Is anybody else as excited about spring as I am? The trees in my yard are blooming and the bees are buzzing.
The bright yellow daffodils make me smile when I look out into my yard. The flowers are so pretty this year that I'm even looking forward to getting outside to pull the weeds out of the flower beds.
I love spring - the beautiful flowers, the warmer weather, baseball season and soccer season.
I made a quick and easy chicken dinner last week before I ran out the door to a baseball game. It didn't take very long at all to put it together and it was delicious.
Crunchy Buttermilk Baked Chicken
2 cups buttermilk 1 Tablespoon salt
1/4 cup sour cream 3 pounds chicken thighs
1 envelope ranch seasoning mix 5 slices white bread
Last year I had a big milestone birthday when I turned 40. I didn't really have any anxiety or depression over the occasion - it came and went and I really quite enjoyed it. Yesterday was another story - my son turned 16! I woke up thinking "Am I really old enough to have a 16 year old son?" So much has happened since that fateful day in Utah 16 years ago (cross country moves, career changes, a sibling) and yet it's all gone by so quickly. Up until yesterday, I had managed to keep myself in a state of denial and I avoided thinking about the magnitude of his birthday - and about how short or time is until he's off to college. I took some time to just take all of that in yesterday and when it got too overwhelming - I started to bake. (I know it sounds weird but it helps me relieve stress.) I made a big dinner with some of the birthday boy's favorite foods.
A spinach and arugula salad, loaded baked potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, thin cut rib eye steaks, steamed broccoli with cheese and cheddar roll ups were on the menu for our birthday feast.
I've had this recipe for cheddar roll ups for a long time but I haven't made them in a couple of years. I'm not really sure how recipes end up in that category because they are really good. These crescent shaped rolls are light, fluffy and cheesy.
Cheddar Roll Ups
1 cup warm water 1 egg
2 ¼ teaspoons yeast 5 cups flour
1 cup warm milk 3 ¼ teaspoons salt
4 Tablespoons butter 3 cups cheddar cheese
1 Tablespoon sugar
Brush with melted butter. Sprinkle each with 1/2 cup cheese.
Bake 18 minutes at 375.
Grilled Chicken Fajitas
Juice from 2 limes 1 ½ Tablespoons parsley
6 Tablespoons oil 3 boneless chicken breasts
3 garlic cloves 1 red onion, sliced into rings
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire 1 large bell pepper
1 ½ teaspoons brown sugar 1 large yellow pepper (I only used 1 bell pepper)
1 jalapeno chili flour tortillas (I prefer whole wheat.)
Whisk together lime juice, 4 T. oil, garlic, Worcestershire, brown sugar jalapeno, parsley, 1 t. salt and ¾ t. pepper. Reserve ¼ cup marinade. Place chicken in marinade. Cover. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Add 1 t. salt to marinade. Refrigerate another 15 minutes.
Serve chicken and vegetables with warmed tortillas.
This recipe is dedicated to all of those families out there who eat dinner on the run. My daughter ate her fajitas in the car, on the way home from soccer practice. My son ate his fajitas after his driving lesson and on his way to baseball practice. I ate mine in between picking the kids up and dropping them off at practice. It was one of those busy nights when our schedules just didn't allow for everyone to eat dinner together. Even though we didn't have time to sit down at the table together, we still managed to eat a healthy dinner. (Even if it was in the car.)
Yesterday we were planning to watch our daughter play in a soccer game and then head over to the baseball field to watch our son play his game. Normally we have to do what I like to call "Divide and Conquer." (One parent goes to soccer and the other goes to baseball.) Yesterday was a rare opportunity for both of us to see both games on the same night because they were both in the same town. (woo hoo!) Unfortunately things didn't work out quite like we had planned because the baseball team cancelled their game due to rain.
I had already planned a picnic dinner to eat in between the soccer and the baseball game and even though we only went to one game, I went ahead and packed our dinner "to go" anyway. I made grilled chicken skewers to eat at the field, along with some oatmeal raisin cookies and fresh pineapple. I ran out of time to get the grill heated properly so at the last minute, I decided to bake the chicken instead of grilling it. I think my daughter liked them even better baked.
Baked Chicken Skewers
4 boneless chicken cutlets
2 Tablespoons barbecue sauce
4 Tablespoons oil
1 1/4 cup bread crumbs
The chicken skewers were a hit. I wish I had taken a picture of the faces of the other fans sitting in the stands when my daughter pulled a chicken skewer out of the bag. At one point, the entire row of people sitting in front of her turned around to see what she was eating. That didn't seem to discourage her from eating though, she ate her share as well as her brother's dinner!
It was a great game and the team continues to be undefeated.
It seems that girl scouts have been lurking in front of every building that I go into lately. As I innocently go about my day - running my errands around town, I'm suddenly confronted by troops of uniformed girls, armed with tantalizing sweets. They're stationed at the grocery store, the drug store and even the post office. This week, I was barely able to summon the strength to resist buying any more girl scout cookies at the grocery store when I turned the corner only to find another troop - poised and ready to hit me with their sales pitch in the Wal Mart parking lot. All of this cookie temptation has proven to be more than I can handle this week. I finally gave into my cravings and I baked a batch of cookies - healthy cookies. I don't feel guilty about enjoying these sweet treats either because they're really pretty healthy.
8 ounces chopped dates ¼ teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup apple juice 2/3 cup brown sugar
1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour 1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup flour 10 Tablespoons butter
¼ cup wheat bran 1 egg
¼ teaspoon salt ¼ cup applesauce
Cut into 1 1/2” squares and cool.
Let's face it - the girl scouts are baking geniuses. They've figured out how to make uber delicious cookies that are so addicting, we crave them all year. There is only one thing that could make girl scout cookies more appealing - making them healthier. These Fig Newtons are my healthy alternative to a girl scout cookie.
I packed some of the cookies to take to the baseball game this week. These pack (and freeze) really well. So it's with confidence now that I run my errands around town. I know that when the girl scouts are out and the cookie cravings start, I have my own cookies to indulge in and the best part is that they are healthier.
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