Sunday, June 29, 2008

Southwestern Sunday

I love to cook on Sundays. I like to experiment and try new things. I love to cook enough for lunches for the upcoming week. I may run my dishwasher once all week and three times over the week-end.

That being said, I was apathetic today. I read through cookbooks. I searched the web. Nyeh. Nothing inspired me. And then I remembered a recipe from the CK board that I had made once before and really liked. So I made Allison's South-of-the Border Stuffed Shells. Allison is a personal chef and caterer and this is an absolutely great recipe.

Southwestern Shells

Allison's South of the Border Stuffed Shells

24 Jumbo Shells, uncooked*
1 16 oz. jar picante sauce
1 8 oz. can low-sodium tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound lean ground beef (or turkey)**
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp chili powder
1 4 oz. can chopped green chilies, drained
1 cup (4 ounces) grated Monterey Jack cheese

Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain.
Mix picante sauce, tomato sauce and water in small bowl. In a skillet, cook onion and ground beef in oil over medium heat until meat is browned and onion is tender (if using non-stick skillet, use only 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil). Remove from heat and drain off fat. Add chili powder, chopped green chilies, 1/2 cup shredded cheese and 1/2 cup picante sauce mixture to meat mixture.
Preheat oven to 350-o F. Pour half of remaining picante sauce mixture in bottom of 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish. Fill each cooked shell with 1 to 2 tablespoons of mixture and place shells in baking dish. Pour remaining picante mixture over top of shells. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 -o F for 20 to 30 minutes. Uncover, add remaining 1/2 cup cheese and bake, uncovered, an additional 5 minutes until cheese melts. Serve immediately.
* This recipe can be assembled and frozen. To bake, thaw at room temperature for 8 hours and bake as directed above.

Okay, first, I made 28 shells. And I used ground turkey. And finally, I added about 3/4 cup cottage cheese to the meat mixture. Why? Because it was there? For me, shells are less about the pasta and more about the filling and the cottage cheese really did bring a certain smooth aspect to the dish. I highly recommend this one.

And, as promised, Carrot Cake Cupcake.
carrot cake cupcake

I have declared Carrot Cake the perfect food because it has all five food groups represented.

Protein...nuts and eggs
Dairy...cream cheese frosting

I may try to make these again for the 4th of July, since my dad loves carrot cake. Of course, Dad loves any form of dessert. The man has a serious sweet tooth.

And finally...

A co-worker and I were discussing the classic Green Pea Salad and began comparing recipes. I told her I used frozen peas, she uses canned. I use cheddar cheese, she used Velveeta. I fry bacon and crumble it, she uses prepackaged bacon bits. I use scallions, she uses red onion. I mix mayo with sugar and red wine vinegar, she mixes mayo and sugar.

OMG! I work with Sandra Lee! (Seriously? Canned peas and Velveeta?)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Shopping Day!

Is there anything as fun as spending a little discretionary income? A little something for yourself?

I left home at 9:30 this morning and headed to the Galleria. My first stop was Borders, where I spent $50. I bought the July mystery for book group...The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin. And I picked up the latest Julie Kenner, Deja Demon: The Days and Nights of a Demon Hunting Soccer Mom...4th in the series.

I also have to pick the August book for our Fantasy group so I picked up two possibilities: Dead To Me by Anton Strout and The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar.

Then I headed to the mall proper, where I picked up a black & white floral A-line skirt and some Wallflower refills. I picked up my fave Kitchen Spice but decided to be daring and also got Mandarin Mango. It sounded crisp, fruity, and exotic. It is not. It is heavily floral and is currently giving me a headache.

I left the mall and decided I felt like Chinese food. I carried The Janissary Tree in with me and read while eating. The Chinese restaurant is next door to very good Mexican restaurant, so I was guilty of stereotyping when I noticed the large number of Latino diners at the Chinese. I couldn't help but wonder if there were a heavy percentage of Occidental diners next door.

I shopped around a while before heading home. Also purchased were a crystal cake plate, a pair of copper thong sandals, and a new pair of tweezers.

I plan on napping and reading this afternoon. Not a bad plan, huh?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Late Night...For A Week Night

So, why am I still awake, knowing that the local oldies station will startle me from my slumber at 5 a.m. tomorrow? I'm baking cupcakes. Carrot Cake Cupcakes. It's an Ina Garten recipe.

You see, tomorrow is a co-worker's birthday and I was talked into making her favorite dessert...carrot cake. Or, in this case, cupcakes.

I believe that I have expressed the fact that I am not a baker. I can do cookies and bars and such, but cakes fail me. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the cupcakes. Also, I'm pretty tired and can only hope for the best when it comes to reading the recipe. The batter tasted okay.

Only another 20 minutes or so before I can take them from the oven to cool and head to bed. I'll frost them in the morning.

So how, you may ask, have I wasted my evening until now? Let's see. I worked until seven. I stopped by the supermarket on my way home to buy carrots and raisins. I ate a sandwich. I cleaned up the kitchen. I grated carrots. I made the batter. I cleaned the kitchen. I swept and mopped.

Did I mention that I was tired?

I'll try to remember to take pictures of the cupcakes in the morning and post them later.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Barefoot Blogging...Parmesan Chicken

My second entry in Barefoot Bloggers.

The first time I made this, I tried cheating and used tenders. It didn't go well. So I decided to try again. I opted to get a head start that morning before going to work by trying to pound Dolly Parton chicken breasts into A cups, much to the dismay of my neighbors. I finally decided to cut the breast in half. Still had to pound them, though. Dolly Parton breasts.

I felt the chicken was a bit bland my first try, but I had used plain bread crumbs. This time, I used Italian seasoned bread crumbs which greatly enhanced the flavor. The full combination of cheesy chicken, crisp greens, and the lemon vinaigrette is amazing...a party in the mouth.

As you can see, I went the simple route, serving the Parmesan Chicken with sliced tomatoes and a glass of iced tea. A perfect summertime meal.

Parmesan Chicken

Ina Garten's Parmesan Chicken
Barefoot Contessa Family Style

4 to 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 c all purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 extra large eggs (I used large)
1 1/4 c seasoned dry bread crumbs
1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
Unsalted butter
Good Olive Oil
Salad greens for 6, washed and spud dry
Lemon Vinaigrette recipe follows.

Pound the chicken breasts until they are 1/4 inch thick. (Or until your neighbors complain). You can use either a meat mallet or a rolling pin. (I used a small iron skillet).

Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a dinner plate. On a second plate, beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water. On a third plate, combine the bread crumbs with 1/2 cup grated Parmesan. Coat the chicken breasts on both sides with the flour mixture, then dip both sides into the egg mixture and dredge both sides in the bread crumb mixture, pressing lightly.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan and cook 2 or 3 breast on medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Add more butter and oil and cook the rest of the chicken breasts. Toss the salad greens with lemon vinaigrette. Place a mound of salad on each hot chicken breast. Serve with extra grated Parmesan.

Lemon Vinaigrette
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt (I used sea salt)
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together in a small bowl.

Soooo much better this time around. Give this one a try.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Symphony Brownies

A nice quiet Sunday. I had one of my favorite summer meals today...a tomato sandwich and watermelon. Mayo on whole wheat with thick slices of tomato, a little salt. Oh, so good. The watermelon not so much. It's still early, but I had a craving.

Thursday night I made Paula Deen's Symphony Brownies.

Symphony Brownies

Sorry for the blurred image.

The original recipe calls for a brownie mix and three large Symphony bars. I used the Duncan Hines Fudge Brownie recipe that can do a 9 x 13. Follow the instructions from the brownie mix. Pour half into a greased pan. (Here's my secret...I used a 9 x 9). Place the candy bars on the batter and cover with the remaining batter. Bake per mix instruction.

Easy, easy, easy and decadent. How can you ask for more?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

OMG! I Can Bake!

Icycalm from the CK board walked me through it, but tonight I made bread. Actually, I made hamburger buns. Or, more specifically, I made Moomie's Famous Beautiful Burger/Sandwich Buns.

1 c water
2 T butter
1 egg
3 1/4 cup AP flour
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp salt
1 T instant yeast

(The original recipe is for a bread machine...what follows is Icy's adaptation for the old fashion method.)

Add 1 T yeast and a pinch of sugar to 1/4 lukewarm water (100-105 degrees). Let sit about 5 minutes until the yeast is dissolved and bubbling. While you are waiting, melt 2 T butter. In a separate bowl, whisk egg lightly and add remaining 3/4 c water and the melted butter. When yeast mixture has bloomed, add to water mixture and stir. Put into the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and sugar. With mixer on lowest setting, slowly add flour/sugar mixture to liquid until all is incorporated. Turn mixer up to setting 2 and let it knead for 4-5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and clinging to the hook. Add the SALT during the last minute of kneading. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for a minute or two. Shape into a ball and place into a grease bowl in a warm spot, covered, for an hour.

first rise

Turn onto floured surface again and divide into 8 equal portions. Form into balls and place on cooking sheets, cover, and let rise for another 30-40 minutes.

2nd rise

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 13 to 15 minutes until golden. Cool on wire racks.

final product

Okay, the sizes are erratic, but they rose and they smell amazing, and the look great! I. CAN. BAKE.

And, since I had the oven on the ingredients handy, I've got a pan of Paula Deen's Symphany Brownies in the oven...Oh! My!

I've picked up an old Jane Heller novel to read and am enjoying myself immensely.
I can bake. I can bake. I can bake. I can bake.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Dinner and a Movie

We moved my office today, and will start tomorrow in a new place with a new phone system. Yikes! I knew that I would be tired tonight, so this morning I tried something new.

One of my fellow CK members had posted a recipe for caramelized onions in the crock pot. I told some friends about it and my friend V said she would serve with pork roast. So I sliced some Vidalias and tossed them in the crock pot this morning with some butter. I salted and pepper a pork loin and put it on top of the onions, turned the thing on low and headed out the door. My house smelled amazing after a hard day at work and the combination was amazing!

And since I'm almost done with Fearless Fourteen, I picked up a movie on the way home. I watched Without Reservations while eating my gourmet meal. Now I'm off to the tub for the last 80 or so pages of my book and then to bed.

I need my rest, because I have no idea what will happen when we go live tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

That Song In My Head...

I love reading in June, how about you?

Yeah, yeah, I know, I can't carry a tune in a bucket, but I get new installments to some of my favorite series in June. I've already read the latest in the Gaslight Mysteries by Victoria Thompson...Murder On Bank Street. And, today I got...

are you ready?....

drum roll please....

Fearless Fourteen! the latest Stephanie Plum by Janet Evanovich. I had big plans for the evening. Pork roast, grape tomato and bacon salad, laundry. But no more! I will eat Rainier cherries and Havarti with dill for dinner, Dove Promises for dessert, and soak in the tub with Joe Morelli and Ranger.

One more thing before I go...does anyone have an idea why Prissy has suddenly decided that the world looks better from the middle of my coffee table?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day Memories

Those who know me, know I have placed my father on a very tall pedestal, and I know of nothing in my life he has done to be knocked off. So I wanted to share a few of the memories that are part of the reason he resides in such high altitudes.

Before my sister was born, my parents had a schedule. My mom rode to work in the mornings with some friends and Dad would drop me off at the babysitters (my grandmother and childless aunt). He would pick me up each evening. These short trips were full of wonderful, childish conversation, knock-knock jokes, and songs. When we arrived home each evening, Mom would be preparing dinner. After dinner, Dad would bathe me and get me ready for bed while Mom cleaned the kitchen. Both parents took turns reading to me before bed. Saturdays, Dad and I would curl up in the den to watch cartoons.

During my school years, Dad would sit to hear me read about Dick, Jane, and Sally or help me with my spelling, or my math. And he loved the history. Each evening while Mom did Mom stuff in the kitchen, I would sit on the back of the couch, legs draped over each of his shoulders, and comb his hair while outlining my day. He taught me how to ride a bike and to drive a car and shoot a rifle. He refereed during those horrible teen years when Mom and I couldn't look at each other without either shouting or crying. My Dad always told me he would never judge me as long as he knew I was doing the best I could.

When his older brothers and sisters needed help, he helped. He lent money, gave them places to stay, helped them move, lent them cars. When my cousins were in trouble, they called him instead of their own parents. When my mother's sister's husband had a stroke, my dad would spend nights at the hospital with him so my aunt could rest. When Mom's other sister's husband had DTs and had to be admitted into rehab, my dad took him. When his brother's widow needed medical attention and could not be left to live alone, she came to live with us.

Over the years, my dad has become quite an expert and funeral arrangements. He has helped to plan the funerals of my grandmother, two aunts, and four uncles.

He is physically strong, stronger than men half his age. And emotionally. He is the rock in my life, and the saviour in my mother's life. He is her life these days. He fixes her hair when he has too, helps her bathe and helps her dress, takes her shopping and makes her exercise. He cooks...something he has never wanted to do nor enjoyed. He cleans. He mops and vacuums. He tends his yard and his garden.

And he loves us. So much. He gives great hugs. And even as I approach the half century mark, he is my Daddy!

More Movies

So, continuing in the theme of watching movies made from books I've read, I watched The Jane Austen Book Club, which I liked much better than the book. Part of it, I'm sure, has to do with my ongoing love affair with Jimmy Smits. I am confident that one day he will find the need to visit my lovely small town, see me, and fall madly in love, just as I have loved him since LA Law.

The truth is, I liked Stardust and The Nanny Diaries far more than I liked the books, as well. Stardust, well the performances were outstanding, with huge stars in small roles (Peter O'Toole)and the visuals worked far better than my imagination. The Nanny Diaries benefited from the movie edit far better than most books. Of course, I am mostly disappointed when books I love are made into movies and I loved none of these three. So I appreciate the work of writers, directors, editors, et al.

You see, if I truly love a book, I cast it in my head and a mini movie screen plays it out for me. I still picture Shane West as Odd Thomas and Sandra Bullock as Stephanie Plum.

I also watched Flywheel. This is the first film made by Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany Georgia, most know for last year's surprising word of mouth sensation Facing the Giants. Flywheel was made for $20,000 and is the story of a sleazy used car salesman who turns his life around. He becomes a better husband, father, and son. What a great movie for Father's Day. It was a very pleasant surprise.


It is confession time. I am a timid, fearful, yellow-bellied, squealing girl baker. I am terrified of things that rise. But I don't want to be. So every few months I buy bread flour and yeast, and eventually throw them away. friend Terrie from the Contessa's Kitchen board has offered by be my Obi Wan and help me tackle a yeast bread recipe. I'll keep you posted.

I'm off to read before bed...I started a new book this afternoon about a fashion reporter in DC. It's been pretty good, so far.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


I just emptied my SPAM folder. You will be happy to know that:

Christian singles want to meet me.
Mature singles want to meet me.
Black singles want to meet me.
Horny perverted singles want to meet me.

I can become an eBay millionaire.
I can work from home.
I've been selected to be a mystery shopper.

I can become a police officer.
I can become a criminalist.
I can become a nurse.
I can become a medical trascriptionist.

I can loose weight fast with various drugs or Chinese teas.

I have been given gift cards to Lowe's, Walmart, Starbucks, Macy's, and Victoria's Secret.
I have been given gas gift cards and free ringtones and tickets to see Oprah.
I can obtain a new car loan, get out of debt, sell my old jewelry, or pay off student loans.

The state Democratic party wants to keep me posted and wants money.
The state Republican party wants to keep me posted and wants money.

Columbia House wants me to improve my DVD collection.

And, finally, someone out there is very concerned about my bowel movements.

Saturday In Silence with Surprise Cookies

Storms came thru here yesterday afternoon and left me without cable. Until Monday. Those that know me, know how horrible a situation that can a junkie going cold turkey. So I got some methadone in the form of books and DVDs. I'm reading a Hemlock Falls mystery right now. Pretty good. About two sisters who run a small town, high end inn.

And I made Martha Stewart's Surprise Cookies.

Surprise Cookies

makes 2 1/2 dozen

For the cookies:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder(not Dutch-process)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
About 15 marshmallows halved crosswise

For the frosting:

3 cups confectioners' sugar
6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder(not Dutch-process)
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp whole milk
3/4 tsp vanilla extract

1. Make cookies: Preheat over to 375 degrees. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda & salt into medium bowl; set aside. Put butter & sugar into bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on medium high speed until pale & fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low; mix in egg, milk & vanilla. Mix in flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, until combined.

2. Using a 1 3/4 inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until firm, 8-10 minutes. Immediately press a marshmallow half on top of each cookie. Bake until marshmallows begin to melt, 2 minutes more. Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks.

surprise cookies 1

surprise cookies 2

3. Make frosting: Put confectioners' sugar in medium bowl; set aside. Melt butter with cocoa powder in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Add butter mixture to confectioners' sugar. Whisk in milk and vanilla. Spread about 1 Tbsp of frosting on top of each cookie to cover marshmallow. Let stand until set, about 10 minutes. Cookies can be stored in single layers in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 days.

surprise cookies 3

Milk Alert! These cookies require a cold glass of milk!

Anyway, I'm back to my book. I plan to watch The Nanny Diaries and Stardust this evening...funny, I picked two movies made from books I've read. I just can't get over the quiet. If I'm home, the TV is on. Noise. I've got the stereo on, but it's just not the same.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Another Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad

We had a "team building" outing today at work. We went to a local park and had hamburgers and hot dogs and fixin's. So I brought pasta salad. This one in a favorite of mine and a recipe I created one day while bored and hungry. It's really great on hot day, cool and refreshing and easy.

Caesar Pasta Salad

1 lb rotini pasta
8 oz grape tomatoes halved
1 large red pepper diced
3 to 5 green onions chopped
8 oz basil tomato feta cheese
1 sm can sliced black olives
1 bottle Caesar Salad Dressing (I like Gerard's)

Cook the pasta per the directions on the box, drain and allow to cool. In a large bowl, place tomatoes, pepper, and green onion. Add pasta. Drain the olives and add to bowl, along with crumbled cheese. Add dressing. I've never found that it takes a full bottle, but some days 1/2 a bottle is fine, others take almost the full amount. This salad is best when served cold. I like to make it a day ahead of time. You will note that I was out of black olives so last night I grabbed the jar of salad olives out of the fridge and used them.

And then, after we got back to work, I was doing my busy bee, head down, shoulder to the grindstone stuff when my boss asked me to come with him. I followed him to the conference room and found his boss and her boss there as well. I gulped.
I was asked to take a seat.

Then I was told that I was being given a raise "IN RECOGNITION OF ALL OF YOUR HARD WORK, LEADERSHIP, AND DEDICATION"! I was also told to not tell anyone, as I was the only one in the office receiving a raise. When told how much, I immediately transferred it from currency to the new medium...I've been given a 40 gallon a month raise! Effective next week.

So I walked back to my desk, careful not to skip, shout, or dance, and resumed work at my usual breakneck pace.

To celebrate, I'm having a little wine tonite with my left-over pasta salad...Barefoot California Pinot Grigio. I'm putting my feet up, and reading a new book. Today, life is good.

Barefoot Blogging...Pasta Pesto

Welcome to my initial foray in the Barefoot Blogging. I can't begin to say how excited I am about my participation in this group. I love to cook, I love Ina Garten, and I love to talk about myself...has there ever been such a perfect match.

Now, first let me say that, since I live alone, I halved this recipe and still had a week's worth of meals. And I made a big boo boo in my calculations...I forgot to halve the spinach. I don't believe it effected the flavor, but did make the salad intensely green.

Pasta, Pesto and Peas
by Ina Garten
Barefoot Parties

3/4 pound fusilli pasta
3/4 pound bow tie pasta
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 1/2 cups pesto (packaged or see recipe below)
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/4 cups good mayonnaise
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
1/3 cup pignoli (pine nuts)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cook the fusilli and bow ties separately in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 to 12 minutes until each pasta is al dente. Drain and toss into a bowl with the olive oil. Cool to room temperature.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree the pesto, spinach, and lemon juice. Add the mayonnaise and puree. Add the pesto mixture to the cooled pasta and then add the Parmesan, peas, pignoli, salt, and pepper. Mix well, season to taste, and serve at room temperature.

Also, I opted for a single pasta, and used the fusilli because I had plenty of it in the pantry.

Pesto, Pasta, & Peas

I served the salad with Honey, Mustard, and Herb Glazed Pork Chops (John & Caprial) and some grape tomatoes for a light summer meal. (Grape tomatoes being all that was available...salmonella and all.) I loved the aroma of basil and parmesan and the occasional sweet bite of pignoli or pea.

Pasta, Pesto, and Peas

Now, would I make an alterations when making it again? I've been contemplating this question and have decided that I might try adding some crumbled bacon, after's bacon!

I apologize for the photos as I am neither a food stylist or a photographer.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

A Lovely Pastoral Setting

My office is on a large campus in the midst of farm country. Corn fields surround us, soy, peaches, and tomatoes are raised in the vicinity. And it is all quite lovely. Except...some days it smells a little too pastoral (if you know what I mean.) Today was one of those days. Eau DE barnyard!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Movie Night Munchies

Organge Cappucino Cookies

Preheat oven to 350. Grease or line cookie sheet with parchment paper or use a silpat.

1 C. butter, soft
1/3 C. packed light brown sugar
1/3 C. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 t. vanilla extract
3 T. grated orange zest
1 3/4 C. unbleached flour
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1 1/3 c cappucino chips
2/3 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 C. chopped toasted pecans

Cream butter and sugars about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time...beat well after each addition. Stir in vanilla and zest. Sift flour, salt, baking soda. Add to butter mix along with chips and nuts and stir until completely combined. Drop by round teaspoons on cookie sheet. Bake about 12 minutes. Cool on rack. Yield: about 40 cookies. (I got 4 dozen from the recipe)

These are a soft, chewy cookie that takes everyone by surprise. They take that first bite, their eyes widen, and they say "Wow! What's in there?" And they don't stop eating. The chocolate enhances the coffee without overpowering it, and can't you imagine sitting down with a cup of fine coffee and a couple of these?

Everybody's Favorite Chicken Salad.

Place three large chicken breast halves on a baking dish. Rub with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and Herbs de Provence. Bake at 375 for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Remove skin from cooled breasts and shread chicken into a large mixing bowl.

1 1/2 c sliced seedless red grapes
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
2 T poppy seeds
3/4 c toasted pecans
1 T Herbs de Provence
1 c mayo
1/4 c white wine or champagne vinegar
2 T honey

Add grapes, celery, poppy seeds, pecans and Herbs de Provence to the chicken. Mix mayo, vinegar, and honey. Poor over chicken mixture and blend well. If it seems dry, more mayo.

I have used raspberry vinegar before, when I was out of the others and it was fine, as well as red wine vinegar.

I've never eaten this salad as a sandwich, I eat it with crackers or on a bed of lettuce with sliced tomato. It's too pretty for covering up with bread.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Movies, Movies, Movies!

There has been nothing on tv lately, so I've been patronizing the little video store near me. I was quite surprised to find such a good selection. I've seen three movies in as many days and have been quite pleased with all three.

Monday I watched Juno. I was a bit hesitant because I had heard so many good things, I could only be disappointed. Not so! I was happily surprised.

Yesterday, I watched Bella. It was such a sweet story, I highly recommend it.

And tonite I watched Lars and the Real Girl. How sweet! I think I need to check my blood sugar. Seriously, I really enjoyed it.

Good Lord! Fireworks! It's a whole month early--and the percussion scared the jeepers out of me.