Monday, September 19, 2011

The snooze button was inspired by the devil

I have failed miserably at transforming myself into a morning person.  The problem lies in the fact that I'm a night person and just haven't succeeded in forcing myself to go to bed early.  I will not give up on this grand feat and my alarm still goes off at 5:55 a.m. every single morning, followed by my smacking the snooze button until my alarm reads about 6:30.  I then jump out of bed and throw myself together, and I'm out the door by 7:00.  My passion for a cozy, warm bed in the morning has by far exceeded my desire to have more time in the morning, which I am not proud of.  For the few weeks I was actually succeeding in obeying my alarm clock, I absolutely loved my morning time.  I loved my morning time not only because I didn't have to eat my breakfast while driving to work, but mostly because it gave me time to start my day right...with reading the Bible and daily devotion.

Starting my day with some one-on-one time with God is the best way to start the day, in my opinion, and reading a daily devotion of some kind is a great way to connect to the scriptures.  I have been relying on Encouragement for Today daily devotions for women.  Thanks to technology, I have bookmarked the website on my phone and can read it at any time during the day.  If I get to work early, I'll read the devotion for the day before I go in to work, or I'll read it on my lunch.  But this is not my desire for my Bible reading and devotion time.  I don't want to squeeze in what I can, when I can; I want it to be my priority.  I came across a book called, Becoming the Woman God Wants Me to Be:  A 90-day Guide to Living the Proverbs 31 Life.  I have not read it yet (it's on my ever-growing list), but while checking it out on Amazon, I was drawn to an excerpt from page 61:
"I'm sure the snooze button was inspired by the devil. It's his secret weapon against Christians... if he can get you to snooze away the thirty minutes you would have, could have, should have spent with God, the devil has the upper hand against you for the rest of the day." (p. 61).
Haha!  It's true, I enjoy my day so much more when it's started right.  So, I just wanted to share the daily devotions that I love on Encouragement for Today and encourage you to check it out. 

Snooze button, you will not win!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Wingless Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Some nights, (like last Tuesday night) I just really don't feel like spending a lot of time on dinner, and this is one of my go-to fast dinners I started making back in 2009.  It's not quite a "30 minute meal" in my opinion, but it is brought to you by Rachael Ray, and if you've made many of her recipes you're probably already aware of the fact that her 30 minutes exist in an alternate universe where ingredients are prepared and messes are cleaned up by invisible people.  There are no commercial breaks in real life, not in mine anyway. 

To speed up the preparation process and turn this recipe into a legitimate 30 minute meal, use pre-cooked chicken strips (like THESE) or use leftover chicken from a previous night's dinner.  Also, I use Whole Wheat Boboli prepared pizza crust.  The sauce on this pizza tastes just like a buffalo wing sauce, and it's so easy to adjust the heat.  Prepare a green salad while the pizza cooks, and dinner is ready to eat...and you get to keep the tip in your piggy bank and Pizza Hut gets to hang on to one more cardboard box. 
What You Need: 
  • 3/4 pound chicken breast cutlets
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 2 teaspoons grill seasoning, (recommended: McCormick Montreal Seasoning) eyeball it
  • 1 pizza dough, store bought or from your favorite pizzeria (I use Whole Wheat Boboli)
  • Cornmeal or flour, to handle dough
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, eyeball it
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons hot sauce, medium to spicy heat (2 are plenty for us!)
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, a few generous handfuls
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
What You Do: 
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Preheat grill pan to high.
  2. Place chicken on a plate and drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over the chicken then season with grill seasoning. When grill is hot, add chicken and cook about 3 minutes on each side.
  3. Stretch dough to form pizza using cornmeal or flour to help you handle it. If you let it rest and warm up a few minutes it will handle even easier. Set pizza on pizza pan to the side and clean board.
  4. In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt butter and stir in Worcestershire, hot sauce, and tomato sauce.
  5. Remove the chicken from grill and thinly slice it. Add chicken to sauce and coat. Cover the pizza dough with the saucy Buffalo chicken, cheeses, and scallions. Bake 18 minutes or until crisp.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Tyler's Ultimate Potato Salad

Last month, we had a get-together at Matt's cousins house; it's become a new tradition and we love it!  I volunteered to take a potato salad with the realization that I haven't made potato salad in a LONG time.  So the search was on for a great recipe and I began scouring the internet.  Many potato salad recipes sound the same, but once I read through Tyler Florence's recipe I was sold, and once I tried it, I think it's my new favorite.  I'm not a fan of celery in potato salad, so it was a plus this one has none, and I think the capers and dill give the salad that little "something" that makes it different.  I've added notes to Tyler's recipe because after reading the reviews, I took the advice of others and tweaked the amount of dressing.

Here's the link so you can also watch the quick video of Tyler making the salad...Potato Salad

What You Need: 
  • 2 pounds small Yukon gold potatoes
  • 2 large eggs
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 bunch sliced scallions, white and green part
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 2 cups mayonnaise (I only used 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dill pickles with 1/4 cup juice, about 2 pickles
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 bunch dill, chopped
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
What You Do:
Put the potatoes and eggs into a big saucepan of cold salted water. Bring to a simmer. After 12 minutes remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and let cool. Continue cooking the potatoes until a paring knife poked into them goes in without resistance, about 3 minutes longer. Drain the potatoes in a colander and let them cool.

Reserve some scallion greens and capers for garnish. Meanwhile, stir together the mayonnaise, mustard, pickles and their juice, onion, remaining scallions and capers, parsley, and lemon juice in a bowl large enough to hold the potatoes (I suggest making the dressing in a separate bowl and adding to potatoes and egg little-by-little until you think it's enough.  The recipe makes a lot of dressing!) Peel the cool eggs and grate them into the bowl (I just chopped them up with a knife). Stick a fork into the potatoes and lift them 1 at a time out of the colander. Break up the potatoes by hand into rough chunks (Again, I just chopped them into large chunks instead), add them to the bowl and toss to coat with the dressing. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Drizzle with a little olive oil before serving (I skipped this step).

Enjoying the last days of Summer; looking forward to Fall,
Amanda :)