Devilish Chicks for Easter

Aren’t these deviled eggs cute?  They’re a humorous twist on deviled eggs. This recipe originated a few years ago from Taste of Home magazine. 

chicks develed eggs

Ingredients for a half dozen deviled eggs

  • 6 hard-cooked large eggs
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup prepared ranch salad dressing
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Dash pepper
  • 5 carrot chips
  • 12 capers
  • Fresh dill sprigs
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup prepared lighter ranch salad dressing
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Dash pepper
  • 5 carrot chips
  • 12 capers
  • Fresh dill sprigs

Directions

  1. Cut a thin slice from the bottom of each egg so it sits flat. Cut the top third from each egg. Carefully remove yolks and place in a small bowl; mash with a fork. Add cheese, salad dressing, mustard and pepper; stir until well blended. Spoon into the egg white bottoms; replace tops.
  2. Cut 12 feet and 12 small triangles for beaks from carrot chips. Gently press the capers into the filling for eyes; add beaks. Insert a dill sprig in top of eggs for tuft of feathers. Place feet in front of chicks. Refrigerate until serving. Yield: 1/2 dozen.

Do you have a favorite cartoon character from your childhood– mine is Elmer Fudd.

Elmer J. Fudd was the archenemy of Bugs Bunny, but he also hunted ducks from time to time.  His name came up at the breakfast table this morning. Ducks are swimming in our pool during off-season, and my husband and I jokingly wondered what Elmer Fudd would do. He’s a villain like Yosemite Sam, but Elmer is too dopey to do Bugs much harm.

Elmer speaks in a pattern called rhotacism, replacing his Rs and Ls with Ws.  Watch the road becomes “Watch da Woad, Wabbit.”  “Be vewy, vewy quiet, I’m hunting wabbits.” He also had a trademark gloat of huh, uh, uh. I like the cartoon titles of Rabbit Seasoning and What’s Opera, Doc?

Elmer Fudd

 

 

Kathleen’s Eggs Florentine– this variation is easy, elegant, and a little lighter.

Don’t over cook.  That’s the secret! Spit the English muffin with someone.

eggs forentine

Ingredients:

6 large eggs, slightly beaten

Butter

Salt/pepper

3 tablespoons fat-free cream cheese, cut into small pieces

12 cup mushrooms, sliced

Clove garlic, minced

½ 10-oz package fresh spinach
Directions

  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; cook and stir mushrooms and garlic until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add spinach to mushroom mixture and cook until spinach is wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Stir eggs into mushroom-spinach mixture; season with salt and pepper. Cook, without stirring, until eggs start to firm; flip. Sprinkle cream cheese over egg mixture and cook until cream cheese starts to soften, about 5 minutes.

Asian Peanut Slaw with shredded Chicken is a healthy family favorite!

Do you need a delicious easy recipe for tonight?  This is what I will be making because I’m multi-tasking today. Have you noticed the new trend to not separate ingredients and directions– it’s efficient to combine them, don’t you think?

Asian peanut slaw

Cook 4 oz spaghetti according to pkg directions, about 10 minutes. Drain and rinse to cool. In a large bowl, whisk 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter, 1/4 cup water, 3 tbsp each seasoned rice vinegar and lime juice, 1 tbsp packed brown sugar, 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce and 1 tsp (or to taste) sriracha until smooth. Add spaghetti, 2 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken, 6 packed cups shredded cabbage, 2 cups shredded carrots, 3 thinly sliced scallions and 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro. Toss well. Scatter 1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts over top.

Spotlight on a writer who makes a difference– M.J. Neary!

Let me introduce you to a lovely lady, M.J. Neary who is on my blog for the simple reason that she is Good People.  Yes, that category exists on my blog.  Her birthplace is Russia, but now living in New England, USA, spoils her to Irish-Ukrainian American husband and tiger-moms  (her words) their son.  She’s immersed in democracy to such an extent that she publishes articles on all-things-that-matter for the current administration. M.J. Neary is proud to retain both worlds and with her broad knowledge, pens historical romance.

Where can we find this lovely lady? Connecticut where M.J. affectionately calls Disconnecticut. She confesses that she didn’t invent the word.  With events such as golf outings put on by the snooty crowd, a city such as Stamford doesn’t have the strongly Irish vibe of the past  Neary says young people want Irish rock with bands such as Drop Kick Murphys or Flogging Molly, although some of the younger kids learn Irish dancing.

Let’s get to Molly.  M.J. Neary played the part of Molly in a Wild Geese theater production of BLOOMSDAY. M.J. has also appeared at The Cell in New York City where she performed a 10-minute fragment of the play, THE LAST FENIAN.  The Cell is a marvelous venue. Below are photos of M.J. Neary with Phil Gardiner and one other Ifrom BLOOMSDAY.

Marina3

Marina2

Marina1

Edutainment for kids– Harry Potter camp

Doesn’t every working parent love it when their kids enjoy day care– particularly when it’s during a school break? Kudos to my town’s Woodbridge Community Center for putting on Harry Potter camp for kids eight to ten!  At “Hogwarts” kids will transition from muggles (non-magical folks) to wizards! Each “student” will be taught traditional methods of dueling with ancient spells.  Spells are known as defense against the dark arts.  Also included– mind reading (Divination) and Quidditch!

You remember how the first book began– Harry lived under the stairs.

Harry Potter

Do you enjoy hiking amongst wild flowers?

I’m learning the names of wild flowers and became aware that many are so vigorous, they are considered weeds.  A short list include bachelor buttons and alyssum.  Notice all the bachelor buttons in this meadow!  I wanted some of these.

wild flowers.jpeg

I still think they are lovely and don’t mind that they’re mixed into the packets I planted in our yard because they’re strong growers.  A packet or two of different wildflowers will often work better than pounds of seed. Birds love wildflowers, will line up to observe them and eat until every seed is gone. If planting in the wilds, be real philosophical about the seed, the birds, other wildlife, and be prepared to share (a lot). In town or in areas where there is no cover for the birds and the wildflower seed is planted late there is usually a great wildflower show.

 

 

Irish Soda bread is easy to make and worth the carbs!

Buttermilk is the key for good Irish Soda Bread.

Irish soda bread

Ingredients:

  •  1 and 3/4 cups (420ml) buttermilk1
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 and 1/4 cups (515g) all-purpose flour (plus more for your hands and work it)
  • 3 Tablespoons (38g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 and 1/2 Tablespoons (65g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1 cup (150g) raisins (I use half golden, half regular)2

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Lightly grease a 8-10 inch oven safe skillet or cake pan with butter or nonstick spray. A baking sheet will also do, though the bread may spread out a bit more.
  2. Whisk the buttermilk and egg together in a small bowl. Set aside. Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender, two forks/knives, or your fingers. Work the dough until into coarse crumbs, then fold in the raisins with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Gently fold the dough together until dough is too stiff to stir. With floured hands, work the dough into a ball as best you can. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface and knead the dough for about 30 seconds or until all the flour is moistened. Dough will be sticky, but if it is absolutely too sticky add a little more flour as needed. Do not overknead.
  3. Transfer the dough to the prepared skillet/pan. Using a lightly buttered serrated knife, score an X on the top. Bake until the bread is golden brown and center appears cooked through, about 45 minutes. Loosely cover the bread with aluminum foil if you notice heavy browning on top about halfway through bake time.
  4. Remove skillet/pan from the oven and allow bread to cool for 10 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack. Serve warm, at room temperature, or toasted with desired toppings/spreads.

Kathleen’s Lemon Chicken– made easy

Aren’t we busy? And yet we want to fill our homes with happiness. A good dinner is one way to create a warm atmosphere. I put chicken thighs to use in this Lemon Chicken recipe. It’s easy but requires an hour of marinating before baking. 

lemon-chicken

Here are ingredients for four servings:

  • 3-4 pounds chicken parts (thighs and legs recommended), skin-on, bone-in, trimmed of excess fat
  • 4 teaspoons lemon zest (about zest from 2 lemons)
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chopped thyme (or 2 teaspoons dried)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped rosemary (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • Lemon slices for garnish

 

Lemon Chicken Recipe

  • Prep time:10 minutes
  • Cook time:45 minutes
  • Marinating time:1 hour
  • Yield:Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 3-4 pounds chicken parts (thighs and legs recommended), skin-on, bone-in, trimmed of excess fat
  • 4 teaspoons lemon zest (about zest from 2 lemons)
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chopped thyme (or 2 teaspoons dried)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped rosemary (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • Lemon slices for garnish

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1 Marinate chicken: Place lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a large, non-reactive bowl, whisk to combine.

With the tip of a sharp knife, cut into the underside (skinless) of each chicken piece one or two times by about 1/2 an inch. (This will help the marinade penetrate.)

Place the chicken pieces in the bowl and turn to coat with the marinade. Place in the refrigerator and marinate for 1 to 2 hours.

2 Place chicken in baking dish, brush with butter: Preheat oven to 425°F. Remove chicken from marinade and place in a single layer in a large baking dish, skin side up. Reserve the marinade. Use a pastry brush to brush melted butter on each piece of chicken.

3 Bake, baste with marinade: Bake for a total of 35 to 45 minutes, until the skins are crispy brown, and the chicken is cooked through, juices running clear (internal temperature of 165°F for breast pieces, 170°F for thighs and legs). Half-way through the baking, at about the 20 minute mark, baste the chicken pieces generously with the reserved marinade.

Depending on the size of the breasts, they may be ready before the thighs, so if you are cooking a mix of chicken parts, keep that in mind, you may have to take them out of the oven before the thighs.

Let rest, covered in foil, for 10 minutes before serving.

4 Save meat juices to serve with chicken: Pour the juices from the pan into a serving bowl. Use a tablespoon to skim the fat off the top (save the fat for cooking with later, or discard, but do not discard down the drain or it will solidify and clog your drain).

Serve the chicken with the juices on the side or a little poured over the top of the chicken. Serve with steamed brown rice.W

 

 

Mardi Gras means Fat Tuesday!

Here are some fun facts about Mardi Gras 2017.  It takes place on Tuesday, February 28 (TODAY!), and marks 47 days until Easter. Many people make their own masks for the celebration, starting with a blank form.

mask-poppies-field-red

It takes place the day before the start of Lent, meaning its date is different each year due to the time of Easter.

However, Mardi Gras also refers to the carnival of events that take place beginning on Epiphany (Three Kings Day) until the start of Lent.

The French phrase Mardi Gras translates into English as Fat Tuesday.

Mardi Gras is known as Fat Tuesday as many countries traditions see people eat rich, fatty foods the day before entering into Lent.

In the UK, many people eat pancakes made from fatty flour, eggs and butter, which used to be banned during lent.

Meanwhile fried bread and pastries made with the same ingredients are often made and eaten on Fat Tuesday in Latin American and Caribbean countries.

As well as eating fatty foods, many people take the opportunity of Mardi Gras to hold parties and carnivals.

One of the most famous is the Brazilian Carnival in Rio where two million people pack on to the streets to sing and dance.

The tradition dates back to 1723 and Brazil welcomes 70 per cent of its tourists during the event.

As well as singing and dancing, revellers wear brightly coloured colours as well as perform the traditional samba.

Another well-known Mardi Gras parade is in New Orleans, which also sees tourists stream into the city.

Starting early on Mardi Gras day, several parades make their way through the French Quarter, where participants where special costumes and masks. Here