Baked Potato Soup – Chicken Parmesan Tenders

November 13, 2017 at 10:26 am (Chicken, Recipes, Soup)

We are an old-fashioned family.  We eat a protein, a starch and a vegetable every meal.  It often tasks my brain to come up with a different starch.  I’ve been making this soup since 2006.  It uses baked potatoes, which makes it nice for leftovers.  In my opinion, baked potatoes have much more flavor.  I cut the recipe in half since it is just DannyO and I and served it with baked Parmesan chicken tenders and a salad. BakedPotatoSoup-1

Baked Potato Soup

  • 4 large baking potatoes (about 2 3/4 pounds)
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (I use 1 1/4 teaspoons because I felt it needed a bit more)
  • 3/4 teaspoon white pepper (you can use black pepper but the white pepper keeps the creamy broth all white)
  • 6 cups milk -(or more if the end product is too thick for your liking.  We like it thick 🙂 )
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 10 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1.  Bake potatoes at 350 for 65-75 minutes or until tender; cool completely.  Peel and cube potatoes. 
  2. In large saucepan or dutch oven melt butter; stir in flour, salt and pepper until smooth.
  3. Gradually add milk. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
  4. Remove from heat; whisk in sour cream.  Add potatoes and green onions.
  5. At this point, you may need to put it back on the stove to heat the potatoes through.  Make sure you don’t put it on a high heat!  Add more milk at this time if you think it is too thick.
  6. Garnish with bacon and cheddar cheese.  Serve.

The chicken tenders are a recipe I made myself although I’m sure there are many on line.  I will give you the ingredients I use.  The important thing is to bake on a wire rack on a cookie sheet so the tenders are crisp on all sides.BakedPotatoSoup-2

Baked Parmesan Cheese Chicken Tenders

  • 8 ounces chicken tenders
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Salt/pepper
  • 1 cup seasoned panko or bread crumbs
  • shredded parmesan cheese
  1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine flour, salt and pepper in a ziploc bag and put the tenders in.  Mash around until they are covered.  Shake them off well and put on a plate.
  2. Beat 2 eggs in one pie plate.  Add the seasoned panko and parmesan cheese in another.
  3. Using the assembly method, put the tenders in the egg mixture and dredge through the panko/parmesan mixture.
  4. Put on wire rack on cookie sheet.  For convenience, I cover the cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

 

Go forth and cook an easy supper!!

Advertisements

Permalink 2 Comments

Minimizing MY Way – Staying on the Journey

November 9, 2017 at 12:28 pm (Minimalizing My Way)

minimalismstruggle-9I’ve been on the “minimalism MY way” journey for 21 months and sometimes I still struggle.  I war between wanting a French Country style with all of its beauty and layers and a minimalist look with its peace and quiet.  {{Sigh}}

The last few days I’ve been “thinking” about adding to my kitchen/dining room.  Thinking about copper pots, ironstone, covered glass domes filled with beautiful things, banners that spell out beautiful words, flowers and more flowers, fabric that adds to the look of “comfort,” candlesticks… you get the idea 🙂

And then I come back to the reason I decided to embark on the minimalism MY way journey; because the clutter in my head matched the clutter in my house.  And I decide to spend a rainy afternoon rearranging what I have.

I still may go to a lighter style of dishes.  My Marcrest is so heavy looking and bulky.  I have a few pieces of “Stubenville Pottery, Fairlane Pattern,” and may choose to replace what I have with those pieces.  I may fill a bowl of spiced orange pomander balls for the Christmas season.  I am painting another breadbox to display on my primitive cupboard.

See??  My journey includes compromise!!  I promise you, if you go on the journey, you will have to compromise too.  And that’s okay!!  Here is my kitchen/dining room sparkling clean and beautiful!!

I am content.

 

Permalink Leave a Comment

Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Soup

November 6, 2017 at 8:06 am (Recipes, Soup)

It is a rainy Monday morning here on Blueberry Hill and I wanted to write a quick blog post about the second soup I made this last week.  I usually never make two soups in a week but I had mushrooms and homemade chicken broth that needed used.  I found this recipe on the Damn Delicious Blog but since I’ve made my own changes to it, I am declaring it mine too 🙂

DannyO says to keep it in my recipe file so if he says that, I say it’s good enough to share!!creamymushroomsoup-1-e1509973425911.jpgdefault

Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Soup

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces chicken tenders cut into small chunks
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 16 ounce baby bella mushrooms sliced thinly
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 3 carrots peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup half and half or more (See Note**)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  1. Heat olive oil in soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat.  Season chicken well with salt and pepper.  Add to pot and cook until browned, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes, making sure chicken is cooked completely.
  2. Melt butter in the pot over medium/low heat.  Add garlic, mushrooms, onion, carrots and celery.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes.  (See Note*) Stir in thyme and cook about 1 more minute.
  3. Whisk in flour, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute.  Whisk in chicken stock, bay leaf and chicken tenders and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Stir in half and half until heated through, about 1-2 minutes. (See Note**)  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  If the soup is too thick, add more half and half or broth until desired consistency is reached.
  5. Garnish with parsley and serve with a crusty bread.

Note*  The dice on the vegetables needs to be small enough to cook through in 3-4 minutes.  I slit the celery down the middle before slicing and I slit the carrots into 4 long pieces before dicing into little squares.  That is the beauty of this recipe!!  It can be cooked literally in 30 minutes or less!!

Note** If you want to make it a dairy-free recipe, I would add 1/2 cup of extra chicken broth and then check the consistency.  If needed, add more chicken broth.  If you want to be brave and try it without the flour and half and half, go for it!!  You will have more of a regular soup consistency with the mushrooms acting as the noodles!!Creamymushroomsoup-3

Go forth and make soup!!

 

Permalink 2 Comments

Recipe for Shea Butter Moisturizer

November 4, 2017 at 9:25 am (Homemade Beauty Products, Simplifying facial care)

I know my last blog post was probably hard to read for a few of you but, honestly, facing truths is often hard.  I know it spoke to some because I heard from you.

Anyway, I’m moving back to my regular posts… recipes/minimalism/home decor (my way).

As part of my “minimalism MY way” routine, I’ve been making all of my own face cleansing and moisturizer products. While I love my Coconut Oil Moisturizer, I needed a heavier product for the winter months because my face is so dry.  It seems that Shea butter is heavier and better for those with very dry skin.

I found a few recipes but decided to make my own.  It is fabulous!!  I wake up with my skin still soft and supple (which is hard when you’re 58!!  🙂 )  Since the heat has been on, I had been waking up with dry skin.   I will use the Shea Butter cream through the winter months.

Shea Butter Moisturizer

  • 1/2 cup shea butter
  • 1/8 cup sweet almond oil
  • 1/8 cup Vitamin E oil
  • 10 drops Young Living Sweet frankincense Oil (or any other concentrated oil you’d like to use)

Sheabuttermoisturizer-1  Sheabuttermoisturizer-2

  1. Using a double boiler or a glass bowl over a pan of water, melt the shea butter. Sheabuttermoisturizer-3
  2. When completely melted, add the sweet almond oil, vitamin E oil and sweet frankincense oil.Sheabuttermoisturizer-4
  3. Pour into glass container (I would recommend glass). Sheabuttermoisturizer-5
  4. Set in refrigerator until it has completely cooled and is solid.
  5. Store in a dark cupboard.

It is that easy!!  The Shea butter initially had some “granules” in it, but after I melted it, they dissolved.  This is the best moisturizer!!  If you plan to use it only intermittently, store in the refrigerator.  Me??  I use it up quickly enough that I can keep it in a dark cabinet.  If it loses its “solidity,” I just put it back in the fridge for a few hours.  It also feels great on the skin chilled.  🙂

One note, after applying to your face, massage it in.  Then leave the residue on the surface of your skin for 5 minutes.  Much more will be absorbed.  The, using a microfiber towel (exclusively for this), blot your face and continue your beauty routine.  I usually use that 5 minutes to do my “5 minute ab workout!”

Go forth and make your own moisturizer!!  It is easy and cheap!

 

 

Permalink Leave a Comment

Contentment

November 1, 2017 at 6:00 am (Musings...)

I’ve been struggling to write this blog for a week.

I was face-timing my darling daughter Amanda yesterday. She quoted this, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” ~~ C.S. Lewis

The recognition of what the struggle really was and the blog post came together in that moment.  This is an honest conversation between you, me and one of my inner voices.  🙂

I am not envious of other’s possessions.  Believe me, that jealousy was gone after I took 850 pounds out of our home last year.  I’m not envious (almost never 🙂 ) of other’s looks. At 58 I have finally accepted how I look and am embracing who I am and am working to keep ME in the best shape I can be in.  “I’m not the average girl from your video and I ain’t built like a supermodel, but I’ve learned to love myself unconditionally because I am a queen.”  ~~ India.Arie

No, what I struggle with is contentment in my ability to create and am often envious that others are so much better than I am.  I cannot dedicate 8 hours a day to improve.  My body would curl up in a ball right on my chair and my eyes would be seeing, not double, but quadruple!! I can’t even have a full-time job because of my physical struggles.  How the hell am I supposed to feel good about who I am??? (One of my inner “voices” swears a lot 🙂  )

I actually unsubscribed from blogs that were lovely and inspiring but made me feel inadequate and depressed.  Yes, I know that people who blog often exaggerate their realities but they always make it seem so easy!  They probably have assistants for assistants and housekeepers and all the rest.  They have endless energy and an unlimited supply of creativity!

As I’m muddling through, sometimes I feel like God screwed up!  Here I am with all these ideas and a bit of talent and I can’t do it because my body betrays me!!  Sometimes I think if I didn’t have any talent I’d be better off!! Damn it!!!  (that inner voice again…)

I began to recognize this discontent in September.  I wrote some verses in my journal.

Contentment-1

I don’t have a clear handle on this, but I am working to be thankful every day for my abilities and my creative, bouncing brain!!  It’s a destructive pattern that I need to break!!  The prayer in my devotional today was, “Thank You, Lord Jesus, for my journey through the valley of weeping so You might break any destructive patterns in my life, which releases me to enjoy the pools of blessings.  I delight to worship You and live with You in the simplicity of childlike trust.” ~~Hinds Feet on High Places devotional

Now if I could only get that inner voice to stop swearing…

img_5779.jpg

I was made for another world.  I can’t wait!!

Permalink Leave a Comment

Tortellini-Sausage Soup

October 30, 2017 at 6:00 am (Recipes, Soup)

Here is another of my “rotating” recipes in the fall/winter.  I received it from Dee N in 2008 after enjoying it when I visited her and G’s home in Maryland with Amanda.  It is fabulous!  I have made a few changes in the subsequent years to make it mine.

TortelliniSausageSoup-1

At the end of the recipe I’ve added a “grocery list” so that you can tell, at a glance, if you have all the ingredients on hand.  You’re welcome 🙂

Tortellini-Sausage Soup

(Ingredients listed in order of use)

  • 1 pound Italian hot or sweet sausage (with casings removed) — I usually use 2 links of each, sliced down the middle and then cut in 1/2″ pieces.
  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 cups beef broth (using 6 cups total)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup red wine — if you don’t cook with wine, add the equivalent in beef broth
  • 2 cups peeled, chopped tomatoes — you can use canned diced tomatoes, but I prefer the freshness of *8 Roma tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. basil
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup diced potatoes
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 8 oz. cheese tortellini (fresh or dried)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • grated parmesan cheese
  1. Cook sausage in a bit of oil.  Drain and return to the pot, adding the onion and garlic.  Cook for a few more minutes.
  2. Add 5 cups beef broth, water, wine, tomatoes, basil and oregano
  3. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Add the carrots and potatoes.
  5. Simmer for 30 more minutes
  6. Add additional cup of beef broth and tortellini.
  7. Simmer for 15 minutes (Check the instructions on the tortellini you purchase to make sure 15 minutes is enough.  If not, simmer for the time noted on the package.  Note:  Make sure you simmer “quietly.”  The tortellini will fall apart if vigorously boiled… (ask me how I know 🙂 )
  8. Check for seasonings.  Sometimes I need to add a bit of salt but truly the combination of beef broth and wine usually suffice.
  9. Turn the heat off. add the parsley.
  10. Serve with some parmesan cheese grated over the top of the bowl of soup.

*To peel and chop the Roma tomatoes, cut an “X” into the bottom of each tomato and place in boiling water.  Watch carefully until the skins split down the sides — it doesn’t take long, 3-4 minutes at the most.  Then drain, peel and chop.  I love the taste of fresh tomatoes in this soup.

This is a very easy-to-make, hearty soup and perfect for those dreary, cold days in our PA fall/winter!

Go forth and make soup!!

TortelliniSausageSoup-2

Grocery List

  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Roma Tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes
  • Parsley
  • cheese tortellini, fresh or dried
  • parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Beef granules or beef broth
  • red wine
  • basil
  • oregano
  • sweet or hot Italian sausage

 

 

Permalink Leave a Comment

My 17 Month Journey… to lose 20 Pounds (yes, it took that long!)

October 26, 2017 at 6:00 am (Fit_At_58)

My original planned blog post for today was going to be about the fabulous top I made, McCalls 7627.  I worked for 2 1/2 weeks on it.  When I did the initial fitting, it fit.  As I continued to sew it, I didn’t think about the fact that I was continuing to lose weight.  When I put it on to photograph it… well, it wouldn’t stay on my shoulders.  I guess that’s a good problem to have except now I will have to give it away and make another one 🙂

Mccalls7627-6

So, instead of writing about the top I made, I will tell you about my 17 month journey to lose 20 pounds.  May 2016, as I was going through photographs for Amanda, I found a picture of me.  I said to DannyO, “look at this picture!!!”  It was taken maybe in 2005.  I was just sitting at a picnic but what I noticed was how strong and fit I looked!

my17monthjourney.jpg

I decided then and there to make some real changes!!  I was sedentary, fat, and basically unhealthy!!  I joined Ebensburg Fitness and committed to going 3-4 days a week.  I tried classes but I’m solitary by nature and they weren’t a good fit for me.  So, I lifted weights and used their cardio machines.  My weight didn’t budge, but I persisted.  By September, I had lost 3 pounds… I persisted… by December, I lost 6 pounds.

OOTD-3

January 2017 — down 7 pounds 🙂

Ebensburg Fitness gave me the jump-start I needed but once winter hit, I suspended my gym membership. I just cannot be out in the cold with my neuralgia.  However, I continued to lift at home and use my elliptical at least 3 days a week. Continuing to persist…  By Brent’s wedding, I had lost 10 pounds.

DSCF2320

Down 10 pounds

The real change came in April.  Amanda gave me her old Fitbit.  Then I REALLY realized that, even with my 30 minutes on the elliptical, I was only getting about 3500 steps in each day.

I then committed to getting 8000 steps in each day.  In order to achieve this, I began to take Jazzy Joy to the Ghost Town trail for a walk at least 5 days a week.  Sometimes I need a walking stick.  Even other times, I need my rollator, but I walk, no matter how slowly, at least 50 minutes. The weight actually started coming off a little faster and I continued to persist…

Then 3 weeks ago I stepped on the scale and it said 139.5.  I didn’t believe it.  I made DannyO step on it.  He said it was 7 pounds light compared to the doctor’s scale.  I threw that scale away and bought a new one.  I stepped on it… 139.5!!  I made DannyO step on it.  He said it was 7 pounds light, but then remembered that, at the doctor’s, he had his heavy work shoes and jeans on!!

At that point, I believed the scale!!  Woo Hoo!!!  I’d like to lose 5 more, but, I don’t care if I do!!

The challenge will be this winter, when it is cold out.  I will have to find some way to continue.  I haven’t quite figured out what I’m going to do.

I lift weights for only 20 minutes 2 days a week and do a 5-minute ab workout every morning while my moisturizer is permeating my skin.  I walk 5-6 days a week, rain or shine.  (Jazzy Joy is in fabulous shape too — the vet said so!)

My eating habits changed a bit too.  Most days I eat 2 meals and one substantial snack.  I try to include vegetables and fruit, although I find it easier to get my fruit quota in.  After I drink my morning coffee, I drink water.  On weekends, I allow myself a few adult beverages if we eat out and I enjoy whatever restaurant food I order.  I also still eat a goodie every day.  To me, this is more of a lifestyle change than a diet.

I’m so proud of me!!  I did it!! I just feel better all around — the aches in my knees and hips aren’t quite as bad.  Because my abs are stronger, my back doesn’t hurt quite as much.   I really feel like the weight will stay off because of the way I lost it — as slow as a turtle 🙂

OOTD-7

From 160 to 139.5  — Woo Hoo!!

 

Permalink 1 Comment

Yummy Peanut Butter Cookies

October 24, 2017 at 12:21 pm (Drop Cookies, Recipes)

Peanut Butter Cookies and Coffee ~~ A magical combination!

I originally published this recipe in 2011.  I decided to re-post it because I had 2 with my coffee this morning and decided everyone needs to have peanut butter cookies with coffee if possible 🙂

This peanut butter cookie recipe came in a book my Aunt Agnes gave me as a wedding gift in 1980.  I have made no additions to this recipe as it is perfect!   I always use “Jif” peanut butter but of course you can use whatever you like.   I do not suggest using butter as a substitute for shortening.  It makes the cookie too “oily.”  These are a great comfort snack!

 Peanut Butter Cookies

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 ½ cup flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt

Blend shortening, peanut butter and sugar.  Add vanilla and eggs.  Sift all dry ingredients together and mix in.  Roll into 1-inch balls and flatten with fork.  (I dip the fork into some sugar and flatten each cookie in an X pattern ).  For a little more crunch, I put a few sugar crystals on each flattened cookie.  Bake on an ungreased sheet (I use parchment paper) for 12 minutes at 350.

Permalink 2 Comments

Seven Layer Magic Cookie Bars

October 19, 2017 at 4:00 am (Bar Cookies, Recipes)

I do my best thinking in the middle of the night…  I knew we were going to be busy all day Sunday attending a Fall Festival with friends.  I also knew that I usually bake a goodie for darling DannyO’s lunch on Sunday.  I further knew that it had to be easy and it couldn’t be brownies because I make brownies every other time I need an easy recipe.

Anyway… It was 3 am and my brain was turning.  Didn’t I remember a bar cookie recipe that was extremely easy?  It had a number in the title.  It used sweetened condensed milk.  It was all the rage 30 years ago but I hadn’t seen it in years!!

So, after I had my devotions, I did my favorite thing…  Googled!! “cookie bar sweetened consensed milk.”

It DID have a number in the title!!  It WAS easy!! I made two changes to bring it into 2017. DannyO loved them!!  Here’s the recipe!

SevenLayerCookies-1

Seven Layer Magic Cookie Bars

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted (one stick — don’t use margarine!  That stuff’s yucky!)
  • 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1/2 cup baking snickers bars, chopped (optional… but why wouldn’t you want to include them?!?!)
  • 1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  In small bowl combine graham cracker crumbs and butter; mix well. Press crumb mixture firmly on bottom of 13×9 inch baking pan. *see note
  2. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture.  Layer remaining ingredients evenly; press down firmly with fork. **see note
  3. Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool.  Cut into bars.  Store covered at room temperature. ***see note

*Note:  I always, always use non-stick aluminum foil to line my pan.  It makes it much easier to lift out and cut into bars.

**Note:  I really think the layering ingredients are up to you except for the coconut — that is part of the binder.  As long as you use 2 or 2 1/2 cups of SOMETHING that melts into gooey goodness, you should be fine!!  If you to substitute the nuts, go ahead and try — just keep the 1-cup measurement

***Note:  I store my cookie bars in the refrigerator with no problem!

There you go!!  Easy Peasy!!

Go forth and bake!!

SevenLayerCookies-3

 

Permalink Leave a Comment

Recipe for Disinfecting Wipes

October 17, 2017 at 2:29 pm (General household products, Minimalizing My Way)

Well now… somehow my post got wiped!!  Let’s see if I can do this again!!

As I’ve been minimizing/simplifying, I have been looking for a disinfecting wipe recipe because I love my CLorox wipes.  However, they are so expensive and they have ingredients I can’t pronounce 🙂

I found a few recipes and found one that I liked and then another and then another… so I mashed them together.

It took me 15 minutes to prepare the container and put the rest together.  Once your container is prepared, it should only take 5 minutes to make these wipes!

Recipe for Disinfecting Wipes

  • Round container — it can be any size but remember that the shorter the paper towels are, the smaller each wipe will be.
  • roll of paper towels — just a basic roll — not select-a-size or mega roll
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol
  • a few squirts of dish detergent — enough for about 2 teaspoons
  • 1/2 of a capful of Young LIving Thieves cleaner concentrate — You can use essential oils if you’d like — just add 10-15 drops
  1.  Combine all ingredients in a glass measuring cup
  2. Use an exacto or craft knife to cut a hole in the center of the lid — you may need to cut it larger later.RecipeForDisinfectingWipes-4
  3. Measure and cut the paper towels to fit.
  4. Place the fitted paper towels into the container and slowly pour the liquid over the towels.  It won’t take long for you to be able to pull out the cardboard center of the paper towels.
  5. Retrieve the first paper towel in the center of the roll and fit through the hole in the lid.  At this point, you may need to expand the hole if the paper towels get stuck.  You might also want to add a bit of water to the bottom of the container to keep things moist.  You shouldn’t worry about everything drying out because all you need to do is re-moisturize with water — the cleaning liquid is still there.  I don’t have a problem with drying out because I use them so often.  (For photography purposes, I pulled the towel out a bit further than I usually would)RecipeForDisinfectingWipes-6

There you go!!  Easy Peasy!!

Go Forth!!

Permalink 1 Comment

Next page »