Monday, October 20, 2014

Lentil Stew with Polenta

Lentil Stew with Polenta

I had some polenta in the fridge that I needed to use so I googled recipes and found this recipe from Whole Foods:
  • 1 1/2 cup brown lentils, picked over and rinsed (I used French lentils.)
  • 2 onions, sliced (I used only one large onion.)
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can plum tomatoes with juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (I omitted the salt.)
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth (I used low sodium chicken stock.)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup quick-cooking polenta      
I was happy to try this because it could be cooked in the slow cooker overnight and ready for lunch the next day.  

Layer lentils, onions, bell pepper and garlic in the bottom of a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker. Halve the plum tomatoes and add them to the cooker along with all their juices. Sprinkle with oregano, chile flakes and salt. Pour in broth and vinegar, cover and cook on low until lentils are very tender, about 7 hours.
Prepare the polenta according to package directions and serve with the stew.

Put rinsed lentils in bottom of slow cooker. 
Add green pepper, onions and garlic.
Add tomatoes, oregano, chile, and balsamic vinegar.  Add broth.
I cooked it overnight on low power.
Ready in the morning after cooking all night. (about 7 hours)
I cut the polenta into slices and fried it in a bit of olive oil until golden brown.
Add polenta to plate.

Ready to eat.  
Place the polenta on plate and cover with the lentil stew. I liked this because it could cook overnight and takes only a few minutes to put ingredients into crock pot.  
Check out this website 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Casey and Adam's Wedding October 11, 2014

Last weekend we were in Cleveland County for the wedding of my grandnephew Adam and his bride Casey.  It was a lovely wedding.  The venue was a beautiful meadow strewn with hay bales, and although it rained about an hour before the wedding, it turned out to be a beautiful evening.  Actually just after it rained, a rainbow appeared in the eastern sky behind the site of the bridal arch.  I think that must be a special sign for a special wedding.
Directions to the meadow.
The chairs are ready.  
The rainbow after the rain and just before the wedding.  A good sign I would say.

Dan and I waited around under the tent before the wedding and moved out to the chairs in the meadow just before the ceremony.
Dan talking with my niece Kelly, the mother of the groom, before the wedding. 

Adam's little nephews joined the wedding party just before the bride with Cason pulling his little brother Brayton in a little red wagon.

The bride was given in marriage by her mother, Donna.

The groomsmen, the bride's attendants, as well as the bride and groom wore cowboy boots.
The groomsmen.
Two brides maids (sister of the groom on the left and sister of bride of the right).

The bride and groom exchanged vows in front of a vine adorned arbor.

The happy Mr. and Mrs. 

The reception was wonderful.  Lots of good food, fellowship, and music.
The wedding cake. 

The couple enjoys their first dance.
First dance. 

The groom's family. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

"Lunch is Ready!" in Less Than Ten Minutes

Grain bowl ready for lunch.
A recent article* in the Dining Section of the NY Times featured grain bowls as a one-dish adventure.  Melissa Clark promoted a number of ideas for grain bowls from different restaurants, but the one thing all grain bowls seem to have in common are the three layers: the grain, the vegetable layer, and the protein topped with some kind of sauce.  Left-overs are great for building a grain bowl for a quick breakfast or lunch.  With this in mind I checked out the left-overs in our fridge and made bowls for our lunch today.
Frozen quinoa and kale from Costco.

Since I discovered the frozen quinoa and kale at Costco, I almost always have some of that in the freezer.  The little individual bag that is a perfect serving for two or three cooks in 4 minutes.  I used this as the base for the first layer, about a third of a bowl. (Yes I know quinoa isn't a grain, it's a seed but it's a good substitute.)
Pop this bag of frozen quinoa and kale in microwave for 4 minutes.
First third in bowl, a layer of quinoa and kale.

In the fridge I had a package of Trader Joe's peeled and cooked baby beets.  Dan and I both love beets, so these became the vegetable layer---the next third of the bowl on top of the quinoa and kale.
Trader Joe's baby beets ready to eat.
These go in the microwave for 1 minutes.
Layer sliced beets over the quinoa.

I didn't seem to have any sauce on hand that would work, and I didn't want to make one, so I topped the bowl with a spoonful of three-bean salad (another left-over)  This added a little more protein and a lot of flavor.  I spread a bit of the pickling juice over the top.

Trader Joe's to the rescue again.  There was part of a roll of goat cheese from TJ's---that became the protein layer.
Trader Joe's goat cheese. 
Protein layer of chevre on top and ready to eat in less than 10 minutes.

This was so easy and so quickly made and nutritious.  This can be eaten warm or cold.  We will eat it cold so I have it ready now for lunch.   I'll keep grain bowls in mind when I need to use left-overs or when I just want something a bit different and something that can be whipped up in short order.

*Check out Melissa Clark's link in the NY Times for more ideas about preparing grain bowls.

p.s. If Rachel Ray can have a TV show called "30 Minute Meals", perhaps I could have one called "Meals in Less Than 10 Minutes".  Are you listening Food Network?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Casey's Christmas-Themed Bridal Shower (Part Two)

Female relatives of Adam and Casey brought Christmas y gifts to the Christmas-themed bridal shower on Friday night.  First here are the guests.
Adam's Aunt CeCe with Casey.  CeCe helped host the party.  Thanks so much CeCe.  
Adam's grandmother and my sister, Martha, and Casey

Adam's Aunt Leslie gives a hug to the bride-to-be.
My niece, Kelly, mother of the groom.   (Photo by me)
Adam's Aunt Joy with the bride-to-be
Adam's Great Aunt Bernice and cousins Debbie (left) and Sherrie (right). 
Adam's sister-in-law Kristen.  
L. to R. :  Donna, mother of the bride, Casey, Margaret, Casey's grandmother, and Joann, Casey's Great Aunt. 
And now for some of the pretty gifts Casey received.

Kristen's gift wasn't a box of Huggies.  This was just the box she used to wrap it.
Included in Martha's gift was a tiny wine glass inscribed : "3 wise men.  Really?"
From Kelly to Casey and Adam.  So sweet. 
I had a special ornament made by Nth Degree Art (Photo by me)
and a Christmas tree skirt made by SeamsClever
Christmas tree skirt of burlap with felt poinsettias around the perimeter.  (Photo by me)
I had all the guests write a message on the back lining of the tree skirt.
The bride's mother, Donna, writing a message on the back lining of the tree skirt. (Photo by me) 
Finally I want to thank my friend, Peggy, who helped host the party.
Peggy and I.  

I certainly had a lot of fun planning and hosting the shower, and I believe the guests and the bride-to-be had fun as well.  And now the Chatfield house is already decorated for Christmas.  I think I'll plan another party!

But first, I can't wait to attend Casey and Adam's wedding on Saturday.

Photos by Kelly Cabaniss Snellings unless otherwise noted.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Casey's Christmas-Themed Bridal Shower (Part One)

Gifts for the bridal shower under the tree.

When I was planning a bridal shower for Casey who is marrying my grandnephew Adam, I decided to use a "Christmas in October" theme.  I think it was fun for everyone---especially the bride-to-be.

The invitation specified the Christmas theme and asked guests to bring a gift that could be used at Christmas.  Well that could be almost anything actually.  But many did bring Christmas y things.

The Shower Invitation. 
Christmas decorations were used throughout our Chatfield house including a decorated aluminum 1950s Christmas tree.
1950s aluminum Christmas tree.

When the bride-to-be arrived, I presented her with a corsage that was pinned on by her grandmother, Margaret.  The corsage included a crocheted Santa ornament that had been crocheted by my mother.  Casey never knew my mother who would have been her great grandmother (by marriage), but she will have an ornament made by her. 
The corsage adorned with a Santa ornament made by Granny Greene.

Casey's grandmother pins on the corsage. (Photo by Peggy Rhyne)

At our house on Christmas eve, we always play what we call "Dirty Santa" also called "The White Elephant Game".  As an ice breaker, we played this game at the shower.  I  bought and wrapped the gifts---Christmas ornaments.   For picking numbers to decide the order of play, I had each guest choose a small box that contained a numbered Westmoore Pottery ornament that could be taken home as a party favor.
Each box contained a tiny pottery ornament with a number to determine the order of play.

Westmoore Pottery ornaments. (
 In turn each guest opened a "Dirty Santa" gift based on her number, and ornaments could be taken away from someone rather than choosing an unopened gift.  Several of the ornaments did change hands.
Wooden birdhouse ornament. (Photo by Peggy Rhyne)
More Christmas ornament gifts.

Everyone had a lot of fun with this game. 

Refreshments followed the Christmas theme:  Lottie Lane Fruitcake (homemade), spiced pecans (homemade), fruit kabobs, cheese florets (Southern Supreme) and hot spiced apple cider to drink.

The food. (Photo by Kelly Cabaniss Snellings)

Lottie Lane Fruitcake.

Table set up on screen porch.  (Photo by Peggy Rhyne)

After refreshments, Casey opened her gifts.  (To be continued.)