Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Chicken Vesuvio

The other day I pulled out a couple of chicken breasts from the freezer before going to work and then came home without a dinner plan.  Sound familiar?

So a quick look through Giada De Laurentiis’ cookbook and I found this little gem.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love one-dish meals?  Love, love, love them!  I could have used a few more veggies in this one and although it could work with a few roasted red peppers, I like it as is.  Next time I will serve a plate of fresh veggies or a salad on the side maybe…. maybe….

Chicken Vesuvio

3 tablespoons olive oil
2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ pounds small potatoes, halved
6 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
¾ cup white wine
¾ cup chicken broth
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
¾ teaspoon dried rosemary, or 1 ½ teaspoons fresh, minced
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 450 F.
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven (or a large skillet or pot that has a lid and can go into the oven) over medium-high heat.
Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.
Brown the chicken pieces on both sides, you might have to work in batches depending on how much chicken you are using and how large your pot is – you don’t want to over crowd them though otherwise they will not brown nicely.

Once chicken is browned (4-5 minutes / side), remove from pot and set aside.
Add more oil if needed; add potatoes to the pot, stir to coat and cook for about 10 minutes until they are golden brown, stirring occasionally.
Add the garlic to the potatoes and sautĂ© about 1 minute, then add the wine and broth, scraping up any grown bits on the bottom of the pot.  Add the oregano and rosemary bring to a boil and then return the chicken to the pot. 

Cover the pot, place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Check the doneness of the chicken pieces and potatoes, you might have to remove the chicken and set aside and continue cooking the potatoes an additional 5 minutes.

Once the potatoes are done, spoon them on top of the chicken pieces and cover with foil.  Return the pot to the stove on medium-high heat; add in the artichokes and butter.  Stir until the butter has melted, the artichokes are hot and the sauce starts to thicken slightly – about 5 minutes.
Spoon sauce over top of potatoes and chicken and serve.


Yield: Depending on how many pieces of chicken you use – this will serve 2-4 people. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

On My Nightstand - The Paris Wife

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

Book Summary (source):
A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wife captures a remarkable period of time—Paris in the twenties—and an extraordinary love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.

In Chicago in 1920, Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway and finds herself captivated by his good looks, intensity, and passionate desire to write. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group of expatriates that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

But the hard-drinking and fast-living café life does not celebrate traditional notions of family and monogamy. As Hadley struggles with jealousy and self-doubt and Ernest wrestles with his burgeoning writing career, they must confront a deception that could prove the undoing of one of the great romances in literary history

My thoughts:
I kept seeing this book come up in my recommended reads (you know from Chapters on line) and after reading the book description, I quickly knew this book was not something I was interested in.

And then it gets picked for book club, so I borrowed it from the library, did not read the description again and started reading it.
I was instantly drawn in and had a hard time putting this book down and actually had to Google Earnest Hemmingway to learn more about him because I was so drawn into the story and fascinated.

Trust me – this book is fantastic!

My rating: 5 out of 5!

Friday, September 07, 2012

First Day of Kindergarten

So here is where I shamelessly show off pictures of Little Girl from her first day of Kindergarten.

Trust me, you are lucky, if you worked with me, you would have had to already endure me pulling out my iPhone and showing you my pictures and waiting for the required awwwwwww.

I dropped her off at her dayhome; she took the bus (along with all the other kids from the dayhome) and then I drove to the school and waited for her to arrive.

I wish I had gotten a picture of her on the bus and although I could have given my camera to the dayhome lady, I didn't want to stress Little Girl out more than I already feared she was stressing.

She was beyond excited and only showed some of her nervousness while we were lined up waiting for the bell to ring, but she didn't cry and went happily into the school with her class and teacher.
(On a side note - I didn't cry either - yeah!!!)

When I picked her up from dayhome at the end of the day, she came running up to me exclaiming how much fun school had been and she can't wait to go back, and then she proceeded to talk my ear off all the way home and the whole time I was making dinner about every little thing they did.

Alright, I think she is going to enjoy it - for now - we will re-visit this when she hits high school.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Spanish Rice & Chicken

I love cookbooks!
My husband might even say I have a cookbook problem, but I call it a collection.
I fell in love with cookbooks back when I was in high school and I still have plenty if not all of my first cookbooks.

The other thing I love is the cookbook magazines you can buy in grocery stores.
My very first ever cookbook magazine was Taste of Home - Oct / Nov 1994 edition.

I read that magazine over and over again - I made so many different recipes from it, most of which were really good.
But as all things go, the old get pushed aside and the new becomes front and centre.

A few weeks ago, I was looking for an old recipe and I stumbled onto this Taste of Home magazine, and as I thumbed through it and remember all those recipes I tried way back as a teenager, I found my dinner idea for the next day.

The last time I made this recipe, I was in high school!

I made a few changes, and both hubby and I really liked it, the kids, ate the chicken and rice but turned their noses up at the peppers as they usually do.
But I know a recipe is really good when I look over and the green peppers have not be picked out by my husband - he inhaled this one!

This is perfect for a fall or winter day - comfort food.

Spanish Rice & Chicken

2-3 pounds bone in chicken pieces (I used drumsticks and thighs)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 ½ cups chicken broth
3 Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
1 cup uncooked rice
1 medium onion, chopped
½ green pepper, chopped
½ yellow pepper, chopped

Preheat oven to 425 F (if you have convection – set to 400 F convection), place chicken in a 9 x 13 casserole dish.  Combine garlic powder, celery salt and paprika; sprinkle evenly over both sides of each chicken piece.  Place in oven and cook uncovered for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile bring chicken broth, tomatoes, salt and chili powder to a boil in a saucepan.

Once chicken has cooked for 20 minutes, add the rice, onion, green and yellow peppers, then pour chicken broth mixture on top, stir a little bit (you might need to move the chicken pieces around to make sure the rice is mixed in).

Cover with a lid or foil and return to oven and continue to bake for an additional 45 minutes or until the chicken is done and the rice is tender.


Yield: serves 4 adults.
Source: Taste of Home Oct/Nov 1994 edition

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Changing Dayhomes

Last Friday was our last day at our dayhome.
It was a day of mixed feelings.

Anna and Little Girl at her Christmas party in 2009

Sad because we have been with Anna since Little Girl was one and I went back to work.
Sad because she has become part of our family and we love her, the kids love her and she loves our children as though they are her own grandchildren.
Happy because Little Girl has aged out of her care (she doesn't do before and after school care).
Happy because we are growing and starting school in a few days.
Happy because we have found another dayhome that I think will be just as good.
Happy because today they started at their new dayhome and went happily and no crying.

Little Boy getting his present from Santa at Anna's annual
Christmas party. (2009

Little Girl and Santa (2009)
Do you use a dayhome for your children?  Have you been a fortunate as we have to have found someone that has become an extension of your family?

Monday, September 03, 2012

Pura-Kiki BPA-Free Baby Bottles GIVEAWAY #babygifts

Right around the time Little Boy was born, the whole BPA in plastics scare happened, so now I had a cupboard full of bottles and sippy cups that were unsafe.  As companies scrambled to develop products that were BPA-Free, so did parents like me scramble to the stores to find these products.

One fantastic product that is out now is stainless steel bottles and Pura-Kiki has some wonderful bottles and sippy cups.

Infant & Toddler Bottles that Adapt to the Needs of your Child: The Kiki is the only 100% plastic free bottle on the market and the feeding system grows with your child - turning from a bottle with slow-flow silicone nipple to a medium-flow bottle and then ultimately a spill-proof sippy bottle with sip spout. And, if your child has a strong preference for another manufacturer's nipple or spout, our bottle will probably work with those as well.

Made of safe, food-grade stainless steel
No Internal Liner
Non-toxic and truly 100% BPA-free

The prize is a $100 prize pack of Pura Kiki Stainless Steel bottles!

This giveaway run until September 24, 2012 at 12:01am EST and is open to both US and Canada.

Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to A Hen's Nest for organizing this fun giveaway!

Saturday, September 01, 2012

PRK Baby Food & Drink Organizer GIVEAWAY #babygifts

I really wish I had taken a picture of what our bottle and sippy cupboard looked like back when we were using both of those for 2 kids.
Can we say messy and missing pieces all the time?

PRK Products had a wonderful solution. 

Maximize cabinet space and tame the chaos in kitchen cabinets with efficient baby food and beverage container organizers from PRK™ Products. No more multiple parts of bottles and sippy cups taking up valuable kitchen space, the Universal Baby Bottle & Sippy Cup Organizer keeps all the parts in one tidy place. The Universal Baby Food Jar Organizer stores 16 jars and even acts as a shelf, allowing for other items to be stacked on top of it. PRK™ Products are dishwasher safe, BPA and phthalate free and can be stored in the pantry, fridge or freezer (great for store bought or homemade baby food).  

The prize is a set of 1 Universal Baby Bottle & Sippy Cup Organizer and 1 Universal Baby Food Jar Organizer (ARV $59.99)

This giveaway runs until September 24, 2012 at 12:01am EST and is open to both US and Canada.

Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to A Hen's Nest for organizing this fun giveaway!