Sunday, 23 February 2014

A New Favourite Recipe

Over the years I've collected quite a few 'chickens'. As a matter of fact, I posted of photo of some of my collection on another site I think. Today, however, I want to begin by posting another of my favourite recipes - this one I found on the internet and have only been using a couple of years. I've used it to go in  salads, with leftover vegetables and pasta and in a chicken cobbler recipe that I'll post next week.

     Moist Tender Chicken Breasts

     1 to 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
      salt and freshly ground black pepper
     1/4 cup flour
     1 teaspoon freshly chopped herbs (optional)
     olive oil
     1/2 tablespoon butter

     10-inch sauté pan with lid

1.  Pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness with the handle or flat part of a knife.
2. Lightly salt and pepper the chicken breasts. 
3. Mix about 1/2 teaspoon salt in with the flour along with a little pepper. Chop the herbs finely if using and mix in as well. Here I omit the salt completely and substitute Mrs. Dash for the herbs.
 4. Quickly dredge the chicken breasts in the flour, so they are just lightly dusted with flour.
5. Heat the sauté pan over medium-high heat. When it is quite hot, add the olive oil and butter. Let them melt and swirl the pan.
6. Turn the heat to medium. Add the chicken breasts and cook just about a minute to get one side just a little golden (You are not actually searing or browning them). Then flip each chicken breast over.
7. Turn the heat to low. Put the lid on the pan. Set the timer for 10 minutes and walk away. Do not lift the lid; do not peek.
8. After 10 minutes have elapsed, turn off the heat. Reset the timer for 10 minutes and leave chicken breasts in the pan. Again, do not lift the lid; do not peek.
9. After the 10 minutes are up, take the lid off. You have soft, tender, juicy chicken breasts that aren't dried out in the least. Double check them to make sure there is no pink in the middle. Slice and eat. 

The first time I made this, I discovered that the recipe calls for way too much salt for my liking, so if you're careful about your salt intake, I advise you to reduce the amount you use. Other than that, the recipe is a keeper for me.

 I just realized today marks the anniversary of the failed military coup d´etat of 1981. The Spanish monarchy have become less and less popular over the years, and I have to admit with a lot of reason. One of the reasons for supporting the King is the role that he played or didn't play in the attempted takeover. I also liked it when the then President of Spain Rodriguez Zapatero was speaking and Chavez was speaking over top of him. The King angrily asked Chavez why he didn't shut up. That's the only rude thing I think I've ever heard the King say.

We've finally got a day of nothing but sunshine after so many grey days. The only problem without cloud cover is it'll get colder tonight. I have quite a few things to do still so won't have time to go out this afternoon for a walk. I have some friends with birthdays coming up and want to start making them some presents. One of the things I want to make up is a relaxing bath soak for which I ordered some lavender essential oils from France through Amazon. When the parcel came, there was a flower drawn on it and a muchas gracias message next to the flower. When I opened the parcel, I found an extra bottle of citrus essential oils. How nice of them! This company got a good rating from me.

I'm newsless this week. My weekend is slowly slipping away. The one good piece of news I can mention is a law has been passed making it illegal for telemarketers to call before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m. on week days and at the weekends and holidays at no time. The problem is the telemarketers calling from outside Spain. The other day, someone called from a mobile phone. I usually answer these calls even when I don't recognize the number (cell phones in Spain always begin with 6). It was someone trying to convince me to have a shower stall put in. When I want work done, I'll find the right person and not trust someone with just a mobile number.

Hope everyone has got some pleasant weather. Have a good week.


Sunday, 16 February 2014

Banana Nut Bread Recipe and More Water

Kris requested the recipe for banana nut bread, so here it is. Mine comes from a handwritten one, so it's a recipe I've been using for years or, BC aka before computers. Banana nut bread is delicious for breakfast, with butter spread on it if you wish. What I like is that it's not too sweet, and it tastes even better the next day.

     Brenda's Favourite Banana Nut Bread
     3/4 cup sugar
     1/2 cup butter, softened 
     2 eggs, beaten
     3 very ripe bananas, mashed or
     4 bananas if small
     1 1/2 cups flour
     1 teaspoon baking powder
     1 teaspoon or less salt (a pinch will do)
     1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Cream butter and sugar; add bananas, eggs and dry ingredients. Fold in nuts. Bake in a 300º F preheated oven for 1 to 1 1/4 hours in a greased loaf pan.
I usually cover the top of the pan with foil, because my oven browns too quickly on top. Take off foil when bread is nearly done.
Remove loaf from pan after it has cooled a few minutes and slice when cold if you can wait that long.
Makes about 15 slices.

One of the reasons I don't write a blog every day or more often is I haven't got enough to say to merit a post, or the time to think of something. It's easier to read what others have posted or scroll though posts on facebook. I commented on another blog the other day that I admired those who frequently posted and had something interesting to say. So following last week's post, I offer another means of transporting water - the famous Roman aqueduct of Segovia built sometime in 1 AD. This, of course, is only a tiny portion of the back side of the structure. Needless to say, it's the first thing you see when you arrive in Segovia, and it's still functional. The first time I visited Segovia cars were permitted to drive under the aqueduct, but then there were lots fewer cars. The photo was taken by my nephew who visited a couple of weeks before Spain won the FIFA World Cup in 2010, which was exciting for him and everyone else in Spain.

Most of you know about the horrible floods affecting parts of the UK. The north coast of Spain has also been hit with flooding and high winds. I heard the other day on the news that in January it had rained every day in Galicia except one. Lightning struck a nearby transformer on Christmas Day there and destroyed a very old church whose roof was partially constucted of wood. We've had a lot of rain in Madrid this winter and some strong winds, but nothing compared to other parts of the country, thankfully. This morning began foggy. Now the sun is coming out shyly to prove the saying about fog in the morning and then a perfect afternoon for a walk.

Thanks to all who pass by and read what I've written. I especially want to thank my friend Kathy (another Multiply survivor) who will be sending a sunshine gift of some of her homemade soap to two of my great-nieces who lost their dad recently. Even though I don't normally say it, I'm grateful to all the good people I've found on the internet.

Have a good week all.



Sunday, 9 February 2014

Bread and Water

Every Friday my friend, the one who is continuing as managing director and also teacher at our old institute, and her students take it in turns to bring something for breakfast break. Whatever they take usually ends up in a photo on facebook. Where else? Although I no longer work there, I said I'd try to make something this week, and what I made was my favourite recipe of banana nut bread. Here I've sliced it up and put the slices in an ice-cream tub. Since the bread turned out so perfect, I was almost  tempted to take a piece.

This is another of my dust collectors that I use for a purpose other than what it's meant to be used for. It's a water jug that field workers like to use, because it keeps the water cool and it's easily transported. The bigger spout on the left is where the water goes in and the one on the right is the drinking spout.

And the handle between the spouts is for carrying the jug. I thread the cord of my portable radiator through the handle, so that I don't trip over it when I go into my office. The plug where the heater is plugged in is near the floor. I unplug the heater and other appliances when I'm not using them, and really only have to worry about tripping over the cord when I'm using the radiator like today if I just leave the cord on the floor. The jug itself is plain and unglazed. I've often thought it would look nice decorated, but I'm not the one to do it.

The only thing out of the ordinary, or perhaps not, is my week went by quickly. We did have a property owners meeting for our building, which I didn't have an excuse this time not to attend. I think the less said about this, the better. We have a new president and vice-president. I'm happy because I wasn't chosen for either posts. I will say that I like our new administrator. He does the job he's paid to do. The only problem is the meetings are early in the evening, and some days I don't get home until 8 or 9.

I know those of you who have seen a lot of snow this winter are fed up. We don't usually see a lot of it in Madrid. Monday was only the second time this winter we've had flurries. I was going to go out and take a few white photos of the couple of centimetres that the weather forecast said we might get. Okay, the snowflakes were pretty, but the snow didn't stick. The rest of the week, like just now, we've had rain showers and lots of wind. I had umbrella problems again this week on my way to the Chinese.

My weekend has flown by too, but that seems to be the norm. Hope everyone enjoys the rest of your weekend and the new week.


Sunday, 2 February 2014

Darling Dalí

I don't know about where you live if you see graffiti every day and everywhere. We do in Madrid and in all of Spain for that matter, most of it being an eyesore, not to mention the costs of having it removed. The centre of town is covered with it in the little streets off the main ones, so it's refreshing to see such a nice painting in the Gran Via (our Main Street or High Street). I'm not exactly sure what the purpose of this wall is (I can only guess it's for protecting passersby if there is work going on behind it). I hope I can get to see it in person before it is taken down. The photo is one of Dali's eye watching those walking past that I shared on facebook and was taken by Nacho of Sometimes, though unfortunately not often enough, grafitti can be beautiful and artsy. I don't know if anyone remembers me posting on Multiply some photos of graffiti which I found around Madrid and actually liked.

Our weekend is quickly coming to an end. I didn't do anything special except meet up with our Saturday crowd for lunch if three people can be called a crowd. One of our friends is in the US, another thinks she might have to go to the UK at any time because her mother isn't doing well, and the others we don't know. I just hope nothing else bad happens to our friend who went to the US. She's from Philadelphia and they got snowed it a couple of days. Yesterday I got an e-mail from her saying that there had been a fire in one of the condos on the floor where her sister lives. Fortunately, hers wasn't affected but they aren't permitted to stay in the building and had to go to her sister's son's house where she said there were 7 adults, 4 cats and a dog. They were allowed back in the building to collect some personal belongings though. Now she, her husband, her sister and I'm not sure of anyone else are going on a cruise with the Norwegian Cruise Line. Hope and pray nothing bad happens there. And speaking of prayer, prayers for our friend's mother are deeply appreciated.

I don't often do this, but yesterday (a day when the winds were bitterly cold) I looked at the temperature in my hometown and in Lexington, Kentucky. It was colder here! One of my friends from Eastern Kentucky said she was even able to sit out on her porch for a while. Will Phil see his shadow there? We've had some sun this afternoon. However, on Wednesday evening it was raining when I went to the Chinese, and, because of the winds, my umbrella - one that was supposed to be used in windy conditions - turned inside out and broke off my thumb nail a bit. My nails needed cutting but I didn't need to get wet. At least I didn't have to walk too far in the rain. It was just an accidental shower anyway.

Hope everyone is having a good weekend and hope the same for your week ahead.