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Monday, June 21, 2010

Get in my Belly! Cajun Chicken Pasta

This is a huge favorite at my house ... even my kiddos like the spicy goodness. The original recipe used heavy whipping cream, in the sauce (yum), but I just can't cook that way very often. I created a sauce using milk & half n' half. Much healthier.


Cajun Chicken Pasta

Cook Time: 15 Min
Ready In: 30 Min


* 12 ounces linguine pasta
* 3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, sliced into thin strips *****
* 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 1 green bell pepper, chopped
* 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
* 1 small sweet onion
* 4 fresh mushrooms, sliced
* 1 green onion, minced
* 1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
* 3 cups of whipping cream
* 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add linguini pasta, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain.

2. Meanwhile, place chicken and Cajun seasoning in a bowl, and toss to coat.

3. In a large skillet over medium heat, saute chicken in butter until no longer pink and juices run clear, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add green and red bell peppers, sliced mushrooms and green onions; cook for 2 to 3 minutes. (Alternately you can use per-cooked chicken and add in with the heavy cream. Just cook the veggies with cajun seasoning.)

4. Add whipping cream to chicken and vegetable mixture. Season the sauce with basil and lemon pepper and heat through.

4. In a large bowl, top linguini with sauce. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and green onions.

***** I pre-cook the chicken in the oven (350 for 15-25 minutes depending on the size of your chicken breasts. Season with salt/pepper/garlic. Cook chicken until just done, then quickly pull apart with forks. The chicken will be super moist and tender. Can be done up to a few days before you make this dish.) For this recipe, I cook the veggies with the Cajun seasoning and then toss the cooked chicken in with the veggie mixture, heat through and then add the white sauce.

(photo credit)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

All things Mary DeMuth!

I'm so behind on my reviews (I've got a huge stack I'll be reviewing and posting about this summer) - my apologies to the publishers and authors.

Two of my recent reads are both by Mary DeMuth. What a talented gal. Earlier this spring she released her memoir, Thin Places. A tough, yet delicately told history of Mary's childhood. And, I just finished reading Life in Defiance, (my favorite of the three books) the final book in the Defiance Texas Trilogy.

Thin Places by Mary DeMuth.

Every two minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted and of the millions of sexual abuse and rape victims, 15 percent are under the age of 12, according to a 2007 study by the U.S. Department of Justice. Critically acclaimed author Mary DeMuth is among the millions of adults who are victims of childhood rape and are living with the emotional scars of the haunting abuse.

DeMuth bravely shares her painful story in her new memoir, Thin Places (February 2010). Repeatedly raped by two neighborhood boys at a young age, DeMuth details her traumatic and disturbing childhood in the memoir. Raised in a broken home, she lost her biological father when she was ten and was stripped of her innocence growing up in an unstable environment where drugs were commonplace.

But Thin Places is about hope and healing more than it is about the traumatic events of DeMuth’s childhood. According to DeMuth, thin places are “snatches of time, moments really, when we sense God intersecting our world in tangible, unmistakable ways.” When she encountered the true love of Jesus at a Young Life camp in high school, DeMuth’s life trajectory changed. God reassembled the pieces of her emotionally fragile self, which initiated true healing and peace.

“Folks may wonder why I’ve spent all this time looking back,” says DeMuth, “dredging up what God sees of my story, what my eyes see. Jesus says truth sets people free. This is my way of doing that—of telling the stark truth on the page so others can be set free.”

DeMuth’s desire is to see readers set free from their family secrets. In light of that, she’s started a blog for readers to anonymously share their family secrets. Since the blog launched in February 2009, over 200 survivors have emailed their family secrets for DeMuth to anonymously post, and the blog was featured on Christianity Today’s blog, Her.meneutics. For more information, visit: http://blog.myfamilysecrets.org.

“Thin Places offers a poignant look at the development of a well-known Christian writer,” says Christian Retailing, and author Tosca Lee calls Thin Places, “brave, moving and poignant.”

Writing is a cathartic experience for DeMuth, and remnants from her past influence her books. They are infused into her nonfiction parenting advice as well as her fictional characters and plots. Her literary fiction features gritty story lines and touches on the dark subject of abuse. Her first novel, Watching the Tree Limbs, featured a 9-year-old girl who was raped by a neighborhood bully, and the Defiance Texas Trilogy examines the emotional pain that results from the disappearance of a young girl in Texas. DeMuth talks about these writing projects in Thin Places. “Writing [Watching the Tree Limbs] is a thin place where I see God’s desire to heal me,” says DeMuth, “and I understand that He loves me no matter what emotions I express.”

Life in Defiance by Mary DeMuth.

I love how Mary captured all the nuances of living with an angry/abusive person. The doubt, the normalcy, the guilt, the shame. I loved this trilogy and am sorry to see it come to an end. But, I eagerly await Mary's next novels. I love that Mary has managed to break away from the Christianese pack and is fast becoming a beacon of light for other Literary Christian Fiction writers.

About the book: In a town she personifies, Ouisie Pepper wrestles with her own defiance. Desperate to become the wife and mother her husband Hap demands, Ouisie pours over a simple book about womanhood, constantly falling short, but determined to improve.

Through all that self-improvement, Ouisie carries a terrible secret: she knows who killed Daisy Chance. As her children inch closer to uncovering the killer’s identity and Hap’s rages roar louder and become increasingly violent, Ouisie has to make a decision. Will she protect her children by telling her secret? Or will Hap’s violence silence them all?

Set on the backdrop of Defiance, Texas, Ouisie’s journey typifies the choices we all face—whether to tell the truth about secrets and fight for the truth or bury them forever and live with the violent consequences.

About the Mary:

Author and speaker Mary DeMuth helps people turn their trials to triumph. Her books include Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God; Building the Christian Family You Never Had; Watching the Tree Limbs; Wishing on Dandelions; Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture and the first two books in the Defiance, Texas Trilogy: Daisy Chain and A Slow Burn.

National media regularly seek Mary’s candid ability to connect with their listeners. Her radio appearances include FamilyLife Today, Moody Midday Connection, Point of View and U.S.A. Radio Network and is frequently featured on Chuck Colson’s BreakPoint. She has published articles in In Touch, HomeLife, Writer’s Digest and The Writer.

Mary lives with her husband Patrick and their three children in Texas.