Thursday, January 31, 2013

chicken and sweet potatoes with shallots

This is such a great weeknight recipe. I just had to pass it along.

Chicken and Sweet Potatoes with Shallots


1 1/2  pounds  sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces 
kosher salt and black pepper 
4  tablespoons  olive oil 
boneless, skinless chicken breasts (each 6 ounces) 
shallots, sliced into thin rings 
2  tablespoons  roughly chopped fresh rosemary

  1. Place the sweet potatoes in a large pot. Add enough cold water to cover and bring to a boil.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon salt, reduce heat, and simmer until tender, 14 to 16 minutes. Reserve ¼ cup of the cooking water, drain the sweet potatoes, and return them to the pot. Mash with the reserved cooking water. (Does "mash with water" just not sit right with you? Me neither. Add some butter. Or not. More power to you.)
  3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the chicken with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  4. Cook the chicken until golden brown and cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes per side. Transfer to plates.
  5. Wipe out the skillet. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, rosemary, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring, until the shallots are tender, 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Serve the chicken with the potatoes and drizzle with the shallot mixture.
Serves 4.

recipe source: Real Simple

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sam and I traveled up to Alachua this week with heavy hearts to say goodbye to C.B. Freeman. I've mentioned him several times on the blog since we would always stop in to visit when we were up that way. He was a great man who will surely be missed.

Ashby Green, Sam Tripson and CB Freeman

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

cheddar-crusted chicken & some good news

Some good news! Sam has been feeling much better for the past few days, and they've even lowered a few of his meds. I know he's been anxious since they were talking about putting his PICC line back in if he didn't improve. He did wake up with a scratchy throat and slight cough the morning of our appointment with his doctor and they feared it was the flu, but thank God, it was just a cold. Even so, we were banished from the transplant waiting room and they took extra precautions to keep it from spreading to other patients. We feel like we're getting back on track, and would greatly appreciate prayers for continued healing and good health.

I'm sharing this recipe I recently came across in the October/November 2012 issue of Cook's Country. It's quick and cheap and everyone loved it.  Truth: I predicted (correctly) that Jack wouldn't be excited about the spinach so I served some sweet potatoes alongside.

Cheddar-Crusted Chicken with Garlicky Spinach

1 1/2 cups Rice Krispies, crushed
6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (1 1/2 cups) *grate it yourself, it will stick better
4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt & pepper
18 ounces (18 cups) baby spinach
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Spray rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Combine cereal and cheddar in a shallow dish. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge both sides in cereal-cheddar mixture, pressing to adhere. Arrange on the baking sheet. Bake 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and tent with foil to keep warm.

While the chicken is baking, place the spinach with 1/4 cup water in a large bowl. Cover and microwave until spinach is wilted and decreased in volume by half, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a colander and use a rubber spatula to press the excess water out. Transfer spinach to a cutting board and roughly chop.

Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add spinach and cook until uniformly wilted and glossy, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a platter and serve with chicken.

Serves 4.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Save A Life. Be The Match.

This sweet boy from the UK just went through the same procedure as Sam. His donor was from the US. Just one more reason to join the registry!

Monday, January 14, 2013

chocolate zucchini cake

We have an appointment this week with Sam's transplant team at Moffitt. His mouth sores are healing and his skin has calmed down, but the swelling in his feet persists along with the overwhelming exhaustion. We're anxious to hear what they have to say.

Jack is doing much better. He had been sick with a cough and fever, and had to stay with my mom for 5 days so he wouldn't pass it to Sam. It was very hard on me to not be able to take care of him, but obviously, Sam has to come first right now. This has been a very harsh cold and flu season, and a few of our friends we went through transplant with have been hospitalized. Sam won't ever show it, but it weighs very heavy on his heart. Please friends, if you or a family member are not well, please think twice before coming into contact with, not just Sam, but anyone else with a compromised immune system (chemo patients, infants). What may be a few awful days for you, could truly be a matter of life or death for someone else.

On a lighter note (or maybe not) I was really excited to tell you how Jack insisted on taking his nap in his big boy bed this afternoon. I was in the middle of typing up this post when I heard a thud from upstairs. He's fine. I had padded the floor with pillows and comforters. Just a little startled.  You know, just when you start to get a little bit comfortable with this whole parenting thing.

Jack helped me make this cake this weekend. Well, he whacked the eggs on the counter and threw some shredded zucchini into the bowl. Zucchini may be his new favorite word, but it's certainly not his new favorite food. Shockingly enough, he'll eat it in chocolate cake ;)

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
240 grams (2 cups) all-purpose flour
60 grams (1/2 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
180 grams (1 scant cup) light brown sugar
115 grams (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature, or 1/2 cup virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules or 2 tablespoons strong cooled coffee
3 large eggs
350 grams (2 cups) unpeeled grated zucchini, from about 1 1/2 medium zucchini
160 grams (1 cup) good-quality semisweet chocolate chips, or chopped chocolate
Powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 10-inch round springform pan or an 8-inch square pan.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of a mixer (or by hand in a large mixing bowl), beat the sugar and butter until fluffy. Add the vanilla, coffee, and eggs, mixing well between each addition.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the zucchini, chocolate chips, and about a third of the flour mixture, making sure the zucchini strands are well coated and not clumping too much.
Add the rest of the flour mixture into the egg batter. Mix just until combined. At this point the batter will be quite thick.
Fold the zucchini mixture into the batter, and blend with a spatula without overmixing. Pour into the prepared cake pan, and level the surface.
The directions say to bake for 40 to 50 minutes, but mine was done in 38 minutes (I used a 10-inch springform pan). Just make sure a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer onto a rack to cool for 10 minutes, run a knife around the pan to loosen, and unclasp the sides of the pan. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Serves 12.

Recipe source: Chocolate & Zucchini 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Happy New Year Day +274

Happy new year, friends. We hope you and your families had a wonderful holiday. We had a lovely day, but to be perfectly honest, December was a hard month for us. Sam has been feeling terrible for weeks, and after a recent trip to Moffitt, we learned he's been experiencing some signs of chronic graft versus host disease. His mouth is filled with sores and his ankles are swollen and throbbing. He has stubborn, angry boils on his back and chest, his joints are stiff and sore, and he's beyond exhausted at the end of every day. He's still keeping up his full time work schedule, though I'm really not sure how right now. I usually like to keep things upbeat around here, but I know some of you reading this are also post-transplant, and I don't want you thinking it's all sunshine and rainbows over here. How can it be when you go to bed feeling crumby and wake up feeling even worse? His doctors have changed up his meds, so hopefully that will bring some relief within the next week. Until then, there's Oxycodone. And prayers. Lots and lots of prayers.

Here are a few photos from Christmas morning...

loves his new tricycle

thanks Fontaines!

I bought Sam a new dresser I found on clearance at IKEA. Seemed like such a good idea at the time.

watching Mickey