Monday, March 5, 2012

Great friends and good food

I have learnt over the years as a SAHM and now a WAHM it is a lot harder to make friends, especially when your kids are older than it was when you were either out in the work place and thrown together with lots of people or you have little kids that are in playgroups and all the mommies get to talking and eventually friendships generally form. So when we moved to MD I was especially happy to find a Moms Group that were very open to having newcomers, didn't matter the age of the kids or the size of your house or your husband's paycheck they were welcoming to everyone, a far cry from the little town I had just moved from where you were 'voted' in to become part of a 'Birthday Club'  learnt that at dinner one night when a 'friend' had invited me to go for dinner around my Birthday with her and 10 others, as dinner proceeded I learnt that I had been the topic of their emails and phone calls for a couple of days discussing whether I should  be invited to dinner and when should they share with me that this was a club ? at the end of the meal I was officially welcomed to 'Birthday Club' .... it was a little weird, actually, a few days later I got news that after discussions were concluded I was invited to join a playgroup, never did make the cut for Dinner Club and my first year there I was a reserve for Bunco, took me a year to reach the A List, oh well can't win them all. Can I tell you just how ecstatic I was when we moved away from there ?
Anyway I digress, here I found a great Moms group and many days they are my salvation, they are who I go to when I have good things to share and where I go when things aren't so good and need support, they're up for a night out or a brunch in. Within that group area group of us who love to craft, it's often what makes us sane and so between us and a couple of others from different parts of the country we have formed a Craft Exchange Circle, one where we make crafts for each other and then exchange them, Feb was our first month and I'd say it was a success, to cut down on postage us local girls decided to do a brunch to exchange our gifts and share some good food, it was such a good time, I have some talented friends let me tell you in both the craft and food categories.
Here are some of the awesome gifts I received, each one lovingly crafted by the hands of a friend
And here's one of the dishes we shared, the best thing (other than a couple of friends) that came out of my 4 years spent in the town mentioned above.
Peanutty Chicken Salad... Delish

8 Split chicken breasts, bone in and skin on

Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1lb asparagus, ends removed, cut into 1/3s diagonally
2 red bell peppers
4 whole scallions, sliced diagonally
2T white sesame seeds, toasted


3/4 C vegetable oil
1/4 C High quality apple cider vinegar
1/3 C Soy sauce
3 T Dark sesame oil
1 T Honey
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1t Fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 T White sesame seeds toasted
1/2 C smooth unsweetened peanut butter
 1 t ground pepper

To toast sesame seeds, place seeds in a dry saute pan over medium heat, swirl until slightly browned, about 5 mins.

1) Pre heat oven to 350"

2) Place the chicken breast on a sheet pan and rub w/ olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper Roast 35 - 40 mins, until the chicken is just cooked. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

3) Remove meat from bones, discard skin and shred chicken into large bite sized pieces.

4) In a pot of boiling water, blanch asparagus for 3 - 5 minutes, until crisp - tender. Then plunge into ice water, drain. (Today I used frozen, but it really is better fresh)

5) Cut peppers into strips about the size of the asparagus pieces. Combine the shredded chicken, asparagus and peppers in a large bowl.

6) Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing and toss w/ chicken and sesame seeds.

                                                              ENJOY !!!!

BTW: For those of you doing WW I worked out that per large serving, ie, if you ate a whole chicken breast w/ dressing, it would be 6 points.

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