Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mike's Chicken Tetrazzini

Mike decided to make me dinner tonight...and guess what he whipped up in our tiny kitchen...

Prep & Cook Time: 45 minutes

1 pound cooked and drained pasta
5 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
2 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup butter
2 cubes chicken bouillon
1/4 cup shredded cheese

Put cooked pasta (he used tri-colored penne-it was awesome!) into 9x13-inch baking dish. 
Place chicken on top of pasta.
In medium saucepan heat together soup, water, butter, and bouillon. 
Bring to a boil and then pour over the pasta and chicken. 
Put shredded cheese on top and press down a bit - We thought it might pour out the sides!!!
Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes.

Distressing Some Junk

The magazine rack turned file folder holder didn’t look quite dirty and distressed enough, so I added white, black and brown paint and dirtied them up a bit.
I added the brown/black staining technique to the little green shelf too.
The big scoop was from Aunt Gin’s stuff. 

 Aren't they such a cute couple!
It was that maple color that was so popular when she bought it.
This is not a before, of course, I forgot to take a before! This is a similar item
  But I’ve been seeing it as dirty black with a waxed finish ever since I got it! 
I hope she would approve of me painting it.
I can see her face all scrunched up saying “She put whaaaat on it?”  
Can’t you?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Giraffe L O V E

Who said there's no such thing as a country giraffe?!

After moving into a plain old boring ole white walled apartment, I found inspiration from Mike and I's favorite animal: the giraffe.  He's a city boy, and I'm a country I had to compromise...and I must admit, it is indeed Giraffe L O V E.

Here's the first one I painted after moving in, not very big.  But the bright background sure makes my wall collage filled with black framed photos and mirrors seem complete.

These crazy hued 3 amigos hang out on the wall about the entertainment center. Little did I know my brown paint was actually purple...They ended up being purple, blue and green, adding yet another bright accent to our eclectic and mismatched decor.

This large poster-sized painting now hangs in our bedroom...where purple and black seem to have taken over.

It's official...giraffes now live in this country heart.  I can't wait to see what other giraffes decide to move in around here.

Melody's Special Ice Cream

An update to my recipe.  I have always used this recipe and have had great reviews, but with the increasing question of eating raw eggs, I have made a couple of adjustments.  The results were TERRIFIC!

I always use whole milk and substitute 12 ounces of the milk with a can of evaporated milk.

Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl and set them aside.  Place the sugar, salt and half of the milk in a pan and heat it to just before boiling, stirring constantly.  To temper the eggs, dip 2 cups of the warm milk mixture into the eggs and mix it well.  Then add the eggs and all to the pan and warm it all to just before boiling.  Pour the contents of the pan into a gallon jar with a lid and added the remaining milk and vanilla.  Cover with lid and refrigerate at least overnight.

Pour cooked mixture into ice cream freezer and add whipping cream.  Freeze as usual.

I have to say, it was THE VERY BEST ICE CREAM EVER!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Roll-Out Sugar Cookies

Patty's Potato Casserole

Jones Family Favorite Cranberry Salad

Iva's Favorite Drop Sugar Cookies

Junken Trip - July 2011

We started out at Coal at that shed on the corner (Nichol’s Corner) where the doors are open and the wind is blowing, thank goodness!  Jeff bought a hand tool, can’t remember what you call it, oh ya a chisel (and not pictured.)   I bought a granite pot, red and white of course, a little vinegar cruet (pictured below with the glass dome) and a little green shelf for my office.  I like to shop there, you can always get him to lower the price if you offer.  His stuff is dirty, but never costs much to clean it up.   I used the pot already to cook the corn I froze Tuesday night.

Then we stopped at Warsaw at that shop on the south east corner.  I bought a couple of crocheted chicken potholders.  I thought Becky might want one to make some others for her friends.  It looks a lot like one Grandma made me many years ago and who knows where it is now!  Jeff bought a bottle in there.  Then we went to the little store that is 4 or 5 buildings on the hill.  What a mess of stairs and hot!  There was a little round table with a nice base to it.  I offered the woman $10 and she said she wanted $15.  I said I have $12 in my pocket, so that’s what I paid.  It isn’t claw feet, but on that order and I think we can use that chisel maybe on the gorilla glue.  Thank goodness it fit in the back seat!  I even carried it DOWN the hill to the car!

We drove through Camdenton and on to Osage Beach to 42 Highway.  We pulled out the Bugles and a snack and went on to Iberia and then to Crocker to our favorite store, Bear Ridge Antiques.  Of course, it is an outside facility mostly anyway that’s where you find most of the bargains.  They have a great interior, but prices are a little higher inside.  Outside, I found the magazine rack that Jeff has already taken the legs off.  It’s scuffed up, but not enough so I’m going to crackle paint it white and darken with brown shoe polish.  Maybe I can get Jeff to do the brown part too.  That darn shoe polish messes up my nails!  I also got 2 little scented wax (1 cinnamon and 1 mulberry, yum) disks to put in the pot Becky gave me to make the house smell awesome!  An old awful cross stitched potholder that looks like a kid made it and another couple crocheted potholders.  Don’t know why potholders are speaking to me these days.  They are usually very inexpensive and take up little space.  I already had purchased several when I saw that Sharon, Chandra’s stepmother collects them too.    

We then drove to St. Robert’s and had wonderful chicken and mashed potatoes, gravy, pinto beans, and Coke cake.  If you like chocolate and you haven’t tried it, you should.  Tastes soooo homemade.  I wish I had their frosting recipe!  Then, maybe it’s a good thing I don’t have it! (some of these pictures aren’t too hot because they are from my phone, via Ivy’s email.  Thanks Ivy!)

Then we drove south at St. James and just before you get to Cherryville, there is the cutest property.  They have landscaped beautifully and have erected several sheds and there are horns and pots and all kinds of things hanging on the walls.  There are fences out of home made fencing and a small lake and dock.  I could look all day and never see it all.  Of course, some people can’t turn around and go back nor slow down and park in the driveway and just look. (I have pictures of this place, but of course, right now can’t find them!)  Then down through very lovely pine forests.  I opened my window just to smell the fresh air.  This picture is from the town of Steeleville I think.  I just love those wide tree-lined streets.  I rolled down my window again!

 We stayed all night in Willow Springs and had the very nicest room.  We got Subway sandwiches and took back to the room.  The next morning we started out at the Hillbilly Junction having breakfast.  I ordered the Hill Ringer.  The menu says it’s big enough for 2 people, but would easily serve 6.  Needless to say it came home in a box!  Jeff had bacon, sausage & biscuits.  We went down the road to their neighbor, the Country Junk-shun.  Jeff got a bottle, a dishpan and that’s where I picked up the old quilt heart.  I plan to hang it in my office.

After Willow Springs, we headed north, through rain of course and ended up at Bolivar.  We drove by the Country Hearth just to see if the Tea Garden CafĂ© was open and they might be serving lemon cake, but darn.  We drove out to the highway to the Karlin Lane Antiques.  I got a glass dome (not old) to put on a plate over the top of baked goods to keep CATS out of it.  They seem to think plastic wrap is an invitation to taste everything!  Jeff got the other bottle there.  By then it’s lunch/supper time and we stopped at Collins had a meal at Smith’s Restaurant.  We stopped at Wal-Mart in Clinton for Jeff to pick up some stuff for his lunches for the week.  We could not drive home fast enough and I think that is the only time my car has sped by the Clinton DQ without stopping (maybe not!)

Ivy's Totally Awesome Tuna Casserole

My Prep & Cook Time: 45 minutes

1 package of no yolk noodles
1 large can of chunked tuna in water
1 large bag of shredded cheese
1 package of frozen peas
1 can of condensed cream of mushroom soup
ranch dressing mustard, pepper and salt for flavoring

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. half the package of noodles according to package directions and drain
3. Place half the package of peas with 2 tablespoons of butter in microwave and cook for approximately 3 minutes or until completely thawed--then drain peas
4. Drain water from tuna and pour tuna into a large mixing bowl.  Add cream of mushroom soup, thawed peas, drained noodles, 1 or 2 hand fulls of shredded cheese (Yes, I said hand fulls, measuring isn't my style),  add about 4-5 teaspoons of ranch dressing and 4-5 teaspoons of mustard (or do like I do and just squirt some in the bowl until it looks good), a dash of salt and finally a dash of pepper.
5. Mix ingredients lightly and then pour or scrape a layer of the mixture into a greased pan or dish.-Use about half of the bowl.
7. Spread a layer of shredded cheese on top of the mixture and then add the rest of the contents of the bowl on top of the cheese.
8. Finally, top the entire monstrosity with as much cheese as you desire and bake for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until slightly brown on top.

Cat In The Hat Diaper Cake Creation

Earlier this year, back in March I believe I opened my big mouth and volunteered myself to make a diaper cake for a friend's baby shower.  Me, who is over-worked, stressed-to-the-max and obviously speaking nonsense.  The Mom-To-Be had her heart set on a Dr. Seuss theme, and thank goodness already had the lovely Cat In His Dumb Hat stuffed animal I placed on top.
I am creative, yes, but I often find that my creative juices come to a stand still after I've worked a 60 hour work week and really have never even seen what contraptions occur inside these awful "diaper cakes".  
I did no planning, no list making, no thinking.  I drove straight to Wal-Mart the night before the baby shower and loaded my cart full of these wonderful treasures:

Ivy's Diaper Cake Ingredients:
-equate brand infant gas relief
-hand sanatizer
-organic diapers
-Pampers sensitive wipes
-5 pairs of teeny-cutesy-wutsy baby socks
-3 cards of girly baby head bands
-Baby's first MIZZOU Tigers t-shirt
-baby powder
-nipple cream
-awesome bottles
-baby lotion
-baby shampoo
...and those are just the ones I remember!
I was at a loss as to how the whole cake would stay together, how the diapers would stay I picked up the first thing that came to mind.  rubber bands!  The large ones in the office supply section made it easy to hold the items together in the center.  I then found the tiny rubber bands that I believe are in the hair care section to wrap around each diaper as I rolled it.  
I also grabbed several rolls of red ribbon.  Checked, satin, striped, polka-dotted, really it's all wonderful stuff.  I've always had a thing for ribbon!
Starting at the base, I made a tower of products, using what felt like hundreds of big rubber bands to hold it all together, and then I simply just started adding rolled diapers.  After I finished a section, I'd wrap a large 1 inch wide ribbon around it for decoration...and support..and I'd cross my fingers and hope it stayed!
Honestly, I don't know how it turned out so well, but I'm entirely glad I took the challenge.  When it comes to crafts, planning obviously isn't a necessity.  When it's made from the heart it always turns out great.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ivy's ch-Ch-CH-CHOCOLATE Cookies

My Cook & Prep Time: 20 mins

1 cup of butter, softened
2 cups of white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of baking powder
2 cups of all purpose flour
3/4 cup of cocoa powder
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 2/3 cups of chocolate chips -or peanut butter chips, or white chocolate chips, or M&M's or whatever-amazing-combo-you-decide!

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Cream together butter and sugar in a large bowl with whisk.
3. Beat in eggs one at a time, then add vanilla.
4. Next add flour, cocoa, baking powder & salt, stir until smooth
5. Fold in chocolate chips -Honestly I really don't measure, there is no such thing as too many chips!
6. Use spoon to place on greased cookie sheet (they'll be rrrreally sticky), approximately an inch apart.
7. Place sheet on oven rack and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Ivy's Focaccia: Fantastic Flatbread

My Prep & Bake Time : 30 minutes

1 teaspoon white sugar
1 package of active dry yeast -or- 0.25 ounces dry yeast
1/3 cup of hot water
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 cups of all purpose flour
2 tablespoons of olive oil

1. In a small bowl dissolve sugar and yeast in hot water, letting it stand until creamy.
2. In a large bowl combine sugar and yeast with flour and add addition warm water while mixing until the flour is dissolved or when dough begins to pull together.
3. When the dough has pulled together, turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about a minute. -The dough will be very sticky!
4. Pour a small amount of olive oil back into the large bowl and place dough in the bowl and coat the dough with oil by turning.
5. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
6. Deflate dough and flatten again onto the floured surface.
7. Place the dough after flatted and stretched onto a greased/spray coated pan and coat with olive oil and herbs of your choice. -I really enjoy a few pinches of garlic powder, basil and salt
8. Place pan in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until slightly brown.

It's a favorite in our house!  We enjoy it with hummus, salads, spaghetti nights and I might even share my awesome pizza recipe using this particular bread.