Saturday, June 19, 2010

Joni's Curry Chicken Salad

Our Cousin Joni shared this with us for lunch today.  Yummy!  She was kind enough to share the recipe with me, and I in turn am sharing with you.

Curry Chicken Pitas
2 c cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
1/2 c mayonnaise
1 T honey
1 t curry, yellow or Madras
1 c halved grapes (we had red)
1/2 c chopped pecans
4 green onions, chopped
4 pita breads, warmed, halved
8 lettuce leaves

In bowl, combine mayonnaise, honey and curry powder. Stir in chicken, grapes, pecans and onions.  Line pita halves with lettuce; spoon 1/2 c of salad mixture into each and serve.  4 servings.

From: Taste of Home's 2002 Quick Cooking Annual Recipes

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Best of You

Heard the song Best of You by the Foo Fighters on the radio today.  I took it to be God asking me "Is someone else getting the best of you".  Not exactly the original intent of the song, but that's how it touched me today.

I'm also reading Crazy Love in small group right now and God's really been tugging at my heart to spend more time with Him.  Reading the Bible, sure, but specifically, spending more time listening to Him.  Just being quiet in His presence.  I don't admit this often, but I do believe that God has spoken to me. (why do I think that makes me sound crazy)  At my lowest times, He has whispered to my heart what I've needed to hear most.  Comfort and wisdom no person could provide.  

In the book, there's a challenge that's stuck in my head.  The author relayed the parable of the sower... if you don't know the story, it's explained here.  He says:  Don't assume you're good soil.

Don't assume you're good soil.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Have you ever gone to use a word, then decided your audience wouldn't receive it the right way?  I hate having to dumb down my vocabulary for business, but I'm regularly given a hard time for using "big words".  So tell me... is this really so much that I must be mocked for it?

multiple competencies

I was going to use the word analogous today (it was honestly the first word that popped into my head) but instead I jammed on the backspace and said "just like".  Do you know how much I attempt to avoid the word "like" as a rule? 

Maybe that's just me rebelling against my Valley Girl roots.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Galations 6

1Live creatively, friends... 4-5Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. (The Message)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

communion station?

Our church worships in a gymnatorium (aka sanctuasium).  We have our own building, it's just the design of the church... community center by week, church by Sunday.  I saw this murphy desk in a catalog and thought it would make a neat little communion station... then the tireless volunteers who set up communion each week wouldn't have to set up tables... just unlock and fold down.  You could build them custom, so they barely stood off the wall at all - or get really snazzy and build them into the wall from the get-go.  It's a thought anyway.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Rosemary-Skewered Artichoke Chicken

This is one Stan found, we always serve it with Pasta with Garlic and Lemon Sauce.  There's something wonderfully yummy about the slightly crispy ends of the artichoke hearts and the silky texture of the squash and tomatoes.  This is also easy to make for a crowd, as so much of the work can be done in advance, and guests can help thread their own skewers for an interactive dinner!

Rosemary Artichoke Chicken

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 t dill weed
  • 1 t oregano
  • 1 t rosemary
  • 2 t lemon peel (fresh lemon zest will burn, due to the oil - stick with dried)
  • 1 T crushed garlic
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 1-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 can (14 ounces) marinated artichoke hearts
  • 2 medium yellow summer squash, cut into 1-inch slices
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 6 wooden skewers, soaked in water


  • In a large resealable plastic bag or bowl, combine the oil, dill, oregano, rosemary, lemon peel, garlic, salt and pepper; add chicken. Stir to coat; refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • Drain and discard marinade. On soaked wooden skewers, alternately thread the chicken, artichokes, squash and tomatoes. 
  • Using long-handled tongs, moisten a paper towel with cooking oil and lightly coat the grill rack. Grill, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from the heat for 10-15 minutes on each side or until chicken is no longer pink and vegetables are tender. Yield: 6 servings.

Modified from:

Pasta with Garlic and Lemon Sauce

Stan actually found this recipe.  He wanted Olive Garden but didn't feel like paying for it... we always pair this with Rosemary-Skewered Artichoke Chicken.

Pasta with Garlic and Lemon Sauce

1 lb. linguine or fettuccine
2 garlic cloves, minced
Zest of 1 lemon
4 tbsp. butter
1 c. heavy cream
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tbsp. lemon juice

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and cook the garlic and lemon zest until very fragrant.Add cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cook to heat through. Set aside until pasta is cooked.
Cook pasta in plenty of salt water. If fresh pasta is used, this will take only 2 minutes after water returns to boil.
Reheat sauce, adding half the Parmesan cheese and all the lemon. Adjust seasonings. Drain pasta and serve. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese.

Chinese Chicken Salad

Get out the biggest bowl you own!  Then be amazed at how fast this disappears...

Chinese Chicken Salad
1 cabbage (nappa if the recipe will be consumed same-day)
2-3 chicken breasts, poached and cut into chunks
2-3 packages ramen noodles (oriental or sesame chicken flavor)
1 c rice vinegar (or 1/2 plain white and 1/2 rice)
1/2 c oil
1-2 c frozen peas
2 cans mandarin oranges, drained
sugar, salt & pepper to taste
1/4 c sliced almonds
1 can water chestnuts (optional)
toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Crunch up noodles in medium bowl, add juice from oranges, oil & vinegar, and seasoning packets from noodles. Stir and let sit.

Chop cabbage, combine in large bowl with chicken, peas, almonds and oranges.  Add noodes and mix.  Serve cold with almonds and sesame seeds sprinkled on top.

Taco Soup

We call this chili in our household.  It's a great addition to a baked potato bar, turns into nachos on day 2, and is super easy to make (you can even freeze it)!

Taco Soup

In a large pot:
Brown 1 lb ground beef with 1 packet Taco Seasoning, drain excess grease

Add following and simmer for 20 minutes or more:
1 pkg ranch dressing mix
2 28oz cans diced fire roasted tomatoes (I love Muir Glenn brand)
1 can chili and lime Rotel
1 can cream corn (and sometimes some extra corn from a bag of frozen)
1 can dark kidney beans, drained
1 can white kidney beans (cannellini), drained
2 cans black beans, drained
2 cans pinto beans, drained

We like to top this like it's a taco... sour cream, shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, chopped cilantro.  It's a lot of fun to serve buffet style, letting everyone top their own bowl.  You can even make it vegetarian, or add TVP to stretch your meat.

Because I can keep the ground beef frozen and the cans always on hand, this is a go-to recipe, especially in the winter.  I keep all the cans for a single batch tied up in a grocery sack in my pantry and I toss the empty cans back in the bag as I make the recipe for easy clean up.

Apricot Gelatin Salad

I got this recipe from a blog another friend of mine follows, and I would link back, but I can't find it anymore... just so you know that I'm not the one that should be credited with this wonderful yumminess.  It should, however, be enjoyed all the same:

Apricot Gelatin Salad 
1        5.5oz package orange or apricot jello
1        envelope plain gelatin or 1 small package jello
1        cup boiling water
1        20oz can crushed pineapple
1        8oz package cream cheese or cream cheese substitute 
1        15oz can apricot halves, drained & chopped
1        carton whipped topping, thawed & divided
¼       cup chopped pecans

In large bowl, dissolve gelatin in water.  Drain pineapple, reserving juice.  Add pineapple to gelatin. 
In food processor or blender, beat cream cheese and pineapple juice until smooth.  Combine with gelatin mixture.  Chill until set. 
Before serving, fold in apricots and whipped topping.  Dollop with spoon of topping and sprinkle with nuts.

You can make this work with mandarin oranges as well for a 50/50 bar whip.  It’s a lovely treat in the middle of winter when fresh fruit isn’t readily available.  

Chewy Wheat Crackers

This recipe is from Grandmother Searls.  Use high-quality whole wheat flour for the best results.

Chewy Wheat Crackers
2  whole wheat flour
2 c oats (quick cooking or chop up regular rolled)
1 t salt
2 T sugar

1 c water
8 T butter
Combine above in a glass measuring cup and microwave until butter's melted.

Stir together, knead only to combine.  Divide in half.  Pat into 1" thick disc, roll to desired thickness. (thicker for chewier flat-bread, thinner for crispy crackers).  Cut diagonally to make "diamonds" or use cookie cutters.  Bake without removing negative area, they will pull apart when cooked.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds, coarse salt, or brown sugar and cinnamon. Lightly roll to embed topping.
Repeat with other half.

Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes.

Store in an airtight container.

Steamed Artichokes

Stan and I love steamed artichokes.  Here's how I prepare them.

At the store:
Choose artichokes that seem heavy for their size.  Purple discoloration on the petals just means it was exposed to a frost, but do make sure the stem doesn't show any signs of mold or rot.

At home:
Rinse well and cut off stem at base.  Cut off top 1/4 and trim petal tips with scissors (I don't always do this, but it makes them pretty and less "pokey").

Stand, stem up, in 1-2" of water in a pot (arrange so they hold each other in place). Add some crushed garlic, salt and lemon juice.  Bring to a gentle boil with lid slanted so that some steam can escape.  Cook until tender, test by pushing a butter knife thru the base - if it goes all the way in, you're done.  Usually, 30-45 minutes.

Use tongs to pull them out and turn them petal-side up.  Dip in garlic butter or mayo and scrape the meat off with your teeth.  When you get to the "choke", scrape it off with a spoon and enjoy the heart.  I buy 1 artichoke for each of us.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Apple Sausage Strata

I created this for Christmas brunch 2003.  It was something I could just wake up and pop in the oven, and it was a big hit.  I've since made it for retreats and family gatherings with rave reviews.  (It's easy too.)

Apple Sausage Strata
1 loaf french bread, sliced 1-1/2" thick
10 large eggs
3 c half and half (if you use non-fat, spray the pan with cooking oil)
2 t dijon mustard
1 t salt

Lay bread slices to cover bottom of dish, cut to fill smaller spaces.

Whisk together eggs with half and half and seasonings, pour over bread.  Let sit covered overnight, or at least 2 hours.

2 c grated cheddar cheese
3 apples, diced with peels on (braeburn are my favorite)
2 c cubed smoked turkey sausage (or turkey kielbasa)

Top bread with some cheese, then apples and sausage and more cheese.  Bake at 350F for 30 minutes covered with foil, then remove foil and bake until bread springs back in middle (20-30 minutes more). Cool 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Serves 8-10 hungry people.

Peach French Toast Bake

Make this breakfast the night before... stumble out of bed and pop it into the oven. TahDah!

Peach French Toast Bake
1 loaf french bread
4 whole eggs
4 egg whites
1 c milk
1 t vanilla
5 c frozen sliced peaches
1/2 lemon or about 1-1/2 T lemon juice
3 T brown sugar
1/2 t cinnamon

Spray 9x13" pan with cooking spray.  Slice bread about 1" think and cover entire bottom of pan. Mix eggs, milk and vanilla.  Pour over bread, pressing down on any bread that floats and using little pieces of bread to fill in all gaps.

Toss the still mostly frozen peach slices with lemon juice and brown sugar.  Arrange in a single layer on top of bread and sprinkle with cinnamon.  Refrigerate, covered, overnight.

Bake at 350F for 20 covered with foil then 20 minutes uncovered, or until bread springs back in middle.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


It's not a shell, it's not an elbow, it's... a shelbow?  It's Barilla's Pipette and it's fabulous.  New favorite pasta for Macaroni and Cheese, hands down.  Go get yourself some.