Happy Things

Happy Friday!  I’m been having a nice few days off, lounging at home, seeing friends and enjoying some much needed rain and gloomy weather!  I recently finished 50 Shades of Grey and was so massively dissapointed by the horrendous writing, lack of plot and the constant use of the phrases Jeez  and Oh my that I can’t couldn’t bring myself to buy the last two in the trilogy.  Instead, I whipped through Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn this week, one of my favorite authors.  I suggest all three of her books if you like thriller and crime novels. Her writing is outstanding.  I’m now onto Savages by Don Winslow, so I can read the book before I see the movie (can’t wait!).

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!  Here are a few things that made my week wonderful.  All photos are from Instagram (username: GourmetBeauty).

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{The great memories of my 10-year high school reunion from last weekend.  So nice to be reunited with my high school group of best friends}

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{Essie nail polish in Too Too Hot, the perfect coral red for the 4th of July}

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{Lazy mornings in bed}

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{A pretty statement necklace from Francesca’s that brightens up any simple summer sweater}

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{Jon and I spent the 4th with some great friends.  This is Paula and me enjoying the rainstorm, the fireworks and some beer.  A similar striped dress can be found here}

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{My tequila soaked watermelon was a HIT at the 4th of July party.  Simple and delicious recipe coming next week on the blog}

What are a few things making you happy this week?

Old Friends and Chicken Piccata with Parmesan Lemon Asparagus

Friday night was spent with two of my high school girlfriends, Paula and Loriel. We drank chardonnay, listened to the 90’s music channel and looked through our high school yearbooks. Our 10 year reunion is in June (I still can’t believe how fast the time flew) so we spent the whole evening reminiscing and laughing. Here’s a picture of the three of us at Loriel’s wedding two summers ago!

Here’s a high school picture of us! Loriel is to my left (yes that’s me in the middle with all those curls LOL) and Paula is at the far left end. 🙂

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In between all of this nostalgic fun, we whipped up quite the delicious dinner. When I say we I mean I cooked while Loriel squeezed the lemons and spent about 20 minutes digging the lemon seeds out of the juice she had collected, and Paula cleaned up behind me and tried to help cook but I kept bossing her and taking over. Then I listened to the girls go on about how bossy and Type A I am. Oh well, they sure liked the dinner we I cooked. 🙂

Chicken Piccata was one of the first things I learned how to cook when I started playing around in the kitchen a couple of years ago. While it isn’t exactly the healthiest meal and I don’t eat it often, it is one of my go-to dishes when entertaining. It always turns out delicious and is so simple to make. It tastes much more complicated and gourmet than it actually is, which I love!

The asparagus is healthy and low calorie, so it makes a great side to this indulgent dinner.

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I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! I suggest pairing the dish with a bottle of wine, some Mariah Carey and your oldest friends! 🙂

Enjoy!

Chicken Piccata (Serves 4)

Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

Ingredients

  • 2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, butterflied into 4 total pieces
  • Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, lemon pepper, garlic salt
  • All-purpose flour, for dredging
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup brined capers

Directions

  • Season chicken with salt, pepper, lemon pepper and garlic salt.
  • Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.
  • In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons olive oil.
  • When butter and oil start to sizzle, add 2 pieces of chicken and cook for 3 minutes.
  • When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate.
  • Melt 2 more tablespoons butter and add another 2 tablespoons olive oil.
  • When butter and oil start to sizzle, add the other 2 pieces of chicken and brown both sides in same manner.
  • Remove pan from heat and add chicken to the plate.
  • Into the pan add the lemon juice, broth, wine and capers.
  • Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Check for seasoning.
  • Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Remove chicken to platter. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to sauce and whisk vigorously.
  • Pour sauce over chicken and serve with parmesan lemon asparagus. Recipe below.

Parmesan Lemon Asparagus (Serves 4)

Adaped from Ina Garten

Ingredients

  • 1 bushel fresh asparagus (about 15-20)
  • 1 tablespoons good olive oil
  • salt, pepper, lemon pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 lemon

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Lay asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
  • Season with salt, pepper and lemon pepper. Toss to coat evenly.
  • Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender.
  • Sprinkle with the Parmesan and return to the oven for another minute ro melt the cheese.
  • Squeeze the juice of one lemon over the asparagus and serve.