning.  Simple but has a total punch of flavor.

We also tried the Salted Butterscotch Blondies (without the optional but encouraged icing) which were very easy to make and very very delicious.  I took some to work to share and not only did they disappear quickly, but I had multiple requests for the recipe.

I whipped up a batch of Wow Sauce, a spicy and flavorful sauce to spread on pretty much anything you can think of, and a batch of the Fresh Herb and Garlic Cheese Spread, which was another amazing recipe.  The Mister and I both loved it a lot, but the real fan was the 2 year old, who parked herself at the table and ate the cheese spread on carrots and celery until we feared there would be none left for us, and we took it away from her.

The last dish we tried was the Easy Breezy Island Shrimp Curry, which was so easy and so delicious - everyone loved it. (The book calls for serving with rice or spinach, but we went with noodles for the kids and it was very good.)

That's all we've tried so far, but I have a super long list of recipes I want to try soon, including Honey Ale Pimento Cheese, Garlicky Good-Woman Chicken, Southern Fried Cream Corn, Chocolate Angel Food Cake, and French Onion Soup.  Yum!

Gumbo Love is being released tomorrow, and I really encourage you to buy it. It's a fun, informative and above all delicious book.  It's really great.

Thank you so much, Hachette Books!