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Meal Train

Two weeks ago today my newest grandson was born. Our family has established a tradition of orchestrating a schedule to provide meals to the family for the first two weeks at home. I am a very enthusiastic participant for several reasons. First of all it gives me extra time to spend with our newest family member. I just love being able to cuddle with the tiny little person. Of course the added bonus is being with my daughters and their other children. All of them add so much joy to my life.

Today is one of my self designated days to provide a meal to the family. Even though the weather outside is predicted to be sweltering I’ve decided to prepare a meal filled with comfort foods. The wonders of air conditioning are what will make it all possible.

Of the items on the menu are Chicken Parisienne (a family favorite) and a recipe from Betty Crocker called Angel Toffee Dessert. To round off the meal I will add a vegetable as well as some type of fruit. I realize that this may not be a menu that would be added to the list of healthy options but I don’t care. It’s my last scheduled meal train visit and I’m going to make it a comfort food extravaganza.

Here are the latest photos to be added to my family photo album.

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My daughter Ms Katie and Mr. B

Miss A.jpgMr. B’s sister Miss A

Time for me to get organized and set this meal in motion.

Thanks for being a part of my day! I look forward to your next visit.

Cindy Anderson

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Friday Favorites: Yet More Chocolate

Friday Favorites

Lately I seem to be focusing on chocolate. Who knows why? It could just be simply because I like it!

We follow a modified Paleo diet. Snack bars that fit this food profile are few and far between. Most bars contain grains, peanuts or lots of sugar. All of these are not included in the Paleo lifestyle.

Trying to find even one that comes close to fitting takes a lot of research. I’ve read many, many labels hoping to find just one that comes close. So often one of the first two ingredients automatically eliminates it.

Not to long ago I found one that I think is too close to pass up. The bar is made by Larabar and its called

Uber Dark Chocloate Pecan with Sea Salt Flavor

It’s positive attributes are:

  • It has dark chocolate in it
  • There are only nine ingredients
  • It is Non-GMO
  • It is Gluten Free

I highly recommend adding this bar to your shopping list. Try it! I know you will like the yummy combination of sweet and salty, chocolate and crunch.

Cindy Anderson of In A Stitch Quilting

 

Disclaimer:

I do not in any way receive compensation from Larabar. I simply share my experience because I like the product.

 

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Friday Favorites: My All-Time Favorite Food

Friday Favorites

There is one food that resides at the very top of my favorite foods list. Studies have been done by numerous people and organizations on this food. Those studies have yielded multiple health benefits derived from consuming it which means I am absolutely thrilled that I can experience positive changes in my health just by eating it.

What is IT?

My all-time favorite food is

CHOCOLATE!

But, not just any chocolate. It has to be dark chocolate with a cacao content of 75% or higher.

My current chocolate bar of choice is:

Alter Eco’s Dark Blackout

with a cacao content of 85%.

Why did I choose it?

  • There are only four ingredients
  • It is on the Fair Trade list
  • Has a minimum of 85% cacao
  • Non GMO
  • Certified Gluten Free
  • Carbon Neutral Product
  • Certified Organic

Now all of these traits are great to boast about but my overwhelming reason for eating this chocolate is the taste. I like rich, dark chocolate. PERIOD!

Buy a bar.

Try it.

If you are not afraid of the dark side I’m confident you will like it!

Enjoy!

Cindy Anderson

 

Disclaimer: I do not in any way receive compensation from Alter Eco. I simply enjoy eating their product.

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Friday Favorites: Oh the Aroma of Fresh Baked Cookies!

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year . . .

Welcome to Friday Favorites!

Twenty-Four Ingredients

For as long as I can remember Christmas has always meant baking, baking, baking.  I have vivid memories of assembling piles and piles of flour, butter, chocolate of all shapes and sizes, vanilla, eggs and of course sugar (powdered, granular and brown).  According to a copy of 1989’s holiday cookie ingredient list there were no less than 24 ingredients to shop for.  Now that’s one huge list.

Favorites

If you asked me what cookie or sweet was my favorite I don’t think I could instantly provide you with an answer.  We made so many varieties and they all had their delicious qualities.  There were Chocolate Crinkles (two kinds), Nut Wafers, Holly Wreaths, Surprise Tea Cakes, Regular Tea Cakes, Rocky Road, Fudge, Fried Oysters (no seafood used here), Bon Bons and Chocolate Covered Peanuts to name a few.

Assembling just the ingredients was a project all in itself.  A hand-written list sorted by recipe and ingredient was the first and most important step.  I just happen to have copies of two of those lists.  One is dated 1989 and the other was from 1992.  I recently compared the lists side-by-side to see what, if any, changes were made over the four-year period.  The obvious difference was the number of holiday treats slated for construction.  Apparently by 1992 our enthusiasm for baking had drifted slightly.  Our list of prepared cookies and treats had shrunk to six.

Of all the cookies we’ve made throughout the years my all-time favorite is Chocolate Pillows.  Here’s the recipe as it appeared in Pillsbury’s 15th Grand National Edition of 100 New Bake Off Recipes.  The paperback cookbook originally cost 35 cents.  Copyright = unknown since none was provided.

Chocolate Pillows

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter

3/4 cup white sugar

1 egg

2 teaspoons vanilla

10 regular sized Nestle Milk Chocolate candy bars, cut into 1″ pieces

Sift together all-purpose flour and salt.

Place butter in separate bowl.  Gradually beat in sugar, creaming well.

To the butter and sugar mixture add unbeaten egg and vanilla.  Beat well.

Stir in dry ingredients.

Load cookie press with jagged toothed die.  Press dough through cookie press onto cookie sheet, making sure dough with jagged edge is against cookie sheet.

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Place 1″ pieces of chocolate, end-to-end lengthwise, 1/4″ apart on top of dough strips.

Press another strip of dough over the candy, covering row entirely.  Make sure jagged edge of dough is facing up.

Fill cookie sheet with rows of dough.  Leave small space between rows.

Using a sharp knife lightly cut between candy bars to pre-form rectangular cookies.

Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes until light golden brown.

Cut strips of dough into pieces immediately.

Note:  We usually use red and green food coloring to dye our dough.  One half of the dough is dyed red and the remaining half is dyed green.  After removing the cookies from the oven and cutting them into individual pieces, we also add colorful sprinkles on top.  Typically we make a double batch.  We store the cookies in the freezer and remove desired portions as needed.  Any brand of chocolate will work just fine.

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Well, there you have it.  My all-time favorite Christmas cookie.  What’s yours?

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Friday Favorites: Chicken Parisienne

IMG_7639_ffWelcome to Friday Favorites!

Chicken Parisienne is one of our all-time favorite comfort dishes.  The recipe was added to my library back in the early 1990’s.  It is one of many I have received from my mother.  She’s not the author however.

Here’s what I know about it’s history.

  • It was published in a spiral bound cookbook similar to those used by church groups.  I know this because my copy of the recipe was not written on a typical recipe card.  I’m often too lazy to do that.  The recipe was photocopied and because anything that is placed on the photocopier along with the document will also become a permanent part of the image.  So how do I know it was spiral bound . . . you’ve guess it . . . my photocopied recipe includes the image of spiral binding.
  • The recipe was found in the “Meats & Main Dishes” section of the cookbook according to the wording in the top right corner.
  • Along the right side of the page one can see images of tabs marking additional sections in the cookbook.  There are tabs labeled
  • Breads, Rolls and Pastries
  • Cakes, Cookies & Desserts
  • Beverages, Microwave & Misc
  • Vegetables
  • The recipe was printed on page 51.
  • The author of the recipe is Connie Fenske.  I have no idea who Ms. Fenske is nor does my mother.
  • The other important information one would like to know about a recipe’s origin such as the name of the book, when and where it was published shall remain a mystery.  Unless of course one of my readers is privy to the information.  I welcome any details you might be able to shed light on.

Internet Search

I’ve searched the internet hoping to find more information about this recipe but have been unsuccessful.  So I offer this recipe to my readers as one that most certainly must be tried and will undoubtedly be added to your stack of favorite comfort foods.  Without further ado I now present to you Connie Fenske’s recipe for Chicken Parisienne.

Chicken Parisienne

By Connie Fenske

Ingredients:

10 pieces skinless, boneless chicken breasts (5 whole), split

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can cream of celery soup

1 can cream of chicken soup

1/2 c. sherry wine

1/2 c. milk

1/4 c. melted butter

1 1/2 c. wild rice (can use 1/2 wild and 1/2 white)

3 oz. Parmesan cheese

1 pkg. slivered almonds

Combine soups, wine, milk and butter.  Stir.  Set aside.  Place rice (uncooked) in a well-greased 9 x 12-inch pan.  Spread 1/2 liquid mixture over rice.  Lay breasts on top and pour remaining liquid on top of breasts.  Cover with grated Parmesan cheese and slivered almonds.  Bake at 275 degrees for 2 1/2 hours.  Do not cover.  Do not disturb while baking.  Serve with tossed salad and rolls.

So What Do You Think?

Now that you’ve read the recipe, of one thing I am certain, you’ve come to the conclusion that this definitely does not fall into the lo-cal category.  On this little detail I will concur.  However, since when do comfort foods fall into the lo-cal arena anyway?

I’ve Done A Little Tweaking

As with all cooks and their favorite recipes, I have my own adaptations I have made.  You have the option to first try the recipe, as it was originally intended, and then on your second attempt implement my adjustments.  Or, if you are inclined, skip the original directions and follow mine instead.  Which ever route you choose I have no doubt you will be well-pleased.

Here are my suggestions:

  • Rice  Definitely mix the wild rice with another option.  Long-grain, short-grain, white or brown rice are all suitable candidates.  If you are not a fan of wild rice then feel free to omit it.  Just make sure what ever combination you choose adds up to 1 1/2 cups of rice.
  • Soup  There are already three cans of soup listed in the ingredients.  This may sound like a large quantity of soup, but trust me, every ounce of liquid will be absorbed by the rice.  I’ve often toyed with the idea of either increasing the amount of milk or adding a fourth can of soup.  I tend to like my hot-dishes a little creamier than this one often is.  I’ve also thought of soaking my rice overnight hoping that would result in a creamier texture.
  • Mixing  Although the recipe does not tell you to mix the liquids and rice together, I do.  I think the rice cooks up much nicer when they have been combined together before layering in the pan.  I follow the directions for stirring together the liquids then add in the rice.  I pour 1/2 of my liquid and rice mixture into the bottom of the pan.  Then I put in the chicken and pour the left-over rice mixture on top.

With all of the adaptations I have made one might wonder why we are so fond of this dish.  We are unique individuals with different taste buds.  These minor changes just happen to make our experience much more to our liking.  I’m sure when you try the recipe you will do a bit of tweaking as well.

I hope that you will at least try the original version.  When you do I expect you will send me a message telling me all about your experience.  I am confident you will fall in love with this Chicken Parisienne recipe just like we have.  Enjoy!  Bon Appetite!