Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Stuffed Chicken Breast

Chicken breasts always seem to be on hand in my home.  While there are about a thousand recipes for chicken I found myself today just staring.  Willing the chicken to turn into something magical.  I guess I was having an off day because the chicken remained uncooked and stubborn.  I was gonna have to make a move but I was having a bad case of culinary block.  Then it hit me.  I am gonna stuff these babies!  I had some fresh Basil from my garden, a tomato that needed to be used up, and some shredded Italian cheese.  We were ready to rock . . . except . . . I have never stuffed chicken breasts before.  *Gulp* So I did what any one would do and took my quest to youtube for answers.  Here is the video that guided me.

My chicken wasn't as beautiful as hers but it held the goods and was really yummy.

Tomato and Basil Stuffed Chicken Breasts
  • Chicken Breasts, thawed
  • Fresh Basil
  • Shredded Italian Cheese
  • Tomato, sliced thin
  • salt
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Olive Oil
For the chicken breast prep follow the instructions on the youtube video above.  Slice the tomato very thin.  The thinner you can make it the easier it will be for you to roll it.  Layer the ingredients one side of the chicken.  Then roll like in the video and secure with tooth picks.  I think next time I will be using kitchen twine instead.  I required a lot of tooth picks.

Next, coat the chicken with olive oil. Then, sprinkle with salt and Italian seasoning.  We chose to put these on our grill.  They took about 25 mins on medium heat.  If you choose to put them in the oven I recommend a 350 degree oven for about 35 mins.

Let rest for about 5 mins and remove the toothpicks or kitchen twine.  These were so tender and the basil really infused into the chicken.

So Pretty!!!

Product Review: Honest Company Sample Pack

Monday, July 30, 2012

Maque Choux

Pronounced "Mock Shoe" (sounds tasty, eh???).  This is a traditional dish of Southern Louisiana. I am so in love with Cajun food, music, and culture.  I dream about having an outdoor crawfish boil.  Hmm . . .possible baby shower idea??  Okay, back on track Celia!!  Maque Choux is a lovely get together of fresh corn and other veggies cooked up Cajun style!  You will be able to spend the evening being complimented on how tasty this side dish is while patting yourself on the back for how CHEAP it was to make!

Maque Choux (serves about 8)
  • 4 Ears of yellow corn 
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup of bacon grease 
  • Cajun seasoning
 The prep work on this is crazy simple.  Dice green pepper. Dice Onion. Clean and remove corn.  BAM!! Prep work done!

In a large iron skillet or dutch oven heat bacon grease on medium high. (WARNING: Bacon Grease Advocacy speech in 3 . . .2 . . . .1)  I know so many of you cringe when you think of bacon grease and will want to substitute with Olive Oil.  Please don't.  This dish is old timey and to get the REAL deep flavor you wanna use the bacon grease.  If you choose not to I am sure it will still be tasty but I pinky swear to you it will not compare to a maque choux with the bacon grease.  *steps off soap box* Toss in the bell pepper and the onion.  Cook for about 5 mins.

Once the onions and peppers are softened and have a tinge of brown you wanna add the corn.  Give the it a good stir to make sure all the corn is coated.  Then add your Cajun Seasoning.  I use a premade seasoning that I fell in love with.  Making your own is easy too.  While no 2 homemade cajun spice is the same there are a list of staples: Paprika, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Black Pepper, Oregano, Salt, Thyme, and Cayenne Pepper.

After adding the seasoning cover and cook, stirring it occasionally.  Taste to make sure the seasoning is where you like it and the corn is tender.  You will know when it is ready.  I use this as a side dish but it works great as a main course too. I recommend using a whole ear of corn per person you are serving and pump the other veggies to your liking. Then, just add some andouille sausage, shrimp, or  chicken and you have dinner!  

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Strawberry Lemonade Mason Jar Cake

Mason jars are so versatile it's crazy!!  I saw the idea to use a mason jar to bake a cake and I just had to try it out!  I winged this recipe. This was my first run so I made a few mistakes but I will steer you clear of those :)  This is obviously just one recipe for the mason jar concept.  The possibilities are endless!

Strawberry Lemonade Mason Jar Cupcake
  • 4 pint sized mason jars with lids, clean and dry
  • 1 box of Strawberry cake mix
  • 2 large lemons
  • 5 ripe strawberries, cleaned
For the Buttercream Frosting
  • 2/3 cup softened butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp of milk (possibly more to get desired thickness)
  • zest from 2 lemons
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (this was my first mistake- I baked at 375 and too long which caused the browning).  Zest the 2 lemons and set zest aside. The strawberry cake mix asks for 1 cup of water and to boost the flavor I made a simple potion.  In a food processor or blender add the strawberries, juice from the 2 juiced lemons (watch for seeds!!), and 3/4 cup of water.  Process until no chunks.  Substitute one cup of this mixture for the 1 cup of water.

Prepare the cake batter as directed on box (I 100% encourage a scratch batter but I am a total fan of semi-made options when I can take them).  Fill each mason jar about halfway with batter.  Place jars in a cake pan with 1 inch of water. Bake for 30- 35 minutes.  To check if done, insert a wooden skewer. If it comes out clean you are in the clear.

The cake is going to rise!  The baby is taking over my brain!  As you can see above I filled the mason jars WAAYYY too full and they rose really high.  No worries.  If this happens you can easily scoop out the cake :)

Remove jars from dish with potholders. These bad boys are HOT!  Place them on a cooling rack and let cool for about 15 to 20 mins.  Now onto the yummy buttercream frosting.  In a mixer (or a bowl using a hand mixer) combine the butter, sugar, and salt.  Beat until well mixed.  Add the vanilla and the lemon zest.  Start adding milk a little at a time until you get the consistency you want.  Transfer to a piping bag (No piping bag? No problem!  Fill a large Ziploc with the frosting and cut out the end.) and pipe into the jars.  Yes you can just spoon it in but I like how easy and pretty this makes things.

As you can see I went a little nuts on the frosting but you can add as little or much as you like.  That's the beauty of an individual cake!  If you are making these as a gift: make a fun label for the lid, add some ribbon, or put in a pretty garnish!  I would say these are okay on the table for a day then move to the fridge or freezer.

Muffin Tin Omelettes with Hashed Brown Crust

It's 10:30 AM here here is what my morning looked like.  I woke up at 8:30 with my daughter, checked my facebook, rinsed off the dishes I lazily left in the sink last night, and had this wonderful breakfast made by 9:45.  These lil' bites are so great and you can choose to fill them with whatever you please!  My brain is flooded with combinations. Spinach and sausage, zucchini and mushroom, salsa and olives . . .the list could go on forever!  But here is the recipe for the bacon, green pepper, and onion ones I made this morning.

Muffin Tin Omelette With Hashed Brown Crust
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream
  • 8 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • Half a green bell pepper, diced
  • medium onion, diced
  • 3 cups of shredded breakfast potatoes, thawed
  • 2 tbsp of melted butter
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese
  • cooking spray
  • salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray.  In a bowl mix thawed shredded potatoes with melted butter. Press spoonfuls of the mixture in the bottom of the tins and sprinkle with salt.  Bake for 25 min.

While the potatoes are in the oven I fried up my bacon in an iron skillet.  Then I sauteed the diced peppers and onions in the same pan with a small amount of the bacon grease (yes, you could opt out of using the grease and cook your veggies in olive oil). Remove pan from oven and then lower the oven temp to 350 degrees.  In a bowl beat eggs and sour cream until smooth. Add the veggies,crumbled bacon, and salt/pepper. Re-spray the tin.  Divide the mixture between the cups.  

Bake in oven for about 20 mins.  They will rise slightly and be a little golden around the edges.

They put a pinch of shredded cheese on each cup and put back in the oven for about 5 mins.  Let the omlettes cool in the pan for about 10 mins.  I ran a butter knife around the edge to loosen any stuck cheese.  Then pop em out and eat.  Don't forget the hot sauce!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Too Sweet not to Share

Look at me posting 3 times in one day!!  Can you tell I am excited to be blogging??  I am a part of a wonderful online community of girls who are also pregnant and due in November.  We decided to do an online shower and exchange gifts.  Well today I got my gift!!  I am sooo excited!!  It is actually kind of ironic since I just posted my Cloth Diaper system.

She sent me 2 Thirsty Duo Wraps, a package of Cloth-eez newborn prefolds, a bag of Snappis, and a REALLY cute laundry pail liner!!  What a fun way to start my day!! 

Cloth Diapering

Cloth Diapering.  Holy Cow is it overwhelming!!!!  I have read soooo many articles/blogs and watched a ton of youtube videos.  Today I visited my favorite local baby shop Best Loved Baby and got to practice with some prefolds which totally helped my decision!  Here is my first prefold . . .I am so proud!

 She can now pee with confidence :)  So here is my plan. I am going to use the Thirsties Brand Duo Wrap with Cloth-Eez Organic Prefolds.  If you are a cloth diapering newbie like I was this is all foreign.  First let me start with a small vocab lesson.  These are very basic definitions!

Cloth Diaper Definitions

Prefold:  A cloth insert used when cloth diapering.  This is what absorbs the pee and poo.  The ones I have used/seen are a rectangle that have three sewn columns for you to fold along.  The outer two layers have about 4 layers and the inner layer has 6-8 layers (usually).  These can be laid in a cover, pinned on, or used with a Snappi. 

AIO:  This is an All In One Diaper.  The cover and absorbent inner lining is attached as one unit. These are really easy to use.  No prefolds or additional liners are required.  They work just like a disposable diaper but you keep them.  They do take longer to dry and harder to really get clean.  Your load of laundry also just doubled in size from just using a prefold.

Diaper Cover:  This is usually a lined cover that goes over your actual cloth diaper/prefold.  You can get them with snaps or velcro.  They ALL fit differently just like any other diaper.  What I like about the Thirsties Brand covers is that they have these amazing gussets that help prevent leaks.  Using a cover seems to be less washing to me.  Like I said most are lined with a waterproof material that can easily be wiped clean. So you are pretty much just changing out the prefold.  I mean you obviously have to wash them but not as often.  

Pocket Diaper:  These are relatively new. They are a two piece diaper with an inner portion made of fleece and a waterproof layer that makes up the outermost part.  Absorbent material is used inside the two pieces making the diaper act as an AIO.

Snappi:  This replaces a the old fashion diaper pins.  It is T shaped and attaches to the three areas of the prefold (you can see the one I used in the pic above to give you an idea).  These are super easy to use and don't prick you :)   I like getting stabbed less.

Diaper sprayer:  A really cool little device that hooks up to your toilet so you can pre spray the "love" out of your diaper.  It reminds me of the sprayers on a kitchen sink.

Okay so thats my brief lil lesson. Yes I know there is more . .. much much more.  But this lil cheat sheet will help you understand my system choice.The breakdown of my diaper get down.  Here is the cost breakdown of my self devised starter kit and some pictures to help you envision.

My Diaper System Breakdown

- Six Thirsties Brand Duo Wrap Covers solid color with snaps size 1: $11.25 ea = $67.50
(size one covers fit 6lbs to 18lbs)

- 3 doz Cloth-Eez Organic Prefolds Small Yellow Edge: $33.00 doz = $99.00
(13x13.75 in long Cloth-Eez prefolds found at www.greenmountaindiapers.com)

- Bum Genius Cloth Diaper Sprayer: Around $45.00

- Two 2pk snappi: $6.50 a pk = $13.00

Total = $224.50

Not too shabby considering using disposable diapers costs about $800 per year.

Here We Go!

Well here is the start of a beautiful relationship.  My name is Celia.  I am a wife, mother, Christian, crafter, baker, personal chef, teacher, and house keeper.  I am always diving into projects and thought someone, somewhere may just get a kick out of it.  I consider myself to be the biggest project of all and I am really excited to share my discoveries with you!