This is a big favorite at our house. I adapted it from a recipe someone gave me ages ago and I've continued to tweak it over the years. It is fairly quick to prepare, low in fat, high in protein and flavor. The original recipe called for marsala wine but given that we don't usually have that on hand, I found that basalmic vinegar works beautifully and gives it a very nice flavor. I love it with mushrooms but the kids aren't big mushroom fans and I often don't have mushrooms on hand so I usually leave them out.
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp minced bottled garlic (or about 5 crushed cloves of garlic)
4-5 large chicken breasts chopped into chunks
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
(or substitute the basil and oregano with 1tsp italian seasoning)
1/3 cup basalmic vinegar (or marsala wine)
2 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp corn starch
1/2 lb sliced mushrooms - white ones work fine, portobello is really tasty, pretty much any type of mushroom works (or two small cans of mushrooms)
1 package penne, fettuccini or farfalle pasta, cooked al-dente in well-salted water
about a cup of grated parmesean or mozzerella cheese (to be added as a topping as desired)
On medium-high heat, saute chicken, onions, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, basil and oregano together in a large skillet until chicken is no longer pink. Then stir in basalmic vinegar. Simmer for 3-4 minutes while you prepare the chicken broth. Add the chicken broth and allow that to simmer for a few minutes while you mix the corn starch with 1/4 cup cold water until it forms a paste. Mix the cornstarch paste into the chicken mixture in the pan and bring to a boil. After boiling one minute, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until thickened to a sauce.
Serve over pasta and top with cheese and some fresh ground pepper.
Sunday, August 13, 2017
Here are some of my highlights from our short but very sweet time in Paris:
- Actually getting on the plane to Paris and actually arriving in Paris - after wondering if it would ever actually be able to happen!
- Riding from the airport to our Airbnb apartment in a super nice Mercedes van that just happened to be available when we walked out of customs at midnight - the driver had just dropped off a client and wanted a group to take back into the city. He was so typically French with his longish neatly coifed hair, his jeans and blazer, his small wiry frame, his fancy slightly pointy shoes, his accent.
- Seeing the kids' excitement when we walked into the apartment I'd so carefully picked out on Airbnb - wonderfully French in an over-the-top way with crystal chandeliers, fancy Louis XIV style dressers and desks, skylight windows with a slight view of Sacre Coure, a funky staircase down to a lovely kitchen, so many interesting decorations, all tucked into the rafters of this great old Parisian building. It was one of my "treasure hunt" finds on this trip - I looked long and hard for something cool that would fit in our budget and was so pleased to find this!
- Choosing and eating pastries at a wonderful little bakery right near our Airbnb first thing the next morning, finding the perfect pain au chocolate a couple days later at a bakery the other way down the street
- Walking through Paris and noticing the fashions and the restaurants and the creperies and the bakeries and the buildings - everyone remarking on how totally French everything was, having such perfect weather for walking.
- Showing the kids Notre Dame and the wonder of engineering that it is plus talking about the devotion and faith required to build such a thing - feeling good that I got it right - just a few of the most interesting facts and a pretty quick walk-around (as opposed to some earlier times this trip when I'd tried to show the kids too much and to tell them too much and it just didn't work so well).
- Seeing that the stained glass in the Sainte Chappelle is every bit as beautiful as I remembered it to be (and trying to tune out complaints from my kids while trying to help them see how amazing it was)
- Eating bread and cheese and laying on the grass beside the Eiffel Tower, random people from all walks of life picnicking around us, while Ashton went on a little treasure hunt to search for something a certain young lady had hidden for him when she was in Paris two days before (as part of a choir trip she was on).
- Sitting on the steps of Sacre Coeur with a huge harvest moon appearing and great music going on, then going inside the church and seeing a sign - "Someone is praying here 24/7 year round." It warmed my heart to think about prayers going up from that lovely place always.
Here's Ashton's video about our time in Paris - it shows pretty much all that I talked about above!
Sunday, July 02, 2017
|at Tower Bridge|
|National Gallery/Trafalgar Square|
Here are some favorite moments from our time in England:
Seeing so many places that feel like dear old friends to me - walking around a corner and seeing these iconic places feels to me like walking around a corner and seeing a friend I've missed and I'm so excited to see again. Sharing these dear friends with my family was such a long-awaited pleasure!
Meeting up with Charity and Moses at Trafalgar Square and seeing the kids so delighted to be with their adorable, happy, sweet little cousin and their wonderful aunt (their favorite aunt as they've been instructed to say by Charity)
Entering Trafalgar Square and seeing Nelson's column and seeing the twins climb on the lions that I used to climb on when I was little, seeing the twins SO excited about the column and the lions since they had built them out of paper with their "Paper London" set before our trip.
Walking down the Mall and seeing Buckingham Palace.
Coming around another corner and seeing St Paul's cathedral and setting on the steps to eat dinner while the bells were pealing like crazy for like half an hour.
Introducing the kids to digestive biscuits and Pret a Manger and Marks and Spencers treats (the fruit jelly candies are so good and the kids love the tubs of yogurt and rocky road treats)
Seeing my dear friend Irene (went to Wellesley with her) after so many years and sharing Jared and the kids with her and catching up on our lives. She is such a fine person and so fun to talk with.
Watching storm clouds roll in as we stood on the ramparts at the Tower of London and looked out at Tower Bridge - such beautiful light and so few visitors at the Tower.
|The Tower of London|
Visiting some of my old favorite paintings at the National Gallery and the Tate Britain - paintings I studied, sharing a few tidbits of information with my kids to share my love of art without making them hate it with too much information...
|a replica of this painting hangs in my parents' great room so this was fun for the kids to see|
|Eliza has a print of this painting hanging in her bedroom|
Showing these guys the lovely old row-house where I went to school for 6 months when I was on study abroad in London - the housekeeper even let us inside and it was so cool be inside, the memories rushing back, and maybe plant some seeds for great learning experiences the kids may want to work towards in their futures.
Seeing our great cousin Aubrey who's studying at Oxford right now, hanging out on the grass on a perfect evening outside Wesminister Abbey then taking this photo together right around the corner.
Going to Evensong at Westminster Abbey, the choir music seeming to come from the vaulted ceiling, the names of famous poets all around us where we sat, feeling such a sense of history imagining all the royal weddings and coronations there plus all the regular people who have offered up their prayers there for over 800 years.
Loved Evensong at Kings College Chapel as well - nothing like sacred music echoing through a gorgeous building with it's architecture pointing to Heaven and speaking of sacrifice and ingenuity so many centuries old.
Wandering through Cambridge with the wonderful Schwartz family and a couple friends on the most perfect sunny but cool day, going on a boat down the River Cam with so many happy teenagers and such great views and SO many other boats.
Hanging out with and having great talks with the Schwartz family who are some of our very favorite people in the world, seeing our kids get to be such good friends. (sad that I don't have more pictures with the parents, mostly kid photos...)
Visiting Hampton Court, some complaints and surliness from one of our children ("I'm just not into old stuff" to which I just had to reply "what did you think England would be about?"...) that made my heart sink for a while but then it was OK and I relaxed a bit about trying to make sure everyone saw and learned about everything. Loved wandering the gardens and having the place almost to ourselves as Ashton got some great drone footage then finding we had it too much to ourselves and were locked in along with about 5 other people - finally we found a gate we could get out of.
|Hampton Court gardens and palace|
|Tudor section of Hampton Court|
|Georgian section of Hampton Court|
|The house where we lived in Epsom|
|St Martin's School|
|The gym at St Martin's Infant School where we ate lunch (or dinner as they called it) and did gymnastics in our underwear for PE|
Dover castle - seeing the kids so enjoy exploring such a great castle where they've set things up like they were in the 13th century and the walls are so thick and the ramparts and staircases are so cool and you can go down into the medieval tunnels as well as the tunnels where they managed the front line in World War II - imagination can run wild there. It was so blustery and a bit rainy but felt sort of right for a medieval castle on the coast.
Sweeping beauty walking along the white cliffs in hold-you-up wind and looking out towards France across the steel gray sea. Freak 3-minute pelting rainstorm then sun.
Meeting up with Charity, Ian, Moses and my brother Josh at Regent's Park - so fun to be with two of my siblings in a place we all hold dear. Gorgeous roses, wonderful company, mellow and sweet evening after a crazy time with half our family missing the Eurostar back to London. Glad to all be safely back in London and to be with people we love, perfect weather, perfectly lovely restful place.
Seeing the Trooping the Colors procession in celebration of the Queen's birthday. We were so lucky to happen to be in London that day! We saw all the queens horses and all the queen's men, bands, bagpipes, brilliant pageantry followed by the whole royal family in carriages. It was just such a perfect send-off (our plane left London to bring us home that afternoon).
|Here's the queen and Prince Phillip in their carriage|