Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Making Progress

I used to think that I would love to have the time to just loaf around and do nothing. When you are working full time and have a couple of kids to look after, a great guy to build a life with, and the usual errands and cleaning and shopping that building a life, or just having a life, entails, it's easy to daydream about a carefree time in the future without all those time eaters.

Turns out I'd rather have projects to do and even the occasional deadline than too much time doing nothing. I like having enough things to do that I need a list to keep track of them. It usually means that I'm interacting in some way with other people (which I usually love) and that I'm making progress on something that is meaningful to me. Somewhat surprising, but not a lot. I've always enjoyed the process more than the product and you have to have things to do in order to have processes, right?

So the carpet was installed, lots of stuff found new homes and some of the old stuff returned to it's place (like this computer), although there is more to do.

The book I'm doing for my InDesign class was uploaded to the publisher today *Yay!* and will be a real book at my doorstep in early December. There is still lots more to do for the class but it feels good to have the book part of it to print.

Thanksgiving will be at our house this year so I have lists and more lists and couldn't be happier! I made the Pocketbook Rolls again, this time with my sourdough starter, so we will have puffy, slightly sour, tender rolls to go with the turkey dinner. Since I have been fairly successful with my weight loss program so far I think I'll even allow myself a good size piece of pumpkin pie!

In no time Christmas will be here, too, so there will be more fun stuff to do to get ready. That will likely mean an increase in posts as I find new recipes to try for entertaining and for gift giving. I'm stoked!

Today I have a new and simple pasta recipe that I threw together one evening. It had to be simple because my eyes were still crossed from too much time proofing the book. It starts with a bed of fresh tri-color pasta (from a package in the refrigerator section of the grocery store...any good brand will do), topped with a melange of sauted onion and garlic, wilted fresh spinach, fresh chopped tomatoes, leftover grilled chicken, and some herbs and spices. Over it all I sprinkled a generous amount of toasted pine nuts. It was wonderful! If you don't have any leftover chicken, you could substitute some rotisserie chicken, cut into bite sized pieces and dinner can be on the table before you know it!

Chicken and Spinach Pasta with Pine Nuts
my own recipe
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped (or more, to taste)
1 tablespoon olive or grapeseed oil
4 oz. sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 cups diced tomatoes and their juice...fresh tomatoes if possible
1 - 2 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
4 cups fresh baby spinach, rinsed well
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup pine nuts
Hot, freshly cooked, drained, fresh pasta ribbons - I used tri-color, but any fresh pasta will work

In a large saute pot, saute the onion and garlic in the grapeseed oil, stirring often, until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, cover the pot, and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Uncover the pot. Add the chicken broth and deglaze the pan, stirring to release any bits stuck to the side of the pot. Add the tomatoes and cook over medium-high heat uncovered, stirring often, until sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken and stir to combine. Heat 2 minutes. Add the baby spinach, stirring until it wilts. Stir in the parsley and thyme, salt and pepper.

On a dinner plate pile a serving of fresh pasta. Top with some of the sauce. Sprinkle with the pine nuts. Serve at once. Serves 4.

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