Ramp Chicken Salad

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Mmm, this recipe was probably my favorite one that I made this ramp season.

I love chicken salad any which way you make it, so this was a no-brainer for me. Bonus was we had some homemade bread for our sandwiches. Who cares if the restaurants are closed due to the quarantine when we’re eating like this!

Ingredients:

1 large chicken breast
6-8 ramps
Seedless red grapes
Onion powder
Salt and pepper
2 heaping T. mayo

  1. Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil.
  2. While the water is boiling, clean and prepare your ramps. (See instructions in last blog’s recipe if you’ve never prepped ramps before.)
  3. Blanch ramps for 10-15 seconds, then run under cold water.
  4. Boil chicken until cooked . (I usually let it cook for an hour, and it’s good.)
  5. Chop ramps and grapes and set aside.
  6. Transfer chicken to a metal mixing bowl and use a hand mixer to shred. (No, really. This is HANDS DOWN the easiest way to shred ANY meat.)
  7. Add all ingredients to the bowl (Salt, pepper and onion powder to taste. Sorry – y’all know how I roll.)
  8. Mix thoroughly, chill, and serve!

We ate ours topped with lettuce and tomato; you could also add toasted pecans to this or top with avocado. For a protein-heavy alternative, you could use avocado in place of the mayo.

So, have you ever cooked with ramps before? What are your favorite recipes? Let me know!

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Ramp Butter

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Remember a few years back when I went to the Ramps and Rails festival? Well, it’s that time of year again, except we’re all quarantined!

Thankfully, some folks live far enough out in the hills that they can still go outdoors and enjoy mother nature. (Did you know that the Appalachian Trail is closed?!)

I was fortunate enough to be given (by way of a drive-by door stoop drop off) a quart bag of ramps, and I’ve been enjoying them. You’d be amazed how far one bag of ramps can stretch!

So far I’ve made Honey Dijon Ramp Chicken, Ramp Butter, Ramp Chicken Salad, and our roommate made a pasta dish with them as well.

I thought I’d share at least a few of those recipes with you if you’re lucky enough to have a ramp supply. In years where we’re not all housebound, you might find these at a farmer’s market, so keep your eyes peeled for them!

Today I’m sharing how to make ramp butter, and trust me, this is easy peasy because with Little Bit, my clients, and The Fellow now working from home, I really don’t have time for complicated recipes!

Ingredients:

2 Sticks butter, softened
Ramps (I used about 8 ramps, but use as many or as few as you like based on your taste preference.)
Splash of Lemon Juice
Sprinkle of Salt

(Sorry y’all! It’s one of those types of recipes!)

  1. Take your butter out of the fridge and let it soften.
  2. Clean and shuck (?) your ramps. I don’t know if “shuck” is the right term, but I’m going for it. You basically pull down this little skin sleeve and snap the roots off.
  3. Blanch your ramps in a pot of boiling water for about 10-15 seconds, then immediately dunk in cold water. **
  4. Add the butter, ramps, salt and lemon juice into a metal mixing bowl.
  5. Using a mixer, blend all of the ingredients together.
  6. Spoon out onto plastic wrap into a log shape.
  7. Refrigerate
  8. Enjoy!

** I actually skipped the blanching step but shouldn’t have. We accidentally melted the ramp butter when we tried to soften it up the next day, and it’s waaay better with the ramps having been cooked a little bit. But if you like a more intense bright flavor, you can use them raw.

This delicious ramp butter is especially tasty on fresh homemade bread still warm, or toasted!

Enjoy and stay safe, friends!

Plum Deluxe Tea Review: Part II

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Today I’m finishing up the review of Plum Deluxe that I started on Wednesday. I love trying new flavor combinations so this entire experience was AMAZING. Seriously, how lucky am I that a killer company like Plum Deluxe reached out and let me try their yummy goodies? (So lucky is the answer!)

The next cuppa that I tried out was their Delightful Morning Black Tea. The package said to “fill your morning moments with love,” and I did sipping this while snuggling Little Bit!

Black teas are my go-to when I try teas, so I was anxious to taste this one. 

This tea does taste similar to the Mindful Morning Black Tea, but with lavender instead of vanilla. It’s a robust black tea and truly delicious.

Paul Hollywood on the Great British Baking show may come down a little hard on lavender as a flavor, but I love it! That being said, I know that it can be overpowering at times. The lavender in this tea comes through as more of an afterthought. If I didn’t see it in the ingredient list, I don’t know that I’d have put my finger on the flavor. It adds just the right floral hint to the mix! 

Side note: I love that they use Oregon lavender, supporting US agriculture!

The Delightful Morning Black Tea definitely pairs well with your morning scone or breakfast. It has such a rich flavor that makes it a hearty start to your day.

Caramel Almond Black Tea

“Bold and sweet: a delicious attitude to have.”

You.

Guys.

This stuff was amazing!

The first thing you notice is the smell. It smells warm and cozy and kind of like cookies. Like you can almost imagine the gooey deliciousness and brown sugar and taste the toasted almonds . . . mmmmm.

That’s all I have to say about that.

I’m too busy sipping to type!

But seriously guys, you should all check out these amazing teas, maybe indulge in a subscription box or send a care package to someone. They’re an amazing US-based company with a phenomenal product! Check them out!

Plum Deluxe Tea Review: Part I

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Guys, I’m so excited to share this post with you!

The awesome folks at Plum Deluxe Teas reached out to me and wanted to know if I would like to try some of their teas, and I was like, “Heck, yes!”

Aaaaaaand then I was like “Oh, I’m pregnant, and everything is falling through the cracks . . .” Then I had a baby, and I completely abandoned ship. I’m SO sorry for putting off this review as long as I have. (Plum Deluxe, you guys are amazing and thank you for being SO patient with mom-brained me!)

First things first – Plum Deluxe is a deluxe tea brand that offers a monthly tea subscription box.

They have a pretty extensive selection of loose leaf teas, so I was stoked to receive my samples, and I love, love, love that they came in a purple package! (On-point branding makes my heart happy!)

The first one that I tried was the Aloha Blend Black Tea.

According to Plum’s marketing, it should be an “absolutely and invigorating cup of cheer,” and it was!

This tea was actually a bit tricky for me. I tend to let my teas over steep (shhhh . . . it’s okay), so the fact that it stays a light color really threw me off. 

I was a bit worried by the pineapple essence as an ingredient. That’s one of those things that can tend to overpower other flavors; however, in this tea blend, it doesn’t! There also isn’t any coconut which does the same thing and tends to be present in most tropical-flavored items. 

The overall flavor was light and refreshing. You get the apple, pineapple, and rose hips coming mostly through, and the others are a wonderful support to the overall experience.

The Aloha Blend is definitely not something I would’ve picked to try on my own, but I’m glad that they sent it to me! It would be a great summer tea for sipping while cozied up in my camper at the beach (because yes, I take tea fixin’s with me everywhere).

The next tea I enjoyed was the Mindful Morning Black Tea.

Plum Deluxe’s description of this one was “a fresh take on Earl Grey. Pairs well with quiet moments and good conversation.”

I’m so glad that Plum sent me an Earl Grey to try! I’m slightly obsessed with it, and this was easily my favorite out of the assortment they sent me. 

There were several nights when I was pregnant when The Fellow wanted to hang out with friends later than my tired self thought I could, and I just needed a little extra comfort and caffeine. (I was SO good about avoiding caffeine the entire pregnancy that when I did let myself have a bit, it was tea.) I would make a cup in my knock-off Yeti insulated cup, and it would last me most of the night. Soooo good.

Like any Earl Grey, the Mindful Morning tea has bergamot oil and orange peels. This one also has vanilla essence which not only enhances the flavor, but I think it’s what gives the tea the smooth, velvety finish I love. It’s easily identifiable as a classic Earl Grey with an extra level to it that is absolutely divine.

I’ve been rationing my sample pack and am definitely going to have to get more of this one! 

I have two more delicious teas to share with you Friday, so stay tuned!

There is one good thing about this world . . .

There are always sure to be more springs.

L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Happy spring! You may not have noticed that we’re finalllly out of winter with all of the craziness that is the world during COVID-19, but it’s here.

Just outside our windows, the bees are buzzing. Buds that I barely saw slipping up from the ground are starting to open, and there’s a slight warmth to the air.

It’s been a crazy past week or two. There is so much uncertainty, fear, and unrest everywhere we look. It’s easy to get swept up in it!

Instead, this is a perfect time to focus on what we DO have. Practice an abundance mindset instead of a scarcity one. Take some time to take stock of all of the wonderful things in your life and express gratitude for them.

Let’s not hunker down in fear and allow ourselves to be swept up in it. Let’s enjoy our quarantined time with our families and take this as an opportunity to live life a little slower. Enjoy our back porches and read while protecting those in our communities.

We cannot always control what happens in our life, but we can control how we react to it!

Office Space

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You know how you spend hours on Pinterest scrolling past picture-perfect houses and daydreaming about all of the projects you could do to make your house look like that? (Yeah, me too. I never get around to them though.)

If I’m honest, I’ve really stopped using Pinterest anymore. I found it led me to focus more on what my life isn’t than what it is.

I’m likely never going to have a photo-worthy house with a beautiful entryway, and everything perfectly styled and neatly in its place.

The few times I’ve been on Pinterest lately have been to look at office space solutions. Cubicles seem so tiny when you’re stuck in one, but at least they had some pretty impressive storage space!

Now that I’m working at home, I’ve taken a 4-foot space between our fireplace and hutch as my “office.” I’ve tried to pare down what office supplies I have, but notebooks and binders take space, not to mention the bulky computer tower itself!

Now instead of daydreaming about perfect bench seating entryways, I’m daydreaming of an office space with walls, storage, and pretty coordinated whiteboards and supplies. My how things have shifted!

What is your guilty Pinterest daydreaming pleasure? Let me know!

What I’m Listening To Wednesday – Jim Croce

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Someone asked on Facebook the other day what songs do you listen to when you need a pick me up, and I thought of Jim Croce. I love ALL of his songs, but I really love Operator, Time in a Bottle, Bad, Bad Leroy Brown, and You Don’t Mess Around With Jim.

There’s just something so fun about the bouncing beat and his voice. I can listen to his playlist all day!

Uptown got its hustlers
The Bowery got its bums
42nd Street got Big Jim Walker
He’s a pool-shootin’ son of a gun
Yeah, he big and dumb as a man can come
But he stronger than a country hoss
And when the bad folks all get together at night
You know they all call big Jim “Boss,” just because
And they say

You don’t tug on Superman’s cape
You don’t spit into the wind
You don’t pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger
And you don’t mess around with Jim

Well outta south Alabama come a country boy
He say I’m lookin’ for a man named Jim
I am a pool-shootin’ boy
My name’s Willie McCoy
But down home they call me Slim
Yeah I’m lookin’ for the king of 42nd Street
He drivin’ a drop top Cadillac
Last week he took all my money
And it may sound funny
But I come to get my money back
And everybody say Jack, Don’t you know

You don’t tug on Superman’s cape
You don’t spit into the wind
You don’t pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger
And you don’t mess around with Jim

Well a hush fell over the pool room
Jimmy come boppin’ in off the street
And when the cuttin’ was done
The only part that wasn’t bloody
Was the soles of the big man’s feet, ooh
And he was cut in about a hundred places
And he was shot in a couple more
And you better believe
They sung another kind of story
When Big Jim hit the floor

Now they say

You don’t tug on Superman’s cape
You don’t spit into the wind
You don’t pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger
And you don’t mess around with Slim

Yeah, Big Jim got his hat
Find out where it’s at
And it’s not hustlin’ people strange to you
Even if you do got a two-piece custom-made pool cue

Yeah you don’t tug on Superman’s cape
You don’t spit into the wind
You don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger
And you don’t mess around with Slim

Reading

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In some of my posts, I’ve mentioned that I never get a chance to read as much as I would like. When I was younger, I would read non-stop.

My mother would holler at me in the middle of the night to turn off my nightlight and go to bed. (I’m still not entirely sure how I made enough noise reading to wake her up . . .)

Some summers, I was in as many as three different reading programs. We’d max out our library card limit every time we went. (Thankfully, we went to two libraries, so I could stock up.)

When we went on a trip, my books took up as much space as my suit case! A trip to the beach required no less than two tote bags of books. Now, I was younger and books were shorter, so that accounted for some of it, but I also was able to read in a moving vehicle for hours. (Don’t I wish I still had that skill!)

But in recent years . . .

There’s no time, and there is technology.

In the last two years, the last times I really remember reading were when we were at the cabin in January. No technology, and long mornings sitting on the deck reading.

It was so nice to get back into it, but as soon as we’re home, I stopped being able to find the time.

This past week I was down with the flu, and since I spent days in bed, I managed to read a little bit. I revisited one of my favorites – the Eragon trilogy. It’s a young adult series about a dragon and its rider saving the kingdom from an evil king.

Is it too late to make a New Year’s resolution? Here’s hoping that I manage to keep up with reading at least a little bit more this year!

Leprechaun Gold

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It seems impossible that we’re already into March! How time flies!

March brings one of my favorite holidays – St. Patrick’s Day!

Since we’re getting close to it, I thought I’d share with you something that my cousins are offering on their blog: The 2 seasons – Leprechaun Gold.

Janette and Jordan have a ton of amazing ideas (and interior design tips!) that you could literally spend days scrolling through, but I thought this one was particularly sweet.

If you’ve got a little one at home, a customized leprechaun letter is just the thing to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!