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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Veezie's Easy Peasy Swiss Cheese Chicken



Veezie's Easy-Peasy Swiss Cheese Chicken

Ingredients:

* 4 boneless chicken breasts
* 1 can cream of chicken soup
* ¼ cup water
* 1 package Stove Top chicken stuffing
* ½ cup melted butter
* Swiss cheese slices

Method:

* Arrange the chicken in a 13×9 pan sprayed with Pam.
* Place a slice of Swiss cheese on each chicken breast.
* Mix water and soup together and pour on top of chicken.
* Sprinkle dry stuffing mix on top of chicken.
* Drizzle butter evenly over the top.
* Bake at 350° for 40–45 minutes.

My notation for this recipe: This was just yummy!
It was a definite two thumbs up and very easy to modify for two. Try it; you'll like it!

Edited to Add:

Oh my! Manuela just mentioned in comments that Stove Top stuffing has a lot of sodium. I checked! Yes! TOO much.



The next time I make this recipe, I'll be trying the following recipe for the stuffing mix. Way less sodium!


Home Made Instant Stuffing

Ingredients:
6 cups cubed bread
3 tsp. vegetable, chicken or beef bouillon granules or 3 cubes
1/4 cup dried minced onion
1/2 cup dried minced celery
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. sage
1/2 tsp salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350*F. Bake bread cubes for 8 to 10 minutes or until dry. In a large bowl, toss bread with remaining ingredients until evenly coated. Store in airtight container. It will keep for 1 to 4 months or 12 months frozen.
To prepare, combine 2 cups stuffing mix with 1/2 cup water and 2 Tbls. melted butter.

Yields about 7 cups

Source

Thanks, Manuela! I appreciated the head's up.

And now, just because I have a better pic of my beloved...



Disclaimer: This man has gazillion shirts! Why he always settles on this one... Must be a comfort thing.

Edited to Add Again:

Thanks to Miss Sandy's offering this dish for supper tonight at the Quill, I have photos to share.




Yummmmmmm, makes me want to make it all over again. Thanks so much, Miss Sandy!

Friday, March 13, 2009

What? No Chickadees?



Wonder what's in this wonderful package?! Huh? Huh? You know you do, but I'm not tellin' until you read the back story! I'll talk fast.

You may remember this post when I shared my grands' Thomas the Train bedroom decals and wished that I could find some decals of that quality for my project.

Gotta love serendipity or God breezes or whatever.you.wish.to.call.it, but Linda at Restyled Home featured Paul Wilson a decal artist in a post called Stuck on Wall Art. Linda provided her readers with a link to Paul's site. Naturally, I zipped right over and I really liked what I saw. Just one problem — no chickadees!

I casually, humorously (I hope) mentioned it in Linda's comments' section that day. Very soon thereafter, I received a sweet email from Paul Wilson himself offering me free chickadee decals. True it was that he had none, but he'd make them up and send them to me. All that I had to do was tell him what I was looking for. Now I ask you, how can a gal turn down an offer like that?!

So here are the contents of the package...





Yes! Chickadees in several sizes and poses. I love the comical upward glance that one chickadee has. My favorites are the tiny actual life-sized ones.

Just so I could try the process from start to finish, I did place one of the larger ones on my cabinet. The directions were thorough and thus it was an easy application. Now I am putting these away for my real project, which will involve kitchen cabinets at my beloved's.



Paul's Etsy site is right →here← where you can see his amazing work. He has much to see and enjoy. You can also visit his web site at Wilson Graphics. I hope that you'll do both!

Paul, thank you so much.

And a happy chick-a-dee-dee day to you all...



ETA: And you can have some, too, right here... My Little Chickadees Decal

Thursday, March 12, 2009

March Dreams

March is a month of considerable frustration — it is so near spring and yet across a great deal of the country the weather is still so violent and changeable that outdoor activity in our yards seems light years away. ~Thalassa Cruso



Yup, that's a picture taken just moments ago. Still plenty of the white stuff with no bare ground showing. Last night, I had the most wonderful dream...after a day of rain and fog (just as we really had), all the snow had melted overnight. The grass was green and there were purple and white flowers growing all over my neighbor's lawn. It was so beautiful that I rushed right out to gather a bouquet, though I did stop long enough to rap on the window to let John know that things were brightening.

Sometimes dreams are just so lovely...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

And So It Goes

The projects continue...



My mother gave me my grandmother's vintage chenille bedspread some months ago and it had been sitting in the sewing room since. At first, I thought that I would cut it up into pillows because it had a fair amount of damage, but because of the center pattern, I just couldn't. Instead, I removed the damaged upper edge leaving about two-thirds of the spread. I used a zig-zag stitch to hem it and, hopefully, I've disguised it well enough to use on my bed by folding down the comforter over the top.





(Sorry about the photo quality...another dreary, wintry day here.)

The project that I am puttering with for my niece (the one who thinks this blog is all "Martha Stewart and dull") is coming along slowly. It will include these quotes about music already printed up on fabric and, hopefully, I'll have something more to show soon.



After all that work on streamlining my blog to get it to load faster and somehow I was tempted yet again to slow it down. A Woman Who Is IS responsible for this! =>

You would not believe how much I blog hopped right here in my own blog after that widget was installed. Very tempting! Anyway, if the page is loading too slowly for you, please let me know. I've never had the option to have similar subject material listed at the end of each post because I edit so much. This seemed a good alternative. I do wish that it would stick with the first three it selects for a post without continually rotating.

Thanks for visiting...I promise to slow down long enough for a cup of coffee and a muffin soon!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Trust Hope Love







Today is for making big messes...

Source of Inspiration

Monday, March 9, 2009

Flea Market Finds

O brother! Am I ever late! It's my habit to do a post the day before or several days before and then, using post options, to have it post for the following day at 5:30 am. I don't know where I lost my habit, but I hope to find it again.

Just wanted to share two flea market finds this morning. One thing that I have noticed in this economy is that the flea markets are filled with browsing shoppers. We had birthday gift certificates to spend. I say "we" lightly. He had birthday gift certificates to spend, but he has a candy heart and so gladly shared. The swan, we collect them, has a little chip on the back wing and now I've learned from Penny and Manuela that that just doesn't count. Before that, I would've left it sit right where I found it, but it's so lovely and graceful and holds my birthday carnations from nearly three weeks ago beautifully.



This cheese cover, only $1, perfectly rests on this plate so I am using it as a small cloche. It's just large enough for the wee nest in a teacup. I really like it a lot.



Have a happy Monday and a great start to this new week!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Lord, Help Me to See Them as You Do

photo reprinted from here

When I think about God's Creation, my mind goes immediately to the splendor of a mountain range, the calm waters of a serene lake where the cry of a loon can be heard or the mighty ocean waves crashing on the rockbound coast. I do not so much consider humanity.

That's why reading the following quote by C.S. Lewis gave me pause:

It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and
goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting
person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you
saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship or else a
horror and corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in
a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each
other to one or other of these destinations.


It may be easy to see the glory in a singer as she reaches that amazing note crystal clear and pure, but that person who walks around town collecting bottles as a livelihood and who is often caught bathrooming behind public buildings? Yes.

Lord, help me to see him as you do.

That nimwitted one who nearly caused an accident by pulling out in front of traffic? Yes.

Lord, help me to see her as you do.

That insolent teenager? Yes.

Lord, help me to see him as you do.

The tattooed mess of a girl with her jeans so low that it reveals a snake twisted about her spine? Yes.

Lord, help me to see her as you do.

I could go on and on... Lord, help me to see them as you do!

Whom might you include in a list of your own?

On the other hand, how easy is it to look upon a baby's face and feel the reverence for that life. And does it not strike you as horrific that so many babies are tossed aside?

"We can think about ourselves too much: who we are, what we aren't, how great, how horrible, how full of potential. But we can never think too often and too deeply about the welfare and potential and well-being of those around us — about the wonder they are. The value that's placed on human life is the litmus test of character and soul for an individual, a society, or a nation."
~ Janet Chester Bly

(emphasis my own)

"With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image." James 3:9

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Letters, Packages, Ribbons, and Bows



Just sharing my pretty envelope from a certain Auntie whom I love around here. I have been shaking faerie dust off everything for a while now. ;>



And in the same day's post a package from Robin with extras tucked in. Shop with Etsy or with Ebay or from some of our wonderful blogging buddies and you'll know the joy of finding a unique, one-of-a-kind item.

Oddly enough, it was Aunt Amelia's where I first saw this darling picture and thought to myself that it would look sweet in my sewing room. Fine. Fast forward just a few short days and there it was at Robin's The Punkin Peddler.



Look at the other treasures that Robin tucked in...I so love the decorated clothespins, which I have already put to work.





See how prettily everything was wrapped and just look at the ribbon, which is a gift, too. I couldn't resist doing this with it...



That idea was borrowed directly from something Melissa shared at The Inspired Room yesterday.

Thanks to both Aunt Amelia and Robin! You gals know how to make a day brighter.

Have a happy, restful weekend.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Kitty Cat

Do you all have a little stash of ideas or photos for use on your blogs? Quite a number of them exist here. Ninety-nine per cent never get used. I was planning to go in quite a different direction this morning until...

This morning while my beloved ran to the store for the morning paper and some milk, I busied myself in the kitchen getting breakfast ready — oatmeal, orange juice, our vitamins measured out, the coffee perking — the usual. When I sat down at my place, there was a cute little fuzzball perched by my bowl looking at me. My beloved obviously extended his shopping list.



Tiny little kitty cat has been placed on a high shelf out of harm's way. If Miss Fioré ever finds her, she'll not know that it's a kitten, she'll think mouse.

Another wintry mix here today, but that does not prevent me from wishing you a warm almost-spring day!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Perhaps Today Is The Day?

...that we shall see how this looks on the gal and not on the hook?

Don't you love it when all the loose ends get tied up into one neat tidy package? I do! That's why I'm so happy to send you right over to see Lovella wearing the new apron that she won on my recent giveaway. She wears it beautifully! (And do look for the added bonus in wearing one of these aprons.)

Have a happy day, Dear Ones...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Turtle Cake Among Other Things

When my parents moved to the home where they now live, I was almost four and my sister almost one. A few years later, the Smiths arrived and within months my mother and Sibbie Smith had a path beaten across the field that separated the two homes... a path that led directly from one back door to the other.

What an easy friendship Sibbie and my mother had. They rarely telephoned one another; they simply showed up on each other's doorstep whatever the need — a cup of sugar or a cup of coffee and conversation. This went on for years, but eventually the Smiths bought another home across town and the relationship changed. Not that my mother and Sib don't maintain their friendship to this day, but they certainly don't enjoy that ease of visiting.

Somewhere along the way, by the time I left home for college, most mothers were working outside the home. My own mother returned to teaching to help with my education and things changed radically for her. When she returned home at the end of a day in the classroom, she simply didn't have the energy to pursue friendship in the way that she had before. She would sometimes mention it wistfully in passing.

Today, as I sit at my keyboard and try to stay connected at some level, I find myself wishing that more women were able to stay home. In those former times, women created the sense of neighborhood. They were the ones who cemented the kids and the husbands and everyone together in community. My father and Eb Smith were/are close friends because their wives were friends first.

By the time that I was a young wife and mother, I, too, was working outside the home. There were precious few hours to pursue friendships. They occurred naturally at the workplace, but not in the neighborhood. In fact, one was fortunate to know his or her neighbors. I didn't know all of mine. I didn't have a path beaten to my neighbor's back door.

What am I trying to spit out here? Just that I appreciate Blogdom for the sense of neighborhood that it provides. It may be artificial, but it is a good alternative to talking to oneself and twiddling thumbs. You see, there're precious few women I know, either in my neighborhood or out of it, who aren't in the workplace. Can you imagine if I visited and communicated this much with any one of those women I know who do not work outside the home? I'd wear out my welcome very soon.

So thank you for inviting me to your homes in Blogdom. Thank you for sharing your ideas and the books you read. Thank you for telling me about your projects, the flowers you grow, and the way you decorate.

You will note that I have made a few changes here. I really didn't want to, but A Haven was getting quite sluggish and so slow in loading that I've had a few complaints. When it became a problem for me, I knew that something had to be done.

My plan is to feature five blogs a week in the new format right here and then rotate around. You may see that some blogs have been dropped at the new site and some new blogs have been added. I hope that you'll peek in on my buddies from time to time. This may not be a solution that works at all. I've agonized a fair bit because featuring other blogs makes me happy and I'd prefer to do it on this page. We'll see how it goes...

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

We're celebrating another birthday today. John is 26...again. ;>

We baked Tina's Chocolate Turtle Cake last night. You can find this delicious recipe right there with all the wonderful photos that Tina is so well known for doing. I'll leave you with a photo of molten caramel as a tease...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Bowl of Sunshine



Kind hearts are the gardens, kind thoughts are the roots, kind words are the flowers, kind deeds are the fruits. Take care of your garden and keep out the weeds. Fill it with sunshine, kind words and kind deeds. ~H.W. Longfellow

I'm not finished here, but coffee is on! (On second thought, yes, I am finished here and will save what I've been pondering for tomorrow. Enjoy your Tuesday!)

Monday, March 2, 2009

What's in a Name Game

Kathy at Shocking Pink Thread said that I could play and I thought it high time for some levity around here. Either that or I'm losing my marbles.


1. REAL NAME: Vee (hahahahaahahahahahahaha...)

2. WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother's and father's middle names): Jane Willis

3. NASCAR NAME: (first name of your mother's dad, father's dad): John Victor

4. STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first name): Swave (Oh that's awful!)

5. DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal): Yellow Cat

6. SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, town where you were born): Lynn Quantico

7. SUPERHERO NAME: (2nd fav color, fav drink, add "THE" to the beginning): The Blue Flavored Water (huh? huh? It's got a certain ring!)

8. FLY NAME: (first 2 letters of 1st name, last 2 letters of your last name): Eeon

9. STREET NAME: (fav ice cream flavor, fav cookie): Rocky Road Thin Mint

10. ROCK STAR NAME (pet's name and street where you live): Fioré Oak (I made that last bit up. I'm already in the witness protection program and I'm not telling you where I live!)

11. EXOTIC NAME: (1st pet, street you grew up on): Ginger Pleasant

12. YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (first 3 letters of real name plus-izzle): Veeizzle

13. YOUR GOTH NAME: (black, and the name of one of your pets): Black Towser

Would you like to play, too? If so, consider yourself tagged!

Oh, hint, hint, Kathy shared that she would be celebrating 200 posts in March. Perhaps we should keep a careful eye on her blog. ;>

Have a wonderful Monday...

(It's snow, snow, and more snow here. How are you faring?)




AccuWeather Map

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Growing My Wonder

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God:
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it, and pluck blackberries.

~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning

We all know the feeling of a season dragging on. It may be a season of the year or a season of life.

Recently, I shared that I have been wandering about in a winter of my mind. This winter of mind is much like the winter outside my door. I've hunkered down not wanting to do much beyond the walls of my home. My sphere revolves around me and my beloved and this place. Marriage has been wonderful, but no marriage, however great, can take the place of an awakened spirit. In fact, I believe that both of us have been struggling with this winter of mind. You, too?

So what a relief to find a book that perfectly described the condition and teaches a way to work beyond it. I identify with the following paragraph. My name could well be placed in the parentheses and it would be accurate.

(They) are indifferent, stoic. We recognize them [the wonderless] by their fat hearts, dull ears, sluggish eyes. They have large empty spaces between their thoughts and connections to a purpose larger than themselves. They fight to get and keep control. They stand rigidly stationed at the hub of their universe. Nothing's sacred except what affects them personally.

A Piece of the Solution:

Wonder reminds the wonderless of the unknown, those things out of their control or outside of their experience: mysteries to be solved, meanings to unravel, spiritual realities to face.

A sense of wonder can be a bother. It takes time and energy to see deeply. Wondering disrupts peace and tranquility. Wonder stirs fires. Wonder opens strange doors. Wonder finds stories in the forest when it is so much easier to plow through and get on home.

So this is why I've been riding around in a truck that rumbles through town plowing snowbanks.

It will be why I have a date in March with my grands to play in the mud. I mean it. We're going to get good and dirty. I am making rivers and dams and we're going to sail twigs and boats downstream at the end of the drive you see here.

It's the reason that my computer is going to be shut down more often. The television has already been given the boot.

It'll be why I am scanning the clouds, breathing deeper, and looking at the moon in the middle of the night.

It's why I'll continue to join my beloved for morning devotions when I don't always "feel" like it.

In the end, my hope is that I will have found that I have been on a perpetual quest for wonder...that I have enjoyed a sense of awe in this world that God has given and in the people that He allows us to know and love.

I'm not going to limit my wonder to the little screen before my face nor the larger one that sends out messages that I don't wish to receive. I'm going to slow down. I'm going to listen to more birdsong and not only symphonies or praise music.

In the end, too, I hope that I will have walked closer to God. That I will praise Him more, thank Him more, worship Him more, appreciate Him more, know Him more.

Quotes have been taken from Awakening Your Sense of Wonder: Discovering God in the Ordinary by Janet Chester Bly.

Please join Melissa at The Inspired Room for more discussions on The Disconnect Challenge:Revisited.

Friday, February 27, 2009

A Valentine Arrives



My win from Miss Sandy at Quill Cottage arrived yesterday! What a beautifully packaged delight it was. The protective packaging was old patterns (I must check them out carefully) and strips of music. And, as if the woven heart embellished with lace, buttons, and an adorable key charm weren't enough, the heart was filled to the brim with handwritten recipes and newspaper recipe clippings that Miss Sandy tells me are from her personal collection. I am so touched by her thoughtful gesture.



We'll be revisiting this once the rhubarb grows high enough to be harvested because there is a recipe for Rhubarb Roll that I am definitely going to try.

Thank you, Miss Sandy!

Enjoy your Friday!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rushing It?


It may look like this outside...

But inside is another story...



Am I rushing it?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Such a Fun Day It Was



First things first...the video I shared yesterday was not the video that my beloved wished me to share. The one below is.

Sooo, it was my birthday yesterday. I'm still ♣*♥@ years and one day older than Lovella. She offered such a good example of how to lovingly provide photos of ourselves for our families...you know what I mean? At some point, we become invisible women. At some point when the hair is graying, the derriere has slipped another inch or the chin has gone slack. Lovella says that smiling is her best beauty tip. I say something else entirely, but see for yourself.



Exactly! Hide behind the camera and shoot into the mirror. Do NOT under any circumstances hand the camera over to another person.

Speaking of which, I received the best tip ever on picture taking from Joni @ Cote de Texas. I included that link because Joni shows us exactly how it's done though that is not the topic of her post. Look carefully for pictures of Joni. I refer you now to the final comment on Vanity, Thy Name Is... for Joni's great advice. Some of us need it; some of us don't need it yet, but if all goes well, everyone will need it some fine day.

My best birthday gift? Well, let me just say that my family is very generous and I love them all. I'll be going to the movies and enjoying a gift or two on their dime and I have flowers, books, dishcloths, tea towels, perfume, and decorative things. But the best gift was that my baby grand said "Nonni" for the first time. It warmed my heart!

Oh, should I be concerned about the message on the birthday bag? Don't forget to listen to the video...just a few seconds. (Please don't listen to it over and over as some around here have been doing.)

Have a great Wednesday!

Quick Stop Wittle Whoop

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Nothing But Blue Skies



Is there anything more beautiful than a vivid blue sky against snow?

Today is an adventure day. We're off for breakfast and wherever the mood strikes us. We won't be going in the truck, but I thought I'd give you an idea of what our plowing day was like yesterday. You'll see two houses that are probably very familiar to you by now if you have visited me before. Have a fun day!

(Edited to Add: For whatever reason, I can't figure out how to get a video on the same post. Still, it's just below so not so bad.)

Nothing But Blue Skies~Video

Monday, February 23, 2009

Scrabble



Don't you just love a good game of Scrabble? Me, too, but that's not what's making me so happy about this two-dollar Scrabble game. Nooo, not at all. Now I can do this:











...and in case I forget where it is...



Best of all...



Create a wonderful and warm day...

Edited to Add: And doesn't Scrabble provide the perfect way to wish a very special blogger this?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Crème Brûlée and Butter Chicken

The crème brûlée was so good! For Christmas I gave John a Crème Brûlée Set because I'd he'd been dying for one. Turns out that I shouldn't have bothered with the set because the ramekins that came with the set are ridiculously small and the butane "torch" is as well. When it came time to fire off the brown sugar topping, John used the great big torch. Very exciting! As you can see, I'm just using Pyrex custard cups, which gives a more reasonable portion. In case you've never tried making this dessert, let me assure you that it was very easy and the results were over the moon. If you ever need to impress guests...

Here's the recipe that I used, which I've had floating about so long that I don't know where it's from. (Perhaps an old Country Living magazine?)

Crème Brûlée

-Ingredients-

√ 2 cups heavy whipping cream
√ ½ cup sugar
√ 1 TBS real vanilla extract
√ 5 large egg yolks
√ 12 tsp brown sugar

-Method-

* Heat oven to 325°
* Place six ¾-cup ramekins in a 13x9x2" baking pan.
* Mix cream, sugar, and vanilla in a heavy medium saucepan.
* Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a simmer.
* Cover pan and reduce heat to very low and simmer gently for ten minutes.

* Whisk yolks in bowl until blended well.
* Gradually whisk yolks into hot cream mixture (after the mixture has already simmered for ten minutes) until just blended.

* Divide custard between ramekins.
* Pour enough hot water into the baking pan until the water is halfway up the sides of the dishes.
* Transfer the baking pan to the oven.
* Bake custards for 35 minutes. Custards should be nearly set in the center when gently shaken.

* Use tongs or a spatula to remove the custards from the pan.
* Cool for 30 minutes.
* Chill at least three hours and up to two days.

* When ready to serve, sprinkle 2 tsp brown sugar over each custard, place on baking sheet for added protection and either broil to brown or use a butane torch to caramelize the sugar.


All I have to say is yummy!

And, just because a couple of you mentioned the Butter Chicken, I'll toss in that recipe, too.

Butter Chicken

-Ingredients-

☺ 2 beaten eggs
☺ 1 cup crushed Ritz crackers (What's fun about this is that any flavored cracker works...I've tried many different kinds and they all work, just be sure to use a cracker as that's the texture crumb you're looking for.)
☺ ½ tsp garlic salt
☺ ground black pepper to taste
☺ 4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (I prefer to cut them into strips creating a chicken finger...more sides to coat, in which case, you'll need more crumbs.)
☺ ½ cup butter cut into pieces.

-Method-

* Preheat oven to 375º
* Place eggs and crumbs in two separate bowls.
* Mix cracker crumbs with garlic salt and pepper.
* Dip chicken in eggs.
* Dredge chicken in the crumb mixture until well coated.
* Arrange chicken in a Pam sprayed 9x13 baking dish.
* Place butter over the top of the chicken.
* Bake in oven for 40 minutes or until juices run clear.


Have a happy Saturday and, if you try either of these, please let me know!