Tag: celery

Dinner Tonight: Hot Chicken Salad

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I am a southern girl. I’ve got sweet tea running through my veins. I’m pretty sure I’ve also got fried chicken and greens in place of some other vital organs (clearly, vestigial). I spent every Thanksgiving of my youth in South Georgia, where I learned a lot about southern cooking, baking, and good ol’ southern hospitality from my darling Grandma and Granddaddy. The other side of my family resides in North Florida, which may as well be South Georgia, if their food and accents have anything to do with it. My precious Grandmother (she chose that name for us grandkids to call her because she didn’t want to sound “old” 😀 ) also had an abundance of southern recipes for me to learn – Perfect Macaroni and Cheese, Cranberry Cream Cheese Salad… Needless to say, it’s in my blood. It might just be my blood. And I’m so glad. Southern food makes me ridiculously and deliriously happy (see: food related memories).

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Exhibit A: Actual casserole from potluck

My family went to a church potluck a few weeks back and I couldn’t think of anything other than a southern casserole to take. That’s what I always looked forward to at my Sunday church potlucks, growing up. I’d beeline straight for those casseroles. Those were (and are) always the best. I know not everyone is on the Casserole Train (choo choooo), but I am the Conductor, and I’m am hoping they’ll change their mind after trying this recipe.

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I got this Hot Chicken Salad recipe from my Mom, who got it from my Grandmother. My Mom told me that this was one of my Grandmother’s go-to recipes for her Ladies Luncheons. I love picturing my beautiful Grandmother in the 1940’s, with her beautifully made up face and coiffed hair, in one of her fancy dresses, and serving up this delicious casserole to her gal pals.

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This casserole is filled with tender chicken, crunchy celery and bell peppers, salty potato chips, melty cheese, toasty almonds. I meannnnnnn… I have seen this recipe with mushrooms and water chestnuts (blech!), but I love sticking to what my Grandmother did. It’s a link between me and her past. I did make a few changes, but it didn’t alter the integrity of the original recipe.

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Hot Chicken Salad

1 pkg. dressing (some of you may call this “stuffing”)

2 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed (I cooked them in my crockpot and shredded them)

Chicken broth

2 C chopped celery

1/2 t salt

2 T grated onion (I chopped mine and added a bit more)

1/2 C green bell pepper

1 C mayonnaise

2 T lemon juice

dash Worcestershire sauce

1/2 C shredded sharp cheddar

3 C crushed potato chips

1/2 C toasted almonds

Preheat the oven to 325F. Put the dressing into a bowl and add enough broth to moisten it all the way through. Combine all the ingredients from dressing to Worcestershire sauce together and place in greased 9×13 pan. Top with the cheddar, potato chips, and almonds.

Bake for 30 minutes. Leftovers are even better!

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This is best enjoyed with a Mason jar full of sweet tea. And probably some kind of cobbler, fresh out of the oven, or freshly churned peach ice cream for dessert. Just a friendly suggestion. 😀

Enjoy y’all!

Kristin

Three Thursday Lunches

Tomorrow is my Co-op day! I’m excited to hang with my big buddy in class. I packed three lunches for tomorrow.

For me:

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A salad with greens, yellow tomatoes, carrots, celery, and a whole avocado. I also packed bleu cheese dressing (although I’ll probably just mash up the avocado and use that as “dressing”). I also packed a mandarin orange, pineapple, and grapes.

For my Biggie:

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I made a puzzle out of a PB&J sandwich. I also packed Goldfish crackers, pineapple, grapes, a few caramel rice cakes, and some chocolate covered sunflower seeds.

And for my Smalls:

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He got half of a PB&J, some Goldfish, halved grapes, caramel rice cakes, and chocolate covered sunflower seeds for dessert.

Almost almost Friday. Let’s do this!

Kristin

End Piece of Bread

Cat Bread Ends

You know those end pieces of bread flanking the good, soft stuff in the middle of the loaf? Do you eat those? I always feel sorry for them. Sometimes I feed them to Smalls because he doesn’t notice, save for a few extra chews. I feel like the last day of the year is sort of like those extra little pieces of bread. It’s easy to forget, but the last day of the year counts, just like you can make something amazing from those sad little end pieces (French toast, bread pudding, bread crumbs, etc.).

ROMRO (right on, man, right on – we say that a lot in my house for some reason).

Today could be a day to finish out your resolutions from the past year, if you so desire, or think about what’s important to you in the next year. Like I’ve said, I always think about how I can do things differently, up coming. And I get all nostalgic about how much my sons have grown. It doesn’t take much for me to get all mushy about them.

It’s also a day to celebrate and close a chapter.

Or to party.

Or to set an alarm for 11:55p, like I do. Whatevs.

Bear End Breads

Okay, so I don’t LIKE them, but I don’t MIND them. I wouldn’t seek to eat them over the soft, yeasty bread slices, but I won’t turn those end pieces down if they were slathered liberally with any sort of peanut (or other nut) butter. I’ll eat just about anything as a vehicle for that. Or a jelly. Or most any type of spread. I’m a spread and condiment sort of gal. Staaahp Kris.

I [sort of] digress.

I can’t seem to stop likening stuff in life to food. It just comes naturally to me.

Sorrrry!

Anyways, I always try to make something special of the last day of the year. Nothing big or expensive or fancy. Just something slightly out of the ordinary so we can remember it. And it always includes a dinner at Perkin’s. And that might be the only special thing we do that day. And I’m okay with that.

It always takes some extra gumption to go out to eat alone with them. But since it was NYE, we did it.

I took lots of backup.

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I stocked my purse with books, airplanes, cars and small child-friendly electronic thingies. There might even be a dino or two in there from a previous outing.

We played tic tac toe (Bigs ALWAYS won, clever boy!), and drew with our crayons and played with our cars and planes. We talked about New Years.

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And we ate until we were content. Bigs ALWAYS gets sprinkle pancakes there. Smalls also had pancakes and breakfast potatoes. I got steak tips, salad and veggies. And I ate whatever my kids didn’t.

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I ordered a piece of double chocolate fudge cake to go. I’ve already had one bite, but I had to eat it in hiding, hence the crummy quality pictures. I know I’m on a diet, but still. Special occasion, and all.

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And at least 8 elderly people (that’s the typical demographic of this restaurant and I love it) came by to say hello to my boys and say how lovely Bigs’ blue eyes and Smalls’ golden curls were.

And I took pictures of Smalls’ hands. Don’t you love little baby hands?

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And earlier, I made a chicken soup chock full of veggies. It’s been very rainy and gray and blustery here and it just called for a big stock pot full of soup.

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I put in a carton of no-salt chicken stock and the same carton full of water. I cut up and added a package each of carrots and celery and about 1/4 cup of onion. Once those were soft enough, I added all the chicken (that I cut off and sort of cubed from a rotisserie) and let it simmer until whenever.

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I added salt to mine. I leave it out for my husband. I think it needs it. It was good, hearty and almost as importantly, easy. And it would be good with rice or noodles. Or toasted end pieces of bread.

Oh and also, I learned that baby gates mean nothing to Smalls. He can pull them off, undo them and unlock them.

Just an aside.

I hope next year is more organized than this post is.

Be safe tonight – lots of crazies out there!

Happy New Year’s Eve!!

Kristin

Thanksgiving Bible Study & Pot Pie

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I’m a thinker. I over analyze. I put too much emphasis on small things. I get very nostalgic and more self-aware around holidays. So, for me, personally, really deeply thinking about what I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving comes as no surprise. I just want to make sure that I remember these things I am thankful for throughout the whole year…not just when we are faced with the holiday or a hard time.

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The Bible has a lot to say about being thankful and I’d like to delve into some verses. I need constant guidance in my faith journey and am hoping the study of some verses will help. Nothing better than learning from the source! Join me? I am in, no way, a teacher or in an authoritative position for this. I am simply a Christian wanting and needing to deepen my relationship with Christ.

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It’s so hard to remember to thank God for things during tough times. It’s hard to see the “bigger picture” and know that those challenges are truly a piece of God’s plan for us. We question, “Why?” and “Why me?”, but easily forget to continue praising Him for the work He is doing behind the scenes.

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C.S. Lewis wrote, “We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is good, because it is good, if bad, because it works in us patience, humility and the contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country.” I think this applies to more than just our worldly “fortune”.

The Bible says, in Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” It’s easy to ask God for help during the hard times, but what’s not so easy is to also thank Him during those times as well. This is one of my go-to Bible verses because it touches on the topic of anxiety, of which I know very well. But I need to also focus more on the topic of thanks when presenting my prayer requests to God.

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So. Praying WITH Thanksgiving. Andrew Murray, a South African missionary and minister wrote, “Let us thank God heartily as often as we pray that we have His Spirit in us to teach us to pray. Thanksgiving will draw our hearts out to God and keep us engaged with Him; it will take our attention from ourselves and give the Spirit room in our hearts.” Boy, isn’t that the truth?

What I am getting from this is that, no matter the circumstances, no matter the hardships, no matter how easy it is to forget, I need to be thankful in all that I do. Thankful for what I have. Thankful for what I don’t have, for surely there is some reason for that. A small story: My oldest son, Bigs, shows his thankfulness in a way that can certainly teach me a thing or two. I told him a long time ago, when we saw and heard an ambulance rushing past us, that we should pray for those who are in need of the help and also thank God for our own safety. Years later, and yes, it was years ago that I told this to him, when he hears an ambulance, he comes running to me (or says to me, if in the car), “Mom! We need to pray for the ‘helf people’ [help people – that’s his word for anything with a siren]!” and he proceeds to thank God for keeping us safe. That is just a small act of giving thanks coming from a three and a half year old. But it’s not so small. It’s pretty big and I give God the glory for his empathetic heart, where the love of Jesus is evident.

Let me make an aside: my kids are no where near perfect in behavior or attitude and I am quite the opposite of perfect, so sweet stories of my children are not to come off in a way that I think my kids are perfection (which, in the Mommy sense, of COURSE they are perfection; they are fearfully and wonderfully made and hand crafted just for me to love). I hope you understand what I mean.

Thankfulness

God also tells us, in more than on verse, to show our thanks with praise and song! I adore hearing my Bigs sing his church songs with such gusto! “God our Father, God our Father, once again, once again, thank you for our blessings, thank you our blessings, Amen, Amen – yaaaay God!”

“Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp.” – Psalm 147:7

“Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” – Psalm 106:1

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” – Psalm 100:4

I’m going to end on a note of dinner. Good note to end on!

Last night, I made a dinner to be thankful for! I mean, I am thankful for any dinner that makes it onto the table not burnt or smoking. I made a chicken pot pie from scratch, using a pre-made pie crust. Well, then, I suppose that isn’t entirely homemade, but that’s a minor detail. I have no time for making a pie crust from scratch if it isn’t being stocked to the brim with some kind of chocolate, fruity or nutty filling.

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I browned onions and celery in some olive oil with some salt and pepper. At the same time, I boiled boneless, skinless chicken breast fillets in chicken stock. I cubed the chicken once it was cooked through. Once the celery and onion mixed were cooked, I made a quick roux out of 1 T of butter and 2 T of flour. Once the flour “flavor” was cooked out, I added chicken stock and a little bit of half & half. Once that gravy thickened up, I added the cubed chicken, celery and onions, and a bunch of frozen veggies (corn, carrots, green beans and peas). I then put it on top of the bottom crust, added the top crust and cut out a steam vent in the shape of a turkey. I baked it. It was delicious. Everyone ate it, except for Smalls, who is in a phase (short-lived, I hope) where he eats almost nothing. But if he were into eating, he’d have loved it too!

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Have a very blessed, very thank-FILLED day,

Kristin

Thanksgiving End