Thursday, January 29, 2009



My husband and I love to entertain. What is good friends and good fun without good food? I have been posting lotsa recipes for you all. I hope you are enjoying them and that it's inspiring you to get in your kitchen and cook or bake!

I would like to share some of my sources of recipes with you.

Many years ago I subscribed to Taste of Home magazine. Let me tell you, it was the best magazine subscription I have ever gotten. Every recipe I have from them is a tried and true recipe. Whatever I make from one of their recipes always comes out tasting delicious. What is so wonderful about them is that they have a website where you can print off their recipes now. So, if you didn't want to get a magazine subscription you could always get their recipes from their website.

The next source is I love this site because it allows you to key in the number of people you will be serving. It adjusts the amount of ingredients you will need for your recipe to accommodate the number of people you will be serving. Only down side is that it doesn't adjust the cooking time. So be aware of that if you double any recipes from there.

Another source I use every now and then is Here you will find popular restaurant recipes that you can make at home. If you have a Max and Irma restaurant near you I think they have the Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe on there if you like that. There are recipes from Applebees, Fridays, etc.

I have two sources left. One is my trusty JOY of Cooking cookbook. When I became a stay at home mom almost 18 years ago I learned how to cook and bake from this cookbook. I fondly refer to it as the Kitchen bible.

The very last source I have for some recipes I like is from this book. My dear hubby bought it for me for Christmas about four years ago. I love the picture on the front of it. The photography inside is equally as beautiful and the recipes won't dissapoint. In fact, this is where my meatloaf recipe comes from that I like to cook.

Now you are armed with a variety of sources to get out there and cook! I am sure you have some of your own as well.

What's for dinner at your house tonight?Pin It Now!


I have been at it again. Making more cards for my stash to have on hand. I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon stamping with my friend last week. We had so much fun we stamped for about two hours making cards and talking and laughing. Here are a few I made. I had another one as well,but have already used it. I didn't get a pic of it before I sent it off.

My friend had oodles of stamps, papers and ribbons to make some wonderful cards. I was a little bit rusty, so she helped me out. I just loved how these pear ones came out. I love the writing type stamp in the background with Psalm 23 on it. I also enjoyed using the pastel like chalk to make the neat highlight on the pear. Lotsa fun.

Another friend of mine just became a grandmom recently and I made this welcome baby card for her daughter. I am in the process of putting a sweet gift together for her.

The last card my friend made. It required double stamping and layering. Something she was more skilled at than I was. She said I could have it. So, I brought that one home with me too.

If you have any papercrafting you would like to share let me know and I can link you to my blog so we can see your wonderful creations.

Have a blessed day!
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CHICKEN MARASALA...the recipe!

Okay ladies, if you want to enjoy a nice candle light dinner with your husbands...then this is the recipe for you. Send the kids off to a friends house for the night and enjoy a nice quiet evening together with dinner and movie!

I have always cooked this and wondered if it really tasted the way it was supposed to. I had the opportunity to eat in a Maggiano's restaurant. It is a popular Italian restaurant. I ordered Chicken Marsala and guess what???? This recipe I am about to share tasted just like the Chicken Marsala I had in this restaurant. So, there is your endorsement.

Please note that I am sharing the recipe as I have acquired it. Meaning I am writing it down as it was written. Please feel free to add, delete, increase, decrease as it applies to your family. I have made it so often, I don't measure anymore. It's a quick, elegant dish that will impress.

So here it goes.....

Chicken Marsala

4 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts
1 C. All purpose flour, for dredging
1/4 C. extra virgin olive oil
1 C. cremini mushrooms, chopped
1/2 C. sweet Marsala wine
1/2 C. chicken stock
2 TBS. unsalted butter
1/4 C. chopped flat leaf parsley

I take my chicken breasts and slice them in half so I get twice the amount of chicken. Also, halving it like this allows for faster cooking as well. I then put about 1 C. of all purpose flour in a pie plate and sprinkle in a good healthy pinch of salt and do about four grinds of fresh pepper. Stir it up a bit and start dredging the chicken. Coat both sides.

Meanwhile, I like to use a non stick skillet for the next step. Heat up your skillet on a medium high flame with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Once warm, place your chicken in the pan. You will want to hear it sizzle. Fry the cutlets in the pan until they have a golden skin to them. you will only turn the chicken once. Do this in batches if the pieces don't fit comfortably in your pan. Once they are golden on each side, remove them from the pan.

Next, you will lower the heat. Then you will add the mushroom and saute until they are nicely brown. I cook then about five minutes. You will want to do a pinch of salt and pepper in this step as well. Pour in your Marsala wine and boil down for a minute to cook off the alcohol. Add the chicken stock and simmer for a minute to reduce slightly. Stir in butter and return chicken to the pan; simmer gently for 1 minute to heat chicken through. Garnish with chopped parsley before serving.

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I will probably be making this for dinner tonight. It's been really cold here. We've probably eaten more soup in the past couple of months than ever before.

Maybe I can get my dear hubby to put on a fire as well. Nothing like a nice warm bowl of soup and crackling fire in the fireplace.

Chunky Potato Soup

4 medium potatoes
3/4 C. choppped onion
1/2 lb. choppped carrots
1/4 C. chopped celery
1 1/2 C. chicken broth
3 TBS. butter
3 TBS flour
2 1/2 C. milk
3/4 tsp. salt
1/tsp pepper
2 C. swiss cheese

In a large saucepan saute onion and carrots and celery in a little olive oil. Add broth and potatoes;bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15-20 minutes until vegetables are tender. Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan melt butter, stir in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in potato mixture. Cook and stir until thickened. Maybe about 5-7 minutes. Add parsley, salt and pepper; stir. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese until it's melted.

Yield: 6 servings

NOTE: I share this recipe with you as it was given to me. However, I do some things different. For example, I saute my veggies in a pan, but when I add that mixture to the potatoes and broth I am using a stockpot. I also use the same pan that I sauted my veggies in to also mix the flour and butter. (I love to cook, but don't like doing, what can I say? I am not about to dirty another dish, ya know?)Pin It Now!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Oven Fried Chicken ...the recipe!

Anyone I have ever cooked this for loves it and always wants the recipe. It's by no means a low calorie meal with this chicken and the mac and cheese I serve, but it tastes good and it is not something I cook all the time. I cook it every once in a while. I had a request by one of my children for this, so here you go.

Oven Fried Chicken

6 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast that I have cut to make thinner
1 (2 oz.) envelope ranch salad dressing mix
2 C. buttermilk (if I don't have it on hand, I use my regular milk)


1 box Jiffy corn bread mix
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt

In a large resealable food storage plastic bag, combine chicken, salad dressing mix and buttermilk. Seal bag; turn bag several times to coat chicken. Refrigerate at least one hour or overnight.

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray your baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a shall dish ( I use a pyrex glass pie plate) combine all breading ingredients; mix well. Remove chicken pieces one at a time from the buttermilk mixture. Dip chicken in breading, turning to coat completely; shake off excess. Place chicken in your baking pan.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is fork tender and juices run clear.

I don't have a serving size to give you persae. Usually when I make this I have my six pounds of boneless skinless breast that I cut in half and then have double the amount of chicken. Let's just say there is plenty for seconds of our family of four and lunch for the next day. So, it makes a gracious plenty!

Tomorrow I will be sharing the sweet bourbon salmon recipe. If you have ever been to Lonestar Steak House and ordered their Sweet Bourbon Salmon, then you will love this recipe. It is very close to what they serve there. I will also be revealing some of my sources that I use for recipes.

Enjoy! Let me know if you use the recipe and whether you liked it or not.Pin It Now!


I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. We did.

This weeks menu has some of my favorites. They are easy recipes. They are also fast recipes. You can potentially have dinner served in a half an hour and it will look and taste like you slaved all day in the kitchen. I will be sharin the oven fried chicken recipe, chicken marsala recipe and the chunky potato soup recipe. So, keep an eye out for them if you would like to try them.

Monday: Oven fried chicken, mac n cheese, green beans

Tuesday: Chicken Marsala, baked potato, salad

Wed: Chunky potato soup, salad, bread

Thurs: Sweet and Sour meatballs over rice, corn

Friday: Pasta Fagioli soup, salad, bread

Sat: ? not sure yet ... maybe chili, cornbread. It was on last weeks menu, but
didn't get made.

Sun: ? not sure yet

I would love to hear what kind of meals you cook at your house. Maybe you can share some recipes with me.

Bon Appetit!Pin It Now!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Nope, it's not my blog that is having a giveaway. It's Corrine's over at Heart of Mary! It's her first giveaway of 2009! The bag to the right is a bag she made from a pattern from Sweet Pea Totes. Isn't it darling?

Here is the link to hop on over to her blog to enter to win her bag pattern giveaway. One of the patterns that she is offering in her giveaway is Favorite Things Wallet Purse pattern and the other is a Lazy Girl Designs Chelsea Tote pattern. You can read more about the patterns at her blog.

While you are there check out her blog. She has some great tutorials that she has offered. She also has a cooking blog as well that has some delicious recipes on it.

Good luck everyone!
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Monday, January 19, 2009

What's for dinner?

Todays dinner is Chicken Cacciatore over angel hair pasta with a salad and some bread.
Here is the recipe for EasyChicken Cacciatore:


1 C. flour
1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast (I cut them in half to get 12 thinner pieces of chicken)
1TBSP. olive oil, divided
1/2 C. chopped onion
1/2 C. sliced, fresh mushrooms
1C. zucchini, sliced
2 , 14.5 oz. cans of diced tomatoes
1 can of tomato puree ( I usually buy the big can and use half of it)
1 C. low sodium chicken broth
salt and pepper ( I eyeball it. I do a big pinch of salt and grind the pepper mill a few times)

In a pie pan I place the flour and add salt and pepper. Combine with a fork and then dredge each peace of chicken in the flour mixture. In a large non stick skillet I have about a tablespoon of olive oil warming up on medium heat. Do not let the pan get too hot. If you see it starting to smoke, your pan is too hot. You don't want oil spitting back up at you. You want the chicken to sizzle when you place it in the pan. Cook the chicken about four minutes on each side until it has a golden color and remove from the pan. In the same skillet add the onioins and mushrooms and the chicken broth and cook until tender. I then add the chicken back in at this point and add the tomato puree and the diced tomatoes and the zucchini and the Itallian seasoning. Reduce the heat; cover and simmer for 10-14 minutes. While chicken is simmering you will want to put your pasta on . Drain pasta and serve chicken mixture over noodles.

Servings: 12
(NOTE: because I cut my chicken breast in half, I yield more chicken pieces. This allows for seconds or lunch for the next day for hubby)
Enjoy ! Let me know if you use the recipe and what additions you may have made to make it your own.
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Today is the start of menu planning Monday. I hope you will find it helpful.

Years ago when my husband and I were a younger couple with a young family our budget was pretty tight. I had a certain amount of money to work with to buy groceries when he got paid. So, I had to not only be frugal, but well organized. Meaning I had to have a list of what to buy and stay faithful to the list. Otherwise I would find myself buying things we didn't need and not having enough food before he got paid again.

My hubby got paid twice a month. We would set a budgeted amount for groceries and that would be the figure I would stick to each time he got paid. It sounds like it might of been hard or miserable, but actually it wasn't. In fact, I found it enjoyable and was ecstatic when the cashier would tell me how much the bill was. I would try and beat that total each month. Sometimes I would and sometimes I wouldn't. It depended on what was on sale that week.

Okay, so here we go. I am not a fan of going from store to store when things are on sale just to get the good deal. I mean really, if you think about it how much are you really saving driving to more than one store? You are using gas and your time. So, where is the saving in that? While I don't go to different supermarkets to get the deals, I do go to two different places. I go to our Wal Mart Supercenter for the main food we need and COSTCO for our meats and paper goods. I don't care for Wal Mart's meat and that is why I shop at COSTCO for it. Usually on Sunday nights I like to look ahead to see what our week is going to be like. Whether the kids sports games will have us coming home later than usual or whether we have things going on at church. Then I set out to write a meal out for each night of the week for a two week period. I base my groceries on what those meals are and what I will need. I only plan out dinner meals. Those are the meals that I find the hardest to adhere by. If dinner isn't ready because we came home late from a game that the kids were playing in we find ourselves eating out or calling for pizza. This is what we are trying not to do. I find that if I am organized about what we are eating for dinner I don't get as frazzled about what to cook. I am more intentional about having it ready to eat. For example, my son has a basketball game on Tuesday. By the time we get back home from the game, it will be after six in the evening. No time to start cooking a dinner meal for sure. So, usually when he has a game I either pick something that I can cook ahead of time or in a crockpot. That way we are eating at home and eating healthy.

Here is this weeks dinner meal schedule:

Monday: Chicken Cacciatore over noodles with a salad and some bread.

Tuesday: Chicken soup, salad, bread

Wednesday: Chili, cornbread

Thursday: Bourbon Salmon, roasted veggies and a salad

Friday: Spaghetti, salad, garlic bread

Sat: Potato Soup, salad

Sun: Usually leftovers from Friday or Saturday. But I would love to get in the habit of having a nice Sunday meal. Something that we eat each Sunday that everyone can look forward to having. Haven't figured that one out yet. I will have to ask hubby and the kids what they would like and go from there.

So, that's this weeks meals for dinner. I then look at our calendar for next week and see what all is going on start to plan each day again. Once I have the meals planned, I write up my list. Do I need meat, veggies, etc.? Then I head out to the store to do the shopping.

I will be posting the recipes for each dinner meal each day if you would like to try them. They are tried and true recipes and they are EASY! Ladies, I only do easy meals. I have been fortunate enough to find some recipes that my family loves that are easy to prepare and easy on the wallet.

Check back later for todays dinner recipe!
Bon Appetit!Pin It Now!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I shared with you shortly after the New Year that one of the things I wanted to do more of this year was send more cards and letters...handwritten to family and friends. I started making some cards so that I would have some on hand already. These are encouragement cards. I have a bunch of pictures I like that I insert in WORD and then create the frames around the pic as well as the quote or greeting box. I am hoping to start using my pictures that I photograph this year to make my cards with. The one in the picture below is from folder of many wonderful photographs but not taken by me. Sometimes I use colored scrapbook paper to embellish with as well as ribbons, stickers , etc. But this time I just kept it simple.

Here is the set that I have started. So that I always have some encouragement cards ready.

I am hoping to do some stamping with a friend today. So hopefully I will have some more pictures to show you later on.

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BRRRRRR...It's cold

It's minus 15 here in Illinois this morning. We had a couple of back to back snow systems. I had to shovel our driveway and sidewalks on Friday. Yesterday we got the second round and I had my son shovel. We have roughly nine inches of snow. It's pretty, but I sure don't enjoy shoveling. We have a snowblower, but my hubby needs to teach me how it works. It's his toy, so I need to wait for the hands on tutorial from him to use it.

I am going to start posting a little differently here. I will have menu planning Mondays..on what else but Monday. Then on Thursdays we will have papercrafting. I enjoy making cards and am looking into making journals. Just simple ones that you can gift with your cards. Fridays will be "Sew I quilt" days. I will share with you what I am working on at the moment and the progress of that project and hopefully the end result.

The kids are off school today due to the frigid temps, so am planning on getting a little sewing and quilting in today. Check back later for the first "Sew I quilt" post.

I am going to leave you with a pic of our back deck with all the snow on it. We really need to get out there and shovel it off so it doesn't collapse.

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009


My dear husband took a couple of weeks off for the Christmas holiday and gifted me with some serious organizational love. I thrive on things being organized. If they are not, I feel out of sorts and a little chaotic. You know, scatterbrained.

Last spring I had a lady from California Closets come over and measure out our closet in hopes of maybe getting that done. Well, she came up with a wonderful organizational system; however, the price tag that came with it wasn't that fabulous. I forgot about that until my husband brought the idea up again.

You see we have two teens. Those of you out there may know that teens can be pretty messy, sloppy, etc. It is my hope...and I do mean hope that with the new closet organizers that my husband installed for each of them that their rooms will be cleaner in the new year. I mean really, is that too much to ask or hope for????

We also did our closet as well and I just love it! I actually enjoy going in the closet each morning now. There is a place for everything and walking room and even a space for the hamper. Sorry I don't have any before pics, but here is the after. I was only able to get one good pic. We don't have a gigantic closet, but you get the idea.

I also am excited about the possibility of having a sewing space again. We did a little shuffling around and part of the guest room will be a creative area for myself and dd. I am hoping to have a long table up to hold our sewing machines and some other items. I am also hoping to put up a board. Not sure what they call it, but quilters have these on their walls. They have felt on them so you can place your pieces on there to play around with the fabric to see what the quilt will look like before you quilt it. The name escapes me and I am thinking it isn't something called a felt, that would be too easy. Anyhow, as that space comes together, I will post pics to share.

Have a blessed day in whatever you do!
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that's what I like to make for myself in the New Year. Not resolutions.

This year my goals are:

to read the bible through in a year (if you would like to do this too, here is a link to help you out

to quilt more (so I can buy new fabric) Actually, my goal is to get through my stash bin of odds and ends fabric so that I can buy new fabric. This is after all supposed to be a quilting blog, isn't it? I am sure you all would love to see me post pics of more WIP's and quilts.

to spend more time with family here and out of state

to keep in touch with family....with the handwritten word. I loved getting mail as a child and teen and with our technology nowadays, we don't do that so much anymore. So, my goal will be to keep in touch with handwritten letters and photos to friends and family.

to lose weight (isn't that everyone's goal?)

to read more (books, novels, not just quilting magazines. hee hee)

What goals have you made for yourself this year? Whatever they are, I hope you achieve them!Be encouraged!Pin It Now!

HELLO 2009!

How did you ring in the New Year?

Each year we eat dinner early. Maybe watch some movies or play board games. Then as it gets close to around 10:30 we start putting out some snacks. In the past they have been very fattening snacks. This year, I tried to be good. First snack out was a fruit platter. There was sliced pineapples, mangos, strawberries and grapes and of course chocolate for dipping in. Then I made some potato skins with sour cream topping of course. Ha, okay, so it wasn't all non fattening, but it was good. Then we catch some of Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin Eve. I grew up watching that waiting for the New Year to get rung in. I was so sad the year that he had his stroke. New Year's wasn't the same without him. It is good to see that he is doing well and it is nice to see his face each New Year's Eve. We ring in the new Year Eastern time and then stay awake another hour for New Year's our time....which is central time.....and then it's bed time.
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Christmas and saying goodbye to 2008!

Our Christmas - 2008

Christmas was quiet and slowed down quite a bit this year. No going out of town or running around. We got our tree up just days before Christmas. I know, I know, how ridiculous is that??? I only decorated a few areas of the house this year. The mantel was a given. Then I put a few of our Dept. 16 houses on the piano and some garland and bows around the banister in the foyer. I love snowmen. I have been collecting them for the past few years and only have a few so far, but hope that the collection grows over the years. So I sprinkeled them around as well. Enjoy some photos of our home at Christmas. Sorry the photos aren't the best. We had a couple of back to back snow storms followed by an ice storm, so no sunny days to help out with the pics.

Here is our mantel

and the banister.

A couple of snowmen................

Several years ago I belonged to a yahoo group that was a crafty and fun bunch of gals. We did trades and swaps and chatted everyday. We came from all over the country and even outside the country. I did a swap with a gal from our group from Canada. She was and is still a wonderful painter. She painted this free standing manger scene for me. I loved it then and still love it now. I always wonder how she and her family are doing each year I bring it out.

I hope you enjoyed a little of what our Christmas was like this year.

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