Things Loved This Week

It’s been an eventful, stressful, and busy couple of weeks. After being sick with the flu for more than a week, I was finally feeling better but completely out of the habit of cooking. This was followed by a particularly stressful week at work & home (so much happening!) and as such our eating habits suffered. We ate out more than I care to admit and when we did eat at home it consisted largely of cereal and different kinds of eggs.

I’m happy to report that we’re seemingly back on track! I made a really delicious curried chicken and wild rice soup this week, which we ate up fairly quickly. I also I made some healthy and delicious Banana Breakfast Muffins, which turned out fantastic.

So here are my things loved this week!
1) Healthy Banana Breakfast Muffins

Mini MuffinsI kind of used the recipe linked in the heading as a guideline, but I mostly made it up as I went along. While it could’ve ended in disaster, I will say they turned out rather scrumptious! I made 36 mini-muffins.

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 cup of oats
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) butter, melted
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • ¼ brown sugar
  • 2 very ripe bananas, peeled (the riper they are the sweeter they’ll be)
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tbsp flax seed
  • ¾ cup vanilla Greek yoghurt
  • Dark chocolate chips*
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with paper or silicone liners and set aside.
  2. In a food processor or blender, pulse the oats until they’re largely broken up.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, oats, flax, baking soda, salt and baking powder.
  4. Make a well (hole) in the center of the flour mixture and drop in the eggs, melted butter, syrup, and yoghurt. Mix with a wooden spoon until combined.
  5. In a small bowl mash the two bananas together with the back of a fork. Carefully fold the bananas, walnuts, and dark chocolate chips into the muffin batter and distribute evenly into muffin cups. Bake until they begin to brown on top and a toothpick comes clean when inserted in the center, which took about 15-18 minutes for my mini-muffins.

* I don’t usually use a measuring cup when I add chocolate chips to recipes. I start with a handful and add more until I’m satisfied with the batter. This time around I added 2 small handfuls.

2) Panera Bread

When I was sick with the flu, David took me out to Panera Bread. It was delicious. Their soups are really tasty! Although they can be expensive, we enjoyed eating there when I was sick. I particularly liked their Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice soup (can you tell I’m really into rice in soup?!).

3) itFit Bands

Pictures taken from itFit website.

Pictures taken from itFit website.

I don’t usually pay attention to Facebook ads, but recently there was an ad for itFit bands. They had a deal – buy 3 get one free, free shipping, and 25% off. So I ordered 3 headbands and I’ve worn them pretty regularly since they’ve arrived! They fit really well, come in a range of patterns and colours AND they’re made in Canada!

4) Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey

Pig the Pug

I’ve done Family Story Time 4 times at the library in the last ten days and have used this book at all of them. The kids (and parents!) always laugh at the pictures and story. The text rhymes which means it’s fun and easy to read and flows very well. It’s funny, witty, and cute! It’s quickly become a favourite!

Pig was a Pug

and I’m sorry to say,

he was greedy and selfish

in most every way …

Pig the Pug 2

And with that, we’re on to another week!

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Creamy Chicken and Rice Florentine

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I made this for supper a few weeks ago and it was delicious. It’s also a great way to use leftover chicken, and it’s a pretty fast meal to make. I found this recipe while I was browsing the Food and Drink section at the library. It’s from Better Homes and Gardens’ The Ultimate Soups and Stews Book, though I made a few adjustments.

Creamy Chicken and Rice Florentine

Ingredients:

2 tbsp of oil to brown and cook the chicken
2 cups of shredded chicken (I used one breast and three thighs)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped mixed mushrooms (I used a mix of cremini, brown, portobello and shitake)
1/3 cup shredded carrot
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup of long-grain rice, uncooked
2 cups of chicken stock or broth (I used Campbell’s Chicken Broth)
1 cup water
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 cans of evaporated milk (I used the full-fat, but you can easily substitute fat-free)
2 tbsp all purpose flour
4 cups of packed fresh spinach
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
Salt to taste

Directions:

In a Dutch oven heat oil over medium-high heat and add chicken; cook for 12-15 minutes or until no longer pink and browned on the outside. Transfer to a plate and when cool, coarsely shred the chicken.

Once the chicken has been put on a plate to cool, scrape up any brown bits on the bottom and add onion, mushrooms, carrot, and garlic. Stir occasionally. Stir in rice and let cook for 1 minute or so. Add broth, water, nutmeg, and 1/2 tsp of pepper. Bring to boiling and then reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl stir together 1 can of evaporated milk and flour; stir into mixture in Dutch oven. Slowly stir in remaining evaporated milk. Cook and stir until bubbly.

Stir in spinach and the shredded chicken. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes (it will thicken upon standing). Stir in lemon zest and sprinkle with black pepper and salt to taste.

Serve with warm crusty bread and enjoy!

Notes:

I didn’t add salt until the very end, I find you control your salt intake better this way. When I add salt at the beginning of cooking, I always end up adding more anyway. Also, depending on the stock you use, it might be salty enough.

If you find your soup too thick, you can add some chicken stock at the end. We wanted ours thick and creamy, but if you reheat the leftovers, you’ll want to add some stock.

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