Saturday, September 25, 2010

Heaven-ly Date

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So today is hubby's birthday...along with Will Smith, Barbara Walters, Cheryl Tiegs, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones...among others (those are all from the top of my head----of course, from all the years of hearing it).
Started out with a bike ride for hubby and while he was gone, I started to cook up a storm. I wanted his birthday dinner to be ready by the time we got back from his "birthday gift".
I started with Carrot Cake Cupcakes (carrot cake is his fave). my cupcake liners ready (all I had was pinks and blues...)
                  3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
                  1/2 cup all-purpose flour
                  1 teaspoon baking soda
                  1/4 teaspoon salt
                  1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
                  1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
                  1/4 cup canola oil
                  3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
                  2 large eggs
                  1/2 cup natural applesauce
                  1/2 teaspoon vanilla
                  1 1/2 cups finely shredded carrots (about 2 medium carrots)
                  1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts
                  4 ounces 1/3 fat cream cheese (recommended: Neufchatel)
                  3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
                  1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
Sift together the first 6 ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk the oil, brown sugar and eggs until well combined. Whisk in the applesauce, vanilla and carrots. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in 1/4 cup of the chopped walnuts.
Divide the batter between the muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

With an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and lemon zest until smooth and creamy. Frost the cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts. The cupcakes should be stored in the refrigerator. 

Make sure you taste it for Quality Assurance - he-he-he!!!

Then I started on the main dish----Chicken Pot Pie (Healthy version)
                  Cooking spray
                  1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
                  1 teaspoon salt
                  Freshly ground black pepper
                  2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
                  2 leeks, bottom 4 inches only, washed well and chopped
                  2 celery stalks, chopped
                  2 medium potatoes cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I used russet potatoes)
                  1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
                  2 cloves garlic, minced
                  1 1/2 cups fat-fat milk
                  1/3 cup AP flour
                  2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
                  1 cup frozen peas
                  1 tablespoons parsley 
                  3/4  teaspoon thyme 
                  3 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
                  2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray baking dish with cooking spray.
Season the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil over a medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, turning once. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
Add 2 more teaspoons of the oil, the leeks, and the celery to the pan and cook until vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the potatoes, green beans, garlic, and remaining salt and pepper and cook for 2 more minutes.
Add the milk to the pan. Stir the flour into the chicken broth until dissolved and add to the pan. Cook, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in the reserved chicken, peas, parsley, and thyme. Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
Put the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil into a small bowl. Unroll the phyllo dough and cut it into quarters. Place a quarter sheet on top of each baking dish and brush with olive oil. Tuck the edges of the phyllo into the dish rim. Top pie with Parmesan.

 Bake until the filling is bubbling, about 30 minutes. (I refrigerated mine first until we came back home this afternoon).
This is what the kitchen sink looked like afterwards.
I  managed to get an RPM session in and rushed to take a shower so we can head off to the "birthday gift" location.....Coeur d'Alene, Idaho --- Zi Spa!
Of course, I'm not one to pass up on a massage sesh myself --- my muscles were begging for it!!!! So I scheduled a "couple's massage" ---except we're in separate rooms. I don't know about you, but I can't relax when someone else is on the table next to me..hubby or not...

This is birthday boy during the freeway ride to Idaho.

..we got there and was instantly transported to HEAVEN.....
The torture chamber :)
...I wish I had this robe warmer in my bathroom..aaahhhh!!!
...Birthday boy after the massage...."finding it hard to believe---he was in heaven"!!
...back home, I put the chicken pot pie in the oven and 45 minutes later.....
...and for dessert....
"You can't have any Smalls..."
...May all your wishes come true!!!
.... (both recipes were adapted from Ellie Krieger).

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