Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy 2011

Happy New Year! It's coming up on 10:00 here, the family and I are taking a break from playing games so I thought I'd check in. Will we make it to midnight? I took a short nap today so I'm hopeful. Dave's looking pretty sleepy there though. LOL
Here's to another fabulous year!

♥ Jen

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fun Little Aprons

I love aprons. I wear them whenever I'm cooking, cleaning, and crafting. Besides keeping my clothes splatter-free and less stray thread-y, they've got handy pockets and they're usually darn cute. You may recall that I made myself this apron awhile back...
The pattern was a freebie from jcaroline, and this is the reversible version. What I didn't say is that it was a prototype for aunts' Christmas presents. Those nosy lovely ladies read my blog, you know. Anyway, now that they've received their aprons I can show you!
I love the retro toasters and patterns on this Cosmo Cricket fabric.
Two of my favorite teapot fabrics. I added a 1930s repro accent fabric that I thought went nicely.
More cute tea the red!
I hope my sisters and sister-in-law enjoy them. They sure are fun to make!
I am excitedly thinking about my next project. I think I'm going to restart work on the 4OT quilt I'm making with 30s repro fabrics. And...aack!...I have to finish my coffee cup quilt! Totally let that one slip for a couple of months. OK, I think I know what I have to do!
Have a great day friends...don't forget to enter the giveaway on my last post! So many entries already, WOW! If you don't happen to win this one, I have several more coming in the months ahead!

♥ Jen

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cookbook review and a GIVEAWAY!

Hello to all! Did you have a good Christmas? It was great sister and her family visited from Pennsylvania. The cousins had so much fun together. I will talk about all that on another post, but for now I want to post my Early Bird Review of Gooseberry Patch's upcoming cookbook, Homestyle in a Hurry!
Leave a comment on the end of this post to enter my giveaway! I will pick one random comment to win a new copy of this yet-to-be-released cookbook. I will choose a winner in one week...January 4, 2001. Gooseberry Patch does not compensate me for my reviews, besides the complementary cookbook I receive and the one that I give away on my blog. They want my honest opinions, so here goes!

I made three recipes from this book...the first was Sourdough Chicken Casserole. Here's what you'll need:
You will need: 4 C. sourdough bread, cubed; 1/4 C. plus 2 T. butter, melted and divided; 1/3 C. grated parmesan cheese; 2 T. fresh parsley, chopped; 2 sweet onions, sliced; 8-oz. pkg. sliced mushrooms; 1 C. white wine or buttermilk; 10-3/4 oz. can cream of mushroom soup; 1/2 C. roasted red peppers, chopped; 2-1/2 C. cooked chicken, shredded; 1/2 t. salt; and 1/4 t. pepper.

In a large bowl, toss together bread cubes, 1/4 C. butter, cheese and parsley; set aside.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute onions in remaining butter for 15 minutes, or until dark golden.

Add mushrooms and saute for 5 minutes. 
 Add remaining ingredients.
 Stirring constantly, cook an additional 5 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
 Pour into a lightly greased 9x9 baking pan (I used 11x7);
Top with bread cube mixture.
 Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, or until golden. Makes 4 servings.
RECIPE REVIEW: The casserole was good, but not necessarily one I will make again. The baking time was short but I thought the prep time wasn't really "homestyle in a hurry." The topping was the best part; really, really good with the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

The second recipe I tried was Sunny Lemon Blossoms
For the cakes, You will need: 1 box yellow cake mix; 3.4-oz. pkg. instant lemon pudding mix; 4 eggs, beaten; and 3/4 C. oil.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
Spray mini muffin cups with non-stick vegetable spray; fill cups 1/2 full with batter.
Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Cool in muffin tin on wire rack 10 minutes; remove cupcakes from tin and cool completely.
For the glaze, You will need: 4 C. powdered sugar; 1/3 C. lemon juice; 3 T. lemon zest; 3 T. oil; and 3 T. water. I used two lemons for the zest and juice.
 Combine all ingredients.
 Stir until smooth.
Dip each cupcake into Lemon Glaze to coat; shake off excess. Place on a wire rack set over a baking sheet (I used waxed paper); refrigerate until set. (Not necessary for was a chilly day!) Makes 4 dozen.
RECIPE REVIEW: FABULOUS!! My kids have declared Sunny Lemon Blossoms to be their "new favorite food." They are sweet, moist, and the lemon glaze gives them a perfectly sweet-tart finish. They're darn cute  too. My husband and guests loved them as well...definitely, DEFINITELY one of the top treats I made for Christmas this year. These will go into my permanent rotation. I love taking mixes and "doctoring" them up to be something special. This was a winner.
Plus you can put them on a snowman plate to make cute eyes!

The third recipe was Reuben Dip.
You will need: 1/2 lb. deli corned beef, diced; 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened; 1 C. shredded Swiss cheese; 1 C. sauerkraut, drained; 1/2 C. sour cream; 1 T. ketchup; and 2 t. spicy brown mustard.
Stir all ingredients in a bowl; spoon into greased one-quart casserole dish.
My sister Kathleen helping out!
Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
Serve warm with rye crackers or sliced party rye bread. Make 4 cups.

RECIPE REVIEW: Oh. My. Goodness. This dip is soooooo good. I made this on Christmas and when we all first tried it, right out of the oven, the flavors hadn't melded yet so we weren't quite sure. But then, as it cooled a bit, everything came together and we all just loved it. It's a very addicting dip, be warned! My brother-in-law Steve suggests adding some Parmigiano-Reggiano to the top before baking, and I think that would be great too. But as is, it's delicious.

So overall I am very pleased with this cookbook. There are several other recipes that I plan to make as well. Let me know if you make any of these recipes, I'd love to hear how you like them! And don't forget to leave a COMMENT so that you'll be eligible to win your very own advance copy! Good luck!

♥ Jen

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from my family to yours! I hope you are enjoying the holiday season. I've been busy getting ready for the big day...baking, cleaning, shopping, etc. Next week I will show some goodies I made for Christmas presents, I'll share some recipes from Gooseberry Patch, and of course have a Giveaway for a cookbook! In the meantime, have a great Christmas!!
♥ Jen

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fun news!

I think my regular readers know that I am a big fan of Gooseberry Patch. I've been collecting their cookbooks for years, and I've even had recipes and memories published in a few (another one coming soon!). My blog was selected to be one of their "Featured Fridays" blogs earlier this year. So I am very excited about this newest development!
Gooseberry Patch has asked me to be an "Early Bird Reviewer" for some of their upcoming cookbooks. Over the next year, I will be receiving 5 yet-to-be-released cookbooks. I'm going to make several of the recipes, post pictures, recipes, etc. Plus I'll be giving my honest opinions, right here on my blog.

And the best part? I'm getting TWO of each for me, and one for a giveaway! So I'll be having lots o' giveaways next year. Fun fun! I am really looking forward to this, I love trying out new recipes and my friends and family will be able to enjoy them too. This will be my first cookbook to review...
I just received my copies last week, and oh boy, I can't wait to get cooking! I think while I have family here at Christmas I'll try out a few things. Maybe Reuben Dip? Or Julie's Fresh Guacomole? The Brown Sugar Cake looks good too...well, I'll pick a few soon! So stay tuned and we'll have fun!!
Speaking of cooking, I've got my poppy seed breads rising on the stove and they'll  be going in the oven soon. I make these every year at Christmastime, they're a tradition in my family for Christmas morning breakfast. They freeze really well so I'm glad to do them ahead of time. And today is a day to bake...cold, windy and snowy! Oh I never showed you pictures from last week's's a few...
My poor baby crabapple tree, all burlapped up...hope he's okay in there!

That's what 4 feet of snow looks like...but deliveries keep up!
Where are my upstairs window wreaths? Peeking out...
Got an arm workout that day!

We were wondering if this week's "lake effect" snow would be similar, but so far it's not so bad. In fact no school delays or cancellations. I'm hoping that keeps up because Annabelle's winter concert is tomorrow night, the show must go on!

Well take care friends...and I hope your enjoying the holiday season!

♥ Jen

Friday, December 10, 2010

It's a marshmallow world

Hello friends! Well it sure has been an interesting week here! Since Saturday, we've gotten about 46 inches of snow. Yup! Insane, right? It finally "stopped" yesterday (although after a few snow squalls we did get an inch or so). School delays Monday and Tuesday, with a full day off Wednesday. Add two trips to get snow tires put on...well, I'm just glad we've gotten a break! Yesterday I finally got to do some shopping and errands...they really piled up there (along with the snow)! Here's a few pictures from earlier in the week...
We've gotten MUCH more since these pictures were taken...I will take some more today! Once the sun comes up, of course!
Have you seen this year's Holiday Crafts magazine? I look forward to this one every year. There are some really cute ideas, things that I can do with the kids too. Over the weekend we made the little pinecone Christmas trees.

Last year we made the pinecone skiers, so we created a little forest on white felt...
I also made just a few more Abby's Treasure Box bags, for teacher gifts...
The one on the bottom there was made with the charm pack I won from Sharon...thanks again Sharon!! The top one is a mixture of a little Lakehouse and a charm pack I got from Joann's, surprisingly...did you know they have charm packs??
This weekend we're getting our Christmas tree and we will hopefully start baking. I am not the best cookie baker but luckily Dave is quite talented in this area. I will keep you posted.
Oh, I just wanted to show you these cute vase fillers I found at Hobby Lobby. Festive, right?
I also have a bag of bronze ones, still haven't decided what to do with those yet. But they're too cute!
Have a wonderful day!

♥ Jen