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!

Sweet Potato Nachos

“Eat at home” they say; “you’ll lose weight because it’s healthier than eating out.”

Quarantine weight gain has commenced.

Really, it’s not been too bad since I’ve kept most all junk food of the house, but I’ve given up a lot of my tuna and grilled chicken for full on sit down at the dinner table and savor every bite meals. Madeline is working less and home more, and there are no post workout sushi dates (or a an abundance of workouts), etc, so I’m actually cooking/prepping more food than normal. I try to keep weekend meals exciting while we are staying in right now.

I’m also trying to be more creative which is how I came up with this yummy recipe that’s a knock-off from a healthy restaurant (Clean Eatz) we like to visit in Nashville or Greenville when we’re traveling.

Sweet Potato Nachos, while taking a little time to prep (you need to prepare your chicken and all before the sweet potatoes), are so delicious and healthy which makes them a repeat meal in our home!

Sweet Potato Nachos

Keeping it Healthy at Home

To make these you will need sweet potatoes (one for each person), roasted or grilled chicken seasoned with a TexMex spice (I used the Protein Snack Shop’s taco seasoning), shredded lettuce, onion, jalapeño, limes, salsa and avocado cream (you will have to make this, too).

I highly recommend you use a good knife to cut your sweet potatoes into chips. You will want them thin and even so the slices to cook at the same pace. You’ll need to turn them about 8 minutes into cooking. It won’t take long for them to cook (around 15-20 minutes), so you’ll want to have your other ingredients ready to assemble as soon as the chips are ready.

Sweet Potato Chips

The avocado cream is super easy to make & to keep a pretty green color, make it while the potatoes are cooking. It’s one ripe avocado (under-ripe avocados will be more difficult to process), juice of one lime & 3/4 cup quality Greek yogurt (I like FAGE). Blend until smooth in a food processor.

Healthy Sweet Potato Nachos

Assembling the nachos is just like any others you might make: a layer of sweet potato chips, then arrange your chicken, & veggies. Squeeze a little lime juice over the stack and top with a little salsa and avocado cream.

Sweet Potato Nacho for a Healthy Lunch / ohfiddledeedee.com

You shouldn’t need sides with this, but Mexican Street Corn (as unhealthy as it is) would be so delicious! It’s all about keeping balance!

Click here for the full & printable Sweet Potato Nachos recipe.

What all have you been eating while staying in these last few weeks?

20 Ways to Make “Sheltering In Place” a Little More Sane

Who would’ve ever imagined 2020 would go in this crazy direction when we woke up January 1.  We are 3 1/2 months into the year and I’m ready to return to sender or leap to the future!

Seriously though, we are living in a strange and unprecedented time that honestly I never thought we could or would experience.  There is no doubt that COVID-19 is very dangerous, but everything surrounding it has left so many of us with mixed emotions and a lot of questions.

With schools, business and other things closed and everyone “sheltered in place” life is different for the majority of our nation and other countries around the world.  We’ve seen so many ways people are handling this situation: from freaking out and hoarding, to acting oblivious to everything.  There is nothing wrong with being afraid and worrying, whether it be of the illness itself or the consequences the country is facing because of government orders.  How we express those feelings does make a huge difference though.  At the end of the day, I do know that God is in control and I try to leave my fears and worries to Him.

Trying to keep life as normal as possible is important to me as it offers a sense of security, keeps our home running smoothly, promotes calmness, eases fear, and I want to set an example for my now grown children.

Today I’m sharing 20 ways to “Shelter In Place” that have helped keep me sane and less stressed.

  1.  Open your curtains and blinds each morning to let in the natural light.  I know, we’ve had a lot of rainy days, but even the light on a rainy day is better than living in cave!
  2. Make your bed everyday.  Audley laughs at me on the weekends, because “we’re just going back to bed this evening, why bother?”  But, seriously, walking past my room with a made up bed during the day just makes me feel good and the house feels just a touch more clean, despite the pile of laundry on the chair.img_4633
  3. Change from your nighttime to daytime PJ’s (or hubby’s t-shirts) everyday, and brighten up those jammies by doing your make-up a couple days a week.  You’ll feel so much better!
  4. Catch up on your reading.  Whether you have kids at home, or are an empty nester, use this time to read for pleasure!  Tell the kids you have school work, too.img_3778
  5. Workout.  Yep, all that time you never had for working out, shouldn’t be an issue now.  You may discover after a couple of weeks of walking, jogging, or body weight training that you will want to continue when things return to normal.  Rest assured you will be glad you’ve added exercise to your daily routine! I know different states have different rules right now, but you should be able to stroll around your neighborhood, or hit a trail at a local park.  If you have children, take them with you to let them run.  Just be courteous to those who have the same idea and keep your distance.img_3307
  6. Try a new recipe …. or twelve.  I cook a lot anyway, but good grief since midMarch I have about wore my stove and oven out!  Our grocery bill has increased as well, but I guess that’s off-setting how much we were eating out.7a123289-9022-4a37-9797-5cfffdc28901
  7. Eat cereal for supper.  Just do it.  The kids would love to have Capt’n Crunch while you indulge in some Chocolaty Special K.
  8. Plant flowers. In most states Home Depot, Lowes, and Ace Hardware all have curbside pickup. Use it & stop by when you’re getting your groceries.  You can also order things from online from various resources and have them in a few days.  If those options don’t work for you, weed your flower beds, do a little transplanting and trimming.img_3875
  9. Clean out the pantry and spice cabinet.  This pairs well with trying a new recipe as ingredients that are about to expire can be whipped into something unique.  Organize things to that you can easily find items you need: turn labels so they can be read, combine duplicate spice bottles, organize veggies together, etc..
  10. Finish a crafty project you’ve started and put aside. We’ve all got a  cross stitch project only 1/8 of the way completed sitting in a drawer in the living room project sitting around I’m sure.
  11. Refinish a piece of furniture.  That dresser you painted ten years ago and now dislike? Strip it, sand it and stain it! You’ve got a new showpiece and spent little to make it happen.img_3836img_3835
  12. Eat an entire bag of Cadbury Mini eggs in Royal dark edition.  Not that I’ve done that….. Y’all, they are the best!
  13. Set the table.  It doesn’t matter if you use plastic, Tupperware, glass or paper plates; set the table, then enjoy all of your meals together as a family if possible.  This will become a habit you might find you’ve missed.img_4192
  14. Clean out the garage, storage room, or closets.  I know.  A lot of cleaning, but some of us have a wee bit more time on our hands than normal, so use it to your advantage.  This maybe time to plan that yard sale you’ve wanted to have or just haul things off to a donation center.
  15. Picnic in the yard.  I love a good picnic y’all, and with spring arrived here in the south we have had several gorgeous days for dining outdoors!img_4630
  16. Try a family campout in the backyard.  Build a fire, roast hot dogs, make smores, tell silly stories or ask your kids or spouse questions about their dreams and goals.  When the TV is turned off a whole new world opens up!
  17. Organize your photos.  If you’ve got 10 years worth of digital pictures you need to print off, upload them to Shutterfly or some other online service and have them in a matter of days.  You can order albums if you need and never have to leave the house.
  18. Bake.  Yeah, thats a dangerous one for our waistlines, but oh so good!
  19. Build a birdhouse.  Scraps from other projects are perfect for this!  Let your kids paint it and mount on a tree.  See who comes to visit.
  20. Make homemade cards or write notes to friends and family you can’t see write now.  FaceTime is so easy to use, but I an assure you that a piece of old-fashioned mail will truly brighten someone’s day!

 

How are you all handling things right now?  Is it business as usual or has you life completely changed over the last four weeks?  Just know you aren’t a lone and we’re all trying to get through this together!

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