Saffron Braised Chicken

Madeline and I just returned from a cruise celebrating her upcoming graduation from high school and while I loved the relaxation, scenery and especially the time with my daughter, I did not enjoy what a cruise does to my waistline!

As soon as we returned home, I immediately took inventory of the pantry and headed to the grocery for healthy eats!  The first thing I do when needing a food detox is to cut my carbs, especially the processed ones.  Needing a little inspiration, I took to my Mediterranean cooking for paleo and found this wonderful recipe for Saffron braised chicken.  Obviously my craving for international flavors is still strong!

A few little tweaks to the recipe, dinner was served. I even planned ahead for leftovers to enjoy as well!

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I loved this dish because of its simplicity and combination of flavors. There is no point in a difficult dish if there isn’t any flavor, so simple is often better in my book.

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Chicken quarters, stock, onion, garlic, spices… ingredients that you can pronounce and that do your body a world of good are the basis of this dish!  With just over an hour to prepare and cook, this makes a better weekend dinner than a busy weeknight.  It’s a one pan dish (I used a Lodge enamel-coated pan) which makes clean-up a breeze.

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And don’t you just love easy clean-up?!

And of course this savory dish with a little International flair is oh-so delicious!

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You can click here for the full Saffron Braised Chicken recipe (with a few of my brand preferences) that you can print off.

There are several options for sides:  if you are cutting grains, use cauliflower rice (I found it pre-made at Publix); rice is Audley’s preference for a side, and I also enjoy mashed potatoes.  This sauce goes well with all three!

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If you make it, let me know what you think!

Have a great weekend!

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Girls Night In at Candlefish

One of the things I truly love about being back in the Atlanta area is reconnecting with old friends!  Recently one of those fabulous friends and lifestyle blogger Tammie Reed of Talking With Tami invited me to join her and other girlfriends for a Sunday afternoon of candle making at Candlefish Atlanta.

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Tammie, our lovely Girls Night In hostess

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The Girls

Don’t you just love a girlfriends day?

What makes one even more enjoyable is making new friends while participating!

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Candlefish (originally established in Charleston) is a new shop located in Atlanta’s Ponce City Market and was the site of this relaxing and educational afternoon with the ladies.  I don’t know about you, but I am a candle junky and keep at least one lit any time I’m home!  When we moved in a month ago candles were some of the first items I purchased for our new home, so choosing a fragrance and making my own candle sounded so exciting!

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Tammie always arranges a lovely event!

With donuts and champagne awaiting her guests, we spent time listening to Hannah from Candlefish explain the technique for making candles.  While you think of melted wax and fragrance going into candle making, I’ve never stopped to consider there are temperature points and specific measurements at which to work and make the perfect candle.

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Candlefish Fragrance Library

We had the opportunity to check out the 100 different Candlefish fragrances, but thankfully if you know your specific taste in fragrances, they can steer you in the right direction!  I’m more of a musky almost men’s cologne type of girl, so after checking out several scents in that category, I settled on #31.  This was actually the first fragrance I smelled and immediately was drawn back to it!

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The tools we used for our candle making class

While making the candles was fun and educational, I truly enjoyed the afternoon making friends and socializing.

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Fabulous treat bags from Tammie for each of her guests

                The candle making class is a perfect opportunity for socializing with the girls.  While there are any number of occasions for a night out, I’m looking at the possibility of a candle making class as the perfect bridesmaid’s outing before MacKenzie’s wedding in June!

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Thank you Tammie for the afternoon and the use of Genae Bank’s photos as well!

How do you like to spend a Girls Night In or Out?

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Italian White Bean Soup

Winter suddenly decided to make an appearance in the South this week!  After a warmer than normal season it was quite a shock waking up to lows in the 20’s-30’s with the highs barely making it over 40!

{I know y’all up north laugh at our cold weather whining…}

When the temps drop I love nothing more than a bowl of warm and comforting soup, even if it is mid-March and everything is in bloom!

This week I whipped up a pot of Italian White Bean Soup for the family.  This scrumptious soup was so easy to prepare and is healthy as well!

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I used organic and low-sodium white beans, chicken broth, carrots, onion and spinach to create this soup.  I chose low-sodium ingredients to counter the salt found in prosciutto. It made for a totally filling supper without adding side dishes as well as a little extra for the hubby’s lunch the next day.

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What I liked best about this soup was that it was a convenient one pot (don’t you just hate a sinkful of pots & pans on a busy night?) dish.  Start with diced prosciutto in a little olive oil, then add the veggies to sauté, adding the beans and chicken broth to simmer a few minutes before throwing in freshly chopped spinach.

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Are you hungry yet?

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Click for the printable version of Italian White Bean Soup ….

and Buon Appetito!

What’s your favorite winter comfort food?

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“Do Not Disturb”

“I didn’t have very much to do this evening, so I thought I would touch up a few things.”

“Do you have to paint everything in sight?”

“I didn’t paint everything in sight.  I painted a breadbox, an end table & that chair you’re sitting on.”

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“I’ve just got to get that house in order.  Are there any other antique dealers that we might visit today?”

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via Getty Images

Anyone that knows Audley and me could totally imagine that these are conversations between us as we are working to put our new house in order.

{All four of our kids will attest to this.}

In fact I am positive we’ve actually had these conversations before… on more than one occasion.

In reality, these are lines from the extremely cheesy and comical 1965 Doris Day movie “Do Not Disturb”.

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The subplot of the movie is Doris Day’s character trying to decorate the new home she and her husband have moved in after transferring with his new job.

{Sounds familiar, right?}

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You would think after fourteen moves I would have the art of decorating and organizing a home nailed.

My reality is quite the opposite.

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I’ve always managed to have two or three main living spaces mostly put together in our home, but the remainder of the house stays partially complete.  For example, we didn’t have curtains in our living room of the house we just moved from until this past December (just before a large Christmas party we hosted); we found out we were moving early January.  Our master bedroom wasn’t complete until we lived in the house for three years (and I was having major surgery that would have me confined to the bed for quite a while).  I redecorated the kitchen three different times because I couldn’t find something that spoke to me without a massive overhaul that just wasn’t possible because we were leasing.

You get the picture.

I’m really bad at putting it all together without doubt in my mind, and extremely bad in finding a way to pull my eclectic style together.

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Our antique dining room suite

I’m constantly saying, “I’ve just got to get that house in order” and then heading off to do something else.

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I do have a paint project in the works… and I can’t unpack certain boxes until it’s completed.

Mainly because I don’t know what I want or doubt how to make it happen.

When we closed on our house several weeks back and moved in two and a half weeks ago, Audley suggested that I not waste any time and put our house in order; to do what I needed to do to make our new house a home without doubt or fear or procrastination.

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Our new sofa from Ikea

So that’s what I’ve done.  Staying within a budget we set, box by box, room by room, and shopping expedition by shopping expedition I’ve been slowly turning our new house into our new home.  We are so close to the empty nest, things that I’ve not done because I didn’t think it was kid/family friendly, or didn’t want the kiddos to mess it up are no longer valid excuses.

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Pillows… Plants… Color…

Colors for the walls were done the week before we moved in, we have curtains hanging in every room, big pieces of furniture arranged, and I think that I have a grasp on how to make my eclectic style work with our not quite empty nest.

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Working on the mantle… Mixing it up with antique books

We shall see and hopefully in the coming weeks I will share a little of what Audley and I have pulled together.  Until then I hope you enjoyed a few glimpses of what we’ve started on and will stop back by as we finish!

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For now, “Do Not Disturb.”

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