Personally Speaking

I Love Broccoli

Quinoa, I hear people raving about it everywhere and now I finally decided to try and make something with it. I actually settled on a casserole since they are pretty hard to mess up and I will be honest the quinoa didn't have to carry the whole thing.

Since I love broccoli chicken casserole I decided to base the recipe off of that. And here is what I came up with:

The Ingredients (Standard stuff)

  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup flour (all-pupose)
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • Seasonings:
    • garlic powder
    • black pepper
    • red pepper flakes
    • salt
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
    • Everyone has told me this is important and it said to do it on the package so I did my best. It is really hard and this was actually the first minus point I gave the product
  • 1 lb chicken breasts
    • I lightly grilled the chicken breast in oil since I thought that the quinoa would get soggy if left to cook until the chicken was done. This turned out to not be the case.
  • ¼ cup shredded gruyere cheese
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
    • I used a large head of broccoli


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and grease 9×13” baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a saucepan, bring broth and ½ cup almond milk to a boil.
    1. While waiting for mixture to boil, whisk together ½ cup flour and the remaining milk in a small bowl to make a cream base.
    2. Add mix along with 1 tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp black pepper, ¼ tsp salt, and pinch red pepper flakes into boiling pot.
    3. Whisk until smooth and creamy.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine broth mixture with quinoa and 1 cup of water. Pour into prepared baking dish.
  4. Cut chicken length-wise into 2”-thick strips and place on top of quinoa mixture in pan. Add pinch of salt and pepper over chicken then bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
  5. While casserole is baking, steam broccoli about 3-4 minutes, or until just slightly soft – you still want them to be a little crisp so they don’t get soggy once you add them to the casserole.
  6. After casserole has baked for 30 minutes, check to see if chicken is cooked through and the quinoa has puffed out. If either are still undercooked, return casserole to oven for another 5-10 minutes.
  7. Once quinoa and chicken are cooked, stir in steamed broccoli along with ½ cup of water. Top with cheese and bake another 5 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and the sauce has thickened.
  8. Remove from oven and let it sit for about fifteen minutes before you serve
  9. Enjoy!

I think it was a hit, but I will probably not make it again anytime soon. My expereince with the quinoa was, well, lacking.

Holiday Cheer

What Are Your Favorite Christmas Cookie Recipes

I already had day one of two of my Christmas Cookie baking spree! I have already baked up:
  • Apricot-Ginger Shortbread
  • Regular Shortbread
  • Danish Nut Horns
  • Baily’s Brownies
  • Blondies
  • Tahitian Vanilla Sugar Cookies
  • Mandarin Orange Fudge
  • Gingersnaps
  • Toffee-Chip Slices
  • Oatmeal (because, oatmeal!)
I am still deciding if I’m making soft molasses cookies this year. I have made them for the last ten years, but they were still sitting there on Jan. 1st when all of the others had been gobbled up. If I make the molasses sugar cookies, whether I am adding some butterscotch chips to them since I love them like that, but I am currently dieting and that would be so hard not to cheat. I love the holidays!
Personally Speaking

College Years

Years ago I had vanity plates and they were double the cost of regular every year for renewal. So, it was $50 a year for standard and $100 a year for the vanity registrations.

I looked up the cost again today because I was thinking that I wanted something a little different. And passenger car is $34.50. Personalized is $50 additional. Logo plates are another $0-50 (for example most college logos are $35 more, but military ones are free with proof) and that's on top of the other two fees, so you're probably ~$120 for custom letters on a logo plate.

Cooking, Personally Speaking

The Cornish Game Hen – A Thanksgiving Feast

A Cornish game hen isn’t actually game. It’s a young farm-raised chicken with a misleading name. My sister didn’t like them, she found it annoying how small they are, but we made a number of them last year and there was more than enough for everyone. And the left overs are also great since it can be used for a lot of different dishes and freezing leftovers is super easy! I find them easier than turkey. They taste so much better and well, as I said. They are so much easier. For turkey I spent forever making sure they were alright. I am sure that you know the game. For exaple when I was just doing the turkey breast I had to make sure to keep it moist. Brine and baste, then baste and then repeat 100 times. But for the best results I tend to make a lot of extras. Because even if its only a small Thanksgiving dinner, the best part is the leftovers next day. I also like to add if you can get the turkey skin to wrap the roulade in it adds so much more flavour and keeps the white meat from drying out. Getting some turkey necks or wings on the side to make gravy makes it even better.
Personally Speaking


I love that we have a sense of humor here in Ohio when it comes to politics. That is something that you just don’t get too often and I find it refreshing. One example was when Ohio Gov. John Kasich stopped the rumors that he might run for president in 2020. The rumor was circulating that he was planning on running as an independent on a unity ticket with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. His response on a ticket with Hickenlooper was simple, “No one could pronounce it and you can’t fit it on a bumper sticker.” I might add it was hilarious. I have seriously considered voting for him but Kasich will never win a republican primary. He’s incredibly conservative, strongly prolife, has legislative and executive experience, was a key figure in balancing both the federal and Ohio’s budget, and also has a lot of name recognition after the 2016 election. And I might add that he manages to avoid foaming at the mouth relatively well while speaking in public so the base wouldn’t be interested. He has talked about fixing Obamacare instead of replacing it. Ron Paul 8 years ago got cheered in their primary debates for implying if a person with cancer couldn’t afford treatment, and their community wouldn’t raise money for it, they should die. He’d be a solid contender for the republican ticket.
Personally Speaking

It’s The Small Things

I think that it is the small things, the little extra touches that make something special. I will give you an example of what I mean. I have had acquaintances who thought that “perfect” was when they picked something up at the store and presented it as is. For a more specific example I guess I have to go back a couple of years. But it is something that really drives home what I am talking about today. A friend of ours (hubby and me) were going to celebrate our friends mother’s 60th birthday. They were nice enough and we had met their mother a number of times so it was a nice chance to get together and visit. Most of the decorations were well done, time had been taken to use them to make the room come to life and in general they had made an effort to make it festive. We had come a little bit before the celebration was to begin because I had been asked to help get the rest setup. So while hubster and his friends were talking outside we were busy getting the last odds and ends together. And that is when the cake arrived. The hostess’ sister was responsible for the cake which she had picked on up at the store. I am not against this, don’t think that I am a snob in that regard, because I am not. But even if you have not got time to bake your own cake you still need to put some effort into making it look appealing. And you can do this with everything. No matter what, presentation is everything. And that cake was a good chance to prove it. When it came time to server it, the sister slid it on a serving tray and want to dish it up. I quickly jumped up and put some quick garnish together and we served a cake that looked worlds better than it had a moment before. Their mother even raved about how nice the cake had been. As I said, the small things.
Personally Speaking

Candied Yams Without the Candy

I prefer the natural sweetness of yams slow roasted. They come out really sweet with a nice chewy caramelized crust if done right.

The trick is to just drizzle olive oil all over, then roast them slowly at no higher than 325 f / 160 c for about an hour. This allows the starch to turn into sugars, a process that doesn't happen if they cooked too fast at too high of a heat.

Served with Thanksgiving dinner, which tends to have a LOT of salty/savory components, they can really balance things out. Generally speaking I can't stand sweet potatoes cooked any other way, and I've tried them about every which way.

Cooking, Personally Speaking

My Delicious Chicken Broccoli Casserole

I had a huge batch of roasted chicken breast that I prepped last night. We decided to make a nice casserole for supper tonight and it turned out really well. Now I have come to the conclusion that I need to write things down so that I don’t forget it.

The Casserole Ingredients

  • 15 oz roasted chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 50 g bacon
    • Cooked and crumbled
  • 15.3 oz cauliflower
    • Steamed and crumbled into rice-like pieces
  • 9.5 oz broccoli
    • Steamed and chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 75 g brown mushrooms
    • Diced into equally sized cubes
  • 62 g red onion, diced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp chicken boullion granules
  • 1 tsp xantham gum
    • Xantham gum is a very efficient thickener. A bag of it will last a long time, since you really only need a little bit at a time. If you make the recipe without it make sure that you let the sauce reduce for a little longer, cut the broth back. Honestly it will be runnier without it but will taste the same.
  • 50 g grated parmesan cheese
  • 5 oz grated extra sharp cheddar
  • 35 g butter
  • A pintch of salt and pepper

The Topping Ingredients

  • 30 g butter, melted on the stove top
  • 85 g almond flour
  • 30 g grated parmesan cheese
  • Minced parsley

Oh So Delicious Directions

  1. Steam the cauliflower.
  2. Dice it in the food processor or chop finely until it resembles rice.
  3. Set it aside in a big mixing bowl that you’ll assemble all the ingredients in.
  4. Steam the broccoli and chop into bite size pieces, throw in with cauliflower.
  5. In a medium saucepan, melt 35 grams of butter over medium heat.
    1. Throw in the mushrooms and onions until translucent, then add in the garlic for ~30 sec.
    2. Add the chicken stock, 1 tsp bouillon and sprinkle the xanthum gum in.
    3. Bring to a quick boil, stirring constantly, then reduce heat.
    4. Add heavy whipping cream, parmesan, bacon, and black pepper.
      • This is essentially your “cream of mushroom soup” replacement, so do the majority of your seasoning/time spent on this step.
      • Once the sauce is to your liking, dump the chicken, cheese and sauce in with the broccoli and cauliflower.
  6. Mix everything together and then finish seasoning to taste.
  7. Place mixture into greased 3 qt casserole dish.

Mix the Topping

  1. Melt remaining butter in a small bowl.
  2. Let cool slightly, then mix in almond flour, parmesan and parsley until you have a fine crumb mixture. Sprinkle evenly over casserole.
  3. Bake uncovered in a 350 oven for 30-45 minutes.
    1. Check at 30, then every 5 minutes until top is golden brown and sides are bubbly.
    2. Hit it with the broiler at the end to crisp up the topping for a minute or two.
The whole thing will come out oh so tasty, just make sure that you a quarter of an hour before serving so that everything has a chance to settle together. If you make any improvements I’d love to hear them.
London, OH

Pretty Little London

I love London and everything about it. It is the ideal place to raise a family. It is small, it has that hometown flair And it just so happens to be located less than 25 miles away from the state capital of Columbus. What more could you possible want? For those of you who are left scratching your heads, I am talking about London, Ohio. Our population is currently around 10,000 and I am sure that is a far cry from what you may have been expecting, but it is home to us in more ways than I care to list. Unlike a lot of other towns our size we have a lot of famous people. Mainly due to our close proximity to the capital. Some of them include:


  • Warren Amling — All-American Ohio State football player, and 1945 Heisman Trophy finalist
  • Satch Davidson — major league baseball umpire
  • Dick LeBeau — Pro Football Hall of Fame cornerback for the Detroit Lions, current Tennessee Titans assistant head coach and defensive coordinater, and longtime former Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator.
  • Rick Renick – professional baseball player and coach.


  • Clyde Tingley — former governor of New Mexico
  • Jeriah Swetland — Ohio state representative
  • Richard A. Harrison — U.S. Representative from Ohio


But we have to much more to offer than that and I want to share every bit of it with you.
Personally Speaking

The Worst Case of Hiccups

I just got over the worst case of hiccups I have had in my life. My side is still tender and I feel like my ears want to pop, but they just can’t. It is annoying and they lasted for about five hours. For a moment I thought that I was going to have to go to the emergency room. Though I think they would have just laughed at me and gave me a paper bag to breath into. Which did not work. My spasms (hiccups are spasms right?) would come in waves of various intensity. Usually lasting about ten minutes. I tried everything.
  • The trick with putting fingers in your ear and drinking water only made me feel sick
  • Then I tried to tickle the roof of my mouth with q-tip. Nope, it just felt weird and didn’t do anything.
  • Both peanut butter and the sugar trick were no good
  • Bags just made me feel light headed.
The only reason why I contemplated the ER was because I think I felt so bad from trying to treat the hiccups. Now, let’s just hope they stay gone. I had horror visions of that girl that had them for months. I don’t even know how that is possible.