Wednesday, January 19, 2011

WINTER BLAHS

This year, more than ever, I'm beginning to feel like a real biddy-bump on a log! 2010 wasn't the best of years for me healthwise but I think I'm ready to slough that off and try to get back to a more active, better feeling 2011.

Somehow between all the viruses, bumps and bruises, worry over things I don't control and a general malaize, my mind and body have just gotten totally out of control. Instead of the Old Biddy Loose on the Town, I've been more Old Biddy Slouched in a Chair. And what kind of fun was that? None!

Overall though, I did do some new things in 2010 like getting involved in the Akron Digital Media Center (now known as The Akronist) which brought some good things into my life. I was sitting in the Media Center last weekend and I took a look around me and started to giggle a bit. Here was this old biddy white woman sitting in a room with four young black guys and one off-the-wall type video guy listening to hip-hop and watching a video one of the other guys was working on about AIDS. I loved it! I freely admit that I don't mingle outside my stereotype very often so it was refreshing to be with new people. note to self: I gotta do more of that in the future.

The ADMC has allowed me to stretch in other directions, much the same way that Single Volunteers did during it's lifetime. Getting out of a fixed routine, meeting new people and finding new interests is what keeps us moving forward. I've gotten more interested in my new camera and going out taking photos. I've taken on a new love of bread baking by experimenting with whole grains. I've learned to ask questions about the food I eat and in the meanwhile have learned a lot about where it comes from, how it's processed and how it reaches my kitchen. I've learned a lot about writing and telling a story. All of which has been fun and, frankly, just the beginning steps to learning even more.

This year I've challenged myself to learn to cook at home in a more healthy manner and to try to stop eating all of the junk I tend to eat when I'm out to a restaurant. Loosing some of the weight I gained last year is a big priority as is getting more exercise. However, I'm tempering that with a need to continue to hone my bread baking skills. Look out friends and family - there will be bread coming your way this year! AND, let's not forget my lonely pizza oven sitting in the back yard awaiting it's destiny. Mmmmm....pizza! Hopefully whole grained and less calorie-laden versions.

Of course, there is the typical Old Biddy stuff to look forward to. Theater, concerts, out with the other biddies, etc. We're already contemplating the summer series at Porthouse and a few shows at the newly relocated Actor's Summit at Greystone. Still a performace to see at Kent State Theater and then the University of Akron Jazz concerts begining in March. Also, let's hope that the City reprizes the Blues at Lockbottom this summer, it got off to a terrific start last year.

So, it should be a busy year full of fun new things and a lot of familiar events. Let's get rolling!

CHICKEN IN A POT
Simple ingredients come together sweetly
Well, a biddy does still have to eat, right? I've been sifting through my recipes trying to find ones that are healthier and lighter PLUS are still easy to make. This one uses my itty-bitty slow cooker so that dinner was ready when I got home tonight. A dig through the potato patch in the pantry netted a nice sweet potato and believe it or not, the thyme plant in the pot out by the garage is still alive, even after having been snowbound a time or three already, so a sprig of that went into the pot.

This is simple, slightly sweet and easy. I used a bone-in chicken breast (skinless) because these are generally tastier but I suppose you could go boneless. The entire meal (including peas) weighs in around 550 calories, is low in total fat and has an abundance of Vitamin A.

MAPLE AND BROWN SUGAR SWEET POTATO AND CHICKEN IN A SLOW COOKER

Add potato, syrup, sugar and thyme in cooker
1 skinless, bone-in chicken breast
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/3 cup chicken broth

Put the sweet potato, maple syrup, brown sugar and leaves from 1 thyme sprig in the bottom of the slow cooker. Add the chicken breast on top, season with salt and pepper and remaining thyme. Pour in the chicken broth, cover the cooker and cook on low for 8-9 hours.
 
Add the chicken to the pot
Remove the chicken and remove the bones. Slice or shred to serve with potatoes.

Put a small skillet on high heat and strain the juice from the slow cooker into the skillet.  Boil on high to reduce by half.  Add a pat of butter to the sauce to finish.  Spoon over the chicken and potato on the plate.

If you could tell from the photo above, the chicken I bought must have been a bra size DD or E (very large!).  Although I was aiming for a single meal out of this, I ended up with extra cooked chicken.  No problem, just save it plus the extra sauce for a salad and dressing tomorrow night! 

This was a really good meal, but certainly didn't need to cook the 10 hours I ended up leaving it.  But even though I was late coming home, that is part of the charm of the slow cooker, it doesn't overcook too quickly. 

1 comment:

  1. This kind of stuff fills me up - and I'm not referring to the chicken, but I'm about to cook up a dish for Blue. He'd love it.

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