Saturday, October 9, 2010

Real Honest Confessions and Recipes

If you are anything like me (and God knows I hope your not), some days are better than others. Most days are fantastic as most people who know me already know--I am a positivity drill Sargent. Everything I see and do I make into a positive. No matter what.

That ruined quiche? A lesson in adding less milk. Oh and that broken wine glass? An omen for good luck. You get the picture.

Well, I'm human too and I feel the opportunity to be really real with you all here. The other day, I was less than positive. As I like to say, I lost my little nugget of 'good enough' and fell out of my bubble. Here is what that looked like:

I'm happily riding my bike down my road when a neighbor passes and we wave our good mornings and he comments on my tire. "Hey your back tire is getting a little low. May need some air."

"Thanks." I shout back as I hear my inner critic say, "Oh that's just my fat butt."
What? Where did that come from? That was my indicator that my 'good enough' nugget was lost and my bubble was no where to be found. I will spare you the details of what followed There were tears, confusion, frustration, and then finally release. I let go of the stupid words and thoughts I was holding on to and took a deep breath and let go of it. Then I saw my bubble come floating back-- there you are! And I climbed back in and surrounded myself with a whole bunch of tulips. Today, I filled my back tire with air and went for a peaceful bike ride!

In this world there is a lot of things that we have to protect ourselves from--people's words, emotions, and anger that it is too easy to absorb. My mom taught me a meditation on protecting myself. It worked so well that I made her video the description. This is your own private session with Mother Teresa (okay my mother, but her name is Teresa). There are four elements she describes: 1)Grounding 2)Cleansing 3)Protecting and 4)Releasing.

I think it worked for Frankie.. See for yourself:

Once you have protected yourself, it's okay to be real with your limits and with just how special you are right now. Just like the fresh fruit basket a friend so graciously brought us filled with pears, plums, and peaches. In order to honor the fruits as we honor ourselves we decided to keep the flavors fresh and make a fabulous Harvest Fruit Tart. This was my first ever and I think it turned out pretty darn good.

My parents got busy making some Creamy Mushroom Chicken, Collard Greens and Cabbage, and Southern Beans to go with it. I mean we can't just eat dessert... or can we? I'll leave that up to you to decide.
I hope you enjoy these recipes and yourselves. Life can be difficult, but only if we let it be. I am choosing to smile and protect myself and for goodness sakes keep my arms and head inside my bubble at all times!

Creamy Chicken
6 large bone in chicken breasts
1 heaping tablespoon of Chicken seasoning
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 can (10.3 ounces) 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup
2 tablespoons fat free half and half
1/2 cup white wine (Chablis works great here!)
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 cup plain fat free yogurt (you can also use fat free sour cream if you have that on hand)
1 large sweet white onion; chopped
12 ounces fresh white mushrooms; sliced in half (you can use canned if you prefer)

1a. Remove the skins and unnecessary fat from each chicken breast. My dad does this easily with a sharp knife. The before looks like this:
The after looks like this: Brilliant!
1b. Then cut each breast in half. Sprinkle with chicken seasoning and pepper. Place in a skillet, or if you have the fabulous crock pot that we do, brown in the crock pot using the browning element.  Brown the chicken for 3-4 minutes on each side (just enough to brown the chicken and the flesh will turn white)
2. While the chicken is browning-- in a large bowl, combine the cream of chicken soup, the half and half, white wine, chicken broth, garlic, soy sauce, and yogurt. We pour all of the liquids into the cream of mushroom can to continue to rinse out and get all the flavors out of the can!
3. Once the chicken is browned, transfer to the 10 quart crock pot, or if you are using the fabulous crock pot that we have transfer the heating element to slow cook. Add the chicken, onions, and mushrooms to the crock pot and pour the creamy broth over the top.

4. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-6 hours.
Collards and Cabbage - Best Friends Forever
1 large onion; chopped
16 ounces smoked ham; diced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
6 big bunches of fresh market collard greens
1 large cabbage; chopped

1. In a large pot combine the chopped onion, ham, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Allow to saute for 3-5 minutes or until the onions become translucent.

2. Add the chicken broth and vinegar to the pot and bring to a boil.

3. Meanwhile we will prepare the collard greens. Slice the collard green leaves away from the central 'root' of the leaf. Slice into over sized pieces, they will wilt similar to spinach. Next place the chopped leaves in a colander and rinse using cold water making sure to get any grit off of the leaves. Once washed place the collards into the large stock pot with the boiling broth.  Simmer on low for 60-90 minutes. 

4. Next add the chopped cabbage. The cabbage will take considerably less time to cook. Simmer for another 30 minutes over low heat. Then they are ready to be served along side your country beans, corn bread, and delicious creamy chicken!

Southern Style Beans
 4 slices bacon; chopped
1 small white onion; chopped
2 stalks celery; cleaned and chopped
2 large carrots; peeled and chopped

2 (16 ounce) cans white beans or pinto beans

1. Saute the bacon in a skillet then remove from the skillet and drain the grease and wipe out the skillet. Add the olive oil, bacon, celery, carrots, and onion to the skillet.

2. Once the vegetables soften after 10-15 minutes add the beans and simmer over low heat for another 10-15 minutes to allow flavors to marry. 

3. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste and serve!

Fall Harvest Fruit Tart
1 prepared pastry crust

for crust:
1. Spray a 10-inch-diameter spring form pan with cooking spray, then spread the prepared pie crust evenly into the pan. You can evenly spread the dough pushing slightly to make for a nice crust. Then gently roll the edges over creating a one inch tall crust. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.

2. Remove from the oven once the crust is brown and set aside to cool.

for the cream filling:

6 ounces fat free cream cheese
1 1/2 cup fat free ricotta cheese
1/4 cup sugar free maple syrup
6 splenda packets
1/4 cup spiced rum

3. Combine the cream cheese, ricotta, maple syrup, splenda, and rum in the food processor. Process until smooth. 

For the fruit topping:

12 baby plums
3 small peaches

4. Thinly slice the plums and peaches into beautiful half moon shapes.

To arrange:

5. Once the crust has cooled for at least 20 minutes, spread the cream mixture over the top in one even layer. 

6. Next place the fruit in beautiful circles on top of the cream cheese and ricotta base.


1/2 cup sugar free apricot preserve
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon spiced rum
1 tablespoon crust graham crackers
1 teaspoon cinnamon

7. In a microwave safe bowl, combine the apricot preserves, honey, rum, and cinnamon. Heat for 30 seconds in the microwave to soften the ingredients. Then gently drizzle the topping over the fruit and finish with a sprinkling of the crushed graham crackers.

 8. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve! Enjoy this beautiful and easy dessert alone or with guests! Our guests loved it.. you can tell... ;)


Cris said...

Baby got BACK! Woot!

Amy said...

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment on my blog. I'm glad to hear that you love my pictures as I'm still quite new at photography.

As you already know lighting is the key to great photography. I try to use as much indirect sunlight as possible. And having something reflective on the opposite side to bounce the light back to the food to minimize the shadows.

Guess I can continue to talk about photography on and on! :) Hey, maybe I will write up a post in the near future and explain it in more detail. Stay tune!

Have fun blogging!

Amy from