I have been meaning to share this recipe for a while. It’s a good one, especially if you like a real good lemon flavored sauce. I served this with brown rice. Delicious!
2 large lemons
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded into thin even cutlets
salt and pepper
1/2 cup unbleached flour
4 tablespoons canola oil
1 small shallot, minced or 1 small garlic clove minced
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
5 tablespoons small capers, rinsed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1. Adjust oven rack to the lower-middle position, set a large heatproof serving or dinner plate on the rack, and heat the oven to 200 degrees.
2. Halve one lemon pole to pole. Trim the ends from one half and cut it crosswise into slices 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick; set aside. Juice the remaining half and whole lemon to obtain 1/4 cup juice; reserve.
3. Sprinkle both sides of cutlets generously with salt and pepper. Measure the flour into a shallow baking dish or pie plate. Working with one cutlet at a time, coat with the flour and shake to remove the excess.
4. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Lay half the chicken cutlets in the skillet. Saute the cutlets until lightly browned on the first side, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Turn the cutlets and cook until the second side in lightly browned, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes longer. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the cutlets to the plate in the oven. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and heat until shimmering. Add the remaining chicken cutlets and repeat.
5. Add the shallot to the empty skillet and return the skillet to medium heat. Saute for about 30 seconds. Add the broth and lemon slices, increase the heat to high, and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen the browned bits. Simmer until the liquid reduces to about 1/3 cup, about 4 minutes. Add the reserved lemon juice and capers and simmer until the sauce reduces again to about 1/3 cup, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from heat and swirl in butter until it melts and thickens the sauce. Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve immediately.
For Eliza’s 2nd Birthday I decided I wanted to keep things simple but the crafty side of me kicked in. I really do enjoy creating and crafting things for my kids birthdays. So this year, I decided to make things from what I had in the house, either left over supplies from teaching or scrap booking supplies I never got around to using. Fortunately for me, I have a lot of crafting supplies in the house. So here are a few pictures from her Owl Themed Party.
I got the idea for these owl invitations from Across the Branch.
Here is the Owl pinata that took 3 weeks to make. It came out better than we expected and by the time of the party we didn’t want to break it. My boys helped with adding the many layers of newspaper to the balloon using a paper mache paste we made. I filled the pinata with raisins, Fruitabu and lollipops. We thought it was going to be super easy to break but we were so wrong. This pinata was very strong and we were getting impatient waiting for one of the kids to finally break it.
Here is the cake. It certainly is not the best owl but it sure did taste good. It is a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. This is our favorite carrot cake recipe that I have perfected over the years. From the original recipe I have reduced sugar, added pineapple, reduced oil and added applesauce. I also increased the amount of spices. The end result is a delicious moist carrot cake. I sometimes bake it in 2 9-inch round pans or in a 9X13 inch baking pan. The recipe is listed below.
It sure is hard to believe that my youngest is already two. As always time flies by and again I am reminded how lucky I am to be home raising my three kids. Eliza adds a lot of character, energy and light to our lives. My heart melts when she looks at me and calls me, “Mommy”. I still can’t believe I have a little girl! Happy 2nd Birthday Eliza:)
Best Carrot Cake
3/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons cinnamom
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups grated carrots, extra liquid squeezed out
8 oz. crushed pineapple, drained and liquid squeezed out to almost dry
1/2 cup butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 cups cpnfectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan or 2 9-inch pans.
2. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, sugars, applesauce and vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir in carrots and crushed pineapple. Pour into prepared pan(s).
3. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cook completely.
4. To make Frosting: In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until mixture is smooth and creamy. Frost the cooled cake.
Your Presence….you probably thought I had some insight into the best toy of the year (sorry to disappoint) but hey it’s still a really good idea!
Our hectic lives cause us to be hooked into crazy routines where we are spread way too thin. There are always too many things to do and never enough time. As a result our family and personal lives suffer. Not to mention, the addicting electronic devices that surround our lives and sometimes take priority. We have laptops, video games and cell phones all at a finger’s reach. Anything we want to know we can find out instantly by reaching for one of these electronic devices. According to a report done by the Kaiser Family Foundation kids are plugged into electronic media for more than 7 1/2 hours a day!! That’s crazy and we can all admit how easily we can be sucked in. Let’s try to limit that this season so we can make some lifelong memories. Please join me this Christmas season in giving the best Christmas present to our families… our presence.
Now is the time to engage in quality time with loved ones. Spending meaningful time together is what gives the season that special Christmas spirit. It ties each year to a special memory that lasts a lifetime! Family traditions that we have done or will do this Christmas season that hopefully will create lasting memories!
1. Cutting down the Christmas tree as a family. This involves trudging through the snow together, looking for the perfect tree, throwing snow at one another (fun snowball fight!!). And it ends with a candy cane and hot chocolate. Yummy!
2. The countdown Christmas Chain- Every year on December 1 I hang a Christmas chain that counts down the days until Christmas (handmade by linking strips of red/green construction paper together). Some years I write an activity to do on the inside of each link. Examples, sing Rudolph, make cookies, drink hot cocoa, watch a holiday movie, make a card for someone, do something for someone else, etc. Other years I only write activities on the weekend days. Each day our children take turns taking off a link , see how many days left until Christmas and read the activity inside.
3. Decorate Gingerbread Houses – we have used premade kits or made them from scratch, either way we spend some quality time together.
4. One night during the season we sleep downstairs under (or near) the tree. The kids bring their sleeping bags and we try to sleep on the couches. The night starts with dinner on a picnic blanket by the tree with Christmas music playing in the background. Then we move on to some family board games followed by a Christmas movie.
5. Cookie decorating day…need I say more??
6. NEW ONE FOR THIS YEAR- I bought a red cardinal ornament at Danforth Pewter in Burlington. On Christmas morning the kids will have to hunt for the bird hanging somewhere on the Christmas tree. It’s sort of on the small side so they will have to look closely.
7. ELF on the SHELF
8. Christmas Eve- We celebrate the evening by attending mass at our church. Then we have a special dinner with family. Before bed our kids are given ornaments and PJ’s. I have started a box that the kids put their ornaments in each year so one day they will have a collection of ornaments from their childhood to decorate their own trees. This is really special since it’s fun to go back and look at all the ornaments they received as they are reminders of what the kids were interested in that year. And the evening ends with a family reading of “The Night Before Christmas”
9. GIVING- The kids use their own money to buy food for the local food shelf or a toy for a child in need.
Please share your holiday traditions with me. This is what makes Christmas so special and I look forward to hearing about what you do with your family.