Daffodils and Divan

0324151824 Spring is finally here – and my family is looking for lighter fare for dinner.  So, today, when I picked up our first bunch of daffodils I also researched this deliciously trimmed down version of the old favorite, Chicken Divan, on the great website, Eating Well [http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/chicken_divan.html].  Coming up later this week, I will share with you a family favorite salad recipe from the St. Louis Mayfair Hotel (now “The Magnolia”), Mayfair Salad Dressing.


Chicken Divan

[servings = 6  total time= 1 hour]


  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups diced leek, white and light green parts only (about 1 large)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound fresh broccoli crowns, chopped
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/4 low-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Coat a 7 x 11 glass baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Place chicken in a medium skillet or saucepan and add water to cover.  Bring to a simmer over high heat.  Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the center, 12 minutes.  Drain and slice into bite-size pieces.
  3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add leek and salt and cook, stirring often, until softened but not browned, 4 minutes.  Add flour, stir to coat.  Add broth, milk, sherry, thyme and pepper and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.  Add broccoli; return to a simmer.  Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan, mayonnaise and mustard.
  4. Spread half the broccoli mixture in the prepared baking dish.  Top with the chicken, then the remaining broccoli mixture.  Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan.  Bake until bubbling.  25 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Baking 4 Dozen Cookies for Lancer Dancer Nationals Competition


My daughter belongs to an award-winning Drill Team.  They are about to depart for a national competition in Orlando for 4 days.  They will work hard, play hard, sleep very little and EAT!  I was recruited to bake 4 dozen cookies to help sustain the little dears.  Fortunately, my friend and fellow Dance Mom, Merrie, also sent me a recipe so I could skip the hard part deciding which to bake.  Thought you might enjoy having this recipe in your back pocket – you never know when you may find yourself baking 4 dozen cookies for a worthy cause!!!

Mrs. Fields’ Cookies


  • 2 cups (4 sticks) softened butter
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups rolled oats
  • 4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 cups chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F;

2. Cream together butter, white sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla;

3. Mix together in a separate bowl:  Baking powder, baking soda, flour and oatmeal;

4. Add the flour mixture slowly to the sugar mixture.  You will have to abandon the electric mixer and get out the wooden spoon!;

5.  Add the chocolate chips and pecans;

6. Bake on cookie sheet, golf ball size, two inches apart for 10 to 12 minutes until a bit golden;

7. Cool on wire rack.

Sometimes I sprinkle a light dusting of salt on them when they are warm to really get that sweet/salty thing going!  Makes 80-100 cookies.  YUM!

The Only Beef Stroganoff Recipe You’ll Ever Need


My Mom was the Quintessential Homemaker and homemade beef stroganoff was “standard fare” on our dinner table growing up.  That’s why it is exactly what I wanted to have for dinner tonight for my 49th birthday celebration!


Here is there recipe, straight out of the 1961 New York Times Cook Book, off Rhetta Greenwell Killion’s kitchen shelf:

[“Beef Stroganoff” servings = “About 6 servings” }


  • 1 1/2 pounds beef filet, sirloin or porterhouse steak
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup beef broth or canned consume
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream, at room temperature
  1. Remove all the fat and gristle from the meat.  Cut into narrow strips about two inches long and one-half inch thick.  Season the strips with salt and pepper and refrigerate two hours.
  2. In a saucepan melt one and one-half tablespoons of butter, add the flour and stir with a wire whisk until blended.  Meanwhile, bring the consommé to a boil and add all at once to butter-flour mixture, stirring vigorously with the whisk until the sauce is thickened and smooth.  Stir in the mustard.
  3. In a separate pan heat the remaining butter, add the meat and sliced onion and brown quickly on both sides.  Remove the meat to a hot platter, discarding the onion.
  4. Add the sour cream to the mustard sauce and heat over a brisk flame for three minutes.  Pour sauce over meat and serve.

If This Is What 49 Feels Like I Can’t Wait For What’s Next!

first xmas 1 I came into this world the youngest of 7 children and have been loved more than the average bear.  To say that I feel fortunate and blessed would not be adequate.  And as my “days increase,” I am evermore keenly aware of the.gif"https://cheekystreet.com/img/2015/03/joan-yard.jpg">joan yard My family gave me lots of freedom to play long hours out in the fresh air of Southern Missouri and to be myself.  The early years shaped me – I felt secure, happy, loved and cherished.  For those in this world born with less who have nonetheless managed to live full, happy lives, I feel empathy and awe.

I did nothing to deserve all the goodness in my life – it was just gently placed before me and continues to unfold like a beautiful tapestry.

At 49, here is a short list of the things I have learned and the wondrous joys that captivate me:

  • Don’t ever refuse help of any kind when it is offered – you will find an open heart can swell with love, joy and abundance that affects everyone around you in a positive way – say “Yes!” and “Thanks!” often and mean it;
  • Bring all of yourself wherever you go – holding back will only limit the joy you feel and overshadow the illumination of the experience;
  • Admit when you feel frightened – it won’t diminish anything, only brighten the path before you;
  • Listen to children because they know what’s best – God gives us about 9 years of complete innocence in this life for a reason – it is to show others how to live courageously;
  • Accept change and move forward as soon as you can – so many wonderful experiences and people await for you in your future, don’t put them off by feeling regrets, guilt or sadness over what is in the past.

I am grateful for friends and laughter; Homemade cinnamon rolls or anything freshly picked from one’s garden and friends that will bake them and drop them off at my doorstep; The infinite possibility of sunrises and sunsets, especially over the beautiful Flint Hills of Kansas – though I never thought the day would come I would admit this; The tiny hands of children placed with complete trust in my own hands – proof that we are all worthy of love and affection. Today is my 49th birthday – I thank God for all the goodness in my life and look forward to continuing the journey. Flint-hills-Kansas-State-US-650x364