Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Maple-Orange Glazed Chicken

Oh, baby! This is a keeper. I just tried this recipe from the October/November '08 issue of Cook's Country magazine. Not only did hubby like it, both kids liked it, too! This will be showing up on our plates often. Most of the recipes I try from Cook's Country are ones that I will make over and over again. I'm a big fan of America's Test Kitchen, who puts out CC and Cook's Illustrated. All the testing they put into their recipes makes each one turn out great.

For the Maple-Orange Glazed Chicken, you need to cut 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts in half, cross-wise. Kitchen shears are very helpful here in cutting across the bone. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. For the sauce, whisk together 1/2 cup real maple syrup, 2 teaspoons dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon grated orange zest, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, and 1 teaspoon minced, fresh thyme together and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large, oven safe skillet and brown the skin side of the chicken. Flip the chicken over and put the skillet into a 475-degree oven until the chicken is brown and cooked through (15 minutes). Put the chicken on a plate and cover with foil.

Pour off the fat from the pan and add the sauce ingredients. Cook the sauce over medium heat until thickened. Add salt and pepper as desired. Add the chicken to the sauce and turn to coat.

I ended up over cooking my chicken slightly; it was a bit on the dry side. But, the sauce made up for some of the moisture. The next day, the left-overs were actually quite moist. I think that next time I will double the sauce ingredients so there is more of that delicious goodness to go around.

Monday, August 24, 2009


sweet, green pods of soy
popping them in one by one
they're nature's fun food

Enough with the haiku. I offer up thanks to the humble soybean, or its fancy Japanese name, edamame (ed uh mom aye). It is one of the few vegetables that my kids actually beg for. (Actually, the only one.) They love to pop the beans out of the pod and hilarity ensues when the beans over-shoot their mark! I also love that they are so easy to prepare and keep on hand. And they're cheap, too.

When I make them, I boil 2 to 3 quarts of water for a 1lb bag of frozen beans (in the pod). When it comes to a boil, add 1 tablespoon table salt and then dump in the soybeans. Cover and cook until the water just starts to boil again and the pods all float to the top. Drain and rinse with cold water. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Pop the beans from the pod straight into your mouth. If they are difficult to pop, cook them just a bit longer next time.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


I've been on a hat kick lately. I like the almost instant gratification of knitting or crocheting a hat or cap. I can usually finish a basic style in 2 or 3 days. Although I'm not much of a hat wearer myself, I like to see other people in them and so I make them as gifts.

This is a hat that I just finished for my hubby. It's made from 2 skeins of Mission Falls 1824 Wool that I had in my stash. It is a nice, soft yarn and not itchy because it is a merino wool. I found the pattern for The Boy Hat on Ravelry and knew I wanted to try it out. It is a simple ribbed hat, but has a clever shaping to give some visual interest at the crown. If I make another one, the only change I will make is to make it a bit shorter to fit my boy better.

I've also made another Shells Sunhat. This one was for my husband's cousin's daughter, Lily. This was made from Lily Sugar'n Cream yarn (Lily for Lily) and is a bit more stiff than the one I made from Cotton-Ease. I sent it to her as a surprise in the mail, so I haven't seen her in it yet. Her mom is supposed to send me a picture soon and I'll post it as soon as I receive it. This is a pattern I plan to use a lot because it makes a nice, quick and easy last-minute gift.

Friday, August 21, 2009

My Favorite Guacamole

This is a nice, simple guacamole recipe that I've adapted from Molly Katzen's book , Honest Pretzels. It is a perfect base for your favorite additions, such as tomatoes, onions, or cilantro. I like it just as it is.

For 2 hass avocados, add 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and 1 finely minced garlic clove. Smash all these together with a fork, leaving small chunks of avocado.

That's it! Now, sit back end enjoy. Best served with chips and good company.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The New Arrival

To celebrate the birth of my new "baby" (this blog), I thought it would be nice to show some baby items that I've made recently. These were made for my neighbor's new baby girl, Ainsley Lynn. I used a basic knit-on-the-diagonal, garter stitch pattern from Lion Brand yarn, using Cotton-Ease in Lime. It is somewhat plain, so I knew that I wanted to crochet some cute flowers to make it pop. I found this free daisy bookmark pattern, and completed rounds 1 through 3 with Lily Sugar'n Cream yarn.

I made a daisy for each corner and attached them by sewing around the base of the flower with the green yarn, leaving the petals free.

I wanted to make a little something else to go with the blanket so I purchased this sunhat pattern from youcanmakethis.com (one of my favorite sites). It is made from the same yarns as the blanket.

I entered both of these items at the Ventura County Fair this year and received honorable mentions for both. There were some amazing knit and crochet items entered this year. It's nice to know that lots of people are still out there making awesome things!

Now I need to wrap these up and present them to little Ainsley. She's almost 3-months old now so I better get crackin'.