Lemon Chicken and Asparagus…

I can’t tell you how nice it is to be able to cook and bake with lemon again…I love this time of year! I got the inspiration for this dish from a recipe I saw on another blog- ok, tell me this isn’t the cutest name ever- Feed Me, Seymour. Get it?? Like, from Little Shop of Horrors?? I LOVE that musical, so naturally I was drawn to Kim’s blog from the start. I loved Kim’s idea of serving small pieces of chicken over asparagus and immediately set out to recreate it for dinner that night. This was an absolutely scrumptious dish! Joel and I loved it and cleaned our plates! I really hope you’ll try this- it’s so quick and easy (literally, if you’ve got 30 minutes, you’ve got lemon chicken and asparagus for dinner!) and really, really delicious.

Lemon Chicken and Asparagus

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for the asparagus
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped or cut into thin strips
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon flour
salt and pepper
juice of one large lemon
1 bunch fresh asparagus

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil. Lay the asparagus in a single layer on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and bake for about 6-8 minutes, until just barely tender. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces and cook, turning the pieces so they cook evenly, for about 5 minutes. Add in the peppers. Cook for an additional 5 minutes then using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken and peppers to a plate and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium-low and whisk the flour into the drippings left in the skillet. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice. Whisk constantly until the sauce starts to thicken slightly. Add the chicken and peppers back in and cook for 5-7 minutes.

Spoon the chicken, peppers and sauce over the asparagus and serve. Serves 2.

Recipe source: Sing For Your Supper original, inspired by Feed Me, Seymour


A Taste of Texas Hill Country…

Sometimes you reach a point in your month-to-month routine where you just NEED a break. Joel reached his about 2 months ago but has been so swamped, it wasn’t until this past weekend that he got to finally take a day off. So what do we decide to do when we’ve got a beautiful, sunny 3 day weekend? We go to College Station, Texas. Joel went to college and grad school at Texas A&M University (I know most of you already know this) and loves to go back every chance he gets. I love it too and have my fair share of happy memories there. So we dropped Izzy off at my parents’ house and took off- first stop, College Station.

We took a tour of the George Bush Library and museum that sits on the campus of A&M. This is the Berlin wall memorial statue. There is actually a piece of the actual Berlin wall inside the museum.

Joel is having a conversation with ‘ol George. “Dan Quayle? Really???”

Next up, we drove to Brehnam to tour the Blue Bell factory. For those of you unfortunate souls (*cough* yankees) who aren’t familiar, Blue Bell is the world’s BEST ice cream. Ever. But they mostly sell it in the Southern states. And they have a new flavor that we got to try- Homemade In the Shade- it’s vanilla ice cream with a fudge swirl. SO GOOD!

Mmmm, fudge swirl…..

Next up, my favorite part of the trip- Messina Hof Winery in Bryan. Joel and I have always loved their wine (especially since it’s a Texas wine!) and were super excited to finally get to see where its made.

This place is absolutely gorgeous and the wine is excellent! We got to taste 4 different wines and we learned all about proper wine etiquette (those weird slurping noises, swirling the glass, etc). I highly recommend the Gewurztraminer!

After 2 days in the College Station area, we headed over to Austin for the afternoon. First stop- Torchy’s Tacos. We had the fried avocado tacos and green chile pork tacos – OMG YUM!! Joel takes his tacos very seriously and said these were two of the best he’s ever had!

In case you’re wondering, fried avocado is miraculous.

We can’t forget Hey Cupcake! We first tried this place a couple of years ago and haven’t forgotten it! Anytime we’re near Austin, we HAVE to stop by South Congress St. and pick up a few cupcakes. My all-time favorite is the Michael Jackson- chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting. We also got red velvet and sweet berry. LOVE this place.

This is the food truck/trailer section of S. Congress – a whole block of trailers and food trucks full of awesome food. This place is always packed! So much character here! Our favorite part was the hippie singing songs on the corner.

Gimme mah cupcakes! OM NOM NOM!!

And finally, a stop in Belton, Texas to visit my alma mater, The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. Some of the best years of my life were spent here, getting my bachelors degree in music. I have so many happy memories here- Joel coming to visit on weekends, spending time with some of the best friends I’ve ever had, voice lessons with Ms. Clement, the BEST voice teacher in the world, working in the music office with Ginger, singing with One Voice….so many memories.

I spent practically all of my college career in this building- Presser Hall- the music building. All my classes, recitals and rehearsals were here. I love this building. Even if it is haunted.

And that completes our tour of the Texas Hill Country- starting in College Station and working our way to Brenham, Bryan, Austin and Belton. We had a fantastic time and I’m happy to share some of it with you! If you’re ever in Texas, be sure and visit some of these places- you definitely won’t be disappointed!

Restaurants visited:

Rudy’s BBQ– our favorite BBQ in the whole state!
Shipley Donuts– we don’t have these in North Texas so anytime I’m down in the area, I have to stop by and get a chocolate cream filled donut!
Blue Baker– Aggieland’s best sandwiches!
Cafe Eccell– delicious upscale food with the best strawberry tart I’ve ever had (and it totally doesn’t hurt that they play Harry Connick, Jr. on their website!)! Thanks to my reader, Lauren, for the dessert recommendation!
Sweet Eugene’s House of Java– we started every morning with a latte from Sweet Eugene’s. My favorite- the Al Pacino.
Layne’s– all they serve is chicken fingers and fries. A College Station legacy. We never miss it.
Torchy’s Tacos– do NOT miss the fried avocado taco!
Hey Cupcake!– one of the many delicious food trailers on S. Congress; a must visit when you’re in Austin!



Lemon-Blueberry Buttermilk Scones…

For some strange reason, scones are something I don’t often make. I really have no idea why, because I actually love them. They’re like biscuits, but slightly sweeter and you can add any number of ingredients to customize them however you like! Chocolate chip, strawberry, cinnamon, ginger….anything you want! I chose to make lemon blueberry because I had a couple of big, beautiful lemons and a pint of fresh blueberries just begging to be used. These were SO good! Light and tender, just bursting with fresh lemony flavor and full of big, juicy blueberries – a perfectly delicious breakfast (I really need to make scones more often!)! Believe it or not, I’m not one of those people who love overly sweet, heavy foods at breakfast – sure, I’ll indulge in a stack of chocolate chip pancakes every now and then, but really, I prefer more subtle breakfast foods, like scones. They’re ever-so-slightly sweet and light enough that I can have more than one. 😉

I started with Dorie Greenspan’s Basic Cream Scones recipe, made a few changes and came up with a truly delicious scone that I know I’ll be making many, many times. If you’re looking for an easy, delicious breakfast recipe, this one won’t fail! Oh! And an exciting tidbit about this post- I’m guest posting over at Beantown Baker today as part of her Friday Favs series! How fun! Head over to Jen’s site and check out my post and be sure to check out all her other fabulous recipes as well! Thanks again, Jen, for inviting me to participate!

Lemon-Blueberry Buttermilk Scones

1 egg
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
zest of 2 large lemons
1/2 pint fresh blueberries
5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small cubes

1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water, for egg wash.
sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Beat egg, buttermilk and lemon zest together and set aside.

In large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Add the butter and using a pastry cutter, fork or your fingers (Dorie prefers using her fingers best) cut it into the flour until you have a pebbly mixture the size of peas.

Pour the egg and cream into the flour/butter mixture and stir to combine with a rubber spatula. Very gently, fold the blueberries into the dough, being careful not to crush them. When the mixture is totally incorporated, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and pat out until it is 1 inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter, cut out circles and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; alternatively you can just cut the dough into squares or triangles.

Brush the tops of the scones with the egg wash, then sprinkle generously with sugar. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the are nicely browned. Serve immediately. Store any leftovers in an airtight container. Makes approximately 10 scones.

Recipe source: heavily adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours