Comfort Cooking: Creamy Lemon Chicken

SLOW COOKER CREAMY LEMON CHICKEN

A slow cooker is such a great kitchen appliance to have around.  Especially if you want to let something simmer for a long time without worrying about it.  I found this recipe on a website called dinnerthendessert.  Original recipe calls for chicken breasts but it’s equally good using chicken thighs. It’s also perfect as a pasta topping!  In fact that’s exactly what I did the next day – with tossed linguine.

Image + recipe: dinnerthendessert.com

This recipe is not only simple to make, it’s simply delicious with a creamy butter, garlic and lemon coating.

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 *chicken breasts boneless and skinless 
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon **kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 lemons juiced and zested
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon chicken base (optional) but delicious! I use “better than bouillon”

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large cast iron skillet add 1 tablespoon of butter to melt on medium high heat.
  2. Add the kosher salt, black pepper and Italian seasoning to the chicken and add it to the pan.
  3. Cook on each side for about 5 minutes to brown.

  4. Add the chicken to your slow cooker.
  5. Cover with lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic and the rest of the butter in pieces (lemons in the picture is just for reference. Don’t cook the lemons in the slow cooker).
  6. Cook on low for 4 hours or on high for 2 hours.
  7. In a large measuring cup add the half and half, cornstarch and chicken base (bouillon) and whisk well.
  8. Add the liquid, mix, and cook an additional hour on high.

    *Did you know?

    Canada banned the use of hormones in Canadian poultry on March 4, 1963. Though it is rare, some marketers still classify their chicken as “hormone-free.” This is used as a marketing tactic, since all chickens raised in Canada have been raised without added hormones.

    **Why do recipes recommend kosher salt?

    Kosher salt is often recommended by TV chefs because it has a less intense and more pure, salty taste and because it’s easier to pick up the crystals and toss them into the pot!  The flaky structure also makes it easy to spread atop your food.

    By the way, kosher salt is so called because of its role in the process for preparing foods such as meats according to the Jewish tradition. Because it has so much surface area and doesn’t dissolve as quickly as table salt. Though it’s not much different than regular salt, it’s less likely to contain anti-caking agents and added iodine.

    Let me know how you like it?

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Monday Mood: Couture Beyond

It’s been a while since I’ve had some serious Style Inspiration but this goes beyond.  This is global fashion culture. I’m talking about the first Canadian exhibition devoted to the work of Guo Pei, China’s preeminent couturière, and the first fashion exhibition ever presented at the Vancouver Art Gallery.  In collaboration with SCAD FASH MUSEUM OF FASHION + FILM.  On until January 20, 2019.  Simply Superb!

Photos: d. king

Featuring more than forty complete looks from Pei’s most iconic runway shows from 2006 to 2017.   Theatrical, extravagant (no kidding) creations combining contemporary aesthetics, production methods and materials with ancient tradition, evoking Chinese history and mythology in her technique with fabric selection and imagery.  These photos do not do her justice.

Photos: d. king
Rhianna wore this gown to the Met Gala.  It is made of silk & fox fur.
Photos: d. king

If you get the chance I highly recommend checking it out.  To date it is definitely the most magnificent display I’ve ever come across in fashion.

Feel-good Friday: just vending

When you desire something cool and refreshing….

Tiffany & Co.

Possibly the world’s most decadent vending machine was unveiled earlier this year by Tiffany & Co.

Inside the space of the jewelery brand’s new London store in Covent Garden is a vending machine – in which the brand is hoping to encourage creativity and playfulness.  Instead of buying a chocolate bar or a packet of sun chips, you can quench your thirst for something different by picking up the brand’s first fragrance.  How original is that?

As well as the world’s chicest vending machine, the jewelery brand has installed a number of other elements to encourage creativity and spending. This includes Tiffany Blue wooden crates displaying whimsical ‘Everyday Object’ accessories and a #MakeItTiffany personalization bar.

How FUN is that?

In the meantime, make it a good weekend!

Tiffany & Co.

 

 

 

Forest of Hope

One Enchanted Evening

L to R: Stacey Harris, Lisa King, Maggie Parsons, Debbie King.
Photo: Stacey Harris
Pretty Prosecco Lady – YES PLEASE!
Top L: Kimberly & Maggie (Colleen’s niece) Top R: Paying tribute to Colleen Kohse on the big screen. Colleen was the longest living heart/double lung transplant recipient in Canada. In fact it was pointed out to me that she narrowly missed making it into the Guinness Book of World Records for being the longest survivor. Nonetheless she was a trailblazer and tireless volunteer in support to patients and families living with CF.  Bottom middle : Larry Kohse (Colleen’s brother) with Debbie King. Bottom L + R:  a pretty forest nymph and greeter with photos and names of young people living with CF.  Photos: Stacey Harris.

It was a bittersweet event at Vancouver’s Fairmont Waterfront Hotel last Saturday for the annual 65 Roses Gala to benefit cystic fibrosis (CF) because of the absence of my BFF Colleen Kohse.  As The Globe & Mail wrote for some, Colleen’s very existence was hope itself. 

CBC TV and radio journalist Gloria Macarenko was the host of this annual fundraiser along with Jeremie Saunders of the Sickboy podcast. Jeremie if you don’t already know, lives with CF.

Gloria mentioned something eerie but special to me at the start of the evening.  She said last April she opened up her phone and the first thing that popped up on her screen without her searching for it, was a photo of her and Colleen from last year’s gala.  Then very shortly after that, a phone call explaining that Colleen had passed away that day.  It does make one wonder.

The evening began with a delicious signature lavender-infused gin + rosemary cocktail, prosecco and full bar.  In otherwords; no lack of alcohol.

Beautiful songstress Amanda Wood started off the evening with a gorgeous rendition of “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman along with help (not that she needed it) from a choir.

We ate a delicious multi course dinner with wine pairings and were able to peruse the silent auction items online as well as outside the ballroom.  Our photographer Charles doubled as the auctioneer for live auction items and did a fantastic job – multi-talented is he.  Entertainment followed which had pretty much everyone on the dance floor for late night dancing.

The 18th annual 65 Roses gala was proudly presented by B2Gold Corp. The evening was of course dedicated to finding a cure for cystic fibrosis, Canada’s most common inherited fatal disease.

Since its founding in 2001, the 65 Roses Gala has raised more than $4 million for CF research and patient advocacy.

We hope to continue to do more so that CF can finally stand for “Cure Found.”

 

To find out more and/or make a donation please visit:

https://www.cysticfibrosis.ca/

back IN: the Saddle

Talking about one of the decades most coveted IT bags.  THE Dior Saddle Bag.

Getty Images – Harpers Bazaar
Imaxtree
HBO – Carrie Bradshaw Sex and the City

The thing about vintage collector bags is that they never really go out of style.  Personally if I’ve spent a lot on a bag I don’t intend to wear it for only one season.  I intend to keep it forever. The Dior saddle bag in all of its many reiterations was an iconic accessory of the early 2000’s and the fashion house brought it back to the runway for the Fall 2018 show.

Carried by everyone from Paris Hilton to Carrie Bradshaw and beyond, Dior’s ubiquitous saddle bag cemented its status as one of the key looks of the era. Though most often done in Dior’s signature logo print, the It bag was offered in a wide array of styles, patterns and colors in its prime.

Vintage styles of the Dior saddle bag have been quickly selling out on luxury resale sites like Vestiaire Collective and The RealReal for the past few months. The bag has been spotted on models like Bella Hadid along with a rising number of fashion bloggers on Instagram.

Ha. And I’ve been wearing my non-flashy tan leather saddle bag off and on since I first bought it in Los Angeles many years ago.  And I’ve never gotten tired of it.

Which style is your preference-  Plain, Logo, or Printed?

 

 

Food: Autumn Beef Stew

A hearty stew is perfect comfort food for Fall.  This one pays homage to Julia Child’s legendary boeuf bourguignon, stealing her trick of flavoring a wine-rich beef stew with bacon drippings, but adding generous chunks of carrot, potato and butternut squash.  Serve with a side of crusty fresh bread.  And make sure to drink some of the wine.

Image: Midwest Living

ingredients

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • pounds boneless beef chuck, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • strips bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
  • Canola oil
  • medium onions, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • tablespoons tomato paste
  • cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • cups less-sodium beef broth
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
  • bay leaves
  • tablespoon snipped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • teaspoon smoked paprika
  • pound potatoes, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • pound butternut squash; peeled, seeded and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • stalks celery, sliced into 1/2-inch thick
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

directions

  1. In a large plastic bag, combine flour, salt and pepper. Add beef; shake to coat evenly. In a Dutch oven or large heavy pot, cook and stir bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towels with a slotted spoon. Add enough oil to bacon drippings to equal 2 tablespoons. Add half the beef to pot, shaking off any excess flour. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. Remove beef with a slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining beef.
  2. If pot is dry, add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add onions; cook and stir for about 4 minutes or until starting to brown. Stir in garlic; cook for 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste. Return beef, bacon and any remaining flour to pot. Stir to combine. Add chicken and beef broth, wine, bay leaves, thyme and paprika. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add potatoes, squash, carrots and celery. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove lid and simmer about 15 minutes more or until vegetables are tender and liquid is desired consistency. Remove bay leaves. Stir in parsley.

Enjoy!

 

Feel-good Friday: the Great Beauty

Valpolicella.  Land of wine, charm and tradition.

At the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel in Vancouver on Wednesday for a trade & media tasting of beautiful Italian wines.  Focus was on superior tasting Prosecco, Valpolicella and Amarone.  Unfortunately for me I was under the weather.  Feeling anything but beautiful myself, I could not properly taste anything, so I brought along another nose who knows...my friend Tamara (now known as Tamarone).  And as you can see from the photos we were looking a bit fuzzy.  But we were introduced to some nice Italian men wines.

Cheers to the weekend!

 

Jane Goodall – All Good

Young Jane

I was very fortunate to be able to attend the special fundraising event An Evening with Jane last night at the Centre for Performing Arts.  Part of the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF).

Overall yes; she’s an incredible woman, not only for having dedicated her life to studying chimpanzees in the wild.

Everyone has heard of Jane Goodall although some still tend to confuse her with Dian Fossey (as did a flight attendant who recently made a big fuss but when she learns that Fossey died in 1985 will feel pretty foolish).  Goodall recounts the story with humor and points out the importance of laughter.  You can’t help but like her as she discussed her life’s work which is groundbreaking in scope and has revolutionized our understanding of nature and humanity, as well as her hopes for the future.  She’s funny too.

She takes no fees for appearing in person, preferring to raise funds and donate all monies to promote the understanding and protection of chimpanzees and other great apes, along with their habitats. This special charity event helped raise funds for the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada.

 Her story is an otherworldly one considering she went to the wilds of Africa as a young woman and with no training whatsoever.  She had this dream as a child.  She lived her dream.
In the documentary preceding the sit-down discussion we find out more than we ever knew about this incredibly selfless human.

Story:

In 1960, at the age of 26 and with little academic training, Jane Goodall set off into the forests of what is now Tanzania to study the relatively unexamined life of the chimpanzee. Her discoveries led to a lifelong fascination with our primate kin, and she went on to transform the world’s view of them.

During the filming of this feature, Oscar-nominated director Brett Morgen unearthed 16mm footage shot by Hugo van Lawick in the 1960s. It is this gorgeous archival material–plus the energetic presence of Goodall herself–which elevates Morgen’s portrait to the highest level of biographical documentary. The film delivers a powerful and uplifting portrayal of Goodall, a supremely intelligent woman who has transformed our relationship to the animals more like humans than any other creature–and is still, as an octogenarian, fighting the good fight on behalf of ecologists everywhere.

She’s a name dropper too… letting us in on a little secret that Leonardo DiCaprio will be making a feature about her life.

This story is on-going…

Donations can be made at: janegoodall.ca/ways-to-give

 

Film: Colette

You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm 

Quote by the “Real” Colette

I don’t know what I enjoyed most about this film.  The story, the setting or the exquisite costumes.

For those not familiar, Colette was a French novelist nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948. Keira Knightley gives the performance of her professional career as Sidonie-Gabrielle Collette in her earlier years as she turned Paris upside-down with her life and work.

As a writer, performer and a feminist, Colette attracted controversy and lived life to the fullest.

Movie Still

You may think that you know nothing of Colette’s writings but many of her works are well known around the world. The film “Gigi” starring Audrey Hepburn was adapted from Colette’s book of the same name and several of her writings have been adapted for the stage and screen.

She was a fascinating woman, married at the age of 20 to a writer and music critic of whom it was said he was a “literary charlatan and degenerate”.  Whilst married to Henry Gauthier-Villars she wrote her first books (Claudine series) using his nom de plume “Willy”. The books scandalized France – and made the pair plenty of money.

She was the first woman to be given a state funeral in France before being laid to rest in 1954 at the Père Lachaise Cemetery (the same cemetery I once visited where Oscar Wilde is also laid to rest).

Brief synopsis:

Co-starring a perfectly cast Dominic West as Colette’s libertine first husband, the charming rogue and writer known only as “Willy” who took credit for Colette’s first four novels while sharing a lover with her, Westmoreland’s biopic traces the writer-actor’s life from her provincial upbringing to her halcyon days causing an uproar in the salons and vaudeville theatres of Paris. The core of the film, however, is her fraught relationship with Willy and how the constraints and slights she faced ended up engendering a writing career that made her one of France’s most beloved artists. This is a heady, champagne cocktail of a film made all the more delightful by Knightley’s bravura turn.

Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet – Colette

Source: VIFF & The Good Life France

Visit Viff.org to see more intriguing films until October 12th