Monday, September 26, 2011

Comfort Food

It looked so much like fall on my walk this morning...leaves are changing and falling to the ground.  In some places there were enough leaves to actually "swish" through them.  Even though it was warm I started thinking about fall comfort food...soups, casseroles, chili...POT PIE!  Pot pie is probably my favorite comfort food.  I think I could eat it for 3 meals a day!  I even like the cheap Banquet brand...with the crust on the bottom as well as the top...yum!  I love the really artery clogging ones like Pepperidge Farm or Marie Callender's...they are soooo goood!!  Boston Market has a good one too.  Yes, I've tried them all!! 

I found this lighter version recipe that truly rivals the full fat ones...really!  I've tweaked it a bit to make it easier and less time consuming to make.

Refrigerated Pie Crust
1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
3 - 4 cups of vegetables
1 12-ounce can evaporated skim milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon instant chicken bouillon granules
1/2 teaspoon dried sage, marjoram, or thyme crushed (fresh herbs if you've got them)
1/8 teaspoon pepper

I buy one of the grocery store's roasted chickens, pick it clean shredding the chicken and use about half of the roaster for the pot pie (you need at least 1 1/2 cups of chicken) and reserve the other half for some other comfort food casserole.  You can then use the carcass to make some chicken stock if you are so inclined.  Spread out the chicken pieces covering the bottom of a 12 x 7 1/2 x 2 inch rectangular baking dish that you sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

Prepare your vegetables...if you are using fresh you'll need to saute them until just tender.  I used the frozen Alexia Saute Vegetables for this one...they come with an herb infused olive oil to saute them in.  With this pot pie I used the Saute Reds in a thyme infused olive oil.  I also had some leftover roasted butternut squash and red onions.
Meanwhile, reserve 1 tablespoon of the milk.  In a small mixing bowl gradually stir the remaining milk into the flour till smooth.  Stir this into the vegetable mixture in the saucepan.  Stir in the water, bouillon granules, pepper and any other herbs you might like...I added some fresh sage from my garden.  Cook and stir until it's just thickened...not too long or your pot pie will be dry after baking.

Transfer mixture to the baking dish (on top of the chicken).  Roll out your pastry dough to elongate it so it will cover your pot pie mixture.  You'll need to vent the crust...I have a tiny heart cookie cutter...too cute!  Tuck in the edges of the can crimp the edges with a fork if you like or leave it.  Brush pastry with reserved milk.  Add pastry cutouts and brush them as well.

Bake in a 375 F degree oven for 30 minutes or until the mixture is heated through and the pastry is golden brown.  Makes about 5 - 6 servings. 

Since I walked for 45 minutes this morning AND did my free weights, does that mean I can have a second helping?  Better not...gotta dump the plump!  Enjoy!

Bon  ~*

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


You can't imagine how happy I am to have one of these train stations FINALLY finished!!!!  Why do I say things like:  "Oh, I can make that."  Can and want are two very different words!!!  Anyway...think I have the bugs worked out of my pattern and even have a few new ideas for future ones...yes, there will be more made...probably...maybe.  We'll see what the response is at this Sunday's train show.
Here are my pattern pieces on top of each copper foil wrapped glass piece that I cut.  This is the front and back sections of the train station waiting to be soldered.

It's a bit tricky putting together a 3-D piece.  Tricky?  Truthfully, it's a pain in the you know what!

The roof poses the most problems putting together because of the different angles.  This was several pains in the you know what!!

After it's soldered and cleaned, then you choose your patina.  You can leave it silver or brush on a black patina (which I like best) or a copper patina.  We'll be able to personalize them with a label maker with whatever "town" someone would want on the sign on the  Pain In The A** Junction

Here it is with the light kit in it...isn't it cute?!

Now...back to cross-stitching!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I'm Back!!!

So, it's been a little while...kinda took the summer blogging, not off designing or stitching. 

I've also been busy designing stained glass train stations.  Really.  The hubs is really into trains...I mean REALLY INTO TRAINS.  He's setting up a website to buy and sell model trains.  We've been to many train shows as buyers and now as vendors.  Last year sometime I found a cute little lighted stained glass train station at a flea market...$20!  I couldn't believe the price having made some statined glass pieces to sell years ago when my mother had a gift shop in Blowing Rock!  I snatched it up and we decided these might be good sellers at the upcoming train shows.  Researching this piece I've discovered it is a copyrighted piece from China.  No doubt the workers made them for pennies.  I can't, of course, make them exactly like this piece...I respect copyrights.  So I've used it for inspiration and have redesigned it. It's been a re-learning process to get back into stained glass with many problems along the way...diamond fell out of my glass cutter, bought the wrong solder and it smoked terribly, old soldering gun wasn't heating up all the way (I'm talking it's about 30 years old!).  With all these problems now solved...I'm on my way!  I'll post pictures when I've got one completely put together...soon!

 I recently released two new cross stitch designs and have several more almost finished:

Feel Like A Nut has finally been charted!  It was stitched on R&R Reproductions 32 count 18th Century Brown fabric (LOVE this fabric!) using two Gentle Art thread colors: Adobe and Straw Bonnet.  The vintage tatted lace is from that same bag-o-lace my mother gave me.  I'm determined to learn to tat...I actually bought a kit, complete with the little shuttle and instructions.  I'll let you know how that goes!

The other one is called Autumn in Madison County.  It includes a complete upper and lower case alphabet to change the county to your personal favorite covered bridge site...or personalize it in any way you like.  I made it into a little "shelf pillow" measuring about 6 1/2 inches square...sits right on my book shelf with the books:  The Bridges of Madison County and A Thousand Country Road, both by Robert those books!  I edged it with R&R's overdyed Cinnamon it!

That's probably enough for now.  I promise to keep up better with the blog. 

Bon  ~*