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a few special visitors

Posted Oct 29 2011 11:40am

Look who decided to come home and visit for a few days!

Erik, Kirsten, and Brennan are my three younger siblings.  They go to the same university and are on Fall Break this week.

I like to think that they came home to visit me, their wonderful and loving sister who would do anything in the whole world for them.  But we all know that’s not the case.  They’re college students.  College students have other priorities when they come home for 3 days.  Brennan, the cutie on the right, is the youngest of all 5 kids and blatantly  told us her favorite thing about being home was showering without shower shoes.  I love you too, Brennan.

Brennan pretending to eat broccoli.  Funny thing, she never had any at dinner!

Kirsten, her twin…well…I’ve haven’t quite figured out her reason for coming home.  I think she felt obligated to check in at home base to let mom and dad know she was still living and breathing and wasn’t joining a cult.  Of all 5 kids, she the quiet one.  I thought that she would have a hard time making the transition to college.  how wrong I was.  AS we were driving away and giving our last wave goodbye, she had the BIGGEST grin on her face, giving us a wave that said, “You can go now.  Let me get this freshman party starrrrrrted!”  Yep.  I was nervous.  But she’s a good girl; maintains A and B’s and has joined a ton of activities.

Kirsten eating a Lemon-Blueberry Scone I made. She got to one before I could finish the tray myself.

Then there’s Erik.  He’s Big Brother on campus.  If it were just the twins on that campus, I would be a bit nervous.  But with Erik there to keep an eye on them, I have nothing to worry about.  Erik, as you all may remember, coaches the Varsity Crew Team at the University.  He’s also a graduate of Marine OSC, which means when he graduates college he can join the Marines as an officer, rather than enlisted.  He is the most dedicated, hard-working guy I know.  Just a random fact about him that motivates me in my workouts:  He will wake at 3:40am (AM!!!) some mornings so that he can get his workout in before coaching the team.  And you thought I was bad for waking up at 4:30am.

“Take the *$%@ picture, Caitlyn.  I can’t hold this forever.”   He didn’t really say that, but I thought is was funny.

No matter their reason for coming home, I was glad to see them.  So glad that I spend 2+ hours trying to figure out what to make for dinner.  2+ hours of scouring foodandwine.com , foodnetwork.com , epicurious.com , eatingwell.com , and other recipe websites trying find something to make for dinner.  I found a lot of great recipes: chicken dishes, pastas, salads…you name it.  I wanted to make them all!

Picture taken by Erik!

I should note here that I am the most undecided person ever.  I can not choose what to make for dinner for the life of me.  So rather than settling on one recipe, I chose two and combined them.   I crossed my fingers, said a prayer, tapped my heels (because that’s what Dorothy did), and did a few crunches (just because), then got cooking.

The meal was quick, easy, nutritious, and healthy.  And best of all, it was liked by all.  In the end, that was all that mattered.

6 chicken breasts

1 can (14.5oz) fire-roasted diced tomatoes

1 can (14.5oz) diced tomatoes

3 oz smoked sun-dried tomatoes, 

8 oz mushrooms, sliced

8 garlic cloves, sliced

2 T dried basil

salt and pepper to taste

Optional:  mozzarella cheese for topping

Preheat oven to 375*F.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients but the chicken and mushrooms.  Stir in the mushrooms.   Pour half the tomato mixture in the bottom of a 9X13 inch baking pan.  Lay the 6 chicken breasts in two rows in the pan.  Top with the remaining tomato mixture, being sure the breasts are covered in sauce.  Cover tightly with foil.  Bake at 375*F for 40 minutes to 1 hour, or until chicken breasts are cooked through.

*If you choose to, you can place a few slices of mozzarella on top of the chickens before baking.   Now I’m off to Trader Joe’s!  Maybe I’ll find something to spoil them with before they head back to school.

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