August 13, 2010

My favorite Chicken Salad!!

Tarragaon Chicken Salad

recipe from Stephanie Nelson's book, "The Coupon Mom's Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half"

3 large boneless chicken breasts (1.5-2 lb package)

3/4 cup Mayo

1/4 cup sour cream

about 1/4 cup fresh tarragon

1-2 stalks celery, diced

4 oz. red or green grapes, cut in half

1/4 cup toasted almonds or pecans (optional, I leave these out)

salt and pepper to taste

I usually poach the chicken, but you can also roast it. Then I dice very finely, but if you have a food processor, you could also use that to chop up the chicken. Just don't process it too much, you want some good chunks! That's why I like to cut mine up by hand! Then combine the chicken with all the other ingredients and chill.

I use extra mayo, sour cream, grapes, and celery, just because I like to make it taste real good :) The original recipe called for low fat mayo and sour cream, so feel free to use those if you like, but I prefer the real thing, fat and all! The fresh tarragon is really what makes it, so I put in alot! You can get it at Kroger or Publix, so it's not hard to find. You will want to pull all the skinny leaves off of the "stalk" (don't know what is called) of the herb, and then chop it up really well. It smells soooo good!

I like to serve this on those thin sandwhich rounds, but its also good with pita, or just eaten with a spoon!


August 3, 2010

A tribute to the Goldies in my life

For some reason today I got thinking about the few, but fiercely loyal canine companions I've had in my life. Maybe it was my mom flirting with the idea of getting another Goldie puppy, I'm not sure. But I thought it would be fun to share! I thought the golden-color font would be fitting, too!

I grew up with a wonderful, and unforgettable Golden Retriever, Sandy. My parents had her since she was a puppy, and her mother was actually part of the family, too. We have a peculiar love of Golden retrievers on the Richardson side of the family! Sandy was our trusty family companion, along with our two cats. She was the sweetest dog EVER! Went through three babyhood's, with all the ear and tail tugging there could be. Mom tells me stories of Sandy "keeping an eye on us" while she got groceries out of the car. She moved overseas with us, but was pretty well advanced in age by that time. I have fond memories of walking here through the German countryside and endless fields. It seemed like each day she grew weaker and would start to just lay down on our walks, because she couldn't go any further. It was so sad to see her get old....she was the only dog we ever had. This may be the reason I cried more in "Marley and Me" than most movies I've ever seen. I think each of us in my family still gets teary-eyed talking about it. She passed away somewhere around my freshman/sophomore year of high school (is that correct mom?) at the good ol' age of 16. She lived a long and full life and brought so much joy to our family.

Here she is, with our trusty and feisty cat Flo-jo (who I think lives on in our cat, Tilly!) We love you Sandy!

Fast forward a couple years, and a move to Warner Robins, GA (HELLO, MAJOR culture shock coming from Europe!!) and Mom decided to finally get a new puppy. A pure bred Golden Retriever who we (oh-so-cleverly) named Sadie. S for Susie, A for Aneesa, and D for Deke, the three siblings. I know, I know, we are SO original! Mom knew she was the "right one" from the start! She was the CUTEST puppy ever (see pictures!) and we fell in love with her instantly. But....Sadie had, and still has, some major quirks!! She would not walk farther than our driveway when she was a puppy because she was scared of, yes...the MOON. It was a desperate effort of our whole family to get her to just walk around the block. To this day, she is still scared of laundry baskets, brooms, large pool toys, and many other random household objects. Mind you, Sadie is now close to 100 pounds. Again, quirks. But, anyways....I remember the days of coming home from my VERY fulfilling career at...none other than...Cheddars, and Sadie running onto my lap and licking me all over, because I smelled (see picture). I also remember the day she got her poor little puppy head stuck in the baby gate. This was about the time we realized Sadie would be a very special little dog :) I also remember the horrid feeling I had in my stomach when I saw her jump out of the back of my brother's truck onto a highway (while we were going at least 50mph) on the way to get a Christmas tree. I didnt' have kids at the time, but I think it was the closest I would come at that time to feeling what a parent would feel if their kid fell out of a moving vehicle. Thank goodness, she was fine besides a torn-up paw. Sadie quickly became our second Sadie, and she IS my parent's fourth kid!! She may be just a little spoiled, but we love her anyways. She loves my kids, too! Whenever she is here, she goes into a panic when they start crying. And we usually always find her sleeping beside the crib of whatever baby happened to be in there at the time. Sadie has survived life with us for about 6 months (was it Mom?) and international travel, including a Nazi-concentration-camp-like quarentine in England for 6 months! She is a trooper and she loves her family like crazy! I can surely look past her incessant shoe-picking-up, ear-piercing yelps from outside when she can't come in, kitty-litter eating, food stealing from innocent babies, and licking of my dad's legs until they are dripping wet....for the pure sweetness of her little doggie heart and her companionship for nearly eleven years now! Sadie, I will never forget the time you ate my child's dropped corn dog, STICK and all....or the time you dug a hole under our fence, because we left you in the backyard to go to dinner for an hour, or the time you jumped out of the window at Eagle Springs to chase the ducks, or the time my husband made me bathe you while I was eight months pregnant :) We love you, sweet girl.

Most of you would probably assume that I am decidedly NOT a dog person, but actually I am. I just am not ready for one in my house yet....maybe the four boys have something to do with it! I would love for my parents to start the journey all over again with a new Goldie, that my boys can grow up with. Sandy and Sadie...thank you for all the memories you gave/give to our family.
After reading this, I encourage you to go read or watch Marley and Me, and get a sense of what our family feels if you've never had a Goldie of your own. It's an adventure, but a fun one that your children will always remember!

Sadie, as a puppy, and as a grown dog, with our chunkster Gabe.
Isn't she adorable?

August 2, 2010

Mrs. Wren's Buffalo Chicken Dip

This stuff is so easy, you'll want to make it every week! It also makes for a great party food! I add extra hot sauce, so you can adjust the amount to suit how hot you like it. I usually put shredded sharp cheddar on top, but have also tried a mix of cheddar and Montery Jack and that was good too! Recipe courtesy of Wren Daniels (Michael's beloved preschool teacher and friend of mine!)

Buffalo Chicken Dip

1/4 cup hot sauce (or more to taste)

2 large cans chicken

8 0z. cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup Ranch dressing

8 oz. bag Shredded cheddar, or cheese of choice

Mix together first four ingredients. I like to break chicken up with a fork, and then stir together. Top with the shredded cheese. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes until bubbly and cheese is melted! Yum Yum!!

Serve with tortilla chips or the dipping device of your choice!