Friday, December 10, 2010

Chicken Tuscany... grown-up food at its finest

WARNING: This recipe is only for those who like "grown up food". The two children at my dinner table tonight (whose shall remain nameless but their initials are Emily and Thomas) requested chicken nuggets after one bite. Go figure. They did like the pasta, but with butter, not sauce thank you very much.

I snagged this recipe off of boomama's blog ...a very fun blog to read if you're into sitting down to read blogs of people you don't know.

The recipe is a tad long, so instead of typing the whole thing out, I'm linking you right here where you can click and print to your little heart's desire.

Boomama makes the suggestion to have everything chopped in advance, which I found to be marvelous advice. The recipe has several componants so having all the ingredients ready is pretty handy.

chopped romas, mushrooms, sage, basil and green onions... beautiful, hu?

Not much to look at, but it's the beginning of the sauce; beef stock, chianti (I actually used whatever red wine I had open) and a roux to thicken it a bit

Start cooking the chicken breasts after they have had their beauty bath in marinade

Are these lovely or what?

Saute the mushrooms in... BUTTER!

Like you've never seen mushrooms, but I think they make a dandy subject for a macro shot.

Mushrooms with the other chopped yummies, all ready for the sauce.

(chicken is coming along nicely)

Now the sauce is on the sauteed veggies and is becoming incredibly yummy.

Serve sauce on chicken and angel hair pasta.

So what would I do differently next time? Pound the chicken. A lot. As with any other chicken breast, they like to cook up thick and it's hard to get the center done. The other way to do it would be to cut the breasts down to half their thickenss. Either way, I would then decrease the marinating time to about 30-45 minutes. I think I would also try adding a bit of capers to the sauce.

If you're having company, ADULT company, this is your dish. For the kids, load up on chicken nuggets and everybody will be happy!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thanksgiving, a la Grandma Vi

 My Grandma Vi would have been proud of me at Thanksgiving!

She would have loved the awesome food...

I can hear Grandma now, "Everything is just so DE-LISH!"

...and desserts!

She would have stopped to admire the table setting and food on the plates.

Silver and crystal was Grandma Vi's. She loved a beautiful table!

She would have enjoyed the gathering with those who you love...
Here are some of those people, playing "cookie face" (set the cookie on your forehead and without touching it, get it to land in your mouth). YOU try it, it's harder than you would think!

and the trip out to Christmas Forest!
This was the tree my team designed this year.

I thought often about my Grandma Vi on Thanksgiving, probably because of pulling out her crystal and polishing up her silver so it could make an appearance on a Holiday table. I think it's been at least 17 years since the silver was last used! It's just too pretty to keep in a box. Grandma had the gift of hospitality and loved anything to do with design, be it lighting, decorations or a table. She also loved to cook really great food.

I think I see a little of my Grandma in myself. Thanks Grandma!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A tribute to Grover

I think Grover is my favorite. He's a straight forward kind of guy who gets down to the business of things without messing around.

For instance, his lessons on "NEAR" and "FAR" quickly teach children the difference between the two perspectives. Looking out into my backyard today, I thought I'd channel a little Grover as I took some pictures. Keep in mind, the windstorm was Monday. Today is Saturday.




That was really fun! Let's do it again! Nearrrrrr....


Now, how about we learn some colors. That sounds like fun too!

Smokebush "Grace"... isn't that great fall color?

More of the Grace smokebush



I'd like to add "before" and "after" but the concrete has to set for 6 hours before the panels can be re-attached. Oh well. You all know what a finished fence looks like and if you don't, then can just do like Grover and use your imagination!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Way overdue blog post

Seriously, 3 weeks? It's been 3 weeks since I blogged. I promised myself I would blog more often than that. So much for promises to one's self!

There is lots to catch up on.
First up... Halloween

Thomas's teacher this year is the marvelous Mr. Kiekhaefer. I can hear you asking, "Oh Brenda, what makes the man so marvelous?" Well, he is brave. Brave enough to greet a room full of 8-turning-9-year-olds every day. Brave enough to BBQ a hot dog lunch as a class reward. Brave enough to have a pumpkin carving party IN his classroom. Yes, with sharp objects and parents and everything.

"No Dad, I can carry it myself"

Get the guts out

Principal Mrs. Cook (who is not really at all like a witch), Mr. Pumpkin, Thomas
Some nice (and really talented) mom baked these little darlings up for the party. She wins the "Creative Cookie Award" for sure. Who knew Martha Stewart was a class parent?

Mr. Kiekhaefer on lead guitar and vocals

Can you see Thomas, right in the center. Dang, he's cute!
 Now for Halloween itself... Gangster, OB1 and SomeOtherGuyFromAnotherCloneWarsStory (aka: Thomas, Garret and Justin). Can you say, "LOTSA CANDY"?

Stay tuned, there's more blogging to be done over the weekend!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fall ball, 2010

South Sound Broncos, 10U 1st PLACE CHAMPS!
Back row: Mike, Riley, Cody, Wes, Kyle, Shae, Jesse
Front Row: Jack, Thomas, Cade, Kye, Devon, Justin (Dillon missing)
We have been eating, living and breathing baseball for what seems like forever in this house! In the spring it was South Sound Spring Baseball. Summer included 7 weeks of summer league and a 4 week skills camp. This fall, we made it through 2 months of fall ball... whew! It's been fantastic to see Thomas's skills improve so much since the spring, but we are ALL really ready for a break from strikes, runs, hits, cold bleacher seats and bad ballpark coffee.

Sunflower seeds in the dugout are mandatory

A parent's view

Justin, Kyle and Thomas
Thomas just coming off home plate for a much needed tournament-play RUN!

coach Jesse and boys between innings

Thomas receiving his medal from coaches Jesse and Mike

Boys will be boys
Thanks Coaches Mike and Jesse. You are the type men we want our boys modeling after.  

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Tomorrow is a great day! It's Emily's birthday and she's turning 14. She is excited that this is her "golden" birthday with the date being 10-10-10. If only she was turning 10 on this day it would be even more perfect... according to her. Me- I'm glad she's turning 14. I loved her at 10, but I love her even more now at the crazy age of 14. She is goofy and spunky and full of energetic life! Her friends adore her and she adores them right back. She's smart and funny and is always on the hunt for fun!

Happy Birthday Em, Dad and I (and probably Amanda and Thomas) love you tons and tons.

Her party was last night. A few pics below...

cupcakes made by Emily

Emily, that present is a blanket, not a wig. You have plenty of time for blue hair later.

Shirts: BEFORE

Shirts: DURING

Shirts: after... they have yet to come out of the wash, but I'm sure they are beautiful
  After a movie, pizza, chips, pop, tie dye, and opening presents, I asked if the girls would like to hit the neighborhood for a quick round of "Bigger or Better". This game is great for a group of kids who are up for innocent fun involving confronting others with a strange request. Can you see why it's perfect for a group of 14 year old girls? The rules are simple: start out with something simple. Like a balloon.

the starter balloon

You then go to a neighbor and ask if they have anything bigger or better than the balloon. Trade up for bigger or better at each house you go to. The last time Emily played this was about a year ago when the kids left with a pen and came back with a child's bike. You never know what you'll have in the end!

About the time I had asked them to be home, I heard a dull rolling type of sound coming down the street and LOTS of giggles. I couldn't imagine what they had obtained in the last hour. When I opened the front door I was met with this sight:

They had actually landed an office chair AND a bundt pan! How do you leave with one thing and come back with two... I'm not too sure. But to come home with a functional piece of furniture was really funny! The kicker is that we NEED an office chair! This one wasn't too bad either; a little worn on the arms, but nothing a little duct tape won't take care of if the thin spots become actual holes. Nice work girls. Keep it up and when you're 16 maybe you can "bigger or better" yourselves a car!

Thanks Jena, Brenna, Audrey, Abby, Cleo and Megan for making the night a fun one for Emily! You are all great kids!