I Have HUGE News!

I’ve been hiding away, I know. But I’ve been working on something I’ve been very excited to tell you about:

I’m launching a new site — a business, to be exact! It’s called The Monarch Company. I will still be blogging, of course, although, I’m a little sad to say, no longer here at Swell Easy Living. However, I am absolutely giddy about the new venture, and I invite you to come along for the ride! The new site is under construction, but feel free to poke around. I will let you know when the site is closer to complete.

Over the past several years, I’ve known that I wanted to help people, but I wasn’t sure how or what I had to offer. After reading copious amounts of books in the fields of neuroscience, psychology and self-help and doing some training, I made some realizations:

1. I was living the dream, checking off boxes as I went: college degree, high-paying media job, marriage, kids…what was next, retirement and death? I knew there was “something else” out there for me…I wasn’t in tune with my own inner-most desires, what would actually make me feel happy and satisfied in life.

2. After a lot of research and work, I learned how to shed a ton of limiting beliefs, how to squish my inner critic,and how discover and pursue my real dreams and a lifestyle that fires me up.

3. There are tons of people who were living the same way, never finding what the something else was. Now it’s my mission and duty to help others learn some of the tools that help me every day. The new business is centered around classes and events, both online and off. And of course, there will also be old-fashioned (free) articles.

I hope that you’d come check out the new site to sign up for the newsletter (right-hand side) so you can stay updated. Also, please follow me on my new Facebook page, and via my new Twitter handle.

Wishing you peace, love and fulfillment,

Katie Morton

Diary of a Chef’s Assistant: Knife Skills

I volunteer at a cooking school, assisting the chefs while they teach classes. I share what I learn in this diary.

Photo by: The Italian Voice / Creative Commons

Today in knife skills class, I learned how to debone a chicken. It’s a bit sad that it took me until my 30s to learn such a basic task, but it never seemed to affect me in the least that I didn’t know how. I was always happy to pay more for trimmed, packaged chicken breasts — and to purchase chicken stock rather than make my own — thus sacrificing flavor along with money.

I thought it was worth it to save time. If I ever wanted to cook using that “whole chicken” flavor, I would roast a chicken and then use the leftovers to make a recipe more interesting. Now that I’m in the know, I’d rather buy a whole chicken, debone it raw and save the carcass for stock. Never mind that I haven’t even made stock. Yet.

So today I bought a bird with plans to debone it and use it in a stew that I’m making for dinner tomorrow. Although the recipe looks strange, I was only convinced to try it because I’m told it doesn’t actually taste like peanut butter. I’ll report back to you with my findings on that claim.

I made some changes to the recipe, reflected in my version below. For one thing, I’ll sauté the mirepoix (rather than following the original recipe and throwing the celery, carrots and onion into the broth without cooking first.)  Here’s the recipe I plan to make:

Peanut Butter Vegetable Chicken Stew
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Ready In: 50 Minutes
Servings: 8


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb. chopped chicken pieces
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup chopped carrots
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups mixed veggies
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup peanut butter


  1. In a large stock pot, heat olive oil. Brown the chicken. Add the celery, onion, carrots, garlic, salt & pepper and sauté until soft.
  2. Add the broth. Bring the soup to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium. Cook for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the vegetables. Simmer for about 8 minutes.
  4. Add peanut butter, salt, and pepper; stir until peanut butter is fully blended. Simmer for 3 minutes longer.

I would say “Bon appetit!” but I feel that “Wish me luck!” is a more appropriate expression.