Friday, February 13, 2009

HE loves me!

or at least my cooking! On Monday night, my DH came home with a gift. It was this gorgeous (yes, I say gorgeous) large stock pot! To say I was thrilled would be down playing my excitement. You may be thinking this isn't a great gift, and she has gone off her rocker, but to me it was superb and perfectly timed. See, many months ago my largest pot, which was a Revere Ware pot that we received when we got married 20+ year ago, finally bit the dust. So, I had resorted to using this really cheap pot I had actually picked up to use as the base of a "kitchen gift basket" one day when the need arose (I paid $2.50 for this high quality -not- pot).

Well, last Sunday, when I was making the below mentioned soup, the cheapo-pot decided it would freak out and begin to change shape right there on my stove! It was kinda scary. I repotted the soup into 2 smaller pots and finished, but the cheapo pot was a done for. Imagine my surprise when DH shows up the next night with a wonderful new pot...better than either of the previously mentioned pots! It was so neat to know that he went to the kitchen store and picked it out just because he knew having it would make my life easier (well, that and he likes to eat!). I love that man!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Souper Tuesday...

This past Sunday I tried a new soup. We love Broccoli Cheese soups and this one sounded pretty good and easy. I found the recipe in the most unlikely of places, though. It was located inside a mail-order catalog called Country Door: . I actually made a double recipe of this because we had company and served it with fresh, Italian wheat bread...yum.

Pleasant Valley Cheese Soup

1 cup finely chopped celery, broccoli, or other green veggie
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 Tbsp. instant chicken bouillon crystals or 2 cubes
1 qt. water1 qt. milk (2% or whole works best)
1 1/2 lbs. processed American cheese
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
Salt (optional)

1. Place all veggies, bouillon and water in saucepan. Cook until veggies are tender.
2. Meanwhile, scald milk but do not let it boil.
3. Add cheese, stir until melted.
4. Melt butter; add flour and mustard in plastic bowl in microwave oven, stir until thick and smooth, then add to cheese/milk mixture and heat.
5. Stir in veggies and water in which they cooked. Check for salt.

Serve hot. Makes 2 quarts. Excellent with fresh bread.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Easy food for Thursday...

I am working very hard these days to do more cooking at home. That has always been a budget killer for us and one area that we have struggled with; probably more than any other. It is just so easy, (but not cheap for a family of 5), when you have been busy to pick up something out. 2009, being the year of paring down and simplifying, is finding me working hard to keep this area in control. That brings me to another dilemma, what to cook that is easy, quick, everyone will like it, and the big deal breaker: Do I have all the ingredients on hand? I am scouring cookbooks, websites and magazines for recipes that fit this bill. A couple of nights ago I found one and wanted to pass it along because it was YUMMY, required few ingredients (all of which I had in the cupboard) and everyone from the 7 year old to the husband really like it. I found it at:
Brushetta Chicken Bake
makes 6 servings, 1 cup each
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 pkg. (6 oz) stuffing mix for chicken
1/2 cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tsp. dried basil leaves
1 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese (I probably used a bit more)
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Spray 13x9" or 3-qt. baking dish with non-stick spray (like Pam)
Mix tomatoes, stuffing mix, water and garlic just until stuffing mix is moistened. This is where I probably used a bit more Mozzarella than the recipe called for because I sprinkled in some of the shredded cheese into this mixture - use your own family preference.
Layer chicken in baking dish
Sprinkle dried basil leaves over chicken
Top with tomato/stuffing mixture and remaining Mozzarella
Bake 30-40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
This makes a great save-for-later casserole and reheats wonderfully in the microwave.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Fireflies in December

I just read Fireflies in December by Jennifer Erin Valent and it was so good. It is set in rural, depression era, Virginia and it touches on faith, a young girl coming of age, and faces head on the issue of racism and how complex that can be to see. If you are looking for a good read this week, pick up a copy, grab a cup of tea and settle in for a nice escape!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Dear Anonymous Blog Commentor

Click on note for full size view!

Thanks y'all.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Playing tag...

Ok, someone tagged me in the 4th Photo Tag thing-a-majigie that has been going around.

Playing tag...

Ok, someone tagged me in the 4th Photo Tag thing-a-majigie that has been going around.

So, I followed the rules and here is what we have: It was the photo taken for our 2003 Christmas card. My kiddos have grown so much in the last 5 years!

Here are the rules to this little game of tag:

1. Go to the the 4th folder where you keep your pictures on your computer.
2. Post the 4th picture in the folder
3. Explain the photo.
4. Tag 4 fellow bloggers to join in the fun!

So, to keep the game going, I tag: and and and Hope you will play along!