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The Lexingtonienne http://thelexingtonienne.com I'm Hannah. This is my blog. It has a Southern accent. Thu, 17 Nov 2016 04:57:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 You Need This Thanksgiving Schedule http://thelexingtonienne.com/2016/11/16/you-need-this-thanksgiving-schedule/ http://thelexingtonienne.com/2016/11/16/you-need-this-thanksgiving-schedule/#comments Thu, 17 Nov 2016 04:57:57 +0000 http://thelexingtonienne.com/?p=6545 What’s up, turkeys?! I owe you a real update, my friends, but for now I’m popping in just in time for Thanksgiving to re-publish my tried-and-true Thanksgiving schedule.

If you’re here at the suggestion of my awesome brother-in-law, Chef Brian Duffy, I thank you for stopping by! (And see, guys? Sometimes real, actual chefs know that we humble home cooks totally have it together.) SO! Here is how I do it:

(And in case you like a hard copy, you can print all of this information out here.)

THE LEXINGTONIENNE’S THANKSGIVING SCHEDULE

MENU
Pumpkin bread appetizer with cinnamon cream cheese
Turkey (my husband handles this – hooray!)
Cornbread dressing
Gravy
Mashed potatoes
Sweet potato casserole
Southern-style green beans
Cranberry Jell-O salad*
Creamed corn
Broccoli casserole
Homemade rolls
Chocolate chip pecan pie

*It sounds like a joke, but this is a favorite in my family because it is WAY better than cranberry sauce! Besides, what are the holidays without a little kitsch?

FRIDAY 

  • Make and freeze pumpkin bread.
  • Press tablecloth and napkins.
  • Make Thanksgiving playlists. (I usually do one playlist for cooking and hanging out, and a second, instrumental playlist for during dinner.)
  • List out menu and choreograph which items go on the stove, which go in the oven, and which go elsewhere. You may need to get strategic so that you have enough burners and enough room in the oven. It is better to think about this now than to run into problems on Thanksgiving Day.

SATURDAY

  • Take inventory of pots, pans, and serving dishes. Make list to buy disposable pans as needed to supplement.
  • Make grocery list.
  • Check stock of supplies such as foil, paper towels, and toilet paper… stuff you don’t want to run out of on Thanksgiving Day! :)

SUNDAY

  • Make rolls and freeze.

MONDAY

  • Clean off kitchen counter to maximize space.
  • Clean out fridge and freezer.
  • Go grocery shopping.
  • Make cornbread for stuffing.

TUESDAY

  • Make sweet potato casserole. (Store in fridge.)
  • Make cranberry Jell-O salad. (Store in fridge.)
  • Prep green beans. (Dice onion and ham, wash and prep green beans so that everything is ready to throw into the pot.)
  • Set out pots, pans, casserole dishes, and serving dishes that will be needed for Thanksgiving Day. Put post-it notes on each to assign. (ex: a tray for pumpkin bread, a dish for broccoli casserole, etc.)

WEDNESDAY

  • Make creamed corn. (Store in fridge.)
  • Make pecan chocolate chip pie.
  • Prep broccoli casserole. (Slice cheese, crumble crackers.)
  • Prep veggies & herbs for cornbread stuffing. (Dice veggies, chop herbs, store in Ziploc bag.)
  • Make cinnamon cream cheese for pumpkin bread.
  • Set the table.

THANKSGIVING DAY

  • Thaw pumpkin bread. (Early in the day.)
  • Remove rolls from freezer, allow to rise, and bake. (Again, early in the day.)
  • Set green beans to simmer.
  • Assemble and bake broccoli casserole.
  • Make mashed potatoes. (This is the only dish, except gravy, for which I do everything the day of.)
  • Assemble and bake cornbread stuffing.
  • Reheat creamed corn. (I reheat mine in the crock pot to free up a burner on the stove.)
  • Bake sweet potato casserole.
  • Make gravy (This is the only thing I do at the last minute.)
  • Enjoy the day and have fun!

By now you have probably diagnosed me as having OCD, and perhaps you would not be wrong. But by the time Thanksgiving Day arrives, I feel prepared and cool as a cucumber… and that makes it such a fun day. For me, every little bit that gets done in advance makes a big difference!

Oh, and just because. Our girls. We are so thankful for these li’l turkeys.

Happy Thanksgiving from ALL the Duffys, coast to coast!

DSC_1322

xoxo,

Hannah

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Slow Cooker Rosemary Garlic Chicken http://thelexingtonienne.com/2015/09/24/slow-cookerosemary-garlic-chicken/ http://thelexingtonienne.com/2015/09/24/slow-cookerosemary-garlic-chicken/#comments Thu, 24 Sep 2015 23:35:31 +0000 http://thelexingtonienne.com/?p=6439 Oh, Friends. 2015 was going to be my year. I was going to be a Blog Superhero. But then… life.

Sister Hugs Summer 2015

Hubba Bubba and I took our first-ever trip sans bebes in March, soaking in four sunny days in Mexico.

Mexico Spring 2015

We went on our annual family vacation to Isle of Palms, South Carolina in May.

Isle of Palms 2015

And in late July we made a little visit to Lexington, where we were practically baptized by the humidity.

Summer 2015

Summer 2015

But before you think my absence owes to carefree jet-setting, I should add that we also battled a stomach virus…

Sick Eleanora

… then endured a many weeks-long mama-vs-toddler deadlock when a certain 2-year-old started doing triple Lutzes out of her crib 25 times every night…

Summer 2015

… not to mention we managed a refinance on our mortgage that lasted four delightful months. (Btw, did you come here to read something interesting? I hope not.) On top of it all, Hubba Bubba has been out of town for work a LOT, like two and three weeks at a time for most of the spring and summer. (First of all, props to all you military spouses. Secondly, I wouldn’t normally reference HB’s being gone because of all the scary burglars who read my blog, but since we have a toddler roaming the house in beast mode at any given hour of the night, I feel protected by her creep factor alone.)

Isle of Palms 2015

Fortunately, crib-jumping aside, these girls of ours are really helpful when Daddy is away. They practice proper etiquette at the dinner table…

Charlotte under the table

… they’re fantastic shoppers…

Summer 2015

… and they get themselves dressed.

Summer 2015

We have also devoted a lot of time this year to planning the 5th birthday party of this one…

Easter 2015

… who began talking about her 5th birthday party the day after her 4th birthday. December will be here before we know it! 😉

And now it’s already back-to-school time.

Eleanora's first day of school

Time for early mornings, after school activities, and hearty suppers. This Slow Cooker Rosemary Garlic Chicken has become a favorite in our house.

Rosemary Garlic Chicken Quarters

Personally I’m not a fan of rosemary or garlic or dark meat chicken, but somehow it all comes together here in a way that is so falling-off-the-bone good, it manages to please all four of us.

Rosemary Garlic Chicken Quarters

Rosemary Garlic Chicken Quarters

I came up with this recipe through several attempts, the first being a Bon Appetit recipe that involved so much prep it took me over an hour just to get to the point where you turn the slow cooker on and walk away. Is it just me, or doesn’t that defeat the purpose?

Rosemary Garlic Chicken Quarters

Rosemary Garlic Chicken Quarters

Rosemary Garlic Chicken Quarters

I found an easier and somewhat similar version on the “100 Days of Real Food” blog which was for a whole chicken. I attempted it once and almost jumped out of my skin about 45 times trying to deal with the whole bird. I couldn’t figure out if I was supposed to pick it up by the arms or the legs, either of which feels as slippery and irresponsible as picking up a just-birthed infant by the fingers. I tried picking it up with tongs, which proved as useless as trying to grab a stuffed animal with The Claw at an arcade. Ultimately I had to pick the thing up by the body, which felt like I was picking up somebody’s cat, which skeeved me out so much that it took several attempts and a few “step-away-and-breathe”s before the bird was finally conveyed to the pot. I succeeded in the end — barely — and I will never try that ever again.

Rosemary Garlic Chicken Quarters

Rosemary Garlic Chicken Quarters

So here you go. This is a totally manageable way to deal with chicken, and I think I’ve fine-tuned the seasoning blend just right. I hope you like it as much as we do. :)

Rosemary Garlic Chicken Quarters

SLOW COOKER ROSEMARY GARLIC CHICKEN QUARTERS (printable pdf)
Serves 4

4 chicken leg quarters
1 TBSP dried rosemary
2 tsp smoked paprika (It’s important that it’s the smoked kind. Regular paprika doesn’t quite cut it.)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
3/4 tsp garlic powder
Several turns of black pepper, or about 3/4 tsp ground
1 TBSP canola oil
1 onion, sliced
1 lb whole carrots, peeled

Trim chicken quarters of excess skin and fat.

Combine rosemary, paprika, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and pepper in a small dish. Rub mixture onto the skin of the chicken quarters.

Heat canola oil in a large, heavy pan over medium-high (closer to high) heat on the stove. My slow cooker has an insert that can go directly on the stovetop, which works great here. Add chicken quarters and sear for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. You may need to work in batches (I do 2 quarters at a time).

Spread onions along bottom of crockpot. Top with chicken quarters. Top with carrots, then season to taste with salt & pepper. Cook until chicken begins to fall off the bone, about 2 hours on high or 4 hours on low. Cooking times may vary based on your slow cooker.

xoxo,
Hannah

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A Love Letter to My Daughters http://thelexingtonienne.com/2015/02/12/a-love-letter-to-my-daughters/ http://thelexingtonienne.com/2015/02/12/a-love-letter-to-my-daughters/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 20:09:54 +0000 http://thelexingtonienne.com/?p=6422 Dear Eleanora and Charlotte,

A little over a year ago, a dear friend of mine passed away unexpectedly, leaving her precious babies to navigate life without their mama. When each of you were born, my greatest fear became losing you, until I considered an even deeper fear: that you might lose me, while you are still small and vulnerable and very much in need of your mama. I hope and pray that never happens to us, my sweet girls. But while we are here together, appreciating the preciousness of life, there is something that is essential for me to tell you.

Almost 6 months

At the moment I gave birth to you, I also gave life to a love which came from within me, but which began to exist outside of me, as a bubble floats into the air.

Eleanora and Charlotte February 2015

But unlike a bubble, my love is neither fragile nor ephemeral. It can never be broken, diminished, or destroyed. It cannot die with me. And so you must know this:

I'll Be Loving You Always

When I am someday called away from this life, that love I created for you will still exist in the world.

Eleanora and Charlotte Summer and Fall 2014

My love will expand with each daily sigh of the humble earth, and it will do what I cannot: it will live forever.

November 2014

My love will surround you and your children, and even your children’s children.

I'll Be Loving You Always

Charlotte December 2014

The world will know I was here because my love will still be here, still growing, still doing the important work.

Isle of Palms Vacation May 2014

So no matter what, I’ll be loving you always.

Eleanora and Charlotte Summer and Fall 2014

But not to worry, little ones. It is my full intention to embarrass you throughout your teenage years, to terrorize your father by repeatedly going over budget when you and I plan the weddings of your dreams, and to feed your children loads of chocolate and skip their naps when I come over to babysit.

Eleanora and Charlotte February 2015

All the while, I will be loving you.

I'll Be Loving You Always

Eleanora November 2014

Then, when all those days have come and gone, when centuries have turned like pages in a book, and we are no longer even anyone’s memory but rather only faint imprints on the genes of our distant descendants, my love will still be here, still growing, still doing the important work. And I will still be loving you.

Eleanora and Charlotte February 2015

I'll be loving you always

I’ll be loving you, always.

Isle of Palms May 2014

Happy Valentine’s Day,
Hannah

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New Year, New Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies http://thelexingtonienne.com/2015/01/13/new-year-new-favorite-chocolate-chip-cookies/ http://thelexingtonienne.com/2015/01/13/new-year-new-favorite-chocolate-chip-cookies/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 19:48:28 +0000 http://thelexingtonienne.com/?p=6397 Happy New Year! It’s been so long; how about a quick catch-up in photos?

OCTOBER…

Halloween 2014

Halloween 2014

NOVEMBER…

November 2014

November 2014

DECEMBER…

Eleanora, Charlotte, December 2014, January 2015

Eleanora, Charlotte, December 2014, January 2015

December 2014

December 2014

Eleanora, Charlotte, December 2014, January 2015

December 2014

Eleanora, Charlotte, December 2014, January 2015

Aaaaand that pretty much brings us up to January! I know we all have resolutions to eat better, tone up, and drop some ell-bees. But seriously. Who wants cookies?

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I thought so.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have long been in search of a recipe that would yield just the most perfect chocolate chip cookie.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Crunchy around the edges, chewy in the middle, and full of gooey chocolate.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I think I’ve found it, friends. This recipe is an adaptation of an adaptation; it’s a Cooks Illustrated recipe I found via Our Best Bites blog. It uses melted butter to produce a denser, chewier cookie, rather than whipped butter, which incorporates air into the batter and creates a fluffier cookie.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I leave the electric mixer in the drawer and mix these up by hand to make sure they are extra dense and extra chewy. Plus, stirring by hand burns a lot of calories, so really you could consider these “workout cookies.”

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

The original recipe calls for a cup and a half of chocolate chips. I don’t think that’s enough, do you? And for these cookies I don’t want little studs of chocolate. I want huge, melty chunks. After all, it’s January. Time to get serious.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I scoop my dough out with a number 40 cookie scoop to ensure uniform size, and then I press a few extra chocolate chunks onto the top of each cookie before baking. I think the cookies are prettier this way. And more chocolatey.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

And a final tip: it’s a good idea to double this recipe.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

You know, in case somebody else wants some.

Charlotte age 17 months eating cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

MY NEW FAVORITE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES (printable pdf)
Adapted from Our Best Bites and Cooks Illustrated

  • 2 Cups + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 Cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 Cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 (11.5 oz) bag chocolate chips OR 3 (4 oz) Ghirardelli chocolate bars, broken into chunks

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, mix butter and sugars together until thoroughly combined. (Hand mixing recommended for minimal incorporation of air.) Stir in egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients in 2-3 additions. Stir in chocolate chunks.

My version calls for a larger amount of chocolate chunks, and it may be difficult to thoroughly incorporate ALL of them into the batter. This is fine though, as you can use the loose rogue chunks to top off the cookies before baking.

The Cooks Illustrated/Our Best Bites recipe says to scoop out 1/4 Cup of dough, form it into a ball, then pull the ball apart in half, each half forming a cookie. I, however, prefer to use a #40 cookie scoop. Either way, scoop dough onto a foil-lined cookie sheet (for easy clean-up) about 2 inches apart. Top each dough ball with a few extra chocolate chunks.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until edges are set and just barely beginning to turn golden brown. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.

 

Happy New Year!

Hannah

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Summertime, and the Livin’ Is Easy http://thelexingtonienne.com/2014/07/02/summertime-and-the-livin-is-easy/ http://thelexingtonienne.com/2014/07/02/summertime-and-the-livin-is-easy/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 22:58:10 +0000 http://thelexingtonienne.com/?p=6382 Happy Summer!

We’ve been so busy enjoying summertime that I nearly forgot there was a blog. We vacationed in Isle of Palms, South Carolina with four generations of our family.

May / June 2014

Isle of Palms May 2014

Isle of Palms May 2014

Isle of Palms Vacation May 2014

Isle of Palms Vacation May 2014

Isle of Palms Vacation May 2014

Isle of Palms Vacation May 2014

Isle of Palms Vacation May 2014

Isle of Palms May 2014

Isle of Palms Vacation May 2014

Isle of Palms May 2014

We celebrated Charlotte turning one.

Isle of Palms Vacation May 2014

(This beautiful cake was made by Bakies in Mt. Pleasant, and it tasted every bit as good as it looked.)

Isle of Palms Vacation May 2014

Then we traveled up north to see family in Philadelphia…

Philadelphia Duffys

Philadelphia Duffys

… where Charlotte tasted her first Philly cheesesteak (from George’s on 9th Street, of course).

May / June 2014

We had such a great time, but man were we wiped out when we got back to LA! I’m not sure if it was the 12 days, the 11 nights, the six airplanes, or the two toddlers that did us in, but Hubba Bubba and I decided we are DONE traveling for this year. :)

May / June 2014

But summer itself is still going strong, so I want to revisit this Summer Fruit Cobbler recipe from a past post. I made it the other day with peaches and blackberries, and I used arrowroot instead of cornstarch. You can find arrowroot in the spice aisle of the grocery store, and it’s a 1:1 conversion, meaning however much cornstarch a recipe calls for, you can use that exact same amount of arrowroot instead. I have to tell you, this cobbler turned out so fabulous, I will be using arrowroot from here on out. Give it a whirl for Fourth of July; your friends and family will call you an American hero.

cobbler

SUMMER FRUIT COBBLER WITH CINNAMON BISCUITS (printable pdf)

I also made a super fun playlist for your Fourth of July party, inspired by the cities, states, and spirit of ‘Merica herself. Turn up the volume, crack open a cold beer, and you’re all set.

THE LEXINGTONIENNE’S FOURTH OF JULY 2014 PLAYLIST
1. Surfin’ USA – The Beach Boys
2. Say Goodbye to Hollywood – Billy Joel
3. Revolution – The Beatles
4. American Boy (feat. Kanye West) – Estelle
5. Theme from New York, New York – Frank Sinatra
6. Going Back to Cali – LL Cool J
7. American Child – Phil Vassar
8. Viva Las Vegas – Elvis Presley
9. American Girl – Tom Petty
10. Glory Days – Bruce Springsteen
11. Philadelphia Freedom – Elton John
12. Take Me Home, Country Roads – Brandi Carlile and Emmylou Harris
13. Kentucky Woman – Neil Diamond
14. American Woman – Lenny Kravitz
15. Freedom – George Michael
16. Born in the USA – Bruce Springsteen
17. The Devil Went Down to Georgia – The Charlie Daniels Band
18. Paradise City – Guns n Roses
19. Carolina in My Mind – James Taylor
20. French Kissin’ (in the USA) – Debbie Harry
21. School’s Out – Alice Cooper
22. Fortunate Son – Creedence Clearwater Revival
23. On Broadway – The Drifters
24. Pour Some Sugar On Me – Def Leppard
25. All I Wanna Do – Sheryl Crow
26. New Orleans – Joan Jett and The Blackhearts
27. Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
28. Georgia On My Mind – Ray Charles
29. Beverly Hills – Weezer
30. Walking In Memphis – Marc Cohn
31. Empire State of Mind – JAY Z and Alicia Keys
32. Hotel California – Eagles
33. Route 66 – Chuck Berry
34. No Sleep Till Brooklyn – Beastie Boys
35. Independence Day – Martina McBride
36. Chattahoochee – Alan Jackson
37. Detroit Rock City – KISS
38. Firework – Katy Perry
39. God Blessed Texas – Little Texas
40. Cleveland Rocks – The Presidents of the United States of America
41. Living In America – James Brown
42. Miami – Will Smith
43. I’ve Been Everywhere – Johnny Cash
44. Jack & Diane – John Mellencamp
45. Summertime – DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince

Happy Fourth!

Hannah

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Bunny Bait http://thelexingtonienne.com/2014/04/15/bunny-bait/ http://thelexingtonienne.com/2014/04/15/bunny-bait/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 17:10:24 +0000 http://thelexingtonienne.com/?p=6369 Who out there likes popcorn?

Eleanora Age 3

Yeah. Us too.

And who out there hopes the Easter Bunny will make a stop at their house this year?

Charlotte Easter March 2014

Yeah. Us too.

Given our genetically predisposed love of popcorn combined with our sincerest Easter Bunny hopes, Eleanora and I made some super fun Bunny Bait today while our own little baby bunny was napping.

Bunny Bait

Specifically designed to entice one cotton-tailed altruist to visit your neck of the woods, Bunny Bait is a snap to make. Perfect for people who aren’t big on baking…

Bunny Bait

… or who don’t have a lot of time…

Bunny Bait

… but who REALLY need the Easter Bunny to come and leave presents. (Preferably hard-to-find presents pertaining to this tiny little film called Frozen. Maybe you’ve heard of it?)

Bunny Bait

Bunny Bait

This Bunny Bait takes about 15 minutes to throw together and is GUARANTEED to convince The Bun to stop at your place.

Bunny Bait

He can’t resist this stuff.

Bunny Bait

Neither can we.

Bunny Bait

BUNNY BAIT (pdf)

  • 12 C popped popcorn (I made 2 batches of this super easy popcorn method to get 12 cups; just make sure you discard the unpopped kernels)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 C pretzels, broken up into pieces
  • 1 (12 oz) bag white chocolate chips
  • 1 (16 oz) bag plain m&ms
  • 1 Tbsp rainbow sprinkles

In a very large mixing bowl, sprinkle popcorn with a pinch of salt. Toss in pretzels.

Pour white chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup. Microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until chips are melted. Drizzle melted white chocolate over popcorn mixture in two additions, stirring to coat. Add m&ms and sprinkles and toss to coat.

Spread mixture out onto wax paper or parchment paper. Allow to cool completely and solidify, then gently break into chunks. Store in an airtight container.

Hippity hoppity,
Hannah

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Crockpot Chicken and Stuffing http://thelexingtonienne.com/2014/04/03/crockpot-chicken-and-stuffing/ http://thelexingtonienne.com/2014/04/03/crockpot-chicken-and-stuffing/#comments Thu, 03 Apr 2014 16:33:44 +0000 http://thelexingtonienne.com/?p=6355 We’ve been busy around here since you and I last got together. Eleanora started ballet class.

Eleanora ballet class January February 2014

She also had her first dental cleaning. She refused to get in the chair, so guess who got to sit in it with her?

Eleanora dentist February 2014

Then she picked out a prize…

Eleanora dentist February 2014

… which she wore all day long (adding a few more accessories along the way) right up until bath time.

Eleanora February 2014

We took our first trip to Disneyland with our friends Jeff, Devon, and Harlow. What you see below is three small children at the end of a day that contained approximately 18 rides and exactly zero naps. :)

Disneyland with Baldingers

And of course we’ve been just living life. You know, getting ourselves dressed…

Eleanora age 3

… swinging…

Eleanora January 2014

Charlotte at the park, March 2014

… enjoying 15 minutes of Facebook fame for cheering the Wildcats on to the Final Four…

Charlotte and Aaron Harrison

… and acting like we get along.

Eleanora and Charlotte March 28, 2014

All of that has kept us very busy. And yet… they still want dinner.

Crockpot Chicken and Stuffing

So here is a really simple recipe for your busiest days.

Crockpot Chicken and Stuffing

You can do either chicken breasts or chicken thighs; we like both in our house. (I will say, though, that chicken breasts tend to get a little dry in this one.)

Crockpot Chicken and Stuffing

This recipe gets big points for nostalgia (Remember those “chicken and Stovetop” commercials from the 80s?) and mega points for simplicity.

Crockpot Chicken and Stuffing

Crockpot Chicken and Stuffing

Crockpot Chicken and Stuffing

It’s just an easy little crockpot meal that’s humble and unpretentious. Are you going to serve it to your fancy supper club or a panel of vanguard chefs?

MTV's House of Food

NO.

But will you and your family eat it up on a busy weeknight because it is delicious?

Charlotte February 2014

YES.

Crockpot Chicken and Stuffing

CROCKPOT CHICKEN AND STUFFING (printable pdf)

  • 1.5-2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts and/or thighs
  • 1 (6 oz) package cornbread stuffing mix
  • 1/2 C sour cream
  • 1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1/3 C chicken broth or water

Place chicken in crockpot. Sprinkle stuffing mix on top. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together sour cream, condensed chicken soup, and chicken broth until blended. Spoon mixture over chicken and stuffing mix.

Cook on high for about 2-3 hours or low for about 4 hours. (Cooking times can vary depending on your crockpot.) Use two forks to shred the chicken and fluff the stuffing just before serving.

xoxo,
Hannah

P.S. The photo of the chefs is from Hubba Bubba’s new show, House of Food, airing Monday nights at 10:00 pm on MTV. Tune in! Mike created the show and is an Executive Producer. :)

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Easy Sour Cream Coffeecake http://thelexingtonienne.com/2013/12/21/easy-sour-cream-coffeecake/ http://thelexingtonienne.com/2013/12/21/easy-sour-cream-coffeecake/#comments Sat, 21 Dec 2013 21:33:21 +0000 http://thelexingtonienne.com/?p=6332 For a while there I thought I was getting the hang of this whole “infant and toddler” thing.

Christmas Coffee Cake

I had craftily coordinated everyone’s nap schedule so that I could have a 30-60 minute overlap between Charlotte’s afternoon nap and Eleanora’s nap; in other words, a glorious chunk of quiet time during the day when I could do fun, self-centered things such as filling out health insurance applications or scrubbing toilets or prepping dinner… all alone. :)

Christmas Coffee Cake

But I’m starting to think these girls are in cahoots against me… because, lately, Charlotte has been emerging from her nap only about 10 minutes after Eleanora goes down. Hmpf.

Christmas Coffee Cake

So while I had planned to bake our Christmas coffeecake (and live to blog about it) all alone

Christmas Coffee Cake

Christmas Coffee Cake

… Charlotte had other ideas. So I ended up having an assistant.

Charlotte 6 six months

Luckily, this coffeecake is not only moist and buttery and studded with crunchy bits of sugar and pecans… it is also very EASY to make.

Christmas Coffee Cake

Christmas Coffee Cake

Christmas Coffee Cake

Christmas Coffee Cake

Christmas Coffee Cake

Since it starts with a mix, you can throw it together pretty quickly, even if you have gifts that need wrapping, or wassail that needs wassailing, or an assistant who will only sit this way for a few minutes before demanding to be held.

Charlotte 6 six months

I will be serving this coffeecake on Christmas morning alongside my family’s traditional Sausage Casserole (pdf), but it would also be awesome with the Ham & Gruyere Quiche (pdf) I posted recently. My assistant and I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Christmas Coffee Cake

EASY SOUR CREAM COFFEECAKE (printable pdf)

  • 1 C chopped pecans
  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 box butter golden cake mix
  • 1/4 C granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 C sour cream
  • 3/4 C vegetable or canola oil

Preheat oven to 325. Grease a bundt pan with a generous amount of cooking spray or with butter.

In a small bowl, mix together pecans, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Remove 1 Tbsp of the dry cake mix and stir it into the pecan mixture.

In a mixing bowl, beat together remaining cake mix, granulated sugar, eggs, sour cream, and oil.

Spread 1/3 of the pecan mixture in the bottom of the greased bundt pan. Pour half the cake batter on top, followed by 1/3 of the pecan mixture, then the remaining cake batter. Finish by sprinkling the remaining pecan mixture on top.

Bake until the cake is set and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 40-50 minutes.

Allow the cake to cool in the pan on a cooling rack before gently inverting to remove the cake from the pan.

The coffeecake can be made a couple of weeks in advance and frozen. To freeze, first allow the cake to cool completely. Wrap securely in plastic wrap, then in two layers of heavy duty aluminum foil before putting in the freezer. Allow the cake to thaw at room temperature, covered, for 24 hours before serving.

Merry Christmas!

Hannah

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All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front… http://thelexingtonienne.com/2013/12/12/all-i-want-for-christmas-is-my-two-front/ http://thelexingtonienne.com/2013/12/12/all-i-want-for-christmas-is-my-two-front/#comments Thu, 12 Dec 2013 08:46:49 +0000 http://thelexingtonienne.com/?p=6287 It’s that time of year again: THE ANNUAL VISIT WITH SANTA.

So far Eleanora has had two Santa visits. On the first visit she was little enough to just go with it:

EBD Santa 3

The second visit she wasn’t thrilled about but complied anyway:

EBDandSanta2012#2_2

Seeing as we were already 2-0 with the Santa visits, I felt like a fool hoping to get a good Santa photo for a third year in a row. Add to the mix a 6-month-old, and we were really playing with fire.

Charlotte at 6 months

On top of all this, Eleanora has been in a bashful phase lately. When she meets someone new, she buries her face in my shoulder and says, “I’m feeling just a little bit shy.” So I was aware that she might Monchichi herself onto me the moment we set sight on the Big Guy… and even worse, that I might have to be in the Santa photo myself, holding her.

Hannah Eleanora Charlotte November 2013

I decided to prepare her. First we looked at her Santa photos from years past. “Santa is a really nice guy,” I would say. Then I clued her into the fact that Santa equals big money. “You know, Santa brings LOTS of toys, but only if you tell him what you want. Otherwise, he won’t know.”

Next, we practiced what she would say to Santa. Together we compiled her asking list: bathtub crayons, a trumpet, a horse Eleanora can ride on, and “a big Bullseye {“Bullseye” is a horse} that Jessie and Woody can ride on.” That last one was all Eleanora. Homegirl is a huge Toy Story fan. She owns 4 Woodys, 2 Buzzes, and one each of all the secondary and tertiary characters. But her favorite character is far and away Jessie – the cowgirl.

Eleanora owns two Jessies. One is a small plastic figurine (aka “Little Jessie”)…

Little Jessie

… and the other is a big floppy doll with a string that you pull to make her say funny phrases from the movie (aka “Big Jessie”).

Big Jessie

Eleanora – whose obsession with Toy Story is rivaled only by her newfound interest in human anatomy – points out on a daily basis that Little Jessie “has boobs in there,” while Big Jessie “doesn’t have any boobs.” (She is right, by the way.)

So as we were getting into the car to go see Santa, and I was coaching her like a stage mom about what she was going to say (“What are you going to tell Santa? Remember? Some bathtub crayons, a horse…”), Eleanora added, “AND I’M GOING TO ASK SANTA TO BRING SOME BOOBS FOR BIG JESSIE.”

Gulp. What?

“Okie doke!” I said, turning on the car, trying to sound all no-big-deal about it. Because the facts were these:
1) I had already gotten lucky with the Santa photo 2 years in a row.
2) Ergo, it was unlikely that all would go right this year as well.
3) If you think about it, it’s a pretty altruistic ask. Poor flat-chested Big Jessie. Surely Santa could work a Christmas miracle and bring her some double Ds.

When we arrived at the mall, Eleanora (as expected) got a little nervous with anticipation.

Waiting to see Santa. Eleanora and Charlotte Christmas 2013

Then there was a really fun (i.e. distracting in a good way) ride up the glass elevator to the Level 2 Santa.

We had to wait a few minutes for our turn, and when we got up to see The Man, Santa was ON POINT, y’all. He looked at Charlotte and said, “Ah! A new addition to the Nice List. Now, Charlotte, we need to talk about sleeping through the night. But not to worry; you’re still on the Nice List.”

Charlotte 5 months

Then, in honor of Eleanora’s Italian great-grandmother and namesake, Santa sang a Christmas carol to Eleanora in Italian. He also told us what the reindeer like to eat (pretzels), where he starts out on Christmas Eve (Guam), and what HE would like for Christmas this year (a Mr. Potato Head).

He gently guided Eleanora into telling him what was on her Christmas list. And she was mesmerized enough that she hit all the highlights (the bathtub crayons, the riding horse) and – hallelujah – totally forgot to ask him for Jessie’s boobs.

And then we snapped this killer photo. IT WAS A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!

Santa Eleanora Charlotte 2013

As we left, Eleanora waved farewell and said, “Merry Christmas, Santa!” as sweetly as Gretel Von Trapp. As we rode the glass elevator back down to the main mall level, Hubba Bubba and I high-fived each other for hitting the Santa Photo Jackpot for the third year in a row.

Next year? We’re toast.

Ho ho ho,

Hannah

P.S. Happiest Birthday wishes to my precious Eleanora on this, your 3rd birthday. How beautiful you make this life, my little love.

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House of Quiche, Lorraine Speaking http://thelexingtonienne.com/2013/12/03/house-of-quiche-lorraine-speaking/ http://thelexingtonienne.com/2013/12/03/house-of-quiche-lorraine-speaking/#comments Wed, 04 Dec 2013 04:34:10 +0000 http://thelexingtonienne.com/?p=6224 Woo hoo! It’s officially Christmas time!

Charlotte Christmas tree hat 2013

Now all you Scrooges can stop complaining about hearing Christmas music before Thanksgiving. Speaking of which, we had a small and lovely family Thanksgiving. We were so laid back that I didn’t even take pictures. The only turkey I snapped was this one, who turned one-half on Thanksgiving Day. Talk about feeling thankful.

Charlotte 6 months old

Okay, friends, let’s talk about this QUICHE.

Quiche

A year ago (!), Eleanora & I went over to our buddy Hudson’s house for his 2nd birthday party. Hudson and Eleanora met at Toddle Tunes when they were just six months old and instantly bonded when they discovered they shared the same birthday.

Quiche

Incidentally, Hudson’s mama, Cristina, is a super talented party planner with a flare for both graphic design and inspiration in general. So of course she put together the cutest birthday party for her little man. (Check out her Etsy shop, Le Partie Sugar.)

Egg yolk

Egg yolk in pie crust

Egg yolk in pie crust

For Hudson’s party, Cristina presented a fabulous brunch buffet that included some of the most amazing quiche I have ever tasted. Apparently the other party guests agreed with me, because everyone was going around saying, “Have you tried this QUICHE?!”

Quiche

I mean really… have you ever been to an event where a quiche was the star? Me neither. But it was that good.

Quiche

Cristina had gotten the quiche from Thyme Cafe in Santa Monica, up the street from her house. Inspired, I thought I’d try making my own quiche at home.

Quiche

Quiche

For a long time I had this idea that quiche must be complicated to make. But it’s actually so un-complicated that I’m even putting it on the Easiest Dinners Ever page because, in my house, we often eat quiche — famously a brunch dish — for dinner. This recipe is simple simple simple, and really easy to adapt so that you can make whatever kind of quiche you like. I have done bacon & cheese (though according to the Joy of Cooking, Quiche Lorraine is just bacon — no cheese), ham & cheese, and spinach & caramelized onion.

Quiche

Quiche

My favorite is far and away the ham & cheese. It’s rich and lovely and creamy and flaky and golden-tasting. It’s so easy that you can throw it together for a weeknight dinner alongside something green, such as a salad with vinaigrette, haricots verts (pdf), or sugar snap peas, and a glass of chilled white wine.

Quiche

But special and decadent and rich enough for Christmas brunch. Just something to start thinking about… :)

HAM & GRUYERE QUICHE* (printable pdf)

Lightly adapted from the Joy of Cooking

  • 1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked according to package directions**
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 Cup chopped ham
  • 1 Cup grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese
  • 1 1/2 Cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375.

Brush the baked pie crust with the egg yolk. Spread the ham on the bottom of the pie crust, then top with the grated cheese.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the 3 whole eggs, heavy cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Pour on top of the ham and cheese.

Bake until the filling is golden brown and set. Joy of Cooking says this will take about 25-35 minutes, but my oven takes closer to 45 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly before slicing and serving.

* For traditional Quiche Lorraine, omit the cheese. Substitute 4 slices of bacon (sliced into 1-inch pieces and then cooked) for the ham.

** You can bake the pie crust the day before in order to save time the day you are serving the quiche. Allow the baked pie crust to cool completely, then cover it with aluminum foil and store it at room temperature.

xoxo,

Hannah

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