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Thursday, June 30, 2011

zucchini stuffed chicken

my husband recently did the grocery shopping & came home with bone-in chicken breasts. I've never cooked them before, so I was feeling a bit intimidated.  My Betty Crocker cookbook was less than helpful, so I searched and came up with this.  Modifying it a bit, the end result was too tasty not to share!
4 2 bone-in chicken breasts, with skin
3 1.5 tablespoons butter
1/2 1/4 small [white] onion, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2 1/2 cups 1 small shredded zucchini
3 slices bread 1 whole wheat hamburger bun top, torn into pieces
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese 2 deli slices provolone, sliced into small strips
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon herbs provence [my addition]
before it went into the oven [the stuffing was runny]
Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch [glass] baking dish.
Loosen the skin on each chicken breast to form a pocket, and set aside.
Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat, and cook and stir the onion, parsley, and basil until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the zucchini, and cook and stir until tender, about 2 more minutes [it was hard to tell how tender it got since the zucchini was already so juicy from being finely shredded]. Remove the skillet from the heat, and thoroughly mix the torn bread, egg, Swiss provolone cheese, salt, pepper and herbs provence into the zucchini mixture until well-combined.
Stuff the chicken breasts with the zucchini mixture, place them in the prepared baking dish, and bake in the preheated oven until the chicken breasts are golden brown and the stuffing is hot, 50 to 60 45 minutes.
baked...golden brown

Monday, June 27, 2011

tickle me tuesday {hemmed in}

The past few weeks have been kind of tough and I haven't wanted to admit it to myself...or anyone else.  I have been busy with life, moving from one thing to the next.  But when I stop long enough to feel the self-centeredness creep in, I realize just how selfish I am.  I rely on myself.  I focus on my wants.  I take too much pride in my independence.  It's pretty ugly.

Recently, it hit me as I was reading from the Psalms and drinking in God's promises...sweet words I longed for.  And this song, like so many of Sandra's, met me there.  It's not a new one and was released ten years ago when Gypsy Flat Road first came out [check out the the album for FREE].  

I love the lyrics.   I am aware of my failures, yet I know where Home is.  Life isn't supposed to be perfect and we will have troubles.  Yet, our God is bigger than all of it; He knows each of us completely from before we were formed in our mother's womb.

The song speaks a powerful reminder from Psalm 139: 
"You hem me in, behind and before"

Now and Then by Sandra McCracken
I know where I'm bound
And where I'm chained
And where I'm left alone
I know no hunger, and I feel no pain
But tonight I wanna go home

Stay with me now and then
From all sides hem me in
Sing me a song
So I can close my eyes

Before I was born
Every day recorded
Your thoughts like grains of sand
Through the wide-eyed night
In the morning light
As my days demand

With the fears of a girl
and the heart of a woman
and everything in between
though I swim this ocean
and ride these wings
where you are, is where I'll be

I'm linked up with Sarah for Tickle Me Tuesday.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

miscellany monday {11}

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters
{1} boston
last week, i spent three days in downtown boston.  i mean i slept at a hotel and went to meetings for an upcoming conference planning team i am part of.  it was a blast!  we tried a few restaurants i'd not yet been to and returned to some faves.  it was also the prefect kind of june day(s) to be in the city.
a great view of huntington ave. from my hotel room
causeway street, nearly in the north end.
i was downright giddy to see this banner was still up!
{2} kitchen cabinets
all of our kitchen cabinets have been installed...we're still working on the counter tops, but the place is really coming together!
i'm so ready to fill the pantry!
note, there's no counter on the left...we're getting there, i promise!
{3} celebration dinner(s)
we at some tasty meals and i was not so great about taking photos of the actual meals (sorry) in celebration of brandon's birthday!  he loves to cook and i got a text from him saying "they had some deals on meat at the store so i'll cook you some great meals for my birthday."  and so he did...steak and fish...delish!
we ate porgy, which is a dark-fleshed fish and he grilled it gills and all!
i'm linking up for miscellany monday

happy birthday, brandon!

today's my husband's birthday.  we celebrated yesterday by
...going to a movie [hooray for free movie passes]!
we saw super 8 and i have to say, i wasn't expecting much [though i do love both spielberg and abrams],
then we had dinner at a new-to-us restaurant in cambridge, henrietta's table,
& finished the night with ice cream at crescent ridge!
birthday dinner in 2009...the ice cream ended up in his face!

happy birthday, to the one i love!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

saturday snapshot

Today, I'm linking up with Kim for another Saturday Snapshot!
This photo was taken during Young Life camp in 2007 during the country fair.
We had all been pied or taken a whirl in the dunk tank...oh the things I did for high schoolers!

Have you ever been pied or dunked?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

homemade granola

I tried to make my own granola last summer (I think...maybe it was fall?) and I started thinking about how it wasn't as easy as I expected.  I always seem to have a rather large stash of rolled oats on hand, so now seemed as good a time as any to experiment with my own granola making.  I chose to keep it simple (not too many ingredients).  I do wish I had craisins or another dried fruit on hand...that would make it a little more interesting. Oh, and you can't really taste the peanut butter.

1.5 cups rolled oats (quick cooking)
1/2 cup flax seed
1 cup chopped pecans (almonds would also work well)
1 T butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 T smooth peanut butter (almond butter would work too)
combine rolled oats, flax seed & pecans in mixing bowl, stir thoroughly.
in small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter, add maple syrup and peanut butter.  heat until combined, stirring constantly (careful it doesn't burn).
pour heated mixture over dry ingredients and stir well to coat evenly.
transfer mixture to baking sheet (line with foil if you want to avoid cleaning it later) and bake at 350 for 10 minutes, remove from oven and stir. return to oven and bake for another 10 minutes.
let it cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.
I chose to enjoy my first bites with blueberries & milk...mmhhhmm
what's your favorite kind of granola?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

tickle me tuesday {hairy tales}

Do you ever get stuck in a rut?  You wear the same jeans because they fit just the way you want them or you wear your hair the same way almost a ponytail? don't do that?  I'm the only one? 
Over the past week, I've been branching out more.  You see, I've been growing my hair out & I am not very skilled at styling it (never have been which is why it's been short for the past five years or so).
But I came across some inspiration...thanks to a tweet from @allorahandmade & Pinterest for providing lovely photos when I needed it.
I'm talking about the side bun & its many variations...check 'em out!
this one scares me the most...I cannot french braid my own hair...but I want to so badly!
Oh, I hope I can be brave & try these.
[I'm linking up with Sarah for another edition of Tickle Me Tuesday!]

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to my dad...and any other fathers reading this!
my commencement from grad school 
I put together a collection of things that make me think of my dad...
dr. pepper
ice cream

What reminds you of spending time with your dad?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

saturday snapshot

I'm remembering Mom today [even though it's Father's Day tomorrow]...this week marks ten years since she passed away.  Here's a photo that was taken on a family vacation to Boston of all places!
Don't you love our fanny packs...Mom and I were too cool to put them around our waist and went for an over-the-shoulder look...yes, they're both purple.  What can I say?  It was 1992.

I'm linking up with Kim for another edition of Saturday sure to check out everyone else's fun photos!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hockey fan

I grew up spending weekends in ice rinks around the Northeast U.S.  It all started when we took my younger brother to an Air Force Academy ice hockey game and he fell in love with the sport...did I mention he was two years old?  My mom signed him up for skating lessons which began on his third birthday.  My parents (and I) knew nothing of the sport, but learned right along with him for the next fifteen years.  Undoubtedly, our folks were the real troopers getting him to hockey practice at the ungodly hour of 4:30am.

The Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup last night and I watched from the comfort of my home.  During the game, I grew increasingly thankful for social media becuase the rest of the living room looked like this...
To be fair, my husband is from Tennessee and probably didn't see ice hockey in person until he was an adult and had to be up early for work today.
But I was so grateful for my Twitter feed...and even Facebook.
I felt more connected to the action I was watching on TV thanks to comments on plays and especially goals.  Engaging with fans around the country (and world for that matter) via was a beautiful thing!

Yesterday, I came across this blog post about being a Twitter Evangelist and if you've been reading this blog for long, you might dub me one.

Congrats to the Boston Bruins!
P.S.  I'm guest posting for Piper today at Reviving Remnants.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

chocolate chip cookies

Earlier this week, I baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies. There was no particular reason, I just felt like baking eating some cookie dough [who am I trying to kid?]
We also had accumulated more than two packages of Smart Balance butter sticks because I kept forgetting we already had some.
As I was making the cookies, so many memories came to me.
Mostly, I thought about my mom and baking with her. I have so many great memories of baking with mom. I also remember how she stopped letting me lick the beater when I was in high school. It wasn't because I was too old, but because she thought I could get salmonella [apparently the word was out in the mid 90s]. I was offended by this...I mean it's the best part, right? Why else help out or hang around the kitchen?
I thought about how much I love it when someone bakes cookies for a meeting for no particular reason. There's no birthday to celebrate, but they show up with cookies or some kind of baked good to share. I wish I did that more often...I am going to work on this...especially once our kitchen renovation is complete.
Baking makes me realize the things I learned from Mom. Learn the premise of a recipe, but don't be afraid to improvise a bit. I use 1 1/8 cup whole wheat flour [half the amount of regular flour in the Toll House recipe] and decrease the amount of sugar by 1/4 cup when I make chocolate chip cookies.
I use two spoons when placing cookie dough on to the baking sheet. I didn't really think much of this being Mom's thing until I baked with a few friends in college...and in the years since. It's pretty convenient, scoop with one and scrape on to the baking sheet with the other.
I remember my mom telling me I would get a stomach ache if I ate too much cookie dough. It never happened...until this week. But it's my own dumb fault...should have listened to Mom!
Does baking bring back fun memories for you?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

tickle me tuesday {zucchini oven chips}

Thanks to this great recipe find via Pinterest, I have been obsessed with zucchini oven chips [...and by obsessed I mean we ate them with dinner two nights in a row...but they will soon return].
I made a few slight modifications to the recipe:
1/4 cup whole wheat dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt Jane's crazy mixxed up salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fat-free 1% milk
2 1/2 cups (1/4-inch-thick) slices zucchini, 1 zucchini (about 2 small)
*the thickness of the zucchini slices is important, if they're too thin they get crispy/dry
Cooking spray
Cooking Directions
Preheat oven to 425°.
Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Place milk in a shallow bowl. Dip zucchini slices in milk, and dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Place coated slices on an ovenproof wire rack coated with cooking spray; place rack on a baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 30 minutes or until browned and crisp. 
We had them with grilled pork chops one night and accompanying burgers the next.
I can't wait to see what's been tickling your fancy this week!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Father's Day cards

I love giving (& making) cards.
Recently, I came across this beauty via Pinterest
to inspire the men's shirt for the cards I made.
What was the last occasion you made a card for?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

saturday snapshot

Today, I'm linking up with Kim for...
When I first moved to Boston, nearly three years ago,
I went on a backpacking trip with a group my church.
I haven't been able to go backpacking since then,
but it was a beautiful fall weekend in New Hampshire.

Don't forget to check out everyone's  Saturday Snapshots!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ireland {sport & sites}

During our travels, we saw some things unique to Ireland,
including the sport of hurling, a castle and the Cliffs of Moher.

We got to go to a hurling match on a Sunday afternoon.
Hurling is a popular sport in a lot of Ireland
and kids grow up playing it.
It looks like a combination of lacrosse, baseball and rugby.

Dirty Nelly's & Bunratty Castle
We ate lunch at Dirty Nelly's, an old pub.
Along the wooden beams were fire
& police badges from around the world,
as you can imagine, we spotted several from Massachusetts.
We had dinner in the castle and they served four courses,
 but we were only given a dagger to eat with.
Note the guy in a kilt with bagpipes in the center foreground.
Entertainment before the meal.
Our host, Donnchadh, ended up singing on stage!
Cliffs of Moher
This was my favorite part of the trip!
The Cliffs were just as breathtaking and it was quite windy
(as expected), but the sun was shining while we visited.
Check out the clouds on the right...rain rolling in!
A few of us walked out on this path...very narrow!

Ireland was very green & we had great weather (mostly).
Do you have a favorite place 
you've visited or want to see in Ireland?