Jan 3, 2013

Packing Peanuts and a Kale Craze

Sooo I just got off the webcam with my dear friend Jenny in Lexington, KY (thank goodness for technology), and she yelled at me for slacking on my blogging.  Which I have been, and which I apologize for.  Truth is, without RD around, things have been a bit dull.  Relaxing, yes.  Clean, yes.  But not too many disgusting, yet funny stories to share.  Does this mean I miss him?  Absolutely not!  Anyway, I figured I better kick my butt into gear and bang out a post before bed tonight.  I promise I will share about my CT trip this weekend, but for tonight just a few more recipes and a Murphy story or two.

Since I was away for a week and sick the week before that, Chubbles and I have not gotten to spend much quality time together, and he was definitely not pleased about this.  When I got to the barn on Monday, I gave him a quick pat and then went into the tack room.  Chubbles expressed his displeasure with my lack of attention by BANGING on the gate as loudly as possible.  I took that to mean, "WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN, WOMAN?"  Anyone who thinks horses don't have personalities has clearly never gotten to know one.  I headed over to the barn after work today for a nice trail ride with my two boys, Chubbles and Murphy.  I knew Chubs would be raring to go after 2 1/2 weeks off the trails, and boy was I right!  Luckily I was expecting him to turn into a rodeo horse, and was able to keep a step ahead of him.  We made it through our whole canter stretch with no bucks!  

Murphy, as always, frolicked about like a rabid bunny, leaping through the bushes and making laps around us.  I've noticed during the last few months that Chubbles seems to really like Murphy.  When he gets close enough to his nose, he will bend down and sniff his head (which usually results in Murphy jumping straight off the ground like he was just electrocuted).  Chubbles will also speed up when he loses sight of Murphster around a bend, and sometimes halts and turns to look back if the little guy has stopped to smell something delicious (mostly poop-related items).  Today Murphy was walking behind him, right on his heels, and Chubbles actually slowed down and stepped to the side to let Murphy run past him.  Who would think that a dog and a horse would be friends?  So cute!

Sadly, Murphy was too busy acting like a rabbit on 
drugs to get in on this picture. 

(Warning: this next story contains the word "poop" many times)

In other Murphy- related news, while unpacking my brand new PIZZA STONE!! the other day, someone ate a tiny piece of styrofoam, which instantly made him salivate uncontrollably and then have a bit of diarrhea the next morning (the diarrhea may actually have been from the massive quantities of horse poop he ate at the barn, but who can say for sure?).  Of course, being the overprotective mother that I am, I texted Drew while I was at work to see if Murphy was ok.  

Michelle: Has Murphy pooped today?  He had a little diarrhea this morning.
BearFace: Not on my watch.

A little while later...

BearFace: Murphy pooped out a packing peanut.
Michelle (in typical instantaneous panic mode): OMG really?!?!?  Where did he get one of those?!?!?
BearFace (in typical nonchalant BearFace style): He's fine. 
Michelle: I just hope he doesn't have a lot more in there...
BearFace: silence

Obviously I instantly began prepping myself for the possibility that my accident-prone dog would have to have emergency exploratory surgery to remove a whole (theoretical) box of packing peanuts, while simultaneously racking my brain to figure out where on Earth he could have found them.  By the time I left work, every one of my coworkers and both doctors knew that my dog had pooped out a packing peanut.  And when I got home and incredulously exclaimed to BearFace, "Where could he have found a damn peanut?!?!?", BearFace finally found it in his heart to tell me that he was joking.  There was no peanut.  He thought it would be amusing to tell me this based on the tiny piece of styrofoam that Murphy had swallowed.  Not. Amusing (ok, maybe a little).

Now on to the recipes!  I have several...all of which have been the result of trying to use up stuff in the fridge.  Also, I recently discovered how much I love kale.   

#1 Chicken, Tomatoes and Kale with Marsala wine sauce

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Grape tomatoes, halved
Kale, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
Garlic salt and pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1/2 cup Marsala wine
  1. Slice chicken breasts in half the long way, and season with garlic salt and pepper. 
  2. Heat about 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat, then cook chicken breasts about 5 minutes per side, or until meat is white through the center.  Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Saute onions, tomatoes, and garlic until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add kale and cook additional 3 minutes until slightly wilted.  Remove veggies from pan and set aside with chicken.
  4. Melt butter in pan.  When sizzling, whisk in flour until smooth.  
  5. Add wine and chicken broth and bring to a simmer.  Continue to simmer until sauce is slightly reduced, then add veggies and chicken back to pan until warm.  

Not bad for a quick weeknight "gourmet" feel.

#2  Chicken and Veggie Pizza 

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 pound refrigerated pizza dough (I used whole wheat, but honestly like the regular kind better)
Grape tomatoes, halved
Kale, roughly chopped
White mushrooms, sliced thin
1 jar Marinara sauce
Shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
Garlic salt and pepper
  1. Place pan (or PIZZA STONE!!) in oven and preheat to 500 degrees.
  2. Season chicken with garlic salt and pepper, and cook in olive oil over medium heat about 8 minutes, or until no longer pink.
  3. Roll out dough on floured surface until size of pizza stone.  Place on stone, and liberally poke with a fork.
  4. Spread sauce to desired thickness on top of dough, then sprinkle minced garlic over sauce.
  5. Top with cheese, mushrooms, tomatoes, and kale. 
  6. Bake 6 minutes, then top with chicken and bake for another 6 minutes.
  7. Slice and eat. 


#3 Chicken Stir-Fry

Leftover cooked chicken from pizza
Leftover rice from weekend Chinese food feast
Mushrooms, sliced
Kale, roughly chopped (surprising, right?)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
Sugar snap peas, whole
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 eggs
Sesame oil (Can substitute olive oil if you don't have sesame)
Soy sauce
  1. Heat sesame oil over medium heat.  Add onion, bell pepper, mushrooms and snap peas and saute about 5 minutes.  
  2. Add garlic and ginger and stir until fragrant.
  3. Add rice and stir until it breaks up and becomes soft.
  4. Push ingredients to sides of pan to make a clearing in the center, and crack 2 eggs in the space.  Cook eggs for a few minutes, then stir to mix with rice and veggies. 
  5. Add cooked chicken and kale and stir until chicken is heated and kale is slightly wilted.  
  6. Add soy sauce to taste and stir.  

I don't usually add ginger to my stir-fry, but I really liked
the flavor it added. 

I hope that holds you over until I finally have time to write about my holiday adventures!  It's going to take a while, so I've been gearing myself up for it.  I hope everyone is staying warm in this frigid cold snap.  Brrrr.


  1. Haha! I can see Drew doing that to you and now that I know he didn't really poop a packing peanut it's funny! These recipes look so yummy but my girls are so picky! I think I can get away with the chicken with marsala sauce but I can see their faces now when they get to the kale.