BBQ Chicken Packets

Dinner time!

Want a simple dinner? Maybe just one you can toss in the oven, set the timer and go about your business for an hour and come back to deliciousness? Your prayers are answered! This is one of my favorite easiest dinners ever!

You will need:

As many boneless, skinless chicken breasts as you have people to feed (or 1/2 an extra large breast per person if they’re not super hungry!)

1/2 to 1 cup of prepared BBQ sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray’s!)

Your favorite cooking spray

A large piece of aluminum foil

A jellyroll pan

A meat thermometer

Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray your aluminum foil generously with the cooking spray and place your chicken breasts on said foil. Drizzle BBQ sauce over each breast and bring sides of foil up to form a packet, making sure to tuck in the sides too, crimping as you go. What you want to end up with is a pretty air-tight packet because it will allow the chicken to cook through and absorb the BBQ sauce. Place on jellyroll pan and cook for 1 hour or until chicken reaches 165° F on a meat thermometer.

Carefully open packet to avoid scalding yourself, and enjoy! See, I told you it was easy! I like to make a packet with scrubbed potatoes and/or baby carrots (and a few pats of your favorite butter or margarine) on a cooking sprayed aluminum foil packet to accompany the chicken. This way you can make up your packets, place them on your jellyroll pan, set the timer, and do something else for an hour until dinner is done. Meat, check. Veggie, check. Starch, check. All done! So easy and delicious too! Seconds, anyone?

If you do happen to have a leftover breast or two, I like to use those for sandwiches the next day. Just slice it long-ways and put it on gluten-free bread with mayonnaise and thinly sliced tomatoes. I got four sandwiches out of our one leftover chicken breast. Yum!!!!

Not Enough

Families shouldn’t tear each other down.
Photo by Yan Krukov on Pexels.com

Do you ever want more of something? Clothes, shoes, cars, food, etc.? Have you ever felt like you’re not enough? It’s not true. Everyone is a child of God and everyone is enough. But do we ever feel like maybe we’re not?

I grew up in a family of four with a mother, father, and two children, both sisters. I was the youngest, and you would think the favorite. You would be wrong. I have been “picked on” (read bullied) for my entire life. It wasn’t all from other children, either. Nope. My family got in on the act too. Oh, but if you ask them, I was always just too sensitive!

I remember being a little girl in pj’s waiting for my dad to come in and kiss my sister and me goodnight. What does he say when he walks in? “My gosh! Look at those legs – they’re like ham hocks!” What? In fact, my legs are rather nice. They are not overly large and I certainly do not carry ham hocks around. In fact, I have my dad’s legs!

Comments like this were common. I was always heavier than my older sister. Yeah. I had celiac disease. She didn’t. That didn’t matter to dad, though, or even mom, and definitely not my sister. What the kids at school didn’t destroy, one of my family would.

So, today, some cousins I hadn’t seen in years visited at my mom’s house for lunch. Children #’s 2, 3, and 4 and I went. The cousins were very nice. My mother, not so much. She made a point of telling everyone how, as a child, I would lie on the floor (not enough room for everyone on the couch) and pass gas! I had celiac disease and couldn’t digest food properly hence the gas, but we didn’t know that! Here I am, forty years later, forced to defend myself! Seriously?

I ended up coming home and being depressed. Will I ever be enough for them? Who says I have to please them? Do I really care? This is part of the reason we don’t see them much. Who wants to feel like crap? I don’t.

I know I’m enough. God loves me. I am His beloved child. So what if my brother in law is also writing a book? Who cares if my sister is slim? What difference does it make if her kids are so smart that they make even moderately bright children look stupid? Does that matter to God? I don’t believe so. He just wants us to love one another as He has loved us. I find it hard to do when I am being constantly put down.

Did anyone say that the brother-in-law’s book will be so much more awesome than mine? Nope. Did my sister say that I could never be as slim as she? Nope again, although there was the “I’m working on it,” comment that could be interpreted that I don’t. It’s just my conditioning after spending so many years in that family to think the worst. They are not a happy or really a functional one.

Even my girls were appalled at the treatment. Child #3, for all of her issues, picked up right away on the fact that what my mother said would hurt my feelings. Now, if she gets it, and we all know how many problems she has, why can’t my mother and sister? I hope that I only build my girls up. I never want to be in the position of tearing anyone down!

I’ll just have to go on trying to love them, despite their faults. I don’t even think they realize they are doing it. After all, it’s kind of a habit. I need to make loving them unreservedly one of mine. And probably limit the time I spend with them too!

Families should build each other up.
Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels.com

I Did It – I’m Published!!!

My drawing that is featured on the front of my book “The Adventures of Snowball the Semi-Mighty Dog.”

I did it! I finally did it! What did I do? I published my first book on Amazon! It is a children’s book that is available in paperback and kindle e-book!

I’m so very excited! This is the culmination of many years of dreams. I have wanted, from the time I was a little girl, to be an author. Now I am (besides this blog, of course!)

What is my children’s book about? First, it is called “The Adventures of Snowball the Semi-Mighty Dog.” It chronicles the first year of our Maltese’s life, through her eyes. She is a smart and sassy pup with much to share.

Please consider purchasing the paperback or e-book version of my book! I’m so very proud of it. Thank you Jesus for it and all the people it will touch!

The e-book is up now and the paperback will be up very soon! Yay!

Apparitions: Our Lady of Fatima

Our Lady of Fatima
Photo by Joshua Miranda on Pexels.com

Our Lady appeared to three shepherd children in 1917 in Fatima, Portugal. This is considered a more modern day apparition than the others I have shared with you. It took place during WWI, with foretellings including WWII and beyond. It is widely believed that all of these foretellings have not yet taken place.

On May 13, 1917, three shepherd children, Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco in Cova da Iria, Fatima, Portugal reported seeing “a lady more brilliant than the sun.” Lucia, at age 9, was the oldest. Her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco just 7 and 8 respectively. Children. Innocent children. These are the messengers chosen.

During the apparitions Our Lady gave the children three secrets. For the first, they were shown Hell. This is an excerpt from Sr. Lucia’s memoir from 1941 regarding the vision on July 13, 1917:

Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repulsive likeness to frightful and unknown animals, all black and transparent. This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever be grateful enough to our kind heavenly Mother, who had already prepared us by promising, in the first Apparition, to take us to heaven. Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror.

The second secret had two parts. First that WWI would end, but that a greater war (WWII) would come if people did not mend their ways and return to God. The second part was in regards to Russia. Our Lady told the children that Russia needed to be converted to her Immaculate Heart so that the world could then experience a time of peace. If the conversion did not happen, Russia would spread her errors throughout the world.

The third secret was a vision that Lucia had. It basically predicted an angel with a flaming sword crying out for penance. Then there were many holy people climbing a mountain to be martyred, including the pope. Our Lady said that the conversion of Russia to her Immaculate Heart will happen, but if we don’t repent it will take that much longer. We have not seen Russia converted, and there certainly has not been a period of peace, but we did see the Berlin wall come down and other inroads into peace, so I believe it is coming.

There were many miracles at Fatima. Just the fact that Our Lady was there! One of the most famous, however, is the miracle of the sun. This is when, on October 13, 1918, the sun danced in the sky, swooping and swirling above the heads of 70,000 people. Now, I don’t know about you, but I can’t get 70 people to agree on anything, much less 70,000. That is what I call a miracle in more ways than one.

Francisco and Jacinta died during the Influenza epidemic of 1918, Francisco in 1919 and Jacinta in 1920. They are now saints. As for Lucia, she lived as a nun to the ripe age of 97, dying in 2005. She is being considered for sainthood, but the process is a long one and couldn’t be started until five years after her death, per Church doctrine. Her three memoirs are available if you would like more information.

Portugal Kinder von Fatima
Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta at Fatima.

So, what is the message here? Apologize. Confess your sins to God and get on the right track. Our God is a merciful God. He wants His children back. What are you waiting for? Pray and repent!!!

Beef Stir Fry

My yummy dinner!

I know I told you that I cook all sorts of cuisine, but I have yet to post much in the Chinese variety. So, I decided to make stir fry last night and share it with you on today’s blogpost.

I like beef in Asian dishes, and so I decided to use a lean piece of roundsteak that was approximately 1 3/4 pounds. I cut it into approximately 3/4 to 1 inch pieces. It was not a thick cut, so this worked easily. One could also use beef stew meat if one were in a hurry.

Here is my process:

1 very large frying pan with 4 inch sides (or possibly a wok. I’m not sure how that would work as I didn’t use one!)

1/4 cup canola oil

1 large, sweet onion, quartered and sliced

1 3/4 pounds of roundsteak, sirloin, or beef stew meat

1/4 cup gluten-free tamari soy sauce (I used Kikkoman)

1 Tbsp. granulated onion

2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

2 tsp. red wine vinegar

3 ribs of celery, sliced into three long-ways and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

2, 8 oz. cans water chestnuts, sliced or diced

2, 8 oz. cans bamboo shoots

2, 14 oz. cans bean sprouts

7 ribs bok choy, slice the leaves off and set aside, slice long-ways into four or so spears, and then chop as with celery

bok choy leaves, roughly chopped

Put your canola oil in your large frying pan and heat. When hot, add sliced onion. Cook, stirring occasionally for about five minutes or until slightly soft. Add beef and cook until it is no longer pink. Add soy sauce, granulated onion, salt, pepper, and vinegar. Mix well.

Haven’t heard of bok choy? Here’s a pic to help you identify it! It’s usually next to the napa cabbage.

Add celery, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, and ribs of bok choy. Cook, stirring often, until the celery and bok choy have had a chance to soften. You don’t want them mushy, but you also don’t want them raw. I would suggest 10 minutes on medium heat, give or take. Add bok choy leaves and stir in. Allow the leaves to soften and take on the flavor of the stir-fry, about five minutes.

Bok Choy leaves just added.

If you like, you may serve this over brown rice. I am watching myself, so we just ate it as-is. It was so tasty!!! Enjoy.

Watching Myself

Photo by Mariana Montrazi on Pexels.com

Lately I have been watching myself as far as food consumption and content goes. My body and I have a complicated relationship. While I love all the things for which my body is capable, I am less fond of the few extra curves it sports as a result of some of the amazing things it has accomplished (like carrying twins and childbirth!)

So here I am again, watching consumption and content. 😔. It’s not that bad, really. In fact, sometimes I even forget that I’m watching. Especially when I’m goofing off with the kiddos or reading a really good book.

I try not to let my body and any discomfort I feel about it take over my life. God gave me this body, and I think it has done some pretty awesome things. It will carry me into the future.

I will chose my battles wisely. I will fight the urge to be hard on myself and my body. I will love me, just as God does.

Spatchcocked Chicken

This was the only photo I could find of a spatchcocked chicken. I did not cook this with all of these veggies, but you get the idea. Photo by Tim Douglas on Pexels.com

What? What was that title? Yes. You read it right. We are going to talk about spatchcocked chicken. You’re doing what to a chicken? Spatchcocking it. Basically, we are taking out the backbone of said chicken, and making it lie flat on the pan/grill/frying pan. What are we after? Faster chicken!!! No, I am not referring to a chicken who can run a quick marathon. I am talking about a way to cook chicken so that we can eat it sooner!

I don’t know about you, but my children seem to be always hungry and if they have to wait until even 6 p.m. for dinner, I will hear about it. Luckily, we set up a system a few years back where everyone takes a turn or two at cooking during the week. My days are Tuesday and Wednesday. Child #2 is Monday and Friday. Child #3 is Thursday. (She only has one day since it’s extremely hard for her to cook due to her mental health issues. I still hide all the knives and will only get one out for her if she needs one for dinner prep, as she will use it to hurt and/or mutilate her body otherwise. Yes. It’s like that here.) Child #4 has Saturday and Sunday, since she was away at school during the week.

So, here we are, starving. I try to provide a balanced meal at dinner for the kiddos. I consider that a protein, a starch, and a vegetable. Some days we don’t have starch, but rather two vegetables. This can be in the Autumn, as I am very fond of squash and find it a bit too much to use just that as a veggie. So that is usually paired with green beans or broccoli, etc.

Back to spatchcocking…I have wanted to try my hand at this for quite a while, but have been chicken (Ha! Ha!) So, last Tuesday I went for it. I don’t own a pair of kitchen shears (the thought of actually being able to get all of that raw meat residue off of it for cleaning stops me in my tracks every time!) so I brought out a sharp kitchen knife and slid it down on either side of the chicken’s backbone. It made me a little queasy, but I was on a mission.

First tip: Make sure your chicken is completely defrosted. This can be accomplished in your microwave to start and then finished in your fridge, or any of your favorite defrosting methods. Just be careful to not let it get too warm and spoil. No one wants bad chicken!

Once you have cut out and removed the backbone of your chicken, flip it over and lay it flat. You are supposed to have to break the breastbone when you do this, but my chicken didn’t require anything to lie flat. Defective chicken? Who knows?

Then I simply salted, peppered and rosemarried the back side of the chicken (the part with the bones) so that no one was chewing on rosemary and making that nasty face my children get when they taste something they do not like.

Second Tip: If you are grilling your spatchcocked chicken, may I suggest placing a double sheet of foil under it, gently sprayed with your favorite non-stick cooking spray? It will cook beautifully, not stick to the grill, and make clean-up a breeze. Additionally, it will prevent flare-ups in your grill as the grease from the chicken drips into your hot coals.

I cooked our chicken for about thirty minutes on the first side and then flipped it over to cook an additional thirty on the back side. My chicken was about four pounds. Just make sure your chicken reaches the safety of 165 degrees F so that no one needs to go to the ER for food poisoning. Nope. Nobody wants that!

It was beautiful and golden brown. It had a wonderful smoky flavor from the grill, but no charring on it since it had been cooked on the foil. I’m sorry that I didn’t take any pictures of the chicken, as it was gorgeous (first time I’ve ever said that about a chicken!!!) but I was a little busy with the grill, hot coals, cutting up cucumber, and boiling corn on the cob. So, you will have to make do with a stock image. Sorry about that.

So, after you’ve stopped laughing at the name, let me know if you’ve ever tried this cooking method and, if so, how did it go? Otherwise, you can just stop by to like or comment. I like communication!!! Have a happy day and enjoy!

Our Happy Independence Day!

Well-watered horses are always part of our parade!

A belated happy independence day to all of my people from the U.S. We celebrate each year (except for last year!) in our small village with a parade and fireworks. Not to brag, but we have the best small-town parade around! It’s so very American! We have fire trucks (with sprayers to wet down the hot crowd,) ambulances, police, as well as many floats, politicians, bands, and of course horses and tractors (we are talking small town here!)

Those who serve!

This year was a little different, as the fourth landed on a Sunday. I, as choir director at our little church, needed to be at 9:30 a.m. Mass directing said choir. I left shortly thereafter, to drop off children #’s 3 and 4 to secure a spot along the parade route. The parade started at 11 a.m., so it was a tight squeeze. I dropped off said children and headed home with child #2 to let the doggies out. After that was accomplished we packed up a cooler bag with an icepack and six water bottles and headed out. This accomplishes two things: 1. We have lovely cold water on a terribly hot day, and 2. we have a cool place in which to place melty candy and freeze pops that are thrown at the parade. We don’t live very far from the parade route, so we just walked to avoid all of the traffic/parking that we passed on our way uptown. We found the twins and our spot and settled in.

It was a lovely, old-fashioned parade, as you can see from the pictures. Child #2 is still a little bitter about the bike-decorating contest that she took part in a few years back. The rules stated that the child had to decorate their bike. However, the child that won stated that her mother had stayed up all night doing her bike. Child #2 was incensed, which I can see her point. However, life, as we all know, is not fair. This is not Heaven. It’s earth.

After the parade we went home and relaxed. It was quite hot, especially with certain members of the family running after the candy that was thrown! They even had some chocolate this year (a rarity, as it is July and it’s usually pretty hot – 94° this year!) We cooled down, ate a lovely grilled dinner, and then started preparations for traveling across town to the park for fireworks.

Child #3 did not want to attend, as the loud noises from the fireworks trigger her PTSD. Unfortunately, child #4 had a migraine and an upset tummy, so she also stayed home. Child #2 and I traversed across town to the park and set up my chair and her blanket. We read and chatted until it was dark and the show began. It was, as usual, spectacular.

We made it home with a minimum of fuss, thanks to our yearly preparations and our flashlight! My broken leg hurt some (it’s a fair walk) and my muscles were cramping by the time we arrived home, but a little ibuprofen and a good night’s sleep cured that. All in all a good fourth! Hope yours was awesome too! Also, if you don’t live in the U.S., and therefore don’t celebrate the fourth of July, I hope you had a lovely weekend.

Up it goes!

I’m also quite thankful that our home firework people ceased the show before midnight so that Delilah and I could get a good night sleep. The night of the third they were going wild setting off family fireworks and we did not sleep well. Mainly because Delilah (all 5.6 pounds of her) was in attack mode at the incessant noise and I was the only one there to calm her! My dog detests fireworks! They are beautiful when the village does them, though.

Why am I awake? Delilah.