Simple Chicken Salad

To go along with the English Muffin Bread I made the other day, I was really wanting chicken salad. (Pictures were taken with homemade hamburger buns, found here.)

I love chicken salad.

But, we all know what a pain it is to make (if it’s made from scratch).

Mostly, it’s the chicken that is the pain.

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If you’re anything like me, you LOVE chicken, but hate touching raw chicken.

And cleaning it.

Which, you think to yourself, should have been done by the butcher at the grocery store, but he probably hates his job because he too hates to touch raw chicken, and wants to make my life miserable by leaving skin and fat on the chicken.

Just for me.

He’s got it out for me.

Or…. I’m just overly picky?

Nah.

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Growing up my mom always had canned chicken around. She was always stocked up, because she would buy the bulk cans from Sam’s.

And to this day, I cannot remember a single time we ate that canned chicken in a meal.

I must have developed an aversion to it over the years from it staring back at me in the cabinet.

Or my mom spoiled us with fresh chicken, and the lonely can in the cabinet turned into the nerdy step brother of fresh chicken. (yea… I don’t know what that means either)

Either way, I wasn’t really a fan. And I had no reason not to be!

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When we were in Wisconsin this last time, on our last day there, my husbands mother made us chicken salad for lunch.

She buys stuff that’s easy to put together, which is totally great!

Saving time is awesome. If I would have eaten it more growing up, I maybe could have thought past fresh chicken a lot earlier.

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So, for her chicken salad she used canned chicken.

Well.. lo and behold, it blew my socks off!

I was seriously surpised at how much it didn’t taste like canned chicken.

Then I was thinking about how I needed to buy some when I got home and make some for myself.

So that’s what I did.

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This is what you’ll need. And please, feel free to add your own spin on it.

Miracle whip, mustard, one pickle, 1/8th of a med/large onion, one can of chicken, celery salt, salad supreme and salt.

Drain your chicken, dump it in a medium bowl.

Use your awesome slap chop to finely chop up the onion. Dump it in with the chicken.

Dice up a pickle, and dump it in.

I didn’t measure anything… just put in what I liked.

If I had to put a number on it, I’d say 1/2c. miracle whip, 2 teaspoons mustard, 1/8-1/4tsp celery salt, 1/2 tsp salt, and salad supreme to taste… about 1/2tsp or more.

If you’re good at waiting, unlike me, you could let this marry in the fridge for an hour.

Or eat it right away, it’s good either way!

It’s so good.

Especially for a quick lunch.


And on fresh bread… it’s killer.

Marvelous Bread: English Muffin

It was destiny.

I don’t know what made me decide to make bread today, but after tasting the finished product..

..it had to be fate.

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This was one of the easiest bread recipes I’ve made.

With the help of my stand mixer, the dough was wipped up and rising on the stove in 10 minutes.

Now if you don’t have a stand mixer, use a large glass or stainless steel bowl, and mix with your hands.

This recipe will make 3 loaves.

Ingredients

  • 3-⅔ cups Warm (not Hot) Water
  • 1 tablespoon, 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 tablespoon, 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • 2 packages (1/4 Oz. Packet) Instant Yeast
  • 7-⅔ cups All Purpose Or Bread Flour
  • Melted butter for brushing the bread

In your bowl or stand mixer(with the hook attachment), pour in the warm water. And in this order, dump the rest of the ingredients in: yeast, salt, sugar and flour. No need to let the yeast soak in the water.

Now turn on your mixer on to the lowest setting (or mix with hands) until combined. The dough will be very sticky and shaggy.

Leave dough in bowl, and cover with greased plastic wrap.

Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 1 hour, until it looks bubbly and puffy.


This is what it should look like after rising for an hour. I had already taken out one loaf worth of dough.

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Next, while your dough is rising, prep your bread pans.

Or in my case, bread pan.

I baked bread alllllllll afternoon, because I had one pan.

I’m not complaining, it’s totally worth it!

So, spray your pans with Pam, and throw in a handfull of cornmeal and shake around the pan to coat. Dump out any excess.


It doesn’t have to be perfect. [example of cornmeal on edges ^]

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While your dough is rising, preheat your oven to 350.

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Once your dough is ready, spray hands with Pam and scoop out what you need to fill your bread pan half full.

Then cover the bread pan, and let the dough rise again until it’s just to the top of the pan. This usually takes about 30 minutes.

Do not let it rise too much.

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Once it’s risen, put the pan the middle of the center rack of the oven, and set the timer for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, take the bread out, spread butter over the top, and throw it back in for 10 more minutes to get a golden color.

To get even baking, put the pan in the opposite way of how you took it out.

 

After the last ten minutes, you end up with this beaut!


Immediately after you take it out of the oven (..for the last time. I promise you wont regret it), dump it out on to a cooling rack.

Spread more butter on it. You know you want to.

 

Then pull up a chair and wait impatiently because it shouldn’t be cut until completely cooled.

Try not to drool.

Then give up waiting and cut yourself a piece because you live life on the edge, and everything is better fresh out of the oven.

Recipes are made to be broken.

I’m sorry I’m such a bad influence.

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This recipe is amazing. It’s crispy on the outside, and soft and chewy on the inside.

There is nothing better.


Have your way with it.

Butter it, as is.

Toast it and put peanut butter and jelly on it.

Toast it and put chicken salad on it!

I’ve tried all 3. Approved.

You can trust me.

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The bread can be kept for about a week.

So, if you’re like me and can’t eat 3 loaves of bread in one week, you can freeze the bread for up to 3 months.

Wrap it in plastic wrap and then tin foil.

And whenever you need some bread, you can pull it out and let it thaw, or slice it while still frozen and toast it.

Or share the goodness, and give a couple loaves away.

It’s a quick way to make friends.

Now, please go try this recipe. It’s so scrumptous.

Grill Time: Burgers and Corn

I didn’t set out to document this mealtime.

My intention wasn’t to make a homemade meal just for the purpose of taking photos and posting a recipe.

That’s why I have no pictures of the “before”.

Damn.

But on top of looking scrumptous, it all tasted amazing too!

I know it was just burgers and corn, but A. this was my first time having grilled corn on the cob, and B. the burgers were on homemade buns, which we ALL know makes everything taste better.

Oh, and there was bacon.

First, there’s the homemade hamburger buns.

Because I didn’t feel like going ALL the way to the store (5 whole minutes away), I made these.

You can find the recipe here.

Please resist the urge to slather a stick of butter over a hot one, fresh out of the oven.

And eat it.

And love it.

Okay, don’t resist. I wont judge you.

Then there was the corn.

The glorious, grilled corn.

I’m ashamed to admit I never had grilled corn before.

And that truely is something to be ashamed of, because growing up we planted 1/2 acre of sweet corn each year at the farm.

We always boiled it. After we spent hours husking it, and feeding the husks to the horses, we were starved and didn’t want to wait more than 5 minutes to eat it.

You can understand that.

Can’t you?

Well I’ve lost all understanding since grilled corn on the cob entered my once sheltered life.

Moving on.

Das Berger.

It was amazing.


I’m sorry I’m doing this to you.


My husband loved it too.

That’s all that really matters right?

If you’ve gotten two thumbs up from your spouse, you know it’s good.

And thanks to him grilling on the 100 degree day… we satisfied our craving for a good hamburger.

Flourless, 4 Ingredient, Peanut Butter Cookies.. Oh my!


Don’t they look delicious?

Well, they are.

I’m sorry.

Don’t be jealous.

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Out of boredom and extra energy, I tried a new cookie recipe tonight.

Flourless peanut butter cookies with only 4 ingredients.

Yes four.

Well, I added chocolate chips, so lets make that 5.

And yes, they are real cookies.

Real, but… no butter you say?

No butter. No vanilla. No flour. No butter.

No butter.

Have no fear. I risked it for the good of mankind, and waistlines everywhere.

Did I mention they’re only 36 calories per cookie?

For starters, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a cookie sheet. I covered my cookie sheet with tin foil for easy clean up, and sprayed it with pam.

Ingredients
1 cup of peanut butter
1 cup of white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda

Beat the peanut butter and sugar together until smooth. Add the egg and soda and beat until combined.

Now, you can leave it as is, or add chocolate chips like I did.

pssst
add the chocolate chips.. it’s sooooo much better with chocolate

Take about a teaspoon of the dough, and plop it in your mouth roll it into a ball, flatten with your fingers and place on cookie sheet. Or flatten with a fork.

Or a rolling pin. Frying pan?

Which ever way your heart desires, it doesn’t matter, just do it.

Don’t ask questions.

Now, swiftly and recklessly toss them in the oven because this makes 24 cookies and you still have 2 more sheets to bake, and it’s 12AM, and once you started beating the dough you realized you didn’t have as much enegery as you thought and are now tired and could probably fall into bed, but you can’t because you were on pinterest, hungry, and now have to finish what you started.

Or something like that.


Bake for 10 minutes (says the recipe), but I did mine for 11. Just until they are starting to become golden.

Once they are done, let them rest on the pan for a couple minutes, and then move them to some tinfoil on the counter to cool.

At least that’s what I do. I do what my mom did.

So, go do what your mom did, you know you’re going to anyways.

It’s an unstoppable force.


Do you like my “sexy mood lighting”?

At least that’s what my husband called it, right after he snatched a cookie and turned the kitchen lights off on me.

It was past his bedtime.

Obviously.

So, what you end up with is a warm, gooey, peanut buttery cookie that melts in your mouth.

Oh, and it’s not as fattening as the ‘real’ stuff… you know, wit zee budda.


Now, go reward yourself with one of these.

Or how about 3.. because you can, and not feel as guilty. Show no self control!

This may be the only time you can get away with it.

And everybody said, Amen.

Graduation 2012 + Childhood Pictures

I suppose it’s time for a post from my brother and sisters graduation.

It only makes sense, since it took 3 weeks of prep to get to the party!

You betta recognize.

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The day came so fast, and went by in a blur.

No time for crying, only for taking photos. :)

Going through old pictures for the slideshow was really fun..

I can’t believe these little munchkins graduated. It feels like just yesterday they were this little.

Growing up is bittersweet.. and takes forever but goes by in the blink of an eye.


Can you stand it?


We were pretty cute :)


By our sunflower field at the farm.


One of my favorites! In one of our fields after dad baled straw.


Seriously, how cute were they.


Yes, that’s me. hahahaha, oh boy. Husking corn, and feeding it to the horses… this was probably 13 years ago.


Love this family photo! Us at Itasca State Park.

Now for some graduation pictures..


Getting ready for the big day!


Dylan helping out before the party.


The guys hanging candles from the tree around the new firepit area my parents put in just before the party. The benches around the firepit, my dad made! And I lucked out and got to take a couple back to Texas with me :)


The grads, then and now. They’re still pretty cute. :) Dylan was homeschooled and although he wasn’t walking with Danae, he graduated too!


Mom and Dad.


I love these two.


The grads and me


Then and now :)

And then off to the school we went, for some pre-graduation photos, and to find our seats.


My beautiful cousins (who also grew up quickly!), came to watch Danae graduate.


Here she comes! And a very proud boyfriend looks on (in the blue plaid). :)


She did it!


Best photo of the day.

Then it was time to party :)

But first… a family photo.

And finally party..


I snapped this before the party.. the cute slideshow display we did for the party. It had all their baby pictures on it, and this one of me and Danae. :)

Obviously the cutest picture on the slideshow.


Oh, and this cute boy came to see me again!
It was a good day!
A busy, good day.
Filled with memories, and the beginning of a new life chapter for my “little” brother and sister.
So proud of them!

Beautiful Minnesota

I took so many pictures while were up north that I forgot about these photos!
I know a lot of my recent posts have been nature/landscape related, but I promise, a graduation post will be coming soon!
I had to share these… I took a walk one night around my parents property.. the lighting was perfect.


This old playhouse has been around forever. So many memories.


This place has lots of memories too. I used to play here nearly everyday with the neighbor boys. This is the lot that still separates our houses. The grass has taken over, but years ago had trails, tree forts, salamanders in the slew and fireflies at night. A great place for a kid to grow up.

Just wanted to share all the more reasons why I love this place.

When in Wisconsin..

Well, today I’m going to start out with an apology to my followers. The 17 of you.

I’m sorry the photos in this post are also taken with my iPhone, like most of the last post was.

It’s the handiest camera I have, and instead of skipping a “kodak moment” all together, I substitute with my phone’s camera.

Or what I usually say.. my camera which also has a phone built in.

Just ask the 2,517 pictures I’ve taken with it.

Please accept this photo taken on my camera phone last night with my deepest apologies..

With how busy we’ve been, running all over the countryside, I don’t/can’t take my camera along just simply being it’s too much to lug around.

And I say “lug”, lovingly.

I love lugging my camera around normally, but everyday is another story.

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So starting out our week here in Wisconsin, we had two family dinners. (And a trip to Lambeau Field, which will be in another post)

One dinner with each side of the family.

Both dinners included BBQ’s as the main course. Or for those who don’t speak Midwest.. we had sloppy joe’s, ya’ll.

But we were used to that after coming from Minnesota and eating BBQ chicken from graduation 5 days in a row(as well as our first day in Wisconsin).

Us Minnesotans share our leftovers with others.

Needless to say, we have leveled up to professional leftover eaters.

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At the second family dinner, Grandma Betty was over and had been waiting patiently to see Chloe.

Chloe’s her favorite.

“I don’t know the other one.”, she said about Ruby.

Grandma Betty is such a character, and one of the funniest women I’ve met. I wish you all could know her.

So her and Chloe caught up.

Chloe has no shame. Just love for her grandma.

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After all the family time, we’ve dedicated as much time as we have left to hanging out with Pete’s friends.

Last night we hit up Cheese Fest.

It was actually more of a fair, than a fest.

Of course we had to have the deep fried cheese curds.

We are going back tonight to see some friends.

I’m secretly going back for my friend, the deep fried cheese curd.

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When my in-laws still lived on the lake, it’s sort of been a non spoken tradition of ours to make it into town at least once during a visit, and eat breakfast at The Hotel Fremont.

Now they’ve moved, only about 20 minutes away, but today we decided to head up there for breakfast. And their very popular bloody marys.

It’s a small bed and breakfast type place with a restaurant/bar downstairs that sits right on the banks of the river.

What’s not to love!

It was fun :)

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We leave for home on Monday. I’ll be happy to be back in my own bed, but sad to leave family.

But we’ll be back!

We always come back.