Sunday, April 27, 2008

Perfect spring cake

Arkansas strawberries are finally ready (I just love this time of year!), and this cake I discovered a couple of years ago in Bon Appetit is absolutely perfect for serving with berries, so I thought I'd share it here. I love it that it really belongs in the same category as a pound cake, but the yogurt tricks me into thinking it's actually health food. ;) It comes together so easily, too: no mixer required!

I have never actually used the marmalade glaze, but I'm sure it's absolutely delicious.

Yogurt Cake with Marmalade Glaze

Jack's C'ocs

Nothing says spring around Chez Bell like Jack's beloved Crocs. We're currently on our second pair after one was lost on a shopping trip to the mall. I think I posted on our family blog about how distraught poor Jack was when his other green "C'oc" was nowhere to be found. Imagine my face as I was searching high and low for the thing in every possible nook and cranny of that place, all the while listening to Jack holler, "My C'OC, Mama!" That's the stuff that a mother's life is made of.

In typical Jack fashion, the little stinker has taken to preferring to wear one of each color - his old green one on the right and his new blue on the left - any time I will let him. He would've been quite fashionable in the early 90's. :)

I am really striving lately to document more everyday things, and I could think of nothing better than a page devoted to Jack's Crocs. My good friend Kari got the ball rolling a couple of weeks back when she mentioned she was going to do a similar page for her daughter, so I owe her a big thank you!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Confetti Chicken with Mustard Cream Sauce and Saffron-Brown Rice Pilaf

I came up with this recipe a couple of months ago, and it was one of those I wrote down immediately since I was so pleased with how it turned out. It's always nice to come up with a new way to liven up boneless, skinless chicken breasts.


Confetti Chicken with Mustard Cream Sauce and Saffron-Brown Rice Pilaf

For the rice:
1 cup brown rice
2 cups water
1 tsp. chicken base
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. saffron threads
1 cup frozen peas

For the chicken:
2 large skinless/boneless chicken breasts
1 cup plain dried bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 egg, beaten
3 T. Dijon mustard, divided
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup cream
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/8 tsp. cayenne

For the rice:
Melt 1 T. butter over medium-high heat in heavy sauce pan. Add onion and garlic and saute until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat. Saute until brown and fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in water, chicken base and saffron. Cover and reduce heat to low, cooking until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Stir in peas, and heat through.

For the chicken:
Mix breadcrumbs and next four ingredients in a large, shallow bowl or pie plate. Combine beaten egg and 1 T. mustard in another shallow bowl. Dip each breast first in the egg mixture and then into the bread crumb mixture. Heat 1 T. unsalted butter and 1 T. olive oil in large saute pan over medium-high heat. Saute chicken until browned, about 2 minutes per side (will not be cooked through). Remove chicken to plate and set aside. Melt additional 1 T. butter in the same pan. Add onion, garlic and bell pepper and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add white wine to pan, scraping up any brown bits that have accumulated on the bottom of the pan. Simmer until liquid is reduced by half, and then stir in chicken stock, cream, 2 T. Dijon mustard, thyme and cayenne. Return chicken to the pan, coating each side in the sauce. Reduce heat to medium; cover and simmer 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and sauce is thickened. Serve with pilaf.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Feeling Scrappy!

I am thrilled to announce that I have been selected to serve as a guest creative team member at Feeling Scrappy during their next exciting class, Embellish It! This four week technique course will run from May 6 through June 3, and it is designed to teach and challenge you to use all sorts of embellishments on your layouts! If you are looking to add that extra punch to your layouts then Embellish It! is the class that will get you there. We will be working with all kinds of common and not-so-common embellishments giving them all a twist to help you create one-of-a-kind scrapbook pages!

The cost for the Embellish It! class is $25. What a great way to refine your techniques while also meeting and interacting with fellow scrappers! For more information and to register for the class, visit the Feeling Scrappy site. I can't wait to see you there!

My latest endeavor

I've been intending for a while now to put together a blog to chronicle my latest passions: cooking and scrapbooking. I figured there is no time like the present to bring this to fruition! I plan here to share ideas, recipes, and any other relevant items of interest. I hope you'll check in often!