Thursday, January 27, 2011

Soups On!!!

Well, Chicken Pot Pie anyway. You know what I mean. Dinner is ready. Since my darling, wonderful son will eat chicken sparingly, I try to ply him with as much as I can with one of his favorites: Pot Pie!!! Not the grocery store ones; he won't touch those. Only the ones made by mommy and that has the delicious crust. Doesn't it look yummy?

I thought I would share my preparations with you for my semi-homemade Chicken Pot Pie. I take a lot of help from the grocery store. These are some of the ingredients:

Here is how it all came together. I start out by heating my Crockpot and putting in about three tablespoons of butter. (If you are using boned chicken with the skin on--use only 1 tablespoon of butter.) Mine is set to high, I normally do low and allow the meat to simmer for a few hours and I don't have to turn it.

Then I add some salt and pepper to the bottom of the pot.

Next I add in the fresh veggies and another layer of seasonings. This will allow all of that goodness to cook up into the chicken taking lots of flavoring with it.

My seasonings are simple...a bit of Kosher salt and this time Lemon/ Pepper seasoning. Two large skinless and boneless chicken breast are laid atop the seasonings and more salt and pepper is added to the top.

Depending on how fast your pot cooks, put the lid on and set the timer for one hour. Prick the breast with the tines of a fork and turn so that the other side can get a nice bath in the liquid that has accumulated.

The aroma is intoxicating and the combination of the butter, onions and peppers makes it smell like you really know what you are doing. Basically, it gives support to the term comfort food. 

Now is the time to prep your frozen Vegetables. I take my help where I can get it. 

Since I do not want to drastically lower the temp of the pot by adding ice cold veggies, I pour them up in a plate to allow them to thaw a bit. You could cook them in the Cream of and add it hot, but I prefer not to. I like for my veggies to soak up the broth from the chicken so that everything is nicely flavored.

After the chicken has cooked through-- this is about another 60-90 minutes depending on your Crock pot--and created more liquid, remove the breast and allow to cool enough to dice.  Make sure you replace the lid to keep the temperature of the pot hot while you prep the chicken.

Return the chopped meat back to the crock pot and add in the semi-thawed vegetables. Mix well and allow the flavors to blend for about 15 minutes.

Now you are ready for what I call the real goodness. The Cream of...I am using some leftover Cream of Mushroom that I had from another pasta dish and adding to it the Cream of Chicken. I prefer the Campbell's brand but this one was on sale. You can tell the difference by color of the cream. Mix well using gentle turning motions of the spatula or large spoon.

Allow that to meld together for as long as you like. I wait until mine starts to bubble--which in this pot does not take long. We need to get ready to fill our pies. I am using a store brand but prefer the Pet Ritz Deep Dish pies as the crust is flakier and really simulates homemade. I have made my own before, but when pressed for time, I take help from others. You will need one egg to create a wash for the top crust. Go ahead and preheat your oven and cookie sheet to 400 degrees.

Take one of the pies and remove the rim with a sharp knife. Lay it to the side as you will use it on the topping. 

For the other crust, fill it with your chicken mixture. Be careful not to overfill. My two breasts created enough for two pies.

Take the shaved crust and turn it face down on top of your pie.

The heat from the mixture will cause the dough to soften and fall. Of course I let mine get too soft because I had to get the camera. Doesn't hurt it a bit. Just makes it look more homemade. Press it down onto your pie and add the cut off strip.

Next comes the egg wash. Reserve just the whites from one egg and add a couple of drops of water. Whisk together but not hard enough to form peaks.

Brush this all over the exposed crusts of your pie.

Wrap the edges in foil to prevent the crust from burning or browning too quickly. Place a few slits into the top of the crust to allow the steam and heat to escape.

Place your pie on the cookie sheet and bake for about an hour and a half or until the pie bubbles and the crust browns. 

That is how I prepare my semi-homemade Chicken Pot Pie. You can cut down the steps by cooking the meat for one hour and adding the veggies for the second hour. Then add your Cream of and spoon it into your pie crust and bake. Also makes a great make ahead meal. It will require a bit longer in the oven for the filling to become piping hot.

My son loves it and will eat two slices. I pair it with a fruit salad and some ice cream with chocolate sauce for dessert. The ultimate home cooked meal that does not keep me in the kitchen all day. 
Until then.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It's Really Cold Outside

Chilly is an understatement. It is really cold outside and with the snow swirling around is also very beautiful. This is the day that the Lord hath made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

We had school off today as a snow day. The better part of the day was not too bad. Then around 3:00pm I heard the sleet start to hit the window panes. Shortly thereafter it turned to the fluffy white stuff.

I cleaned snow from my car twice but it was a losing battle so I grabbed my camera instead and snapped a few snowy photos.


Hope to be back later this week with some fun projects for you.
Until then.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Winter Challenge

Hi everyone. Just wanted to drop in to post a very late entry I did for my group's Winter Challenge. The base for the card has been done since like July...Yikes!!! I stamped it prior to sending off a set of acrylic stamps for our stamp swap. I knew that I wanted to do something with the stamp set but wasn't sure what it would be. This is an extra that was stamped using Momento Dew Drops.

Here is the finished card.

I used colored pencils and wanted to blend using some Sansodor but could not find my stumps. Funny thing is I had them three days prior. That is what happens once you organize yourself; you cannot find any of your things. lol. The background was created using some DCWV paper and a Cuttlebug folder. I like that the DCWV paper has a white core. Since the folder embossed deeply the white gives it a nice wintry look. If I were to do this card again, I would stamp some more branches along the edge of the page to give the illusion of a tree by not inking the owl.

I used enamel accents on the owl and a few of the snowflakes. The berries are Liquid Pearls. I hear that there is a new and improved version. How can the best get better? Don't you just love technology?

In case you have not heard, I am coming up on my second blog anniversary. Would love to give away some blog candy so be sure to check back often.
Until then.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Punch and Acetate Projects

Hello everyone. I hope your day went well and that your evening will only get better. As promised here are a couple of mock-ups that I did using the techniques from the past few Vee-dios. These won't go out to anyone as each has its own flaw, but they make great samples to work from.

This first one uses the Martha Stewart Corner punch to go around an oval or circle. I just adore the Iron Gate. The quote is from a set of Miss Elizabeth's stickers from the Dollar Tree and is mounted onto one of the Nestability labels cut from watercolor paper. The floral stamp is from Heidi Swapp, I think.

The next two cards combine the border punch with the alcohol acetate technique. I did put the piece through the Cuttlebug with a Sizzix die and then swiped the raised portions with Purple Staz-On.The journaling circle is from 3 Birds Sticky Sparkly letters and shapes.

The final one is using the alcohol inked acetate to make some flowers from a Sizzix die. I layered one on white and two on black. It totally changes the look of the flowers. I attempted to use Perfect Pearls around the center, but even after setting them, it still pulled away from the acetate. I should look for some heat embossable acetate. Anyway, I like how they turned out. The stamp is from Hero Arts and the brads are Hot Off the Press and the punch is Martha Stewart Daisy border punch. As for the paper, did you have to ask? Fancy Pants of course.

Thanks again for stopping by. I realized last night that my two year blog anniversary is fast approaching. Watch this space for some exciting events.
Until then.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Acetate and Alcohol Inks

I feel my mojo coming back. My crafting has been up and down as of late. The motivation is there but the energy has been lacking. I realized that I had not been taking my multivitamins. If you are of a certain age…you really cannot go without doing that for long. If you are of that certain age and are not taking any…GET SOME. It will feel like a new lease on life.

Once you get that energy, you might want to give this technique a try. 

Heather at The Paper Castle posted a challenge to our group to use Alcohol Inks and Acetate. Since I had already done a lot of that on my Zentangle Reloaded, I needed to push the envelope a bit further.

Tim Holtz did this technique with glossy paper, alcohol, inks and canned air. I thought why not acetate? That is exactly what I did. I am showing the results here but the Vee-dio is embedded at the end of the post.

Materials needed:

Alcohol Inks

Cut down your acetate if desired.

Blending solution is great to have on hand for over sprays as this is a great cleaner for Alcohol Inks.

The madness in progress.

This is how the piece came together while using the Pearl Mixative. I am sure that against a dark background those pearlized lightened inks will really pop.

I have great ideas for these pieces and the others I made once I stopped filming. I mean how many times do you want to see someone spritzing a sheet of acetate? I promise that I will post the finished results.That is also added to my to do list. 

I will use the embossing folders/texture plates and then Heather suggested hitting the high spots with a bit of Staz On. I like how she thinks.

Thanks for stopping by to see what I have been up to lately. I had a blast doing what I love most---playing around with inks. If you have not explored the many uses for your inks, what are you waiting on? Crack them open and get inky.
Until then.