Saturday, March 31, 2012

"Simple Shortcut Recipes" Winner!

Hello everyone! I hope you're having a great weekend! Without further ado, I'll announce the winner of the Gooseberry Patch cookbook, Simple Shortcut Recipes!
Like I stated in the original post, I had to disregard a few entries if there was no blog name or email attached. Sorry, but I've had people win who have never come back to check, and I had to redraw a number. This way I can contact you if you've won! So out of the 21 qualified entries, my daughter randomly chose number 7, who is...

Jen (at Miss Punkie Pie)!

Jen wrote: C'mon! Pick my name for this one! I think it's a winner (minus the dip - don't care for buffalo chicken). I could sooooo use quick dinner ideas. Going to put the meatball stew ingredients on my next shopping list. :)

Congrats Jen! And if anyone who didn't win would still like their own copy, you can purchase it here.Thanks for your entries, everyone! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

♥ Jen

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Some sewing

Hey there my lovely friends! I hope you all are well. I'm melting a wonderful new wax tart today that I got from Can-Do Candles & Tarts, called "Mary's Margaritas." Oooh it is so yummy! Love aromatherapy.
It takes me forever to finish a quilt block for a BOM. I think I have a short attention span. I do one thing and then I put it aside to do something totally unrelated. Anyway I finally finished the January block for Shabby Fabrics' free Block of the Month. I did only start it this month, mind you! I used Pam Kitty Morning's white with yellow dot for the background, which will be the same every month.
I used a variegated DMC floss for the snowflakes. Just a little subtle variation, from cream to pink to yellow...isn't it pretty?
I just love this cute little snowman! Hmmm, maybe it's a snowwoman, with the pink?
I made a few changes from the pattern. I did not embroider window panes, because the fabric was pretty much self-paned. I also did not add snowflakes to the front of the house...I think the polka dots kind of look like snowflakes already. And, I used jumbo rick rack instead of fabric for the eaves. As you can see, I used the fuse-and-blanket stitch method of applique. I was not about to attempt that with all those curves! Eek.

I'll add the doorknob button later. So now I'm not sure if I should just continue in order and go to February, or just pick up on the current month and go back to February (and probably March) when I get to them. I'm leaning towards going back to them later. What would you do?
If you haven't already, don't forget to enter my giveaway for the latest Gooseberry Patch cookbook! I'll draw a winner on Saturday. Go to this post to enter.

Enjoy your day!

♥ Jen

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Gooseberry Patch cookbook review and GIVEAWAY!

Today is a great day because I get to review the newest Gooseberry Patch cookbook, "Simple Shortcut Recipes." And I have an extra copy to give away! Read on to find out how to enter.
I must say this is one of my favorite GP cookbooks to date, and I have many! These are recipes for every day; you know, the busy days that you just don't have time to make a from-scratch meal, but you don't want to order pizza again. When I receive a new cookbook, I put sticky-notes on every page that appeals to me; there are MANY in "Simple Shortcut Recipes!" For my review, I narrowed it down to three. The first one I tried is called, "Rainy-Day Meatball Stew."

3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
16-oz. pkg. frozen sliced carrots
1 onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, sliced
12-oz. pkg. frozen meatballs
10-3/4 oz. can tomato soup
10-1/2 oz. can beef gravy
1 Cup water
1.35-oz. pkg. onion soup mix
2 tsp. beef bouillon granules

Place vegetables and meatballs in a slow cooker. In a bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients; pour over vegetables and meatballs. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or until vegetables are tender. Serves 6.

I did not take pictures for the preparation of this dish...honestly, it was so easy that pictures would be totally unnecessary. But I did take one of my daughter enjoying her dinner!
VERDICT: This gets an A+. It is tasty, very easy, and everybody liked it. I will definitely make it again!
Ok, onto recipe number two..."Kari's Buffalo Chicken Dip." I was really excited when I spotted this recipe, because someone brought a similar dip to a Super Bowl party I went to and I could not get enough! I couldn't wait to make it myself, and this did not disappoint! (NOTE: I made a half recipe, thus the smaller dish and amount of ingredients in the picture; however I printed the recipe as written.)

2 8-oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1 deli roast chicken, boned and chopped
16-oz. bottle blue cheese salad dressing
1/3 Cup hot pepper sauce, or to taste
tortilla chips

As you can see, I did not use a deli chicken; but for the first time ever, I used canned chicken. I was suspicious at first but it's all white meat, with no preservatives...and it looks good! Great to keep in your pantry, which I now do!
Combine all ingredients except tortilla chips in an ungreased 13" x 9" baking pan. (Mine is 8" square.)
Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Serve with tortilla chips. Serves 12 to 16.

REVIEW: Super duper YUM!! In addition to the tortilla chips, I also cut up celery sticks and cucumbers to serve with it. And, Wheat Thins go great with it too. I'm already dreaming about making this again!
The last recipe I will review is "Best-Ever Pot Roast." Pot Roast is one of my favorite dishes to make in my crockpot, so I love to try out new versions.

3 lbs. redskin potatoes, quartered
16-oz. pkg. baby carrots
2 onions, sliced
3-lb. beef chuck roast
1 to 2 Tbsps. oil
10-3/4 oz. can cream of onion soup
10-3/4 oz. can cream of celery soup
1/2 Cup water
Sea salt to taste

Place potatoes, carrots and onions in a large slow cooker; set aside. In a skillet over medium high heat, lightly brown roast in oil. Place on top of vegetables. Pour soups and water over roast; sprinkle with salt. Cover and cook on low setting for 10 hours. Serves 6.

REVIEW: As my husband said, this is the BEST pot roast I've ever made! Seriously, the flavors are perfect. I don't have a super-large crockpot so I had to cut down on the amount of veggies I added...even so, it was filled to the top. Cream of Onion soup proved to be hard to find, but they did have it at Walmart. OH! And I did NOT brown the roast first. I didn't have time. It was fabulous without the extra step.
I hope you liked my review! Let me know if you try any of these recipes, I'd love to hear what you think! Would you like to win a copy of "Simple Shortcut Recipes?" Great! Just leave me a comment on this post by Saturday, March 31st. I will randomly choose a comment number on that date. Please make sure that your email address is provided either as a link to your name or in your comment itself; no email, no entry!

Thanks for visiting and best of luck!

♥ Jen

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A bit of sunshine

Hello, it's me! How is everyone doing? Are you experiencing nice, warm weather in your neck of the woods? We've been setting record highs in Central New it's supposed to be 74. Unbelievable, but I'm not complaining! The sun is out, the bulbs are coming up, and the birds are singing. It's so nice to have the windows open in March. Love it!
I'm starting a new Block of the Month, albeit a bit late. It's a free one from Shabby Fabrics, and I just love it. I picked up a few supplies at Joann's this morning, like fusible web and ric-rac. Here are the fabrics I picked out from my stash for January's block.
I have all the background squares cut out. I'm using a white with yellow polka dots from Pam Kitty Morning. I bought it from Desperate Quilters, one of my favorite online fabric stores.

Have you done any spring decorating? I have a few things out, but I did get two more items at TJ Maxx today. Isn't this little pitcher cute? I can picture a few blooms from the garden in this, on a side table.
I also got this great watering can. I could not resist the vintage-y pattern.
And I put some artificial Easter eggs in my cute little bird cloche.
You know how I love to melt wax tarts...well, one of my favorite vendors, Carol from Candles from the Keeping Room, sends these sweet bunny tarts out as samples with springtime orders. I don't know how I'm going to melt them, they're just so adorable!
St. Patrick's Day is this weekend! Do you have any big plans? We're going to the annual Maple Festival's not very St. Paddy's Day-ish, but what can you do. We'll have corned beef and cole slaw sandwiches for dinner. No one in my family likes corned beef and cabbage except for me, so this is a good compromise!
Next week I'll have my review of Simple Shortcut Recipes, along with a giveaway. Please come visit me again!

♥ Jen