A Girl’s Day & Honey Lavender Chicken

After months of being cooped up and feeling disconnected from friends and family, it’s wonderful to be somewhat social again! Earlier this week my sweet friend Tammie came over for some much needed girls time and chit chat. Keeping in touch by phone and text is one thing, but actual person to person conversations …. they can’t be beat!

Tammie and I both love to cook, so when we get together for lunch, we always try to come up with something delicious and different. We both have May birthdays, so we always try to get together, even though it’s a little later this year! Yesterday wasn’t any different. I set the table, planned out a yummy and seasonal menu that left us stuffed as we sat on the porch talking.

And we had so much to talk about.

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I wanted a menu that was local and seasonal as well as delicious. Hopefully that was accomplished! Lavender Honey Chicken sounds fancy, but honestly it was so easy!

For the dish you need a whole chicken (local and fresh is best), butter, dried lavender flowers (in season right now, so try out drying your own), fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, local honey, and balsamic vinegar.

You will prepare your chicken using butter, salt and pepper, then begin roasting in the oven at 375°. You’ll mix your lavender honey glaze using the remaining ingredients on the stove top and about 20 minutes into roasting you’ll baste the bird every 5 minutes or so until it’s cooked through. A thermometer should be at 165° when inserted by the bone.

I’ll have a link to the full, printable recipe below.

Serve with seasonal veggies for a lovely meal.

I roasted red potatoes with the chicken. I also added green beans, a salad made with fresh picked strawberries and Georgia pecans and rolls.

Here’s the full recipe for Lavender Honey Chicken

Tammie gifted me with a set of beautiful honey bee glasses from Williams Sonoma. They were a perfect finishing touch to our simply set table.

Tammie and I really enjoyed a beautiful afternoon. We had so much to catch up on, and yes, we talked about current events. You don’t see the world through one set of eyes, you have to open your heart and mind to see the world as others see it as well. You need to have empathy and understanding, not assumptions and judgement. Life is not the same for everyone. Our sons are the same age, but even with Bradley in the military I do not have the worry she does over her own son every single day.

Life should not be that way.

Politically I am more conservative than Tammie, but we don’t let that divide us either. It’s never affected our friendship and we talk about it, respecting each other’s opinions. We’ve known each other for so many years and I’m very thankful to have this beautiful, big-hearted soul as a dear friend!

I pray daily that compassion and understanding will replace anger and assumptions creating a more united humankind.

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

John 15:12

Have a good weekend my friends.

Bring the Coast Home with a Low Country Boil

So you want to go to the coast , but it’s not really doable right now?

How about bringing the coast home to you by throwing a southern low country boil?!

This is exactly what Audley & I did last weekend with Jonathan & Madeline. We set the mood, incorporated just a little themed decor & enjoyed a lovely night in.

I just love seafood, so a low country boil is one of my favorite ways to serve it up. Plus it’s so easy to pull together as you can make it as fancy or simple as you like! While dining outside is preferable, you can always bring this taste of the southern coast indoors. The best part of preparing a low country boil is it’s a one pot deal!

Yep, you read that correctly; one pot!

So how did we set up for our low country boil?

First, we hit up the market for fresh, coastal Georgia seafood. I love being able to support our fisherman, and nothing beats the taste of fresh seafood. If you don’t have access to locally sourced seafood you can use frozen, but try to find things that are wild caught; not farmed.

For our seafood pot we used shrimp, crab legs and littleneck clams. Sticking to tradition we also added andouille sausage, small, red potatoes and corn-on-the-cob.

The beauty of a low country boil is there is no set recipe or required ingredients! We’ve enjoyed occasions where crawfish was the main ingredient and I’ve known folks who added scallops or lobster! It’s all so delicious.

After shopping for all the ingredients, we set up a cozy little spot in the backyard. Our yard is a huge hill, so it’s not the most conducive for entertaining, but we still enjoy our time out back.

We lit up the fire pit, set up the Adirondack chairs, laid out a few blankets, decorated the table with what I call coastal Americana vibes, and hit play on our favorite playlist.

Of course a playlist is completely optional, but if you choose to have one, make it something you enjoy. For me it’s the smooth sounds of 70’s and early 80’s soft rock. About 90% of the music came out before I was old enough to establish my musical tastes, but classic Chicago’s 25 or 6 to 4, Steely Dan’s Deacon Blues, Atlanta Rhythm Section’s So Into You, or Christopher Cross’s Sailing is hard to beat in 2020!

Once you have the mood set through you decor and music it’s time to boil up your seafood feast! You can do this indoors or out, over a fire or on the stovetop. The key to this dish is the seasonings & properly cooking everything. I’m all about Old Bay Seasoning or even some Zaterains seafood boil. By far, those two brands are my favorite.

There really isn’t a recipe to follow here: heat up a huge pot of water to boiling. Add several lemons you have sliced as well as the seafood boil of your choice. Add your potatoes, cooking until nearly done, then toss in the corn and sliced andouille sausage. Once those two items are cooked to your liking, add your seafood to the mix (check cooking times so you’re not overcooking your shrimp). It doesn’t take long to cook seafood at all! The entire dish should be ready to eat in under 30 minutes!

There are so many ways to serve up a Low Country boil; the most common one just dumping the cooked pot of food on newspaper. Since I was using a wooden table (not really made for outdoor use), we opted for another method of serving.

A great big serving board!

We added cocktail sauce and melted butter for dipping and our one pot dinner was a one platter delight!

Pile your plate up or eat off the tray; it doesn’t matter! Just dig in and enjoy!

Comfort Food: Savory Lamb Stew

With rich, sweet, and fattening foods of the holiday season at every turn the last couple of weeks, I thought it was a great time for something comforting, warm and cozy for supper as the holiday season winds down (and a cold front heads in), so I prepared a huge pot of lamb stew.

Soups and stews are such versatile dishes to make and serve. You can make them as simple or as elaborate as you desire; use them as a first course or the main course for dinner any time of year.

Stews are also a very easy dish to make, although time consuming, and you can even change up what meats you use if you desire. This recipe would be particularly delicious with venison and also beef, but lamb is by far our favorite.  It’s a very tender and flavorful meat!

 

Savory Lamb Stew

You’ll need an oven-proof pot for making the stew.  I highly recommend a cast iron or enamel-coated dutch oven.  For our stew I used 3 pounds of lamb, cubed which makes a fairly large pot. I like for stews and soups to last more than one meal, so I always make a huge pot!

Besides, stew always tastes even better the second day so go ahead and make that big pot!

Other ingredients you’ll need include potatoes, carrots, onions, mushrooms, garlic, red wine, beef stock, a little flour as well as salt & pepper. Very basic ingredients that most of us keep on hand.

Y’all, I’m really bad about not measuring ingredients, so when you look at the full recipe I totally guessed on how much veggies you need.  Thankfully this recipe is really easy to adapt for your family.

Always be open to to adaption when you are in the kitchen.

I used a 10-quart enameled cast iron pot made by Lodge to prepare the recipe from start to finish.

{One pot!  Who doesn’t love that?!}

You begin making the stew by swiping your chopped lamb pieces  through flour then cooking in bacon grease or olive oil. I used the grease from one full pound of bacon (save the bacon for salad topper or make a yummy BLT sandwich while the stew simmers) for cooking my stew meat. Once all the stew meat is browned, remove from the pot and pour 1 1/2 cups red wine into your pot, scrapping to deglaze it.  Scraping the bits of browned lamb will keep them from scorching while it all cooks and of course you want that flavor!

Once deglazed return the meat to the pot and add the potatoes, carrots, onion, & garlic to the pot. This isn’t on the printable version of the recipe, but if you like garlic, add dried garlic flakes to your stew as well! Just a small way to elevate the flavor.

Pour beef stock over it until everything is completely covered. Cover the pot with a lid and place in the oven at 375° and simmer for 1.5  to 2 hours.

Garnish with parsley and serve with crusty French bread. Turn on some contemporaty jazz (FYI, Harry Connick, Jr. has a new album), enjoy a quiet and cozy night in, around the table with this savory stew and your family.

For the full printable recipe, click Savory Lamb Stew

Wishing you all a quiet and peaceful New Years Eve with a New Year full of blessings!

Goat Cheese Truffles

It’s holiday party time and it seem everyone is having one from work to the neighbors, and then it’ll be time for family Christmas… or three!

With all our get-togethers generally comes the invitation to bring a dish or an appetizer. Today I’m sharing this super easy goat cheese truffle that you can whip up, dress up, and introduce an oft forgotten soft cheese to your friends and family for a unique flavor.

I didn’t come up with this recipe on my own. It’s from one of those videos that circulates Facebook (not even sure where it originated from) where you watch it once and can never find it again, so you spend a couple of days trying to remember the ingredients, waste a few ingredients, and then hope for the best when you finally decide to serve it.

{BTW, If you know the originator of the recipe, let me know!!}

 Since these were all eaten when I made them I’m assuming I did ok guessing ingredients and measurements.

These truffles are easy to make, quite flavorful and really pretty when displayed on an appetizer table. If you love cheese and all its delicious varieties that are out there, this is perfect!

 

The shopping list for this recipe is easy:  cream cheese, goat cheese, cinnamon, honey, pecans, Craisins, and parsley. You can purchase the pecans and parsley already chopped if you want, so that makes it even easier!

I used eight ounces of cream cheese and six ounces of goat cheese. This combination can be played with depending on how strong you want the truffles. Goat cheese is delicious, but very strong. With both being soft cheeses they mixed smoothly together. After blending the two cheeses I mixed in the honey, some of the pecan pieces, and cinnamon.

After combining the cheese mixture, the truffles need coating. To do this I used wax paper and combined the leftover pecans, minced parsley and craisins in a pile on the paper.  Roll the cheese mixture into 1-inch balls and then roll in the pecan mix you made to coat.  Do this until all the cheese has been rolled into a finished truffle.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Set a jar of honey out for guests to drizzle on their truffles as they are served.

 

For the full and printable recipe, click Goat Cheese Truffles .

 

Happy Wednesday y’all!  Just one week until Christmas!