This weekend I was exceptionally lazy. Which is pretty much unheard of because I typically make busy little bees look like couch potatoes. I don’t know why but I’m always dashing hither and thither, and seem to thrive despite my insanely long to-do list. I don’t particularly enjoy it either, I just seem prone to being an overachiever and overly efficient I suppose.
While I am certainly never going to be satisfied with a sloth-like lifestyle, I did decide to schedule a little rest and relaxation this weekend. I was still productive (I couldn’t resist scrubbing all my floors and the majority of my apartment to boot, just because it was looking a little lackluster) but I also spent an equally lovely amount of time in bed reading.
Reading books again is like discovering long lost treasure. I was a voracious reader as a child, and as I grew up and changed from an adolescent to an adult, my social calendar in all its busy glory surreptitiously sucked away my time to indulge in my favorite pleasure. The worst part was that it happened so gradually I never noticed until I went to Hawaii this Christmas! Since then I’ve been fairly diligent planning reading time before bed.
Saturday AND Sunday morning I rolled over, opened my curtains wide to let the sunshine pour in and grabbed my Kindle which was waiting on my bedside table. I simply adored the luxury of lounging in bed with nothing else to do than read my book (and eventually migrate to my kitchen for my necessary coffee and then back to my bed & book).
Whenever I’m truly happy nothing can keep me away from my kitchen. There is nothing like cooking with sunshine pouring into my kitchen and singing along to country music…my poor poor neighbors, they must absolutely hate me when I’m happy.
This weekend’s creations were all apple themed because I had quite a few waiting to be used in my fruit bowl. I resolved to cook with apples more because it makes your house smell like heaven! Inspired by something I saw on pinterest, I decided to try making apple chips. My first try was a spectacular disaster. Please, pleeeeease do yourself and your house a favour and never ever attempt to make apple chips in a toaster oven. I burned mine to a crisp….(literally, charcoal black) and set off the smoke detector, much to my embarrassment. I had to open all the windows in my kitchen to air it out and flee to the sanctuary of my bedroom in shame for quite a while before attempting batch number 2, using my oven this time, which thankfully turned out ok. As my friend Lizzy said, sometimes even the best cooks have to mess up every once in a while.
The secret to making apple chips is to slice your apples very very thinly, cover in cinnamon sugar, bake in an OVEN for 1 hour at 100ºC. Turn them all over and cook another 1 hour (or more) until nice and crispy.
My second recipe was equally delicious, and luckily I nailed it on the first try. I’d really recommend it if you are looking for some yummy comfort food this cold winter!
BAKED APPLE & MUSTARD CHICKEN:
What you’ll need:
- 2 large chicken breasts
- 1 apple
- salt & pepper
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup apple juice
- 1 tbsp cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
- 3 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
What you’ll need to do:
- Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper to taste. Then coat in flour, shaking off any excess.
- Heat olive oil in frying pan. Once oil is hot, place chicken breasts in pan and cook until golden on both sides. Remove from pan and place in casserole dish.
- Peel apple and cut into thin slices.
- Add apples to frying pan. Cook on medium heat for 3 minutes.
- Add apple juice, cider vinegar, dijon mustard and rosemary to the pan. Cook together with apples and bring to a simmer.
- Pour this sauce over the chicken.
- Turn on oven to 190ºC (375ºF) and cook for about 30 minutes, basting your chicken occasionally.
- Place chicken on plate, spoon sauce over top and garnish with fresh rosemary. Tada!
Now doesn’t that look yummy! I certainly think so! Very easy-peasy to cook too! I would also throw out the recommendation to serve this with a cider instead of white wine. I personally opted for Strongbow and thought the two went great together. Then for dessert I whipped up my favourite chai-spiced rice pudding. A savory way to end a beautifully-lazy weekend!