Friday, March 31, 2017

My Favorite Play Doh

I got this recipe from my SIL. I really like it. It was freezing today so it kept the girls entertained for quite a while while they were cooped up indoors. For this picture I made two half batches because they really wanted two different colors.

2.5 cups flour (plus more)
1/2 cup salt
1 T Alum
1.75 cups boiling water
2 T. Oil
Food coloring

Mix flour and salt in a medium measuring bowl.

Boil water in microwave in a glass measuring cup. Add alum, oil, and color and mix.

Add the water mixture to the flour and salt. Stir with spatula until slightly cool.

Knead well, adding flour until it stops sticking to your hands.

Store in an airtight container. Sometimes I keep it in the fridge. If I'm feeling fancy, I add almond extract or something nice smelling to the dough as I mix it.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Chicken Salad

Alright.  This is hands-down my favorite chicken salad.  My friend served it at a Valentine's party and I just kept digging it out of the croissants; the salad was too good to eat on a roll. I used Costco rotisserie.  

She said it's from her Best Bites recipe book.  The mango chutney is magic.  I found it next to the hot sauces in my grocery store (I expected to find it next to the jam).

Green beans

This is my go to veggie.  We all eat these up.  Don't be shy with the butter ;).  Costco green beans are the best.  Thin and pre-trimmed for me.

Simple Skillet Green Beans
After trimming the ends of the green beans, you can cut them into 1- or 2-inch lengths, but I usually leave them long so I can maybe, hopefully teach my kids the importance of cutting up food on their plate before shoveling it into their mouths.
  • 1 teaspoon oil or butter
  • 1 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
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  1. In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the oil or butter over medium heat. Add the green beans and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, to crisp up the edges of the beans just slightly.
  2. Pour in the broth and bring the beans/broth to a simmer. Cover the skillet and cook anywhere from 6-10 minutes, depending on how tender you like your green beans. Keep an eye on the skillet - if it is simmering too vigorously and the liquid evaporates out, add a bit more as needed.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

coconut oil

I'm not really on the coconut oil train (it's a fad people!), but think it's as good or bad as any other fat we add to our food.  Anyway, not my point of this post.  My point is that I've started using it in cookies to add coconut flavor and's bomb.

I use 1/2 butter, 1/2 coconut oil.

For example: chocolate chip cookies (bomb).  no bake cookies (super bomb!!).

Now, how do I get my hands on Jessica Hutchings' cookies ? .......

this is easy. chicken+kale+sweet potatoes

Get yourself a rotisserie chicken from Costco (I get one every time I go) and this is a breeze.  Just add it in at the end.  I just use baby kale from a bag, but spinach would suffice too.  I added like double the greens, but would probably quadruple it next time.  It shrinks to nothing, so why not?  Also, I put the pan under the broiler at the end.

It's not some earth-shattering, over the top delicious meal, but it is really good. And totally nutritious.
carb+protein+veggies+fat. I think I did green beans on the side.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed in 1/2-inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely diced shallot or other onion (like red or yellow)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded, stemmed and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 25 ounces, 3 to 4 cups), peeled and small-diced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups (about 4 ounces) stemmed and chopped kale
  • 1/2 to 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or other cheese of choice 


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  1. In a large, 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat until hot and shimmering.
  2. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and add to the skillet in a single layer. Let them cook and sizzle without moving (so they can get nice and golden) for 1-2 minutes. Flip the pieces and continue cooking until no longer pink in the center, another 1-2 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate, keeping as much liquid in the skillet as possible, and return the skillet to medium heat.
  3. Add a drizzle of olive oil if the skillet is dry. Add the shallot (or onions), red pepper, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, until the onions have started to turn translucent and soften. 
  4. Add the sweet potato, red pepper flakes (if using), and broth. Give the mixture a good stir and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover the skillet and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring once or twice to make sure the sweet potatoes aren't sticking (turn the heat down, if needed), until the sweet potatoes are tender. Add more broth as it cooks if the mixture becomes sticky or dry. 
  5. Add the chicken back to the skillet along with the kale. Stir and heat through until the kale is bright green and slightly wilted (if you like the kale more tender and cooked, add it to the skillet first without the chicken, cover the skillet and let it steam until it is tender; uncover, add the chicken and heat through).
  6. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. 
  7. Sprinkle cheese over the top and cover with the lid until melted or pop under a preheated oven broiler until golden and bubbly. 
  8. Serve immediately.