Thursday, November 7, 2013

Herby Chicken Salad


Summer may be over, but that doesn't mean your herb gardens are all done!  Here in Ohio I am usually lucky enough to keep most of my herbs (even under the snow) until February or March!  I always hope they will survive year round since it is soooo close, but we always seem to get a crazy ice storm close to spring that knocks them out.  But since they hang on so long, be sure to use them to their fullest!  This chicken salad is so vibrant and fresh tasting due to the brightness of the fresh herbs.  I love it! You could use dried herbs, but it wont be quite the same- so snip, snip, snip while you still can!
This recipe is wonderful as a sandwich, add a scoop to a leafy salad in place of dressing, or even as an appetizer with crackers..... or like me, just with a fork right out of the dish.
Allowing it to sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving will really bring all of the flavors together and make the herby flavor pop. But if you just can't wait, that's ok too.  It will still be scrumptious.   

Herby Chicken Salad
2 cups chopped skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as dill, flat leaf parsley, chives, rosemary
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and herbs.
In a large bowl combine the chicken, celery, and red onion.  Pour the dressing onto the chicken mixture and stir to coat.  Chill until ready to serve.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Cheesy Quinoa Bites

So it isn't a huge secret that I am not all that crazy about quinoa.  I want to like it, I really do!  It is so crazy good for you, it is supposed to aid in migraine health, and your body burns it as fast as you eat it.  But for the most part, it just isn't one of my favorite things.  That is until I discovered these guys!  A blog I love,  So Very Blessed, created these little gems and oh man are they delicious!! They are crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside and JAMPACKED with flavor! What I really love about this recipe, is how customizable it is.  You can switch around the ingredients for totally different flavors- add pepperoni and mozzarella cheese and now you have quinoa pizza bites, use ham, diced chicken and Swiss and voila! you have Cordon Bleu bites.  A bit of corn, black beans, chilies and cilantro and now they are Southwestern!  These cheesy ones I feel are the "base recipe", and from there the sky's the limit!   Be sure you check out So Very Blessed to see all the many flavor combinations she has come up with!  I've made each and every one and we LOVE them all!  The kids can't get enough of them either, making it even better.  They make an awesome snack, appetizer or side dish. I've even served them alongside a salad for a satisfying dinner.  No matter how you serve them, they will get gobbled up as fast as lightening!

I normally make the quinoa bites in my mini muffin pan, but this last time, I had extra mixture left over so I made a few patties in my muffin-top pan and they were fantastic! They would make a great "burger".  In these pictures I had a used a quinoa/brown rice blend because that was what the market happened to have at the time, and they were just as yummy. 

Cheesy Quinoa Bites
Recipe courtesy So Very Blessed

Makes: ~ 28 bites

2 cups cooked quinoa (I cook my quinoa in low sodium chicken broth)
2 large eggs
1 cup shredded carrot
2 stalks green onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp seasoning salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.Mix together quinoa, carrot, egg, green onion, garlic, cilantro, cheese, flour, salt and pepper.
3.Distribute mixture into a (well!) greased mini muffin tin, filling each cup to the top (1 heaping Tbs each).
4.Bake for 15-20 minutes.

We are big dippers in our house- the more sauces the better! Ha!  Our favorites are honey mustard dressing (pictured), BBQ sauce, frank's hot sauce, ranch/blue cheese dressing and for the pizza bites, spaghetti sauce of course!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Break a Leg..... literally.

So if you don't follow me on facebook or Instagram you may have been wondering just where I have been for the past few months. Welp, on August 29th, while hiking with my 2 1/2 year old, I slipped on a patch of slick mud and fell HARD, breaking both my tibia and fibula.  Talk about an insane experience- one that never wish to relive again! 

Our hike started out so perfect.  It was a beautiful late summer morning.  Owen and I didn't have anything to do, so out to experience some nature was in order! We headed over to one of our local Metroparks trails, one that I have been hiking my entire life.  It is directly behind my parents house where I grew up and I knew these trails inside and out. 

We planned on taking the paved trail, but just past the wooden decking we happened upon a rocked path that was full of about a hundred baby monarch butterflies .  They must have just hatched and were fluttering all around us! It was so amazing, I can still hear Owen's squeals and laughter.  So we kept following the tiny pretty little guys on the trail.....

These little butterflies leading us off the main trail, onto the dirt path now remind me of Will-'o-the-Wisps, supernatural spirits or fairies that attempt to lead travelers to stray off of the beaten path.... the silly things we think of when we are laying flat on our back like this for 3 weeks. lol

We had hiked about a mile and were turning back when I noticed just off the trail, the creek and a HUGE rock bed screaming at us to come throw a few. 

About 100 yards past this spot is where the accident happened.....

There was a narrow foot path leading down to the creek.  Owen's little legs were tired, I had just popped him on my back and figured I would let him down once I got to the creek.  That way he wouldn't stumble on any roots or rocks in our way.  *doh*

Like a cartoon character, my feet hit the slick mud and came up from under me and down I slammed.  HARD.  The sound of my bones breaking was so loud, there was no mistaking what had just happened.  In a panic I started screaming for help, trying to get the attention of the two hikers we had passed only 10 minutes before.  But my fear made Owen even more scared and he started to panic as well.  Immediately I knew I needed to calm down so that my sweet boy wouldn't be afraid.  Thank the Lord Owen wasn't injured at all, not even a bump.  Knowing he was safe, I kept him strapped to me....all I needed was him running off or falling and hurting himself too. 

Luckily I had my phone with me and I was able to call 911.  They helped me get ahold of Scott at work and he rushed there in lightening speed.  While waiting for the paramedics and my husband to arrive, those two hikers DID end up coming back the way they came- which I found out is something they never do.  They hike the lake every week and always go all the way around.  But today, they said that something told them to just turn around and head back.  Thank you, Lord.

I am SO very grateful to those men.  Right away they helped me get Owen off my back then one stayed with us to keep Owen occupied throwing those (darn) rocks while the other went up to the trailhead to help the paramedics locate me. 

The Fire chief and another fireman found me first and Scott wasn't very far behind.  It took a good while for them to figure out how to get me out of there; the trail wasn't wide enough for the ambulance and there were huge power towers in the way for a life flight helicopter.  But eventually, 2 hours after I fell, with the help of 8 paramedics, firemen, park rangers and police they carried me out of the mud and into the back of the fire chiefs truck.  On the positive side, Owen was beyond THRILLED that he and daddy got to ride in the park rangers police car through the woods to the ambulance and was proud to show off his Honorary Park Ranger Badge when they met me in the hospital. 

I got sent for x-rays and the doctor determined that I had a fractured fibula and a displaced tibia, which means that the bone snapped in half and the ends were no longer lined up. Thankfully they knocked me out so they could line the bones back up and get my leg in a cast until surgery.  The following day I was admitted into surgery and am now the proud owner of a titanium rod and four screws- the boys think it is quite cool that I am a bionic woman now! 

Over the course of the past 66 days I have had 4 different casts, a blood clot (which is now gone, thank goodness!) and WAY too much bed rest.  It is amazing just how hard life is when something like this happens.  I am so grateful for all of the family and friends that stepped in to help us get through this time.  Scott's work was SO understanding and he was able to stay home for the first week and a half to not only care for me, but both our boys as well.  Once he went back to work, my sister stepped in and cared for Owen for another week and a half in her home so I could get the rest I desperately needed.  We were blessed with so many meals, gift baskets overflowing with goodies, and tons of cards and pictures to brighten my mood.  We were surrounded with so much love and through my darkness I saw the many, many blessings God gave us. 

I have learned that the little things become the big things when so much is taken away from you- driving, cooking (I went 38 days without cooking- the longest ever in my life!), shaving, showering standing up, painting your own toes (thank you Adrianne and my niece Anna for taking care of that for me!), unloading the dishwasher, carrying things while walking (crutches make this super tricky!), putting your children to bed and needing to do pretty much everything sitting down! 

Little by little life is getting back to normal. About three weeks ago I was finally given the OK to drive again- after 57 days not driving let me tell you how amazing that felt!! I am still in a walking cast, but fingers crossed I will be rid of crutches on the 10th.  Goodness am I tired of those things!!  So if you can spare some extra prayers please keep sending them my way!!  Thank you friends!


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