Roast Chicken stuffed with summer, freshness on the side

One of my very favorite things to cook is roast chicken.  It’s one of the few things I enjoy making over and over again, the same.  For this version, I wanted to mix the flava’ up a little.

My oregano is so overgrown so I decided to use that along with some lemon thyme for the butter rub.

First preheat the oven to 425.  You can chop up whatever herbs you happen to have and add them to 1 stick of softened butter. Mix.

Inside the chicken cavity, put the aromatics shown above.  The goal here is just pump some flavor into the meat as the ingredients are steamed inside.

Salt and pepper the chicken and rub the outside with butter.  I REALLY don’t like to look at pictures of raw meat but wanted to show how the bacon gets laid out on top next.  I’m so thankful our local Trader Joes store started carrying the uncured bacon only.  So nice.

Cook the chicken until the temperature reaches 165.  When you get to about 140 degrees, take the bacon off and let the chicken brown.  Normally, “they” say to tuck those wings underneath, but I was being lazy.  Oh well.  It tasted the same.

Summer Roast Chicken

1 whole free-range organic chicken

1 orange, halved

1 red onion, halved

1 head of garlic

6 sprigs of herbs, whole

1 stick of butter

3 T. fresh herbs, chopped (I used thyme and oregano)

1 lb./ package bacon

… … … … … …

Some lovely and EASY side dishes I’ve been serving lately are:

Sautéed English green peas with bacon.  Trader Joes carries these peas seasonally, but you have to ask for fresh ones from the back if you want them to last more than 5 minutes.  They get slimy super-fast.

Polenta with thyme.

Roasted asparagus with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  I eat these like french fries.

Grill some market-fresh summer veggies.

Creamed corn.  One of my favorites.

Gnocchi sautéed with garlic and rosemary.

Charred Tomato and Apricot Salsa

Last year,  the canned item I got the greatest response to (besides pickles, of course) was salsa.  It seems that salsa speaks to everyone.  The cool thing about salsa is you can basically make it however you want.  I have a “gringo” tongue so it’s pretty abnormal that I would even stick a jalapeno in it at all…hehe.  What?  You think I make tomato soup, not salsa, eh?  To each his own, I guess.

So, turn some music on before you start this recipe and enjoy…

Start with whatever you feel like throwing in.  My sister and I chose local heirloom tomatoes, red peppers from my garden, jalapeno, red onions, garlic, and local apricots.

 

I roasted the peppers and tomatoes together.  In another pan, I roasted the onions and garlic.  The tomato group I drizzled with olive oil and broiled for about 10 minutes or until the are charred :).  The onion group I drizzled as well, added salt and pepper, and roasted for 45 minutes.  I had a lot of onions so you might only need to roast a small batch for 20 minutes.  The apricots I did the same as the tomatoes.  Again, if you are making a small batch, you could probably fit it all on the same roasting pan.

 

After the charring and roasting, we blended both until evenly chopped to our desired consistency.  For me, I wanted something that wasn’t pureed but not too thick.  You know, the kind of salsa where you scoop it and it stays on, chunks aren’t falling off. but it’s not dripping.

 

My sister in her awesome apron she made from a not quite as awesome men’s shirt.

 

Chop up the cilantro and toss it in.  Salt and pepper the salsa while you’re at it.

That looks much better now.  Cook the salsa until it is simmering, then cook for 10 minutes longer.

 

Fill the jars with a 1/2 inch head-space and process them for 10 minutes.

 

You have to work quickly and only fill as many jars as you will be putting in the pot.  The average stockpot will fit 6 half-pint and 4 pint size jars.

 

We were super happy with the results and immediately broke out the chips!

Christmas presents?

Charred Tomato and Apricot Salsa

6 heirloom tomatoes

1 red pepper

1 jalapeno

4 apricots

1 red onion

1 head of garlic (yes, I really love garlic)

1 T cilantro

olive oil, for roasting

salt and pepper, to taste

Share with friends and if there could be a pool or beach that would be perfect.



Instafriday

life rearranged

Another lovely week has come to a close.  It’s been a week of highs and lows but my pictures seem to reflect the highs so I’ll focus on that :)  Thank you, Lord, for blessing us to come out on the other side hearts full of joy.

From a marketing perspective it makes sense, but it’s gonna make this dessert a little less special.

The ONLY reason I go to Costco.

My helpful boys.

Family Movie Night.  Alike much?

Fun!

The U. S. Grant’s 100 day aged Manhattan.  Nice.

He really was excited even though he doesn’t look it.

Little Gentleman.

Just Lovely.

So happy to get to sit next to this guy.

I love a good Lego build.

mmmm.  What I just ate.

San Francisco Botanical Garden

A month ago, my man and I got to hang out together for a few days alone in San Francisco and then Napa Valley.  Yes, it was awesome.  Even though I don’t sleep well away from my bed (or actually even in mine), I would never miss spending time with this man alone so that he knows how important he is to me.  Plus, I kinda like him.  It’s nice to just hold hands and not be interrupted.  It takes like a day to drop the instinct that someone might be getting into the ice cream, digging up my newly planted seedlings,ripping up the books, or waking up at 5:00 am.  Mostly, it’s just nice to not know what time it is, not touch our phones, drink some wine, and just be.

It was Sunday afternoon and what better place could there be than a botanical garden?  It was just a really lovely day.

My man got to rent a convertible and I brought my scarf to tie around my head so my hair didn’t get windblown.  Wait, who am I kidding, I don’t blow dry my hair anyway.


These wild strawberries were growing for a mile outside the gardens.

We have these bay fig trees all over San Diego, but it was cool to find out they first came from Australia to the U.S. in 1859, during the gold rush.  Cool, huh?

Love these flower sprays.

We were caught in a stare-down.  He won.

I’m greatly intrigued by this plant.

How could you not think of the awesomeness of God in this place.

What a sweet man…holding the purse of a crazy picture-takin’ lady.  Plus, he wears the TOMS I buy for him.  He’s a keeper.

Love me some reeds.

Not the best picture but I love the name of these…”Farewell to Spring”

“quaking trees”…finally a plant that owned up to its name.

One of my favorites.

Another one of my favorites.

Yes, it was lovely.

We look like botanist nerds, but I love us.

School is in session

I was so excited to start school today, I felt like I was the one who couldn’t sleep because I wanted to start IMMEDIATELY.  I started mid-August because I wanted to be sure to have 3 solid weeks of time off at Christmas or at least a super-light load.  Our first day went well.  At first, I thought I was torn in 3 pieces, as each of my kids wanted something different from me.  It’s amazing how a few minutes can bring thoughts of doubt into your head about what’s best for your kids (being that they are 6, 4, and almost 3).  However, the rest of the day was FABULOUS.  I didn’t even have to break out my cool tricks in case there was boredom.  Jack did 7 pages of math because he was so fired up about it.  How crazy is that?  You know your day is going great when you have to say, “Guys, if we do any more work, we won’t have any left for the rest of the week”.  God was so good to me and let me see my kids truly enjoying their learning.

I love the series above because it shows you exactly how this 1 minute in time went.  I had asked her to show me her sweet smile and so she thought it was necessary to tell what she didn’t currently like about her smile (lost 7 teeth in less than 1 year).  Middle picture is her thinking of how she could smile with no teeth.  Right photo is the end result, which she debriefed as working well following the snapping of the photo.

Here the little bean threw off his helmet and tossed his gun to get in the shot.  I had a sign ready for him so he didn’t feel left out.  If I had to guess, Miss F is thinking about her master plan for the whole day.

Little Bean’s favorite part was holding and then dropping the sign…over…and over.

My buddy was upset because he thought he was going somewhere.  I don’t know how he got that mixed up but he bounced back super-fast.  I loved that he picked the folder not because he remotely knows what Star Wars is but because it was “Lego-y”.  I guess that’s how Star Wars starts with little boys.

Our books and supplies.

One of my favorite things to look at lately :)  My Grandpa’s (Twin Winton) cookie jar,  my Mom’s awesome typewrite score, my very first successful avocado seed plant, and the globe my parents just let me have (that I’ve been wanting to use for a LOOONG time).

She loves owls, just like her Mama.

The kid’s fabulous babysitter bought this calendar for Miss F and she hasn’t missed flipping the date yet.

“When are we REALLY gonna start, Mom”

Math-u-see is awesome already.  They can’t wait to do more!

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