Friday, July 30, 2010

This One's for the Girls

About this time exactly two weeks ago, I had just pulled off a country road, winding my way toward a river, and a welcome retreat.  For nearly 48 hours, I dropped my worries, dropped my responsibilities, and just had a really sweet time.  For the second year, the Schwarz women had our own little get away.  It was lovely, and hopefully there will be many more to follow. 

We almost didn't get to do it.  Things have been so hard, so busy, so tense, for everyone in every conceivable way lately.  It almost didn't seem wise to take the time for it.  But we did anyway, and it paid off.  Not everyone was able to make it, but those of us who were there truly rested, relaxed, enjoyed, and loved on each other. 

Becca's in-laws, the Hickey's, kindly let us use their wonderful, beautiful house on Lake McQueeney.  Basically, we did a whole lot of back porch sitting.  Our view faced right out onto the river.  We had about 7 comfy wicker rockers, and we dragged out three or four extra chairs, and just camped out on the porch, enjoying the cool breeze, the sound of the river drifting by, and the feeling of being together. 

Pictures are here.....  You can tell we had an amazing time!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Favorite Easy Meal for a Lazy Night

Tuesday evening found me, at nearly six o' clock, flopped lazily onto my belly across our queen-size bed, eyes drooping, body tired, and no sign of supper in sight.

"I'm going to need a cooking pep talk because I really don't feel like cooking tonight," I mumbled, as I let my eyes drift closed and settled my head on folded hands.

Keith sat on the bed beside me and obligingly started in on all the practical merits of cooking dinner.  It's cheaper.  We already bought the groceries.  They'll go bad if we don't cook them soon.  Blah, blah, blah...not helping.

"You're not very good at this," I whined as I flopped onto my back, eyes still closed.  "I need motivation, inspiration.  Don't get all rational on me."

"Well, we have the ingredients to make Turkey Sausage with Chickpeas and Kale," he cajoled.  I reluctantly opened one eye.  "It's sooooo good.  And we can practically make that in our sleep."

"Now you're talking!"

So we made one of our favorite meals.  We became kind of obsessed with kale earlier this year, it's now one of our favorite vegetables.  I like chickpeas in just about anything.  And the spicy Italian turkey sausage we get at the grocery store is just delicious no matter what you do with it.  We love this recipe so much we make it over and over again and never get even a little bit tired of it.  It's simple, healthy, delicious.  And it's a one-pot meal, so fewer dishes which is always a plus.  And it really is so easy we can practically make it in our sleep.

I've never blogged about it before, and was reminded of exactly why when I tried to take pictures.  It's virtually impossible to take a photo of this dish that looks as truly yummy as it actually is.  It's not really a looker in the presentation department.  But it's so good, it's not to be missed.  So you'll just have to trust me and try it for yourself.

Turkey Sausage with Chickpeas and Kale

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 pkg. (5 links) Italian turkey sausage
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 bunch fresh kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Slit the turkey sausage casings so that you can dump the meat in and brown it like you would ground beef.

Add the garlic and onion once the sausage gets pretty close to well-browned and cook until onion is fragrant and softened.  Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium and add in the kale.

If you use a big bunch of kale (we always do) it will look like you're never going to fit it all in the skillet.  Just keep piling it in, and pressing it down and together.  As long as you can get the lid to fit, you're good to go.

Once the kale starts to wilt it will shrink down a lot.  Cook covered for about fifteen minutes, then add the chickpeas, cover, and cook for five minutes more.

Serve hot and spoon any extra liquid over the top.  This recipe will make four very generous servings, and it keeps great as leftovers.  Enjoy!