Lizzard Loves Blue Sky Snow Covered Vail

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Mother Daughter Book Club

I love my Mother Daughter Book Club.

We have been meeting for 5 years, which is incredibly hard to believe. I seem to be having the "time flies" feeling a lot lately (when I look at it as "time flies when you're having fun" I love it; when I look at it as "I'm getting older - fast" I don't love it. It just depends on the day I suppose!)

The amount of laughter we share every time we meet is immense- the mothers have all known each other for 30 some odd years and the daughters have, in large part, been friends for their entire lives. I count myself so lucky to have the chance to regularly see my Mom & her friends, right alongside the younger generation of my friends. The 30 years of friendship means we share a lot of memories of our growing up years which were rife with silliness, misadventures, multi family trips to Boyne Highlands, MI, countless hours spent in each others homes, backyards, basements & kitchens. Depending on the book that was chosen (and how many people started and/or finished it) we may skip over the book discussion entirely. Other times, we can't stop talking about the book. Perhaps we should call it Mother Daughter Club....with books, wine & food!

"Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn was our most recent book club pick (freaky book - not my favorite. Compelling for sure- but FREAKY). We met in the suburbs, we do try to alternate between city and suburbs for our meetings which seems like a fair way to do it for our group which is slightly geographically challenged :) Kristi made a delicious dinner for us! An antipasta platter with wine when we arrived, Greek yogurt marinated chicken with a delicious green salad & couscous on the side for dinner (also with wine....) and brownies for dessert......because who doesn't like a brownie at the end of a meal? Everyone at book club loved the meal & Kristi was gracious enough to share the recipe with all of us immediately by making photocopies. I loved the instant gratification. 

I hope you enjoy the chicken, let me know in the comments if you try it! Also let me know what your thought of "Gone Girl" if you read that.

Greek Yogurt Marinated Chicken Recipe
2 tsp dried crushed red pepper (feel free to add more if you like a higher spice level)
2 tsp Hungarian paprika
1 c plain greek yogurt (whole, 2% or fat free are fine) plus more for serving on the chicken
3T extra virgin olive oil
2T red wine vinegar
2T tomato paste
2T warm water
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground or cracked black pepper
6 garlic cloves, peeled & smashed or pressed
2 lemons, 1 sliced into thin rounds, 1 cut into wedges for serving alongside the chicken
2 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs

1. In a medium bowl stir together the red pepper, paprika & warm water to form a thin paste.
2. Add the yogurt, olive oil, tomato paste, salt, pepper & garlic. Whisk to blend.
3. Place chicken and thinly sliced lemon rounds into a gallon sized zip top bag and pour the contents of your bowl (your delicious marinade) into the bag.
4. Squeeze most of the air out of the bag & zip it closed.
5. Now the fun begins; squeeze the bag to evenly distribute the marinade - ensuring all of the pieces of chicken are coated as evenly as possible.
6. The fun is over & it is time to wait........put the bag-o-chicken in the refrigerator for at least an hour or as long as 24 hours (I commend you if you have prepped tomorrow night's dinner tonight! Rare are the nights that I can accomplish this!)
7.** Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
8. Place the chicken in a single layer in a glass baking dish and sprinkle with kosher salt & Hungarian paprika
9. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until an instant read thermometer reads 165 degrees. (I realize that line sounds pretty serious & a little lame- but the idea of serving my husband or myself undercooked chicken gives me the heebie jeebies! I live & breath by my instant read thermometer when I'm cooking meat at home. I like to think I'm a decent cook - but I don't yet trust myself to determine the doneness of meat; especially chicken. The thermometer is the closest I will ever come to having X-Ray vision.........and if you think of it that way - it doesn't seem serious or lame :)
10. Discard your bag-o-leftover marinade.
11. Serve your delicious chicken with the lemon wedges and a bowl of the plain Greek yogurt as the sauce. A couscous or quinoa makes a great side dish  - particularly if it involves pine nuts, feta cheese, parsley........yum. Pasta would be fine on the side too- really whatever suits you.
** Allegedly you can also grill this chicken. I don't own a grill (not for lack of wanting to grill, but for lack of space in my condo for one :) so I don't really know what to tell you for instructions to grill this. Sorry about that!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

King Cake

I love King Cake.
LizzardLoves.Beautiful, yummy, surprise King Cake

Pretty sure it stems from my school age years of taking French classes at school (and always participating in French Club). King Cake was a consistent part of the Mardi Gras/Carnival celebrations in my French classes and clubs.

This particular King Cake came via FedEx from 2 great friends who live in New Orleans. Chris and I got home from work and lo and behold, a big FedEx box was waiting for us! Oh my goodness a sparkling green, purple, & yellow circular cake was hiding inside! A fun and delicious surprise for us midweek.

LizzardLoves.KingCake.Slice with Baby
More importantly; I love thoughtfulness when it comes from people who (in theory) shouldn't have enough time or brain space to be thoughtful. Our friends who live in New Orleans are expecting their first baby (a BOY!) any day now (well0 tomorrow at the latest!)........I can't imagine how they are feeling - excited, nervous, and busy! It made my heart very happy to know that Chris & I were on their minds in some small way even in such an exciting time for their growing family.

And the cake was delicious- did I mention that already?? 

In case you're curious about the history of the King Cake, read this (I also love that I donated to Wikipedia this year.....I feel a lot better about reading their content constantly :): if you want to send your unsuspecting friends a King Cake, visit Sucre's website
Happy eating everyone.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Kids' art

I love the artwork my nephews & niece make for me.

It is so funny to see what their little minds are thinking (via crayons, paint, colored pencils, etc) and it absolutely warms my heart to hear my oldest nephew say "Aunt Lizzy, this one is for you to take home & show Uncle Chris". 

The little man loves the fingerpaints his "Bo Bo" (aka my mom, his Grandma) gave him & wants to play with them all the time. Now that he's in preschool he's been giving the paintings as gifts every now & again.

LizzardLoves.My nephew's fingerpainting

LizzardLoves.My niece's really funny drawing & explanation
Being an aunt is just awesome, I guess you could also say I love being an aunt.

In case you can't read the "explanation" page that came in the envelope from our niece (who lives on the east coast) here is what it says:
"Uncle Chris
Favorite Animal Moose
Favorite color green
Middle name Brian"

We assumed this was part of a school project or larger wasn't! Our niece just got the idea to draw these pictures & send the details along with them. We have had this hanging on the fridge for months. Its awesome.

Happy Monday everyone, hope you have some kiddo art hanging on your fridge today!

PS- yes, I hung my nephew's painting on the fridge with magnets I made out of beer bottle caps I wanted to Hope that isn't too much of a contrast!