Friday, January 29, 2010

Take A Little Cooked Chicken...Foodie Friday

Earlier this week I posted my recipe for Chicken Chili-Stew and I mentioned how I cooked extra chicken at the same time to use for another simple meal. I really love to be able to cook more than one meal and only mess up the kitchen once. My first step for making the stew was to boil 3 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts with a little salt and pepper, until tender. I divided the cooked chicken, using 2 pounds for my stew and reserving 1 pound for an easy Curried Chicken Salad.

While finely chopping celery for the stew, I set aside 3 or 4 stalks to use in the chicken salad. I like texture in my chicken salad, so I sliced the celery into fairly large pieces.

When making a chicken salad with curry powder, I love to add a hint of sweet to the mix. This week, I used a diced apple. I didn't peel it, I simply removed the core. The added color was pretty and the peel is good for you. You could also use halved grapes or pineapple chunks if that is what you have on hand.

I used light mayonnaise and curry powder to flavor and bind the other ingredients. You can serve this as a sandwich, served in a pineapple half or on a lettuce leaf as I did. It is quick, simple and a delicious light meal you can make at the same time you are preparing the heartier stew.

Curried Chicken Salad 


1 pound cooked chicken chopped or shredded
3 or 4 celery stalks-sliced
1 apple, cored and diced
approx. 3/4 cup light mayonnaise-just enough to bind the ingredients together
approx. 1/4 tsp. curry powder or slightly taste

Mix well

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I'm In The Mood For Spring-Tablescape Thursday

     It is time for another Tablescape Thursday with our hostess Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch. You really should make some time to check out whatever surprises she has for us this week.

     This is the tablescape that almost didn't happen. We have been very busy at our house. After seeing all the projects that were going on around Blogland, I was inspired to do a few of my own. I'll show you more in later posts, but it has involved the refinishing of furniture, moving various heavy pieces from room to room and up and down the stairs. It has also meant emptying many drawers and shifting what is in them to other dressers. In the end, my guestroom and bedroom will have a few changes. Eventually, there will be a spare bedroom turned into a DISH ROOM in the basement. That was the whole point you know, getting some of that furniture out of that room so that I had a place to store my dishes (and a few other things). I had decided not to play along this week, but I ended up putting together a quick, spring look.

I did this so late this evening that I had to have the lights on to take a picture. It isn't my best photography.

These wonderful dessert plates were a wedding gift back in the 70's. If you look closely, you will see that they have the impression for the coffee cup, which I placed next to the water goblet on today's table. The plates are images of Fennel Seed, Coriander Seed, Poppy Seed and Saffron. The description of each seed and its use is on the back of the plate. I paired them with dark green square plates (Wal-Mart), my everyday flatware and Fostoria Buttercup wine glasses and goblets. I think this shows that you can have Wal-Mart and Fostoria on the same table and create an interesting look.

I added a pair of crystal roosters that belonged to my grandmother. Everything comes back in style if you wait long enough. I'm not sure how these were originally used. I have used them often during the holidays, filled and overflowing with small ornaments. Tonight, they became votive holders.

The tablecloth and napkins I have had for several years. The hydrangeas made me feel like maybe it would stop snowing eventually and spring will arrive. A crystal vase from Crate and Barrel, white votives and my table is ready.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

We Have A Winner!

I had the Random Generator ready to go.
I'd made a list of all the people who commented
and gave them a second entry if they were a follower.
All that was left was to put in the numbers and click the "generate" button.

And the winner is...

Frugal Mom!!

If you want to know the best deals around and some great
ways to save money off of your grocery bills, you should visit
 her at Frugality Is Free. She really knows how to stretch those dollars.


For those of you that didn't win this one,
my 100th post giveaway is coming VERY SOON!
Thank you for your comments and
welcome to my new followers.

I'll hope you will stick around!

Last Day to Sign Up For My Giveaway!

If you haven't signed up, click here!
I will quit taking comments at 9:00 p.m. CST tonight!
The winner will be selected by Random Number Generator!

Good Luck!

Monday, January 25, 2010

What Did You Do With Your Sunday Afternoon? Experimenting in the Kitchen.

     I love to cook on Sunday afternoons. For me, putting on comfy sweatpants, turning the music up loud with a great beat and several things “brewing” in the kitchen, make for a blissful day. I not only enjoy it while I’m doing it, I really love it during the week when I have a meal or two ready ahead of time.

     Yesterday was one of those Sundays. Sometimes I plan ahead. I have a recipe or two and all of the ingredients ready to go. There are also days like yesterday. I had on my gray sweatpants and an old EIU sweatshirt. I certainly didn’t want to get out and go to the grocery store. I’m also trying to eat healthy these days, so making a white sauce, throwing in anything I can find and covering it with cheese…not an option. I shopped my freezer and cabinets to come up with an experiment that worked, a second meal for today and a light dessert to snack on all week. I will share all three recipes this week. Today you get the recipe for the experiment we had for dinner last night, Chicken Chili-Stew.

     I had a 3 lb. bag of boneless chicken breasts in the freezer and I opted to cook the entire bag. I only added salt, pepper and enough water to cover the chicken. Bring the pot to a boil, turn down to simmer and let the chicken cook until tender. I removed the chicken from the broth (which I saved for a few meals for one very spoiled beagle). I separated the cooked chicken, 2/3 for the chili and 1/3 reserved for my second recipe that I will share later this week.

Chicken Chili-Stew

Serves 4-6

2 lbs. cooked chicken (see above) cut into pieces.
1 T. olive oil
1 green pepper chopped (or any color pepper)
4 or 5 stalks of celery, chopped (I like to use the leaves, they add flavor)
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 T. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes (I used fire-roasted)
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
16 oz. can garbanzo beans (rinsed and drained)
1 cup water
2 T. sugar (optional)

In a large pan, sauté the green pepper and celery in the olive oil until very tender, not brown. Add the remaining ingredients, except the sugar, and simmer over med-low heat. I simmered it about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. We like our chili a little sweet. I sampled the chili about 30 minutes before serving and decided to add the 2 T. of sugar. I suggest that you taste before adding, you may like it better without the sweet.

     This was a surprisingly good, hearty meal with very little fat. The garbanzo beans (which I used because I didn’t have any other canned beans in the house) really added a nice texture to the chili. I think you could put the chicken raw with the other ingredients into a crock pot and make this, avoiding the step of pre-cooking the chicken, but since I haven’t tried it that way…you do that at your own risk!

     I garnished with a spoonful of light sour cream and served cornbread for my husband. If you aren’t watching the calories…shredded cheese on top would also be delicious. Enjoy!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Winter Pickled Veggies-Foodie Friday

How many times do we see a recipe in a magazine and tear it out, never to think of it again. I do it all the time. I found this recipe when doing a final look through a copy of Southern Living. I tore it out and made it a few days later. I followed the recipe with just a couple of "tweaks".


10 cups assorted raw vegetables cut into bite size pieces (the recipe called for 8 cups-you could even use up to 12 cups). I used broccoli, green beans, carrots, red and yellow peppers and brussel sprouts. Cauliflower, radishes, Swiss chard stalks, sliced parsnips and sliced fennel are also suggested.

2 cups apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. mixed colored peppercorns (the recipe called for black peppercorns)
1/2 tsp. dried crushed red pepper
(the original recipe calls for 3 garlic gloves which I did not use-I was going to use garlic powder, but decided not to)

     Bring vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard seeds, fennel seeds, peppercorns, red pepper (garlic if using it) to a boil in a large nonaluminum pan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil 1 minute, remove from heat and cool for 30 minutes.

     Blanch the veggies (I did not blanch the peppers) by plunging into boiling water for 1 minute, draining and immediately placing into a large bowl filled with water and ice to stop the cooking process. Drain.

     Place veggies in large bowl or covered container. Pour vinegar mixture over the veggies and toss. Let stand for 1 hour. Cover and chill. The recipe says to chill overnight...I didn't. We had them for dinner a few hours later. The veggies will keep up to a week in the refrigerator. We really liked the combination of sweet, tart and slightly salty.

     I am linking this to Foodie Friday. Please join our hostess Michael at Designs by Gollum where you will find links to some of the best recipes in Blogland.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Time to Eat? Tablescape Thursday

Guess what Time it is?
It is Time for another Tablescape Thursday.
It is my favorite blogging day.
Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch is a wonderful hostess
and when you visit her, you will see such creative table settings.

Today I was able to add in a few things that are special to me.
It is always fun to put something unexpected in a tablescape.
As you might have guessed, 
Time has something to do with today's table.

It all started with these cute clock plates that I found at Elder-Beerman.
They are by Casamoda and are called Tick Tock.
I love how each one is different; Brunch, Lunch, Happy Hour and Dinner.

I added a few "treasures" for the centerpiece.
The driftwood we brought home from a long ago trip to the beach.
The Blue Jay was a gift from my husband for one
of my first Mother's Day celebrations. The watch I wore
 in junior high. It was quite the style to have
a watch/necklace way back when.

The beautiful blue vase is one of a pair.
My parents got them as a wedding gift 62 years ago.
I have one and my sister has the other.
If you look closely, you can see the etching on the glass.

A closeup of this sweet silver dish I found at an antique
store last weekend. I wonder if it was a child's dish
because of the alphabet letters that ring the edge. I added a
white chunky candle and some small black rocks from Lake Michigan.

I bought the tablecloth and napkins at Home Goods
after Christmas, they were really inexpensive.
I'm once again using my Wal-Mart white dinner
plates (I promise I'm looking for different white dishes).

I used silver chargers that I picked up after the holidays
 for less than $2 each. The flatware is Oneida, we got it
when we got married. I had forgotten that it
was tucked away in the wet bar in the basement.
I still really love it.

I told you how I feel about flowers in the winter.
I added some red tulips for a "pop" of color.
They make me feel good.

Monday, January 18, 2010

What Did You Just Call Me? A Great Lowfat Soup Recipe.

     This is me. Well, I should say, this is Mii. This is my second week as the proud owner of my first video game system since the original Nintendo. I bought a Wii and Wii Fit. I started using them last Monday. For those who don't know anything about the Wii (I was one of them) the first thing you do is create a Mii character. I did that, complete with short dark hair and glasses (although my glasses hopefully look better than these)! I even picked out my red shirt. I think I look a bit like a female Harry Potter.The next thing I did was start my program on the Wii Fit. You type in your age and height and it weighs you. I knew I needed to lose a few pounds. I, like many women, have 2 sizes of clothing in my closet. The size that I like to wear, and the size I creep into if I gain 10 pounds or so. Well, I'm in that larger size which is how I know that it is time to do something about it. Would most people call me overweight? No, they wouldn't. I feel better 10-15 pounds less than I am now, but I'm a few sizes below the national no big deal...right? Wrong.

     You notice how my Mii's t-shirt doesn't quite meet her pants? See that bit of bulge below the belt? My Mii was quite put together until I stepped on the Wii Fit board and it registered my weight. I watched in horror as my stomach puffed out and my shirt grew shorter. Not only that, it called me names. Fat names. It told me my BMI (body mass index) needs to be 22 and that means I need to lose a few more pounds than I planned. Okay, I get it...just pull my t-shirt back down! I've used the Wii Fit every day but one. It yelled at me the day I skipped and I yelled back that I simply used a different Wii game for my exercise that day! I actually gained weight the first 3 days and believe me...Wii doesn't like it when you gain weight, it wants to know why??? There is no box to check that says, "I'm middle aged, I retain fluid, I didn't do anything wrong!"

So, I've pulled out the old standby, counting Weight Watcher points. When I feel I've gained a few pounds, counting points works for me. I don't go to meetings. You can really find all the information online these days. I just aim for 23 points a day, stick with it about 95 percent of the time and it works. So, you will be seeing some healthy recipes coming from me for a little least until my Mii fits back in her t-shirt!

Let me also add that I love the Wii Fit. I have never had this much fun exercising. It is a good workout, it gets me sweating and laughing at the same time. I've done at least an hour each day since Monday and most days I do another round late in the afternoon just for fun. I actually look forward to it. I have never felt that way about the gym.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup-Weight Watcher Style
Makes 4 servings-1 point each

2 tsp. olive oil
1 head cauliflower, broken in florets
3 cups low-sodium fat free chicken broth
3/4 cup evaporated skimmed milk
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish with a sprinkling of dill, fresh chives or parsley

In a stock pot or large saucepan, saute' the cauliflower in the olive oil until it just starts to brown a little bit. You could also add a chopped onion at this stage, browning it with the cauliflower. This step took about 10 minutes.

Add the broth; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until the cauliflower is very soft (you could mash it with a fork). Put the cauliflower and broth into a blender or food processor and puree. Be careful to hold the lid down on the blender. I was able to do it all in one blender "load" but you may need to do it in batches. 

Pour the puree back into the pan. Over low heat, stir in the evaporated milk, nutmeg, pepper and salt; heat to serving temperature, about one minute. Garnish.

This soup is surprisingly creamy and good. It isn't as thick as my regular (loaded with butter and cheese) cauliflower soup, but it is quite good and you could eat the entire batch for only 4 points! Enjoy!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Balsamic Chicken-Low Fat and Simple-Foodie Friday

We eat a lot of chicken at our house. This one is adapted from a Weight Watcher recipe. I served it with a black specialty rice (which we weren't crazy about) and a salad, for a lowfat meal.

2 tsp. olive oil
2 T. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
4 skinless chicken breasts
3 cups mushrooms sliced
1 cup chicken broth (you can use water with a bouillon cube)
1/4 tsp. dried thyme

In a non-stick pan, cook the chicken on both sides until almost done. (Mine was frozen solid, so I put it on medium heat and covered it to make it cook faster) While the chicken is cooking, mix the balsamic vinegar and mustard in a small bowl and slice the mushrooms.

When the chicken is almost done, add the chicken broth, thyme and mushrooms to the pan and continue to cook until the chicken is tender. Stir in the balsamic/mustard mix and let simmer a few more minutes.

If you happen to be counting WW points, this is about 4 points per a 4 oz serving of the chicken. Enjoy!

I'm linking this to Foodie Friday. Please join our hostesss Michael @ Designs by Gollum. You will find some of the best recipes in all of Blogland!