Clean Bruschetta Chicken

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I’ve seen many different recipes for this bruschetta chicken all over Pinterest and Facebook.  I was feeling like trying something new for dinner so I decided to try it out!  This recipe was all that it promised!  It was really delicious!  I will definitely be making this chicken again as it was super quick and easy to prepare!  I made this in the oven, but I will be trying it on the BBQ next time!  I bet that will bring the flavour out even more! *Tip* There is also a delicious bruschetta mix you can purchase at Costco. If you are looking for an even easier short cut to make this chicken- that is a very good option. As good as the Costco bruschetta mix is, there is just something extra special about the flavours when you use all fresh ingredients. 🙂 Ingredients: Chicken breasts 1 Handful Basil 2s clove Garlic (minced) 1/2 Red onion, small 4 Tomatoes (diced) 1 tsp Balsamic vinegar 1/4 Cup goat feta Salt and pepper to taste 1/8 tsp Sea salt 1 tsp Olive oil Directions: Pre-heat oven to 350F Combine all bruschetta ingredients together in a bowl. Mix it all really well so that the tomato is coated well with the oils and vinegar. Place chicken breast on a baking sheet and spoon bruschetta mixture over the top of each piece of chicken. Bake the chicken for 20-25 minutes (depending on the size of the chicken breasts) *Tip* The flavour of the bruschetta is best when you make the mix the night before or early in the morning to give it a few hours to marinate in the fridge. The flavour of the basil and garlic with really come to life if you let the mixture sit before using it. I hope you enjoy this recipe! XO, Pam http://www.cleanlifehappywife.com *If you would like to receive more posts with recipes like this, click on the subscribe button at the top right hand corner of the blog! 🙂

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A Terrible, Dangerous Mistake…

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I was in twelfth grade the first time it happened.  I was beginning the 15 minute walk from my house to the bus stop at the corner of our main road.  The man in the yellow Jeep slowly pulled up beside me as I was walking.  He looked to be in his early thirties, had spiky orange hair and a pale complexion.  “Hey Honey….” he called out in a soft voice.  I continued to walk,tightening the grip on the straps of my backpack and  looking straight ahead…”Was he talking to me?”.  He continued to slowly drive calling out to me.  I turned towards his car and we made eye contact.  He smiled warmly and rested his left arm on the rolled down window of the car door.  “Are you walking to catch your bus?” he questioned.  “Yeah, it’s just up there I replied”, pointing ahead to the other kids who were already gathering at the corner.  “Why don’t you hop in and I’ll drive you to school” he suggested with a coy smile.  I smiled back, gave him a shaky “no thank you”, and assured him I was fine to walk to the bus stop.  With that, he gave me a quick wink and sped off.  I met my schoolmates at the bus stop and by the end of the school day had forgotten all about the man in the yellow Jeep…that is, until the next morning.  

The next morning I was walking to the bus stop again, when he returned.  Same yellow Jeep. Same orange spiky hair.  Same offer to drive me to school.  I again, declined and assured him I didn’t need to take a ride from him.  This time he didn’t leave quite as easily.  He smiled as he drove beside me as I walked  “Oh come on just hop in the car!  You don’t want to walk ALL that way!  Come on, hop in..I know you want to”,  he teased.  I nervously laughed a little and continued to walk to the bus stop.  Finally he relented, give me a little wink, and sped off.  The visits from the man in the yellow Jeep continued for the next 6 school days.

And then it happened.  I made a terrible, dangerous mistake.  

I’m not sure what exactly made that 6th day different, but when the man in the yellow Jeep returned my guard was down.  Perhaps it was because we had continued our exchange for so many days in a row without incident, or maybe I was just tired and worn down that morning.  Whatever the reason, I finally broke.  We went through our usual routine of him begging me to get in his car and me declining, but this time as he smiled and persisted, I stopped walking and said “okay.”  He stopped the Jeep, I crossed the street in front of him, and he slid across and opened the passenger door.  As the door opened it was as if everything was suddenly in slow motion.  I cautiously climbed into the passenger seat and set my backpack on my lap and closed the door.  As soon as the door closed, alarm bells began to scream in my head.  “What ARE YOU DOING?! This is bad….this is BAD!!”  I instantly felt sick and was panicking.  I began to pray silently apologizing to God for being so stupid and begging Him to help me and protect me from whatever situation I had just gotten myself into.  As we drove to the high school he was staring straight ahead and so was I.  His coy smile was gone. We rode in silence the entire way.  I never stopped praying-well, more like begging for God’s help.  He pulled into the school parking lot and as soon as the car began to slow down I opened the door, mumbled “thanks”, hopped out, and ran into the school.  I walked briskly to the girls bathroom, went into the first stall and cried.  I never saw the man in the yellow Jeep again.    

 The craziest part to this story is what kind of mother I have.  My poor Mother…  She did everything right regarding teaching my siblings and I about “stranger danger and safety. ”  My Mother talked with us numerous times and at length about the dangers of talking to strangers.  We had a family password if anyone other than my parents tried to pick us up from school, we had fire safety plans at home, and a family meeting spot out in our yard.  I knew better.  I knew to NEVER get into a car with a stranger.  So why did I do it that day?   Why do we sometimes do things we KNOW we shouldn’t do? 

One of my least favourite things about our human nature is our desire to sometimes do things we know are not beneficial to us.  This summer has been a tough one for me.  I’m ready to admit that! 🙂 Our family has been very busy and I could list of bunch of other excuses for the lack of care I’ve put into health and fitness the past few months.  Sure, I still consider  us a “clean eating” family, which for most meals I make we are.  But, we’ve been to BBQ’s, family dinners, and picnics with friends where I have not been as prepared as I have been in the past and we’ve been left to eat whatever is served to us. (Can we say hamburger, hotdog, and potato salad overload?) 🙂 I also put the brakes on my gym membership thinking that I wouldn’t possibly have time to get there regularly this summer and would just work out on my own (after-all, the weather is so beautiful out it’ll be easy to go for runs and walks right?) Well, I’m sure you can imagine how “regularly” a good workout has happened on my own! 😦  SIGH…..  

Well, it’s time to PULL IT TOGETHER!  Yes, we all have set backs.  Yes, we do things that we know aren’t what’s best (WHY?!!!)  The important thing is to be self aware enough to recognize when we are slipping and to pull it together again.  Every one of us makes mistakes.  Every one of us makes bad choices.  The amazing thing about our human free will is that we CAN CHOOSE to make changes!  Isn’t that awesome?!  It’s never too late to start making good choices!  So today, I am choosing to pull it together, take more time to prepare healthy meals, and make fitness a priority!  I’m not going to beat myself up.  I’m not going to feel sorry for myself.  I’m just going to make a CHANGE.  Maybe you’ve had a rough summer too and are ready for a change! Let’s DO THIS together!!! 🙂 

http://www.cleanlifehappywife.com

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Pam

Fly Tea anyone?

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I was chatting with a friend the other day about how difficult it can be to do something out of your comfort zone.  The conversation brought me back to the first time I was REALLY pushed outside of my comfort zone.  I was 21 years old and embarked on a one month trip to Africa…  

Part of the trip involved trekking 8 hours in a Land Rover into a remote village of the Maasai tribe.  Once we arrived in the village we were greeted by many curious Maasai people and many Maasai warriors.  Most of the children had never seen a person with “white” skin before so they actually ran from us yelling “Mzungu” which is the Swahili word for “white person”.  As we explored the village that morning, I had no idea that in a few short hours, in the cover of night, I would be catapulted out of my beloved comfort zone and into unfamiliar and uncertain territory.  

 

The sun had set, we had finished dinner and were getting settled in for the night in the comfortable, cottage-type home where we were staying, when there was a knock at the door. It was the Maasai warrior tribe leader.  We could hear him talking urgently at the front door to Bill who was our pastor and group leader on the trip.  Although I couldn’t quite hear exactly what was being said, I could tell that there was some confusion and negotiating going on between the two men.  After speaking for a few minutes the Maasai leader left and Bill announced that there was a change of plans: we would be heading out to stay overnight in the Masaai’s dung hut (yep, a house made out of poop!).  I grabbed my backpack, quickly shoved a few supplies inside and headed outside with the rest of our group.  

There were 8 Maasi warriors waiting outside the house we were staying in.  We were split into 4 groups; each of us travelling into the forest with 2 of the warriors.  Thankfully I was paired with one of my best friends Nicci to travel into the village with “Taiku” and “Krissmas”, our new warrior friends.  Taiku spoke very little english and Krissmas did not speak english at all.  We started following the warriors deep into the forest.  It was pitch black.  There were no streetlights and no flashlights.  I held my hand out in front of me and could barely see it.  When we were initially told were were staying in a Maasai village, I had pictured the huts to be relatively close together.  But, as each group trekked into the forest in opposite directions and dissapeared from sight,  I realized that Nicci and I were very alone with these two warriors.  In preparation for our trip, we all did some research about the customs of the Maasai people.  We learned that in Maasai culture the woman never walked in front of the men and always needed to follow behind them.  As we continued our journey to their village Nicci and I tried to be respectful and stay behind the men but Taiku kept circling back and coming behind us.  When we asked him if we should stay behind him, he said that “Mzungu skin glows in the dark” and that he wanted to make sure one of the ‘hunting animals’ didn’t get us.  I heard a faint whimper and realized it had come from my own mouth.  I reached out and grabbed Nicci’s hand wondering if we were walking into the end of our lives.

The village was far.  It seemed like we were walking for at least an hour when I finally saw the faint glow of a campfire in the distance.  We made it!  The hut was just as I imagined it would be. The walls were made of mud and dung and the roof was covered in straw.  Taiku introduced us to his “Mama” who looked exactly like the photos I had seen in national geographic.  Mama was wearing only a long red skirt and a stack of beaded necklaces as she boiled tea in a pot over a fire.  Nicci and I took a seat on some rocks by the fire and were instanly swarmed with children.  Their little faces were covered with flies.  They were petting our heads, touching our skin and playing with our hair while they spoke excitedly to each other in Swahili.  Mama offered us a Maasai staple: Chai Tea and we gratefully accepted the warm drink. As I took my first sip my mouth was filled with chunks.  I swallowed hard and looked at Nicci who had the same startled/nauseous look on her face.  We tilted the cups towards the glow of the fire and peered inside.  Both of our cups had about 4 or 5 dead flies floating in them.  Seeing us looking at our cups Mama thought we needed a refill and filled them up again.  We sat by the fire sipping on our ‘Fly Tea’, I mean Chai Tea for a little while longer until Taiku announced that it was time for bed.  We grabbed our backpacks and ducked into the doorway of the dung hut.  

There was a small fire burning in the middle of the room and a bed on the right and another on the left side of the room.  The beds appeared to be a group of bamboo looking sticks tied togther with a cow hide skin draped over it.  Taiku and Mama slept in the bed to the left of the fire and ushered Nicci and I to the one on the right.  The children sprawled out on the floor.  When studying the Maasai culture we seemed to have overlooked the fact that Maasai sleep in the nude.  They began to strip down and instructed us to do the same.  Nicci and I rambled on about being cold and needing to sleep in our clothes as we climbed onto the bed.  I was laying on the bed for a few minutes when I felt something nip at my toes!  I sat up and peered over the foot of the bed and realized that there was a pen of goats at the end of the bed.  Nicci and I covered our mouths with both hands trying to hide our laughter.  This was going to be a LONG night!  I’m pretty sure I didn’t sleep at all that night.  Instead the night was filled with Nicci and I whispering to each other “Did you hear that?” “What was that noise?” “Did you feel that?” “They’re biting my feet again?” “What just touched me?” After what seemed like an eternity, I could see the sun poking through the pin size holes in the hut walls.  It was finally morning and we had made it through the night!   

The morning was amazing! We participated in their daily routine of milking their cows (not as easy as it looks), practicing shooting a bow and arrow and making beaded jewellery. We explored the area around their hut and visited their neighbours. Taiku and Krissmas took us for a walk down to the river where they collected water. The river was filled with Masaai woman washing their clothes while the children happily splashed in the water. Observing their daily life was beautiful. What started as an uncomfortable and stretching experience quickly blossomed into life changing moments that I will never forget.

It can be so hard to overcome the initial feeling of being uncomfortable and stretched outside your comfort zone – but usually, there is great reward if you do! It’s hard to push through when there is an unknown outcome at the end, or when you feel like something is too hard, or too scary, or too different. You CAN do it! You are braver and stronger than you think! Let’s challenge ourselves to step outside of our comfort zone and try something new! 🙂
Pam
http://www.cleanlifehappywife.com

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