Sunday, October 17, 2010

Going Global

Better late than never ... at 31 I'm finally making my first trek across the pond. I'm heading to London for work in two weeks and am super excited! I have a conference to attend for a few days and am staying an extra few days to enjoy the city. I'm the luckiest gal in the world as my jet-setting cousin that currently lives in Brussels and most recently lived in London for 2 years is meeting me in The Big Smoke (apparently London is known for it's fog and this is it's nickname ... ) for the weekend.

So, bring on any suggestions you have for what I "must" see in my two days of free time. In return I promise to make you insanely jealous with a post on my grand adventures : )

Friday, October 15, 2010

What's Cookin': Chicken & Dumplings

This past weekend I wanted to make comfort food and went straight for my Big Book of Casseroles Cookbook, I first came to a recipe for Chicken Pot Pie and immediately began to reminisce about the many, many times my Mom made this for me as a child. I mentioned the dish to Mike, and just like many other Northern things that come out of his mouth, was shocked to hear "I'm not really a fan, although I've only ever had the individual frozen ones." Oh my. I figured we needed to start with a basic chicken and dough dish and opted for Chicken and Dumplings, one of his favorite Cracker Barrel dishes (I find this and Ramsey's are the perfect places to introduce him to some of the South's finest). This recipe did not dissapoint! Although it takes a while to cook, the hands on time isn't as extensive and I had chopped the veggies and chicken the night before, making it much faster. Enjoy!!

Classic Chicken & Dumplings

1/2 c all purpose flour
3/4 t salt
freshly ground pepper to taste

1 chicken (about 3 lbs), cut into serving pieces (I used only breast meat)
1 T butter
2 T vegatable oil
1 chopped yellow onion
1 chopped red bell pepper
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced (I omitted ... can't handle the texture)
1 garlic clove, minced
3 carrots, sliced
3 celery stalks, sliced
4 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1/2 t dried thyme

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the flour, 1/2 t salt and pepper in a small bowl. Using a zip-top bag, toss the chicken in about half the flour mixture, reserving the rest for later.

In a large Dutch oven, over medium heat, melt the butter with 1 T oil. Brown chicken in two batches, cooking pieces about 5 minutes on each side. Add oil as needed. Remove chicken to a plate.

Add remaining oil to the Dutch oven and add veggies. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining flour mixture. Add stock and bring to a boil, whisking until smooth. Add the bay leaf, thyme and remaining salt. Return chicken to the Dutch oven.

Cover and bake until chicken is no longer pink in the center, 45 minutes to one hour. In the meantime make the dumplings.

Remove the lid and discard the bay leaf. Place dumplings on top using a small cookie scoop or tablespoon. Bake uncovered for 10 minutes. Cover and bake for 10 more minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a dumpling comes out clean.

Parlied Buttermilk Dumplings

2 c all purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 c fresh chopped parsley
1 c buttermilk

In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and parsley. With a fork, stir in the buttermilk until the dough is just blended.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

New Ride

Well, we've done and gone totally suburban now, y'all ... we traded in Mike's 2005 Chevy (complete with 228,519 miles, and no that is not a typo) and purchased a 2010 Ford Edge this past weekend. I am in love!! I love the four doors and sitting up higher and the amenities like auto-connect Bluetooth, heated seats and a panoramic sunroof don't hurt either. I never thought I'd drive an American car, but thanks to Toyota's little brake snafu earlier this year, my eyes were opened. Mike is now driving the Solara, which with only 77,000 miles on it is like a new car for him as well.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Running Fool: Nashville Women's Half Marathon

After returning from a wonderful weekend with my gal pals in San Francisco and enjoying a few days at home, I trekked to Nashville and ran my fifth long-distance run and fourth half marathon (13.1 miles) since 2008, the Women's Half Marathon. My friend Whitney and I decided we'd both run in the early summer and kept each other motivated to train from afar as she lives in Music City.

We had perfect weather and the course was interesting ... a bit hillier than I anticipated and with hills at miles 11 and 12 (who does that when planning?!?!). The medal is by far the neatest of the five I've earned ... the pendant in the middle is removable and can be put on a separate chain. We started the weekend with dinner with an old college friend and a comedy show with Chelsea Handler (hilarious and I highly recommend!). So, if running 13.1 miles means I get to have this much fun around the race, sign me up for another : )

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Funny: Mean Moms Rule

A friend posted this on her Facebook page yesterday and I have been dying laughing as I browse through ... Rules by the Meanest Mommy in the Whole Wide World ...

My favorites are ...

Rule #390: Claiming a stomach ache might get you out of eating dinner, but you may not have ice cream to make it feel better.

Rule #386: Don’t lick the cat. She cleans herself.

Rule #382: Do not tear the UPC codes off all the boxes and labels before we pay for the items at the grocery store.

Rule #379: Licking a pickle does not count as dinner, and therefore, does not make you eligible for dessert.