Lazy. Happy. Comfort.

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Oh Sunday mornings.

Life couldn't be any more restful, more relaxing and carefree.

In light of this rainy (round these parts, anyway), do-nothing-and-bask-in-it day, I've made a few of my favorites from This Lady.

Yes, P-dub.

She's great.  She's grand.  She loves butter (the real thang, not the fake-o schtuff).  We'd get along.

Here are my two Sunday morning, Pioneer Woman selections.  Favorites, really.

Monkey Bread (via PW via Pastor Ryan) for the morning, and Buttered Rosemary Rolls for lunch or supper.

Please just glance upon these babies:

I've made these rolls, probably, 20 times since seeing this 
recipe last year on PW's blog.  

Oh. man.
That's all I have to say.


They have become a regular fixture at my
weekly Ladies' Night gathering...


Yeah.


Please make them.
Your life will never be the same.


Then, this morning I decided to try this:


Monkey Bread.  My husband has a very large affinity
to anything laden with cinnamon, sugar, and butter.
Well...who doesn't?

I made them for HIM.
That's what I keep telling myself.
Ahem.


Oh my.  Gaze upon that gooey sauce, the crisp crust...


It's worth it.


Why?  Because it's Sunday.
On Sundays, all things are possible.

All things that involve bread, butter, and sugar
anyway.

Enjoy the day.


Jambo! Karibuni Afrika!

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Good Monday morning, friends!

I realize I often begin these posts quite cheerful- but today's post is worthy of cheer.

I'm bringing back my African roots, or rather, African experience since I'm about as far from native African as possible.

That's right, dears, today we are heading to the vast continent of Africa (dabbling a bit in India, but remaining mainly in Eastern Africa for all intents and purposes).  I am going to teach y'all how to make the basic of all basic food necessities to the African peoples...well, aside from rice, which naturally is the staple of most of the world's diet aside from western nations.  That and tea.  Why didn't we inherit the rice-and-tea-fetish?  Not sure.

Another question for another day, I suppose.

Anyway.

Today's food item is extremely versatile, quite fun-to-eat, and isn't too hard on the waistline (if you use my method and not the native one- eek!).  So what is this mystery item?

Chapati, my friends.

Have you ever heard of it?  I'm sure many, many of you have had something quite similar.  Ever tasted pita bread?  A tortilla? A crepe?  A pancake?  Any sort of unleavened bread?  If so, these are all similar-in-form to chapati.

Here's a visual for those who crave that sort of thing:


Chapati is the most common way wheat is consumed in East Africa, and South Asia.  It is a form of unleavened bread made with wheat flour and cooked on a skillet.  Generally they are made from a very easy dough of flour, water, salt, and oil.  Small portions of the dough are rolled-out into discs, similar to a Mexican tortilla, then thrown onto a pre-heated skillet, and cooked on both sides.  These flat, unleavened bread rounds are native to South Asia, mainly north India, and have many varieties depending on what surface they are cooked upon, and which flours are utilized.  Some places in India cook the flatbreads in a tandoori oven (which also makes an insanely good roasted chicken!), this is called a "tandoori roti".

However the way I will show you is one used in East Africa so if you are familiar with a different method, I apologize- this is how I was taught!  And, I must say, it makes a mean chapati.

Chapati (African flatbread)
4 Cups flour (I do half whole wheat, half white)
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 Cups water (more or less depending on consistency of dough)
Olive oil


Instructions
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add water to make a soft dough, knead well and continue adding a touch of flour until dough is no longer sticky and becomes pliable.  Let sit, covered, for 30 minutes.  Divide dough into about 8 balls.  Roll out each ball on a floured surface with a rolling pin.  Spread about 1 tsp oil on each piece, roll up jelly-roll style (see photos) and curve dough into a snail-like form (see photo).  Let sit 5 min.  Roll out each piece again on a floured surface with a rolling pin.  Preheat skillet.  Add a few teaspoons olive oil to the skillet, and fry each chapati one at a time (or if you have room, you can do more).  Turn once underside is flecked with light brown spots- but re-oil pan before turning over, this is crucial to prevent burning and smoking up your kitchen.  Stack finished chapati in a round cake pan, cover, and place in a warm oven (150 degrees or so) until ready to eat.  Be creative, eat with a variety of things and/or topped with your choice items!

Mix your dry ingredients together, add the 
water, and let the dough sit for a bit.  
Once rested, form your dough balls:


I make mine a little larger than normal but you can
create whatever size you wish!

I also choose to use olive oil, rather than the 
traditional melted shortening the African's use.
My choice, but you can do what you like.


Roll out each dough ball on a floured surface:


Add a smidge of oil.


Rub it around to coat the flatbread


Roll each chapati up, jelly-roll style:


Then curve in a snail-like fashion
This isn't that complicated, people, it's just hard
to put into words.  Follow the photos!


There she is, ain't she purdy?


Now let your little snails rest a few minutes,
allowing the oil to seep through it's innards.


Then take each piece, scrunch it back up into a ball,


and roll it out a second time.


Head up your skillet, add another smidge of oil,
and cook each side.
Remember to add a second smidge of oil before flipping,
to prevent burnage.

See these little brown flecks?  
That's whatcha want, folks.


Transfer each finished chapati to a round cake pan, 
cover, and place in a warm oven until ready to eat.
Serve warm or eat cold later- either way, they are
nummy!


Aren't they lovely?



Chapati are so incredibly versatile.  In Africa, we used them mainly as the natives did: to lap up stew spoon-style.  However, once we returned to the states, and had a variety of other food items as our disposal, we began to teach the old dog new tricks.  We eat it for breakfast, slathering the bread with peanut butter or honey, then slicing bananas over top (this is, by far, my favorite way to eat 'em). We cut 'em up, sprinkle the tops with grated cheese, jalapenos, black beans, and tomatoes then toast it in the oven for a nacho-style chapati.  I make mini pizzas for lunch using the chapati as a crust, topping it with whatever I have on-hand that looks enticing.  

I found this photo from a fellow gastro-blogger.  
This guy knows how to utilize his chapati!



The possibilities are endless.

Chapatis are, at best, distinctly ethnic, 
and the most basic of African food items.  
Here is a Mozambique lady forming the dough:



A table of soon-to-be-chapatis awaits rolling
and frying in Tanzania:



A traditional Tanzanian meal of chapati, sweet potatoes, plantains
(a savory banana), and an African spinach-like green.
If I could remember the name of the greenery I would
tell you, unfortunately it has slipped my mind!



What a meal might look like in Kenya, 
notice the chapati is front-and-center.




So go ahead and make an African-inspired supper,
or just make a bunch of chapatis to have on-hand
for quick, easy meals, either way- you'll enjoy a little
slice of Afrika.

Tutaonana baadaye!

Spring Has Sprung!

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Spring is here, my loves.  Indeed it is.

And I have found a new love for all my spring indulgences: Anthropologie.

Okay, so I love me some Anthro any time of year but their spring kitchen line has me giddy, or rather, fawning and antsy for warm weather, pastels, and floral bloomery.

Come on, everyone loves these things.  Right?  That's what I thought.

Don't argue.

Here are some of the things I could certainly use:

Now how insanely adorable is this recipe book?!


Absolutely lovely apron:


Pretty pastel measuring cups:

And measuring spoons to match!


Beautifully bloomy pot holders:


Flowery trellis butter dish:


Perfectly petite teacups:


Tweety terrific tea towels!:


Adorably chic water pitcher.  



I have a minor fetish with water pitchers.
And ramekins. 

But ramekins are a whole other post in-and-of-themselves.
I just love them.
LOVE them.

Okay, enough.

What has sparked your spring-y mood lately?

Oh..and random, I also recently read this:



OH my.  Please just read it.
Devour it.
The flowery and bloomy diction, the brooding imagery,
the chilling setting, it's all very dark-and-dreamy.

Love me some Du Maurier.
Love me some Spring!

What do YOU love?
Please share.

Around the World: Thai

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Hello darlings.  Sorry I've been MIA.  However, this week has been a little harried, and I've been left a little run down as a result.

First, the little man has been sick.  I hate, hate, hate it when he's not feeling well- I'm convinced that this is the absolute worst feeling of parenthood, when your child is ill and there is absolutely nothing you can do to help.  You can pray, give meds, visit the doctor- but beyond that, nothing.

And the little boy wont eat- which kills my heart :(  He's lost a few pounds, quite a lot for a 20 lb little boy...but enough of this, he's doing much better and for this I am thankful!

As promised, I am giving you a little taste of the world today.

However, it is a part of the world I have not yet been: 

Thailand.


But oh, do I want to.  
I mean, doesn't it look fabulous?


How do you even steer on of these things?:


I want to sell fruit on a boat.  
Heck, I want to buy fruit on a boat from these people.


And boy, oh boy, do the Thai love these bad boys:




Yeah.  Hot peppers.  Yeah.

Have you ever been?  If so, please let me know if they really do eat curry paste there.  I love the stuff but absolutely hate it when America decides what is "ethnic" and what isn't.  It's funny how that works, isn't it?  

Anyway.

Here's what I made this week:

Thai Chicken Curry
(adapted from Cooking Light Magazine, March 2010)
1 Tbsp canola oil
3 (6oz) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1" pieces
1/2 tsp salt
2 C colored peppers (green, red, orange- whatever!), cut into strips
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice 
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp red curry paste
1 tsp brown sugar or honey
1 (14oz) can light coconut milk
3 C hot, cooked brown rice
Lime wedges (optional)

Instructions:
1.  Heat a large skillet over med-high heat.  Add oil to pan.  Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt.  Add chicken to pan; cook 6 minutes, turning to brown all sides.  Add bell peppers to pan; saute 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Remove chicken mixture from pan.  Combine juice, soy sauce, curry paste, and sugar in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Add juice mixture and coconut milk to pan; bring to a boil.  Cook 12 minutes or until slightly thick.  Return chicken mixture to pan; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
3. Serve over rice.  Garnish with lime wedges, if desired.  Makes 4 servings.

This is what you'll need:


I like using Just Bare Chicken.
It's free of inhumane ingredients.
Yeah.


Here are the goodies that make this dish shine.
Now, I like mine really hot (normally) so would
have added some of the hotness in the photo above-
however, I'm feeding this stuff to my child and don't
want to deal with the aftermath, if you know what I mean.
I stuck with the pansy-rendition.


Put some oil in a skillet.


Salt your chicken & cut it up.




Chop up those peppers:


Add the chicken to the skillet.


Let those pieces brown.  Make sure to get all sides.


Add your peppers.


Let it all just sizzle.


Mix up your curry dressing in a separate bowl.


Add the milk to the skillet.
Oh, coconut milk.  
So bad for you, so terribly good.


Let it all hang out a bit; mingle, bubble, sizzle.


Cut up some lime wedges.
I LOVE lime.  Have I mentioned this before?
Oh man.


It's certainly up there with chocolate and bacon...
But lime, chocolate, and bacon together?
Not likely.
However, I have recently discovered this:


Yeah.  Bacon.  AND.  Chocolate.

Whoever came up with this combo was an utter genius.


Oh man.  It's lovely.
Don't knock it 'til you try it.

Sorry, back to Thai.

Mix all the good together and let them get friendly for a bit.


Make yourself a yummy salad to go with, 
if you like that sort of thing.
I do.



Especially with this:


Plate it up, baby.


Now as you can see, I added some cannellini beans to the mix.
Why?
Because I wanted to, darn it.
I'm all about tweaking to suit your own tastes.
Do it!  I like me some extra fiber.

Enjoy your little taste of Thailand,
and maybe have a side of bacon n'chocolate.
Let me know how you like it.