What’s Cookin’ at Callie’s Cabin: Easter picnic with chicken, eggs and carrot muffins
Food and pets are good for you. This week during Easter break I get it. There is a common thread between what we eat and our four-leggers. They are constant. We have control on what we feed ourselves, and how we take care of our critters. Both are nurturing and good for our body, mind, and spirit. And they help us stay healthy during challenging times.
On Monday morning I received a call from the producer for Coast to Coast A.M. I was booked to be a guest that night. As the first-hour guest, tagged as author and earthquake sensitive, I dished about the connection between quakes and the strange sounds people have been hearing. Earlier, I was researching about our Earth making odd noises in Costa Rica and around the globe; ready to forecast upon command oncoming shakers. Yes, it rattled my sensitive nerves. My two Brittanys and one Siamese cat came to the rescue as well as herbal tea and chocolate Easter eggs. Note to self: Get white chocolate bunnies next time. After the show and throughout the rest of the week, I realized that, while we can’t control Mother Nature’s moves, we can appreciate nature’s finest – especially at Lake Tahoe.
Several years ago, when my oldest Britt was a pup, I took him with me to the Lake. He wanted a free run – I caved. It was a beautiful “Marley & Me” film beach scene moment (today I can hear the tune “Lucky Man” play in retrospect) at first – until a stray female dog led my boy scurrying after her. So, I ran after my dog yelling out, “Simon! Simon!” He was having the time of his life, chasing the canine like a coyote with a cause. Out of breath, and after what seemed like eternity, I caught my wayward pooch. Then, back on a leash, safe, we both sat down on a blanket and enjoyed our springtime picnic: cheese sandwiches and bottled water. It was bliss.
Lately, I’ve been craving my lake and dog visits. So, this week, during Easter break, my plan is to make a picnic lunch both savory and semi-sweet – a salad and muffins – and take the boys out to get their feet wet. While the two recipes I’m dishing out are for two-leggers, the chicken will make my bird dogs bark and cat meow.
Chicken-Egg Cobb Salad
3 eggs, boiled, chopped
2 cups spring lettuce, pre-washed, chopped
2 cups chopped, cooked chicken meat
3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 avocado peeled, pitted and diced
2 tablespoons red onion, chopped
Salad dressing (olive oil and vinegar advised to taste)
Put eggs in cold water in a pan. Bring to a full boil, turn down to simmer for about 10 or 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, at 350 degrees, bake a large skinless chicken breast till done. Chops eggs and chicken into cubes. Place greens in plastic containers. Mix in eggs, chicken, tomatoes, onions, blue cheese. Cover. Serves 3-4.
Fresh Carrot Muffins
2 1/2 cups all-purpose, whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 brown eggs
1 cup extra light olive oil
2 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup walnuts, chopped
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, spices, salt; set aside. In a small mixing bowl, combine the granulated and brown sugar, eggs and olive oil. Beat at high speed until creamy. Add the carrots and flour mixture. Mix on low speed to moisten. Blend on high speed for 1 minute, scraping the sides as needed. Stir in the walnuts. Pour into muffin tins. (I like the aluminum foil muffin holders. The size of muffins is your choice. The larger ones make more of an “oomph” impression, but if you’re watching your weight go smaller.) Bake 18-22 minutes or until the top springs back when touched lightly and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool. 10 minutes on the cooling racks. No frosting needed. Makes about 12 small-medium muffins.
I have a confession to make. I almost made that big bunny rabbit cake: A white cake with tart lemon filling, creamy buttercream frosting, topped with coconut, jelly beans and Peeps-all colors. But I thought, “Why do I want all that sugar and fat?” So, I chose to take a different route, a healthier path to an Easter picnic. It made me smile and the dogs and homebody kitty were smiling with bits of chicken. I sense the Easter Bunny would approve.
Motto: Cherish the free things in life. Pets and simple food are as good as it gets.
– Cal Orey, M.A. is an author and journalist. Her books include “The Healing Powers” series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, and Coffee) published by Kensington. Her website is http://www.calorey.com.
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