Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mmmm.......Comfort foods

Even with the unpredictable up and down weather we are having in the northeast (50 degrees today), it is almost February and the time of year that we are all craving comfort foods. Beef stew, meatloaf, oatmeal cookies, homemade mac and cheese, chili, lasagna, roasted chicken with mashed potatos and gravy, chocolate chip cookies............

The recipe for this mac and cheese to come in a future comfort food blog.....for now I want to share a recipe that I have been making for 20 years or more. It is from the cookbook Applehood and Motherpie. From cover to cover, this cookbook is one fabulous recipe after another. I have never found a bad one. It's subtitle is "handpicked recipes from Upstate New York" by The Junior League of Rochester. My copy is quite old and taped up but you will never get it from me! I don't think it is even in print anymore. You may beable to get one at a garage sale or thrift store if you are fortunate enough to live in Upstate New York!

The recipe is for Chicken Herb Pie and it is SO good. It serves 6 people, or if you live in my family of 3, it is gone in one sitting.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees
 generous quantity of pastry for 9 or 10" pie ( use Pillsbury all ready pie crust)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon thyme (don't leave this out, it makes it!)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup light cream
2 tablespoons sherry or white cooking wine
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1  10 oz. box frozen peas, thawed slightly
                                                                     1 pound can sliced carrots, drained

Use 2/3 of pastry to line pie plate. Reserve the rest for a lattice crust. In a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Blend in flour, salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook over low heat, stirring until smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat. Add broth, cream and wine and mix well. Return to heat, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil, and boil for one minute. Remove from heat. Add chicken and vegetables. Mix well. Fill pastry shell with mixture.

Add pastry lattice on top.....

                                                      and bake till browned, 35 to 40 minutes

If you want to serve more people, use a 9 x 13 inch pan, double the pastry and use 1 1/2 times the chicken and vegetables.
Are you hungry yet??
          AnnMarie :)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!!!

Today is my Birthday! Usually I am not looking forward to it at all but I must say that it has started out pretty good for being 8 a.m.!

My husband took the day off of work and handed me a birthday card to open first thing this morning.

Inside was a Day of Pampering all scheduled for me.....he is such a romantic!

I am going to Salon Enza in Penfield, New York for a Rejuvenating Facial AND a Relaxation Massage.
 His boss' wife highy recommended the salon and a particular girl that works there.
That girl had the day off but is going in just for me.....I feel special already....

Then it is off to Le Bon Vie restaurant which is an upscale, quaint fusion restaurant......what shall I wear?!

Later, my husband, children, son-in-laws and grandchildren will be here for cake and ice cream.
The cake, Deluxe Carrot Cake from Applehood and Motherpie cookbook,
 will be made by my daughter Jena.....yum! It is decadent.

Have a wonderful day! I plan on it!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Sharks are Back

We have come full circle. What goes around comes around. There is nothing new under the sun.

These phrases came to mind when I was thinking of what I wanted to write about a basketball game that my husband Frank, son Michael and I went to last Saturday. I went prepared with a camera and took all kinds of pictures in anticipation of having a new blog post.  The basketball team is a local team in little ole' Rochester, New York in the Premier Basketball League. Their name is what made it all click for me.

They are the Rochester Razorsharks. We have sharks in our life again.

Just the word "shark" used to send my son into a panic. He developed an unexplainable fear of sharks when he was just a tadpole himself going to preschool. He could not hear the word shark, see pictures of a shark and especially could not even look at water in a tank or on a movie screen. We had to leave a Veggie Tales movie (he LOVED Veggie Tales) because it started with a scene underwater in the ocean.

We tried to shield him as much as possible from anything sharky but, unbeknownst to us, we ended up making the biggest faux pas in that area. Frank and I decided to go on a trip to Cape May, New Jersey because we heard it was a quaint, oceanside town known for its' Painted Ladys (Victorian houses painted in the colors of the era). We drove the 6 hours to get there only to discover that their town mascot was...........dun dun dun dun

a shark!

We walked into a gift shop and there was a huge shark hanging from the ceiling...kinda like this...except the ceiling was a lot lower in the gift shop!

He screamed from his stroller. The card rack had pictures of sharks on all the cards! He screamed again. Most of the storefront windows had a shark something in them or painted on them.....I think it was some kind of celebration for their mascot that weekend! It was not good.

As he grew up we removed pictures of sharks from any books he got, we changed the channel quickly if a shark appeared on the TV, and we did not talk about sharks.

Fast forward to 2012 and he is 13 years old. He is so much better about the whole shark thing but still refuses to go on the Jaws ride at Universal Studios when we go next month....darn! Frank and I really want to check that out!
So how come he has no problem with the local basketball team having "sharks" in their name? He can sit at the game with this on the one end of the court....

Directly in front of us was a clear image of a shark on the phone....

Even the girl doing the stats had her hair done special that day with a shark fin dyed blue on the top of her head...

No problem for Michael!! His mother was half eaten by a shark named Finley....no problem!

He could even watch Finley dance with the other teams' mascot.....

Ah, well, the game was fun, the Razorsharks won and we had a nice family day. He had the day off from school for Martin Luther King Jr. Day so I took him to another Razorsharks game that day and he will be going this Sunday with Frank again. Can't get enough of those RazorSHARKS....go figure....

AnnMarie  :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Hearts and Love and Friday the 13th

It is Friday the 13th but that doesn't bother me at all. You see 15 1/2 years ago I chose the
13th as my wedding day in July and it has been a blessing ever since. On our honeymoon to Italy I discovered that the Italians consider 13 as their lucky number so I bought a gold 13 charm for my bracelet that I still have and cherish.

We all know that next month on the 14th is the day of Love, Valentine's Day. My husband is not much for Valentine's Day. And with all the craziness the retail arena has added to it, displaying all the red merchandise right after Christmas, has made me not much for it either.

My husband and I don't need a nationally recognized holiday once a year to celebrate our love anyways. Ever since our wedding day, for the past 15 1/2 years, or 186 months (!), we have celebrated our love and wedding day on the 13th of each month. Today is one of those days. We give a small gift with a note expressing our love. That gift could be a candy bar or a bracelet. A box of Twinkies or a new pair of jeans. This morning I received a 6 pack of Pellegrino sparkling mineral water. I gave my husband a new pair of pajama pants....Iron Man. Perfect gifts for each of us!

Next month we will exchange something else on the 13th and we may or may not recognize the 14th. On that note I know there are alot of people that just LOVE to give LOVE on Valentine's Day. I wanted to make something to put in The Button Lady shop on Etsy just for that, so I sat on my couch the past few days handstitching these versatile hearts to help celebrate the day. 

This is mauve velvet with very unique shades
 of pink vintage buttons.

Looks right at home with my girls....

For those of you that love purple and red....a white felt heart embellished
with vintage buttons, red stitching and a purple bead chain.

Hang it from a doorknob for a Victorian look....

Blue and white is so soothing....
carved floral buttons add a shabby chic feeling

Hang a heart on a cupboard....

or a bedpost.....

Here is your true Valentine heart in red and white.
It is made of  red embossed felt

and looks great on a mirror....

Is it Valentine's Day or St. Patrick's Day?
 This heart will work for either one....

It can hang on a chair year round....

or add to an antique lamp

All of my handstitched hearts are nice additions to any room in your home to give it a shabby chic, Victorian or just a unique look.

If you give a gift on Valentine's Day to your Mom or sister, your babysitter or best friend, these hearts express love to her as well as giving her a year round handmade gift.

They can all be found in The Button Lady shop where there are more pictures and ideas for each heart.

How do you celebrate Valentine's Day? Do you give gifts to your extended family or just to your significant other?

Love to you from my handstitched hearts to yours........


Thursday, January 5, 2012

It must be age..........

I am not pregnant. I am not moving. It's definitely not Spring! It must be age.

I will turn 55 at the end of this month and I have the strongest Nesting Instinct I have ever had. According to an article on the nesting instinct during pregnancy,this is an uncontrollable urge to clean one's house brought on by a desire to prepare a nest for the new baby, to tie up loose ends of old projects and to organize your world.

 That is right where I am at, except of course the part about preparing a nest for a baby! I am not sure what is motivating me or what I am preparing for but I need to do this. I can't seem to get myself motivated to take the rest of the Christmas decorations down but I am itching to clean everything else out!

If you knew me well, you'd know that I am a pack rat. If it ain't broke, keep it, store it, you will need it. Throwing things away is never my immediate plan. It usually works out for me and I take the greatest pleasure when I get to tell my husband about another item I rescued from the basement or attic from 16 years ago that I found a use for.

I live in a pretty big house with a full attic and a full basement. My husband and I combined two houses about 16 years ago. So there is all of that, most of which is mine (he is a throw-it-away kinda guy) and then the 16 years of accumulation since. There is plenty of room to store stuff, so why throw it away?

I have not done any deep evaluation of my life or where it is heading or even set any goals for the new year. I simply FEEL the need to get rid of the clutter in my life....actually both the material stuff and the clutter in my head. That is why I truly believe that it is age that is prompting this, because I am now at a point where I am okay with getting rid of things. That really has been the issue all along.....the emotional part of parting with my stuff.

There are the pros and cons though. On the con side, (1)will I regret parting with some things if in the future I realize I really need it? (2)It is a lot of hard work to sort, pile and cart out to the garbage. On the pro side (1) anyone out there looking for some really cool vintage stuff will find it in my  NaNa's Things Etsy shop. I opened the shop for just that reason and so far I am okay with what I have decided to sell. (2)I will have a cleaner, lighter feeling house. And this may sound a bit morbid, (3) but when I die it will be a lot less stuff for my husband and kids to go through. I am not confident they will be as particular about it all as I would, so best to get it done now!!

I am not a procrastinator. I will get it done. I just had to talk about it, get it out in the open and have it in writing.

As far as the clutter in my head....well, I have a Lord and Savior in my life, Jesus Christ, that I can give that all to and He'll take care of  it for me.