bacon

Grilled Chicken Noodle Soup: Holiday Leftover edition

4:04 PM


Christmas is officially over and we are now looking forward to the new year. The day after Christmas sometimes we just don't know what to do with leftovers but sometimes they can make a nice hearty and delicious soup! I made a chicken noodle soup to help warm my kids up during these cold Mississippi days and it was perfect. Of course, I used leftovers but you can easily make this soup with the ingredients fresh.

For Christmas dinner I made pineapple honey glazed carrots, brown sugar and bacon green beans, grilled chicken. I made much more, but these leftovers made for a perfect soup! I also had grilled huge onion steaks that I chopped up for this recipe and oh my word...yes! 




You will need:
3 grilled chicken breasts
2 cups of steamed green beans (crumbled bacon optional)
2 maggi chicken bouillon cubes
6 cups of water
1 bag of egg noodles
4 roasted carrots sliced
1/4 of whole onion, chopped

Pour water in large pot and add bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil and add in noodles, reduce heat to medium. Chop carrots and add them to pot. Chop beans into thirds and add to pot. Add your chopped onion and then dice your chicken. At this point, you can taste the liquid in your soup and add a little salt/pepper to your liking.  Reduce heat to low and serve hot once noodles are tender.

Since you are cooking with already cooked ingredients, this soup does not take long at all. Just wait for the noodles to become tender and voila! You are done!

Quick easy idea and great way to use leftover chicken you may have. If you have fresh carrots, skin them and you can bake them in a little olive oil at 350 until tender, so about 40 minutes. You can also use frozen carrots and beans. 



christmas

My Holiday Playlist...Music....

11:07 PM


The other day I shared a link to holiday music and stories perfect for kids. Today or tonight rather, as I finalize my new year's eve cards, I share my personal picks of holiday music. Oldies mixed with a little bit of today, music calms me and is one of the things that really gets me in the spirit. With Christmas being a mere couple days away, I thought I would share what I am listening to.

Enjoy and get your last minute baking on!

*And ya know I had to throw in some Elvis...he is from Mississippi and "Peace In The Valley" is one of my favorites.



cilantro

And It Just Went Down: Chimichurri Sauce

3:17 PM



And it is over. Oh my word...can I even type after having this meal? I am trying here! This was my second time making chimichurri sauce. The first time I made the horrendous and oh-no-never-ever-again-will-I-make-again mistake of using dried herbs. Trust me, dried does not work. Fresh, all the way. It is easy and simple to make and adds a nice tartness to a nicely prepared steak.

The first time I heard of this was earlier this spring. I was set to photograph a groom's luncheon for a local magazine here at a cabin deep in the middle of nowhere. Christina Lucas, the food contributor began plating this seriously yum array of foods and when she popped open a container of liquidy green-ness, I wondered what it was. Here in the South, I had never seen it before and when she said the name of it, I tried it and BAM. I was instantly in love.

Chimichurri sauce is originally from Argentina and is commonly served over steak or with steak. I first tasted it with chicken and it was just as good on that.

It seriously went down over here. I seasoned my ribeye with a little creole seasoning and plopped it in the skillet on medium heat. I like mine well done, but went a little bit under that for this one. I wanted it to be juicy.

I paired a little bleu cheese butter with this and now all I can ask is, "Is it bedtime?"

I used the chimichurri recipe from this site and I give it 5 stars. Will definitely be offering this sauce as a pairing with my steaks in the future for guests.

Ingredients:
2 cups fresh parsley and/or cilantro, firmly packed
1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves (optional)
3-6 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (optional)
1 tablespoon lime juice (optional)
Kosher salt and red pepper flakes to taste
Preparation:

Pulse the garlic and onion in the food processor until finely chopped. 

Add the parsley and/or cilantro, and oregano if using, and pulse briefly, until finely chopped. 

Transfer the mixture to a separate bowl. Add the olive oil, lime juice, and vinegar, and stir. (Adding the liquids outside of the blender gives the chimichurri the correct texture. You don't want the herbs to be completely puréed, just finely chopped).

Season with salt and red pepper flakes to taste. 

Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

*I hand chopped mine with a knife and the herbs still were small enough, so grab a knife if you do not have a food processor and carefully chop away. 

christmas

Caught!

10:48 PM


While he was supposed to be watching tv in the den, I rounded the corner from the kitchen into the living room to find my oldest son digging into the bag of wrapped gifts. I slowly backed away, went and got my camera and stealthily came back and snapped this photo. I could not help but laugh and remember those days when I was his age. He so did not inherit my gift peeking skills because by the time I was his age, I had mastered the fine art of unwrapping corners in effort to uncover the mystery contents within those beautifully wrapped Christmas gifts. Much to learn, dear child, much to learn. 

Oh how I love this time of year...like seriously. When I was a kid, I loved the anticipation and presents but now that I am a mom, it is the anticipation of my children's anticipation and it is the joy and sheer niceness that people seem to exude this time of year. The music, the food, the parties, the gatherings, it all is what makes this season so great to me...and the topper that is the icing on the cake is that my children and I get to enjoy the TRUE meaning of Christmas....they understand it, I love it...we share it.




candy bars

Smores Hot Cocoa

8:03 PM



During the cold holiday months, I keep stock of hot cocoa mix. Year after year, my cabinets are filled with the premade boxes for hot chocolate.  My kids run through them like air. I mean, easy enough, right? Buy a box of packets, kids can microwave their drinks. Yeah, easy peasy. But what is even easier and more economical is making a huge batch of your own mix. Besides, everything tastes better when it is made by you!  

So there I was in the grocery store about to toss 4 boxes of hot cocoa mix in the basket when I remembered, heck, I have sugar, I have chocolate, I have cocoa. Literally, I had some kind of mommy-culinary-I-am-going-to-save-money epiphany. I put the boxed packets back on the shelf and put in a box of dry milk instead.

When I got home, it took all of a couple minutes to mix up enough hot cocoa mix to last us two weeks...and that is with 4 kids! I used a variation of a recipe from the Brown Eyed Baker. Seriously, it gets no easier and I like to think I saved a few bucks in the long run. I mean dude, a lil bit of unsweetened coco goes a long way!


You will need:

3 cups nonfat dry milk powder
2 cups powdered sugar
1½ cups cocoa powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1½ cups chocolate chips (I used mini chocolate bars...the kids loved that)

I mixed the dry ingredients in a bowl and placed in an airtight container (mason jars, here). I keep the mini chocolate bars in the pantry so that when I am ready to make the cocoa, I give a bar or two to the kids and let it melt and stir in their cocoa.  When you are ready to make it, just add some hot water, add in and stir your chocolate and yum!!

For the s'mores hot cocoa, I made the hot cocoa, topped the oven safe cups with a heap of marshmallows, then placed in the oven with it on broil until they browned. I topped with crushed graham crackers, a graham cracker and chocolate bar with a little of chocolate syrup drizzle. Yes, please.



children

Oh, How I Love The Holidays: Music

4:00 PM



This truly is one of my favorite times of the year. Growing up, my mother had a special stereo system put in our house. There were speakers in the ceiling of each room and we had volume controls in each of our rooms. I loved it most times....thanks to the volume control but oh no, sometimes my mother would tell us not to touch the controls. She wanted to hear what she was playing no matter which room she was in. The only time I really did not mind was the holidays. I loved hearing all the sounds of Christmas follow me from room to room and it really helped get me as a grumpy know-it-all teenager enjoy Christmas even more.


I don't have the speakers and stereo system that goes throughout the house nowadays but I do have the stereo in the kitchen during the holidays. I love listening to oldies mostly. Nothing like an old fashioned Christmas!



That brings me to this site. I found it many, many years ago when my children were really small. I download their Christmas music and stories and before bedtime, my kids listen to one of the albums. The stories truly are the BEST.


The site is Kiddie Records and they have all of the vintage, retro records from days gone by...before television was in every home, when radio was big family fun and before all of these techy gadgets took over. It is soothing and it is FREE. What is so neat is that you can also download for free the album art.

Check out the site, they have more than just Holiday music, but tons of great stories and poems and music that they pulled from albums that are now hard if not impossible to find.


I have been listening to "I'm gonna lasso Santa Clause" for ever lol

Click here for Kiddie Records: Christmas list

chocolate

Milkshakes Aren't Just For Summer....repost

11:52 PM



I was wondering where all the new visitors and pins were coming from. Thank you to Jessica over at Swanky Recipes for including my chocolate milkshakes in her holiday drink round up. Now, I seriously have a taste for chocolate.

*As Jessica said, add red and green sprinkles for a festive flair!

christmas

Milk & Donuts

9:28 AM



When it comes to the holidays I love good food with good friends and family. My children are getting older with the youngest being nine (Where the heck did time go???!) and although they still love cutesy foods and things, they lean toward a bit of youthful sophistication, lol.  I made these this summer for the current issue of Yum Food & Fun  For Kids, the Holiday issue. If you have not gotten your copy, believe me it is worth it!! Many, many, many holiday treats and party ideas perfect for your kids and even office parties!



A huge thank you to Yum Food and Fun For Kids for including me!!

Also, if you are in the state of Mississippi, Memphis and Birmingham area, look for my interview and recipe for Bangers and Mash in the December/January issue of Eat.Drink. Mississippi.!




candy

Easy Chocolate Covered Waffles

1:37 PM


Who said that a nice winter treat has to be hard? I went to the local grocery store this weekend and found a huge bag of vanilla Belgium waffles. These are like little bursts of heaven in your mouth. No need for syrup, they have a cake like texture that is divine. Yes, please!  My kids are in love with them. Being that it got extremely cold here (literally, overnight...one day it was 70 degrees and the next 36) I made the kids hot cocoa after we lit the tree for the night. Can't just serve em hot cocoa, so I pulled the bag of waffles from the freezer, melted some white chocolate chips and crushed some peppermint. Instant waffle-y goodness and even some marshmallows!

Melt 2 cups of white chocolate or chocolate chips in a double boiler ( I never have luck microwaving chocolate)

Crush your peppermint of candy cane and place on a plate.

Once chocolate has melted, dip your waffles in it or spoon and spread it over the waffle. Coat in crushed candy and place on a wax sheet to dry.

Easy peasy. Told ya!

I used Martha Stewart's Hot Cocoa recipe minus the salt.



blog love

Pinterest Love....Christmas Dinner Love

1:09 PM

I absolutely love pinterest. I have the Chrome button installed in my browser so I can pin no matter what site I am on. It is just so darn easy to do and I love that it saves all my favorites in one organized spot!

I did not do Thanksgiving dinner. I was out of town photographing for a commercial client and did not make it back until the late evening before Thanksgiving. I am so thankful that my mom stepped in and threw down in the kitchen! She put  her foot, arm, leg and head in that meal! YUM!

Since she helped me out and did Thanksgiving, Christmas dinner is up to me. I have been pinning like a mad-woman thinking of ideas and thought I would share my finds with you. I want to go a different route than we usually go so I have pinned some things I have never ever ever had that I really want to try: *cough* beets *cough*

Check out my pinterest board for Christmas Dinner ideas and inspiration from some of the best food blogs and sites around!


Follow Divian Conner's board Christmas Dinner on Pinterest.

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