Pinterest SUCCESS!

Because of the ease and quickness of posting directly to Facebook & Instagram, I haven’t been posting new things very often. The recipe from dinner tonight will make up for all that. At first I was skeptical ¬†because usually when I bake something that’s supposed to be deep fried it turns out mediocre at best. I found the recipe on Pinterest which led me to therecipecritic.com. Even Audrey ate it! You should make it, too. Or let me know when you want to come over for dinner and I’ll make it for you.

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Smoothie Challenge

30day_headerFriends of ours received a new Ninja blender as a Christmas present. We got started on talking about making smoothies and it kind of renewed my interest in the fad that just won’t go away. Of course I turned to Pinterest for some recipes to make besides the standard orange juice/strawberry/banana combo and came across this website. There was a link to sign up to take a 30-day GREEN smoothie challenge so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try it. Each week I get an email with the shopping list and recipes for 5 different smoothies. Today was our first green smoothie: “Gorilla Punch.” It had kale, almond milk, banana, apple, cocoa powder and a little peanut butter in it. It wasn’t too bad! The Ninja blender I bought about 5 years ago did a pretty good job of blending everything together, but it wasn’t great since it only has a 400-watt motor. We MAY be in the market for a new blender now. Any recommendations?

Braised Chicken with Mushrooms

When we lived in Milwaukee, we’d sometimes have dinner at my mom’s. When it was time to eat, she’d start pulling out dish after dish from her kitchen. This was usually one of those dishes. When I cooked it for dinner tonight it smelled like her house. Mike really liked it and told me he didn’t think I’d made it before. I had notes on the recipe in my cookbook though, so I must have. I told him I probably left the Chinese mushrooms out if I had made it before since I don’t like them. He however, LOVES them! I always try ONE bite of mushroom to see if maybe, just maybe, this time I’ll like them. This time wasn’t it. I know I’ve used them cut up pretty small in other recipes, but in this one, they were left in larger pieces.¬†They come dehydrated and you have to soak them in hot water for 30 minutes to make them usable again. I added this soaking liquid to the pan when the chicken was braising instead of plain water. I think that did the trick.

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The dish is pretty easy to make: Soak 6-10 whole Chinese mushrooms in hot water for 30 minutes to soften. Brown 1 whole, cut-up chicken on all sides in a deep skillet with some oil, garlic and ginger. Add the Chinese mushrooms, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup (or so) water or liquid from rehydrating your dried Chinese mushrooms, 1 Tbsp sugar and 1/2 tsp salt. Cover and cook for 30-45 minutes. Mix together 1 tsp cornstarch and 1 Tbsp water and add to braising liquid along with 3-4 green onions cut into 2″ lengths. Stir sauce until slightly thickened and serve.

Apples Galore!

Mike went fishing at a friend-of-a-friend’s farm pond last weekend. He didn’t bring any fish home but he DID come home with a huge paper grocery bag of apples. The farm pond owner’s wife told Mike dashed his hopes of a fresh-baked apple pie when she told him the apples were not good pie-apples and that she mostly used them for applesauce. Heeding her advice, I peeled & chopped up about a dozen apples and put them in the crock pot on low with a little water, sugar and cinnamon. Two hours later we had warm, chunky applesauce that we spooned over vanilla ice cream and ate with pie crust strips (store-bought pie crust cut into strips, sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar and baked at 350 for about 15 minutes). This tasty little topping only used up about one-quarter of the apples, though. I cut/cooked up the rest tonight and found recipes for an apple cake and apple cookies, so stay tuned!

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Let Her Eat Cake!

But beware if you let her cut her own piece, because this is what you’ll be left with:

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This is chocolate zucchini cake made from a recipe is from my boss’ mother. Audrey resisted trying it for 2 days after I made it for the first time. Then she tried it and realized I wasn’t lying when I told her how good it was. I think this is the 3rd one I’ve made. I brought one on our family vacation and it was devoured (by 6 children) in no time flat.