!POP! Goes The Champagne Cork

Daytime Tri-Cities May 9, 2014

I had prepared the champagne bottle for Amy to pop the cork and make a fun scene.

Amy Lynn's BIG plate of Chicken

Amy Lynn’s BIG plate of Chicken

I unwrapped the top, and unwound the wire that holds the cork on all the while reading “WARNING ON THE SIDE OF THE BOTTLE”, but ignoring it. Shoot, I’d popped many a cork in my day. We were going to make celebratory noises and a big to-do about using the bubbly in the dish.

Champagne chicken with Food City Olive Bar artichokes and Greek mix olives

Champagne chicken with Food City Olive Bar artichokes and Greek mix olives

But noooo….. POW! Went the cork, right beside my resting head as I was nonchalantly watching what was happening over where the cameras were pointing at Amy and Morgan. The studio techs JUMPED, thinking lights had blown. Morgan commented it was too bad the cork didn’t blow while we were on-air. It would have made for good TV.

Champagne, chicken, and Olive Bar Mother's Day Quick-Fix

Champagne, chicken, and Olive Bar Mother’s Day Quick-Fix


4  chicken cutlets, frozen for 30 minutes, sliced horizontally into cutlets and pounded even 1 tablespoon  olive oil
3  tablespoons  butter 1-1/2 cups  brut (champagne)
3  tablespoons  flour, divided 1/3 teaspoon  allspice
1  teaspoon cornstarch  ¾ teaspoon  dried basil
1   cup  artichoke hearts (marinated artichoke hearts drained) 1/3 teaspoon sweet paprika
2  tablespoons  dry-toasted almond slivers 1/3  cup  olive (Greek — pitted and halved)


Mix 2 tablespoons flour and 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Dredge the chicken breast cutlets in flour and cornstarch mixture.

Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Add olive oil. Add chicken cutlets, and cook on both sides until chicken is browned on both sides. Remove chicken and set aside.

In pan with drippings, add butter and cook until melted. Add champagne, and turn heat on medium high. Add allspice, basil, and paprika and mix well.

Add in flour while continually stirring. Cook until sauce begins to thicken, about a minute or two, constantly stirring so sauce does not burn.

Add artichoke hearts and olives, and turn heat back to medium. Return chicken cutlets to pan, spooning sauce over them.

Lower heat and add pine nuts, lightly mixing them into mixture.

Serve chicken with the artichoke, olive, and pine nut mixture over it.

Serving suggestion: penne pasta salad with green beans and lemon vinaigrette.

Meal Plan? What Meal Plan?

Monday April 28 References: MFC; Modern Family Cook Book, Meta Givens 5IG; Vegetarian 5 Minute Gourmet, Nava Atlas   The interesting challenge during grilling/barbeque season is to pay attention to the 5-Day Forecast before meal planning the week.  I’d starting looking at Monday with an eye towards an evening around the barbe, flipping quesadilla and grill marks on juicy pineapple slices.  Ooops, 5-Day is calling for thunderstorms THE REST OF THE WEEK.  Sigh.  Bring the party indoors.  I need a cast iron grill pan for Christmas. It goes without saying, as I’m sitting here on MONDAY night, haven’t finished the meal plan for the week.  New puppy training, who’s taking her out for the many times an evening pee break, who’s feeding her the cat food and giving her the nastiest case of classical gas ever?  Not terribly appetizing for menu planning.  But I carry on. Now it’s Wednesday, fergossakes!!  Moral of the story is: settle down and complete the menu plan on Saturday or I’ll be whining and complaining on Wednesday that I don’t know what to cook and I’ve not been to the grocery store or farmers market for the week and the weekend is coming up.  A BUSY weekend is coming up where I’m working catering with a friend all weekend. Monday is over, but the meal plan can start whenever you get it or around-to-it.  Now it’s Tuesday.  The dishes have FINALLY all been washed from Sunday activities and the puppy is settled in. So let’s begin with what’s for breakfast Monday morning.  SOME Monday morning.


Breakfast – tomato juice tomato juice
Poached egg in milk egg, toast, milk, butter
Ezekiel toast Ezekiel bread
Luncheon – chili-cheese oven fries   potatoes, cheese sauce, left-over chili non carne
French Bowl Salad MFC818 Romaine lettuce, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, celery, garlic, stale bread, green onions, radishes, French dressing (MFC841 0414)
Fresh pear halves   pear, lemon
Dinner –Sweet Potato Quesadillas 5IG pg 170 sweet potatoes, mild green chilies, Monterey jack cheese,
shredded cabbage and celery salad MFC779 cabbage or coleslaw mix, celery, chili sauce, mayonnaise, lettuce
Pineapple muffins MFC49 flour, butter, sugar, eggs, milk, pineapple
Note: Soak beans for tomorrow’s luncheon  
Soul Chixn Skillet Pie and Biscuits

Soul Chixn Skillet Pie and Biscuits


Breakfast – tomato juice canned tomato juice
prepared cereal with milk or non-dairy milk prepared cereal, milk
cinnamon toast Ezekiel bread
Coffee coffee
Luncheon – Navy Bean Soup MFC967 navy beans, onion, oil, soy sauce, milk
crackers   crackers
Fruit cup MCF287 fresh and/or frozen grapes, melon, strawberry,
iced tea   tea
Dinner – Soul chik-n skillet pie and biscuits MFC587 sub meatless tenders for veal meatless tenders, carrots, onions, potatoes
buttered peas   peas, butter
Waldorf salad MFC772 leftover from Saturday



Breakfast – fresh orange juice oranges
oatmeal with non-dairy milk and butter oatmeal
toast with jam bread jam
coffee coffee
Luncheon – grilled cheese sandwiches   cheese, bread, butter
cream of tomato soup MFC960 28 oz canned tomatoes, onion, white sauce (MFC919)
Grated carrot and raisin salad MFC 743 carrots, lettuce, mayonnaise
Dinner – Spinach and Feta-Stuffed Potatoes BB baking potatoes, fresh spinach, milk, scallion, feta cheese
boiled potatoes   potatoes
spicy greens and tomatoes BB greens, garlic, red pepper, tomatoes
rhubarb shortcake MFC 311 rhubarb, sugar, flour, shortening, milk


Meta uses MEAT SUNDRIES in many of her recipes and she’s devoted an entire chapter to it.  Here’s a little of what she writes about them:

“Liver, heart, kidneys, sweetbreads, tripe, brains, and tongue all fall into this group called MEAT SUNDRIES or SPECIALITES.  Some of them, especially liver, kidneys, and heart, are exceptional good sources of certain vitamins and minerals, and for this reason are valuable constituents of the diet. ”    

My father LOVED chicken gizzards.  He asked me to try one.  I did.  It didn’t appeal to me.  I know many people who do love organ meats, but not me.

Wednesday’s Dinner originally called for “Braised Stuffed Heart” with stuffed potatoes, buttered spinach, bread, and butter.  Looking out my window right now, I see our fresh, young spinach and a cow parade of grazing bovines.

I changed that main-dish menu item to Spinach and Feta-stuffed Potatoes, with tomato soup.



Breakfast – sliced oranges oranges
grits with butter and sugar grits
5-minute eggs eggs
coffee coffee
Luncheon – Square-Meal biscuit sandwiches MFC867 sweet-milk biscuits, ground beef or meatless crumbles, butter, flour, red peppers, onions, sharp cheese
grapefruit salad MFC 753 grapefruit segments, lettuce, French dressing (MFC 841)
Tea   tea
Dinner – Barbecue soul chixn and onion stir-fry BB meatless tenders, onions, barbecue sauce, hot rice
steamed sugar snap peas   sugar snap peas
pickled beet salad MFC775 roasted pickled beets, cucumber, sugar, dill
Note: Prepare for all-weekend away from home!  Have ready SOMETHING for the man at home to eat Load up the freezer and fridge with grab-n-go meals for the man.  Don’t forget the cats and Dolly Barker, the new puppy Tuna in oil, frozen fish, bread, tomatoes, salad stuff, bananas, milk, frozen pizza, Amy’s frozen entreés, eggs, soak beans

In spring we move away from the heavier, gooey grains of wheat and oats, and try to prepare foods from the lighter cereals; corn and quinoa.  Although quinoa (KEEN-wah) is a seed it’s prepared as a grain, like cous-cous.  I can use any rice or pasta salad recipe I want for the quinoa salad.  Friday, I’ll prepare a client favorite, Squash and Orzo Salad from Food Network Magazine 1,000 Easy Recipes, substituting quinoa for the orzo.

In other notes for the Friday meal plan; try to find organic zucchini.  Evidently most conventionally grown zucchini is genetically modified.  Odd, that.  I choose not to eat that way as much as I can. Working outside of the farm all weekend allows me to plan for very simple meals that the man can put together quickly with a minimum of fuss and bother for luncheon and dinner.  I’ll put a big bowl of burrito-ready pinto beans and corn in the fridge, ready for luncheon burritos, using the Nava Atlas recipe in The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet.  Fabulous.  I hope he leaves me some.  


Breakfast – sliced bananas and apples banana, apple
French omelette eggs, milk, butter
squash and quinoa salad organic zucchini, yellow squash, green onions, quinoa, parsley, dill, feta
Luncheon – pinto bean and corn burrito 5IG pg115 pinto beans, corn, stewed tomatoes, jalapeno pepper, cumin, wheat tortillas
corn chips   corn chips
cabbage and raisin slaw MFC 740 cabbage coleslaw mix, raisins, mayonnaise
Dinner – frozen pizza topped with Field Roast Italian sausage and onions   frozen pizza, Field Roast Italian sausage, onions
garden salad   lettuces, radish, cherry tomatoes, French dressing
Vanilla ice cream with peanut butter and chocolate syrup   vanilla ice cream, peanut butter, chocolate syrup
After catering Note:   soak lima beans for tomorrow’s luncheon

Field Roast is an analog meat product that we really, really like.  The Frankfurters are especially nice.  I find them at my local health food store in Abingdon, Whole Food Center, or in Johnson City, TN at Earth Fare.  When I find them I buy a lot. http://fieldroast.com/

Gimme Lean is another analog meat product made by Lightlife, we use quite a lot of .  The man always loves a good sausage biscuit.  The non-meat sausage can be dressed up however I like with extra heat and herb or left alone. It occurs to me “Gimme Lean” is maybe a scrunch-up of “Jimmy Dean”.  Oh.  http://www.lightlife.com/Vegan-Food-Vegetarian-Diet.html


Breakfast – peaches frozen peaches, thawed, sugar
prepared cereal with non-dairy or regular, whole moo milk prepared cereal, milk
Gimme Lean sausage patties   Gimme Lean sausage
Note:  I’ll be out of the house from early afternoon to pretty late in the evening. Plan accordingly. Make lima bean & carrot soup and pineapple-date salad, determine how much tea is left
Luncheon – Cream of lima bean and carrot soup MFC952 soaked lima beans, carrot, onion, milk
tuna sandwich   tuna, celery, mayonnaise
pineapple date salad MFC 766 dates, pineapple, mayonnaise
Dinner – Amy’s frozen entreé   something tasty from Amy’s
Frank’s kale and tomatoes BB oil, garlic, onion, kale, hot peppers, 14 oz can of tomatoes
Waldorf salad MFC772 apples, lemon juice, celery, walnuts, sour cream, parsley, sugar

I’m starting A Course in Miracles at the beginning of the textbook.  I’m starting it again. This is the PREFACE.  This is exciting.  I’ll not transcribe the entire Course, just a little of the PREFACE for my remembrance, and a personal not from time to time.

  “This Preface was written in 1977, in response to many requests for a brief introduction to A Course in Miracles.  The first two parts – How It Came; What It Is-Helen Schucman wrote herself; the final part – What It Says – was written by the process of inner dictation described in the Preface.”

How It Came

A Course in Miracles began with the sudden decision of two people to join in a common goal.  Their names were Helen Schucman and William Thetford, Professors of Medical Psychology at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City.  It does not matter who they were, except that the story shows that with God all things are possible.  They were anything but spiritual.  Their relationship with each other was difficult and often strained, and they were concerned with the personal and professional acceptance and status.    In general, they had considerable investment in the values of the world.  Their lives were hardly in accord with anything that the Course advocates.”   This story never ceases to amaze and astound me.


Breakfast – grapefruit grapefruit
Griddle cakes MFC36 flour, eggs, baking powder, milk, sugar, salt
Brown sugar syrup MFC924 brown sugar
coffee coffee, milk
Note:  Still out of the house for the day Prepare something for Dinner and maybe Supper.  Make devilled eggs MFC387)
Dinner – Burger steak and gravy BB meatless burger, flour, butter, vegetable bouillon
mashed potatoes MFC1077 potatoes, milk, butter
green beans BB frozen green beans, onions
Cookies and ice cream   cookies, ice cream
tea   tea
Supper – egg salad sandwiches BB eggs, pickle, mustard, hot sauce, paprika, pepper, mayonnaise, celery, lettuce
fresh pineapple   pineapple
hot cocoa   cocoa, milk, sugar

It’s Wednesday evening.  I’ve been puppy training (chasing) all day.  Wrangling cats, man, and puppy, and  trying to keep everyone happy.  Of course, no one is really happy, we’re all just waiting for each of us to go to sleep.  The cats can’t WAIT until the puppy goes to kennel when they again have the run of the house.  The puppy can’t WAIT to be fed something again, or find another waste basket, or litter box (uggh).  The Man and I can’t WAIT ‘til everyone is in bed and we can have tall glasses of wine.   Tomorrow is another adventure.   Eat well.  B.