Hello, I'm glad you're here, and hope you enjoy your visit. It has been said that "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." This blog is about me, my adventures, silly moments, and keeping in touch with you. Life is exciting and so full of possibilities, so let's enjoy the journey together.

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Chicken Salad


Whenever I make this salad for a party, picnic, BBQ, or other event, I am almost always asked for the recipe.  It’s kind of light for a chicken salad, and doesn’t have grapes!  

If you like grapes, then add them, but I think grapes are weird in chicken salad.  I have added halved cherry/grape tomatoes before but I prefer the tiny crunch of a sweet red bell pepper

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Red bell peppers are one of my favorite foods, I slice them up and eat them like candy


yuuummmm!


someone could offer me a snickers bar or a few red bell pepper slices, I’ll take the pepper hands down.  Of course Ice cream would always come out on top of a pepper, but ice-cream is in it’s own elevated class of goodness.

but I digress, on with salad. . .


This salad is super simple and easy: to make life easy I first purchase a roasted chicken. 


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My preference is the lemon pepper, but you can use whichever one tastes best to you.

You can roast/cook your own, by this method you could choose to just use chicken breast if you like.  Which ever method you select.You will need to end up with approx 3-4 cups shredded chicken, 

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Now, debone your chicken, and cut/shred it into bite size pieces, that are best suited to what you are serving the salad on. this is too chunky, I didn’t get a picture of the final product, just make it work for you. 


(sorry, if you want or need a picture, leave a comment and I will redo the picture)


I love using croissants, but you can use whatever bread you like!  This salad is perfect for crackers, kind of like a dip, just cut your chicken finer/smaller, it also is nice for baguettes or artisan style bread.  

Note: this is most easily done while your chicken is still warm.  It just doesn’t quite come off the bones the same, or shred as easily when it’s cold.  So even if you are planning to do your salad two days later, shred your chicken as soon as you bring it home, then place it in the fridge until you assemble your salad. 

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clean up your workspace.  I try to get all my meat stuff done and cleaned up before moving onto the next phase, that way I don’t need to worry about contaminating my fresh veggies or workspace later.

If you talk to anyone who has gotten sick from salmonella poisoning, they all say they would rather have died, apparently it’s pretty horrible!  I never want to risk giving that to someone so I always just clean and sterilize after working with meat.


so now that we have that covered, chop up your vegetables:

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okay, I realize that lemon isn’t considered a vegetable, but you don’t chop it up either, you will zest it and squeeze it.

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remove the stem, wash out the seeds and then . . .

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. . . dice it up


you only need 1/2 pepper, so just eat the other half, that’s what I do!


Next up:  onions

This is the step I was on when I chopped off my thumb last Saturday, I’ve cut onions like this multiple times, more than I can count, and have been fine, just don’t be thinking about a hundred things and being distracted and not focusing on where your knife is in relation to your digits.

anyway, back to chicken salad and cutting up green onions. . .


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slice them lengthwise, kind of like you would a carrot or stick of celery.  Slice each onion 2-3 times depending on the thickness of the onion.


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then on a sharp diagonal, slice them.


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then without rearranging your cutting art, take your knife and turn it, 
 slicing through them at a 90° angle.

and you have shredded onion that gives off wonderful flavor that is evenly distributed throughout your salad, without getting an oversized chunk of onion.  

This method means you don’t need as many onions for the same flavorful results.

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now cut up the celery, just normal little chunks here, nothing tricky or special.


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put all your vegetables in a mixing bowl,


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add the sour cream,

mayo,

mustard,

dill,

parsley,

lemon zest,

lemon juice. . . .


I didn’t measure the mustard, just squirt some in. . .



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Stir it all together, cover and refrigerate, If you have given yourself enough time to let it rest for a bit, the flavors blend and are so yummy, but it is pretty tasty right after you mix it up too.



Spoon the salad on the roll of your choice,


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Garnish with a slice of tomato and avocado with some fresh baby spinach.  Let your imagination run, and enjoy your chicken salad sandwich or appetizers.




As always, thanks for stopping in and sharing a portion of your day with me




. . . oh, and have a great week


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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Blocks for A Baby Shower

The daughter is having a baby very soon!

so we decided to have a baby shower,
somehow spending the afternoon with family is so enjoyable

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The parents have elected to be surprised and so no one knows what they are having.  Of course there are lots of guesses and funny ways that are used to predetermine whether the baby is a boy variety or a girl.

While I don’t have a problem with the idea of waiting, I mean honestly, back in the day, no one had the option of knowing and we survived just fine

but it did pose some challenges in having a shower in that it’s hard to decorate for neutral gender!  I thought of going with a rubber duck theme but, for some reason it just wasn’t jelling in my mind, then I thought of blocks,

children and most adults too, like to play with blocks right.

So we went to town making blocks out of cookies.

it was a great idea, but as usual my great ideas need superior help in getting them to work as I had envisioned. . . .


. . . this wasn’t quite it

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you would imagine making blocks would be pretty simple, but rest assured they were not working the way I had imagined.  That’s where the genius and the musician came in handy!  I could not have done this without them.


the genius asked if we had something that he could “sand” cookies with. . .


sand paper wouldn’t have worked very well but nothing else came to mind. . .

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. . .  then inspiration struck and he pulled out the zester/grater!

 
(that’s why I call him the genius)

and he began to sand away.  we needed 17 blocks, each block requires 6 sides totaling 102 square cookies + a few extra for defects and casualties due to rough handling.


because I had spent too much time on creating a key-lime cupcake


that marvelous creation still needs a tad bit more work, but it will be amazingly yummy when it I get it figured out

the musician made cookies for me while I was at work. . . Thank you musician

okay, back to block production. . .

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the genius mitered the edges of all 120 cookies!

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and the musician “glued” them together!

I was exceptionally tired and wasn’t much help at this point, I knew that the blocks had to dry before I could do anything creative with them, so I  went to be knowing that the blocks were in very good and capable hands. . .

My own little elves in the kitchen!

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I awoke to this, 20 perfect blocks!

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if you compare the two versions there is no doubt that these are near perfect!

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a whole tray full of cookie sawdust and a few casualties!

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and cookie blocks to stack and play with

This was going to be fun!

this is where I came in. . .

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my favorite part is decorating!



pretty close resemblance to the real McCoy  
 
 
so while the boys were sleeping, I was up early and decorated

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and admiring the final product





I determined that the blocks looked a little too much like boy so decided to add windmills for that feminine touch, unfortunately, the windmills didn't have a chance to be finished for the party.


. . . but it started out as a good idea

I then went on to other tasks that needed to be done like preparing the chicken salad for the sandwiches.  This is where I chopped off the end of my thumb!

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bringing all baby shower preparations to an abrupt halt.

no, no, no, the red are not chunks of my thumb!

. . . My amazing awesome talented sister-in-law, worked hard too

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blowing up balloons for decorations

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making bingo cards, and announcements

(super cute by the way)


baby shower front      baby shower back

of course the announcements were sent out a couple of weeks ago, but I think you will agree that they are perfectly adorable!

What would I have done without her help????


We assigned theme’s or times of baby care:  for example, bath time, cuddle/story time, changing time, feeding time, play time, and quiet time.  each guest brought something that could be used for their assigned time, which was marvelous because it maintained variety  and filled great needs all in one.

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and of course as all women do, she cleaned and finished projects so her home was perfect!

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We played bingo as the daughter opened her baby gifts.  It was such an enjoyable afternoon.  I have decided that having a “non-gender specific” baby shower is’nt such a bad idea after all.  She received many MUCH NEEDED items and no clothing. 

. . . It turned out perfect in every way


One activity we did for the shower was to tie a baby quilt.

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this was a wonderful idea and I think most everyone very much enjoyed the project,
and who can resist adorable little Pooh Bear?

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Even the little girls learned and had fun helping


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a quick super easy project and good times for all

baby shower front

because of my thumb the windmills and cupcake wrappers didn’t get finished for the final product, but the food was good and we had a wonderful afternoon with family excited to welcome a little oreo to the family!

As always thanks for stopping by, I enjoy sharing with you!


have an enjoyable week!


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Sunday, March 11, 2012

chop, chop, oops!



On Saturday I was hurrying to get things ready for a baby shower that my family was putting together for the daughter.  (watch for shower details later this week) One of the final preparations I was working on was the chicken salad that we were serving. 

It had been a long week and I spent a little too much time on finding the perfect key-lime cupcake recipe for the cupcakes and not enough time on other parts that I was to contribute.  So once again, sleep deprived, a bajillion check lists going through my mind, and

hurry,

                  hurry,

                                   hurry. . .


it happened. . .



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I chopped off the end of my left thumb!


I was cutting the green onions on a sharp diagonal which was fortunate.  I managed to remove a good 1/2” of nail, and didn’t quite make it all the way through so the tip was still attached.


I went down and chased the genius out of bed and he valiantly finished chopping the green onions for the salad and then took me to insta-care.


The doc at insta-care numbed it up nicely, cut off the fingernail that I hadn’t quite succeeded in chopping off, and stitched my thumb all back together.


So I went from being on time, to two hours in insta-care and a SORE thumb to say the least, we called the fam and postponed the shower for the two hours I was delayed.


in the end, all is well.


I won’t put a picture of what my thumb looks like without the bandage, that might be a little much for some viewers,


but today as I changed the bandaging as instructed I was quite disappointed. 


I was certain I had received a total of five (5) stitches,





. . . but today realized it was only three (3).





Not such a great story after all. . .


but it was traumatic at the moment, I promise!





The best news of this whole adventure is that for an entire week. . .


The genius gets to do dishes. . .





. . . cool stuff!





I was given specific instructions not to get my thumb wet for an entire week. 

except now, he is all on board with getting a new dishwasher. . .


ours died a few months back and I’ve been
fine just doing them by hand, all of a sudden he’s
thinking my method isn’t such a great idea after all.

Seriously, the genius HATES doing dishes, he would much rather clean the toilet
so this indeed, is a huge sacrifice for him!


I’m not sure how this latest adventure will effect my bike workouts, because I get pretty sweaty:  sweat = wet. 


I’m thinking if I remove the bandaging it will probably be okay.  After today I’m not supposed to put Neosporin on it so it can dry out and heal faster.   Sweat is water with salt mixed in, which would mean things dry out even more. . . . right?


a little extra salt from working out may speed up the whole healing process


I think I’m okay with that!

As for the Key-Lime Cupcakes, the trial version was great, but when they converted to jumbo size, they sunk and were not light an fluffy like their  predecessors. 


That too was slightly disappointing, but we served them any way. 


In the end the shower was a great success, despite a couple of
minor details that didn’t get done, and we had a delightful time. 


It’s always good to share with family.


All those details coming this week!


As always, thanks for being here


have a great day!








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