51 Days later…

51 days ago my mom passed away. I had what I can only call the most stressful week of my life so far. There have been good days and bad days in the last 51 days. Some have been easier than others and I know that will continue to happen likely forever. A week ago my niece and I got matching tattoos in memory of my mom. It was a pretty amazing experience and I’m glad we did it together. I haven’t been posting because every time I try to think of something to write, I feel like I can’t breathe so I stop.

I don’t want to turn this into a place where all I do is vent about how sad I am. That’s not who I am in real life so why should I let that be who I am on here? Father’s Day was really hard because that was the 1 month mark. But I got through it and I’m still here.

We started our Horse Camp season the first week of June and have been having a blast getting to know all the new families and being able to reconnect with old friends. My family does something we lovingly call “Horse Camp” every summer. We started 13 years ago when MiniMe was just a baby. I got a call from my brother asking if we wanted to come over after soccer practice and ride horses. That really is how we started. My niece and nephew started coming and I invited one of my co-workers one time and my brother invited the crew from his roofing business to bring their families out. Because we were doing this right at dinner time we pulled out the BBQ and started cooking up hotdogs. A few years later we had grown to anywhere between 20 and 50 people each Wednesday. One night my brother gathered everybody around and started telling a story about a cowboy named Cactus Jack. When I was in college a few years ago (well, more than a few but who’s counting, right?) I had to create a Powerpoint presentation and I chose to make mine about Horse Camp. I came up with the name Cactus Jack’s Hope Ranch because that’s what it’s all about for us. We have never done any real advertising, it’s all been word of mouth. We do have a Facebook page that I created this season that you can find by just searching for Cactus Jack’s Horse Camp. I’ll try to post a link later.

So that’s how the last 51 days have been for me. I still miss my mom, sometimes so much that I can actually feel a hole in my heart where she should be. But most days I “Just Keep Swimming” and breathe in and out until it doesn’t hurt so bad.

What’s for dinner?

So I’m going to try to add some more content to my page. What??? What I really mean is I have another idea of things to blog about. I’m going to share some of my recipe ideas with you all. All 2 of  you that read this anyway. 🙂

My goal is to only post recipes that I’ve actually tried and not just the ones that I have saved everywhere. I have determined that looking at food blogs when I’m hungry is a really bad idea. It just makes me more hungry. I’m working on getting a decent camera so I can take better pictures but for now, I’ll be using the camera on my phone. Gotta work with what I got!

If you have any recipe ideas that you’ve actually tried and your family likes them, I’m all about trying new things. Except tuna fish. I have an “allergy” to canned tuna. It makes me throw up. That counts as an allergy, right? I can honestly say I’ve never ever made Tuna Noodle Casserole and I refuse to apologize for it! My family knows that if they want tuna they better hide it from me. I have been known to throw away* cans I find hidden in my cupboards!

So if you have something you think I might like, let me know! If you have crockpot recipes that you love, let me know about those for sure! I’m also trying to get into the “freeze it” thing so I can just do a bunch of prep work one day and have it all ready to throw in the crockpot in the morning or the oven when I get home so I don’t have to think about it.

* I actually donated them to the foodbank not the garbage dump. I know SOME people actually like tuna (blech!)

I’ll start with what we had for dinner last nite.

Tangy Mustard Chicken adapted from “Worlds Best Chicken”

This was a recipe I found on Pinterest originally. The first time I made it I followed the recipe exactly. I’ve made it a couple more times since then and have changed it to suit our tastes a little more. Last night I made an extra-large batch so I’ll use the quantities I made for that but it’s easily adaptable for smaller amounts. This batch made enough to serve 8.

  • 5-7 lbs chicken (I used the hindquarters I got on sale last week. I think there were 12 pieces in the package)
  • 3 Tbsp chopped garlic (I use the kind in the big jar from Costco but you could use fresh also. Probably 3-4 cloves of fresh would do it)
  • 1 1/2 Cup Maple Syrup (I used pancake syrup simply because that’s what I had. Real Maple Syrup would probably be even better!)
  • 1/2 Cup Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tsp Vinegar
  • Rosemary
  • Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350°. Place chicken in single layer in baking dish. Salt and Pepper chicken. Mix garlic, maple syrup and mustard in bowl until blended. Spoon over chicken pieces. Top with crushed Rosemary (I just use dry and break it apart a little in my hand before sprinkling it on the top). Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked and juices run clear. Remove foil for last 15 minutes so chicken can get a little more color. The sugar in the syrup browns up very nicely and quickly without drying the chicken out.

The first time I made this I thought the Dijon mustard flavor was a little to strong. The second time I made it I mixed a smaller amount of Dijon with mayonnaise. It tasted pretty good but the mayo separated and made the sauce look weird. This time I just used more syrup to make enough sauce for the amount of chicken I was cooking and didn’t add the mayo. The chicken I used was also still partially frozen so I had to cook it much longer. I think the first time I made it I used fresh chicken breast and bone-in thighs and it only took about 40 minutes total.

This isn’t my picture. It’s from the website of the original poster of the recipe “worlds-best-chicken”

This is a recipe that I actually enjoy but my family thinks it’s just okay. I’ll keep playing with it to find just the right thing to make them love it so I can eat it more often 🙂