Mini Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

Mini Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

Looking for ways to eat lite this Winter, so am I.  My husband who is a Very picky eater needs to lose so weight, don’t we all, that goes for me too.  So I am wracking my brain trying to find healthy, low-calorie food that he will eat, not easy.  So this is one tasty tidbit that I came up with.

  • 1 cup baked chicken breast chopped in small bits
  • 1 large radish finely diced
  • 1/2 stalk of celery finely diced
  • 2 T pickled red onions finely diced, if you don’t have any pickled just use fresh
  • 1 t yellow mustard
  • 2 T sour cream
  • salt
  • pepper
  • dill
  • garlic granules
  • iceberg lettuce
  • avocado

In med bowl combine chicken, radish, celery, onions and mix gently.  Add mustard, sour cream, little sprinkle of salt, pepper, garlic, and dill and mix gently.  Take iceberg lettuce, peel off pieces to use for the wrap,  add about a tablespoon of the chicken salad to the lettuce wrap, plate and top with a piece of avocado and sprinkle with dill.

The mustard gives it a snappy bite and the dill makes it smell and taste fresh.  Using sour cream instead of mayo cuts out fat and calories and I did not even miss it.

Quick and easy to make plus a bit on the healthy side.  Hope you like it.

 

 

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DIY Roasting Nuts and Seeds in the Oven

Roasting nuts and seeds at home is simple, less expensive, and you control the oil and salt factor.  You can usually buy nuts and seeds raw in bins at certain grocery stores.  I like to buy them raw, so I can add my own salt and oil.

Fall and Winter are great times to buy nuts and seeds as they are usually on sale.  Plus the weather is cooler so firing up the oven to roast several batches of nuts is no sweaty affair and the house smells yummy.  So when I see nuts and seeds on sale, I buy a few pounds of each and pick an afternoon to roast all the nuts and seeds.  I like to get almonds, cashews, pecans, sunflower seeds, and pepita seeds.  These are what I use most often when cooking and baking.  Occasionally, I will get mixed nuts, hazel, and Brazil nuts too.  So many good nuts out there.  I just love them.

 

You will need:

  • Nuts – raw and shelled
  • Oil of choice, I use either Grapeseed or Sunflower Oil
  • Salt, I use Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Gallon storage bag
  • Parchment Paper
  • Cookie Sheet

So here is what I do.  Let’s start with Cashew Nuts.  I take a gallon storage bag and put the raw cashew nuts in it, then add whatever oil you wish to use.  I use either grapeseed or sunflower oil.  These oils are light and mild in flavor, so it doesn’t mask the flavor of the nut or seed.  Also, I NEVER use Canola oil, but that is another story for later, lol.  Then I add my salt, I use Pink Himalayan Salt.  Shake it up, make sure nuts are coated with oil and salt.  Spread a sheet of Parchment Paper on a cookie sheet and spread out the nuts.  I roast them for about 15-20 mins at 350 degrees.  Let them cool, then place in airtight jars or baggies.

I do this same method for all the nuts I roast.  Sunflower seeds less time, about 10 mins.

You can also roast nuts and seeds in the shell.  I buy Pistachios in the shell because they are cheaper than buying them shelled.  Even on sale Pistachios can be a bit expensive.

There are a lot of options when you roast nuts and seeds yourself.  I have used flavored olive oils and different kinds of salt just to try something different.  I used Hickory Smoked Salt on Almonds and they were very tasty.  Give it a try sometime, I am sure you will like it.

Chris

 

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Prayer is an Amazing Gift

Prayer is an amazing gift God gave to us.  It is a way to talk to Him, give thanks, praise Him, ask for help, and basically turn things over to Him when life is too much to handle.  I am feeling quite spiritual this morning and just wanted to share.  I am a firm believer in God and feel my faith in God and prayer to be strong.  Usually I do not express my religious beliefs so publicly, however I am just filled with the spirit this morning.

I was introduced to the church at a young age.  My Grandma was very strong in her faith and went to church every Sunday and made sure I did too.  My Grandma used to threaten me with a wooden spoon if I did not go to church.  Sometimes the whole family went, or I remember occasionally just my sister and I went and we had to walk, but I was always there.  I attended Sunday school and then the main service.  When I was 10, I accept Christ and was baptized.   It was a great foundation for my faith.  I thank God for my Grandma because without my faith and belief in God and Prayer, I can’t even imagine where I would be today.

Grace Baptist Church in Glendora, CA is where I went to church as a kid.  I have many fond memories of that church and how it impacted my life.  Christmas and Easter were special times of the year.  There were always special services.  My parents were in the choir and it was uplifting to hear the choir sing.  There are certain hymns sung at holiday time that just make your spirit rejoice.  I loved the feeling I would get at those holiday services.  It was very spiritual and moving.  I will never forget those times.

Please note the picture above is just a stock photo, it is not Grace Baptist Church.

There is a saying, “Prayer changes things”,  I believe it 100 percent.  In the Bible, King James Version,  I Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice evermore.  Pray without ceasing.  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Psalms 34:4 “I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”

Philippians 4:6 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

Luke 11:9-10 “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

I believe that God hears all prayers and He answers them.  It may be yes, no, or wait, or perhaps not quite the answer you were looking for, but He does answer.  Be humble, pray with earnest and He will answer.

I pray all the time and give thanks everyday for all the blessing I have in my life.  I pray to  God to help me with many things and it never ceases to amaze me how He answers my prayers.

Thanks for reading, I hope this was inspiring.  I believe in the power of prayer and prayer is always there, just like God is.

Respectfully,

Chris

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Make Your Own Chicken Stock Bone Broth

It is very easy to make your own Chicken Stock or Chicken Bone Broth.  Whenever I roast a chicken or two, I make my own stock from the pan drippings and the carcass.  You can make some wonderful stock for future soups, stews, or basically anything you would need stock for.  I generally freeze some when I make a large batch from two chickens, I find it freezes really well.  Here is what I do.

I use Organic Whole Chickens, rinse, pat dry, and season.  I season with granulated garlic, ground sage, ground thyme, salt and pepper.  I also put fresh herbs in the cavity of the chicken or on the chicken if I have them, usually rosemary, sage and thyme.  Bake at 350 degrees until juices run clear.  Have baked chicken for dinner and enjoy, lol.  Now for the stock part.

Remove any left over chicken and bag it for later use.  The picture above is my 2nd chicken and there was a lot of chicken left over.  Take all the skin and bones and put in a large stock pot.

Take the pan drippings, herbs, all that stuff in the pan and pour into stock pot.  That is all the flavor.  Yes it is a lot of fat, but it is so good, you can always skim off some fat later if you want.

Add water to fill the pot.  At this point you could add other stuff like carrots, onions, celery, or more herbs and spices if you choose.   Bring to boil.  Once it is boiling, turn down heat to low and just let simmer for a while.  I usually let mine go several hours.

Once it is ready, remove from heat and let it cool.  Use a strainer or colander to drain the stock.  Depending on how well you pick the bones clean, there may be useable chicken in there.  I pick through the bones to remove any bits and pieces that may be left as it is really easy to remove since it was boiled for so long.  I generally give these little bits to my cat and dog, they love it.  If picking through the bones is not for you, then just toss into trash.

The chicken stock should last in the frig for a couple of days.  If not using it right away, freeze it.  I use freezer bags, or storage bags.  I double up on the storage bags.  I use quart and gallon bags.  Make sure it is cool enough to pour into a bag.  Just pour stock into the bag and remove as much air as possible.  I place them upright in my freezer.  You can also use containers if you want, I just find the baggies easier to use.

I love making stock this way and use it for many soups and stews.  It is very flavorful and it keeps the flavor even when frozen.  Hope this is useful to you.  Since I have been making my own chicken stock, I have never had to buy it at the store.  Every once in a while I will buy some beef stock, but for most everything that uses stock I use my own chicken stock.  At one point about 2 years ago, I had so much frozen chicken stock, I started giving it away to my neighbors.  They were very appreciative.   Homemade is best, I say, so if you can make it yourself, you should do it.  Thanks for reading.

Chris

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A Time To Be Thankful and Reflect

I am reflecting and being thankful for today and for Friendships.  As I sit here drinking my coffee on this unseasonable warm day in Southern California, I am thankful for friends.  In my youth,  I was quite the social butterfly, however as I have aged, I have become somewhat withdrawn and tend to just hide away at home.  Recently, I have begun to take a really hard look at my life and have started to make some changes.  Awhile back I was really in need of a friend to talk to and I thought to myself, what friends do you have?  Some I have lost contact with, some I don’t talk to very often, and  some just drifted away.  I thought, what the hell is a matter with you?  You have a phone, call them you idiot.  So I have been trying to reach out and make an effort to be a better friend instead of just sitting at home doing nothing by myself.

I cannot even imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy. Let’s face it, friends make life a lot more fun.

Charles R. Swindoll

Your friendship has helped me grow, kept me grounded, lifted my spirit, and brightened my life.

We might not share the same blood. But we share the same thoughts, the same tears. The same laughter.

Friendships are important.  I am so thankful for my friends.  I didn’t realize what a difference it has made in my life.  I guess I had become more withdrawn than I thought.  It feels good to talk and hang out with my friends.  I am inspired and more positive because of my friends.  Having someone to talk to and get shit off my mind has been so helpful.  And being there to listen when my friends need me makes me feel better knowing I am being helpful and a friend to them.  Plus I have had fun, seems silly, but I feel as though having fun has not been in my life much.

Friendships are essential, I think.  I am so glad I have friends and grateful for them.

Don’t lose site of your friends, stay in contact.  It is so easy to just sit at home on social media, on your computer,  or in front of the TV by yourself and then so much time passes.  You don’t even realize how lonely you are or how long you have been hiding away.  We are social creatures and socialization is critical to a balanced mind.  So get out there and hang with friends.  It is so worth it.

your friend,

Chris

 

 

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Banana, Bourbon, Pecan Cupcakes with Maple Buttercreme

Banana and Bourbon, you had me at Bourbon, with Pecans and Maple, it makes a tasty Cupcake.  Check it out!!

Banana, Bourbon, Pecan Cupcakes with Maple Buttercreme

  • 2 Cups A P Flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 stick or 1/2 Cup Butter better at room temp, makes for easier mixing
  • 1 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 3 to 4 really ripe bananas
  • Bourbon, this is really to taste on how you want it.  I did 2 Tablespoons the 1st time and I could hardly taste it, so I added a couple more, it was better, more pronounced.  It is up to you or if you don’t want to add it, it is not necessary.
  • 1 to 1 1/2 Cup chopped Pecans
  • Smoked Sea Salt, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake pans with those handy-dandy paper liners, this makes about 24 for me.

In Medium size bowl mix (I also use the strainer here) flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, set aside.

In large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, then add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg, then add bourbon, mix, add mashed bananas, mix, add vanilla, mix, then add dry ingredients and mix well, add pecans and blend.  Scoop into prepared cupcake pans, fill about 3/4 of the way.  Bake for about 16 to 20 mins.  Set timer for 16 mins and check them.  Usually done at 18 to 19 mins.  Use tooth pick to check if done.  Take out and cool on a cooling rack, then frost.  I sprinkle Smoked Sea Salt on mine, gives it that added oomph.

Maple Buttercreme Frosting

  • 2 Sticks of Butter or 1 Cup (room temp)
  • Powered Sugar (sifted or use a strainer, always sifted)
  • Maple Syrup

I put the 2 sticks of  butter in a large bowl, then I take my strainer and place it over the bowl and basically pour powdered sugar in the strainer, about 2 cups then mix.  I add some maple syrup and mix, then taste, probably needs more powdered sugar, so I take the strainer and put more powdered sugar, another cup or so and more maple syrup, then mix and taste, hmm, taste good to me.  You can do it according to your taste.  Some people like really sweet frosting, I am not one of them, sweet yes, but I don’t want my teeth to hurt.  I really like the Maple so I go a bit heavy on that.  Taste as you go and you will know.

Hope you like them if you try them.

Chris

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BLACK FRIDAY, to shop or not to shop? That is the Question!

To Shop or Not to Shop, HA that is the question.  Since 1952, Black Friday is regarded as the day the Christmas holiday shopping season starts in the United States.  For many years, the day after Thanksgiving would start around 6 A.M.  That gives people time to relax after their big Thanksgiving feast and enjoy time with family, watching sports, or my favorite, napping.  However, in the 2000’s, retailers starting opening their doors earlier like, 4 or 5 A.M.  Then, in 2011, chain retailers starting opening their doors at Midnight.  And if that is not enough, in 2012 WALMART and other chain retailers starting opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day at 8 P.M., infringing on our National Holiday.  What is next, forget Thanksgiving and just go shopping?  What about the people who are expected to work?  Where do you draw the line and say enough you greedy retailer bastards, let us have our Holiday in Peace?

I cannot even fathom why someone would want to go face mass crowds and chaos on Back Friday, much less on Thanksgiving Day.

Several years ago, I went out on Black Friday.  It was when stores opened at 4 A.M.  I set my alarm for 3:45 A.M.  I got to Kmart just after 4 in the morning and the parking lot was all ready jammed.  It took awhile to find a parking space.  I  went into the store and was flabbergasted, as it was a mad house.  I had checked the ad before going there and they had a few things on sale that I wanted.  However, it was difficult to get around, especially when everyone had a shopping cart and not too many people were nice.  I got to the men’s section to get what I wanted and of course, they were out of the size I needed.  I knew it would be impossible to find a store clerk to ask if they had more, so I just moved on to the next item on my list.  I ended up getting a few things and headed to the cashier.  Seriously, the lines were ridiculous.  I was in line well over an hour.  By the time I got out to my car, it was light outside.  Then, I went to Macy’s at the mall.  What was I thinking?  Parking was, well you can just imagine.  I made it into the store, not quite the frenzied chaos that was Kmart was, but still very crowded.  No carts or bags to carry your items, I was overloaded with stuff in my arms.  And now the wait in line, yes, waiting and waiting while holding all this stuff, just to save a few bucks, hmmmmm, indeed.  So I made it out of there, by that time I was hungry, sore, tired, and really grouchy.  It was almost noon, I spent 7 hours and only hit two stores, that was it for me.  So I told myself I would never do that again.  Shopping on Black Friday is not for me.   I went home and slept the rest of the day away.

I went to Kmart on that Saturday after Black Friday and got the same stuff in the men’s department that I wanted that they were out of and at the same price as Black Friday and there was no crowds, no chaos, no problems.  Yea for me.

I can say that I have experienced Black Friday and it is one experience I can definitely do without.  I would much rather enjoy the holiday of Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving, to me, is about family, friends, and being thankful.

And don’t forget the FOOD!!!

I hope everyone has an awesome, hearty, and blessed Thanksgiving.

Chris

 

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Being Thankful, Are you Thankful?

Are you Thankful?  Holiday’s bring about feelings of togetherness, charity, and thankfulness.  That is all good and well, but what about the rest of the time?  I think sometimes people forget to be thankful, especially for the little things.

  • Getting out of bed in the morning, yea, you really don’t think about it, but there a lot of people who simply cannot do that.
  • Having a roof over your head
  • Clean sheets
  • A cup of coffee
  • Hearing the leaves rustle in the wind
  • Having a pet look at you with absolute love and devotion
  • Having food and water
  • Having one really good friend
  • Smelling a flower

There are so many little things to be thankful for that sometimes we forget about them or just take them for granted.  Being thankful is positive.  When you are positive, life is better, I think.

I believe in God and I pray.  I thank God for prayer because without it I think I would be insane.  Some people don’t believe in God and that is their choice, but I think being thankful is still important.  I believe it is positive and helps bring balance to your life when you are thankful.

I am thankful just to write this post.  I hope that by reading this it will help others remember to be thankful, not just at the holidays, but year round.  I enjoy writing these posts and having a blog.  I hope that it helps or encourages people.  I try to write positive articles that make sense and will reach out to people.  It also helps me to express myself and sometimes get things off my mind.  So, thank you for reading this post.  I hope you liked it.  And remember to be Thankful for what you have, for many people have much less.

With much thanks,

Chris

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A Salute To Our Veterans

A Salute to Our Veterans.  Thank you for your service.  November 11th is an important day, a day filled with honor and respect.  A day to give thanks to our Veterans for all that they have done to fulfill the duty with they chose to serve.  I, thank you for all that you have done.

Both my dad and my brother were in the Army.  Neither were in at a time of major war, but still overseas.  I know my Father was proud of his Military Service and so was my brother.  They would have done whatever was necessary to defend our country.

Veteran’s Day is an official US Holiday observed annually on November 11, that honors military veterans, any persons who served in the United States Military.  It marks the anniversary of the end of World War I, the major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. The United States previously observed Armistice Day, but then the U.S. holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.

Thank You for your service.  I hope that some day we can all be at peace, however, that seems impossible, so I am thankful for our military to keep us as safe as possible.

Respectfully,

Chris

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One Dish Meal – Bacon Wrapped Chicken with Potatoes & Carrots

Easy one dish meal, Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breasts with Potatoes and Carrots.  Simple to throw this together and then just put in the oven till done and ding ding dinner is done!!

  • 4 Boneless Chicken Breasts – I used Open Nature or Organic Chicken
  • 1 Pound Bacon – use a good quality bacon so it is not overly greasy, I use Open Nature Bacon
  • Red Fingerling Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Red Onion – sliced
  • Granulated Garlic, Basil, Salt, Pepper

Preheat oven to 350

Take chicken breasts rinse and pat dry.  Place in baking dish, season with garlic, basil, salt, and pepper, place some onion slices on each breast.  Take bacon, I use 3 slices per breast, lay on chicken and tuck under, or pick up breast and wrap bacon around, however you want to do it.  Wrap all breasts and place on one side of baking dish.  Clean and pat dry potatoes and carrots, peel if you like, I leave the skin on, place on other side of baking dish, add rest of sliced onions, season again and place in oven uncovered.

Bake about 60 to 90 mins, depends on how big the breasts are,  or till chicken juice is clear and bacon is crisp.

Oh so yummy.  The chicken is juicy and bacon is crisp and together it is a great bite.  The potatoes and carrots have the taste of bacon and are tender from cooking in the chicken juice and bacon grease.

Hope you enjoy it.  Thanks for reading my post.

Cheers,

Chris

 

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