Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Hard Knock Life

Daycare be hard yall.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Some Friday night dulcimer music...

It could definitely be smoother, but what I'm most proud of is that I had a bobble and kept on going!  Usually when I bobble I really bumble and get all flustered. Still having fun with this dulcimer. Happy weekend!

Foodie Fridays - Low-fat Chicken Alfredo

Happy Friday my loves!  I've got a quick recipe for you and it will help you use some of this wonderful abundant produce we have here as summer ends and it's a little lighter than usual as far as alfredo sauce goes.  The creaminess from this dish comes from an unexpected source: plain yogurt.

I know, I know.  You're all looking at me saying, "WHAT?!?"

I used to be like that about plain yogurt too and then I made tzatziki a few years ago and it's just been downhill from there.  I now use it to make biscuits, pizza dough, as an alternative for sour cream, and I even use it in corn salad using half mayo and half yogurt.  I promise you'll never know the difference.  It helps cut calories but still tastes pretty awesome.  That's why the other night when I got an intense craving for alfredo pasta I wondered about making a lower fat sauce and I saw a recipe from  You can see their recipe HERE.  I used this as a starting point and of course went my own way from there.  This recipe is loaded with veggies and honestly I only used about 4 large chicken tenders so it's very economical and if you're of the vegetarian persuasion just load up on the veggies, leave the chicken out, and you're good to go.  My little girl loved it and I have to admit this is probably how I will be making alfredo sauce from now on.  Bye bye expensive little packets of powder!

The sauce starts much like my sausage gravy recipe, so for some step by step pictures check out that post HERE.    If you can make a bechamel sauce, also known as white sauce, then you're good to go because that's basically what this is with some yogurt and Parmesan cheese thrown in.  I ran the ingredients through calorie count which lets you type in your ingredients, number or portions, and give you some nutritional data.  My recipe came out to be 341 calories per serving with 9.1 total grams of fat with 4.2 grams being saturated fat.  Not too bad.  Try it and let me know what you think!  I also love calorie count because if you cook at home at lot it's hard sometimes to know just how bad or good a recipe is for you.

Low-fat Chicken Alfredo 

Serves 4 (or more)

1 cup boneless chicken breast or chicken tenders cubed (could also use rotisserie chicken)
3/4 cup chopped zucchini 
3/4 cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup frozen/fresh broccoli
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup plain yogurt
3/4 cup low fat or reduced fat milk 
8 ounces of rotini pasta but you could use penne or fettuccine cooked  
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1/2 cup low fat chicken broth
1/4 to 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large skillet over medium heat with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and saute cubed chicken seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder until done and no pink remains. Remove from the pan and set aside.  In the same pan saute the onion until translucent and then add zucchini and mushrooms and cook until zucchini is soft and season with a little salt and pepper.  When vegetables are done to your liking remove from pan and reserve along with the chicken. 

To cook the broccoli I normally just bring my pasta water to a boil, cook my broccoli for a few minutes, remove, and then cook my pasta in the same water.   

In the still hot pan melt your two tbsp of butter.  Once melted add your flour whisking around until combined well and it resembles this....

To this add your chicken broth.  If you read my sausage gravy post remember it's going to look like you've messed up but keep whisking!  It might look like this...

But add in your milk and keep whisking until everything is combined and smooth.  

Keep working with it and it will soon look like this.....

Now, hard part over!  Time to add in our seasoning.  First add the yogurt and whisk until combined and smooth and repeat with the Parmesan cheese.  Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste.  Once the sauce is to your liking add all the ingredients back to the pot:  chicken, veggies, and hot pasta!  If you're sauce looks a little thick add just a little hot pasta water and that will take care of everything.  

It's seriously good.  Seriously.  Like I wouldn't lie to you good.  I know in my picture the sauce looks a little thin, but I promise as it cools it will thicken up.  This keeps well in the fridge and heats up the next day like a dream.  Hope you enjoy!  
Like it?  Hate it?  Let me know.  :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Hot Mess Monday

The face of sciatic nerve pain on a Monday brought to you on a Wednesday.  

Hopefully my stupid back is better and I can you know actually sit down when I get home in the afternoons and ya know do something computery.  Love ya lovelies!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Foodie Fridays - Black-eyed Pea Dip aka Southern Caviar

foodie fridays at hickory ridge studio

I'm back!  Did you miss me?  Awe you did!  I missed you too.

All that mushy stuff out of the way let's get to the recipe.

foodie fridays at hickory ridge studio southern caviar

We're in the tail end of summer and you know what?  I still don't want to cook.  I don't want to turn my oven on for much and I'd just as soon have a BLT for supper most nights.  My tomatoes are finally coming in and that's all I really care about right now.  But you do need a side from time to time and here's another great way to use up some of those extra tomatoes you may have lying around.  I love to make this with grape tomatoes as I have those coming out of my ears!  This is a recipe adapted from Paula Deen's cookbook Paula Deen Celebrates!  I've had it several years and it has many recipes that are sooo good but this is one I turn to time and again in the summer when I get asked to bring a dish or an appetizer to an event.  It makes a _TON_ so you might want to cut the recipe in half, but it will keep for several days in the fridge.  Serve it with tortilla chips as an appetizer or as a side.  It works great either way.  It's definitely a recipe I get asked for again and again.  Hope you enjoy!

Black-eyed Pea Dip aka Southern Caviar 

2 fifteen ounce cans black-eyed peas - drained
1 fifteen ounce can whole kernel corn - drained (I prefer shoe-peg corn)
1 can Rotel tomatoes drained or 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh jalapeno pepper
1 four ounce jar chopped pimentos drained

1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup olive oil

Combine all your ingredients in a large bowl, whisk together your dressing ingredients, pour over your black-eyed pea mixture, and refrigerate until ready to use.  I usually make this the night before serving to give all the ingredients and flavors time to meld and get super yummy.  

Serve with tortilla chips, I like scoops, or as a side for anything from sandwiches to chicken.  

foodie fridays at hickory ridge studio southern caviar

Hope you enjoy!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Home again...home again...thud...

I am home from the beauty and culture that is Natchez, MS and completely and utterly wiped out!  I am definitely not in shape anymore for late nights and early morning?  (Oh horse show stamina why have you deserted me?  What happened to the Lana that could make her last run at 2:00 a.m. and be back up at 6:00 a.m. to feed and groom for the next day?)

We definitely had a great time and Allie spent the weekend with her cousins.  Honestly I think she had the best time of anyone on the trip.  We got in last night around 5:15 p.m. and after a quick supper and a few loads of clothes were in the bed early.  There is probably an early night on the horizon for me tonight as well.
I'll have a few more pictures later on in the week but for today here are a few Instagram shots.  I love Natchez and am able to find my way around more and more every time I go.  I just have to con my hubby into taking me on more picture taking expeditions.  This is one of the first trips we have taken there that was not for a family occasion and I actually had a little time one afternoon to wander around by myself and just enjoy.  Never mind the hot, sticky, humid, soggy atmosphere that is Natchez in the summer.  Being built on the Mississippi River it's just a tiny bit warm.   Later my loves!


Tuesday, July 22, 2014 is hard...

Let me see, let me see....

We might as well call July what it is.  Vacation month for the blog.

First there was the weekend of the 4th.

Then there was the recovery from that weekend.

Then I got the dulcimer and lost an entire week just playing the darn thing every night.

And this week I'm getting ready to go to Natchez for the weekend which means I'm washing clothes, taking clothes to the cleaners, getting stuff together for Allie, and hopefully deep cleaning my car because at this point we're past embarrassment here.  It looks like there was a cheerios explosion in my back seat.

And on top of everything I decided that I needed a new dress for this trip, because I do this EVERY SINGLE TIME.  I look at my closet, hate everything, and either end up staying up late every night sewing or making a mad dash to the store the day before and buying stuff in a frenzy.

I am insane.  We all know this.  Move on.

Hope you are all having a great week lovelies!