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Celebratory spicy chicken with tomatoes

This is a quick dish if company shows up and you feel a need to celebrate…add a green salad with some creamy cheese, and steamed rice—(these are ingredients you can keep in your pantry/freezer!) Ready in less than an hour!

(adapted from a recipe that appears in Food & Wine in 2011)

6 boneless chicken thighs

3 boneless chicken breasts

½ tsp. cumin seeds

1 large onion thinly sliced

1 large yellow pepper sliced thinly

3 minced garlic cloves

2 tbs powdered ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

2 bay leaves

½ tsp red pepper (I use my homemade red pepper made from peppers from my garden) or 1 finely chopped jalapeno

1 cup red wine (pour one for yourself…and one for the dish!)

1-cup low sodium chicken broth

1 28 oz. can chopped tomatoes

 

Generously sprinkle chicken with sea salt and coarsely ground pepper.

In a Dutch over, heat 2 tbsp. of oil and over medium high heat sauté chicken until crispy brown on both sides.

 

Remove chicken and hold on plate

Add remaining oil.

Toast cumin seed on high heat for 10 seconds.  Add onions and peppers  sauté until  onions are light golden, allowing onions to separate into rings.

Add garlic, ginger, cinnamon and crushed red pepper and bay leaves.

Cook and stir at medium heat for one minute being careful not to burn.

Add wine and cook on low heat until reduced by about 1/2

Add tomato and stock and cook on low heat for 10-12 minutes.

Add chicken and cook until chicken is cooked through (15-20 minutes).

Mrs. Fidler’s Chocolate Cake

This is one of the recipes I mentioned in the Tulsa World article. It is one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve ever made, and it freezes really well so you can heat it up when company is coming over.

Makes 12 servings.

1/2 cup shortening

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup cocoa

3/4 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup hot water

INSTRUCTIONS:

Sift together cocoa, salt, baking soda, and flour.  Cream shortening and sugar in a separate bowl; add eggs to shortening mixture.  Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Add water and vanilla.  Pour into two 9 inch pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Icing:

1/3 cup of butter

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup of cocoa

2 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

INSTRUCTIONS:

Melt butter with water.  Stir in cocoa and powdered sugar. Add vanilla.  Add additional water (or buttermilk) until icing is desired thickness.  Double this recipe for a two layer cake or cupcakes.

The Original Ole’ Mood Pumpkin Bread

Last week marked the official start to Autumn, but someone needs to tell whoever sets the dates for seasonal transition (congress? The UN? Al Roker?) that Autumn really began way back on September 3. No, it wasn’t the reds and oranges of fall foliage that marked the transition and it wasn’t the cool night breeze or the first football game of the season. It was actually almost 100 degrees in good ole’ Tulsa, OK, but I knew Autumn had arrived when I walked into a work meeting at my neighborhood Starbucks coffee shop only to be greeted by a line that snaked through the shop, out the door and half way down the block.

“Did the iphone 5 change its release date and open a pop up shop at Startbucks?” I wondered to myself—and since I’m typically oblivious to any pop culture or technological happening in my vicinity (I literally sat next to Bono IN HIS TRADEMARK SUNGLASSES last time I was in New York and didn’t know it was him until someone told me)—I decided I’d just have to endure the look of shame and disappointment from the Gen-Y hipster in front of me and ask why it was going to take so long to get my Americano. As I anticipated, Gen-Y Hipster looked appalled that I failed to recognize the importance of this day (well, I am appalled you aren’t living up to your beanie wearing stereotype and buying coffee locally so take that) but not visibly shaken like the college girl in the shortest jean shorts I’d ever seen and Ugg boots (did I mention it was almost 100 degrees) in front of him. She jumped in before Gen-Y hipster could answer me:

Sorority Girl (in glass shattering shriek): “WHAT??? YOU DIDN’T KNOW IT WAS PSL DAY AT STARBS?”
Me (silently): Huh?
Sorority Girl: “PSL DAY IS LIKE MY FAVORITE DAY OF THE YEAR AND IT’S LIKE THE 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY!”
Me (looking to my former nemesis and now maybe friend Gen-Y Hipster for reassurance that this girl is bat shit crazy): “I have a meeting. I was just trying to get a coffee. Is this the line for Starbucks?”

Apparently Gen-Y Hipster decided he was going to save me from this shriek fest before he put his giant headphones back on his head so he said, “Today is the day Starbucks officially releases the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Everyone gets really excited about it.”

Let me give you some advice, friends, if you’re ever in this Starbucks line on PSL release day. Do NOT say “Why are they releasing it so early? It’s 100 degrees outside and fall is at least a month away” unless you want to risk being overtaken by a mob of Starbucks lovers hopped up on espresso, whipped cream and pumpkin syrup.

Luckily I escaped in time, but I had to endure my early morning meeting without coffee. I thought I might be afraid of all things pumpkin for life, but now that the weather is a little cooler and Halloween (and Thanksgiving!?) decorations are popping up in Target and beyond I find myself mysteriously craving that spunky orange veggie that inspired the latte that has become more of a harbringer of fall than the first signs of foliage.

Our friends “The Ole’ Moods” brought us an amazing loaf of pumpkin bread that my family demolished in about 2 hours and I begged for the recipe immediately after (partly to make sure it didn’t have some kind of crack in it because it was so addictive…just kidding). The Ole’ Moods make extra loaves of this bread and freeze it in case of pumpkin bread emergencies and I almost had to break into their house to get some because the Ole’ Moods were out of town when I asked for the recipe and we needed more bread badly.

I make this bread every fall, but this year I decided to try to make it healthier. The original recipe calls for 1 cup of oil and since I give it to Foodie Baby for breakfast (I put it in a muffin tin and call it a cupcake) I wanted to see if I could add some whole grains and fruit to it. Yes, I realize the recipe still has a full 3 cups of sugar, but it makes two full loaves so it’s not too bad!

I substituted ½ cup of banana and ½ cup of unsweetened apple sauce for the oil and I added flax seed to the top of the loaf instead of “pecan nut dust”. I also subbed walnuts for pecans…mostly because I didn’t have any pecans. Both recipes are below. Enjoy!

The Original Ole’ Mood Pumpkin Bread
Ingredients
3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs lightly beaten
16 oz canned, unsweetened pumpkin
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup pumpkin spice syrup

Preparation

Grease and flour two loaf pans
Stir in sugar and oil
Stir in eggs and pumpkin
Sift dry ingredients in separate bowl, adding pecans
Add dry ingredients to wet, alternating with water/syrup mixture
Divide batter into two pans
Top with raw sugar and pecan nut dust

Bake in oven at 300 degrees for an hour (generally it takes almost an hour and half – recipe said one hour – I just stick a toothpick in it when it comes out clean it is done)

Lightened Up Pumpkin Bread
Ingredients
3 cups sugar
½ cup mashed banana
½ cup unsweetened apple sauce
4 eggs lightly beaten
16 oz canned, unsweetened pumpkin
3 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup pumpkin spice syrup

Preparation
1. Grease and flour one loaf pan and one muffin tin (or use muffin liners)
2. Stir in sugar and oil
3. Stir in eggs and pumpkin
4. Sift dry ingredients in separate bowl, adding pecans
5. Add dry ingredients to wet, alternating with water/syrup mixture
6. Divide batter into two pans
7. Top with raw sugar and ground flax seed
8. Bake in oven at 300 degrees for an hour (generally it takes almost an hour and half – recipe says one hour – I just stick a toothpick in it when it comes out clean it is done)

 

Super simple pesto

Made with basil fresh from the farmer’s market!

Super Simple Pesto
Ingredients
2 cups Basil
3 cloves garlic
½ Cup Grated Parmesean Cheese
2 Tablespoon pine nuts
Salt and Pepper to taste
7 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Preparation

1.  Combine the first 4 ingredients in a food processor and pulse.
2.  When ingredients are combined, add olive oil in a slow drizzle while pulsing.  If you need an extra hand, recruit a kid!  They love to pulse.
3.  Refrigerate in an airtight container and use atop chicken, seafood, pasta, caprese salad…pretty much anything!

Superfood smoothie perfect for toddlers

This is a perfect breakfast for a busy morning and if you involve your toddler in “making” the smoothie he will be much more likely to eat it!  Blueberries have tons of antioxidants and protect against heart disease and diabetes, all while improving brain function.  Spinach is rich in iron and bananas pack a powerful dose of antioxidants.  If your kid has seasonal allergies like mine, incorporating local honey into their diet (as long as they are old enough) can help battle runny noses and congestion.  Protein and calcium in milk provide fuel for the brain and body.  And cinnamon?  Some studies show it helps regulate blood sugar which can help prevent the all to common mid morning meltdown.

Ingredients

1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
7 frozen strawberries
1/2 cup fresh spinach
1/2 banana
1/8 cup whole milk
1 Tablespoon ground Flax Seed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon honey
Preparation
Pre measure the ingredients and let your toddler help you pour them into the blender*.
Add all ingredients to the blender except 4 strawberries.

Allow your toddler to push the button (or flip the switch) to turn the blender on and off.

Open the blender top a few times and allow your toddler to add a strawberry
Get a spoon and ask your toddler to taste the smoothie.  If he approves, pour it into a cup with a lid and straw.
Enjoy!
For added fun, rinse your blender and pour a small amount of dish soap in the blender along with about 1 cup of water.  Ask your toddler to turn the blender on again and voila!  You have a bubbly clean blender!
*If you have a kid that will be weirded out by spinach in the smoothie, mix everything but the banana, blueberry and strawberry together before you ask for his help.  Then ask your toddler to help you add the fruit and blend.  Also, you should be warned that this smoothie has a greenish color.  If this will be a problem for your toddler, you can either a) add cocoa to make it brown (make sure it’s at least 70% cocoa and not processed with alkali/dutch processed which removes the flavanoids) or b) pour it into a dark colored cup so your kiddo can’t see it’s green.