Monday, June 24, 2013

chicken + strawberry salad

summer is for salads. 

all kinds of salads. they come in a lot of variety {which is good for us creative folks}. i am especially in love with the combination of chicken and fruit in salads. today, i'm going to share one of my favorite summer salads, but first, a story. 

my gramma is the best gramma ever {so everyone, be jealous}. she found this adorable little tea shop back home in the "a" state called chantillies. it's basically the most frilly, girly, lacy, pink place you could ever imagine. it's the kind of place that is only open for lunch. the kind of place that you dress up for. the kind of place with decor that only says flowers and tea cups. none of the place settings match, but they all go together. fresh lemonade is always on the menu, and everything is fresh and delightful. 

on one of my trips to chantillies with my gramma {i believe this was with my mama and little sissy}, we ordered the chef's daily special: chicken strawberry salad. now, this is my version that i am sharing with you. obviously, it won't be identical. that's why it was a special. but it's still delicious, and eating it makes me think of my gramma. win win.

chicken strawberry salad [gf, df]

makes 4 servings

8 leaves of romaine lettuce, rinsed
2 chicken  breasts, cooked and cooled
8-12 strawberries, depending on size
1 can of mandarin oranges, drained, juice set aside
1/2 cup of chopped nuts, walnut or pecan are best
1/2 cup of tiny cubed mild cheese, like edam, or fontina **optional**

2 tbsp yellow mustard
2 tbsp honey

other delicious ingredients not included in this picture or my latest serving:
green onions

layer the first 6 ingredients in order, dividing between four plates, or putting it all in one bowl.

take 2 tbsp of the reserved manderin orange juice and stir with the mustard, honey, and pepper. 

drizzle it on top and enjoy with a glass of fresh lemonade for the perfectly refreshing, cool summer lunch!

Monday, June 17, 2013

my life monday + counting raindrops

it's a monday.

and i've learned something about monday's that is new to me. they are hard.

new? really?

that's what you're thinking, right? allow me to elaborate. i used to love mondays. mostly because i felt so rejuvenated from sunday that monday was like a fresh start, a clean slate, a new beginning. some weeks i still feel like that, but i won't lie to you, the buzz i used to get at church when i was in college is not the same. i know that's mostly my fault. i tend to hit these plateaus every once in a while in my spirituality. not on purpose, but it happens to all of us and we are human.

i've learned that challenges usually give us that forward momentum in our spirituality and for me, life just hasn't had too many difficult challenges since marrying that hunky monkey i call my husband. {now that i've said that for the world to see, i may have just called down the powers of heaven to challenge me.}

the point is, monday is hard now. later i will feel like it's a new start, but it's hard to wake up. it's hard to work out. i don't want to cook, or go to work, or do anything. but we have to. so i guess i need to change my own perspective again. i will try.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

easy peasy grilled salmon + corn on the cob

it's recipe time. a couple weeks ago, i shared a recipe on kory's blog. that was my barbeque pork steaks. today, i'm gonna share a recipe for grilled salmon and corn on the cob.

have you noticed the theme? you got it... grilling! i'm getting pretty good, if i'm allowed to say so! brock was very please with last night's dinner, and so was i. so i hope you like fish.

i only say that, because not long ago, i wasn't a fan. but i'm a fan of butter and garlic. so why not put it on some fish and grill it? right or right?

i know fish can be a little pricey. we don't eat it often, but every once in a while, it's a nice change. and the health benefits definitely make the cost a little easier. i need those omega3's, people! so do you. so do your self a favor and get some salmon this week!

grilled corn on the cob

makes 4 servings

4 cobs of corn
2 tablespoons of olive oil
dried cilantro [if you don't have this, parsley is a good substitute]
chili powder
salt + pepper
aluminum foil

1. shuck corn and place in cold water, completely covered for about 10 minutes. this gives it a little extra moisture. they float, so you may have to put something heavy on them to keep them under the water.

2. after removing from the water, shake them to get all the excess. place each cob, diagonally, on a square sheet of aluminum foil.

3. drizzle olive oil over each cob, and spread it until the corn is well covered. sprinkle on desired amounts of seasoning. wrap up the foil nice and tight to keep the moisture in.

4. grill the cobs for 5 minutes on each side over medium heat [turn about a quarter of the way each time for a total of 20 minutes].*

grilled salmon

makes 4 servings

4 salmon filets
3 tablespoons butter {real butter, not margarine, not vegetable spread, those are way worse for you than butter, just get some butter, ok?}
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced---depends on size, 3 larger, 4 smaller
salt + pepper

[do this while the corn is soaking!]
1. melt the butter in the microwave, maybe 20 seconds. add garlic and stir. salt and pepper salmon filets, then spread the butter on each side with a basting brush. 

2. grill salmon on each side for 7 minutes, over medium heat.

*i just grilled my corn on one half for the 7 minutes along with the salmon, then flipped half way over for the second round. after i removed the salmon from the grill, i grilled the corn on the quarter sides for 2 or 3 minutes. it worked just fine and made for less opening of the grill during the cooking process of the fish.

Monday, June 3, 2013

my life monday + micro nature

a couple weeks ago, i told you i was going to start a series. well this is the first! it's a my life monday!

basically, this is going to be the only time i will blab on about the lame goings on, or sometimes exciting goings on, of my life, instead of just running on and on about how crazy life is. i will leave the rest of the week for other things like recipes and crafts, or something else i'm working on {ssshhh}.

today, for starters, i'm guest blogging over at my friend kory's blog. first guest post ever, and i was so excited to do it! kory is so fun to work with, and i really just love her blog anyway, so you should check it out! p.s. i shared a recipe on her blog, so you might want to get your drool rag out.

secondly, i've been playing around with the camera now that pretty things are out and about. i'm a big fan of detail, close ups, and i guess what you call micro-shots? anyone? i don't know. i'm not a photographer.

i don't know about you, but flowers just bring me happiness. i love them with all my heart. and i especially love taking pictures of them. here are some more shots from my strolling.

if i turned some nature shots into downloadable desktops with a fancy quote and all, would anyone download them?? i've been thinking about it, but i don't want to waste my time if nobody would. would you?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

lemon seeds and missing trees

 i grew up on a plot of land that housed my family, my grandparents, and my great grandparents. it was any child's dream. cookies and hugs from gramma at any desired time. games of skip-bo and charade's at great-gramma's. trampoline, tree house, swing set. stealing things from grampa's workshop to build forts {i can count 15 forts that we made and manned over the years!}.

then there were the trees. pomegranate. pecan. peach. almond. chinaberry {you don't eat those, they're poison, you have chinaberry wars}.

and then... the citrus. lemon. grapefruit. orange. limon {it grew limes and lemons because the lime tree was too close to the lemon. cross-pollination, friends!}.

oh, how i miss sitting under the orange tree and eating and eating and eating. we used the gate latches to get the first hunk of skin off, then peel to our hearts content. the only rule was we had to clean up our peels.

before the frost would come, there would be a mad scramble to pick all the lemons and crate them up. did you know if a citrus tree frosts, all the juices in the fruit go back into the tree to help keep it warm? this results in very dry fruit, and no fresh lemonade.

dad made his bestest grapefruitade on a regular basis, and it is definitely not the same with store bought grapefruits. in fact, i will probably never it make it that way again.

needless to say, i miss my citrus trees.

so i planted some. even if you don't want a full out tree, the little baby lemon sprouts are so cheerful, bright, fresh, and they smell good, too! it's quite simple to start your own little citrus forest.

step 1: get a lemon {or orange or lime or grapefruit, doesn't matter.} and take out all the seeds.

step 2: let the seeds soak in some water for a couple days to a week.

step 3: try to clean off any outside casing by rubbing them. if nothing comes off, you're good. if something does, discard it. don't do this over the sink, the little guys are slippery and like to escape.

step 4: put them in some soil! i filled a mug with all the seeds the lemon had. i wasn't sure how many would germinate. i probably planted 15 seeds, and i have seven baby trees.

step 5: put them in a sunny window, and wait for two weeks. give them water {enough to soak in the soil without drowning them} about every other day.

enjoy your little citrus forest! it certainly brings a smile to my face. i was so excited when sprout after sprout popped up in my soil! having it in my windowsill and not outside made it possible for me to watch the progress every day! happy planting!