Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cooking Castle Style - Honey Chipotle Chicken & Grilled Asparagus

We had another edition of cooking lessons with Kate and Kasie on Monday. We did a grilling lesson this time, which was nice for a week night. I went a little overboard at Sam's Club a couple weeks ago and bought a 5 pound jar of honey, so I figured this chicken would be a good way to make a dent in it. I may have to make some granola sometime soon to use even more of it. To go along with our chicken, we grilled asparagus and made Chipotle Rice. We didn't think each of us could eat a giant chicken breast from VonHansen's, but it was so good we all managed to polish one off.

Honey Chipotle Chicken

Honey Chipotle Chicken


¼ cup honey
1 tbsp. pureed canned chipotles in adobo sauce
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. ancho chili powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. canola oil
½ tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. Spanish paprika
2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied into halves
Sesame seeds, chopped fresh cilantro and minced chives, for garnish (optional)


Heat the grill or a grill pan to high. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, chipotle puree, mustard, 1½ teaspoons ancho chile powder, ½ teaspoon salt, and 1½ teaspoons oil. Set aside.

Stir together the remaining ancho powder with the coriander, cumin and paprika in another medium bowl. Add the chicken breasts the remaining oil, and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the chicken on the heated grill and cook for 3-4 minutes. Flip the chicken and brush the cooked side of the chicken pieces with the honey-chipotle glaze. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes; flip the chicken again and brush the second side with the glaze. Cook for 1 minute, flip again and cook for 1 minute more. Remove from the grill and brush with more sauce as desired.

Garnish with sesame seeds, cilantro and chives as desired; serve.

Source: Annie's Eats

Grilled Asparagus


2 lbs. fresh asparagus, trimmed
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
lemon juice


Trim ends of asparagus. Mix olive oil, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper with asparagus. Heat grill to medium. Once the grill is heated add the marinated asparagus to the grill. Rotate the asparagus frequently. The total cooking time should be about 10 minutes. Before serving add the lemon juice to the cooked asparagus.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Chicago - Final Edition

The more times you go somewhere for work, the less exciting it becomes. I was in Chicago again last week for work. This week we stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel, which was nice for a little change. Here is the view of Michigan Avenue from my room. The week consisted of a lot of work and eating out, but this should be the end of this project so there shouldn't be any more work trips to Chicago in my future.

Hard Rock Hotel Chicago

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Week in Pictures

Last week was a busy week for us. Here is a quick recap.

On Monday I played my last volleyball matches of the season. We ended up winning both matches and advancing to the semi-final tournament game. The semi-final game was tonight, but I missed it because I am in Chicago again. We ended up losing in the semi final, but it was a good season and I am looking forward to playing volleyball outside again this summer.

Volleyball Team

Since I knew I was going to be gone again, I did the spring clean up in the garden last week. Everything is looking so good. We will be mowing the lawn in no time.

The Garden Spring 2010

On Friday night we celebrated Elysia and Le's birthdays with dinner at Osaka in Roseville and then bowling afterward.

Elysia & Le's Birthday Celebration

On Saturday we headed to La Crosse for Greg and Emily's wedding. We ended up getting there just in time for the ceremony. Adam and Maren were at the wedding as well, so it was nice to be able to catch up with.

Greg & Emily's Wedding

After the wedding we stayed at Patrick's dad's house. On Sunday morning before we left we played with their 18 month old dog Blue. He is such a good dog, we both have puppy fever after that, so someday we may have to get one of our own.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Nickie's Baby Shower

Last Saturday I hosted my sister-in-law's baby shower at my cousin Frannie's house. It was a beautiful day and it was really nice to get together with everyone. My brother Nathan and his wife Nickie are due on June 14th, so be prepared for some pictures of the little guy or girl once he or she arrives. This little kiddo will be my first niece or nephew, so I am super excited for he or she to arrive.

For the shower, I made a diaper cake for decoration. It ended up being easier than I thought. I bought 100 Target brand diapers (size 1) for this, but I probably could have used less.

Baby Shower Diaper Cake & Flowers

Here is some more decor. Since they aren't finding out the gender of the baby, Nickie is decorating the nursery with monkeys, brown and green. So the shower was monkey themed. At first I wanted to do a sock monkey theme, but that didn't go with the brown and green, so it became a regular monkey theme. My mom made the bibs from a pattern.

Baby Shower Decor

We played a few games at the party. The pacifier necklaces were for a game where everyone gets a necklace and if you say baby during the party whoever calls you out on it gets your necklace. The person with the most necklaces at the end of the party wins a prize. We also did an obstacle course where you had to put a balloon in your shirt, bend over pick up the doll and then race around the trash can. That was pretty entertaining as you can see from the pictures below.

Baby Race

Another game we played was The Baby Shower Price is Right, where you have the guests guess the price of the baby items. We also made a little scrapbook where everyone guessed the date and time of birth, weight and height, so that will be fun to look back on.

And of course I went a little overboard on the food. I made it monkey themed with monkey bread, chicken enchilada roll-ups, monkey cupcakes, spinach artichoke bites, stuffed mushrooms, banana chocolate chip cake and mac and cheese bites.

Baby Shower Food

Baby Shower Attendees

Nickie opening presents

Friday, April 9, 2010

Chicago - Take 2

I was in Chicago again this week for work. Fortunately there were no snow storms this week and on Tuesday it was in the 80's. Monday we took advantage of the nice weather and we ate lunch on the top floor of the Aon Building and then after work we took a walk around Millenium Park, ate dinner at Giardonos's Pizza and walked to the Hancock Building for drinks.

After we were done eating lunch at the top of the Aon Building, we took a little tour around the building to see the different views from the top. We could see Navy Pier, Millenium Park, Grant Park and Solider Field.

Navy Pier

Navy Pier, Millenium Park & Grant Park

Soilder Field

The trees were in full bloom in Millenium Park.

Millenium Park

The view from the woman's bathroom at the Hancock Building.

Hancock Building