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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Kettle Corn

I was tempted to just microwave a bag of popcorn and take a picture for the blog, but that felt a little deceitful. Truth be told, I made this delicious kettle corn and then went to take a picture and then my battery was dead. While I did beg my parents and husband to hold off on eating the popcorn for two minutes so I could photograph the popcorn that request proved impossible and the entire batch was gobbled up before I could do it. What makes matters worse is I used my very last 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels to make one meager batch of the popcorn and now I crave it almost hourly and have no way to make more until I go back to the store. Life is so hard sometimes ; )

Do yourself a favor and make this today! PS. the website I borrowed this image from is chaosinthekitchen.com, I'd never visited before but man, all of their recipes look absolutely delish!

Stove-Top Kettle Corn
by: Our Best Bites

3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
kosher salt

Place a large stock pot (or your whirly pop) on the stove top. Set heat to medium-high. Add oil. While oil is heating measure your popcorn into a small bowl. Add sugar to the kernels. Wait until you see your oil smoke. It's very faint, so get down parallel to your pot and look for little billows of smoke coming. Then pour your kernel/sugar mixture into the pot. Immediately stir using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, scraping sugar from the bottom of the pan. Only do this for about ten seconds (no one wants a popcorn kernel to peg you in the eyeball), then place the lid over the pan. Now if you are using a whirly pop, just give it a good spin every twenty seconds or so, if not then drape a dishtowel over your pot so you can hold the handles without burning your hands off. Hold the pot by the handles in a way that you're securing the lid on as well and shake pan side to side and in all directions and up and down a few times. Do this every twenty seconds (or for pete's sake just buy a whirly pop).

When you can tell that everything is popped remove the lid and stir immediately. Sprinkle with kosher salt to taste, then eat warm right out of the pan, or if it lasts long enough I suppose you could put it in a bowl. Take it a little easy on the salt though, I very nearly ruined my batch by getting a little shaker happy with my salt. Enjoy!

Quinoa Salad

If I ever become known for a recipe, it will probably be this one. I took it to Blaine's family Christmas party last year and was practically hoisted up on the shoulders of a dozen women who quickly proclaimed it was the best thing they had ever eaten. I don't know that it would classify as that, but it is a beautiful salad with lots of tasty ingredients, a light and zingy dressing and it definitely stands out on a table at a potluck. Now, contrast that to my family, I took a big bowl of this to a party with my family and it sat, untouched, all night long. And the next time I was invited to a party I was politely asked to "maybe bring something besides a salad" because "your salads are just a little . . . different". But the last time someone besides me in my family consumed a vegetable was probably back in the early 70s or so.

Anywho, this is a delicious salad, easy to make and pleases most crowds, you can't ask for more than that!

PS After many lengthy discussions and much soul searching I've decided that the accurate way to pronounce quinoa is "KEEN-wah" not "keen-OH-ah".

Quinoa Salad

by: Kamiko's mom (Kamiko was a little kid in my primary class in our last ward, how sad that I can't remember her mom's name)

2 cups uncooked quinoa
1/2 green/red/or yellow pepper, diced
1 can black beans
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cup frozen corn (I've used canned corn before and it was fine)
cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 or 2 avocados, diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

5 tablespoons lime juice (fresh is best, but no one will tell if you use bottled)
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4teaspoon cumin
1/3 cup olive oil

Cook the quinoa according to package directions. While it is cooking soak the beans (rinse them first) in the vinegar with salt and pepper (to taste). When the quinoa is all cooked add the other stuff, mix the dressing ingredients together separately and then in with the salad. Serve with lime wedges if you have some left over.

I can't figure out if this is supposed to be served hot or cold. Blaine likes it hot, I like it cold. It's fine either way. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad

Yeah yeah the picture is from ourbestbites, I know. Sorry. Saturdays are complete chaos around these parts, zipping from one activity to the next and I somehow managed to prepare three crazy meals yesterday in an attempt to use all of the produce in our fridge that was um...getting a little old (since I took a quick little jaunt to St. George a day after a Costco run, bad idea!). Anyway I made this salad last night for a family party and everyone LOVED it! I think the secret to making people love something is to put crispy tortilla strips on top ;)

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad
by: Ourbestbites.com

4 cups chopped Romaine Lettuce
2 cups chopped grilled chicken (I didn't do the chicken, still good!)
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, washed (and I cut them in half)
1/3 cup vertically sliced red onion
1 avocado, cubed
1 15-oz can bacl beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn, rinsed and drained

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2/3 cup light sour cream
1 1/2 tsp adobo sauce from canned chipotle in adobo sauce (one can will last your entire life, you can freeze the chiles and remaining sauce in an ice cube tray for easy use!)
1 teaspoon chili powder
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Optional : Crispy Tortilla Strips
To make the tortilla strips fill a frying pan with 1/4 inch canola oil. Slice corn tortillas with a pizza cutter to be pretty thin, when oil is hot (it should sizzle when you flick water on it, not spatter, if it spatters it's too hot), throw in the tortillas and stir frequently till they are golden brown. Remove with slotted spatula and place on a plate with a paper towel on it, sprinkle with salt. Try to not eat them all before you serve your salad.

I watched a documentary the other day about doing a juice cleanse. I'm trying to gear up for that. I could post a lot of awesome juice recipes ; )

Friday, July 15, 2011


You know what is hard? Keeping this person entertained.

That's what. Seriously, it starts as early as 6:59AM. "What can I do now?". I can feel my heart beat getting faster as my anxiety grows. She is completely incapable of coming up with something to do on her own. The problem with that is that she gets it from me. So the combination of neither of us being capable to come up with something to entertain her for more than three minutes and her incessant "WHAT CAN I DO NOW?" leads to excessive yelling by about 7:04AM. It's infuriating.

So I took one for the team and came up with something for us to do this morning. I made play-doh. It was freaking awesome. Not only does it not stink like regular play-doh, but it is more pliable and fun. Fun because we made it. And it kept her entertained for a full 40 minutes, which is really saying something around these parts. Especially since in a fit of rage several months ago I gave away most of our play-doh accessories....so they played with play-doh with a can of black beans as their rolling pin and three cookie cutters. Nice.

Homemade Play-Doh
by: Laurie Willis, one of the finest people I have ever met. Seriously, she's great.

1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup salt, of the plain old variety
1 tablespoon Alum (in the spice aisle)
2 tablespoons mineral oil (in the laxative aisle, walk it with pride baby)
1 tablespoon glycerin (near the bandaids/rubbing alcohol)
food coloring
1 1/2 cups flour

Mix first five ingredients together in a pot, warm the pot but don't bring it to a boil. Just let it get nice and hot (like you can stick your finger in it without going to the ER but you wouldn't want to take a bath in it kind of hot) and the salt almost dissolves but not quite. You can stir a little, but not too much. After you have reached this obscure temperature put it in your mixer and add the flour, start mixing, then drop in a few drops of your color of choice. I only had yellow, and I am pretty sure I stole it from said Laurie Willis. Mix it for...oh say...like a minute or two minutes, till it looks like dough. Then you can let it sit till it cools off a bit (it gets less sticky as it cools). Oh also you can add a nice little drop of something to make it smell nice, like peppermint. But you don't have to. Heaven knows I didn't. It makes enough play-doh for about three kids. Perfect.

Okay, recipes like this stress me out, but it worked out just fine! I whisked it a couple times, once at the beginning and a little at the end, but I was scared to death it wouldn't turn out. It was great! It's kind of an investment at the get go (alum was like $2.50 and so was the glycerin) but you get big bottles and now I have enough stuff (except food coloring) to make play-doh for life. Woot.

Please don't eat it.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Chicken and Roasted Broccoli

I used to have a good laugh when watching old movies and the housewife would suffer from "sheer exhaustion" after a trip to the grocery store, or something ridiculous. She'd sweep her wrist up to her head and collapse on the couch and be rendered useless for days. But now... I kind of get it. Not to that extreme, but there is something about going to Costco that sucks up my will to live and while it may not render me useless for days one thing is for sure - I NEVER feel like making dinner after a Costco run. I think part of the problem is that after you go to Costco and spend a small fortune you still have to go to another store to get all of the knick knacks and paddywhacks you need to complete your grocery list. Exhaustion.

So as a general rule I pick up a rotisserie chicken at Costco and find a way to make that work for dinner. Which was great until we got kind of sick of plain old rotisserie chicken. This recipe is the perfect solution for your Costco shopping trip dilemma, all of the items can be purchased at Costco, it's easy to whip up and tastes delicious. Enjoy!

Chicken and Roasted Broccoli Salad with Goat Cheese
By Perry's Plate , Natalie calls this a salad but if I called it a salad Blaine wouldn't eat it for dinner : )
For the roasted broccoli and pepper:
1 large head of broccoli (about 1 3/4 lbs), cut into 1-2 inch florets
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
pepper to taste

For the rest of the salad:
4 T olive oil
6 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
a couple pinches of crushed red pepper flakes
pinch of dried oregano
juice from 1/2 a lemon (about 2 T), plus additional lemon wedges for garnish
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (rotisserie chicken!)
3-4 ounces of goat cheese, crumbled

To prepare the broccoli:
Heat oven to 500 degrees and place a sturdy baking sheet on the lowest rack. Place broccoli florets and peppers slices in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper.

Working quickly, remove baking sheet from the oven and spread broccoli and peppers into an even layer, placing the florets cut-side down when possible. Return to bottom rack of the oven and roast 10-12 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked through and there are caramelized spots scattered throughout. Be sure not to cook until the tips of the florets turn black.

To prepare the rest of the salad:
Heat 2 T olive oil, sliced garlic, and pepper flakes in a small skillet over med-low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is soft and begins to turn golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Add chicken to the skillet and cook until heated through, about 3-5 minutes. Remove chicken-garlic mixture from heat; stir in oregano and lemon juice.

Toss roasted vegetables with the chicken-garlic mixture and an additional 2 T of olive oil in a large salad bowl. Gently fold in the goat cheese crumbles and serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Grilled Malibu Chicken

A couple of sad things. But not like that sad of things.... upon coming home from my week long trip to Oregon I came down with the worlds worst headache. Completely debilitating, you remember this because I droned on and on about it a couple posts ago. Anyways, so a week later I am minding my own business on a family campout and I look down to notice that I am completely covered in red bumps. And of course as soon as I notice them they start itching like crazy. Neckline to toe (thank goodness my face was spared!) I was completely covered. Bug bites and grass allergies were ruled out because I was wearing long pants the whole time I was there. I was quite perplexed. As it turns out.... I'm allergic to amoxicillin (sp?), which is just downright awesome. So, just log away in your brain that you can get an amoxicillin rash eight days after you start taking it, or even later than that. So I looked really awesome there for a few days, went to church wearing a coat and long boots in the middle of a heat wave. It was awesome.

Secondly, we spent our fourth of July in the Urgent Care Clinic getting STAPLES in my sons head. Yeah. Not sure what happened but he smacked the back of his head really hard on the corner of our blasted coffee table. I am a little bit proud that I've gone my whole life without stitches and that I've managed six years of parenthood without them. So I had to restrain my child while they stapled his head shut and my dreams of becoming a nurse were shattered as I nearly passed out, vomited, and wept through the process.

Third sad thing, our grill has been broken for a year, so when I make this Grilled Malibu Chicken I have to make it on the George Foreman which requires getting tricky with aluminum foil, and a big cheesy mess. So, don't take your grill, your unitchy body, or your child's naturally concealed skull for granted.

We love this chicken, it knocks my socks off every time!

Grilled Malibu Chicken

from Patio Daddio BBQ via Tasty Kitchen via Perry's Plate

6 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
2 T BBQ seasoning (I used Montreal Steak Seasoning)
12 slices deli ham (thin)
6 slices canned pineapple
6 slices Swiss cheese
1/2 cup pineapple juice (from the can)
4 T butter, melted
1 T plain yellow mustard
1 T honey
1 T molasses
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp chili powder

(The original recipe suggested pounding the thicker parts of the breasts to make them more uniform in thickness, but I simply sliced through them horizontally to form two thin breasts out of each one. They cook faster this way, the meat goes farther, and it's more flavorful when you're using sauces or marinades.)

Season both sides of each breast with the seasoning, cover and refrigerate at least an hour (unless you don't have an hour, in that case just season both sides and go for it).

Combine the butter, pineapple juice, mustard, honey, molasses, Worcestershire sauce and chili powder a medium mixing bowl and whisk until smooth, then set aside.

Prepare your grill for two-zone cooking (direct and indirect) at medium-high heat (about 400º). Or if that last sentence makes you panic, turn on your grill-pan, or George Foreman, to medium-high heat.

Quickly grill one side of each breast and each pineapple ring over direct heat until they are seared and have nice grill marks, about two minutes. Flip each breast and ring, brush with the sauce, and cook another two minutes.

Move the chicken to the indirect part of the grill (or a not-so-hot part of your pan) and brush the top of each with the sauce. Top each breast with two slices of ham and drizzle the ham with the sauce. Put a slice of cheese then a pineapple ring on each breast and drizzle yet again with the sauce. Continue cooking with the grill lid down (or in my case, a piece of aluminum foil. . . grill masters are rolling their eyes, I'm sure) until the internal temperature reaches 160º, about 10 minutes.