What's cooking at my house

So now that it is summer, my absolute favorite thing to do is spend time pondering over cookbooks and going through my recipe clippings, to try out new recipes. During the school year I also try to do that to, I just don't get to try out as many as I would like. Back in March I discovered three wonderful recipes and combined them together to make one delicious meal that is now one of our favorite dinners:
Oven-Fried (Baked) chicken, oven fries and spicy gravy, salad with home-made vinaigrette and rosemary biscuits.

Oven-Fried (Baked) chicken I found in the Food Network magazine, but I adapted it a bit.
1 1/2 cups of crispy rice cereal (like Chex)
2 1/4 cups bagel chips or Melba toasts
5 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp paprika
sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 container of plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp dijon mustard
skinless, boneless chicken breasts of thighs ( I have used both in this recipe and both are very good, I usually just choose which ever is cheaper at the store)

1. Preheat oven to 475F. Coat the baking sheet or glassware with cooking spray.
2. Grind the cereal and bagel chips in a food processor and transfer to a large resealable plastic bag.
I have also substituted rice chex with corn chex and it tastes really good too. Once I had pita chips instead of bagel chips and that tasted great too. My dad has also uses pretzels to bread with, I haven't tried that one yet, but he said it was great. I have also thrown in bread crumbs to on occasion.
Add 3 tsp olive oil, the paprika, 2 tsp salt, and pepper.
3. Whisk the yogurt and mustard in a shallow bowl. Add the chicken and coat. Transfer chicken to bag, seal and shake to dredge the chicken until well coated. Transfer chicken to baking dish and mist with cooking spray. Bake until the chicken is crisp and done, about 30 minutes.

I have always loved breaded chicken, but Brett is allergic to eggs and most recipes call for soaking the chicken in an egg mixture. I was glad when I found this recipe, because Greek yogurt is so good and good for you.

Oven Fries and Spicy Gravy- I found this recipe watching the Rachel Ray Show (www.rachelrayshow.com/food/recipes/oven-fries-and-spicy-gravy/
4 medium starchy potatoes cut into 10 wedges or so (I usually use Russet)
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Steak seasoning or salt and pepper (I use the Hy-vee brand steak seasoning and it is so good)
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp grainy mustard (I use French's spicy brown mustard)
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 cups chicken stock (I have also used vegetable broth when I was out of chicken stock)

Heat oven to 450F. (When I cook this with the fried chicken, I just leave the oven at 475 and just watch the potatoes.
Cut potatoes and drizzle with oil, and seasoning blend. Arrange on foil lined baking sheet (foil allows for easy clean up, and I found that if you spray the foil, then the fries do not stick. Bake 40-45 minutes or so, turning pan and flipping the potatoes halfway.
Heat a medium pot over medium to medium-high hear. Melt butter, whisk in flour and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Whisk in mustard, W. sauce and stock. Let gravy thicken a couple of minutes or so until it coats the back of a spoon ( I have found that this usually takes a while, the longer the sits, the thicker and better it gets. This recipe has taken me a few tries to get it to the perfect constancy).
Pour into individual cup and serve for dipping. Dipping the chicken into the gravy also tastes great!

For the salad, just chop up some greens and make your own dressing. I found this dressing in a Martha Stewart magazine.
Rose's Vinaigrette
1 tbsp minced garlic or shallot (I use garlic because I always have garlic around)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1tsp light-brown sugar
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black ground pepper
1/4 tsp W. sauce
2 1/2 tbsp red-wine vinegar (I prefer the taste of red-wine vinegar but I'm sure you could easily switch is out for balsamic vinegar)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (about a half of a lemon)
3/4 cups of extra virgin olive oil.

1. In a small bowl, mash together the garlic, mustard, sugar, salt, pepper, and W. sauce.
2. Pour in the vinegar, lemon juice, and olive oil. Pour mixture into a jar or cruete. Over tightly and shake well to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator.

Lastly for the rosemary biscuits I just use a box of Jiffy buttermilk biscuit mix (usually less than $0.50!) I make the drop recipe that is on the side of the box. I follow the recipe as written and add freshly snipped and chopped rosemary, bake and enjoy!

Hope you enjoy these recipes as much and Brett and I have.


Little blessings

This week I got a package in the mail from my great-aunt Dean, my Granny's sister. Inside the package was a letter and a beautiful baby quilt.

While I'm not yet pregnant, my aunt wanted to send me this while she was still living, which I find very sweet and little funny since she is in really good health. She hand-made it and there are Winnie the Pooh emblems on it.

Last fall at my cousin's baby shower, my aunt made a similar quilt for her. I thought it was beautiful. My aunt most have noticed my fondness for the quilt, because in her letter she explained that is the reason why she made this quilt for me. I felt very blessed and loved, I started crying when I saw the quilt before I even read the letter. Now I can't wait to use the quilt someday on my little ones.


A love for books

My Papa always said that the best thing you can do for yourself is learn to read. He instilled in me a love of many things: cooking, family and of course, books. Papa had bookcases overflowing with books, and boxes tucked away in the basement packed full. He collected, and read every single one, books of all genres.

Papa passed away this March and yesterday I spent a rainy afternoon going through his book collection. My Granny was very generous to let me take as many as I wanted. I found books that Nick and I had given him for Christmas presents, cookbooks that were almost falling apart, and books on his favorite president, Harry S. Truman. Granny also gave me several old "readers", textbooks dating back to the early 1900's! She said that he wanted his "teacher granddaughter" to have them. I also have books that he had given me for Christmas presents as a child.

I was the child who would rather curl up and read a good book then play outside. I would save my allowance for a trip to Barnes and Noble on the plaza, instead of the toy store. I remember Papa reading aloud to me and taking my cousins and I to the library when we would spend a week at my grandparent's house during the summer. I love Papa and I will miss him very much, but I have many memories of him, and now I have a small part of his book collection.

My love of books is still in demand today. I love to read and get caught up in a good story. I love to encourage my students to read as well. I wish that there was more time during the school day to read aloud or let my students read independently. That is a goal of mine for the next fall. During college and the first few years of teaching, reading took a back seat to to other pursuits and time restraints. Last year I read my first "adult" book for pleasure in over three years. Since then I have rearranged schedule time in my evenings and on weekends to make reading more of a priority. I have already made my book list for this summer, 25 plus and counting! (It may take me more than the summer to read all of those.)

One day I look forward to passing on my love for books and reading to my children and telling them of the legacy, and the impression Papa left.


It's Mother's Day

I am thinking about today and why we celebrate Mother's Day. I am very grateful to my mother for the love she has given to me.

This is a picture of me and my mommy

My mother is not the only influential person in my life. I was lucky to have two loving grandmothers in my life, "Grandma" Marilynn Martinson and "Granny" Jeanette Dattilo. Granny lived here in town, so naturally I got to spend a lot of time with her, and still get the pleasure to do so.

This is a picture of Granny and me.

When I married Brett, I gained a Mother-in-Law, Sherry Osborn. It is a different kind of relationship, one that is still growing and takes time. She is also a very loving and naturing person. It is never a dull moment when Sherry is around :)

This is a picture of Sherry with my mom.

I have a lot of other very special Mother's in my life: family, friends, co-workers and church family members. While I am not a mother yet, I am a ...

Doggy Mommy!
(that is Rocco and me)
Happy Mother's Day!!!!


So it begins...

In college, I blogged for a short time, then left once I started teaching. I decided to start blogging again once I realized that I enjoy reading other people's blogs. I've learned that this is a good way to stay connected to old friends despite distance and even time to communicate personally. I must admit that I feel a little silly for blogging, but I'm willing to give anything a try (again).

I chose James 1:17 as a reminder of God's grace and love that He poors over me daily.
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." ESV

I have been blessed so much by my Father and I have taken so much for granted. I have been married to Brett for almost three years. We live in a lovely, charming, older home in Overland Park, Kansas. I am about to finish up my fourth year of teaching fourth grade. While I have been experiencing some rather challenging days of being a teacher (more so this year than any other) I love my job. I love teaching, but I also look forward to the day when I get to be a mother to train and teach my OWN children. Right now I am embracing my role as a wife and homemaker. It may sound crazy, but I enjoy keeping a home. I love to cook and experiment with new recipes. I also love to clean and keep my home tidy and uncluttered. I believe that a home should be a place of rest and fellowship. I hate coming home from work knowing that the breakfast dishes are still stacked high and the bed is still un-made. I also love to bake, which I do believe is different from cooking.

Every day I try to live life to the fullest and honor God in all I do. I'm not perfect and I stumble along the way. I'm grateful to have a savior that continues to love me despite my imperfections.

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