My top 10 favorite healthy snacks

Apples and almond butter- I prefer Gala apples
chips and salsa- my favs are no fat blue corn chips and pineapple or mango salsa
cheese and grapes- I love gouda
a bowl of oatmeal and a glass of skim milk-  I love to add goji berries and walnuts
pita chips and hummus
sliced turkey in lettuce wrap
airpopped popcorn when I have the munchies
home made trail mix- my fav is 70% dark chocolate chips, almonds, dried berries, +Natures Path Heritage ancient grain cereal
handful of almonds and iced green tea
protein shake
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Meatball Sub Casserole

I made this today for a fellow Army wife who had a baby two days ago. I made two actually. I found the recipe in a subscription that my grandmother sent me for my birthday this year.

It was suggested in an article about baby showers- having each guest cook, freeze and bring a meal to the shower. What a cool idea! At least if your shower is close to your due date.

I made this a little healthier by using low fat options when available and using a healthier bread rather than a loaf of white Italian.

Ingredients:

1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 lb ground beef
1 loaf (1 lb) Italian bread, cut into 1″ slices
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cups (8 oz) shredded part skim mozzarella cheese, divided
 1 jar (28 oz) tomato sauce
1 cup water
 2 garlic cloves, minced
 
 In a bowl, combine the onions, crumbs, and Parmesan chesse.
Add the beef and mix well. Shape into 1- in balls; place on a greased rack in a shallow baking pan. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes or until no longer pink.
 
Meanwhile, arrange bread in a single layer in an ungreased 13 in x 9 in baking dish ( all of the bread may not be used).
 
Combine the cream cheese, mayo, Italian seasoning and pepper; spread over the bread. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella.
 
Combine the sauce, water and garlic; add the meatballs. Pour over cheese mixture; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella. Back uncovered, at 350 for 30 minutes or until heated through.
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Grace

Grace.

I love the name. I love what it means.

Grace: 1. Seemingly effortless beauty or charm of movement, form, or proportion. 2. A characteristic or quality pleasing for its charm or refinement. 3. A sense of fitness or propriety. 4. a. A disposition to be generous or helpful; goodwill. b. Mercy; clemency. 5. A favor rendered by one who need not do so; indulgence

God’s grace: 1. unmerited favor

In Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (we cannot earn salvation, it is a gift given to us by the grace of God by our faith alone)

In scripture the word grace is used to describe to us how to live:  “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” Titus 2:11-12

Looking back on my life, it seems that my parents spent much effort in teaching me to become graceful: etiquette classes, dance classes, music lessons, pageants, and church. I was taller than my peers most of my life, 5’10” now and I have heard my mother say that one of the things she did right with me was teach me to stand tall. She meant physically not slump my shoulders or slouch. My girlfriends and I used to walk around the house with books on our heads. It was often a joke amongst my friends that when one of us would do something clumsy, we would say ‘grace is not your middle name.’

My father taught me about ‘standing tall’ morally as I matured. He is one of the most level-headed fair people I have ever known. He lives with integrity and taught me to always take the high road. He taught me about integrity- always doing the right thing even if no one else will ever know. And he taught me by example how to have class. I have leaned on him recently to help me get through a personal ordeal and his advice, as always, came through crystal clear. One of the hardest lessons has been in learning not to defend myself, keeping my mouth shut (still working on this one), and letting my fruit/good works speak for themselves over time.

Will other people’s motives, slander, their true colors shine through in time? I hope so. But maybe the truth about some things will not be revealed until we are all on the other side. At the same time, rather than continuing to hurt over the cruel things that have been said and done, desiring all truth to be known and lies uncovered, should I not be praying for them? Why do we allow ourselves  why do I allow myself to dwell on the hurt? Expecting ‘them’ to change. Wanting ‘them’ to apologize. I only have control over me. And I want to be remembered as someone with grace. Not just the way I walk but the way I live. I want to be treated with grace as well. I need it!                                                               

The golden rule:”Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”- Luke 6:31…or if I may substitute grace as an example: “be graceful unto others as you would have them be graceful unto you.”

Christ died on the cross and rose again for me, for “them”, for you. Who am I to hold anything over anyone else? I don’t deserve grace but God grants it to me. What kind of person am I if I am not extending that to others, especially family.

Grace, her middle name. Some day I will have a Grace in my life. God willing, it will be my daughter some day. I love the same Scarlet Grace (a reminder of Jesus’ blood), my husband likes Liberty Grace (then we will have Justice and Liberty.) Perhaps Logan will have a daughter some day and my grand daughter’s name will be Grace. Maybe Grace is the name of the baby I never got to meet. I don’t know how it will come to pass but I have dreams of her.

Grace.

I love the name. I love what it means.                                                                                Logan and Justice

                                                                                                                      

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Justice

 I am officially technically a seminary student today.

With a Bachelors of Arts in Music from The University of Texas completed 8 years ago and after many life lessons and experiences to be blogged about here, keep reading!, I have felt a call to pursue a Master of Arts in Worship Studies.

I decided to name my blog Justice and Grace for a few reasons that I intend to explore here over the next few days or weeks (however long it takes me).

For starters, I needed to explore for myself  just what these two words mean: to me, by definition, and according to my faith. These three did not agree at first and so it goes…

Justice: My husband was insistant on naming our son William Justice. It was non negotiable. He chose it with the intention of it having the effect of  ‘to will justice.’ Justice for me was not a concept I have ever been comfortable with. I was more comfortable thinking about the love and grace and mercy of God not his wrath or judgement- which is what I thought of when I heard the word justice. My husband studied government and Constitutional law. His life was, maybe still is as an infantry soldier, often consumed thinking about justice. I, on the otherhand, studied music composition and taught yoga. My world was abstract mostly, about communicating art and peace, at least that is what I idealized.

We are opposites in so many ways. Luckily, it has turned out that we are both seekers of truth. Though our paths have been quite different, we are slowly coming to the same place: The Truth , capital ‘ T’ truth as I like to call it, is Jesus the Christ.

I have been relieved, encouraged, and enlightened to discover that Biblically, the original Greek and Hebrew words for ‘justice’ are the same as those rendered ‘righteousness.’ About half of the time where the KJV uses ‘justice’ the American Standard Revised Version uses “righteous.’  These two ideas are intended to be virtually the same. And I certainly believe in a righteous God.

Further study has also led me to begin to understand the difference between human justice and Godly justice.

So far, and I have a long way to go, my understanding is that human justice sees justice as I initally did: it had to do with conduct between others. It was about establishing rights and giving those to others as they deserved or did not deserve based on judgement by…?courts or businesses or our own self imposed ideas of right and wrong or punishment and reward.

Godly justice as I currenly understand it, is not about sinlessness or moral perfection. It is about seeking after God, holding onto Him, and trusting Him (Psalm 33:18-22.) It becomes more spiritual and ethical in the New Testament after Jesus has come and fulfilled the law. It is not about each of us getting what we deserve (we all deserve death after all- Romans 6:23 ‘For the wages of sin is death.’) .

The idea is righteousness (through Jesus, becoming more like Him) not rights.  Jesus is righteous. We are made righteous /just through Jesus. His atoning sacrifice is a gift of grace and mercy, AND His justice.

I am skipping a lot here but ultimatley, God’s justice is the act of his mercy. I am still wrapping my head around this but I know it to be true. Justice and grace, or mercy more accurately, are not antithetical to one another the way so many want to argue. I really really like this and am becoming more and more comfortable with the idea of justice.

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Heart Health- food and supplements

When on the pill or pregnant I suffered from PIH (pregnancy induced hypertension). I had it bad enough that it was suspected that my high blood pressure led to a seizure when I was pregnant= pre-eclampsia
 
I have a family history of heart disease. Thus far my triglycerides and cholesterol are very low, thanks I believe to a scrupulous vegetarian diet for 8 years and a now fairly balanced healthy diet as well as consistent cardio and yoga.
However, my last few doctors visits have presented with high blood pressure 140s /90s accompanied by stress (deployed, redeployed husband, new baby, moves) so I have been exploring alternative treatments primarily as a preventative measure to couple with my diet and exercise.
Thus far the my most recent research has found the following supplements to be most beneficial for your heart:
 
 
Fish oil
Plant sterols
Niacin (B3)
Fiber (psyllium)
Red yeast rice
Green tea extract
B-Complex vitamins (B6, B12, folic acid)
Coenzyme Q10
Policosanol
 
 
I have also read consistently that eating/drinking or supplementing more calcium/potassium/magnesium will also benefit the heart.
I drink ridiculous amounts of skim milk daily, so I think I am okay there but I will take a closer look.
 
My current plan (in addition to my prenatal/multi vitamin) is to add Omega 3 fish oil supplements, alpha lipoic acid, and to drink at least 4 cups of green tea a day. In the summer months I prefer it cold brewed over ice.
 
 
Overall, the following is what I have collected to be a heart healthy ‘diet’:
 
Fiber:
Try to eat 40 grams of fiber a day. You can achieve this by increasing your consumption of fruit, especially berries, vegetables,  and whole grains.
Ready-made cereals can be good fiber sources, but read labels to make sure they give you at least 4 and preferably 5 grams of bran per one-ounce serving.
Phytonutrients:
  
To get maximum natural protection against age-related diseases (including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative disease) as well as against environmental toxicity:
*Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and mushrooms from all parts of the color spectrum, especially berries, tomatoes, orange and yellow fruits, and dark leafy greens.
*Choose organic produce whenever possible. Learn which conventionally grown crops are most likely to carry pesticide residues and avoid them.
*Eat cruciferous (cabbage-family) vegetables regularly.
*Include soy foods in your diet.
*Drink tea instead of coffee, especially good quality white, green or oolong tea.
*If you drink alcohol, use red wine preferentially.
*Enjoy plain dark chocolate in moderation (with a minimum cocoa content of 70 percent).
  
Vitamins and Minerals
 
The best way to obtain all of your daily vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients is by eating a diet high in fresh foods with an abundance of fruits and vegetables. In addition, supplement your diet with the following antioxidant cocktail:
 
 
*Vitamin C, 200 milligrams a day.
*Vitamin E, 400 IU of natural mixed tocopherols (d-alpha-tocopherol with other tocopherols, or, better, a minimum of 80 milligrams of natural mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols).
*Selenium, 200 micrograms of an organic (yeast-bound) form.
*Mixed carotenoids, 10,000-15,000 IU daily.
*In addition, take daily multivitamin/multimineral supplements that provide at least 400 micrograms of folic acid
*and at least 2,000 IU of *vitamin D. They should contain no iron and no preformed vitamin A (retinol).
*Take supplemental calcium, preferably as calcium citrate. Women should supplement with 500-700 mg daily, for a total daily intake of 1,000-1,200 mg from all sources. Men should get no more than 500-600 mg daily from all sources, and probably do not need to supplement.
 
Other Dietary Supplements
 
 
*If you are not eating oily fish at least twice a week, take supplemental fish oil, in capsule or liquid form, 1-2 grams a day. Look for molecularly distilled products certified to be free of heavy metals and other contaminants.
*Talk to your doctor about going on low-dose aspirin therapy, one or two baby aspirins a day (81 or 162 milligrams).
*If you are not regularly eating ginger and turmeric, consider taking these in supplemental form.
*Add CoQ10 to your daily regimen: 60-100 milligrams of a softgel form taken with your largest meal.
*If you are prone to metabolic syndrome, take alpha-lipoic acid, 100 to 400 milligrams a day.
 
Water:
 
Try to drink 6-8 glasses of pure water a day, or drinks that are mostly water (tea, very diluted fruit juice, sparkling water with lemon).
Use bottled water or get a home water purifier if your tap water tastes of chlorine or other contaminants, or if you live in an area where the water is known or suspected to be contaminated.
 
I hope this helps somone.
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Cell phone radiation

Here is a link to look up your cell phone and see how much radiation it is emitting.
The current FCC’s limit is 1.6 watts per kilogram ( the level of my husband’s cell phone, bummer)
 
If this is not a concern of yours, maybe it should be:
I have noticed recent studies and reports over the last few weeks on multiple news sites: drudgereport, Fox, CNN to name a few, medical journals such as the Lancet, Time magazine, even GQ magazine ran an article in February of this year, reporting links between the radiation in cell phones and brain cancer, tumors, memory loss, sleep disorders, and headaches.
The most alarming study  is called the Interphone study (2008) comprised of data from 13 countries (the US was not one of them).
Results include the following:
Radio waves from mobile phones harm body cells and damage DNA. Children’s brains are twice as susceptible.
My 15 month old loves! to walk around and pretend to talk on the phone. Anything remotely resembling a phone will do but nothing is as exciting to him as our actual cell phones. It is so stinkin cute! But alas, after reading multiple articles on the dangers, this cute playtime has been put to a screeching halt.
 
Cell phones have only been around for arguably less than 20 years. Very few long term studies have been done to asses the long term risks. And this I find worthy of caution. 
I am not a scientist nor am I am not a conspiracy theorist. But I would rather be on the side of caution; especially when it comes to my health and the health of my children.
 
So what can you do to limit your exposure?
 
*Make sure your phone has a low SAR 
*Don’t sleep with your phone next to your head when the power is on
*Text when you can since it uses less power than a phone call
*Keep your phone away from your body when on a call by using the speakerphone or a headset.
 
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Amazing Benefits of GREEN TEA

I hope that you will find more than a decade’s worth of research about green tea’s health benefits — particularly its potential to fight cancer and heart disease—  more than intriguing, as well as these limited studies about green tea’s role in lowering cholesterol, burning fat, preventing diabetes and stroke, and staving off dementia,  increasing fat oxidation levels, improving insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, treating rheumatoid arthritis , depression, and treating skin after radiation therapy.
  
Human studies  have shown that drinking at least two cups of green tea daily inhibits cancer growth.

How greeen tea works:

Green tea’s antioxidants are dilators. They work by improving the flexibility of blood vessels and making them less vulnerable to clogging —  antioxidant-rich blueberries and pomegranates do the same.

Green tea contains salubrious polyphenols, particularly catechins, the most abundant of which is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Green tea also contains carotenoids, tocopherols, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), minerals such as chromium, manganese, selenium or zinc, and certain phytochemical compounds. It is a more potent antioxidant than black tea, although black tea has substances which green tea does not such as theaflavin.

Green tea’s antioxidants, called catechins, scavenge for free radicals that can damage DNA and contribute to cancer, blood clots, and atherosclerosis.

Below you will find study after study confirming the benefits of green tea .

One of them, a study conducted in Japan that involved nearly 500 Japanese women with Stage I and Stage II breast cancer, found that increased green tea consumption before and after surgery was associated with lower recurrence of the cancers.

Studies in China have shown that the more green tea that participants drank, the less the risk of developing stomach cancer, esophageal cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, and colorectal cancer.

A recent analysis of 22 studies that probed the correlation between high tea consumption and reduced risk for lung cancer concluded that by increasing your daily intake of green (not black) tea by two cups may reduce the risk of developing lung cancer by 18%.

A study performed at Birmingham (UK) University, showed that average fat oxidation rates were 17% higher after ingestion of green tea extract than after ingestion of a placebo. Similarly the contribution of fat oxidation to total energy expenditure was also significantly higher by a similar percentage following ingestion of green tea extract. This implies that ingestion of green tea extract can not only increase fat oxidation during moderately intensive exercise but also improve insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance in healthy young men.

A recent study looked at the effects of short term green tea consumption on a group of students between the ages of 19–37. Participants were asked not to alter their diet and to drink 4 cups of green tea per day for 14 days. The results showed that short term consumption of commercial green tea reduces systolic and diastolic Blood Pressure, fasting total cholesterol, body fat and body weight. These results suggest a role for green tea in decreasing established potential cardiovascular risk factors. This study also suggests that reductions may be more pronounced in the overweight population where a significant proportion are obese and have a high risk of cardiovascular disease.

In a study performed at the Israel Institute of Technology, it was shown that the main antioxidant polyphenol of green tea extract, EGCG, when fed to mice induced with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, helped to protect brain cells from dying, as well as ‘rescuing’ already damaged neurons in the brain, a phenomenon called neurorescue or neurorestoration. The findings of the study, led by Dr. Silvia Mandell, were presented at the Fourth International Scientific Symposium on Tea and Human Health in Washington D.C., in 2007. Resulting tests underway in China, under the auspices of the Michael J. Fox Foundation, are being held on early Parkinson’s patients.

According to research reported at the Sixth International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention, sponsored by the American Association for Cancer Research, a standardized green tea polyphenol preparation (Polyphenon E) limits the growth of colorectal tumors in rats treated with a substance that causes the cancer. “Our findings show that rats fed a diet containing Polyphenon E are less than half as likely to develop colon cancer,” Dr. Hang Xiao, from the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey, noted in a statement.

A 2006 study published in the September 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded “Green tea consumption is associated with reduced mortality due to all causes and due to cardiovascular disease but not with reduced mortality due to cancer.” The study, conducted by the Tohoku University School of Public Policy in Japan, followed 40,530 Japanese adults, ages 40–79, with no history of stroke, coronary heart disease, or cancer at baseline beginning in 1994. The study followed all participants for up to 11 years for death from all causes and for up to 7 years for death from a specific cause. Participants who consumed 5 or more cups of tea per day had a 16 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality and a 26 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease (“CVD”) than participants who consumed less than one cup of tea per day. The study also states, “If green tea does protect humans against CVD or cancer, it is expected that consumption of this beverage would substantially contribute to the prolonging of life expectancy, given that CVD and cancer are the two leading causes of death worldwide.”

A study in the February 2006 edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded “A higher consumption of green tea is associated with a lower prevalence of cognitive impairment in humans.”

In May 2006, researchers at Yale University School of Medicine weighed in on the issue with a review article that looked at more than 100 studies on the health benefits of green tea. They pointed to what they called an “Asian paradox,” which refers to lower rates of heart disease and cancer in Asia despite high rates of cigarette smoking. They theorized that the 1.2 liters of green tea that is consumed by many Asians each day provides high levels of polyphenols and other antioxidants. These compounds may work in several ways to improve cardiovascular health, including preventing blood platelets from sticking together (This anticoagulant effect is the reason doctors warn surgical patients to avoid green tea prior to procedures that rely on a patient’s clotting ability) and improving cholesterol levels, said the researchers, whose study appeared in the May issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. Specifically, green tea may prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol (the “bad” type), which, in turn, can reduce the buildup of plaque in arteries, the researchers wrote.

A study published in the August 22, 2006 edition of Biological Psychology looked at the modification of the stress response via L-Theanine, a chemical found in green tea. It “suggested that the oral intake of L-Theanine could cause anti-stress effects via the inhibition of cortical neuron excitation.”

In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial conducted by Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, 240 adults were given either theaflavin-enriched green tea extract in form of 375 mg capsule daily or a placebo. After 12 weeks, patients in the tea extract group had significantly less low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and total cholesterol (16.4% and 11.3% lower than baseline, p<0.01) than the placebo group. The author concluded that theaflavin-enriched green tea extract can be used together with other dietary approaches to reduce LDL-C.

A study published in the January, 2005 edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded “Daily consumption of tea containing 690 mg catechins for 12 wk reduced body fat, which suggests that the ingestion of catechins might be useful in the prevention and improvement of lifestyle-related diseases, mainly obesity.”

According to a Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine study published in the April 13 2005 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, antioxidants in green tea may prevent and reduce the severity of rheumatoid arthritis. The study examined the effects of green tea polyphenols on collagen-induced arthritis in mice, which is similar to rheumatoid arthritis in humans. In each of three different study groups, the mice given the green tea polyphenols were significantly less likely to develop arthritis. Of the 18 mice that received the green tea, only eight (44 percent) developed arthritis. Among the 18 mice that did not receive the green tea, all but one (94 percent) developed arthritis. In addition, researchers noted that the eight arthritic mice that received the green tea polyphenols developed less severe forms of arthritis.

A German study found that an extract of green tea and hot water (filtered), applied externally to the skin for 10 minutes, three times a day could help people with skin damaged from radiation therapy (after 16–22 days).

A study published in the December 1999 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that “Green tea has thermogenic properties and promotes fat oxidation beyond that explained by its caffeine content per se. The green tea extract may play a role in the control of body composition via sympathetic activation of thermogenesis, fat oxidation, or both.”

In lab tests, EGCG, found in green tea, was found to prevent HIV from attacking T-Cells. However, it is not yet known if this has any effect on humans.

A study in the August, 2003 issue of a new potential application of Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences found that “a new potential application of (–)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate [a component of green tea] in prevention or treatment of inflammatory processes is suggested”

A more frequent consumption of green tea was associated with a lower prevalence of depressive symptoms in a Japanese study . Researchers conducted a cross-sectional study in 1,058 community-dwelling elderly Japanese individuals 70 years of age. The prevalence of mild and severe depressive symptoms was 34.1 percent and 20.2 percent, respectively. After adjustment for confounding factors, the odds ratios for mild and severe depressive symptoms when higher green tea consumption was compared with green tea consumption of 1 cup/d were: 2 to 3 cups green tea/d and 4 cups green tea/d. Similar relations were also observed in the case of severe depressive symptoms.

A word of caution:  pharmacological and toxicological evidence does indicate that green tea polyphenols can in fact cause oxidative stress and liver toxicity in vivo at certain concentrations. This would imply that consumers should exercise caution when consuming herbal products produced from concentrated green tea extract. Other evidence presented in the review cautions against the drinking of green tea by pregnant women as something in green tea inhibits the absorption of folic acid, a vital vitamin during the first trimester as the neural tube develops in a fetus.

I’m not clear yet what the reference etiquette is on blogs.

All of these studies are from the websites WebMD and Wikipedia- green tea links which reference or link each of these studies individually if anyone is interested.

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Chicken Scallopine with Saffron Cream Sauce- Giada recipe

A decadent dish for a special meal. Tried and true at our house. Delicious every time.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound chicken cutlets (scallopine)
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Season the chickencutlets with salt and pepper. Cook the chicken until golden and cooked

through, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to serving plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Turn the heat to medium, add the

shallot and the garlic and cook until tender, about 2 minutes.

Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Using a wooden spoon, scrape all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the wine is almost evaporated.

Add the chicken broth and saffron threads, bring to a simmer and reduce for 10 minutes. Add the cream, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and simmer for 1 minute to blend the flavors. Pour the sauce over the chicken.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

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Spicy Beef Chili

I make this every week or two during the cold months. I skip the beans and double the tomoatoes. Excellent with warm cornbread, saltines, or corn chips.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound coarsely ground beef chuck
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 shallot, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, halved, seeded chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper, or to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 cup Gallo burgundy wine
  • 1 (16 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (16 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed

 

Directions

In a medium, hot soup pot brown the chuck with the thyme, sage and garlic. When browned remove and drain beef. Set aside. In the same pot heat the oil and add the onion, garlic, shallot, red bell pepper and jalapeno. Saute until vegetables begin to brown, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add chili powder, cayenne pepper, chipotle pepper, salt and cook, stirring, until spices begin to stick to the pan. Add Gallo burgundy and cook until liquid is reduced by 1 half. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Stir in beans and reserved beef and simmer, partially covered, over medium low heat for 1 hour. Serve with corn chips or saltines. Chili may be made, up to 2 days in advance and kept covered and refrigerated. Reheat to serve.

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Chicken Fried Pork Chops with milk gravy over buttermilk mashed potatoes- Emeril recipe

This is the most southern dish I know how to make. Super yum! I suggest getting thin sliced pork chops to cook faster and more evenly in the skillet.

Ingredients

  • 22 saltine crackers, finely crushed
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided, plus more for seasoning
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided, plus more for seasoning
  • 3/4 teaspoon Emeril’s Original Essence, recipe follows
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking  powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups plus 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 8 boneless breakfast  pork chops (small, thin cuts, about 1/4-inch thick each)
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups vegetable oil

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes, recipe follows

Directions

In a shallow bowl combine the crushed crackers, 3/4 cup of flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, Essence, and baking powder.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the eggs and 1/3 cup of milk.

Season pork chops lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper on both sides. Dust pork chops, one at a time, with the cracker-flour mixture and then dip in the egg mixture. Dredge pork chops with the cracker-flour mixture a second time, pressing to coat, and shaking off any excess flour.

Heat the oil to 375 degrees F in a large skillet with 2-inch deep sides. (The oil should be about 1/4-inch deep.) Add the pork chops to the preheated oil, being careful not to over-crowd the pan. Pan-fry the chops for 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Turn the pork chops and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Place the pork chops on a paper towel-lined plate and keep warm while you make the gravy.

 The gravy:

Carefully discard most of the oil from the pork chops, reserving 2 tablespoons plus any browned bits in the bottom of the skillet.  Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of the flour to the oil-  In a slow, steady stream, add the remaining 3 cups of milk, 1/2 cup at a time, whisking continuously. Bring the gravy mixture to a simmer, and cook 8 to 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Season the gravy with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately over chicken fried pork chops and buttermilk mashed potatoes.

Emeril’s ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Yield: 2/3 cup

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes:

2 pounds Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

 

Place the potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold water by 1-inch. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are fork tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain potatoes in a colander.

Return the potatoes to the cooking pot and add the buttermilk, butter, salt, and black pepper. Mash with a potato masher or heavy fork until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper, to taste. Place potatoes in an ovenproof dish and cover with aluminum foil. Place mashed potatoes in a low (275 degree F) oven to keep warm until ready to serve with the pork chops.

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