Thursday, May 19, 2011

Five Spice Glazed Chicken with a Plum Salsa

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5 spice glazed chicken

I was so super excited to see plums at the grocery store. I hadn't eaten plums in years. I think I was still a teenager the last time I ate a plum. That's just not acceptable. Despite the fact my grocery store didn't carry plum jam, I was determined to make this for dinner. I instead used raspberry jam and it was still quite good. I think plum jam would have tied in with the flavors better, but hey you do whatchya can. 

I found this recipe in the recent issue of Cuisine Tonight and the focus of this issue was grilling. My amazing chef friend A Mama with Flavor turned me on to cooking magazines as a source of inspiration and I'm so happy she did!

What I really like about this magazine is it provides nutritional value.  So you know that the food you're making not only tastes good, but is healthy too!

Next time you grill, try this out :) *adapted slightly from Cuisine Tonight Grilling

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Juice of half a lime
Savoy cabbage (I used prewashed/bagged coleslaw cabbage)
1/2 cup plum jam
2 tablespoons brown sugar(light)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teasponn chili garlic sauce
1 teaspoon five spice powder
salt to taste

To make the chicken:
Preheat grill to medium high; brush grill with oil to help prevent sticking

In a large resealable plastic bag combine chicken, sesame oil, teaspoon of salt and lime juice.  Seal bag and toss chicken to coat.

In a small saucepan over medium heat combine jam, brown sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, five-spice powder and salt.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low.  Cook glaze for 2-3 minutes the set aside.

Grill chicken about 5-6 per side or until chicken has an internal temperature of 165 degree F.  Once chicken is cooked through dip breasts in glaze using tongs.  Place chicken back on grill to carmelize the glaze (about 2 minutes).

Remove chicken from grill and place on top of shredded cabbage.  Top each serving with plum salsa.

Per serving(without salsa) 266 cal; 5g fat (1g sat); 82 mg chol; 515 mg sodium; 20g carb

To make the plum salsa you'll need:
2 medium plums diced
1/4 cup diced red onions
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
drizzled of honey

In a bowl combine all ingredients.  Drizzle honey to taste over salsa and stir mixture lightly. Serve immediately or make up to one hour in advance and chill in fridge.
Per 1/4 cup: 29 cal; 1 g fat(0g sat);omg chol;2mg sodium;0mg fiber; 0g protein

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hello Kitty Birthday Party

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Kitty koolaid

I love living in the country and all, but I feel like it's a 3rd world country sometimes.  I mean if you ignore the fact that we have running, clean water.  And a refrigerator.  And a dishwasher.  Oh and grocery stores within 15 minutes.  But internet?  Nope.  And I have no glimmer of hope it will come anytime soon.  In the meantime I'm using internet from my iphone and every so often I have a great connnection.  And so I can't blog as much as I'd like to,  but I'm catching up :)

Last weekend a friend asked me to help her put together her daughter's second birthday.  I was thrilled of course!  We planned this party in just 48 hours, so though it still turned out completely darling it wasn't AS personalized as I would have liked.  But that is just the perfectionist control freak in me.  It was beautiful and so was the birthday girl.

Hello Kitty Party

The birthday girl is super girly, so of course we kept everything pink!

Hello Kitty Party

See the hello kitty pom pom on the bottom left?

It was rather cute.

My friend came up with the cutest names for the food.  Like these "kitty kabobs"
Kitty kabobs

And "kat nip" which was just cheese and crackers.  Though the cheese hadn't made it to the table yet when I took this pic.

Hello kitty party food


And then to drink my friend made "kitty koolaid" which was a concoction of sprite, raspberries and pink lemonade.

Kitty koolaid

One of my favorite party dessert/snack foods is chocolate covered pretzels.  How adorable did these turn out??
Chocolate covered pretzels

The cupcakes were made by a local lady. 

Hello kitty cupcakes

One way to add depth and personality to a party table is to take boxes and wrap them in wrapping paper or tissue paper.  Varying heights on the table are appealing to the eye and then wrapping paper just adds one more detail to create a beauitful layout.

Hello Kitty Birthday Cake

Boxes wrapped in paper also work great if you don't have a cake or cupcake stand :)  Wasn't the cake adorable?  Another friend of ours  used a hello kitty cake pan and then frosted the cake.  So cute!

All the girls dressed up in tutus and helloy kitty shirts

It was a lot of fun.  If you have time before your party, check out etsy.  There are some super cute hello kitty party items like cake pops, hats and tutus.  We were on a time crunch and used what we could :)

It was so much and I am so grateful I got to be a part of this party!  Coming up later this month is my little man's FIRST BIRTHDAY!!  So you know I'm going all out!  I've got some very cute ideas I'm incorporating and can not wait to share!!!



Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Weekend Getaway to Zadar, Croatia

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[caption id="attachment_1285" align="aligncenter" width="614" caption="The husband and me in Zadar"][/caption]

I have really missed blogging and have been wanting to write about our trip to Croatia for quite a while now. But....

Life happened.

A few weeks ago we had a health scare with my little dude that resulted in an ambulance ride to the ER and kept us in the hospital for 3 nights. It was the scariest experience of our lives to say the least. Poor little guy ended up having 2 febrile seizures, 2 ear infections and tonsillitis! The whole experience is a blog post of its own, but the baby is doing great now! He is happy, chubby and back to his devilish ways and I'd have it no other way :)
Then kindergarten was out for 2 weeks for spring break (in Germany preschool is called kindergarten), there was Easter and then I got sick.


I feel like things are finally *knock on wood* back to normal and so here I am again to write about Zadar :)

Zadar, Croatia

Day 1: Greetings to the Sun, the Sea Organ and Bruschetta
Our first day, we spent the afternoon exploring the city’s shops and historical sights. One of my favorite things to take pictures of in every city we visit are the alley ways. They tell a story of the way people live. Whether there are bikes parked along the alley or children running through the streets, there is a certain quaintness to narrow, cobblestone streets surrounded by ancient buildings. In Zadar in particular just about every alley way was adorned with clothing hung out to dry.


It reminded me of what I’d expect to see in Italy. Which makes sense because Zadar is also a city in the Mediterranean and has a strong Italian influence.  The architecture of the buildings was very beautiful and simply picturesque.

[caption id="attachment_1261" align="aligncenter" width="388" caption="Me and Little Wright in Zadar"][/caption]

After a day of shopping and sightseeing is was nice to grab a coffee(me), an ice cream(Little Wright) and a nice cold beer(Mr. Wright) and sit and listen to the harmonic sounds of the Sea organ while watching the sun set. The Sea organ, constructed by Nikola Bašić as part of the project to redesign the new city coast, is a man-made musical instrument of sorts that creates sounds caused from the movement of waves crashing into large tubes located underneath marble steps.

Sea Organ
Steps of the Sea organ

As it started to get darker we could notice the "Greeting to the Sun" , which is a large circle 22 meters in diameter that soaks up the energy from the sun during the day and at night lights up to the rhythm of the waves. Also created by Bašić, the all-natural wonder truly was amazing. To read about the construction and science behind it go here.

Greetings to the Sun
Greetings to the Sun

For dinner we ate at Bruschetta, pronounced "brewshketa" by the people in Zadar, which came highly recommended by the staff at our hotel. And no wonder! The food was amazing. The pizza is some of the best I've ever had anywhere and is the sole reason I gained a few pounds on the trip. The first time we ate there I ordered a shrimp pasta with green noodles in a garlic and wine cream sauce.

Pasta in Croatia
Pasta at Bruschetta

Oh. My. Goodness.

 This is my idea of good food.

After a long day of travel, walking, sight-seeing and then being stuffed fat with delicious carbs we were exhausted and grateful to have a nice place to stay.

Day Two: Local Cuisine and Ferry Ride to Preko
The second day in Zadar was so warm and sunny we wanted to lay by the water. Though there are beaches, this isn’t the place to go if you’re looking for sand. The beaches here are pebbly, which wasn’t a problem for us. The water was clear and beautiful and Little Wright had just as much fun as she would have if it were a sandy beach.

Zadar's pebbly beaches

After soaking up some sun we decided to eat lunch at Nikko’s. Though we were warned it was very expensive, we were so curious to try local Dalmation cuisine and the restaurant was located right on the water. I think one of the best ways to truly experience a new culture is through the food. Honestly none of it sounded good: Octopus, Anchovies, Sardines…..uhhhhh not exactly my kind of food. But we ordered the appetizer platter anyway:

Dalmatian Cuisine
And after several large gulps of wine I swallowed a tiny bite of the octopus, but refused to eat the anchovies or sardines. Little Wright ate it up though.

After lunch, we decided to end the afternoon and evening with a ferry ride to Preko. Preko, located on the island of Ugljan, is a 20 minute ferry ride from Zadar. It would have been the best part of our trip had it not been off season. It was so beautiful and such a quaint town. I would have loved to peek into the shops and eaten at one of the many restaurants located on the coast, but such is life when traveling during off season.

[caption id="attachment_1253" align="aligncenter" width="614" caption="Preko"][/caption]

Day Three: Exploring Nin
 When I did research before our trip, several people had mentioned Nin was the place to go for sandy beaches. Though Nin did have A sandy beach, it was located in a lagoon and didn’t impress me much. The town however was very interesting. It was so tranquil and serene. The town itself was so old and broken down it looked like none of the houses had been rebuilt or repaired after the many wars that haven taken place over the years. Yet still there was a beauty to it all. To see how simply some people live really put our own lives into perspective.

[caption id="attachment_1281" align="aligncenter" width="614" caption="Nin, Croatia"][/caption]


[caption id="attachment_1280" align="aligncenter" width="550" caption="Nin, Croatia"][/caption]

We putzed our way around for a while and then headed back to the hotel to let the kids rest a bit.   We stayed at Villa Triana and loved our stay there. The great part about our hotel room was we had two balconies, both with a sea view! I specifically look for a hotel located on the water with a balcony, so that if we had to go back for the kiddos we could still enjoy the scenery.

In addition to being right by the city bus, Villa Triana was also right next to a small grocery store. We bought some juice, snacks and a few beers and were able to sit outside and enjoy the views of the sea with a bit of peace. It was wonderful and I highly recommend this hotel to anyway who travels to Zadar.

Three nights was just enough time to spend in Zadar, Croatia.  I loved the culture, the people and how the whole city feel like old world meets charm.  Until next time…