Saturday, November 30, 2013

Slow-Cooked Italian Chicken Stew


It's been too long since I've posted a new recipe. Waaay too long. As I mentioned yesterday, I've been super-antsy about getting back in the kitchen. What started out as a simple soup intended to use up some leftover rotisserie chicken and zucchini, ended up being an all-day labor of love. I take that back, it wasn't really a laborious process. The all-day part was mostly just simmering, no real kitchen action. The long, slow simmer really paid off though, the hubby said this is one of the best soups I've made.

I have another secret that really made this a flavorful dish. A couple of month's ago, the hubby and I had lamb chops. I saved the cooked lamb bones in the freezer, determined to use them for something. Well, yesterday I found a good use. I dropped a couple of bones in the soup while it slowly simmered all day, and simply discarded them upon finishing the dish. The meaty flavor from the bones really brought complexity to an otherwise simple broth. You can bet I'll be saving and freezing more bones in the future!

A side note- This is perfect for a cold, winter evening. I served a crusty french baguette with the soup, and there wasn't a drop left in my bowl. The hubby had seconds!

It's good to be back in the kitchen :)


1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 cup carrot, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp tomato paste
5 cups chicken broth
1 (15 oz) can of diced tomatoes
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tsp ground thyme
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
3 small lamb chop bones
1 cup zucchini, diced
1/2 cup ditalini (pasta)
1 cup cooked chicken, chopped
parmesan cheese (garnish)


1. In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add onion, carrot, and celery. Saute for about 5 minutes, or until tender. Add garlic to the pan, cook for 1 minute.
2. Add tomato paste to the pot. Stir until tomato paste has dispersed. Add chicken broth and diced tomatoes to pan. Add dried basil through crushed red pepper to the pot. Bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, add lamb bones. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer gently for 3 hours.
3. Remove cover. Stir soup gently. Simmer very gently (we are talking very little bubbling here) for another 2 hours. Add zucchini, simmer for another hour. Remove lamb bones from pot, discard. Add ditalini and chicken, simmer for 8 minutes. Remove pot from heat. Serve immediately, topped with parmesan cheese.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Oregon Trip 2013 Conclusion

Welp, I think I've taken a long enough vacation from the blog. The hubby and I flew home from Oregon on Monday, and I'm just now having the time to sit down and write. It's been a crazy week. We got home around 1:30 am on Monday night/Tuesday morning. Needless to say, we slept for most of Tuesday. The hubby returned to work on Wednesday, while I was forced, forced I tell you, to run to the grocery store. *Groan* While grocery shopping the day before Thanksgiving may sound slightly less pleasurable then enjoying a colonoscopy, I was happily surprised to find a nearly empty store. Upon checkout, standing in front of the cashier, I inquired about the scarcity of crazed Thanksgiving shoppers. I was informed that Tuesday and Tuesday night at the store had been absolute nightmares, because people were afraid of getting snowed in. Worked out well for me!

Yesterday was Thanksgiving (obviously), which was spent with the hubby's family. All of this rambling brings me to my point- today is the first day I've had to sit down and play catch-up with social media. Along the lines of catch-up, here are a few pictures to sum up the monthlong vacation extravaganza-

My mom and I have started a tradition since I've moved away. We always go out for drinks at The Vault at least once while I'm in town. This year, I had a Raspberry Lemon Drop made with fresh raspberry puree. It was all kinds of delicious. 
We let Dad and the hubby come with us :)

Shrimp and Lobster Bruschetta. Yum!

I'm not sure how Haloti finds this comfortable, but apparently, he does.

Forever hoping someone will drop something.

Rhoadesgiving! Since the hubby and I flew out a few days before Thanksgiving, my family celebrated Thanksgiving last Saturday. Lots of wine, lots of food, and lots of football! It would have been a perfect day, if only the Duck's could have won!

Beautiful, beautiful turkey.

The dogs enjoying a little howling on their last night of the trip.

A shot of Vegas (our layover city) as we flew out.

Foodie items purchased in Oregon!

I'm really excited about this jarred adobo sauce. Sometimes recipes only call for a little bit of adobo sauce, which makes it a pain to open an entire can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce for just a teaspoon of the adobo sauce. 

I would never be able to buy this -ground shrimp- in Kentucky. I smell a latin-inspired soup on the horizon.

Risotto is also looming on the menu!
So, we are home now. The blog should be returning to normal. I have to admit, I'm excited to get back to cooking and baking. It's nice to have a break once in a while, but when it comes down to it, I just love being in the kitchen.

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving, and that you were not harmed by Black Friday violence :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Oregon 2013- so far!

Happy Monday friends!

So, I've recently come to terms with the fact that #1- I'm having too much fun to be at my computer and #2- November is going to be a less than proliferous month when it comes to the blog. I constantly have that constant, nagging self-reminder that I should take to the computer and blog. I just don't have the time (or desire) right now. And that's ok. It's going to be an all-out blogging blitz when I get home though- holiday cooking! I'm super-excited. In the meantime, some pictures from the first half of our trip to entertain you and get you through this inconsistent blogging month-

The hubby and I in our Halloween finest. Hubby won Scariest Costume at the party we went to!

The hubby's friends' highly creative, homemade, paper-mache mask. I'm still not sure what he was supposed to be, but it was pretty cool :)

My parent's house has a daylight basement which is where our guest bedroom is at. I love looking at the squirrels and birds at eye level.

The parent's took us out to dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings in Corvallis. My mom's favorite radio guys (Steve Tannen and Justin Myers from Crunch Time with Steve and Justin) were doing a show from that location, and my mom was beside herself to get to meet them.

I made Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies for the fam.

A "Kentucky Jenny" from Bar 101 in Corvallis. I wish I remembered exactly what was in it, but I think it was bourbon, ginger beer, and bitters over shaved ice. Like a snow cone. I just had to try it :) It was pretty good!

It's a rough life for Mr. Gizmo.

Loved this double rainbow over Corvallis.

Cheering on the Ducks for the ill-fated Stanford game. Boo.

The hubby and I went down to Southern Oregon (about 3 hours from my parents) where my brother lives. The little bro and his wife took us to an amazing Italian restaurant in Ashland, OR, Pasta Piatta. We all split a bottle of Chianti Classico. So lip-smackin' good!

Their calamari was amazing, with fresh marinara.

After lunch in Ashland, we walked through the town to see Lithia Park and The Oregon Shakespeare Theater.

My brother's wife and the hubby goofing off at the theater.

Bro's wife, Bro, and me in Lithia Park.

I just seem to find duckies where ever I go!

My dad taught me how to make his homemade noodles. A priority when I get home is replicating his German potato and homemade noodle soup. First, I'll have to figure out a name for the soup though, because he calls it "Leichtyswitch". This ends up sounding like "lick-it-ee-switch". I've been unsuccessful finding a German soup of this name, but my dad swears that's what his Grandma used to call this soup. I will continue to search for a name for the soup, or at the very least, a correct German spelling :)

Gizmo's favorite resting spot at my parent's house.
I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Track Town USA

Last week, the hubby and I headed down to Eugene, OR aka Track Town USA. Eugene is where I spent 4 very important years of my life, attending the University of Oregon. People always say youth is wasted on the young. I'm finally starting to understand this. The hubby and I decided to start our morning off running the Pre Trail (named after Steve Prefontaine), which I'd never even walked before. How could I have lived there for 4 years and never even stepped foot on the trail? It's just sad, I tell you, sad.

Running by Autzen, where the University of Oregon football team plays. We picked a perfect morning for a run, sunny and cool. The trail is just about 4 miles, along the millrace that winds through Eugene and past gorgeous scenery.

I heart this view of Autzen Stadium.

A Blue Heron.

The bark is Pre's Trail. The Mackenzie River flows through the background. At this point in the run, I was seriously kicking myself for not knowing any of this beauty was here when I was.

We finished! I'll admit, we got passed by what appeared to be dozens of student athletes. It did cross my mind at this point that I'll probably never run that fast in my life :)

After we finished the run, I (of course) had to go see the ducks. I love the ducks at Alton Baker Park. Alton Baker Park is where the trail starts and ends after looping around.

 Margarita time! Sometimes there's nothing better than an early afternoon margarita.

Oh, El Torito. My favorite Mexican restaurant of all time! I'm not sure why this picture came out kind of blurry, but you get the gist of the deliciousness that was devoured after that run.

I apologize for the sporadic blogging, but I'm having too much fun to care :)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Autumn Spiced Trail Mix

Long time, no see my blog friends!

I know, I've been bad. To be honest, blogging has been the furthest thing from my mind for the last week. I'm simply enjoying being on vacation. When most people hear that I don't work, I think they imagine me parked on couch, hand in a bucket of chicken wings, watching General Hospital. What do I do all day? They wonder aloud. I've long since grown tired of people asking me if I'm bored and when I'm going back to work. Maybe some housewives are bored and don't do much around the house, but that's not me. I'm on my feet all day. First of all, I have the house and everything that owning a house entails. The cleaning and the yard work. I also run, 4-5 days a week. There's my blog. I spend a surprising amount of time planning posts, choosing recipes to feature, and photography for the accompanying post. There's couponing, which also takes a couple of hours a week between cutting, organizing, planning lists, and carrying out the shopping. There's my pups, always in need of attention, affection, and new smells from the yard. There's cooking. And baking. Laundry. Zumba. My point- at home, there's always something.

Not so when you are on vacation. My days have consisted of rolling out of bed in the morning for a leisurely run, followed by dips in the hot tub. Afternoon naps, followed by a couple of hours of reading. Dinners split between my parent's comfort food, and restaurants the hubby and I can only reminisce about home in Kentucky. Evenings winding down with wine and more reading. I've hardly glanced at Facebook, checked my email once a day, and not pinned a damn thing. And I'm loving it.

So what am I doing here, you ask? Well, I will admit I've been asked once or twice when in the world I was going to update the blog. I can only laugh and change the subject so many times. So I've got a recipe. While this is not the first thing I've made while I've been here, it has been one of my favorites. After completing the trail mix, I'd advise allowing the trail mix to sit overnight to allow the flavors to meld. I tasted the mix when it came right out of the oven and I thought it was ruined, it tasted that gross. I went ahead and completed the trail mix, and tried it about 4 hours later. It already tasted 100% better. I tried it again this morning however, and it's 100% better than yesterday. I think this one just needs time to develop the flavor. Enjoy!


1 cup raw pecans
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
pinch of cloves
pinch of salt
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup crystallized ginger sliced, chopped


1. Preheat oven to 350º. Lightly coat a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
2. Spread pecans, almonds, and cashews on cookie sheet in a single layer. Roast in oven for 10 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Pour nuts into a large mixing bowl, and set aside. Turn oven down to 300º.
3. In a small sauce pan, combine maple syrup through salt. Bring to a gentle rolling boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and pour syrup mixture into mixing bowl. Stir until thoroughly coated. Re-spread nut mixture onto cookie sheet. Bake in oven 25-30 minutes, or until glaze begins to harden. Spread mixture onto a piece of greased parchment paper to cool.
4. When mixture is cool add back to mixing bowl. Add cranberries and ginger to the bowl, toss to combine. Pour trail mix into an airtight container, and allow to sit for 24 hours before consumption.

Recipe courtesy of Southern Living.