Sunday, January 15, 2017

Giada's Grilled Chicken with Basil Dressing....& GIVEAWAY WINNER

Each winter, we have a summer meal on a "warm" day and it was 50 degrees last week so we grilled.  I love lemons, and have been making Giada's lemon basil chicken since 2011 when I found the recipe. This grilled chicken is very moist, and the basil dressing is fresh and citrusy. The longer you marinate the chicken, the better!

 The grilled chicken is like summer on a plate. We froze corn on the cob from our favorite farm in August, and it was tasty with the chicken. 
And just in case you aren't quite sure whether you'd enjoy this wonderful summer chicken dish, you can read reviews about the recipe by clicking here. Grilled Chicken with Basil Dressing

There is also a video of adorable Giada making this dish if you are interested. 

Here is the recipe:

Grilled Chicken with Basil Dressing

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis, 2009
(Serves 6 )


2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus 1/4 cup

1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds, coarsely crushed

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

3 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts

1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves

1 large garlic clove

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel


Whisk 1/3 cup of oil, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, fennel seeds, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper in a resalable plastic bag. Add the chicken and seal the bag. Massage the marinade into the chicken. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day, turning the chicken occasionally.

Meanwhile, blend the basil, garlic, lemon peel, remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a blender until smooth. Gradually blend in the remaining 1/3 cup oil. Season the basil sauce, to taste, with more salt and pepper, if desired.

Prepare the barbecue for medium-high heat or preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Remove chicken from the marinade. Discard the marinade. Grill the chicken until just cooked through, about 8 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to serving plates, drizzle with the basil sauce and serve.

The winner of the Serious Chocolate Lovers giveaway from Honduras Chocolate is:

Karen @ Back Road Journal

Congratulations Karen! Enjoy your flight of chocolate. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Calling Serious Chocolate Lovers - A Giveaway

Are you a serious chocolate lover like me? I know not everyone is, including my son who doesn't understand how I can eat dark chocolate. I prefer pure, organically grown with cane sugar and no additives. I have a chocolate square after my dinner and call it dessert. 

 Imagine my surprise when a representative of Honduras Chocolate Company from Denver, CO contacted me to see if I wanted to receive a box of chocolate made from organically-grown, single-origin cacao, grown and manufactured in the rainforests of Honduras. All their chocolate products are gluten-free (several friends and family members will appreciate this), dairy-free and non GMO. 

The cacao is grown by an exclusive network of Honduran farmers, and the company invests in the farmers, their families and pay higher-than-fair-trade prices. They are passionate about chocolate as well as Honduras, and the company was founded to provide a sustainable economic solution, ensuring a brighter future and stronger economic chocolate bar at a time.

Just leave me a comment telling me how you use dark chocolate in your baking (it's great in brownies), and I will pick a winner on January 14. The winner will receive a flight of bars so you can taste the different cacao percentages (just in time to make your Valentine's Day dessert). Thank you to for this wonderful giveaway!
I am joining Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday. 


Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Magic of the Season is All Around

I hope your holiday is fabulous in every way! May all the magic and beauty of the season fill your home and heart with much happiness.

Powdered Sugar Cookies (Polvorones Sevillanos) are my son's favorite Christmas cookies. When he was taking Spanish in high school, he volunteered me to make cookies and still remembers that. Although he can't remember the teacher's The cookies are typical Spanish cookies and are of Arab origin. The recipe also stated that just about every country in the Western world has some version of a sugar cookie. Sevilla is famous for its cookies, but they are also found throughout Spain. The Spanish sometimes serve these cookies in the afternoon to guests accompanied by a glass of anisette liqueur. 

1/2 pound sweet butter at room temperature
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 tablespoon brandy or cognac
2 cups of flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups powdered sugar sifted for dusting.

Cream the butter with electric beater until light colored and fluffy. In a small cup, mix together the egg yolk and the tablespoon of powdered sugar. Stir in the brandy. Beat this mixture into the butter.

Sift the flour with the cinnamon. Gradually incorporate the flour with a spatula or a wooden spoon into the butter mixture. The dough should be slightly sticky. With flowered hands shape the dough into ovals, about 2 inches long and 1/2 inch high.

Place on and ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 300°F for about 30 minutes. The cookies should not brown. Cool slightly 2 to 3 minutes.

Sift the powdered sugar onto a sheet of waxed paper. Roll the warm cookies carefully in the sugar, coating them lightly on all sides. Cool the cookies completely, then dust with more powdered sugar. To serve, you may place the cookies in miniature paper cupcake liners.

I am feeling quite an accomplishment getting these cookies made since they are "special" to us. That is the only cookie I had time to make! Ha! So my sister just delivered a HUGE tray of cookies to our front door and I honestly heard my husband squeal with joy. He had no idea she was coming over with the cookies. 

 Here are a few holiday photos from my phone. Twenty "bucks" put into a pizza box for a generic gift exchange.
 Our front porch, and we have filled the bucket twice. Joe just happened to be at the front door when the UPS man was taking a picture to send to his wife.

 The farmhouse at MacKenzie-Childs in Aurora, NY. 
 A beautiful day for cross country skiing at the golf course.

Merry, Merry everyone! I'm joining Rattlebridge Farm for the holidays.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Magical Holiday Season...and our Winner!

The Poinsettia is the traditional Christmas flower for many. It is particularly well known for its red and green foliage. Native to Mexico, it derives its common name from Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States Minister to Mexico, who introduced the plant to the US in 1825.

The plant's association with Christmas began in 16th-century Mexico, where legend tells of a girl, commonly called Pepita or Maria, who was too poor to provide a gift for the celebration of Jesus' birthday and was inspired by an angel to gather weeds from the roadside and place them in front of the church altar. Crimson blossoms sprouted from the weeds and became beautiful poinsettias. From the 17th century, Franciscan friars in Mexico included the plants in their Christmas celebrations. A little holiday history for you!

A trip to NYC makes the holiday season special in such a magical way. Indulging in cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery is a must and it was our last stop of the day. Their buttercream frosting ROCKS! I bought a half dozen and popped a few in the freezer in the hopes they will still be tasty. 
 MacKenzie-Childs was all decked out for the holidays. 

Our next stop was Tiffany's to see the tree and then to Henri Bendel's for some holiday shopping. 

A stop at Grand Central Station to shop the holiday market is always a must. I probably should have stocked up on spices :-)

Our "Scoots" group planned a get together to assemble our Wilton pre-baked Gingerbread camper kit that we found at Walmart this year. It brought back memories of my grandparent's Shasta trailer. My grandparents brought their cute Shasta trailer to my parent's camp, and we had campfire dinners, dressed up in my grandmother's costume jewelry, baked pies in the little oven, had treasure hunts, and my favorite thing was to sleep in the "bed" on the upper level of the trailer. 
My heart is getting merrier by the minute. Xavier is nine months old and will celebrate his first Christmas. 
Joe and I went to the Turning Stone Casino for our annual visit to the gingerbread village. Life-size gingerbread houses don't exist only in fairytales! 

The holidays aren't complete without visiting the Gingerbread Village at the Turning Stone Casino. 70 feet long and a confectionary delight! This year they added a moving four-foot carousel with a gingerbread canopy and horses made of frosting and candy.

The Tales of the Traveling Totes members offered a giveaway, and the winner of the lovely glass acorn ornament from MacKenzie-Childs is Kitty's Kozy Kitchen. Congratulations Kitty!! 
Merry Christmas friends! Joy to the World!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Traveling Totes - MacKenzie-Childs Giveaway

It's the holiday season and time for indulgence. Let the festivities begin! I've lit a candle for us to enjoy with some very merry tea.

First, let me say that MacKenzie-Childs should have their own float in the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade and we could be on it singing "I am dreaming of a Checked Christmas" all while holding our totes. The Traveling Tote ladies have been busy swapping Christmas ornaments from places they have been. Emily at The French Hutch sent me a MacKenzie-Childs ornament!!! The ornament is inspired by a grand English country manse decked out for a holiday fete. It's called "Yuletide Manor Cloche" and it captures a stately scene in miniature. It's a silver-dusted tree bedecked with colorful ornaments and it is under a traditional glass dome, topped with Courtly Check ribbon. 
Thank you so much Emily--I loved adding it to my MacKenzie-Childs ornament collection!
September and October were fun filled months here at Mountain Breaths. We had a bachelorette party for my niece and toured six Finger Lakes wineries. What fun that was! Jamie and Shane are a sweet couple and are getting married in February on Marco Island, FL. My niece is like a daughter to me.  In the photo below, my sister Cheryl in the pink top and Jamie holding the sign. 
At the end of September, we let the good times roll and celebrated my sisterinlaw's 60th birthday with eleven family members in New Orleans. We arrived Friday afternoon for a long weekend and tried to squeeze in as much as possible including going on a swamp and bayou tour (Joe and I were pretty brave to hold a baby alligator - not so cute when it gets bigger), shopped on Magazine Street and the French Market, toured Mardi Gras World, listened to musicians at Jackson Square and celebrated Cheryl's birthday in a surprise birthday parade on Bourbon Street. You may be familiar with the wedding parades that are popular in New Orleans, and it requires a lot of planning to get the permit, hire the jazz band and hire police officers for a birthday parade. We rented a house on Burgundy Street in the French Quarter that we found on Airbnb. 

In October, we pedaled these "bikes" on the New York Central Railroad in Saranac Lake. It was difficult to get a reservation, but I finally got one and IT POURED. We still had fun, and dressed for the weather. After we freshened up at the Depot, we headed to Lake Placid to have lunch at our favorite lunch spot "The Cottage" on Mirror Lake. 

Ever since we got back from New Orleans, Joe has been making this Muffuletta sandwich recipe. He made it for our bachelorette winery trip and made several for his students. It's an amazing sandwich if you like olives. One of his student's told him it's the best sandwich he's ever had, and to not tell his mother he said that. LOL
 I am so enjoying the friendship with my fellow Courtly Check gals. Who would have thought that a tote bag could make us a close knit group. Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season!

Debbie with Miss Victoria and Miss Aurora Mountain Breaths  (That's me!!)
Emily with Miss Courtney Childs@ The French Hutch
Linda with Miss Rosie @ More Fun Less Laundry
Patti with Miss Kenzie and Miss Taylor @ Pandora's Box
Rita with Miss Luna C Panoply
Sarah with Miss Merri Mac @ Hyacinths for the Soul
 I am hosting the December giveaway for the Traveling Tote Tribe. Leave a comment on my blog letting me know you would like a chance to win the MacKenzie-Childs acorn ornament below. I will draw a lucky winner on December 8.

We will offer a MacKenzie-Childs giveaway with our next 4 posts, each time with a different host!  

The next post will be March 1, 2017.