Saturday, September 12, 2015

Chicken Piccata Yumminess!

I recently purchased a new cookbook called Chicken Night by William-Sonoma.  I was desperate for some new chicken recipes since that's what we eat 90% of the time.  The first thing I do with new cookbooks is go through each recipe and flag the page if it is something I want to try, or something I know my family will eat.  We aren't super picky eaters, but we do love our basic recipes.  I've got about ten recipes right now that I could write from memory because I've made them so much.  So, in the search for something new, simple, and refreshing I found my favorite new chicken recipe that I'm going to share with you today!  Now, my version is similar yet slightly different than the one in the cookbook, but it works best for our family of eaters.  So, here we go, Chicken Piccata with Artichokes!

Just a side note, when I first saw this recipe, I had no clue what "piccata" was, but it definitely looked delish!  Conveniently enough, the recipe book explains it in this particular recipe as a type of Italian dish where thin pieces of meat are coated in flour and sauteed in butter and oil.

This recipe is has some prep work (15 minutes or so), but if you truly get all the prep work done before even turning on the stovetop, you'll breeze your way through and have a beautiful looking dish ready for the table!

2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 jar quartered artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I use organic or you can also use gluten free if needed)
1 cup dry white cooking wine
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
Broccolini or Asparagus
2 cloves garlic, chopped

Prep work:

The very first thing I do is to get out each ingredient and set it out in order of when it will be used in the recipe.  This makes for quick and easy transition during the cooking process.

I start with two boneless, skinless thawed chicken breasts, but you can alter the amount you will use based on the number of people you are feeding.  I'm feeding two, maybe three, if I can get my boys to try it :)

Cut each chicken breast in half through the thickest part (as if you were going to open it like a book, but cut it all the way through).  Working with 1 half at a time, place the chicken in a ziplock bag and pound with the flat side of a meat pounder or other flat topped heavy metal object until it is about 1/4 inch thick.

Pour the flour onto a large place and season it will with salt and pepper.  Dredge the chicken in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess.  Warm 2 Tbsp of the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking.  Working in batches as needed to avoid crowding, add the chicken and cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides and opaque throughout, about 4 minutes per side.  Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Return the frying pan to medium-high heat; do not wipe the pan clean.  Melt 1 Tbsp of the butter in the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil.  Add the garlic and artichoke hearts and saute just until the garlic is soft, about 1 minute.

**Note: if using only 2 chicken breasts for the recipe, I only use 1/2 the can of artichoke hearts so as not to overpower the flavors.

Stir in the wine, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.  Bring to a simmer and cook until the liquid reduces by about half, about 5 minutes.  Stir in both the broth, lemon juice, and your choice of veggies.  Reduce the heat to medium, bring to a gentle simmer, and whisk in the remaining 1 Tbsp butter.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly, about 7 minutes longer.  Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Return the chicken to the pan and turn to coat each piece with the sauce.  Cook just until the chicken is warmed through, about 3-4 minutes.  Best when served over rice.  Serve immediately.

Serves 3-5 people as stated with above ingredients, but can feed fewer if needed by using only 2 chicken breasts and 1/2 can of artichoke hearts.  Pair it with a great wine and you're set!  Enjoy!

As always, I'd love to hear feedback if you've decided to try the recipe!  Let me know what your family thought of it!


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Desperate Book Club - Week 1 - Forward & Intro

When I first read the description of Desperate, by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson, it was heart wrenching.  It was like someone had a window in to my soul and had put all of my untold feelings and struggles and fears and everything in between into a book.  All I've ever wanted to be is a Mom.  And Mom's aren't supposed to feel THIS overwhelmed, and THIS frustrated, and this and this and this.  I believed in all of my feelings, because feelings are very real.  But, as my pastor says, feelings are real but aren't always reliable, and that is truth that applies to every single Mama.  Every one of us who is struggling with the balance of having kids in school, and kids at home gets it.  Having to be at different places at the same time.  Having a hot meal on the table at night when Dad gets home from work.  Having even a somewhat presentable home in case a friend decides to "drop by" unexpectedly.   And in the midst of all that, being purposeful to teach and train our kids to love God and love others.  It's a lot!  And no one can ever truly prepare you for it!

Tonight, our sweet little Nest at Night Book Club Group met for the first time.  We spent time introducing ourselves, talking about our kids, their ages, and what we did before we because mamas.  And honestly, it's easy to lose sight of who we were before becoming a mom.  We know that person is still in there somewhere, but we take on an additional identity, that can quickly push out all other identities if we aren't careful.  And that's what is so overwhelming, when I (unknowingly) allow my identity as "mom" to be put first.  And once I've realized what has happened, sometimes it's really hard to recover and pull back into my first role, a daughter of the King.  And even my second role as a wife.  As Sarah writes, "Down to the bone, to the deepest part of my soul, is the love I have for my children.  Every day of my life is imperfectly offered to them.  But the little years, they're hard and oftentimes lonely.  It's like a secret we fear sharing, just how life-altering motherhood is, especially when you don't have training or support."  I think we can all relate to that feeling when all the littles are at home with us full time!  And it's in these moments that I often find myself wanting to curl up and cry, and sometimes I do just that. And thank the Lord that I have Him to cry to, and cry out to, in the most overwhelming of moments.  Motherhood is a privilege.  It's an honor, and a role I doubt many of us take lightly.  But it's draining, and exhausting, and frustrating, and overwhelming, and painful, and emotional, and the list goes on and on.  And I'm sure I'm not the only one who can completely relate to Ann, in the forward, where she says, "I've been the mama who punished when I needed to pray.  Who hollered at kids when I needed to help them.  Who lunged onward when I needed to lean on Jesus.  I've lain in bed too scared to get up and ruin another day -- ruin my kids."  That is often the story of my day, and I often find myself questioning what things happened today that my boys will remember twenty years from now, and will it be a positive or a negative memory?  And when I think of all that has gone wrong with my day, I remember, that Christ has gone before me, that I am human and will sin and make mistakes, and the best thing I can do is ask for grace upon grace and forgiveness.  Not just from Christ, but also from my boys.

Such truth in what Ann writes here, "My kids don't need to see a super-mama.  They need to see a mama who needs a Super God.  That maybe being the mama I wanted to be wasn't so much about being more but believing more; believing and trusting more in the God of Hagar and Ruth and Hannah, the God who sees me, who nourishes me, who hears me and answers.  That godly parenting isn't ultimately a function of rules but having a relationship with an ultimate God.  That godly parenting is fueled by God's grace, not my efforts.  That maybe it all comes down to this: if I make God first and am most satisfied in His love, I'm released to love my children fully and more satisfactorily."  YES!  THIS!!  This is what I long for, what I pray for, what I so desire for my boys to remember about me.  That even though I struggled daily, I chose to cling to Christ rather than attempt to sustain with my own words and actions.  That when (not if) I messed up, I was quick to apologize and ask for forgiveness from them, and then to forgive myself, and walk ahead in the freedom of that forgiveness.

If you are a struggling mama, who needs to breathe, you are not alone.  Join me (and a bunch of other mamas) on this journey through Desperate.  I think it will refresh your soul, lead you to specific scripture that will revive your spirit, and ultimately draw you closer to the Lord and to your precious babies!

How have you changed as a person from before kids, to being a mom?

Do you feel like you've lost your identity along the way?

What can you do this week to gain back your most important identity, your role as a daughter of the King?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Testing, Testing, 1...2...3...

Is this blog still live?  Good grief it's been a LONG time since I've posted anything!  So long that we've added another child to our brood of boys!  Needless to say, life's been a little crazy and full of adventure and mayhem!

Prepare yourself, this post will be a sort of catch up since the last one, with many pictures, of course!  Enjoy!

 We're pregnant (March 2013)!!!
 Growing belly
 It's another boy!!!!

 Summer Vacation in Vail, CO!

 Took Caleb to see Monsters University in the theater, and we all loved it!

 Boys first day of pre-school together!
Grandma came to visit and to be here for Gabe's birth!
He's here!  11/19/2013! 
 My three boys (Caleb, Asher, Gabe)
 Had a bit of jaundice at the hospital
 Finally home!

 Such a great big brother

 First bike ride ever!

 Sweet Grandma Smith passed away March 2014, she will be missed!
 The girl cousins!
 Beautiful snow and view of my parents back yard!
 Grandma's gravesite, right there with Grandpa!
 My love!

 Happy Daddy's Day 2014!

 Happy July 4th, 2014!


 Backyard fun in Houston!

Happy 10th Anniversary to us!!
My new ink!

Kindergarten Round-Up for Ms. Bua!!!!
Last fun night before we've got a big kinder boy!
1st Day of Kindergarten!!!!!
 Happy 4th birthday to my sweet and spunky Asher!

 Caleb's locker buddy and friend, Ian!

 Eating lunch with my baby boy!
 My over the summer project was refinishing the secretary desk that is a family heirloom.  It's now my favorite corner in the house!

 Pumpkin Patch time!

 Halloween parade at school

 Caleb and his friend Kent on Halloween

 Girls Trip!!!!!

 Happy 1st Birthday big boy!  We love you Gabe!

 Happy Thanksgiving 2014!!

 All my boys!
 Christmas Wedding!!

 Favorite classy bouquet I've ever done!!
 Merry Christmas y'all!!

 Happy Birthday to my big 6 year old!!!

Happy 100 days of school! 

 First snow!
 My little daredevil

 My precious boys!  Love them so!

And there you have it!  2012-2015 in a nutshell!  More to come now that I'm all caught up!