Sunday, September 29, 2013

Craving Comfort Food - Lemon Chicken


You can find the recipe for this pumpkin pie made from a fresh pumpkin here
We are creatures of habit and routine, aren't we? Something in our makeup starts churning and conjuring up the cravings for meatloaf and stew and chili and apple pie in the Fall. Comfort foods. And for me, I usually don't crave or make these comfort foods any other time of the year.....it just doesn't feel right.

Pumpkin pie in July? Nah!
Scalloped potatoes on the side of burgers on the grill? Nah!
These two comfort dishes with meatloaf? YES!

Seasonal cravings, my son calls it.

Find the recipe for The Great Pumpkin Cake here
Our weather in Upstate NY has been gorgeous this week.....70's and sunny....not exactly weather to feed the comfort food cravings. But today I am making Lemon Chicken with garlic mashed potatoes and lima beans. And I will turn the oven on to accomplish it! Been craving it despite the weather because the calendar says Fall.

This has been a staple in my house for years. It came from an old church cookbook. My two daughters took the recipe with them when they got married. And it is SO easy!

Fresh out of the oven, it is still bubbling.
 

Lemon Chicken

Preheat oven to 350

4 to 6 boneless chicken fillets, pounded flat
1 stick butter, or 1/2 cup
1/4 cup lemon juice, about 2 small lemons
2 eggs, beaten
bread crumbs, seasoned

Dip chicken in egg and then bread crumbs. Fry in a pan browning both sides. Put in a 9 x 13 pan.
Melt the butter with the lemon juice. Pour over the top of chicken and cover with foil.
Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Tips:
*If the boneless breasts are thick, slice them horizontally in half
*I use wax paper on top of my chicken when I pound them to keep the slime from spraying all over the kitchen!
*Depending on the size of each piece of chicken, you may have to brown them in stages.
* It may not look like there is enough sauce but it melts during the baking.

That's it! So easy but so delicious.

For the garlic mashed potatoes I use a favorite recipe from a local restaurant, Mario's.

Patate Alla Rustica

Serves 6 people

3 pounds Russet potatoes
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons romano cheese, grated
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped
to taste, salt and pepper

Peel and boil potatoes till cooked through, not soggy.
Heat oil in skillet and brown the garlic in it. When the garlic is light brown, add the onion and parsley and cook till onions are soft.
Put the potatoes in a mixer with garlic mix, milk, butter, cheese and season with salt and pepper. Mix until desired consistency.

I was going to use a fancy dinner plate for this picture but this is comfort food. Just my everyday dishes and fork and napkins here to help make you feel right at home.


Enjoy!

AnnMarie : -)

I am linking up with these great blog hops this week:
Sweet & Savoury Sundays
Inspiration Monday
Bouquet of Talent Linky Party
Seasonal Sundays
Marvelous Mondays
Amaze Me Monday
Monday Mingling Blog Hop
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
You're Gonna Love It
Tuesday Trivia
Brag About It Link Party
What's It Wednesday
Thursday Favorite Things

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The First Day of Fall

 
We stayed home from church today because my son is sick and being that it is the first day of Fall, I got the bug and started decorating.

My dining room is my Fall room year round. I love Fall that much.

The ancient wallpaper is fruit themed with the colors of Fall. So when we moved in I wanted to continue my farmhouse tradition of having a Fall themed dining room. I painted the trim with 'Buckwheat' which was the color in my last house. It goes great with the wallpaper and the three cupboards and rocking chair from my beloved farmhouse.

 
The orange birdhouse, ceramic pumpkin and owl stay on the top of this cupboard year round.
 
This room is loaded with Fall dĂ©cor. The other rooms in my house do not lend themselves to the colors of Fall. I just can't bring myself to decorate the mantel in the cranberry and pink parlor with orange and rust and gold!

 
My door is simple with a pumpkin wreath and my kitschy scarecrow doorknob hanger I can't resist putting out every year. Yeah, I know Santa is there but he stays in that chair year round!
 
I started with decorating my bench....sort of my pseudo mantel because I don't have one in this room.
 
 
The painting is the focal point. It is an oil on canvas and was painted by my dear 83 year old friend Fred. A real gourd, my flocked doe, some primitive garland and two grapevine pumpkins complete the look. It is busy but homey and comforting. I like my things all around me!



 
 
I decorated my table with my Thanksgiving theme because I just love this turkey and his pilgrim friends. The turkey is a heavy cast piece with metal feathers I got on Ebay. The pilgrims were bought at JoAnn Fabrics.

 
And when my table is set for guests, it will look like this. I bought my Royal Worcester Evesham dishes about 30 years ago and that is when my Fall dining room theme began.
 
 



 
My front entryway is long and narrow but since I have to fill every space with something, I decorate it seasonally. The Indigo and burgundy color scheme carries the colors of Fall better than cranberry and pink!


 
At this past week's thrifting and Fall festival adventures I found this fabulous childs wooden chair, just splattered with paint, and the handmade pumpkin made from a burlap feed sack. I have seen tutorials all over my favorite blogs and Pinterest and I even have the materials to make this pumpkin but it was just too easy to pick one up at the festival and have instant decorating! The bunny was a great find a few years ago at a different Fall festival.


 
The berry basket is a summer find filled with faux grapes and grape leaves and the mason jar is filled with pine shavings from my daughters yard. The vintage coffee pot is one of my treasures from 30 years ago.





On my front porch I added my large, rusted metal pumpkin that is pierced for light to glow through, and my owl I bought last year at JoAnn Fabrics. The vintage white enamelware pot is filled with twigs from my daughters yard. She lives in a cottage in the country...I live in the village!

 
 
Not too bad for a half hours work on a Sunday morning spur of the moment whim!
 
How are you doing on your Fall decorating?
 
AnnMarie :)
 


 I am linking up to these great parties this week:

Sweet & Savoury Sunday
Let's Get Social Sunday
Seasonal Sunday
A Bouquet of Talent
Inspiration Monday
Marvelous Mondays
Amaze Me Monday
Cottage Style Entertaining
Monday Mingling Blog Hop
You're Gonna Love It
Tuesday Trivia

Nifty Thrifty Tuesday

Lovely Blogs Collection
What's It Wednesday
Be Inspired
Freedom Fridays
 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Five On Friday

It's Five on Friday time!

For the first time I am linking up to this fun blog party. I am a day late but the party is still going on! The hosts are Darci, AprilChristina and Natasha. Just write 5 things on your mind today and post at the party!


1)  Monday I got to spend time with my 5 favorite girlfriends at lunch for Colleen's birthday. We celebrate each others birthdays every year. It is a great excuse to get together. This time it was at a Thai restaurant. Colleen is a blast to be around and we all have a great time together.

From the left is Kim, Colleen, me, Lora and Tree
2) I finally have started cleaning out some old clothes that I've had since the last time I worked full time.....1996! They are pretty nice so I thought I'd take them to some consignment shops. There are three near where I live so off I went with an arm load of coats, skirts, blouses and purses. I became so discouraged at the whole process of consigning and I really don't care about making money from these clothes anyways. In my heart I wanted to donate the clothes to an organization where I knew they were given to truly needy people in my area....not sold to them. I found it! The Open Door Mission Caring Center in Rochester, NY takes clothes for homeless woman so they can have things to wear to church and to get back in the workforce. And there is a drop off two streets over from me! Win, win.


3) My husband sent me a link to a song he had given me early in our marriage, that he had just found again. It is called Beautiful in My Eyes by Joshua Kadison. I had the CD and cassette tape with that song on it but they were somewhere unknown in my house! My husband searched and found a box full of CD's from 15 years ago. There were so many great music artists in there I had forgotten about. It was like reuniting with old friends.  And it reminded me of how romantic my husband is!

4) Been thinking about this Sunday all week and anticipating my time with my two daughters Candice and Jena and their girls Cassidy, 8 and Chloe, 2. We are all going to the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, NY, a free admission day courtesy of the company my husband works for. It is a great place for kids and adults to spend the day. Afterwards, NaNa (that's me) is treating them all to pizza at a 'new to me' pizza place. Just the girls for the day!

Cassidy and Chloe
 
5) The end of the week always means garage and yard sales to me. The weather was gorgeous and my daughter Jena, knowing what a vintage junkie with a passion for picking I have, told me about a yard sale just down the street from me when she dropped Chloe off for the day. Off in the little umbrella stroller we went. The first thing I found was a vintage suitcase....love it! It was so nice out

 
that I decided to keep walking and found another great yard sale with all vintage items from the estate of a 94 year old woman. I found so many great things that I could barely carry them all home, and push the stroller too! Chloe and I had a nice walk on a gorgeous late summer day and I got some great things to list in my Etsy shop! Chloe got a new toy too....of course!
 
 
Have a great weekend!
 
AnnMarie  :)
 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Can You Be Too Thrifty?

I need to purge.

My house.

Of stuff.

I am not only a vintage junkie but a "don't throw it away till it is all used up" junkie. This goes for anything and everything. Maybe a better name for me is Too Thrifty Junkie?

 
I keep all things, from clothes, toothpaste, lipstick, my $42 foundation, cereal (pet peeve here) and lotion, to decorative items from the 1980's (they are vintage now!), and on and on till they are all used up or out of use. That can be a good (thrifty) thing or a not so good thing (clutter).


I AM talking about two different things here. The things that need to get thrown out when they are empty or used up and the things that are debatable because of their potential for use in the future.

I always live in the fear that just when I throw out those potential for the future things, I will need them! And that if I started the whole huge process of purging I would have to finish it! There may be those of you that would answer that with "just throw things out after you haven't used them for 2 years". What did you say? I don't get that! I might need it in 10 years!


Well, today something came over me and I did it! Well, I STARTED it. My house is 2700 square feet with a full attic and a full basement, and we have been here 17 years. There is A LOT of purging to do!

I started with the clothes in the upstairs closet that I just couldn't look at anymore and that I have not worn since I last worked full time....um, 1996. There was stuff in there for so long that they may qualify as vintage on Etsy and I may just have to list them in my NaNa's Things shop!

With each piece of clothing I had to state out loud "I will never wear this again". In the bag it went.


So the cereal thing is a pet peeve of mine. It gets down to the bottom of the bag and my son doesn't want anymore. I hear all kinds of excuses like "it must be stale by now" and "I'm sick of it". I usually have a new box of a different kind of cereal in the cupboard but he doesn't know it. This box WILL be finished before we open another one.....even if it does take another month! And then I will throw it away.
 


 
These are my actual hairspray with a few sprays left, my $42
foundation and my deodorant that scrapes my underarms every morning!
 
I have a new hairspray and deodorant waiting in the wings but these still have life in them! No back up for the foundation though (it's $42)! And to make sure I use up every drop of that I found a great new product. It is called a Spaddy and Spaddy Daddy.
 
I saw the product on the Shark Tank TV show and went on Amazon.com to get my own.
 
I am not being compensated for featuring this...I just think they are great!
 
They help to reach down inside a bottle or jar and scrape out what is left behind with the pink rubber spatula on the end. Ingenious! Perfect for my foundation and for those pump lotion containers that leave a bunch of lotion on the bottom after the pump stops pumping!
 
So I have stuff that I keep that I just don't want to get rid of because they are still very usable for sometime in the future ......and, I have stuff that I keep until they are used up to the very last drop or flake, whatever it may be....

To preserve my good reputation for having a presentable house, I must say that this stuff I am hoarding, I mean keeping, is not all laying around everywhere (well, maybe in my back room) and is  put away nicely and hidden from view!

Am I being too thrifty? Are you a "throw it away now" or a "keep it for later" person?

Do I need therapy?  :)

AnnMarie :)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sunflowers

Fading sunflowers signify the end of summer, but even so, their beauty remains....


The last few years I have not planted sunflowers in my garden even though they are my favorite flower! After reading up on some facts and folklore surrounding this gorgeous flower, I now cannot wait till Spring to plant them again!

What is it that draws us to Sunflowers? The official meaning of the sunflower is loyalty and longevity. I know I am not the only one who favors this versatile flower. It brings a kind of nostalgic overall feeling whether perfectly fresh or somewhat faded. Actually the faded, rustic flower lends itself to vintage surroundings which always warms my heart!


I am not sure when my love of sunflowers (and all similar flowers like the daisy and zinnia) took hold but when I went to Italy for my honeymoon, the fields and fields of sunflowers driving through Tuscany sealed it.


 
Whether it is a vase of three or four sunflowers or a whole field of them, they just spread happiness with their warm radiance.
 
 
 
Some Sunflower Folklore
 
The Legend is.....
 
...if you plant a sunflower in your yard it will bring you luck and if you cut it at sunset it will bring you luck the next day.
 
...if you want to know the truth in any situation, sleep with a sunflower nestled under your bed.
 
...wearing sunflower seeds around your neck will protect you against small pox
 
 
Some facts:

* the sunflower is the state flower of Kansas
* the genus is Helianthus (Greek)....helios meaning sun and anthos meaning flower. It is an annuus or annual.
* when a sunflower is mature it faces eastward
* the sunflower has been around since 3,000 BC and was domesticated by North and South American peoples. It represented the Sun God to many Native American tribes.
* sunflower seeds are used to produce cooking oil, coming in third as a common source
* the seeds are edible and contain calcium and protein

A simple recipe for roasting sunflower seeds can be found here.

My fading sunflowers are not from my garden but were bought for me by my wonderful husband. And now that they are at their end, I will harvest the seeds to try roasting some. I roast pumpkin seeds every year and they are so good that I know these will be too.

Are you a sunflower lover?

AnnMarie :)

 I am linking up to these great blog parties!

Sweet & Savoury Sundays
Bouquet of Talent Linky Party
Inspiration Monday
Marvelous Mondays
Amaze Me Monday
The Scoop
You're Gonna Love It
Tuesday Trivia
What's It Wednesday
Be Inspired
Freedom Fridays
Seasonal Sundays

Monday, September 2, 2013

An Adventure in Buffalo Bills Country


My husband has 6 days off over the holiday weekend and so we were trying to find something to do to fill the time. Plans to go away for the weekend fell through and so there we were wondering how to fill the time.

Hey, let's go to Vidler's!!

I had been wanting to go for awhile having heard about the old-fashioned 5 & 10 department store located in East Aurora, NY. It would be a two hour drive for us heading west toward Buffalo, NY......

This buffalo is a steadfast symbol of the area, standing there,
rain or shine, (lots of) snow or sleet! 


Buffalo Bills football country. Oh yeah! Never even thought of that till we got closer to the area and there were indications that fans were around! Our house does not currently have any Buffalo Bills fans!

No matter! Onward and westward.......we decided to take the drive and call it a day trip. I made chicken salad sandwiches for along the way and we were going to eat dinner at one of the many restaurants in the small, quaint, historic town.

And so our adventure began.

Once off the thruway, the drive takes you on winding country roads through beautiful Upstate NY. I love the farms and fields of corn. We came upon these turbine windmills and with the darkening sky and their very slow movement, it was an almost eerie, alien-esque movie feeling we got while driving by...




We made it by with no major injuries to our souls :)

The store website is full of information on Vidlers and their reputation is that they have ANYTHING you would want, from modern to nostalgic, and pride themselves on carrying all the old-fashioned items of a 5 & 10 of years gone by. You are advised that it could take you 2-3 hours to go through the two full floors of stuff. Here's why.....

In the gift area, stuff for bikers and their babes...

Any and all of the old toys and games

Gag gifts like instant underwear, and cupcake dental floss


Outdoor games


Hair and beauty accessories



                                                        A rubber ducky for any occasion


Kettle corn in a machine and local maple syrup products


Candy by the pound ($8.99 a pound!)


And candy bars, old-fashioned and everyday


Need a pack of gum? Or 10?


Oh, and the bacon and pickle products. There were
even candies to taste like brown gravy.



It's a little blurry, but yes, you are seeing Pickle lip balm and Pickle mints, Bacon Frosting, Bacon Toothpaste, and Gummy Bacon. There were bacon shaped bandaids and a bacon wallet.




More old-fashioned games


Remember Lamb Chop? There were puppets and talking stuffed
Lamb Chops.


Very cute Pop Goes the Weasel!


Two many lunch boxes and things to go with to fit in the picture.


I didn't see anyone trying this....I imagined that it told your secrets out
loud if you stepped on it!


These were tempting but I still had my extra large Chunky
candy bar to eat from the other section!


70's bandanas in every color


This won the "ugliest purse I have ever seen" contest
 (the contest that was going on in my head!)


At the beginning you saw a glimpse of the outside of the store
which stretches for a good part of the block. Near one end we
found this gentlemen...."Vidler on the Roof"?

And so after 2 hours we were done going through all the stuff. We wanted to explore the town a little. With two hours to go before dinner and being that it was Sunday, a lot of places were closed for the day.

We could only enjoy the Elm Street shopping district through my camera lens. There was an antique store, an art gallery, a bakery and a florist.



We did find a cute ice cream place housed in an old train caboose. An electric train ran around the top part of the building.





Having ice cream at 3 p.m. did not help us be hungry enough for dinner in town so we were on the road again heading towards home. We did find a few places to stop along the way and of course I found a few vintage things to pick up at a Barn Sale at The Farm.



It started pouring as we left but by the time we reached this sign it started to clear up and become sunny skies again....


Our adventurous day ended that evening at the end of the thruway in Webster, NY at Proietti's Italian Restaurant. I worked there for 14 years as a waitress and they still have the best Italian food in our area.


Sandy, my friend and owner, picked up our tab for dinner, which was the perfect ending to our day trip.

What adventurous things did you do this Labor Day weekend?

AnnMarie :)

Linking up with these great blog hops:

Let's Get Social Sunday
Monday Mingling Blog Hop
Marvelous Mondays Link Party
Amaze Me Monday
The Scoop
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
Tuesday Trivia
What's It Wednesday
Adorned From Above
Meet & Greet Blog Hop
Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop
The Weekend re-Treat
TGIF Link Party
Freedom Fridays
Weekend Wonders