Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Good eats

Feeding people graciously and lovingly is one of life’s simplest pleasures: a most basic way of making life better for someone, at least for awhile.

- Anna Thomas

To kick off the quickly approaching holidays, I made a new-ish casserole for last night's dinner: Green Bean Chicken Casserole.

My plan was to combine lots of healthy green beans and low fat chicken with the...uh...shall I say less forgiving ingredients that make the classic green bean casserole the creamy-crispy goodness it is.
Here's the recipe:

1 14oz pkg frozen petite green beans
2 10 3/4oz cams of cream of mushroom soup
1/3 cup chicken broth
4 boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and cubed
freshly ground pepper
1 can of french fried onions

Preheat oven to 350. Completely thaw green beans. Combine chicken and green beans in a 9"x13" pan. Mix cream of mushroom soup with chicken broth, pour over green beans and chicken in pan. Top with freshly ground pepper, to taste. Bake for 25 minutes at 350, top with french fried onions, and bake 5 minutes longer.
Bon appetit!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Autumn, gratitude, and simple joys.

It is hard to escape the beauty of Autumn, even harder to avoid thinking of Thanksgiving, and the blessings of the quickly waning year. Reminders are all around us -in grocery stores, magazines, on TV. As a result, I have gratitude on the brain, and the Fall season is irrevocably intermingled in those thoughts.
I'm not much of one for New Years resolutions, but I do have a few for Fall.

1. Appreciate -Allowing ourselves enjoyment of simple pleasures that we have been given is in essence, active gratitude. Burning candles is one of those things for me.
2. Express -I have been so blessed by friends, family, and even strangers -now I just need to tell them so!
3. Give back -not for personal gain, nor for appreciation. Instead, in loving obedience to Christ (Matthew 6:3-4, 1 Timothy 6:18-19, Colossians 3:23-24a).

More Pillow Talk

I am broke, but inspired...bad combo if you don't have resourcefulness and creativity. While I can't boast in my own creativity, I can credit many beautiful blogs (check out my sites to see) for idea after idea, and inspiration heaped upon inspiration.
Sadly, I cannot credit any one blog for today's craft -although I gleaned ideas from many. I have a couple of painters-cloth covered pillows that are rich in texture, but not rich in design. With some brown acrylic paint and an old paintbrush, I gave the little bits of fluff some charm.
Here's the end result:
Pretty nice, huh? funny... the cat looks just like my kitty Obi, although I didn't use him for my model at all. The "C" is for our last name. And it was a practically free craft -gotta love that!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Soup and Salad

After hosting a archeological-dig-murder-mystery dinner party for my dear sister D on Monday, I had an abundance of middle-eastern inspired foods to munch upon. One of the dishes was a delicious Israeli Carrot Salad that sister D discovered the recipe for while in Israel.
Today I shall share the loveliness:

Israeli Carrot Salad

4-5 carrots, grated (I used a few more)
½ yellow onion, diced
1 big handful cilantro, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
½ lime
3-4 Tbsp olive oil

Toss carrots, onion, garlic and cilantro together. Sprinkle with cumin and coriander and toss again. Squeeze lime over and pour olive oil over and toss again.

This salad is a great way to eat fresh carrots, and has a bit of spice and zing to it...perfect as it is, but perhaps even better (if that's possible!) as a soup.

Because I had gobs leftover after the party, I decided to turn it into a warm and cozy soup. To do this, I used these ingredients and steps:

Carrot Salad Soup

Leftover salad (I had about half of a normal recipe)
2 carrots, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
3 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp celery seed
1 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cans (~14oz each) chicken broth
¾ cups milk

In a medium pot over, saute carrot salad, carrots, and green onions in butter for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add celery seed, chili powder, and black pepper -saute 1 minute more. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.
Allow to cool (at this point you can freeze or refrigerate the mixture), using a hand-held blender (or working in batches with counter-top blender), puree soup until smooth. Mix in milk, and slowly warm over medium-low heat.
It's pretty delicious! And perfect for these cool Fall days. Bon Appetit!