Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mom-Mom's Chicken Dish

This is my grandmother's recipe.  It is very easy and is the epitome of comfort food for my family.  The recipe has been passed down to her children, daughter-in laws, grandchildren and one day great grandchildren.  It is usually served with mashed potatoes, a green vegetable and rolls.

4-5 boneless chicken breasts
1 packet of onion soup mix (store brand or Lipton's)
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/3 to 1/2 cup light whipping cream (depends on how thick/thin you want the gravy)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine soup mix, mushroom soup and whipping cream in a bowl.  Place chicken breasts in a oven safe dish and pour gravy mix over chicken.  Cook 30-35 minutes.

The extra gravy is great on mashed potatoes even if they are instant.

This recipe is great during the work week since it is so quick to prepare.  The gravy could be made in the morning and placed in the refrigerator until ready to use that night.

360 calories per serving if you use 1/3 cup light whipping cream.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


I like to decorate with books.  I got this lovely idea from my mother in law. It gives height to the surface you are decorating and also displays books better than on a book shelf. Today I found a mason type jar with a locking device and some unique books that were written between 1910-1930.  Some had handwritten messages to friends and one was actually from the author to a friend. Maybe this will get me on antique roadshow! One of the books had three four-leaf clovers tucked inside. I can't imagine how long they have been there. I was so shocked. I have never been fortunate enough to find one let alone three. I took it as a sign to buy it. Some people just get lucky. Well, I might have to buy mine. I tucked it on the shelf next to my bed. I am superstitious enough to hope that it will aid in warding off any bad luck that may come my way.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


I always wanted to try this Japanese treat, but when I am in a store that has international candy I always forget to buy some. While we were at World Market on Friday I picked some up. I can see why it is addicting. Chocolate covered butter sticks. Comes in a variety of flavors although I have only seen the chocolate and strawberry in stores.


If you had not had a popover then you are in for a treat. Very light and oh so yummy!  Great with jam and some hot tea.  You start with an egg batter which is similar to the batter used in Yorkshire Pudding.  Popovers are light and hollow pastries. Can be made in a popover pan or individual custard/ramekin cups.  Could be made in a muffin pan, but they will not rise as much and you would need to space them out in the pan using ten of the muffin cups instead of twelve.

2 large eggs
1 cup whole or 2% milk
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil for each tin in the pan (1 tablespoon total)

Add the eggs and milk to a bowl and blend.  Add flour, butter, and salt.  Beat with mixer until batter is bubbly and smooth.  Let the batter rest for 30 minutes.  While the batter is resting, add 1/2 tsp oil to each tin in the pan.  Adjust the rack in the oven to the lowest setting.  Put the pan in the oven and turn temperature to 450 degrees.  High heat is crucial to the rise of the popovers.  You fill the pan when it is hot and want to do this as quickly as possible to get the pan back in the oven.  Do not open the oven door either.  The depth of the popover pan and high heat allows the popovers to rise. You can still make perfectly tasty popovers in a muffin tin but they will not rise that high. The variation will be at the end.

You want to transfer the batter into something you can pour from.  I have a mixing bowl with a spout and handle (which I highly recommend).  After the batter is done resting, remove the pan from the oven and quickly pour batter evenly into each tin.  Place tin in oven and bake for 20 minutes without opening the oven door for the duration. After 20 minutes, turn heat back to 350 and cook for another 15 minutes.  Popovers will be golden brown.

Muffin Tin Variation:
Use a 12 cup muffin tin but you will only use the outer 10 muffin tins.  You will need a tablespoon of oil plus 2 extra teaspoons of oil to coat the tins. Divide oil evenly to the 10 tins.  Follow the rest of the directions as above.

You can make the batter 1 day ahead of time.  Follow the recipe up until you would put the pan in the oven. Let the batter rest and then tightly wrap bowl with plastic wrap.  Let the batter come to room temperature and stir before adding to hot pan.

Here is a picture of what the popover pan looks like:

140 calories per serving.

Cranberry Chicken Salad

4 cups chicken breast, cooked and chopped (about 4 large chicken breasts)
3 celery ribs, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise (start with one cup)
1/3 cup orange-blossom honey
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

You can bake or boil the chicken or put it in the microwave.  I boil mine.  Place thawed breasts in a saucepan, cover with water and boil until cooked thoroughly.  It takes about 10 minutes.  Chop into pieces once cooled.  Chop celery and add to bowl.  Add cranberries, salt, and pepper as well. Toss lightly.  Lay out pecans on a jelly roll pan and put in the oven at 350 degrees.  You only want them in the oven for about 5-7 minutes.  I add the honey to a microwave safe bowl and heat it up for a few seconds.  It mixes easier when it is a bit warm.  Add one cup mayo to bowl and combine together.  Add this to the chicken and stir.  You may need to add more mayo. Add pecans and toss. Put in the refrigerator until cold.

Lemon Cheesecake Bars

1 box yellow cake mix with pudding in the mix OR yellow cake mix and a 4oz box vanilla instant pudding/pie filling
8oz package cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Add the yellow cake mix and the instant pudding to a bowl.  If you found the yellow cake mix with the pudding in the mix then you do not need to buy the instant pudding.  Do not make the pudding and then add it to the bowl. Add it dry.  Also add the oil and one egg to the bowl.  Mix until crumbly.  Reserve one cup and then add the rest to a 9x13 pan.  Press gently into the pan to form the crust. Bake for 15 minutes.

In a mixing bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice and the other egg.  Beat on low until smooth.  Spread over crust and sprinkle with the reserved mixture.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.  Cool and cut into bars.  Will make about 16 to 24 bars.

Sunday Tea Party

A small get together for some girlfriends. Various teas served alongside scrumptious treats.  

Popovers with butter, blackberry jam, blueberry jam or apple butter
Cranberry Chicken Salad on sourdough bread
Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Jamaican Red Rooibos (Rishi)
Green Mint (Rishi)
Huckleberry (a black tea from Ashland Coffee and Tea)
Blueberry Red Iced Tea (Rishi)

And we move on to the bedroom

Decorating a house is fun, but a lot of work and can be expensive.  I usually focus on just one room at a time.  The living room and dining room are pretty much done.  I do need curtains for both, but I haven't found any that have wow'ed me yet.  Curtains really do pull a room together, but when panels are only sold one to a package it can get pretty pricey.

Here are some additions I have made recently:

Bedside rug found at Marshalls:

Curtain print found at World Market:

New nightstand found at Trash and Class on Rt 1 in Ashland, Va and new rug found at Marshalls:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

April Smith and the Great Picture Show

I usually do not post about music, but I am just so enamored with this lovely gals sweet, sweet music.  Successfully pulling from ragtime, jazz, swing, cabaret, as well as pop and belting out sassy lyrics.  Check her out por favor.

Mother Maybelle's Cookbook

A lot of basic recipes, but also packed with stories about times growing up. This was my grandmother's and gave it to me as a wedding gift. She knows how much I love Johnny Cash and June Cater. She also had it signed by June Carter on the inside. I hold it dear to my heart.

Never know, maybe it will get me on Antique Roadshow one day in the future. Oh, what a dream!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Corn Bread

1 cup flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon bacon grease or butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil
1/2 cup corn, either frozen and thawed or canned (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar and salt. For cornbread that is a tad less sweet only use 2 tablespoons sugar.  Add the bacon grease or butter to a 10-13 inch cast iron skillet or 9 inch round baking pan.  Every time we make bacon, I put the grease in a tightly sealed jar and keep it in the refrigerator. So when I need grease I already have it. Plus it adds flavor. You will want to pull the grease jar out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature. Put the cast iron skillet or baking pan in oven to melt grease/butter.  Take out and swirl around to coat bottom and sides.  Add oil, eggs, and milk to bowl and stir with whisk until smooth.  Pour into pan and cook for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.