Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thai Chicken Two Ways

In this summer heat I like to look for recipes that keep me out of the kitchen... and this is the perfect meal for that. If you double the Grilled Chicken recipe you can have a meal for 4 people two nights in a row and only have to cook one night.

Here is the Thai Chicken the first night. I served it with carrot salad and edamame. The salad requires no cooking... you cook the chicken outside... and I steamed the edamame in the microwave. This kept my kitchen nice and cool in the Texas heat.



Thai Garlic Chicken

4 cloves garlic
4 boneless chicken breasts
1 T. ginger root
1 lime (juice and zest)
3 T. oil
1 T. soy sauce
squirt or more of siracha sauce
2 T. cilantro

Place all (except chicken) in blender and puree until smooth. Pour over chicken and marinate for a couple of hours. Grill chicken.

Day 2: Thai Salad

The next night all I needed to do was warm up the left over chicken, whip up some dressing, boil some potatoes and eggs (they go into the salad), and then I made a nice green salad with all the ingredients my family likes. I like to top the whole thing with crunchy chow mein noodles for a little crunch.



Dressing for the salad

6T. peanut butter
1 C. boiling water
4 T. cider vinegar
1 T. sugar or honey
A little soy sauce a teaspoon or 2 (to season)
3-4 cloves garlic
crushed pepper, to taste
2 t lemon or lime juice

Whisk together peanut butter and water (mix it in slowly...you don't use all if the dressing gets too thin... there are more liquids to add). Add remaining. Taste for seasoning and adjust as you like.
Cheers,
Jenn

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I Love Ice Cream




I LOVE ice cream. Especially during these dog days of summer. My favorite flavor is pistachio. What about you? What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

lollipops

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Happy Birthday to a Wonderful Man!








Happy 40th birthday to a fabulous husband... a wonderful father and a fine man!

52 Weeks of Happiness: El Taco Feliz



El Taco Feliz...The Happy Taco

El Taco Feliz is a great little roadside taco stand in a nearby Texas speed trap that the family and I recently discovered... What better way to celebrate 52 weeks of Happiness than this happy little place? We've driven by this trailer many times on our way to various destinations around the state. So one day we decided to pop in after a morning geocache run to Lockhart State Park. It was an excellent choice and we have returned a few time since then and will make this a regular stop.

The price is right.



They have something for everyone.

Even my older daughter, who insists on putting ketchup on her chicken tacos, loved this spot. Hopefully some day she'll replace that ketchup with a fiery salsa... but until then I'm just glad we found a taco stand she likes.

Breakfast (or lunch) is served... and it is all wrapped up in a tortilla and ready to eat.

Afterwards you can even put your feet up and enjoy a cold Horchata in a spot of shade.

Cheers,
Jenn


Monday, July 25, 2011

Makeover Monday: A Banquet Partaken in Anxiety

A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.
Aesop

I suffer from anxiety. I'm a very anxious person, but for the most part I keep it under control. When I was a teen I had problems with tachycardia... basically my heart would go into overdrive and I would start to panic. This rarely happens anymore... my mind and my body have matured and I can prevent a full on panic attack. When I was in college the doctors told me that I'd probably outgrow it... I'm still not sure if they meant that I'd outgrow my flair for the dramatic... or if there was some physical component to my problem that would go away when I reached a certain age.

But the anxiety... the anxiety... remains, and it rears it's ugly head as often as I let it. When do I get anxious? After a stressful day maybe? Perhaps when I'm stuck in traffic? Maybe I get anxious when disaster strikes and I have to go into overdrive to solve some problem? Actually... no. I may have a little flutter of stress when these things happen... but my worst anxiety happens when I'm having fun. Yep that's right I get anxious during the party times: summer vacations, birthdays, holidays, etc. You know... the times when I'm suppose to be having a good time.

This weekend was the end of my husband's summer vacation and also the celebration of his 40th birthday. We planned a big party, grilled some meat, had chips and dip on hand, invited over our best buddies and drank a few cold ones. It was loads of fun. Throughout the planning of the party and the party itself I had a wonderful time. The next day, however, I was a mess of stress. Did I have a hangover? No not really. Sure I had a few beers... OK more than a few... but I didn't wake up to a morning of hugging porcelain. I didn't even have a headache. What I did have was anxiety. I start picking apart every experience... I obsess about tiny details. It is no fun at all.

So what do I do about it? How do I vanquish anxiety from my life? Do I just have to quit having fun? Absolutely not. I think I might have stumbled on the answer when I was looking for ideas for my Makeover Monday post. It is something that I've known all along: Diet, exercise, rest, and staying hydrated are the keys to feeling good. When you're off on a vacation or having a fun time at a party, however, the fruits and vegetables tend to get pushed aside while the empty margarita glasses pile up in front of you. That is part of the reason why the early college years were so anxiety filled and why now I only stress out when I'm having a blast. Can I still drink beer and eat nachos? Certainly... but I should follow those nachos and beer with a glass of water and a piece of fruit... or maybe some whole grain bread and hummus and a cold glass of juice.

You are what you eat... and when you put crap into your body you are going to feel like crap...that is unless you follow it with a little TLC. So here it the plan... the plan to makeover my vacation depleted body and soul. First of all I'm going to take a break from the alcohol and drink lots of water. Second I'm going to start doing yoga again. And finally, I also plan to get more rest and start a diet rich in foods that are suppose to help with anxiety. Check out this article on Livestrong for ideas.After reading the Livestrong article yesterday I made myself an Elvis Special, peanut butter and banana on whole grain bread (I skipped the whole frying it in butter part), and I felt loads better. Those complex carbohydrates and foods loaded with tryptophan sure hit the spot! And yes that is a photo of Elvis looking rather anxious next to his famous recipe for a PB and banana sandwich (It is from the cookbook Fit for a King).

Foods and Beverages to avoid:
caffeine
alcohol
sugar and processed foods
saturated fats
simple carbohydrates
fried foods

Foods and Beverages to eat:
fruit
vegetables
nuts
soy
whole grains
lean proteins
LOTS of water







Thanks for stopping by... I'd love to read your comments...

Link up and let me read about your makeover ideas or tips... and be sure to stop by the Zany Housewife.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Makeove Monday: I'm bananas about this face mask!

We are always looking for a way to turn back the clock... a miracle cure that will make us young again... the fountain of youth. Isn't that what everyone wants? To tell you the truth I wouldn't turn back the clock for anything! I haven't spent 41 years on this earth for nothing. I've learned a lot of things, experienced a bunch of really cool stuff, and I have earned every wrinkle and gray hair that I have. Sometimes, however, I'd like to make those wrinkles just a little less noticeable. That is why I love my weekly pampering sessions.

This week while I was searching through books, the Internet, and finally my pantry...I found a recipe that was suppose to erase all those tiny lines that time has etched on my face and all I needed was a banana. And not even a whole banana....just a 1/4 piece of that little yellow fruit would be enough to make me look young again. What did I have to lose? My daughter had eaten half a banana earlier that day and so instead of putting the other half on the compost pile or freezing it for a smoothie I mashed it up and spread it all over my face.

It felt a bit sticky and cold (I had to dig it out of the freezer), but if it could erase my wrinkles I could endure the discomfort. After about a 20 minutes I rinsed it off and found that my skin was firmer and very soft. Was it the miracle cure that erased the wrinkles from my face? No not really... but it did make me feel good and my skin is thanking me for the extra care. I will definitely use this one again.

Cheers,
Jenn





Please leave a comment and feel free to link to a post about beauty, fashion, or anything that makes you feel beautiful... and as always stop by the Zany Housewife and read about her makeover misfortunes and triumphs.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Happiness is a Birthday Bash

I had a wonderful birthday... Roses, chocolate, and handmade cards from the kids... a night out with my husband... and a wonderful family dinner at a fun restaurant the next day. It was two days of non-stop fun.

I have always wanted to go to a Teppan restaurant so this year I decided to give it a try for my 41st birthday. We had a wonderful time. The food was good, but what is really terrific about it is the show. Who knew that cooking could look so much like a circus? The whole family had a great time and I can't believe I waited this long to experience something so fun.
The cook really put on a show.


An onion volcano!


Here is my daughter trying to catch a shrimp in her mouth. My husband caught his on the first try... the rest of us only wished we had such mad skills.



Thanks to my friends and family for making this fun night possible.

Cheers,
Jenn



lollipops

Monday, July 11, 2011

Makeover Monday- Summer fun has not been fun for my skin or my hair.

The past few weeks have been jam packed with days in the sun, trips to the pool, late nights, and early mornings. All of this has had an impact on how I feel and look. Overall I'm having a blast and feeling great... but last night I took some time to at least repair a little of the damage that I've done to my hair and skin.

I've had a number of trips to a chlorinated pool lately and decided that before my hair turned green in protest I needed to do something about it. So last night I whipped up a mixture of the juice of a couple of limes, 1 t. baking soda, and a squirt of shampoo. I applied this to my hair and let it sink in while I shaved and showered. The original recipe used lemon juice and suggested leaving the mixture on for 30 minutes... but I probably left it on for about 10. My hair has been kind of dry lately and I didn't want to leave something that acidic on my hair for so long.

After I rinsed it out my hair felt VERY clean... squeaky clean in fact. I felt like all the product buildup was gone... but my hair also felt in serious need of some deep conditioning. I decided to do a hot oil treatment with some olive oil from the pantry. I heated it up in the microwave for about 20 seconds (checking it at 10 so it didn't get too hot) and then combing it through my hair with my fingers.

While my hair was soaking up all that oily goodness I decided to do one of my all time favorite facials... an egg white facial. I've covered this one before on Makeover Monday... but it's such a good way to tighten pores that I felt like it deserved a revisit. My skin has been so greasy from all the cheap sun screen that I smear on daily that I needed something to tighten up my pores and make my skin feel smooth and young. I also didn't want to let that egg yolk go to waste so I took the plastic wrap off my hair and added it to the oily mess as a bit of a bonus.

After the egg whites dried I washed my face and then shampooed the oil and yolk out of my hair before going to bed. I took a picture of my with oily goo in my hair... but it is too horrible to post here. I'm not usually shy about posting horrible pictures of myself, but trust me, this one is better deleted and forgotten.

This morning my hair looks pretty good. Usually after I do a hot oil treatment my hair lacks body for a day or two... but today it is nice and full and it looks like a lot of the damage has been repaired. I'm surprised to find that it is not oily at all. My skin feels a lot better too.

Now if I could only get a good nights sleep I think I would be back to normal. The next couple of weeks are going to be packed with birthdays and events... I turn 41 on Thursday, and my husband turns 40 the following week...but after that, perhaps I can catch up on my beauty rest.

Cheers,
Jenn

As always... grab a button, link up, and visit the Zany Housewife... She has a beautiful new hair color.



Thursday, July 7, 2011

Little Spoon's First Stop


Little Spoon collected it's first recipe recently and now it is off to Kenya, Africa (If you haven't read my previous post about this little spoon then check it out here ). It was picked up from our geocache at the spring lake trail head a few weeks ago and it has been traveling ever since. It changed hands at a recent geocaching event and is going to fly thousands of miles next week. Hopefully it's new carrier will sample some exotic dishes and visit exciting new places before passing my little spoon on.

Little spoon has already traveled a bit in Texas and it had a hand in making some delicious cupcakes. I haven't tried this recipe yet. Not only is it too dang hot to turn on my oven right now... but I decided to wait to try this one sometime when I have a more adult audience. Even if the alcohol is cooked off before stuffing it inside the cupcake... I still wouldn't feel right about serving cherries marinated in booze to my three and six year old.

Here is the recipe for your enjoyment... It sounds a lot like Black Forest Cake... I love the combination of chocolate and cherry... so I'm pretty sure if I made this dessert I couldn't eat just one. Here is the recipe in StephGails own words:

StephGails Boozy Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes

cupcake/cake recipe

2 1/4 C flour
1 2/3 C sugar (I use bakers sugar)
3/4 C butter or margarine
2/3 C baking cocoa (I inevitably add more than this by at least a TBSP)
1 1/4 C water
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs

Oven to 350 degrees
Grease bottom/sides of pan or use paper liners for cupcakes

Mix all dry ingredients, sift together so no lumps
Cream the butter/margarine with the eggs, water and vanilla
Mix the wet ingredients into the dry mixing continuously so not lumpy

bake cupcakes 22-25 minutes
bake cake -rectangular 13x9x2 - 40-45 minutes
-2 round pans 9 x 1.5 or 3 8x1.5 - 30-35 minutes

for the filling that I used
I buy the sour morello cherries in the jars from trader joes (or any jar of sour cherries in cherry juice - NOT syrup)
i used 1 jar to fill 3 dozen cupcakes with 1 - 1.5 teaspoons of filling

I started by pouring out about half the cherry juice and filling the empty half jar with amaretto and kirsch (cherry liquor from Germany) - about 1 to 1.5 Cups liquor - I mixed in with the liquor about a tablespoon - tablespoon and a half of corn starch powder and 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder and let sit for a couple days in the fridge. when ready to use I shook the jar to release any powder that settled to the bottom and poured the liquid into a saucepan. The drained cherries I chopped and returned to the saucepan. On a high heat I watched the saucepan like a hawk stirring regularly and making sure it didn't burn. Removing it from the heat after it softly bubbled for a few minutes (not to a rolling boil). I then transferred the sauce to a bowl and refrigerated until cool and ready to work with.

For the cupcakes I let them cool to room temperature and then careful cut a round conical divit in the top, removing some of the cake and keeping the top intact. I hollowed a little bit out of the cupcake, just a little, and put in a teaspoon to teaspoon and a half in the cupcake, returned the top and frosted.

For frosting -go nuts and make your own or do what I usually do and use the canned stuff.

Cheers,
Jenn

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