Ta Ta for Now……

10384347_10152905383752464_849893292394933324_n

We miss you Vermont! Send some snow our way.

I am taking a short break from the blog so I can focus on family and fun for the next two weeks. I have enjoyed sharing all of our travel adventures, my LYS finds, and my crafting and cooking creations with all of you. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas! I look forward to being back in the new year!

-Christy

Advertisements

Foodie Friday: Simple Chicken and Rice

Quick, healthy, and delicious.

Quick, healthy, and delicious.

This time of year it seems like we are constantly “going”. Christmas shopping ,crafting, baking, card-sending; it all adds up to being extremely busy. Dinner is not another task I want to worry about.

Enter chicken and rice. Its the kind of meal you need this time of year. You throw it together and put in the oven. Oh, and it only uses ONE dish.

I am very familiar with the classic Campbell’s Chicken and Rice but I wanted to put my own spin on it. I also wanted something more on the natural and healthy side.

You can find the Pacific brand of condensed soups in almost any grocery store. I always purchase several whenever they are on sale. Same goes for their all natural chicken/beef/turkey stock. I found some turkey stock on sale the week before thanksgiving and loaded up. These are key ingredients that can be used in many things and using the all natural or organic means you aren’t consuming unnecessary preservatives or chemicals. They are great to have on hand at all times and they have a very long shelf life until opened.

Always gather your ingredients first.

Always gather your ingredients first.

Another way I like to stretch my dollar is switching out chicken breasts for chicken tights. I purchase all natural/free range/organic chicken whenever I can but those kind of chicken breasts can be very expensive.  That is where the thighs come in. They are considerably less expensive than the breast meat and when they go on sale I buy them in bulk. The best are the boneless and skinless thighs. They are much easier to eat, leaner and since they are dark meat you don’t need the skin to keep them from drying out.

Simple Chicken and Rice

Ingredients:

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken tights

1 cup long grain rice (I used brown basmati because that’s what I had on hand but any long grain rice will work.)

1 12 oz package Pacific Natural Foods Organic Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup

1 cup stock low sodium (I would suggest turkey, chicken, or vegetable. If you are all out and don’t have time to hit the store water will work too!)

1 cup water

Salt

Pepper

Paprika (I like it so I used it and I used it a lot. If its not your thing then use less or just leave it out completely.)

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350.  Pour the rice, stock and water  into a large baking or casserole dish. Stir together. Sprinkle in seasonings.  Stir in half of the cream of mushroom soup.

On a different plate place the chicken thighs upside down and salt, pepper, and paprika. Place tights right side up onto of rice mixture. Season the top side with salt, pepper and paprika. Take the remaining soup and spread onto the tops of the chicken thighs.

Seasoning the thighs.

Seasoning the thighs.

Place in the oven. Let it bake for about 30 minutes and then check on the liquid levels. If it seems like the rice is close to soaking up all of the liquid add about 1/2 cup more water or stock and gently stir it in. It will take 50-60 minutes total to finish cooking.

This is what it should look like right before it goes in the oven.

This is what it should look like right before it goes in the oven.

Let the casserole sit for a few minutes to let all the liquids absorb before serving. This dish goes great with green beans or roasted brussel sprouts.

What is your favorite “go to” week night meal?

-Christy

 

 

 

Foodie Friday: Small Batch Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies

Cookie!

Cookie!

Sometimes I hate making cookies. I love the finished product but it can take an entire afternoon to make a normal sized cookie recipe and inevitably the last few batches will end up being burnt because I have just lost interest and moved on to another project.

I wanted some cookies the other night but as there are only two of us in this house I did not want to use a recipe that makes two dozen cookies. I knew from hours of watching/listening to Alton Brown that baking is all about the chemical reactions and you can not simply cut all of the ingredients in half to get less cookies. I’ll admit I have done this before and sometimes they turn out but sometimes they don’t. I decided to actually take the time to experiment and create an actual small batch recipe.

These cookies are very soft and melt in your mouth. They pair great with coffee and tea. This recipe makes about 12 cookies but of course it depends how big or small you choose to make them. They are great for when you are hankering for a cookie but don’t want to spend all night making them and they would also be great if you need a baked gift for a friend of neighbor.

You can leave the oats and walnuts out or use one and not the other or use chocolate chips; you can probably stick about anything in these and it would be good.

Small Batch Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

3 tbsp grade B maple syrup

1 egg lightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup rolled old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream butter, brown sugar and maple syrup together.

Add the egg, vanilla extract and beat on medium speed until combined.

Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon in a separate bowl.

With the mixer set on low, slowly add the flour no more than approximately 1/2 cup at a time. Increase speed after each addition. Make sure to stop occasionally and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Once all of the flour has been incorporated, stir in the oats and walnuts BY HAND. Dough will be pretty stiff at this point, especially if you are baking in  a freezing cold kitchen as I do.

Scoop out even sized balls of dough and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Really you can make them whatever size you wish. Remember the smaller they are the quicker they will cook. I made mine about 2 inches in diameter. I baked them for 8-10 minutes.

These are the kind of cookies you want to take out right before they are completely done. This will make them soft. However, even if they cook too long they are still great for dunking in coffee or hot cocoa.

Hope you enjoy this recipe! Do you have any recipes that makes smaller batches of cookies? Send them to me so I can give them a whirl.

-Christy

 

Wooly Wednesday: LYS in Review

I love their mascot.

I love their mascot.

LYS in Review: Bazaar Girls Yarn Shop

126 Quincy St.

Port Townsend, WA 98368

(360)379-9273

www.bazaargirls.com

When we started on this “traveling RN adventure” our first stop was near Seattle. We had an amazing time exploring all of the Pacific Northwest. One of our favourite towns we discovered was Port Townsend.

Port Townsend is located on the Olympic Peninsula. It has a rugged beauty with Victorian houses and a vibrant downtown. One of my best discoveries there is the Bazaar Girls Yarn Shop and Fiber Emporium.

Who doesn't like a wall of yarn?!

Who doesn’t like a wall of yarn?!

The shop is well stocked with a variety of yarn, most of which I would classify as higher-end. Be Sweet, Sublime, and Debbie Bliss are just a few that come to mind. They also carried locally made yarn and gorgeous fiber for spinning. If you need to brush up on your skills they have an extensive class schedule and everyone in the shop was very welcoming and friendly.

Beautiful sock weight yarn. Love the colors.

Beautiful sock weight yarn. Love the colors.

For those traveling with non knitters they do have other locally made items such as jewelry, buttons, etc. If nothing else, they can sit outside and look out on the beautiful view from the shop’s seating area. I very much wanted to come back and knit there but sadly I was only able to make it to the shop once.

Imagine this being your view while knitting.

Imagine this being your view while knitting.

Even if you aren’t into yarn Port Townsend is worth the drive. There are beautiful beaches, hand crafted beer, a history museum, and live music. It is a fun stop.

Local beer.

Local beer.

Have any of you been to this shop? What Christmas gifts are you working on right now?

-Christy

 

Foodie Friday: Waste Not, Want Not

Around 220 million tonnes of food is wasted on an annual basis. On a global level it seems ridiculous that there are people starving and other people throwing food away. On a personal level and as the CFO of this household, it makes me wonder how much money we spend on food that does not even get eaten.

Thanksgiving is a prime culprit. Often there is way more food than needed and inevitably after a few days of eating leftovers, it is thrown away.

This year we were many miles away from any friends or family to spend the holiday with but we still wanted the traditional thanksgiving meal.  I wanted to make sure, however, that we did not end up with more food than two people could possible eat in a few days.

It was fairly easy to scale down most recipes and I got a turkey breast instead of a whole turkey. (We both missed the dark meat though.) The only issue we ran into was the pumpkin pie.  I made the crust from scratch, scaled to make just one crust, and my husband used the filling recipe from Epicurious. Somehow, after everything was put together, we had about two cups of filling left.

As I mentioned before I hate to waste, so I started thinking what could I do with this? It had raw eggs in it so I couldn’t hold on to it forever so after about 15 minutes of staring at it I decided to make it into pumpkin bread.

I wanted something quick and easy since I was already in the middle of making Thanksgiving dinner. Also I was keeping in mind the fact that my husband had to work the next day and I like to have “eat on the go” items for him to take for breakfast.

Here is what I did. I also think this would have made good cookies; the soft and pillow-y kind. Might need to add more flour for that.

Leftover Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:

1 1/2-2 cups pumpkin pie mix (this is using the mix from the Epicurious recipe! I can not guarantee how it will work with a different filling.)

1 1/4 -2 cups flour (I used a mix of whole wheat pastry four and all purpose)

1/4 cup oil

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

Chopped Walnuts (optional)

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350. Slowly mix in all ingredients one at a time. Once everything is incorporated stop mixing. Do not over mix. Fold in chopped nuts. Pour mixture into a greased pan. (Muffin tin, bread pan, cake pan; almost anything will work.) Bake for 40 mins or until a toothpick can be inserted and pulled out clean.

Ready to go into the oven. I used a round tin because that's what I had!

Ready to go into the oven. I used a round tin because that’s what I had!

 

This isn’t a real exact recipe because it all depends on what you have on hand. If you have made muffins or quick breads before you know what the batter should look like. If not all I can say is if it looks like cookie dough you have added too much flour. If it is thin or “soupy” you need more flour. Instead of walnuts you could add in other nuts or chocolate chips; whatever you would like. Experiment!

This is what the mixture should look like before baking.

This is what the mixture should look like before baking.

Somehow I managed to forget to take a picture of the finished product (probably because we were too busy eating other delicious food!) but trust me it turned out golden brown and moist; just like pumpkin bread should be.

Do you have an recipes you use to eliminate food waste? I would love to hear about them!

-Christy

Wooly Wednesday: We have a Winner!!

cascade yarn giveaway winner

A big THANK YOU to all of you who took the time to enter my contest. I really enjoyed hearing about your favorite local yarn shops, looking them up online, and planning road trips to visit them! (Don’t tell my husband!)

Congratulations Catherine! I will be sending out your yarn tomorrow. It will be like getting an early Christmas gift!

I plan on holding other giveaways in the future so if you didn’t win this time don’t give up hope! I know this was a short post but next week I will have another amazing LYS to share with you all.

Happy Crafting,

-Christy

Cyber Monday = FREE SHIPPING

IMG_2309

Warm, soft goodies at the Etsy shop.

As some of you many have noticed I do have an Etsy shop where my handmade items are available for purchase. And you also probably know tomorrow is “cyber Monday”. To get you in the shopping mood I am offering FREE SHIPPING on all orders from now until 12/10.

IMG_2304

One of my new favorites, the Vermont Cold Weather Cowl.

 

Sadly we will be leaving Vermont soon so my Etsy shop will be CLOSED after 12/10. I plan on being back up and running in the new year with great new finished items and PATTERNS!!

So head on over to my Etsy shop, and use the code “MERRY100” when checking out.  And don’t forget; today is the LAST DAY to enter the Wooly Wednesday contest. Information on that HERE.

Happy Shopping!!

-Christy