Sunday, April 30, 2006

Broccoli Cheese Chicken by Jenn

Thanks to my in-laws, I have outside participation again. Yay! All you long time internet friends I thought would join in...
This week's recipe courtesy of my new SIL, Jennifer.
Her personal notes are in color.

makes 4 servings
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 25 min

1 tablespoon margarine or butter
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 lb)
1 can (10 3/4 oz) Campbell's condensed Broccoli Cheese Soup
2 cups fresh broccoli flowerets (I use the frozen chopped)
1/3 cup water or milk
1/8 teaspoon pepper

In a 10-inch skillet over med-high heat, in hot margarine, cook chicken 10 min or until browned on both sides. Remove, set aside. (If you have a George Foreman Grill use that to cook the chicken. It makes it easier to cook and quicker to prepare, plus it guarantees the chicken is done - NO E COLI)

In same skillet, combine soup, broccoli, water and pepper. Heat to boiling. Return chicken to skillet. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and broccoli is tender, stirring often.

Friday, April 28, 2006

1st "watercolor"

I met a wonderful, sweet lady (Hi Glori!) recently on Flickr. She creates beautiful things in polymer clay, and was kind enough to tell me how she makes her "watercolor" creations.

I had some leftover tinted translucent clay and decided to try the technique. My colors are too light, but it was the only scrap I had at the moment. The technique is so much fun! I can't wait to make more watercolor creations with brighter tinted clay!

(Oh! This is also the 1st items I've baked/sanded/buffed using Kato.) The heart was the 1st thing I made. It started as a big round bead, but I changed it to a fridge magnet. I worked it and stretched it too much. But that's ok! Live and learn. :) The rest are double-hole beads. Again not perfect, but I'll happily make a bracelet out of them someday. (When I get my jewelry supplies out of storage.)
1st watercolor

I remembered why I stopped making beads. The sanding and buffing sucks! LOL! I may be young in years, but I have arthritic hands of a woman twice my senior. I opted for beads b/c I needed things I could bake flat. I don't even have fluffy polyfil to bake things on. I came {this close} to performing surgery on one of my son's stuffed animals. LOL!

Anyway! The watercolor technique was simple and fun. I'm really looking forward to try it many more times. Thanks so much for sharing, Glori! HUGS!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

1st new canes in months

It's so nice to be making canes again. If I could figure out how not to require sleep, I could clay for several hours each day! LOL!

All of these are made w/Kato clay. A new brand for me. The first few blocks I purchased (at Michael's) were very hard. I was frustrated and my hands ached. But I decided to buy a few more blocks online and try again. They were completely different! Fresh and soft and wonderful to work with. Except for the horrible odor (I may be strange, but I enjoy Premo's smell), I'm growing to really love Kato clay. If you cane, and have not tried Kato...I highly recommend it! It reduces beautifully and quickly.

Ok, enough of my unpaid product endorsement. LOL! This tulip is the first thing I've made in months. As well as my first tulip cane. The middle petal is not as pointy as I'd like, but I'm still pleased. 1st tulip_reduced

I decided to try a dragonfly. Every color in the cane is a custom blend. Even the white is not 'white'. It's white, pearl, and translucent. Here are the bullseye canes I used for the wings. 1st dragonfly_canes used Each is slightly tinted translucent. You also see the 3-color skinner blend I used for the body segments. The blend is SO pretty. But the poor little dragonfly.....UGLY. LOL! I did not make good color choices, IMO. Perhaps when reduced, it will be smashing. But for now...UGLY.
1st dragonfly_built
I am very pleased with it's shape. For me, the first time making any new cane is experiment. Even though the colors are fugly, it LOOKS like a dragonfly. Yay! Oh! Something else I learned while building it....the wings. Before I reduced the wings, the "cells" were SO COOL! Unfortunately, now they are too small to appreciate the colors. I'll try to correct this next time.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Far far away clay

My newly aquainted clay friends do not know much about me. So here's a background story for you. Maybe I'm just the nosiest person ever...I don't know. But I really enjoy hearing the personal stories behind crafty creations and their creators.

My wonderful husband, Aaron, is in aviation. He repairs and modifies the skins of airplanes. Which means any part of a plane that is metal...he can change it, repair it, modify it, build a new part from scratch, install name it! His job enables us to move a lot. We go where the good jobs are. (This is why I've been homeschooling our 1st grader.) The last job took us to Arkansas. We were *this close* to moving to a new location when my renter decided to vacate my house in Oklahoma.

Aaron and I both owned houses in Oklahoma prior to getting married. Both homes were rented until January, when my renter LEFT! We decided to remodel my house and sell it. We thought it would be a quick (2-3 months tops!) remodel. We opted to move into the house while remodeling. In the meantime Aaron would work in Oklahoma City (60 mile commute from my house) to pay the bills. Unfortunately, our "plans" have gone horribly wrong. Aaron is working 80 hours each week! 6 days a week! Plus commuting 2+ hours each day! He is NEVER HOME. I am trying to work on the house. Trying. But my job is 24/7/365....homeschooling and an 11-month-old baby AND being pregnant....leaves very little time for painting and that sort of labor.

Now let me back up. Because we were expecting to be here 2 months, we left 90% of our belongings in storage in Arkansas! We were planning to finish this house quickly, go back for our belongings, and move on to the next job. This means: my beloved clay and ALL my supplies are 300 miles away. Most likely curing and ruining in a HOT metal storage facility. The price of gasoline and renting a Uhaul truck and TIME!! is preventing us from retrieving our things from storage.

A few weeks ago we visited Michael's and I bought some clay and a crappy Amaco pasta machine. Just to get me by for now. I desperately needed my creative clay time. I get VERY little clay time, but very little is better than NONE! Everytime I use the pasta machine I curse it's name. However! It's better than no pasta machine.

I get to work on a cane for 20-30 minutes at a time. Before getting pulled away for various things. Consequently, it takes me days to finish one simple cane. But I will triumph!! I am determined! So far I've made a tulip (for the 1st time), 2 leaf canes, and I'm currently working on a dragonfly (for the 1st time). I hope to have pictures to share very soon.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Four layer cheesecake by Gwen

Woohoo! It only took 3 months, but Recipe Swap Sunday finally has outside participation! LOL! Thanks to my wonderful mother-in-law, Gwen for this recipe.

½ C chopped pecans
1 C flour
¼ C melted butter (oleo)
Mix together until moist. Press into bottom of 7x11 pan. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

2nd Layer:
8 oz pkg of cream cheese
1 C Powdered Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
Mix together until creamy. Spread over cooled crust.

3rd Layer:
4.6 oz box of Chocolate Pudding
3 C Milk
Mix according to package directions. (I prefer the taste of Cook & Serve Pudding, but Instant can be used also) When cool, spread over cream cheese layer.

16 oz Cool Whip
Spread over top of pudding layer. Can top with sprinkles of Choc or anything pretty for decoration.

Can be varied:
Sometimes I slice bananas between the 2nd & 3rd layers and use Banana Cream or Vanilla Pudding. Just use your imagination!!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easy baked chicken

Boneless chicken parts - your choice
1 pkg. McCormick Grill Mates dry marinade mix - any flavor

Mix up the McCormick marinade according to package directions, in a small baking dish. Lay chicken pieces in marinade. Turn over once to coat both sides. Cover with aluminum foil and bake, 375 degrees until cooked thoroughly.

That's it!! Add instant rice and your family's favorite veggie. I've made this 2 ways: letting it marinate overnight AND instantly popping it into the oven. Both ways are delicious!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

New polymer clay books

I recently bought these two new books.

They should arrive in 2 more days. I'm excited! It's been a long while since I've bought new eye candy/learning books. Plus all my books are in storage right now. All I have with me here is a couple issues of PolymerCafe. I'm jonesin' for new books!!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Tomato Chicken Parmesan

2 eggs, beaten
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
7 oz seasoned bread crumbs
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
12 oz pasta sauce
6 slices monterey jack cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Pour beaten eggs into shallow dish. In a seperate dish mix together the grated parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Dip chicken into egg, then bread crumb mixture to coat thoroughly.
In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add coated chicken and saute each side until chicken is cooked and juices run clear.
Pour pasta sauce into a lightly greased 9x13 baking dish. Add chicken, then place a cheese slice over each breast. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is completely melted.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Personal note: I did not have pasta sauce on hand, as we make our own. So I used one can of diced tomatoes, one small can of tomato paste, some garlic powder, parsley flakes, oregano, and salt and pepper. I blended it all really well in the food processor.
I also used a "fiesta blend" finely shredded cheese on top because I did not have the monterey jack slices.
Oh! And my bread crumbs were "italian flavor". Oh! And I used cheap boneless chicken thighs also. LOL!
The dish was delicious!!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Simple Stroganoff

1-2 lbs hamburger
1 onion chopped
1-2 cans cream mushroom soup (depending on amount of hamburger used)
16 oz sour cream
1-2 tsp garlic
3-4 Tbsp parsley flakes
salt and pepper

Brown hamburger and onion. Drain grease.
Add remaining ingredients and simmer until thoroughly mixed and heated.

Serve over egg noodles.