Monday, April 30, 2012

Family Recipes: Cheesy Chicken Pie

This is a family favorite. Just add a salad for a light supper or lunch with friends
Place an 8 ounce block of cream cheese in a pot (I usually use low or non fat cream cheese). Add about 1 1/2 cups of milk (I use nonfat milk). Turn the heat on to melt the cheese and mix the milk and cheese until creamy. This only takes a few minutes, keep stirring so it doesn't burn. Turn off the burner and add about 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp garlic salt and 1/2 tsp Italian spices (if you don't have this, use oregano, thyme, rosemary, or whatever spices you particularly like). Actually, use whatever spices you really like and season to taste. 
 To this mixture, add 1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, diced or shredded, 1/3 cups sliced carrot (I like to use baby carrots because I like the way they look cut into little rounds), 1/3 cup sliced asparagus, 1/3 cups dried cranberries and 1/3 cup cooked rice (this last is optional, but if I have leftover rice, it seems to add a little something to it).
Again, you can use whatever vegetables you have on hand or you might like better than asparagus, it just happens to be my favorite. The dried cranberries really add a lot of flavor and just a hint of unexpected sweetness.
Pour the mixture into a prepared pie crust. I generally use a pre-made crust from the grocery store.
Sometimes I role out the crust pieces that I cut off when I fit it into the pie pan and use a cookie cutter to make shapes for the top of the pie. You could also top the pie with another crust. Get creative!
Bake on a baking sheet at 350 for about 30 minutes.
Let cool about 10 minutes.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Slipcover a Dining Table??

There is a joke in my family that if it isn't moving, I might just slipcover it! And last fall, I proved them right when I slipcovered my dining table.

I was never really in love with this table, but the price and size were right (isn't that usually the way it goes?). Well, last fall I was seriously considering selling it or painting it when I had a brainstorm. I had just bought some burlap and it was sitting on the table, waiting to be cut for a project.

I quickly cleared off the table and spread out the burlap. The width was perfect. I cut the length to be the same drop as the width. Then I pinned the corners and sewed them up. Couldn't be easier!

I finished it off by adding white seam binding to the edges.

So far, the burlap "slipcover" has been decorated for Thanksgiving





Summer is just around the corner!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Guest Post...Almost

Today I am going to showcase my daughter's apartment. Caitlin shares a cute townhouse with her friend, Alyssa, and the two of them have decorated it with a lot of diy.

Here are just a few things they have done.

They both love Shakespeare, so they made art for their dining room wall using pages from an old book and a favorite quote from "As You Like It"

 Caitlin wrote out a favorite poem on this lampshade.

 Clever towel holder--it's intended use was as a desktop paperweight/holder.

 A basket full of pillows.

We found this chaise at a yardsale last summer, it did not look like this!

 I inherited this cupboard from my great aunt and now Caitlin owns it. It has been many colors over the years. It looks good in white.

Inside, she painted it blue to show off some of her owl collection and dishes.

There's Will Shakespeare again!

Another yardsale bargain: $3! I already had the paint and fabric, so that was the final cost.

This table is one of my favorites.
They took a $2 yardsale coffee table, painted it a pale blue, then put lace over the top and spray painted it white.

I think the girls have done a great job with this apartment!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Family Recipes: The Best Lemon Tart Ever!

This is one of our favorite spring desserts. It can be topped with strawberries, as seen here, or you can use raspberries, blueberries, lemon twists, or just powdered sugar. Any way you slice it, it's delicious!
     Crust:    1 stick unsalted butter                                  1/4 cup sugar                
                   2 tablespoons grated lemon peel                  1/4 teaspoon salt
                   1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour                           4 oz cream cheese           
               Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a large tart pan with removable bottom: coat with cooking spray and set on baking sheet.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter, add lemon peel.
In a bowl, whisk flour, sugar and salt, then add the cream cheese; mixture will be crumbly.
Add butter in a steady stream, stirring until mixture comes when a small bit is pressed between your fingers.

Transfer mixture to tart pan and press it evenly into the bottom and sides.
Bake 7 minutes. Cool while you make the filling.

                             Filling:        5 large eggs                        1 cup lemon juice
                                                 1 cup sugar                         1/2 cup heavy cream
In a bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar and lemon peel until smooth.
In a bowl with electric mixer, beat cream until it forms soft peaks.
Whisk cream into egg mixture until just combined.

Pour filling into the warm crust.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes on the baking sheet, or until the filling is just set in the center.
Cool completely.

Just before serving, dust with powdered sugar, garnish with fresh fruit.
Serves 10

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Aniversary Trip: Junking Through the Sierras

My husband knows me well, so last fall he suggested a road trip for our anniversary. But not just any road trip. We set out up the mountain to Quincy, a quaint gold rush town. We had lunch and poked around in some of the shops.

We then headed down the other side of the mountain, enjoying the beautiful fall day, stopping whenever something looked interesting.

We landed in Grass Valley, another gold rush town in the eastern Sierra foothills, for the night. That's where we hit paydirt: a Habitat for Humanity resale shop!

Here are some of the treasures we found:

Frames, part of an old chair, shutters and wooden brackets

A really big trunk

Basket full of hardware: drawer pulls, hooks, door knockers...

Parts of an old wooden box

There were 4 of these leaded windows, so I bought one for me and one for each of my kids with a challenge to see what we each do with them. At the moment, mine is leaning against my front window.

A couple of old doors, solid and heavy

Another trunk and a couple of funky tables

 My favorite: several pieces of old tin from a Masonic Lodge near Sacramento

Can't wait to get started on some new projects!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


         This year's Easter celebration
The light fixture was my favorite decoration. I really hate this light, so I am always looking for ways to disguise it. I wrote out some verses and characteristics of God on tags and tied them on to the light. I am going to try to figure out a way to turn this into something permanent. 
Dinner included Lemon Chicken stuffed with Asparagus, Scalloped Potatoes, "Bunny Bread" and Spinach/Strawberry Salad
Emmet and I made the Bunny Bread (as he called it)
I used both white and sweet potatoes this year.

I tried some new recipes from Pinterest for the appetizers: Bruschetta with goat cheese and toppings of balsamic strawberries or roasted grapes

The dessert table
Mini Cupcakes

Place Settings: The kids had bunny placemats and polka dot plates
Emmett and I also made the marbleized eggs

But this was my all-time favorite part of the day!