Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday's Meal

The following recipe is truly one of my signature meals. I've been making this recipe pretty much since I moved out of my parent's home and into my first apartment. It was given to me by a friend of mine who was a resident physician. Where he found the time to cook I'll never know, but it is truly delicious and I've continued to use this recipe all these years. It's great made with either chicken or turkey, in fact I usually will make one after the holidays using up some of the leftover turkey. When I make it for my family I always add a bit more garlic powder and Parmesan cheese since we like a lot of both, but either way it's a nice creamy filling meal. Serve it with some red wine, garlic bread and a green salad and you are truly having a fine meal.


1 tbsp butter
3 cups sliced mushrooms
1 small minced onion
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup of chicken broth
1 (8 oz) pack of spaghetti or linguini
1 lb of cubed cooked chicken breast (or you can use whatever parts you like or even leftover turkey)
2 cups milk
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or more if you're like me)
1/4 cup of sherry (or any dry white wine is fine)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Boil a pot of salted water. Break up your pasta into 4" pieces and add to the water, cooking it al dente. Set it aside (be sure to toss it with a bit of olive oil so it doesn't stick while it's waiting).
Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat, add mushrooms and onions. Saute until evaporated and stir in the flour. Gradually add the chicken broth, milk and cream cheese. Bring to boil, then reduce the heat and cook for five minutes more, be sure to stir constantly. Remove from the heat, add part of your Parmesan cheese, stir in the salt, pepper, garlic powder and sherry.
Now stir the pasta and the chicken into the mushroom sauce. Transfer the mixture into a suitable casserole that has been sprayed with a nonstick spray. Top with the remaining Parmesan cheese and cover, bake it for 20 mins. covered. Uncover it and bake for 10 mins. more.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Things I've made...a photo tour

I was looking through my photobucket and came across a ton of things I've made in the past and never shared picture of so I thought I'd do that now. I'm not in the habit of taking pictures of stuff I make's not an automatic for me. With blogging I'm getting so much better about it, lol. So many times in the past I wished I had remembered to photograph my efforts. you go, some of my efforts. I've learned a ton along the way, including serging, trying new techniques, morphing patterns, and how to throw the directions out to window. It's been fun!


A backpack for O. from the Sewbaby totpack pattern. I love that I made this for about $1. I got all the fabric from the PTA thrift store in Chapel Hill. Gotta love a bargain.


A bag I made for a craft swap I participated in. Love that Kaufmann fabric. I still have some more I plan to make myself a bag from.


2 knit dress morphed from an Ottobre (3/07 I think) and using yummy Chez Ami soft jersey. O. loved those dresses...I'll have to make her some more.


Dress made from thrifted curtain fabric found at a thrift store. I believe this fabric is also Kaufmann and called faces in the crowd. It's a really fun print.


My first redondo skirt made w/a great chez ami print (wish I had got more). I detested working with the bias tape and have abandoned that method in favor of an easy peasy rolled hem on other redondo's I've made.


My faux mini boden outfit copied from the catalog. This was the first time I tried applique. Obviously I hadn't done the satin stitching yet when I took this picture. I love how it came out.


A sweet little tunic made from a fun print with purses on it. For some reason I didn't take a picture of the coordinating pants. They're really fun too,gauchos made out of a blue knit fabric with oversized multicolored polk a dot.


This outfit is one of my all time favorites and with the exception of O's quilt probably the most I've ever spent on fabric for a single project. I got these 2 prints at Elegant Stitches. The crossback jumper is reversible and the little bloomers...oh so sweet. The pattern is a reproduction from Simplicity and I remember having the very same outfit when I was little so I had to have one for my sweet girl.


This was the first patterns I ever tried from Ottobre. It's this great sweater knit I got from a Sewing Mama. I didn't think to line the hood since the pattern didn't tell you too and I hadn't quite stepped out of my "must follow the pattern" box at the time. Now...I break all the rules, pattern be damned!

Hope you've enjoyed this jaunt down memory lane and that it was as fun for you as it was for me.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Like butter!

I just finished sewing seven, yes count them seven curtain panels. I just have 4 more that I need to make and then I'll have some window dressings for all the living room windows. Now I just need dh to hang up my new window hardware. But, what's this about butter you ask? Well, it's how wonderfully easy it was to sew them up on my little brown wonder the Viking 6440. Ahhhh...she is so smooth and the stitches are just fab. I know I've gushed about her before, but my goodness what a pleasure she is to sew on. She really does sew like butter. Here's a picture of her so you can admire her in all her splendidness!


And while I'm talking about butter I should mention my scissors. I finally broke down and took 3 pairs in to be sharpened. It's amazing that I could actually cut anything on them when I compare them to how sharp they are now. If you've been struggling with a pair of dull scissors, I urge you to run, don't walk and get those things sharpened! It'll make your life so much easier.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday's Meal

My ds's birthday is fast approaching so I've been thinking a lot about cake. Should I bake one or should I buy one. M. is a true chocolate lover and would probably rather have chocolate than just about anything else. I think I will make this cake for his birthday(which happens to be on a Thursday) and plan to buy the cake for his birthday party which will be on the following Saturday. As I was flipping through my recipes I remembered this one and recall how deliciously chocolate it is and how the whipped layers add an extra special something to this doctored up wonder. Anyway, why don't you try it and enjoy it with a nice tall glass of cold milk.

Chocolate Candy Bar Cake

1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
1 1/2 cups milk
3 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 (3.5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
4 (1.5 ounce) bars milk chocolate candy, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour 3 (8 inch) pans.
In a large bowl, combine cake mix, milk, eggs, oil and instant vanilla pudding mix. Beat on low speed until blended. Scrape bowl, and beat 4 minutes on medium speed. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.
To make the frosting: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with the white sugar and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Fold in the whipped topping, pecans and chopped chocolate. Spread between layers and on top and sides of cake.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Checking in with myself

I'm going to put it all out there to give myself a swift kick in the ass! My birthday is just under a month away and I had really wanted to be at the goal weight I had set for myself or at least of today I have 33lbs to go. So, I have to be honest and admit that I haven't been as faithful as I should be. I've had some stress as of late and I've dealt with it by falling into old patterns of behavior. I haven't been doing my online food journal, instead I've been relying on my mental journal. Not good, as I know I end up eating more than I should. So, tomorrow it's back to basics. Water, journaling and no grazing! I'm going to have to up my workouts too since as I've become more conditioned I'm not getting the calorie burn I used to. Part of my membership allows for 2 hours of childcare and I'm going to use that. I'm going to take my classes as usual and then go upstairs and either walk/run on the track, treadmill or do the elliptical machine. Perhaps for Christmas I will ask dh for some sessions with a personal trainer. In the meantime, I know I can do better and I will. I've worked too hard to fail now by falling into old habits. I can do this! I will do this!
I'm suppose to be training for a 5K in December so I will ask dh to load up the mp3 player for me and get, baby run!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Decorating Diva

So earlier in the summer I wrote about my efforts to purge and organize my home. It's been slow going, but I have made a bit of progress. I acquired a few pieces that have made things easier, neater and more organized. I also looked around my home and found new uses for some old pieces. I shopped my garage for a few items. And, I even dumpster dove...ok, I actually just stopped at the curb and got something that was lying waiting for trash pickup, but still, it's a form of dumpster diving right? My recent acquisitions include the buffet I scored from Craigslist, the wine rack/bar, a new king size mattress, a newish fridge (what a killer dealer, I saved $1000 literally, woohoo, gotta love that) and a dumpster dove executive style folding table that I set up for my sewing stuff and to cut fabric on. It's working out great. I still want to get an armoire. I'm in negotiations with someone on Craigslist so I'll let you know how that goes.
Now I'm ready to start on the soft pieces. I want new curtains, pillows, slipcovers for the living room. I'm going to recover a headboard for the bedroom, perhaps make a quilt (gasp!) or duvet. I've been hunting fabric stores for the perfect fabric, but for now have decided to shop my stash...we'll see what I come up.
I already started sewing the curtains. I'm making them from this red fabric from Waverly that I got from a thrift store. I wasn't exactly 100% in love with it (although I do love red), but I loved the price. I had originally planned to make slipcovers for my couch and loveseat from it, but I think curtains are probably a much better option. I've already cut out all the panels and surged the ends, Now I just need to hem them and make the rod pocket. I picked up new window hardware on clearance from JA's. Hopefully by the time my mom comes to visit in a couple of weeks, the place will be spiffy. Wish me luck!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday's Meal

In a word this meal is simple. Got to love that, right? I got this recipe years ago from an online community. It's super kid friendly and so quick to throw together that you'll find yourself whipping it up again and again. I serve it with some extra sauce, spaghetti noodles and a nice green salad.

Saucy Mozzarella Patties

1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce or 16 to 24 oz jar of favorite marinara or pasta sauce
1 lb of ground turkey (or meat of your choice)
3 cups of bread crumbs
1 egg
1 tsp of garlic powder
salt & pepper to the taste
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup of shredded parmesan
1 tsp butter
1 tsp olive oil

Preheat oven 350 degree. Place meat in a lg. bowl, add egg to meat, incorporating it well, then add 1 cup of the bread crumbs, add salt, pepper and garlic, Mix all ingredients until well blended, Heat nonstick pan and melt 1 tsp of butter and 1 tsp of olive oil. Pour other 2 cups of bread crumb in a 13 X 9 casserole or similar size. Make patties of a desirable size and dredge them in the breadcrumbs then place in pan, browning until nearly done, but still slightly pink inside. Place cooked patties back in casserole on top of bread crumbs. Spoon sauce over patties, then top with parmesan and mozzarella and more sauce and cheese, finishing with sauce over cheese. Bake for 20 min until cheese is bubbly and melted but not brown. Alternatively if I don't have time to brown the patties ahead. I place the prepared uncooked patties in the casserole, cover it and cook them for 45-60min (or until done). Delicious!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A milestone

Today was O.'s first full day of school. She goes to a 2 day/week program, it's a big step in our house since she is the baby (and the absolute last) and now she's off to school. Yippee! Today was a blur of activity for me as I also went to the Patsy Aiken's sale and had a parent/teacher conference, but I didn't forget to mark this most important occasion with a photo of my girl. Here she is off to school in her mama made. I made the dress and her lunch bag. Notice she's wearing the previously despised polk a dot dress. I have to tell you she selected it on her own, ah my fickle girl. I tried to tame her it's sort of in a bun. I thought she looked so grown almost brings a tear to my eye...almost.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Monday's Meal

When I was thinking about what recipe I would like to share this week this one popped into my head. In case you haven't noticed from others I have shared before, I really like bananas. They are absolutely delicious IMHO and you can't beat them as a healthy take along snack. It was a toss up between sharing a recipe for good old fashioned frosted banana bars or this exciting twist on delectable banana pudding. I decided to share the pudding one. This recipe combines two desserts I love well, bananas and a bread pudding, enjoy!

Banana Bread Pudding

4 cups of cubed day old French or sour-dough bread
1/4 cup melted butter
3 eggs
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups of sliced firm bananas (unlike lots of pudding recipes, note that these bananas should be firm)

3 tbs butter
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
3/4 cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup light corn syrup

Preheat oven to 375. Prepare a 2qt casserole by buttering (or you can use a nonstick cooking spray). Place the bread cubes in the casserole, pour your melted butter over them and toss to coat well. In a medium bowl lightly beat the eggs; add the milk, sugar, spices and salt. Stir in the bananas. Pour this mixture over the bread cubes and bake uncovered for approximately 40 minutes or until fork near middle comes out clean.
For the sauce melt butter in a small saucepan. Combine sugar and cornstarch, add it to the butter. Stir in milk and corn syrup. Cook over medium heat, stirring so it doesn't stick until it comes to a full boil. Boil for 1 minute more. Remove from heat and add the vanilla. Add the warm sauce to the warm pudding and serve.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Blogging Responsibly

Blogging is all the rage. I mean everyone I know has a blog. We give out our URLs the way you used to give out your email or phone number. However, as much as I enjoy blogging apparently I'm not blogging enough, as my dear friend B. pointed out to me. According to her I'm on her favs and she checks daily and often to her great disappointment I haven't posted a new entry. Ahhh, the horrors! I do try to keep up, honestly. I make a point to post at least a couple times/week. I'm so much better about taking and posting pictures too so you don't just have to listen to my blah, blah, yada, yada. But, still...I could be better. I must not be taking this blogging thing serious enough. I mean between my being a wife, mother, employee, volunteer, cooking, cleaning,crafting...oh and sleeping I have let some things slip. I make you a solemn promise my friends, from this point on I'm going to be better. I'm going to make this a priority and realize what a responsibility it is to blog. I swear it!

Friday, September 5, 2008

More vintage love and easy peasy

After of weeks of it sitting folded on my nightstand, I finally sewed the last two buttons on the little A line dress I made from one of the patterns I got from Susan. It's actually a really simple and ingenious pattern, it's a simple aline dress that buttons at the shoulder and then a half circle collar that is separate and attaches using buttonholes. So you could actually do several collars and change up the look. I just did one. The fabric is from my stash, Robert Kauffmann (kitchy kitchen is the print name) and the green and white twill pindots from Patsy Aikens. Very nice together and I should be able to throw a turtleneck under there and some tights and make it through the winter with this dress. The other dress is super easy. I picked up a bunch of cute t-shirts dirt cheap at Walmart for O., cut them off for bodices and attached various skirts in knits and wovens for "Hanna style" playdress. So far I think I've made know you can't ever have enough playdresses. Here's one of my favorites, I used Heather Ross pink and yellow dots for the skirts and I think it gave it a fun and funky look. I still need to hem it, I'm debating if I'll just do a rolled edge in the darker pink color to give it a bit of pop or just a regular old hem. There's no modeling shot, my model is on strike. She told me she no longer likes polk a dots and promptly hid the dress (she did return it to me when I asked for it). Interestingly enough she must have more faith in my knitting skills since she told me she didn't want a dress she wanted a sweater...hmmm...demanding little cuss isn't she! Ah well, tomorrow polk a dot will be her favorite, so no worries here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

You knew what I meant to say....

Right? I need a proofreader. Although this is tongue in cheek, I have to laugh at myself sometimes when I go back and read old post and see the glaring typos and grammatical errors. Were my hands typing faster than my minds eye could proof? Indeed! Ah well, I'm among friends aren't I? You knew what I was trying to say didn't you, lol.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Monday's Meal

Continuing my love affair with casseroles, I thought I'd share another favorite of mine, chicken spaghetti. This deliciously easy recipe lends it self to lots of individuality so you can make it your own just by changing up some of the ingredients. This recipe is freezer friendly making enough for you to make 2 casseroles, one for now and one to freeze for later. If you just want to make one, adjust the amount of your ingredients accordingly. Anyway, eat up and enjoy!

Chicken Spaghetti

4 cups cubed cooked chicken
2 cans (10-3/4 ounces each) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
2-1/2 cups chicken broth
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 pound velvetta, cubed
1 package (12 ounces) spaghetti, cooked and drained
1 can of sliced mushrooms
1 can (2-1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives ( optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a large dutch oven, combine the first ten ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Stir in cheese until melted. Add the spaghetti and olives if desired.
Transfer the mixture to two greased 11-in. x 7-in. baking dishes. Cover and freeze one casserole for up to 3 months. Cover and bake the second casserole at 325° for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes longer.
when you're ready to use the frozen casserole: Thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Bake as directed.