Monday, April 23, 2018

Packaging, Scams, The Queen,

I have always hated blister packs on medications, and now, for one of Matt's  medications, they have made tinfoil packs and the backs have to be peeled off individually. They prick your fingers whilst you are handling them and they are a pain in the 'you know where'. I have complained to the manufacturer but I don't suppose they will make any changes. The meds used to come in a plastic bottle so what we do now is open a whole bunch at once and put them in the bottle which we have saved. I put out our medications for the week and messing with these foil things is really aggravating.

The other day I had a phone call telling me that a transaction worth $xxxx had taken place in my account at the Royal Bank. I assured them I didn't have an account at Royal. Today I had another call saying a transaction for $300 had taken place at 2 a.m., was it me. I just hung up. Any transaction I make is reported on by email from my bank to alert me to such transaction. If it ain't me I can do something about it. THEY DO NOT PHONE. Nor do most banks as far as I am aware. Even if they did, they would be unlikely to have a strong East Indian accent. Not impossible I know, but unlikely. There are so many scams out there, particularly targeting older people, some of whom may not be totally "up to snuff" and when they get a call saying a grandkid is in jail and needs bail money or something, they will often pay it not realising it is a scam. This is so tragic because often people like this really can't afford the money in the first place even if it were true.

As most of you will be aware, it was the Queen's 92nd birthday on Saturday. I always remember the date, April 21, because the first year of her accession my cousins, who's birthday it was that day too, tried to kid me that the National Anthem playing on the radio was actually for them. This ensured that these were birthdays I have never forgotten. Of course the Queen also has an official birthday on June 9 when she troops the colour. She used to ride on horseback for this but these days she rides in a carriage. I wonder if she still rides at all - a passtime she used to really love. Apparently she does, although she says these days she is a fair weather rider as she doesn't like to get cold and wet. I am somewhat younger and I never liked to get cold and wet LOL.

This is the second recipe I have posted recently which includes chicken and spinach. I enjoy it. Many would use precooked rice but I never do so. Quicker if you do, obviously.

Chicken-Tomato Skillet

Yes! You can make chicken and rice in 20 minutes. When a craving for comfort food hits and you need it in a hurry, this fast take on chicken and rice hits the spot. Stirring chopped baby spinach into warm brown rice is a smart way to get more vegetables and jazz up an otherwise plain starchy side.

1 Tbs olive oil
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1/2 tsp black pepper, divided
1 cup grape tomatoes
1/2 cup sliced white onion
1 garlic clove, grated
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
1 (8.8-oz.) pkg. precooked microwavable whole-grain brown rice (such as Uncle Bens Ready Rice)
3 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken to skillet; cook, without stirring, until chicken begins to brown, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes, onion, garlic, and rosemary. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender and tomatoes begin to soften, about 3 minutes.

2. Whisk together stock and flour in a bowl until combined. Add to chicken mixture; stir and scrape browned bits from bottom of skillet. Bring to a boil. Cook, stirring often, until sauce thickens, 3 to 4 minutes.

3. Heat rice according to package directions. Place hot rice in a medium bowl; add spinach, lemon zest, lemon juice, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss to coat (hot rice will wilt the spinach). Divide rice mixture among 4 plates; top evenly with chicken mixture.

Cut chicken into bite-size pieces so it cooks in just a few minutes, use precooked rice and heat it in the microwave, then use the hot rice to wilt the spinach for you while you finish the chicken. Fresh thyme, chopped basil, or parsley are all good stand-ins for the rosemary. Round out the meal with a glass of sauvignon blanc.

Source: Cooking Light

Have a great day

Friday, April 20, 2018

Tutenkhamun, Bowling,

Those of you who know me, know I don't watch much TV. Jeopardy is my favourite and that's about
it on a regular basis. This week I seem to have been glued to Public Television. Stories of the dangers of Victorian homes, stories about the Queen and more about the weather and climate changes of our world. Thursday night was the same. They had an excellent programme from the ITV channel in England called Tutenkhamun. It started at 8 and went through til 11 with slight programme breaks - not long at all. I was fascinated from start to finish. It was basically all about Howard Carter who found the Royal Tomb and of Lord Carnarvon who was his sponsor. It was all about the vicissitudes they went through before actually discovering the tomb and then even more after having discovered it. Everyone believed Carter was wrong and that the area where he was digging had been gone through thoroughly and that there was nothing else to be discovered. He proved them wrong. It didn't help that the Egyptians were very anti British, sometimes violently, at  the time with, I might say, very good reason. There was one scene at the end of World War I where someone was complaining about Carter to the army and saying he spoke like the locals, dressed like the locals and even ate his meals with them. He was therefore presumed to be unstable and the army let him go. To us this seems incredible. Anyway, if you ever get a chance to see this production, I can highly recommend it. A movie but excellently done IMHOP  - there was a romance between Lord Carnarvon's daughter and Carter. Who knows if that happened or not. I just did a bit of research and the author apparently believes, from many sources, that they did have a romantic relationship but the Carnarvons emphatically deny it, well they would wouldn't they?

We went bowling this afternoon, played two games and Matt beat me both times. Horrifying. When we got home I spoke to our neighbour who arranges the coffee klatches and I have printed up business cards with invitation/reminders to everyone to try and attract more people to the group.

So now I am late for my bed.

This is a delicious recipe which I haven't made in a long time, not sure why.

Chicken Breasts in Island Aromas

1- 1/2 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions (4 bulbs)
2 Tbs finely chopped shallots (2 shallots)
2 Tbs chopped fresh mint
1/2 tsp fennel seeds, ground
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
2/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup dry sherry
1- 1/2 tsp sugar
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp grated orange zest
1 tsp grated lemon zest
salt and pepper to taste
2 sprigs Rosemary
1/2 cup dry white wine

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small pan heat oil over med heat. Add scallions, shallots, 1 tbs mint; sauté until softened, 2 - 3 mins. Stir in fennel and ginger. Add orange juice, lemon juice, sherry and 1 tsp sugar; bring to a boil. Simmer until reduced by half, 5 - 10 mins. Set aside

2. Place the defatted, trimmed, chicken skinned side down on board. Make a horizontal slit on thinner, long edge, cutting nearly through to opposite side. Open each breast to form two flaps and sprinkle with zests. Season. Pat closed and place between plastic wrap. Pound to flatten slightly.

3. Place rosemary sprigs on bottom of a baking dish, put chicken on top, season. Pour wine and warm citrus sauce over. Bake uncovered 25 - 30 mins until chicken not pink inside. Transfer to platter and keep warm.  Discard rosemary.

4. Pour sauce into pan, boil, reduce by half. Taste and adjust seasonings. Spoon over chicken and sprinkle with remaining mint.

Servings: 4

Source: Eating Well

Have a great day