Friday, February 24, 2012

Deviled Chicken



I'm not so sure what's devilish about this chicken, but I am making it tonight in memory of the devil himself (this is not an honor) because I was under severe spiritual warfare yesterday. I'm not kidding. I don't take this stuff lightly at all, and I'm not the type that thinks the boogie man is out to get me all of the time, but the more I think about that day, the more I'm convinced that spiritual warfare is what was really taking place. I will spare you the details about it, but, suffice it to say that I ended up flat on my back with the headache from hell. I was practically paralyzed with pain for the better part of the evening. I hate to call these headaches migraines because I really don't want to insult those who have them. I did not see lights, I did not throw up, and I was not sensitive to light or noise. I just couldn't function.

I called Mike on my way to dropping Isaac off at soccer practice (yay, soccer is back, and no, that was not a sarcastic remark) and told him that the thought of having to get back in the car to pick him up from soccer was more than I could take. He graciously served me by leaving work early so that he could do for me the only thing that absolutely HAD to get done that evening. He picked up Isaac and then took him and Elijah to McAllisters for dinner and by the time they got home with a warm bowl of potato soup for me, I felt well enough to make it downstairs and eat my dinner. He also had to wash a load of clothes because he had no clean socks, and Isaac had no clean underwear or jeans. Lord bless this man that works his butt off all day and comes home to serve his wife that feels very inadequate for not having dinner on the table and clean clothes on demand.

Anyway, back to the devil. I had planned on making this last night, but since I was slightly incapacitated, it has been re-scheduled for tonight.

Ironic, don't you think, because of yesterday's events? Deviled Chicken.
In your face, jerk!!! I've got the mightiest warrior fighting for me, so, bring it on... wheasel.

In order to feel redeemed by my husband (not that I should, but it just makes me happy to do so) I will be making this great meal. It's super simple, and very easy. (he likes it too)


Deviled Chicken

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Italian bread crumbs
½ cup (or more, hiccup) of white wine
1 Tbsp. honey mustard
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
a small jar of whole mushrooms


Coat Chicken with bread crumbs.
Today I used chicken tenders because that is what I have in my fridge begging, to be bagged and frozen before it goes bad, or eaten.

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Brown in skillet heated with olive oil for only 3-4 of minutes max per side. Have the oil hot so they will brown quickly.


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Add wine, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove chicken and add honey mustard, lemon juice, and mushrooms to pan. (I forgot to get the mushrooms and I'm to lazy to go buy them, hence the conspicuous absence of the mushrooms.)


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Stir till heated. Add chicken back into the sauce, and done!
Add salt and pepper to taste.
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If you want to make the fabulous looking potatoes that are accompanying the chicken, hop on over to Pioneer Woman, and she will tell you how without skipping a beat. I threw in some olive oil coated peas also. They get a little hard and chew-y. But I loved them. 

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Rules
There is only one rule

Pray before you eat. And remember that the enemy of our souls is dead set on stopping us from allowing the Spirit of the Living God to work through us to bless this lost and tormented world. 
Spiritual warfare is going on. Now.
Please remember that this is the God that parted the red sea, tore down the walls of Jericho, defeated the Medanites with 300 men and jars of clay. His fire consumed the wood, the stones of the altar, the soil, and licked the water that filled the trench that had surrounded said altar at the showdown in Mt. Carmel.  This is the God who forgave David, blessed Solomon, and sent Isaiah. He calmed the storm, healed the sick, he fed the 5000, transformed lives and raised them from the dead. HE rose from the dead. Remember that in Ephesians 1 He tells us we have that same power through Christ. You do, I do.
That is what I want you to remember as you eat this chicken, and all of the days to come.



Just so you know. I wrote this on Wednesday. The headache from hell was on Fat Tuesday. Oh, if you only knew the irony in that! (and, no, I didn't have a hangover). Someday... I may tell you my story.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Greek(ish) Pork Pita



I got this recipe from one of the most amazing men I know. He is a bachelor (God only knows why!); he is good looking, an adventurous outdoorsman, a dedicated follower of the living Christ, and a fabulous cook to boot. A true catch. If you ever move to Morristown, TN. and you want to meet a real man, you will have to contact me, I will have to interview you, then refer you to his work associate so she can interview you as well, and then we will decide if we are willing to introduce you to him. A true gem. I have a reader or two who knows exactly who I'm talking about.

I have slightly modified this recipe to suit my taste, plus it just doesn't seem right to steal from him. I wish I could give him full credit, but he shall remain anonymous until further notice.


The reason that this is Greek(ish) is because the marinade would not be considered very Greek. Let's just move on and you'll just see.


Oh, well, let's just see first, shall we?



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Is your mouth watering yet?


Greek(ish) Pork Pita

First you need to make the Greek(ish) yogurt dip

1 cup fat free Greek yogurt
¼ cup good olive oil (so much for the fat free part)
1Tbsp. lemon juice (start with less and add to taste)
½ tsp. salt
1 cup peeled, seeded, and finely chopped cucumber
1 avocado peeled and diced

Mix all and let sit. The longer it hangs out, the better the flavors meld.
*Note: I don't particularly care for regular cucumbers. I splurge and always buy English cucumbers. They are the really long ones that come wrapped in plastic. They are supposedly burpless and seedless. But I just like the flavor and consistency better. I don't bother seeding the seeds that are not even supposed to be there.
Also, the original recipe calls for minced garlic. I don't like raw garlic, (I always feel like I'm tasting it for days). But if you like it, knock yourself out, just add ½ tsp.

If you make this a day ahead, wait till almost serving time to add avocado, although the yogurt and the lemon protect it from browning, it's not that big a deal.



Pork
2 lbs. pork loin
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup fresh orange juice
1 tsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
½ tsp. salt
pepper to taste

Pita Bread, or any other flat(ish) bread

Take the pork loin and slice it into really thin slivers. Put them in a zip-lock bag and pour in the marinade ingredients. If you are making this for dinner, begin marinade in the morning. You could even start it the night before. 

Don't panic. This photo is of what I made today. I only had a little bit of pork left over from the other day and adjusted the amount of my marinade ingredients accordingly.  You will have way more than this.


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When ready to cook, brown in a pre-heated skillet with olive oil. The original recipe says to grill them. It turns out great that way. I highly recommend you do it. But, I don't have a grill (I know, I know, poor me...)
plus it's a mess. You need to take some wooden skewers and soak them in water for a good while (at least 30-40 minutes), then take each slice of meat and slide through the skewer. You only have to grill 4-5 minutes per side. Here is what mine looked like in my pan, plus it is much faster.



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Assemble and eat your heart out. This is actually one of my absolute favorite meals. I am going to confess to you that I have been known to eat just the yogurt dip by the spoonfuls.



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Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.....
I just remembered, I have a tomato that must get eaten, pronto.


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Now, THAT's what I'm talkin' about baby!


No rules here, but I do give you my permission to eat the yogurt dip with a spoon, if there is any left.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Mermaid is naked!



My beloved husband just had a birthday. In order to protect his identity and his pride innocence I feel obligated to withhold his actual age.

Neither Mike or I am very good about giving gifts. If we want something, we just buy it. We buy our own toys, we pretty much don't trust each other with our very specific, picky tastes. This is how it usually goes:

 Text from me to Mike: I just finally found an amazing dutch oven that I have been wanting for years, and it's less than half the price of any other I have seen it! Wouldn't you love to get it for me for Christmas?

Answer from Mike: Buy it!

Mike does the same thing, he will either get something himself, or hand me over a flyer or web link so I can  get exactly what he specifically wants. This birthday was no different. I got him the leather wallet and leather book cover that he instructed me to get. The only thing I chose was the color. Thank goodness he like it! He was happy as can be and I was a proud wife.

Years (and years) ago Mike came upon some hideous little mermaid brass hook. Neither one of us even remembers where she came from, but I'm quite certain she surfaced some time during the 1990s.  There is no other way I could explain my disdain for her. I hated that mermaid. We would have fights over her. He wanted to hang her, but I refused to fold to the pressure to display of that THING! Are you kidding me? She is UGLY! And CHEESY! This is my castle and she will not be displayed anywhere where I can see her. Take her to your office, hang her there (by the neck!)

Poor girl. Here she is tucked away in his drawer. He refuses to let go of her.



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Through the years she has become such a classic token of our difference in taste. (Please remember that this is the same guy that wears suspenders and safety glasses. Thank goodness I have at least trained him to not go out in public looking like that.)

So the other day, my good neighbor friend and I decided to go to our local flea market. In the back of my mind I could remember that the last time we had gone I had seen some interesting mermaids, and thought perhaps it would be a fantastic joke of a gift to get him. However, for some reason I had talked myself out of buying him one. This time, however, this enchantress - she beckoned me, and like a true mermaid does she sang to me, and bewitched me. I couldn't resist. Suddenly she was beautiful and alluring...oh my, she is naked! So, of course I knew; HE HAS TO HAVE HER.

As soon as I got home I ran her to Mike's desk to display her in all of her glory so he could see her as soon as he got home.

A mermaid never lets you down. He came home, kissed me and went straight to his man cave office - like he always does, so predictable, my man. I yelled Happy Birthday! and he responded. Oh! Oh! She's beautiful! I Love her!

Yes my friend, and that was one of my proudest moments. I was more proud of myself than the year I bought him a Saga Genesis, more than when I got him his cappuccino machine, or his wicked warm slippers, or his $60 bottle of Tequila. Yes dear, THIS is the zenith, the grand apex and culmination of all gift-giving events. This is the gift that trumps them all.
When people came over last night to eat my glorious lasagna to celebrate his birthday I kept feeling so compelled to tell everyone that I had given my husband a naked woman for his birthday.

Mercy.
I need therapy.



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To make it a good story lets just say that I didn't get her to sing to him and lure him to jump ship. I got her to celebrate the vast differences between the two of us. The differences that we have learned to appreciate, negotiate and work with for 20 years. The differences that help me appreciate every day the mystery and the miracle of marriage. She is to remind him that in spite of all of his crazy ways I just can't help but love him more and more every day.

Happy Birthday my dear! And by the way, she is made out of cast iron; and no, you can't strip her, she is naked already!






Thursday, February 16, 2012

Bistec a lo Super Pobre



In Chile where I grew up, there is a super fancy dish called "Bistec a lo Pobre". This is a steak, preferably a filet that has been grilled to perfection, and served with carmelized onions, french fries, and a fried egg. I know, foreigners eat such strange combinations of foods. But let me tell ya', although strange it is delish!
What is so funny about this dish is that the name literally means "poor man's steak" or "steak the poor man's way". As you can imagine, there is nothing poor about this meal. If you go to a restaurant it will probably be the most expensive dish on the menu. A real treat.

I am unbelievably strange about some of the things I like to eat; probably due to the fact that I grew up eating strange things. One of those strange things, that by the way I never had growing up, is just in a strange category of it's own: cold sweet potatoes. I love cold sweet potatoes. Yesterday I was really craving a cold sweet potato. Whenever I fix them I always throw an extra one in the oven to save for the next day. I don't wrap them up, I just wash, throw on a baking stone and bake for a very long time. I believe that is the secret to a great sweet potato. You need to overcook them, and just like onions, they get sweeter and sweeter the longer you cook them. I check and make sure I don't take them out of the oven till they are super soft and oozing at the ends.

So I went to the store and bought me some long skinny sweet potatoes and baked them. I had to create my dinner around them. I'm calling my dish the "very poor man's steak" because I just made it with a hamburger meat patty.





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Here is what you do.

Bake sweet potatoes for a minimum of one hour. I baked mine for an hour and a half, and they were skinny ones! If you want them sweet, wait till they ooze. When they begin to cool off the "meat" will have shrunk  considerably and the skin will be real wrinkled. 
If you want an authentic chilean dish, skip the sweet potatoes and fix home made french fries.

Brown your hamburger patty. If you want to splurge, or be authentic still, by all means, have a real steak.

For the onions, cook for at least 20 minutes, it may take longer. Like spinach, you begin with a pan full and end up with a hand full. For Mike and me I cut up one of those ginormous onions. If they would have been a smaller, more medium size, I would have fixed two. No need to add anything other than salt. If they are cooked long enough they will be sweet.

Don't forget the egg! It just adds that special final touch. So good, trust me.

Rules

Rule #1
You must be patient, the onions take a long time to cook. Overcook them as much as you can without burning them.

Rule #2
Make the extra baked sweet potato. Put it in your fridge and have it for lunch the next day.  Because it will have such a sweet buttery flavor there will be no need to add anything to it. Eat it like an apple, skin and all (the sweetest part is stuck to the skin). If you don't like it, warm it up!

Provecho!!

Translation: Bon appatit, enjoy!!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Welcome to my (better late than never) Valentines




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After 20 and a half years Shania Twain
says it best:


You're still the one
You're still the one I run to
The one that I belong to
You're still the one I want for life
You're still the one
You're still the one I love
The only one I dream of
You're still the one I kiss good night

My beloved Mike is still The one.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Welcome to my 1991 (part two) The big kitchen reveal


So you are wondering what on earth does 1991 have to do with my kitchen...?

Well, if Mike and I had come to look at this house when we got back from our honeymoon with any hopes of buying it, (which we wouldn't have because it must be at least 5 times bigger than our first little 1 bedroom apartment, and probably that much more expensive too) we would have thought we had died and gone to heaven.

I know I'm making such a big deal out of this. And now that I have looked at the pictures, I'm thinking it really isn't THAT ugly. But since I have already begun this tale, I might as well follow it through.

Towards the end of July after looking at what seemed like hundreds of houses in dozens of cities and suburbs, I had at least began to narrow down what area we wanted to live in. I had gotten a little pickier at what I was willing to look at. I had chosen 3 or 4 more houses to check out in the area. My realtor, who knew me pretty well by now and had a good idea of what I was looking for, sent me a list of 3 more houses that he suggested that we check out. This house was one of them. I had overlooked it several times. You can guess why. It had many of my required features, but when I saw at the pictures on line, I just couldn't get passed how turned off I was by the looks of the kitchen. I decided to trust my realtor and give the house a chance.
I was totally smitten by the house the second I walked in. Not only was the house big and beautiful, it was impeccably clean and staged to a hilt. (If you ever put you house on the market don't for a second underestimate the importance of having a very clean house!!! You would not believe the kind of filth that I have walked into, and walked straight out of. Some of us do not thrive on vision and fixing up houses, so CLEAN them!!!) I often wonder if the folks that lived here, and their 3 children, actually lived in such preteen conditions all of the time.

But...how my heart sunk (and still does) when I reached the back of the house and looked left. Heeeellllloooo 1991! So folks here it is the kitchen that I hate greatly dislike.

Here is a picture of the bathroom towels we picked out 20 years ago (1991)
They look 20 years old. We use them to bathe the dog.



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Here is a picture taken in 1999 (so it still counts as the 90s)


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And here are some pictures of our kitchen. A perfect match!!!


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The lighting is awful. It is so dark that I sometimes call it the dungeon. During the winter when it is dark already while I cook dinner, I can't see a thing! It drives ma crazy!
Well, there you have it folks. That is what all of the hoopla is about. I know some may be thinking it's not so bad, and I'm sorry if I have offended you. But for the rest of you, take heart. Change is on the way.
The destruction has begun. Give me a month (or two) and I will let you take a look at our new and improved kitchen. I am giddy with excitement! I'm not saying much. I want it to be a surprise, so for now I'm going to just tease you with a small clue and peak into the new look coming your way. 

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Ya'll, this shot is so hysterical! Does your husband ever wear stuff that you really hate? That shirt... I want to burn it!! The suspenders... Do I really have to say it? And here is the best part, those safety glasses he is wearing, we call them "the birth control glasses"! Need I say more?
The normal looking guy next to him is his wonderful brother Mark. He came over for a while to lend us a helping hand.


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In the meantime I may delight you with a new recipe or two. How does Beef Stew sound?
But, don't hold your breath.


Friday, February 10, 2012

Welcome to my 1991 (part one)


1991 was an amazing year. Three major events in my life happened that year.

One, I graduated from Collage. I finally ended my what seemed like forever collegiate career when I received my very impressive BA in Psychology. Yeah Baby!



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(I'm lovin' the 90s big hair)


Two, I snagged the very desirable and coveted title of MRS. Mind you that this was no ordinary Mrs. This was the Mrs. HARMS title. The one that came with the prodigious Miguel Harms attached to it. Acquiring him was no small feat I might add. It took me a full year to convince him that he was indeed in love with me, and that just being friends would never make the cut, for either of us. 20 years later, it has totally payed off.



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We were poor... One of the ways we cut corners, regrettably, was with the photographer. Unfortunately I don't really have a real good picture of Mike and me with our "wedding clothes".  This will have to do. This picture was taken by somebody (probably my sister Linda, the "official" family photographer) right after we changed into our "going away" attire.
The next two pictures were taken by our wedding photographer, and I love them, they are my favorites, so I couldn't resist showing them off.
But.
A question:
Who gets married in July with a long sleeve wedding dress? In Texas? Yep, that would be me, clueless me!!!


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Three. Along with the planning of a wedding is the ever so exciting task of choosing what you are going to ask everyone to give to you as a wedding gift, not realizing that you will be stuck with these choices for the rest of your life. The infamous registry. The dishes, the china, silverware, sheets, towels, you name it. A pretty fun occasion in the life of a woman. In hind sight, can I just say, if I had to do it all over again, I think I would just let my poor husband go shoot a rabbit or something instead of dragging him around trying to get him to "participate" and "be a part" in this whole decision making time. What do they know anyway? Seriously? What were we thinking?  Now that I have been married 20 years, I would NEVER, in a million years, ask Mike to come to the store with me to choose anything for my our home. If I took him he would probably choose something from the 90s. Mark my word. The 90s stuff  just hasn't come around yet. It's just not quite time for it to become retro.

Totally a side note here: If you are getting married, or you know someone who is, please tell her to not drag her man along to register (unless he begs you to, which he won't). Take your girlfriend instead, the one that you think has better taste than you. The husband (at least mine) doesn't really care. He just wants a towel that will dry him, a pot that will cook food, and a dish that will hold the food on it, and a fork that won't break when he tries to bring that food to his mouth. Sheets that will keep him warm at night and the wife that will be right next to him every night, for the rest of his life. Just pick what you like, he really doesn't care! Don't take him.

OK, so why on earth have I told you all of this? I totally got off on a tangent there. Stay tuned please. Because this isn't what I was really going to write about. And since it got to long you will have to wait till some time next week to feast on the 2012-1991.

The big (ugly) kitchen reveal!
I can't wait!

But, before I go, two more precious pictures. I can't help myself.


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At the Hotel on our honeymoon


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Our very first Christmas photo.
Oh! to be 21 and thin again!

Blessed 1991