Friday, October 18, 2013

Gluten Free/Paleo Friday ~ T-Bone Texas & Chicken Sicily (and bats!)

Hanging out at Common Grounds coffee shop.
 There's a recipe at the end of this post, I promise.  A good one, too, if you happen to like olives and all-things-Mediterranean. It's just that I also wanted to post photos from our trip to Texas last weekend, since I haven't found the time to write all week.  We definitely hit the ground running once we returned on Monday evening, and now I've got a really nasty cold and cough, probably due in part to lack of sleep, nutrition, and a really long to-do list.  Woe is me.

Sitting in my new chairs with my feet propped up on the matching ottoman, drinking tea that my sweet friend Karla dropped off (which is a sure cure for this yuckiness!), and catching up on email and blogging is my form of rest today. Well, at least for a few hours.  Next up will be a trip to the grocery store for Cross Country team snacks and weekend food.
Kory and Sean enjoy their fajitas, queso, and MORE at Chuy's.
It was great to be in Texas!  We got to hang out with Kory at his dorm and favorite coffee shop, as well as take him and a friend out for fajitas.  Actually, it was my dad who took us all out for Mexican, as he was in town seeing some of his customers.  Worked out perfectly, and then we treated to FroYo after dinner, where Kory seemed to know everyone in the place.  Even his English professor was there!

Then, since Kory didn't have class on Friday due to Fall Break, we were able to take him to the Austin area for the weekend.  We had coffee at Mozart's on Lake Austin, dinner at Whole Foods downtown, and then did something that NONE of us Texans and Austinites had ever done... the 1.5 million Mexican Free-Talied bats fly out from under the Congress Avenue Bridge at dusk. We opted for the riverboat cruise which was only $10 ~ bring your own food and drink ~ and eventually ended up directly under the bridge for a really spectacular view!  Interestingly, these are all female bats who give birth (they can actually decide WHEN to give birth. How convenient!) in June or July, nursing their pups until October when they head south again. The males hang out in local trees and caves, etc.  Pretty amazing sight, and one of Austin's main, among many, tourist attractions
A little bit of a tour before the bat viewing.  Great views and stories about the Austin skyline!
Saturday was a day of football and outlet mall shopping.  The men were pretty glued to the big UT vs. OU game ~ especially since Texas pulled off a win, and then there was the nail-biter Baylor game.  They finally got the win as well.  My dad cooked the poor college boy a T-bone on the grill to celebrate!

My sister, Melinda, and I went to the outlet mall, which is dangerously close to my dad's house, in search of earrings and a necklace to wear to my high school reunion. She was (and usually is) my fashion consultant for the weekend.  I had brought a few options to wear, but then took a cruise through her closet finding even MORE options.  Funny thing is, the one dress in her closet  I was most interested in, is the one she ended up suggesting after seeing my dismal options from home.  Melinda to the fashion rescue again!  Thanks, sis.

Dorian, Tamara, LeeAnn, Me, and Kerry ~ who came from California!
The reunion was not as well attended as I had hoped, but definitely included some of my most favorite and dear friends.  It was also really LOUD, as it was held in a dance hall, and we didn't have a separate room for our event.  We were all yelling at each other all night.  My ears and throat were killing me the next day!  Still, I thoroughly enjoyed catching up with a few folks in person, and not via Facebook! And I learned once again that Facebook is not always a reliable source of what is really going on in a person's life. (Sort of a no-brainer, I guess.) Some had married and divorced recently, and I had no idea.  The stories were heartbreaking, but I was so glad to know how to pray better for those who have been through such difficult things.
Dear friends Wes and Delisa.  Wes was our newspaper editor and I was the assistant.
He was one friend I knew was a believer, and we connected over Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith music.
We also connected over late nights at the press using exact knives and light boards ~
no computers back them ~ and skipping school to take in a UT baseball game.
Official sports news business, of course.
And now for the totally unrelated recipe of the week...

If I could travel anywhere in the world at this very moment, it would involve a cruise on the Mediterranean Sea, stopping in Greece, Turkey, and Sicily, etc. Partly due to its rich history and biblical geography, and partly due to its FOOD. (I realize that that may be too many miles to cover in one cruise, but still...)

Though my family is not big on olives, I still decided to give this Sicilian-style chicken dish a try.  I had seen something similar in Eating Well, and modified the ingredients, based mostly on what I had in my pantry.

Chicken Sicily

2 medium tomatoes (or 4 plum tomatoes)
1 reg. bag baby spinach
1/3 cup halved green olives
1/3 cup halved kalamata olives
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 purple onion, halved and thinly sliced
4 chicken breasts ( I cut mine in halves or thirds)
4 Tbsp olive oil, divided

In a large skillet, heat olive oil and add chicken, browning on each side 3-5 minutes.  Cover and cook on medium-low for another 15 minutes.  Remove chicken from skillet and keep warm.

Add 2 more Tbsp olive oil to the skillet and sauté onion first. After a few minutes, add garlic and olives.  Add tomatoes and spinach last, cooking until just wilted.

Serve chicken breasts with a heaping spoonful of the olive/spinach/tomato mixture on top.

I think the non-paleo side dish was rice (for the kids) and we all ate butternut squash along with this dish, too. The olives were a bit bold for the kids, and when I asked Robert if he liked the topping, his reply was, "I'm no longer eating for enjoyment, but rather for nutrition."  While not exactly a compliment, I'm happy he'll at least eat things he knows are beneficial. Ha!

So, there you have it ~ from Texas T-Bones and fajitas, bat flights and old friends, to eating olives and chicken together against the wishes of my crew.  Pretty sure I won't be winning blogger of the year or gaining any readership over these non-specific posts. Oh well.  It satisfies the archivist in me, and keeps me connected to the few of you who love me and care about the minutia of my life.  Thanks, friends!


melissa daniels said...

Looks delish! Tanya and Kerry haven't changed a bit!!!
Kory is just THE cutest thing...

Melanie said...

Well, I definitely thought it was delish ~ and you probably would, too! And a big YES to all the rest. Kory is THE cutest, and the girls have not changed!