I don't ski or ice skate. Besides, this winter has not really afforded the weather to do those things anyway. At least when there is snow, the landscape is white and pretty and you can get some nice pictures if you go out for a walk. But now, everything is grey, it's like the longest spring ever. Not that I'm complaining, I'm just bored.
So, I have nothing to do but go out and shop and go to estate sales.
In my travels last Friday, I spotted some small platters but they were very beat up so I passed them up. Friday night I was looking through an old Pottery Barn catalog and spotted some platters that were painted like chalk boards. So, Saturday, I went back and bought the platters and began this project.
I bought four of them, but I only painted three.
I taped off the whole area, then cut away everything that didn't look like a chalkboard. :)
I put an enamel undercoater on them to help the paint adhere to the china.
Then I put on three coats of chalkboard paint.
The end result!
I think they came out cute, but I think if they were bigger they would be better. Only problem is, if I find a big platter like these, I probably will want to use it for it's intended purpose. Hopefully I will get these into my etsy shop, but I'm having some confidence/knowledge issues with the shop right now. Hopefully I will overcome the problems soon.
So this week we had weird weather. Last Friday we had snow and wicked high winds.
Since then it all melted, we had some warmer weather, some heavy rains, it turned cold again, in the 20's, and now it's snowing again. This is the weather we expect here.
Weather like this makes me want to stay in the kitchen with the oven on.
So, I've been baking.
I made focaccia.
I never made it before, but it was easy. I just mixed the dough together, then kneaded in sun dried tomatoes and basil.
Then I put chopped prosciutto and Parmesan cheese on top.
This recipe called for making eight individual breads. I think next time I will either make a huge one on my jelly roll pan, or make two big rounds. One time we bought some fresh focaccia at the farmer's market downtown and they were thick rounds, almost like a cake. Perhaps I could put it in a spring form pan. Any ideas from anyone on that?
I took some time out to go to a great basketball game...
...made a banana bread...
...and made a chicken pot pie.
Now, I will admit, this pie is the lazy cook's chicken pot pie, but still delicious. It always seems to hit the spot.
When Big V was the only V and was brand spankin' new, my sister-in-law Donna brought over this pie for us to put in the freezer for a day when I was too harried to cook. (I have to say, V was born in February, and I was harried until July.) She also included the recipe in the package and I've been making it ever since.
Veg-All Chicken Pot Pie
1 can (10 3/4 oz) cream of celery or cream of potato soup
1 16oz can Veg-All, drained
2 cups cooked diced chicken, or one large can canned chicken or two small
1/2 cup milk
shake of thyme
1/2 tsp pepper
1 egg, beaten
2 9in pie crusts
Combined soup, veggies, chicken, milk, thyme and pepper in a medium sized bowl. Place one pie crust into the bottom of an 8 in pie pan. Spoon filling into the crust. Cover with second crust, crimp edges to seal. Slit top of crust and brush with egg, if desired.
Bake at 375 degrees for 40 min.
Let cool 10 minutes before cutting.
Note: In my area it has been hard to find Veg-All lately, so I just buy a can of mixed vegetables and it does the trick.
So winter has come back and we finally got some snow worth talking about. I would have ventured out to take a better picture than this, but it's really cold. I guess I'm a baby.
It's nice to let the dog out and she doesn't come in covered in mud.
Now it's a different process of clean up, but its a clean clean up, not a dirty one. It just involves getting all the snowballs off her paws and face, at the same time as she is trying to eat them.
Anyhow, I have been looking around here for a project to do (that I like) and I think I found one.
This is my dresser that my daddy built me.
The most pronounced thing on my dresser is this pile of beads, necklaces, bracelets and earrings. I'm terrible about taking things off and just throwing them on the dresser.
Ever since I started making jewelry and buying more, I've run out of room to put it all.
A solution is coming...
...in the form of an old trellis that my dad made for my mom's rose bushes a long, long, time ago. It was behind the shed and got a little beat up. I once had it next to the screened porch for a clematis I was killing growing.
Curious about what I'm doing with it?? I will have to show you tomorrow because I have one more thing to go get and also, it got too dark to take good pictures. So come by tomorrow and see the result!!
I got this recipe from Food Network. It is by Tyler Florence, my favorite TV chef. ;)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 fresh thyme sprigs
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup red wine, about 1/2 bottle
3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 quarts beef broth
1 baguette, sliced
1/2 pound grated Gruyere cheese
Melt the stick of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and salt and pepper and cook until the onions are very soft and caramelized, about 25 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the wine has evaporated and the onions are dry, about 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Dust the onions with the flour and give them a stir. Turn the heat down to medium low so the flour doesn't burn, and cook for 10 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. Now add the beef broth, bring the soup back to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
When you are ready to eat, preheat the broiler. Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle the slices with the Gruyere and broil until bubbly and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
Ladle the soup in bowls and float several of the Gruyere croutons on top.
Alternative method: Ladle the soup into bowls, top each with 2 slices of bread and top with cheese. Put the bowls into the oven to toast the bread and melt the cheese.
Here I'm floating French bread slices on the top. My girl Big V took the pictures of me in action. (She also took a video of me with the iPad while I was dancing to Michael Jackson and grating the cheese.)
After it took me 10 minutes to grate up a bunch of the cheese, I remembered the cheese shop lady telling me to use a peeler to get thin slices of cheese for the top. So I peeled some to put over the edges.
I put it under the broiler to get the cheese all melted and bubbly.
My sweet husband made the sandwiches.
Good dinner for a Wednesday. My dad is not here for dinner on Wednesday and usually my husband is at work so the girls and don't usually eat that great. But I've been wanting to make this soup for a long time. It was really good but needed a little more beefy flavor. I just don't like using too much bullion because of the MSG in it. Little V used to have a very bad reaction to it so I still avoid it as much as possible.
Maybe you can try making this soup, it was pretty easy to make
I made this sweater for my great-nephew, Maddox. He was due right around now, but he came along six weeks early on December 3. Of course, I was sick for most of December so I couldn't go see him. I also couldn't finish the sweater and being the procrastinator I am and thinking I had six more weeks to work on it I didn't have it done before he arrived. Now it is nearly completed. I just need to sew on some snaps and I maybe some buttons to make it look good on the front. The pattern calls for ties, but I'm a freak about ties on baby clothes. Better safe than sorry. If my niece will allow, I will post a photo of the sweater with the baby in it. ;)
I am especially proud of this because I never made a sweater before, and I rarely finish a project at all. Also, I thought my mother would be proud that I actually, finally, got the hang of it after years of sitting next to her on the couch trying to knit. Eventually I would hand my project over to her to fix it or go back three rows to pick up 5 dropped stitches, finish an area of it or loosen my stitches that were so tight you couldn't even get the needle into them. But I never finished anything. In fact, I was up in a bedroom closet at my dad's house looking through all the yarn and I found a project I started at least 20 years ago. So funny. I also thought that if my mom were here she would be the one making a sweater for the baby, but since she's not, I will.
Here is a sweater my mom made for one of my brother's twins. By the time I started having babies, my mom couldn't really knit any more. Thank God my sister-in-law thought enough to send me one since she knew I wouldn't have a sweater knit by my mom. I really love it, and hopefully one day, my girls can put it on their babies. But not for like, 15 or 20 years.
Since this post was supposed to be yesterdays, I will tell you what I did yesterday.
I made bread.
Last week I found a recipe online that was super easy, but it didn't really tell you how much water to use. It said to follow the yeast package, but that only called for 1/4 cup. Once I started mixing in all the other ingredients, it was dry. I baked it anyway and it came out fine but I was still concerned about it. So I went on the yeast website itself and found this recipe that called for 1 1/2 cups of water. It wound up making two loaves.
I usually use my breadmaker to mix the dough and then I knead it, let it rise, shape it and bake it myself, but I have been wanting to do the whole process myself so I looked online for a recipe. I wish my grandma was around to ask if she ever made bread.
I made stuffed shells and this definitely went well with it.
Big V was very hungry after basketball practice. lol She almost couldn't wait.
Today we are using the second loaf for panini sandwiches and I am making French Onion soup as well. After I make it, I will post the recipe and a picture.
First off, I will show you my AWESOME bargain I picked up at an estate sale yesterday.
I am so excited, I got this working vintage fan for $5!!! Last year, Nic and I were at a sale and we saw one but I passed it up. I have regretted that ever since. So now I found another one! It is really cool. A nice addition to my shelf.
Today I am putting away all the Christmas decorations. I hate this task. The reason I hate this task is because I have no closet or storage space in this house. The only closet that is not in a bedroom is my front hall coat closet. All the Christmas decorations are stored in this space. Therefore, I have to take out every coat that anyone in this house owns, plus the vacuum cleaner, a huge case of cassette tapes (don't ask), a bed tray, tripod, etc, etc, etc, to get everything put away. Add to this the fact that my husband can't stand having the closet laying all over the foyer and the living room and you can see why I dislike it so much.
While I was pulling out boxes, I rediscovered this cool coffee maker that belonged to my parents when they got married. My dad said it was a wedding gift.
I was puzzled with how it worked, but a few months ago I caught a bit of a story on the Cooking Channel about coffee made with coffee makers similar to this, using the vacuum principal. I asked Ron to help me figure it out and since the closet was pulled apart anyway, we might as well use it to make some coffee. So, we looked up a Cona coffee maker online and we found out they are still making them. There was an explanation of how to brew the perfect cup of coffee.
Step 1. Put hot water in the bottom vessel and turn on the heating element.
Step 2. Put the glass stopper in the funnel and add ground coffee.
Step 3. As the water in the bottom bubbles, it travels up the funnel and into the coffee.
Step 4. Remove the heat source and watch the finished coffee travel back down into the bowl at the bottom.
It still was bubbling when it all finished.
They claim it makes the best tasting cup of coffee.
I have to say, it was really good, and I'm not a big coffee drinker. I'm a tea person, based on the fact that since I'm half British it's in my blood. Or is there a saying that British people don't have blood, it's tea in their veins? I'm not sure, maybe I made it up. lol
So, continuing the day...
...someone said, "let the dog out in the back to run around." He will remain nameless, but here's a hint, he's the only man in this house. I don't really let her do that too often because the yard can get very wet and soggy. So, as we were researching this coffee making process, we were not watching what the dog was doing. She was digging a hole in the yard.
She was covered in mud. And grass. She had the second bath in as many days. But now she's clean again, and whining to go back out to finish her work.
After all the excitement, I am going back to the ever-boring-and-annoying Christmas un-decorating.