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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Some Sewing and Not Your Usual Mac and Cheese

 Hi everyone and happy Sunday.  I have been a busy girl these days.  I have been sewing up a storm.  I am seriously hooked on these cool watchbands from Cluck Cluck Sew .  These are the second and third ones I have made and I have several more in mind to make next.  I also purchased a gold watch face for these bands so the sky is the limit.  I love custom accessories. 
The red one I made before has gotten tons of compliments.  They really are alot of fun.  I also have a create a watch face with several stretch beaded bands.  I purchased all of those but I am thinking I can make those bands as well.  I love jewelry but I have never really gotten into beading because I felt I did enough other crafts.  But I must admit, when I am in Michael's Craft Store, I glance at all the beads and think of what I could make with them.  I just may try a couple of the beaded bands yet! 
You know how I love to make cases for all my glasses(and there are many between reading glasses and sunglasses).  I found the instructions for this cute felt case on the Woman's Day website.  This case couldn't have been easier.  Felt doesn't need to be hemmed or turned right side out and the colors are so fun.  I may just have to make another one of these with the different glasses they showed to decorate them.   I just had to make the retro ones. 

 I want to share an upscale mac and cheese recipe with you before I go.  This one takes a couple of different cheeses and I loved it.  My family still has a different favorite mac and cheese that I make and I will share that with you soon.  For this one you cook a 16 oz. pkg of elbow macaroni as the box directs.  Meanwhile in a large saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter and stir in 3 tablespoons of flour.  Stir in salt and pepper and about 1/2 teaspoon each of onion powder and garlic powder.  Slowly add 2 1/2 cups of milk.  Bring to a boil  and stir until thickened.  Turn down the heat.  Add 1 cup shredded mozzarella, 1 cup shredded mild cheddar, 3 oz. cream cheese, softened, and 1/4 cup crumbly blue cheese.  Stir until melted.  Add 1/2 cup sour cream and the cooked and drained macaroni.  Stir together and serve.  I know some people shudder at the above picture but I have to have ketchup on my mac and cheese.  Besides, for some reason I give you guys recipes for mostly white foods.  I don't know why that is besides the fact that I cook with alot of chicken and cheese!  The ketchup in the picture gives it color-how's that for reasoning? 

I am going back to work tomorrow after a week off.  Why do vacations fly by while the average work week drags?  That is the million dollar question! I have several projects waiting in the wings to complete so I am hoping to work on at least a cute Winter-themed one this week.  Before you know it, Spring will be here.  I hope everyone has a great week.  Take care.   Nancy

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Wristlets and Another Chicken Dish

Hi everyone and happy Sunday.  We have some pristine, sparkly snow here after being on the outskirts of Nemo Friday night.  I actually enjoyed a snow day Friday from school-it was a miracle!  My heart does go out to the people suffering hardships and losses of property and worse from this storm.  We were fortunate not to get the brunt of it. 

I know I mentioned that my oldest son turned 22 on Friday.  I made him Twinkie cupcakes for his celebratory dessert.  They were off-the-hook amazing.  I wasn't as big a fan of Twinkies as a kid as many other people were.  I am a frosting girl and Twinkies just were missing that extra sugary oomph frosting provides in my book.  Well this recipe from the Lady Behind the Curtain's blog solved that problem for me!  I didn't get all fancy with the swirl to the frosting that she did, but they were oh so tasty and definitely satisfied everybody's sweet tooth.  You should try them. 

 On to my creative endeavors of the week.  I don't know if you ever watched Knitty Gritty with Vickie Howell, but I have seen every episode.  I loved that show, even though I tend to be a chicken knitter-making only flat projects.  I saw these wristlets designed by Marnie MacLean and I wanted to try them.  I bought the self-patterning yarn eons ago for the project and being a true sufferer of crafting ADD, I jumped to a different project.  Fast forward many years later, I came across the yarn and remembered what I wanted to do with it.  I searched for the instructions(in the above link) and cranked them out.  I am pretty happy with them.  They were fun and I am using them.  When I am on my computer in the early morning, my craft room where my computer is can get chilly.  Besides being on the computer, they keep my hands warm when I am knitting or crocheting, which I am on a major kick of right now.  I have 2 scarves on the go and another one I want to start(but I am resisting).  If you like to knit at all, you should check out Knitty Gritty reruns if you get the chance.  Vickie is a riot and she makes you want to pick up some needles and go!  Also, right now I am taping on my dvr a show called Knit and Crochet Now! which is on my local educational channel.  There is alot of inspiration out there, just look around! 

Lastly, I want to share yet another chicken dish-I swear Sam's Club should hire me to spread the word about the millions of things to make with their rotisserie chickens!  This is a hash brown chicken casserole I made.  It is easy to throw together and very good.  I took a 32oz. package of thawed cubed hash browns and cooked them in butter in a large frying pan.  I spread them in a sprayed 9x13 pan.  Then I sprinkled with salt and pepper to taste.  Then I layered some shredded rotisserie chicken over the potatoes.  Meanwhile, I combined in a large bowl: 8 oz. sour cream, 2 cups chicken broth, 1 can cream of chicken soup, 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules, dehydrated onions to taste and a clove of minced garlic.  I stirred and poured over the chicken and potatoes.  lastly, I sprinkled with 1/4 cup slivered almonds and baked for 55 minutes at 350 degrees.  You could jazz this up by adding vegetables or mushrooms in the layers or roasted red peppers would have been nice too.  I was serving this to my oldest who doesn't like any of what I just mentioned, so I left it relatively plain.  It was even better the next day after all the flavors had a chance to meld. 

I am counting down to my next school vacation which is the week after this one.  I am hoping to do some sewing.  I hope you all have a fabulous week.  Take care.   Nancy

Sunday, February 3, 2013

It Is The Season For Snowmen...and Hearty Casseroles

Hi everyone and here we are at Sunday evening again.  It is snowing softly here after having a nasty lake effect snow storm yesterday.  I love the snow.  I think it is so clean and pretty and it makes it so cozy to be indoors doing all of my favorite things: sewing, cooking and baking, crafting and watching movies with my husband.  He is watching the Super Bowl at a party right now and I have had a great afternoon putting the finishing touches on my latest project.

Don't you love it when you see something in a catalog and you end up making it yourself at home for next to nothing?  Such is the case with this adorable snowman candle holder. 

I saw it for around $20(not counting shipping) and I had to have it.  I made some changes to the original design to more suit my decorating style and taste.  I had my husband hack me off a block like I used for my sewing caddy.  Then I drew him a rough sketch of the size flat circle and carrot nose I needed. He was able to use scraps so the cost is zippo at this point. 

Fortunately I am a tole painter from way back so I have quite a collection of craft paint.  I chose the colors I wanted and painted the three pieces.  Then I sanded off the edges to distress them. 

I winged it with the facial details of the snowman, making them very simple.  I used a q-tip for this.  Then I used a burgundy color and another q-tip to rub red cheeks on him.  I used a stylus to put all sizes of white dots on the face and nose to simulate snow and glued him together with wood glue.  I brushed a coat of satin varnish on him and let him dry.  After that, I just popped in a battery-operated
candle and a candle ring I had from another decoration and there you have it.  I think it turned out cute and I paid very little for the candle. 

I want to share an amazingly cozy casserole I tried.  It is Chicken Cobbler and it is to die for.  I found it in a cookbook and it was a big hit.  You start out by cubing up some day old bakery bread(I used French bread)-you should have a couple of cups of cubes- and drizzle with 1/4 cup of melted butter.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese over the buttery bread cubes and toss.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, combine: 3 cups cooked broccoli florets, shredded cooked chicken meat(I used a rotisserie chicken), 1/2 cup drained and chopped roasted red bell pepper from a jar, a small jar of Alfredo sauce, and 1/2 cup sour cream.  Mix and transfer to a greased casserole dish.  Top with bread cubes and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes until bubbly.   It is delicious.  Enjoy!

My oldest son turns 22 this coming Friday and I don't know where the time has gone.  He wants steak, loaded mashed potatoes and Caesar salad for his birthday dinner.  I am going to make him some Twinkie cupcakes I saw last week on a blog.  They look pretty unforgettable so I can't wait to try them.  I hope you all have a great week.  Stay warm and take care.   Nancy