A Nibble or A Choke

Hello!

It’s Catie (I know…I’m still here….but no worries, my Mom will be back soon!)

So recently, I heard this quote and immediately felt that it resonated with my most recent cooking endeavors.

“Someone once told me not to bite off more than I could chew. To which I replied, I’d rather choke on greatness than nibble on mediocrity.”–unknown

I’ve already mentioned that I have a flair for the dramatic. (Yes…you should feel for my husband and parents.) So, I attempted to make the very ambitious Chicken Marsala recipe from the cookbook, SkinnyTaste by Gina Homolka.

IMG_1952In my defense, I had very noble intentions for being so ambitious. You see, Chicken Marsala is one of my mother’s favorite dishes and as you’ll see, she’s SuperMom–What can I say? I live to please.

For any of you who do not know, Chicken Marsala is an Italian dish that involves a breaded and fried chicken that is covered in a creamy Marsala wine and mushroom sauce. Yum!

Actually, the whole endeavor started off rocky. First, I had never tenderized chicken before nor witnessed chicken tenderized in my life. So I was completely unprepared when I got out the breasts, cut them, and proceeded to attempt to wrap them in plastic wrap. However, all I succeeded in creating was a Salmonella ridden wadded mess. I recovered though with the thoughtful guidance of SuperMom.

Next, came the actual hammering of the chicken or “tendering” of it. Apparently, I’m something of a wuss. According to some, I was using about as much force to pound the chicken breasts as I would’ve used to bat my eyelashes–you could say, I was getting nowhere. All was saved though (again), when SuperMom came in to show me how it’s done, and let’s just say she’s no wuss….<>.

Then, I began the actual cooking and frying up of the chicken breasts which was no sweat because I am Mississippi born and raised after all.  I could probably fry just about anything up in my sleep. It’s in my blood. However, the tricky part came after the frying.  I’m using an iron skillet, ( is there really anything better??), but what I didn’t account for was the fact that an iron skillet takes a little longer to cool back down than other skillets. So, when I started making the marsala sauce, I ended up, not with golden and tender shallots and garlic, but burnt unrecognizable pieces of what use to be shallots and garlic glued to the bottom. Cue SuperMom back with her magical powers to fix it!

She cooled and cleaned down the skillet in enough time for me to re-chop the garlic and shallots. (Bet you wish you had a SuperMom!) In the end, despite the fact that apparently I had bought imitation Marsala wine instead of the real stuff, and used beef broth instead of chicken broth (what? I’m learning…) it ended up pretty good (or so SuperMom said…she could be biased though).

We paired it up with baked sweet potatoes (which I forgot to spear before putting in the oven –almost had some ‘splodin spuds…whoops!) and collard greens. Delizioso! (Delicious! For those of you who don’t speak I-talian)

Until next time,

Catie

From Disaster to Delicious

Hello!

If you’re just joining in, my mom usually blogs on this site but I’m guest posting for her for a few weeks.  I’ve been chronicling my adventures in perfecting my art of cooking.  You can find the first post of my challenge here, if you’d like to start at the beginning.

Since the last crock pot recipe went so well, I decided to try my hand at more slow cooker recipes. I just can’t help myself.  They are just far too convenient.

I ventured out and tried a different cookbook this time, Fix-it and Forget-It Cookbook: Feasting with your Slow Cooker by Dawn J. Ranck and Phyllis Pellman Good. It’s a cookbook that my mom found at a second-hand store. The recipe I used was for a southwest soup.

The recipe was…strange. The soup could only best be described as a kind of salsa soup with potatoes…weird, right??

So in order to salvage it, mom came to the rescue. She’s pure genius.  Thank you, Supermom!  I’m incredibly blessed to have you as my guide.

We cooked some ground meat in fajita seasoning and added it to the soup along with a can of rinsed dark red kidney beans. (The problem with the recipe before was the soup was only potatoes and crushed tomatoes. — Just too thin. ) Then, we added some sour cream, avocado, and shredded cheddar cheese on the top.  The soup turned out to be one of the best taco soups I have ever had!

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Until next time,

Catie

The Battle of Meal Planning

Hello!

It’s Catie, blogging for my mom!

This will be my third week now of cooking meals every night (or most nights) and I’m gong to be blunt here and say, it’s hard! Who knew being a grown up would  require so much work?!!

I equate this work much to how I imagine it’s like to prepare for battle.  First, you must plan your strategy (the week’s menu). It must be detailed enough that you know exactly what you are going to do, but flexible enough to accommodate the dietary preferences of your allies (the family members).  You know … don’t schedule a week of meaty meals when someone is going vegetarian. Keep thy allies happy! (or you will find yourself washing your own dishes..)

Next, you have to check the supplies and decide what must be bought. This step is by FAR the most crucial. Just as you wouldn’t want to go to battle without a sword (this is more of a medieval battle than a modern one), you  don’t want to find yourself elbow deep in marinating meat searching for that supposed bottle of thyme (Can we say Salmonella hands….Ew!)

Once you know what supplies you need, you must be cunning and quick in the grocery store! Dodging the slow or aisle hogging shoppers and quickly choosing the products needed, all while remaining on budget and on point.

Finally, you arrive home, and the battle begins!

Kinda Dramatic….I know.

Anyways, the results of my little battles have been very yummy!  For instance, a couple of days ago, I made this delicious Columbian Steak with Aji Picante sauce from the cookbook SkinnyTaste by Gina Homolka. Gasp! A non-Mexican food meal you ask? Yup…and it was good!

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Mmm mmm!

Until next time,

Catie

Choosing Paint for the Kitchen
Hey! 
Everyone has their little quirks.  One of mine is that I can match a color from memory exactly. I don’t have to take my fabric swatches or clothes to the store with me to match them.  (With that said, I’m starting to panic now that someone is going to test me….)   I’ve usually been pretty good at choosing paint color too from those ridiculously small sample chips. 

Which brings me to my kitchen …. The color had me stumped.  I knew what I wanted but I was having a hard time getting it right.  A couple of things were throwing the color off.  My flooring is a red toned wood and I think the other  was lighting.  I have 3 different light sources in my kitchen: incandescent, halogen, and natural sunlight.  


The original color of my kitchen was this color……a nice go-with-everything color but I was tired of it.
Porter Paint’s Muted Yellow
The first color we attempted was Behr’s Light French Gray. Honey Do was so confident in my abilities of being spot on with paint that he bought a gallon!   Well, he started painting the wall and after a foot of paint, I hollered stop!  The color was all wrong.  It was Blue.  I had a blue wall.  Why did they name it French Gray????  No gray to be found. 
Light French Gray
Next, we tried a Behr paint mixed as a Martha Stewart color called Dolphin.  This time, Honey Do bought a quart.  ( I think his confidence in me was waning….. I can’t blame him.)  Aaargh!  A lovely shade of baby blue.  
Martha Stewart Dolphin
Third time, however, was the charm!  Funny thing is, I had initially picked out Behr’s Pensive Sky but passed on it because I was afraid it would come out too green.  I love this color.  I pick it up every time I go into Home Depot.  I should’ve trusted my instincts.  the color is PERFECT!  
Behr Pensive Sky
I can’t wait to see my finished kitchen!!!   
And, I can’t wait for you to see it either!!  
 I, also, need to start decorating for Christmas!  How about you??

Blessings,

Mimi 

“Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him.  This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD…”
   Ezekiel 1:28  The Holy Bible


Kitchen Table Update

Hey!
We bought our table years ago at an antique shop in town.  I, especially, loved it because it is HUGE!   It’s 4 feet across with 5 leaves so plenty of room for food and plates on the table.The finish has always needed to be redone.  The old stain had darkened with age and some places were so worn the stain no longer existed.

Here is an old picture of the table, I couldn’t find one by itself.

 

With the new change in the kitchen, we decided the time had come to refinish the table.   First, the old stain had to be stripped off.   Those turned legs were a pain to strip!   Next, I had Honey Do apply a white wash finish and a sealer.   I wanted the table to look like weathered wood.

Ta da!   I love my new and improved kitchen table.  I think it turned out perfect.

Thanksgiving is almost here!  I’d better start planning!   How about you?

Blessings,

Mimi

 
 
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking,
 but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,”  Romans 14:17  The Holy Bible

Kitchen Update


Hey! 
I can’t wait to show off our new kitchen redo but you’re going to have to wait a little while longer… me too! 😦

In the meantime, I thought I’d show you where we started, where we were and where we are now.

Move in day —- Thanksgiving 1997

 A house with potential:  Basically, a really  nice way of saying we had a major fixer upper on our hands. 

The kitchen had 2 layers of wallpaper, 3 layers of linoleum floor, 2 layers of countertop and grime to spare.

 I filled 4 – ice cream gallon buckets of dirt dobber nests out of that vent hood!  It was so gross and disgusting!  Makes me grimace and shiver even now!  

Major renovation in 2002…  

Kitchen Redo 2011

Everything is a mess!   The cabinets are being painted a creamy white gloss with a pop of aqua inside.  The walls, ceiling and trim are next. 
During my October challenge of cleaning out drawers, I tackled all of my kitchen gear so now its all waiting to be put in its place. 
I’m so looking forward to my new and improved kitchen!!!
Honey Do says it won’t be much longer!

Blessings,

Mimi

“Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man 
who takes refuge in him.”   Psalm 34:8   The Holy Bible
Doodlebug approved the use of this picture!!! Hahaha