- Sauté the celery and onion in butter or olive oil until soft.
- Dump the sautéed celery and onion, chicken, soups, seasonings and water into the crock pot.
- Set on high for 6 hours.
- About 3-4 hours in to cooking, flatten out biscuits with a rolling pin and cut into strips.
- Add the mushrooms if you'd like some (they were an afterthought for me).
- Add biscuits to crock pot, stir it around, and cover for remaining cook time.
- The biscuits will float to the top and probably brown. When cooking is done, just stir it all up and break chicken into pieces.
- Prepare to have some meat put on your bones.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
I love how Deb over at the Smitten Kitchen starts off this recipe with the dire warning that these bars are not good for you. But I beg to differ: they have cereal in them! Whole grains! And peanut butter. That's protein, right? And there's no doubt that dark chocolate can be good for you. So there you have it. These are actually whole grain, protein, anti-oxidant bars.
Peanut Butter Crispy Bars
Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
These bars are sticky and indulgent and not good for you in any way, so before you even ask, perhaps you can make them with organic, low-fat peanut butter, whole grain bio-crisped rice cereal or a sugar substitute but you shouldn’t. Nobody likes a party pooper.
For the crispy crust
1 3/4 cups crisped rice cereal
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons unsalted (their recommendation) or salted (what I used, and liked) butter, melted
For the milk chocolate peanut butter layer
5 ounces good-quality milk (their recommendation) or semi-sweet (what I’d use next time) chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup creamy peanut butter
For the chocolate icing
3 ounces dark chocolate (60 to 72 percent cocoa), coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) unsalted (their recommendation) or salted (what I used, and liked) butter
Make the crispy crust: Lightly spray a paper towel with nonstick cooking spray and use it to rub the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan.
Put the cereal in a large bowl and set aside.
Pour 1/4 cup water into a small saucepan. Gently add the sugar and corn syrup (do not let any sugar or syrup get on the sides of the pan) and use a small wooden spoon to stir the mixture until just combined. Put a candy thermometer in the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat and bring to a boil; cook until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage, 235 degrees F.
Remove from the heat, stir in the butter, and pour the mixture over the cereal. Working quickly, stir until the cereal is thoroughly coated, then pour it into the prepared pan. Using your hands, press the mixture into the bottom of the pan (do not press up the sides). Let the crust cool to room temperature while you make the next layer.
Make the milk chocolate peanut butter layer: In a large nonreactive metal bowl, stir together the chocolate and the peanut butter. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir for about 30 seconds to cool slightly. Pour the mixture over the cooled crust. Put the pan in the refridgerator for 1 hour, or until the top layer hardens.
Make the chocolate icing: In a large nonreactive metal bowl, combine the chocolate, corn syrup, and butter.
Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is completely smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir for 30 seconds to cool slightly. Pour the mixture over the chilled milk chocolate peanut butter layer and spread (actually, I found it easier to just roll it around until it coated smoothly, avoiding the risk of picking up any of the peanut butter layer with it) into an even layer. Put the pan into the refrigerator for 1 hour, or until the topping hardens.
Cut into 9 (they say, I say 16, at least!) squares and serve. The bars can be stored in the refrigerator, covered tightly, for up to 4 days.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Life is so good around here lately. Sure, I'm worried about Mom's potential cancer coming back, but I'll worry about that on Wednesday, when we meet with her doctor. The sermon at church today was about how God will take care of us, and I have to trust that. Even though last week I had a bit of a panic attack of worry regarding how I'll be able to handle the next six months of potential chemo on top of my own doctor appointments on top of an already busy schedule.
Where was I? Oh yeah. The good. There's a sexy man sitting on the couch next to me, watching Star Wars. A sleepy dog is sacked out next to said sexy man, and a bratty cat is meowing at our feet. We have a busy and productive week ahead of us that's sure to keep us relatively out of trouble. I can feel the beginning vestiges of the welcome fall creeping up on us (knock on wood), and if you live within 100 miles of where I sit, you can appreciate that.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Coat a 13 x 9 inch pan with no-stick cooking spray.
- Beat brown sugar and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy.
- Beat in vanilla and egg.
- Stir in muffin mix and oats.
- Reserve one cup of mixture.
- Pat remaining mixture into prepared pan.
- Combine sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips over low heat until chocolate is melted, stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat and stir in walnuts (PECANS!).
- Spread over muffin mixture to edge of pan.
- Drop reserved oat mixture by teaspoonfuls over chocolate mixture.
- Bake 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.
- Cool completely (in pan) on a wire rack.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Couldn't tell? OK, how about now?
Ladies and gentlemen, we are so proud to introduce to you our daughter.
We think she's very pretty. After lunch, Mike and I went to look at handguns, specifically Kimbers and the Ruger SR9C. He also checked out a couple of shotguns.
Maybe she has Mike's nose?
I am completely enamored with her feet. Her legs are crossed, so they look backwards. I know because this is how I sit at the end of the day, when I finally have time to put up my feet.
Mike paid me a huge compliment on our way home. I asked him how in the world I would raise her to be a strong, effective, capable, intelligent, compassionate, intuitive steel magnolia. He replied, "Just be yourself, and lead by example."
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Physically, this pregnancy has been a dream. Annoyingly so: I glow. I radiate. My body is doing exactly what it's supposed to without the expected sickness, nausea, or fatigue. No major weight gain so far - my hairdresser gently asked if I had miscarried as I'm still not showing at 17 weeks. The kid is on the move, and I feel great. Empowered. Energetic. Ready to take on the world. I'm even caught off guard when sweet concerned friends ask me how I'm feeling: the other day a male pastor friend of mine asked, "How's your pregnancy going?" To which I absently replied, "It's great! How is yours?" Ugh. So much for decorum. I just don't think about it as the only physical reminders are good ones.
Mike: You said the same about the dog, and you love him, don't you?
Me: Sure, but people tend to frown on kenneling your kid.
Monday, August 9, 2010
It's a glorious Monday morning here in beautiful downtown Burbank. 74 degrees (I know - shocker!), the sun is rising, and I am up, dressed, and ready for the day. Taking Dante for a W-A-L-K? Ah... No. Going outside to work in the garden? Nope. Off to the grocery store while it's still cool? Of course not! I'm sitting on my duff, waiting for the painters. Last time they were two hours late, and they said they would arrive at 7:00 this morning, which I suppose translates to sometime around 4 this afternoon. The day is totally shot.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cook the noodles according to the package directions, drain and set aside.
- Darin the spinach well, pressing between layers of paper towels (or kitchen towels).
- Combine the spinach, chicken, cheddar cheese, onion, nutmeg, salt, pepper, soy sauce, soup, sour cream, and mayonnaise in a large bowl; stir to blend.
- Arrange half the lasagna noodles in a lightly greased 11 x 7 x 1 1/2-inch baking dish.
- Spread half the chicken mixture over the noodles.
- Repeat this procedures with the remaining noodles and chicken mixture.
- Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and Butter Pecan Topping.
- Bake, covered, for 55 to 60 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
- Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting.
- Serves eight.
- Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat; add the pecans and cook for 3 minutes.
- Cool completely.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
I'm very glad Mike and I are together for many reasons. Lately I'm most glad that we have been feeding off the other's energy, alternating turns in being the horsepower behind necessary renovations brought about by this kid in me and a bit of a disaster this week.
Some people might say, "Aww, isn't that sweet? She's nesting!!!" Trust me, all ideas were produced solely out of practicality and snowballed into complete havoc.
It's been a big summer for our pup. He turned 2 years old on June 10th. In celebration, we sent the Pearl River SPCA, the organization that found him, a donation along with a letter and some photos. Dante also received a new bed and a new Kong, as both were almost as old as he and had seen the worse for wear.
About a week later, I received a phone call from Bonnie at the SPCA. She said that my note came at the perfect time and that she needed a human-interest story for their newsletter. So I sent her a grown-up photo of Dante, and she sent me his baby picture.
From this (they don't come much cuter):
Dante made the cover story of the newsletter, which is proudly displayed on the fridge, right next to his latest two achievements: he passed his Love on a Leash Therapy Dog test and his American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen test!
We celebrated THAT with a new collar to go with his new CGC tags. Very proud indeed.
But this summer wasn't all about work. He's had a great time hanging out at Mom's house with Jack and Darlin' while Mike and I have been out of town, and he has broadened his horizons by meeting new friends. This is Dash, a friend's pet dragon. Dante was intrigued.
Right now he's in the back yard, helping Mike pick up sticks. Glad to know all this mayhem and foolishness haven't gone to his head.
Dante, Mike, Kearney, and I are all piled up on the green couch this morning, a creepy ghost movie on the TV, a cup of coffee perched precariously on the arm rest, the comics in Mike's hand, a baby wriggling happily in my belly, and Dante's head resting peacefully in the crook of my arm. It's a nice morning.
The rest of the week was spent bumping along backroads of Louisiana and the Mississippi border. I really felt the baby kick while I was driving, and I found myself talking to him in the car.
The rest of the trip was rather uneventful - just scene after beautiful scene of majestic live oaks, bucolic fields, and ancient architecture. A big craving for fried chicken raised its ugly head, and boy, were we in luck! I subjected Mike to some of the best fried chicken in the world: first at Eight Sisters Kitchen in St. Francisville, and then at the Old Country Store in Lorman, Mississippi.
That was a trip.
Friday, August 6, 2010
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Cream the butter; gradually add the sugar. Beat well (as in, fluffy. I beat it for a full 5 minutes.)
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each.
- Add the flour and salt to the creamed mixture, alternating with the milk. Begin and end with flour. Do not overmix.
- Add the flavorings.
- Pour batter into a greased-and-floured tube pan (10-inch tube pan or 10-cup pan).
- Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until slightly firm to the touch.
- Cool in pan for ten minutes.
I know it's odd to show the bottom of a cake, but it was just too pretty and decadent not to take a photo of that. I mean, look at all that lovely caramelized sugar. Yum.