Chicken Saltimbocca

•August 1, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I cooked this by telling my hubby what to do since I’m basically on bed rest from my surgery. I think he did pretty good!

Chicken Saltimbocca

Ingredients

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 lb. total), pounded to 1/3-inch thickness
Salt and pepper
8 thin slices prosciutto
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 lemon, cut into wedges

Preparation

1. Place flour in a shallow bowl and stir in sage. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Coat each breast with seasoned flour, shaking excess back into bowl. Drape a slice of prosciutto over each side of each breast, overlapping slightly.

2. Warm half of butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully add half of chicken, taking care to keep prosciutto in place. Cook until browned on both sides, turning once, 4 to 6 minutes total. Transfer chicken to a plate and cover to keep warm. Repeat with remaining butter, oil and chicken. Serve immediately with lemon wedges on the side.

Gilded Dinosaur Jars

•August 1, 2015 • Leave a Comment

My friend’s daughter is having a dinosaur birthday party, so I’ve got several dino projects in the works. These couldn’t be much easier to make.

Dino Jars

1. Get some empty jars, wash the labels off with warm water.

2. Glue little dinosaurs to the lids with E6000 glue or similar and allow to dry.

3. Spray paint the lid with dinosaur attached with your desired color.

4. Let dry, screw lid back on jar and fill with fun goodies for the kiddos.

Ovarian Cyst Rupture

•July 31, 2015 • 2 Comments

On Tuesday night I started having pretty bad abdominal pain around midnight. I took a pain killer and went to bed assuming it was cramps or gas. I woke up at 430 in the morning the next day in worse pain than before. I made a pain noise that got my husband out of bed immediately. I was determined that I wasn’t going to be a wimp and go into the doctor since I thought they’d send me away with gas cramps (and how dumb would I have felt if it’d been gas). When I started throwing up blood and was having cold sweats all over my body, we made the decision to head in to the ER. The pain increased to the point I could barely walk by the time we got to the hospital and I put possible ovarian cyst rupture on my intake form. I watch a lot of medical shows so the symptoms fit and I knew they’d take me more seriously than if I put down abdominal pain. They brought me in right away and hooked me up on IV fluids. They could see it was something serious with the retching I was doing and my color was awful.

I had 3 doctors do pelvic exams and an ultrasound. When the ultrasound was completed, they thought it was an ectopic pregnancy, but my urine test came up negative for pregnancy. They could see a mass about the size of the grapefruit so they bumped a few people on the surgery schedule and got me in for emergency exploratory surgery at the end of the day. I spend the day in the ER taking IV fluids and Fentinol for the pain. I had 2 fits of pain that the doctors thought was the mass rolling over some nerves where the pain was so bad all I could do was scream as fast as I could draw breath. My poor hubby was distraught. I’m generally a tough cookie and rarely complain, so it freaked him out.

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They weren’t sure what the outcome would be when they got me open, so they warned me I might need a hysterectomy if there was a lot of infection.  They got me prepped for surgery and I don’t remember much until the next morning. Luckily there wasn’t any infection, just the bleeding so they were able to pull out the mass. They kept me overnight for observation because my surgery was late in the evening and I’d been bleeding internally all day. They removed half an IV bag of blood from my abdomen and cauterized the cyst where it was bleeding. My hubby stayed until I was out of surgery and then his mom took over for the night so he could go try and get some rest. They released me the next day and I’ve been recovering at home for the last couple days. Today is the first day I’ve been able to sit up at length at the computer so I’ll be back up on blogging in a few days.

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I have a followup appointment in 2 weeks to check that everything is healing properly, but the stitches will dissolve on their own. The sucky part is that I can’t lift more than 10lbs for the next 6 weeks. I’ve been well behaved so far but I’m notorious for overdoing it. Luckily the surgery was Laparoscopic so the incisions are small. I’ve got one in the belly button and one on each side. The doctor was doubtful I’d even have any scars.

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The staff at Holy Cross hospital was awesome. I don’t have any complaints about any of their doctors or nurses. The ER nurses were way overloaded but still made me a priority and the OR nurses were even nicer. One in particular reminded me of my step mom, who is a hospice nurse. Her bedside manner, sense of humor and even her haircut were all eerily similar so it was really comforting to have her taking care of me. They put me in the Labor & Delivery recovery and all their nurses were great too. The OR nurse even came down to see how I was doing before I was released. She said I was whiter than the sheets when she first saw me (I’m incredibly pale anyhow, but this was a lot more than usual).

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Hootie and Lucy are taking turns (and sometimes fighting over) nursing me and my hubby is doing his best to keep up with everything I can’t do around the house.

Bizarre Foods Monday: Western Giant Puffball

•July 27, 2015 • Leave a Comment

This weekend I went mushroom hunting for the first time and we got a huge bounty. I was working from a mushroom identification book at first, but it quickly turned into pick as many varieties as you can and check them out when we get back to the house. We got a ton of varieties and it looks like about half were edible.

Mushroom bounty

One of the most obvious to identify was the Western Giant Puffball, so it’s the one I felt comfortable eating without getting a more experienced picker’s opinion.

Giant Western Puffball

It’s almost as big as my head! I was curious to see what I’d find since puffballs as a child were something to poof spore dust out of for entertainment.

Inside the puffball

I was surprised when the inside looked like mozzarella. To cook these babies, you need to peel off the outer inch or so and the flesh inside needs to be white and firm throughout. You should also be checking for bugs and worms. A fresh mushroom will be free of bugs and look unblemished and healthy inside. The outer layers can cause stomach upset if they aren’t removed. I opted to cook mine as mushroom steaks with butter and garlic salt but they lend themselves well to omlets, frying and mushroom soups.

Giant Puffball Steaks

The texture is similar to eggs or an omelet, soft and almost creamy but the flavor is unparallelled by any other mushrooms I’ve tried. It’s mild, sweet and earthy but takes on the flavors around it nicely. It’s been a few hours and I haven’t died, so I’m pretty sure this one is safe.

Next trip, I’m after some Boletes I saw that bruised blue. I assumed they were toxic because of the bluing, but I’m told that they’re actually quite tasty.

Stuffed Flank Steak

•July 26, 2015 • Leave a Comment

You had better like blue cheese. I apparently do not and didn’t like this dish at all. Hubby ate a good amount of it, so if you like blue cheese, it’s pretty good.

Stuffed Flank Steak

Ingredients
  • 1 flank steak (1 1/2 to 2 pounds)
  • 1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 jar (7 ounces) roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Directions
1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Lay steak on work surface. Holding sharp knife parallel to work surface and starting at a long side, slice flank steak in half to opposite long side, without cutting all the way through; open up the steak like a book. Flatten slightly to an even thickness.
3. Squeeze liquid from spinach; discard liquid. In medium-size bowl, combine spinach, cheese, peppers, bread crumbs, egg yolk, 1/4 teaspoon each of the garlic salt and the pepper.
4. Season steak with an additional 1/4 teaspoon each of the garlic salt and pepper. Press filling onto steak, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. Roll up steak to enclose filling, beginning on a short side; the grain of the meat will be running from left to right. Tuck any loose filling back into ends.
5.  Tie steak with cotton twine at 2-inch intervals to secure. Rub outside with oil, then sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon each garlic salt and pepper.
6.  Roast at 425 degrees F for 35 minutes, then increase heat to broil and broil for 10 minutes, turning once. Let meat rest 15 minutes. Remove twine, slice and serve.

Blanching Cauliflower

•July 26, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Who knew that cauliflower could get sunburned?! Apparently when growing cauliflower, you need to tie the leaves over the flower when it’s about egg sized to keep the cauliflower from turning yellow. They call it blanching the cauliflower.

Unblanched

I opted to use wooden clothes pins to hold the leaves together, but you can use string or rubber bands, etc.

Blanched cauliflower

Paella

•July 24, 2015 • Leave a Comment

This was warm. In hindsight, probably a better winter dish. I’m all toasty all over and it’s 83 degrees in here.

Paella

Ingredients
  • 1 can artichokes in oil
  • 1 can dried tomatoes in oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano leaves
  • 1 tsp saffron
  • 2 tbsp tumeric
  • 2 tbsp pimento
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 package spanish chorizo (about 1 heaping cup)
  • Your choice of seafood. I used shrimp and lobster tail this time. Calamari, scallops, mussels and other seafood are excellent too.
Instructions
  1. Pour the chicken stock into a medium bowl. Add the oregano, saffron, tumeric, pepper and pimento. Set aside.
  2. Pour out 1/2 cup of the oil from the artichokes and 1/4 cup of the oil from the dried tomatoes into the bottom of your pan.
  3. Add the onion and sautee until it starts to become clear.
  4. Add the garlic.
  5. Add the chorizo and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the rice and sautee on medium heat for an additional five minutes. This will slightly brown the rice.
  7. Pour the chicken stock mixture into the pan. Stir now, but do not stir again. You will want the
  8. Add the artichokes and dried tomatoes.
  9. Cover with tinfoil and let simmer on low for 15 minutes. (You will see the rice soak up the stock and spices if you peek.)
  10. Add the meats and let cook on low until it is fully cooked, approximately 10 minutes. A good paella will have a golden brown crust on the bottom of the pan. If you like to have some bell peppers or other vegetables, this is when you can add them to keep them crisp.
 
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