Around the Dinner Table

  
Life moves so fast these days. In the age of fast food and smart phones, we neglect the most simple pleasures we have in this life. Julia Child summed it up perfectly. Sharing a meal with those you love is a delight. Despite the craziness and those relatives you don’t really care to see, something happens the moment everyone is gathered at the table. Life pauses for just a moment. Take a deep breath, and a sip of wine, and take stock of what is set before you. 

Sharing a meal is the most intimate expression of love without any strings attached. Confessions are made, plans are set in motion, love is declared and life is celebrated all over a meal shared together. 

Today, being the day we give thanks, take a small amount of time away from the TV, smart phones and distractions. Look around your table and really take the moment in. Indulge in life’s most simple pleasure; sharing a meal with those who really matter. (I know this repetitive but sometimes we needed to be reminded.)

Give thanks that not only do you have a meal set before you, but that you have someone to share it with. Because deep down, we all need the love and support of those we love. Take nothing for granted and in all things, give thanks.

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Turkey and Rice

Turkey and rice are up there with chicken noodle soup in regards to comfort foods. And a great way to use up leftover turkey. Since we spend Thanksgiving with my brother’s family at their house, we usually don’t have much in the way of leftovers. So, we do our own turkey the weekend before to have the leftovers. The beauty of a recipe like this is you can make it as a soup or a thicker meal by adding more rice.

  Turkey and Rice

Leftover roasted turkey

2 cups of rice

3 cups of chicken broth 

1 cup of carrots, chopped

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook rice according to the package. I cook mine until its tender but there’s still liquid in the pan. Heat stove to medium heat. In a large pot, add rice and remaining liquid, turkey (how ever much you want) carrots, and chicken broth. Cook on medium heat until the carrots are tender. Salt and pepper to taste. 

You can reduce the amount of chicken broth to give it a thicker consistency or add an extra cup of either broth or water to make it more like soup.

Serve with crackers and you have a tasty way to use those leftovers!

Words of Wisdom from Julia Child

I love to cook. I love to try new recipes, making up my own recipes, collaborating with others to come up with new recipes, and cooking family favorites. It is one way I take care of my family.  When I am short on gift ideas, I cook. When my brother and his wife had babies, I cooked. I invite my parents over for dinner once a month to just say thanks for all you do. I cook romantic meals and simple ones that I know my kids will love. I cook for them as much as I do for me.

But as I was reading this quote, it dawned on me. Food is part of every big or small event in our lives. Parties and celebrations to funerals and break-up sessions, food is involved. Now, some of the food I understand is restaurant foods, but for the most part, it has involved someone preparing the meal.

There is nothing more loving or nurturing than preparing a meal for someone you love. Even if it just chicken noodle soup for a sick child, cookies for a friend who needs a pick-me-up or an elaborate meal to celebrate a holiday, it shows an act of love and sacrifice.

So the next time you share a meal with someone, thank the cook. They are putting a little bit of love into every dish. And what better way to show love than to cook for someone else.

Take this holiday season to enjoy not only the food, but those who prepared it. Savor those moments. Some of the best memories are made around the dinner table.

Never too late to Travel

  Most people will say travel while you’re young. Go see the world while you are able! Well, I say go see the world at any age! Parents live vicariously through their parents, I live through my parents. Empty nesters, semi-retired and out seeing the state of Florida one RV park at a time. 

They hook up their camper and go. This particular trip was to St. Augustine where they went on ghost tours, chocolate tours, wine tasting and distillery tours. Lighthouse climbs and beach exploration. And many more. I’m so jealous! 

  However, I’m beyond thrilled they are heading out together. They sacrificed so much of their private life to raise my brother and I. And they help with their grandkids as well. 

You see, some adventures can really begin after the raising of kids are done. It’s never too late and you’re never too old to hit the road and go on you’re own adventure. Some of us just have to hold on for a little bit longer. 

P.S. My mom is adorable. 

More travel; Less stress

  

Lately this has been more kitchen than road tripping. Travel is sometimes hard to do on limited funds and with those dreaded responsibilities. I would love to be out exploring and immersing in local culture instead of the daily grind and domestic duties. But alas, such is life right now. 

However, I will start making time to get out more. Even if it’s just a day trip to a state park or some small town off a less traveled highway. Life is too short to stand still. 

I have big dreams. I want my very own bookstore. I want my own books on the shelf. I want to travel and experience life outside of my bubble. And somehow, those dreams will happen. For now, I save, and write, and read, and plan. Never giving up hope or relinquishing my dream to never ever land. Get out and see what this world has to offer. You won’t be disappointed.

Chicken Burrito Skillet

Feeding three very hungry kids can take some creativity, especially on a weeknight. One of my favorite go-to meals that is filling and sure to please is Chicken Burrito skillet. It’s a quick, easy meal that hits the spot when I’m craving Mexican Food without the hassle or the calories. I make mine low-carb by just skipping the rice!

   Chicken Burrito Skillet

1 package ground chicken

2 tbsp cumin

2 tbsp chili powder

2 tbsp paprika

1 tbsp garlic powder

2 tbsp dried onion pieces

1 can corn; undrained

1 can black beans; undrained

1 can Rotel; undrained

2 cups cooked rice

Cheese 

Toppings for burritos; lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, etc.

Directions:

Heat skillet to medium heat with a dash of oil. Add ground chicken and seasonings. Cook until chicken is no longer pink. Add in corn, beans, and Rotel. Mix until blended. Turn heat up to medium-high, bring liquid to a boil. Reduce to medium-low heat and let simmer, about 10 min. You can add a tsp more of each spice if you want to add more flavor. 

Once the beans and corn are tender, serve over rice and top with your favorite toppings!

  
A quick, easy, filling meal that will sure to please your family! 

Carb Free Fried Rice

I love fried rice. I love Chinese food, really. But, in my effort to break free from carb overloading and still enjoy my favorite foods, I needed to come up a recipe that would give me the same flavor but without the added carbs from rice. Now, I know you can have it healthy with brown rice, but I wanted a completely grain free meal. So, for your taste buds enjoyment and a way to curb your Chinese takeout cravings without the guilt, here you go!

  Carb Free Fried Rice

1lb of Mild Ground Sausage

5 eggs, scrambled

1/2 head of cabbage, diced

1/2 package of mushrooms, sliced

1 1/2 tsp soy sauce, sodium free

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

Brown sausage in a pan over medium-high heat. Drain and set aside. Add cabbage and mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, cook until wilted and tender. Set aside. Reduce heat to medium, add scrambled eggs and cook until done. Add sausage and mix. Then add cabbage mixture, toss until all is mixed well. Add soy sauce and more pepper to taste.

It was just like fried rice, but without the guilt! You can add peas and carrots if you wanted to, but I left out the peas because they have a higher carb content. Enjoy!

Southwest Eggrolls; Wonton Wrappers Part 2

Finger food is so much fun to eat! And having a quick, easy recipe is even better. Every once and awhile, we like to do appetizers for dinner, especially on movie nights. These Eggrolls are a great meatless meal but still very filling. Plus, with them being baked and not fried, you’re saving on calories without sacrificing taste. 

  
Southwest Eggrolls:

2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach

1 can black beans; drained

1 can corn; drained

Mexican Cheese Blend

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp cumin

Pepper and Salt to taste

Wonton wrappers

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray; set aside. 

On medium heat, add 1tbsp olive oil and wilt down spinach. Season with salt and pepper. Add in black beans and corn and rest of seasonings, mix well. Cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

On a flat surface, lay out the wonton wrappers in the shape of a diamond. Using a small brush, lightly wet down the top and bottom corners. Spoon filling, top with cheese, lay bottom corner over the filling and secure with the top corner. Continue until filling is used up. 

  
Spray with non-stick spray. Bake for 10 minutes. Let sit for 2 minutes. Serve with your choice of dipping sauce. We used a spicy ranch sauce, but salsa also works great!

  
Enjoy!!

Baked Eggroll Cups; Wonton Wraps Part 1

I love egg rolls. Especially when they have a yummy filling. What I don’t love is greasy, fried mess that comes with egg rolls. These cups are filled with tasty Eggroll filling but baked in a wonton cup! Ground pork, cabbage and broccoli slaw mixed to make a great filling that goes a long way. 

  
Baked Eggroll Cups:

1lb ground pork

I package of broccoli slaw

1/2 head of cabbage, diced

Pepper

Garlic Powder

Soy Sauce

Onion Powder

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin tin with non-stick butter and line with wonton wrapper. 

Cook pork on medium heat. Season with pepper and garlic powder. Drain, reserving leftover grease for cabbage and slaw. Set pork aside.

Mix cabbage and broccoli slaw together and cook over medium high heat. Splash with soy sauce, and add the seasonings. I use extra pepper to spice it up. Cook until slightly wilted. 

Mix pork with cabbage and add a tad bit more soy sauce. Remove from heat and spoon into wonton wrappers. Bake for 10 minutes. 

You will have extra filling, so you can continue until you run out of wrappers or save the filling for a low-carb meal!

  
Serve with sweet and sour sauce and enjoy!!