Monthly Archives: January 2009

Recipe: Crockpot Chicken & Rice

— 3/4 cups of brown rice
— 3/4 cups chicken broth
— 3/4 cups lowfat milk, divided
— 3/8 cup flour
— 1 sm onion, diced
— 4 oz sliced mushrooms

— 3-4 chicken thighs

— 3 garlic cloves, diced tiny
–1/4 tsp black pepper
–1/4 tsp paprika

The Directions.

Combine all of the chicken broth and 1/4 cup of milk in a sauce pan and heat over medium heat on the stove. In a separate bowl, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup of milk with flour. When the broth and milk have begun to boil, reduce heat, and slowly stir in the milk and flour mixture. When everything is fully incorporated, set the pot aside to cool.

Add the rice and seasonings to your crock along with the onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Stir in the broth mixture.

Lay the chicken pieces on top.

Cover and cook on high for 4 hours, or low for about 8.
When you take the lid off of the crockpot, stir the rice. If the rice is fully cooked and you have extra liquid, keep the lid off for about 15 minutes. The liquid will absorb quickly.

In my small crockpot this cooked very quickly and was not at all ‘gloopy’. This was very tasty, in fact. I might add a few herbs next time — tarragon comes to mind. And perhaps 1/2 cup of frozen peas for color.

Recipe: Winter Squash and Chicken Stew w/ Indian Spices

This is what J made last Friday night, and we had enough for 2 more lunches. Very tasty, pretty easy. If you are not a fan of curries, or warm spices (as compared with ‘heat’ spices) then you may not enjoy this. The butternut squash completely breaks down, and the color ends up as an orangey-brown.

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 6 chicken thighs, skin removed
  • 1 1/3 cups chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups 1-inch pieces peeled butternut or acorn squash
  • 2 cups 1-inch pieces peeled russet potatoes
  • 1 cup canned low-salt chicken broth

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add to Dutch oven; sauté until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to plate.

Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in same pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Add curry powder, cumin, and cinnamon; stir 1 minute. Return chicken to pot. Add squash, potatoes, broth and tomatoes. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Uncover and simmer until chicken and potatoes are cooked through and liquid is slightly reduced, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Absolutely a keeper.

Goals for 2009

Each year at my birthday, I set aside time to review my accomplishments of the past year and set goals for the coming year. Then I give myself until the end of the calendar year to make adjustments to my goals. I’ve been writing this post for about two months now, time to publish it . . . (I can, occasionally, get so caught up in the organizing /to do list making that I never actualyl get to the projects themselves.)

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Getting My Ire Up: The Mentalist

Sent to (my thanks to Jason at The Wild Hunt for pointing this out to me):

The episode of The Mentalist that aired on January 13th was profoundly insulting to me and to anyone who identifies as a witch, or Wiccan. We have spent decades attempting to explain to frightened and superstitious outsiders that: a) we are not crazy for our belief in a power greater than ourselves with the ability to interact directly in the physical world; b) we are not delusional about our belief in our ability to take personal control of our reality; c) our fundamental precept to harm none and a general agreement that it is our responsibility to better ourselves and our community by living as ethical beings.

Your writers clearly read a few essays and cobbled together a few terms in the creation of the character Tamzin Dove and in doing so did a grave disservice to a thriving, well-adjusted and non-violent religion: Wicca. Would it have been appropriate for her character to have been a Seventh Day Adventist? A Mormon? A Buddhist? Perhaps then the plot would have revolved more aruond the fact that she was a psychologically damaged individual rather than a witch.

It’s a shame, because in general The Mentalist is an amusing show with good writing and I have been enjoying it. Your writers need to learn respect.

Want to share your opinion with them? Here’s the link:

Why I Love Living Here

This morning it was densely fogged in around our house. You could see maybe a block away, but that’s it. The streetlights glowed like something out of Dickens’ and it was cold. When I reached the top of the hill, however, it was clear and the waning moon lit up the sky full of stars. By the time I reached my office, dawn was just beginning. The sky to the south was perceptibly lightening in shades of progressively lighter blue. To the West the moon was beginning its descent. It was clear enough that I could see the wedge of Mt. Rainier visible behind the office building down the street from me.

As I watched, the sky grew lighter, and wisps of fog/clouds began to turn pink and gold. The water in the sound reflected the growing light like a silver mirror. There’s a strong wind from the East and I simply enjoyed the light, the movement, the beauty that is Seattle.

A Word About Flying Business Class on United Airlines

Going to Europe was incredible. The section was quite empty (likely due to the season and not the usual happenstance) and we got very attentive service. The food was also quite good (for airline food) and felt ‘real’ rather than like a school room cafeteria. We started with a fresh salad (real lettuce, not iceberg) and a shrimp, prosciutto, and vegetable crudités. The main course was a choice between bacon-wrapped strip loin, pecan-crusted chicken breast and cheese totellacci (no, not tortellini). I had the beef (very good, very tender) and J had the pasta (very rich and delicious). I skipped dinner but J enjoyed his key lime cheesecake (which tasted like real key limes were used, not bottled concentrate – and it was NOT green, always a good sign). About 90 minutes before arrival we were served a nice continental breakfast of bread, yogurt, fruit and preserves.

The return trip’s food was not very good at all. Quite a disappointment. The salad was poor quality and had a lot of iceberg in it. My filet mignon was overcooked, dry and required the mashed potatoes to make it edible. My green beans were absolutely inedible. J’s cannelloni was actually more tortellini, and was decent. The ‘specialty dessert’ was a cookie. Our meal prior to arrival was a Tuscan Sandwich and was cold, hard, and may have been decent if it had been room temperature. Very unsatisfactory.

That said the seats in Business Class are worth the expense (or the miles, which is a different kind of expense, but how we managed it). We both were able to sleep and it made all the difference in the world in how we felt when we arrived.

Day 5: A Quiet Farewell

Because we were meeting Gretchen at 9:00am in front of the Rodin Museum, we asked for a wake up call for 8am. To our horror, the phone rang at 9am – there was no way we were going to make it in time if we were going to shower and dress fancy for lunch. Friends are more important than food, so we canceled our lunch reservation and got with the moving. We were out the door and into a taxi and in front of the museum at 9:30, no later. And no Gretchen! It would have been weird for her to have left, even if we had made her wait for 30 mins in the cold. But when it was 9:45 and still no sign of her, we went in.

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