100 Happy Days: Day 6

Flowers and a thank you note from a student. 🙂



Skillet Masa Cornbread

Cornbread. Made with maseca. In a skillet. Seriously delicious. This recipe is courtesy of The Dude.


  • 1 cup maseca
  • 1 cup yellow corn meal
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp xantham gum
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 4 tbs softened butter
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 tbs honey


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degress F. Place cast iron skillet in oven (we used a 12 inch) so it can preheat with the oven.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
  3. Smoosh in (the technical term) all but 1 tbs of the butter.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine milk and honey.
  5. Add wet ingredients into dry. Mix well.
  6. (Carefully!) Remove pan from oven and grease with remaining 1 tbs of butter.
  7. Pour batter into pan and spread evenly.
  8. Bake for 21 minutes until golden brown.
  9. Serve immediately or place on rack to cool.

Finished Product:


Next time, we’ll try adding jalapenos, cheese, and/or corn. Yum!

Braised Mediterranean-ish Chicken

This is my adaptation of a Martha Stewart Recipe (Braised Chicken w/ Olives, Martha Stewart Living, June 2002).
Serves 2-4, depending on appetite and thigh size (of the chicken, not the eaters)


  • 4 chicken thighs or two whole legs (bone in, skin on)
  • small to medium onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 rib of celery, diced
  • 1 pint cremini mushrooms, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 5 – 6 jarred or frozen artichoke heart halves, cut into bite sized pieces
  • handful of olives, pitted and cut into bite sized pieces
  • olive oil
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • bay leaf
  • 1/2 – 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup of chicken stock


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large oven proof skillet or dutch oven (make sure you use one where the chicken can comfortably fit in one layer). Saute the chicken skin-side down until browned and crisp (about 5 minutes). Saute same amount on other side. Remove from pan and place on a large plate (skin-side up!).
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low or low. Add more oil and saute onion, carrots, and celery until vegetables are translucent; be careful not to brown or burn anything!
  3. Add mushrooms and saute until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant.
  5. Add wine and degalze the pan using a wooden spoon to scrape up all the brown bits. Continue cooking until wine is reduced by half.
  6. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  7. Add thyme and bay leaf.
  8. Add chicken (skin-side up!), cover, and transfer to oven. Braise for 45 minutes.
  9. Remove pan from oven and stir in olives and artichoke hearts.
  10. Return pan to oven and braise, uncovered, for an additional 20 minutes.
  11. Remove from oven, discard thyme and bay leaf, and serve with mashed potatoes or polenta.



The Magic Kingdom is Calling

“Here now you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy.”

Ah, Disney. I miss it so much. That particular line is from a plaque on the arches that lead into the Magic Kingdom in Disney World. I tear up every time I see it; seeing it means I’m back home.

I was just talking with someone about his recent Disney trip and it just got me that much more antsy to go again. With The Dude’s health and job situation, I know that we won’t be going for at least a year, but I can still dream, right? And, it’s never too early to start planning…