Search This Blog


Monday, May 1, 2023


Since this recipe was said to have the same flavors as that fabulous spinach artichoke dip we all love, I thought I'd give it a try! did have a lovely flavor.  The recipe calls for it to be served over rice, although I think I might perfer angel hair pasta next time.  


2 chicken breasts or 4 thighs
flour, salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme
1 ¼ cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 oz. cream cheese, softened**
10 oz. baby spinach (7 cup)
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 oz. Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated (1/2 cup packed)
1 pkg. (9 oz.) frozen artichoke hearts, thawed, quartered  if whole (I used the canned variety w/o the juices) 


Season chicken with salt & pepper; dredge in flour, shaking off any excess. Add butter and 1 Tbsp. olive oil to a heated skillet.  When butter melts, add chicken in a single layer and cook, flipping once, until golden brown in places, but not cooked through, about 3 minutes.  Transfer to a plate.

Add remaining 1 Tbsp. oil, garlic, and thyme to skillet; cook until fragrant, 10 seconds.  Stir in broth and cream cheese; cook until mixture boils and cheese melts.  Add spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted; 2-3 minutes.  Stir in artichokes; cook 1 minute more.  

Return chicken and accumulated juices to skillet.  Simmer, shaking pan occasionally, until sauce is reduced and thickened and chicken is just cooked through.  About 3 minutes.  Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice and parmesan.  Serve over rice. 

NOTES:  ** This is the first time I've used cream cheese in a sauce, and I ended up with little shards of cream cheese floating in the sauce.  It did not melt per the instructions.  I've since done some research and it seems there is a technique to this, so it was probably me.  If I make this again, I've decided to avoid this I'm going to use sour cream instead, I know how well it works in a sauce and it actually has much fewer calories than cream cheese as well. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2023


 I had the pleasure of working on another project that involved taking my Bride's Mother's wedding gown and re-styling it so that she could wear it.  Originally she planned on wearing it on her big day, but after finding a gown at a bridal shop that just spoke to her, she decided she would like me to re-style Mom's gown for her rehearsal dinner.         


This is Mom's circa 1980's wedding gown.  Having gotten married in this same era myself, I knew when she told me the year her folks were married that I'd be getting a very large gown....large sleeves, large (and long) train and a large full skirt.  

Marissa was open to ideas from me on how we could re-style the gown.  The good news was the gown was in great shape!  Very little yellowing (a bit on some of the sequins and pearls) and no stains.  Based upon the classic heavy beading of that era, I felt we definitely needed to utilize the bodice.  I knew that I could remove the neckline and sleeves and make it into a strapless bodice.  As for the skirt, we landed on a hi-low circle shape skirt.  Once I knew the design, I was off to the races. 

The majority of my workload was in the disassemby of the gown.     I chose to start with the bodice. I removed the sleeves and the netting for the front and back bodice.  

  I had it easy from a fit perspective since Marissa and her Mom were virtually the same size.  Other than adding some additional structure to the bodice due to the fact that it was strapless, the circumference was perfect!       I chose to change the shape of the waistline by eliminating the deep point at the center front.                                                                   The largest amount of workload came when I had to remove the ruffles and appliques from the back train....that literally took hours.  Once that was finished, I created the pattern for the shape of my skirt and then laid that on top of the existing gown to cut the new skirt.   As you can see, the skirt has the same layers as her Mom's....satin underlayer, chiffon overlay.   There was a gorgeous lace on the train that truly was lost in all the ruffles.  I showed Marissa that I wanted to use that at the hemline once I removed the ruffling and laid it flat you couldn't even recognize it.                                              

I have to say there was work in the bodice.  Obviously, I had to re-set the zipper.  I also added boning, cups and silicone tape since Marissa was going to need that structure for it to effectively stay put.  I also sewed on the beautiful satin buttons down the length of the zipper.  

The final steps were to handsewn on some of the lovely appliques which were scattered over her Mom's skirt.  Just a touch.  I'm hoping to get some pictures from the rehearsal dinner night, which was last weekend, but in the meantime, since this project was a 2022 project, I was excited to share.  

Thursday, February 23, 2023


    This recipe goes back a long time.....My Mom introduced these one year at Christmas.   I don't know exactly when, but she specifically noted that "my husband loves these".....and he does!  

I chose to make them for his birthday.  They're a bar cookie and the recipe uses a 9x9 pan.  So, if you're like me and you really don't want a lot of cookies in the house, this one might be the one to reach for from time-to-time.  

It's a great combination of coconut, caramel sauce and chocolate.

TIP:  I make a parchment sling and place that in my makes it so much easier to remove them from the pan. 



1/3 cup butter or margarine
1 cup flour (high altitude flour for us folks in the mountains)
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 cups flaked coconut
½ cup caramel sundae sauce
2 Tbsp. milk
2 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
¼ cup powdered sugar

¼ cup chocolate chips
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 Tbsp. milk
¼ cup powdered sugar


Cut butter into flour and sugar until particles are fine (with mixer, use low speed.  I find if I take it just to the point that the dough pulls together, it not only presses into the pan more easily, but they also come out of the pan beautifully.)   Press dough into bottom of ungreased 9x9, 10x8, or 11x7 pan. 

Combine remaining ingredients; using an offset spatula, spread the mixture carefully over crust.  Bake at 360 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.  Cool.    While the cookies cool, make the frosting by melting together the ingredients in the microwave or on the stovetop. 

Use a knife to loosen the edges of the cookie from the sides of the pan.  Then lift the sling from the pan.  I use the "fork" method to drizzle the chocolate over the top.    Slice into 3x1 inch bars. 


recipe c/o:  Hungarian Flour cookbook (133 bar cookie recipes from the high country)

Wednesday, February 8, 2023


 I was searching for a pasta recipe that was a little different than the typical red sauce variety and decided to try this one out.  Not only was the sauce delicious, but I loved the rigatoni....those thick ribbed noodles allowed the sauce to stick to them so nicely.  I made this for a recent dinner and everyone loved it.  I added a salad before dinner and freshly baked bread with dinner and it was delicious!

I will tell you that I doubled the sauce recipe, since I love an extra saucy pasta.   It even allowed us to enjoy a second dinner (we just had to make a little bit more pasta) later in the week. 

Serves 6-8 people


16 oz. rigatoni pasta (save 1 cup water)
3 Tbsp. olive oil
½ cup onion, chopped
1 lb. ground Italian sausage
3-4 cloves garlic, minced (we opt for less)
½ tsp. crushed fennel seeds
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes 
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
salt and pepper to taste
fresh chopped parsley


1.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the sausage.  Cook, breaking into small pieces, until no longer pink.  Drain grease.  
2.  Add garlic, fennel seed, red pepper and tomato paste and cook a few minutes more.  Stir in the broth and simmer until liquid is reduced by half.  
3,  Cook rigatoni according to package directions.  Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water
4.  Add the cream to the sauce and bring to a simmer.  Gradually add pasta water (I chose not to add any water since I liked the consistency just the way it was) until sauce reaches desired consistency.  Stir in ¼ cup parmesan cheese.
5.  Combine the sauce with the drained pasta.  Garnish with fresh parsley and more parmesan cheese.  

I served this family style in a large bowl, allowing each person to dish up their own bowl.   

recipe c/o:

Sunday, January 22, 2023


I made this dress to welcome my nephew's second daughter.  As with his first, I chose to handmake a dress that could possibly coincide with her 1 year birthday.  This little gal ended up fitting into it at about 8 ½ months.  Oh well!  

I also made a headband to match, which I can't resist with baby girl outfits!

The fabric was a mauve ribbed knit...can't say it was my favorite fabric to work with.  It was a little flimsy, and unruly, which resulted in a bit more handwork than I would normally include....but in the end the finished product turned out super cute!  And as we know, she was probably able to wear it just a couple times before she outgrew it.                                                                                 So happy that I was able to create a SheaMarie Designs original for her!  

Saturday, December 3, 2022


 I've always enjoyed a good ice cream cake.  In my hunt for a recipe, I ran across this recipe which used malted milk balls.  Whoa!  Gotta try this one. 

I apologize in advance for this being the only picture I captured.  I wish I would have taken one of the entire cake, because it was super pretty. 

The picture on the right is from the Betty Crocker website, which is where I found this recipe. 

It is a delicious recipe.  Know that it makes a lot....and it's very rich. So it will go a long way!  Also, there are several steps requiring freezing, so be sure to allot enough prep time.  


1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
¼ cup unsweetened baking cocoa
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chocolate fudge topping
1 ½ cups (6 cups) vanilla ice cream softened
2 cups malted milk ball candies, coarsely chopped
1 cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup chocolate fudge topping


Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease bottom of springform pan, 9x3, or 10 x 2 3/4 inches with shortening, lightly flour.  In large bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda,  and salt.  Add water, oil, vinegar and vanilla.  Stir vigorously about 1 minute or until well blended.  Immediately pour into pan. 

Bake *30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool completely, approximately one hour. 

Spread 1 cup fudge topping over cake; freeze about 1 hour or until topping is firm.  In large bowl, mix ice cream and chopped candies; spread over cake.  Freeze about 4 hours or until ice cream is firm. 

In chilled medium bowl, beat whipping cream with electirc mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. 

Remove side of pan; place cake on serving plate.  Top with whipped cream.  Melt 1/4 cup fudge topping; drizzle over whipped cream.  Garnish with additional candies. 


Note:  *My cake only took about 22 minutes.  

Recipe c/o

Sunday, October 30, 2022


My daughter and I fell in love with the most scrumptious almond filled croissant in Los Angeles last year and I've been on a mission to continue looking/enjoying them as I find them.   The version we had in Vermont, just wasn't the had almond flavor, but also apple in it.    

In the meantime, I stumbled across an Almond Coffee Cake recipe that included an almond filling, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I knew it wasn't going to have the flaky pastry on top, but the almond filling and struesel caught my attention.  Plus, the recipe was already adjusted for high altitude baking!


3/4 cup sugar
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp. almond extract
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. coarse kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cloves

4 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temp
4 oz. almond paste (not almond pastry filling)

1/3 cup sugar
½ cup all purpose flour
½ tsp coarse kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup almonds, finely chopped (or ¼ cup almond flour)

1 cup powdered sugar
¼ cup heavy whipping cream (I used whole milk)
½ tsp. almond extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 10 inch square baking pan with non-stick spray.  In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, melted butter, eggs, sour cream, milk, vanilla, and almond extracts.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cloves.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and whisk briefly just to combine.  Set aside while you make the filling.

With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and almond paste for about 30 seconds until combined.  Spread half the coffee cake batter into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Spoon the filling over the batter, then use a small icing spatula to spread the filling out.  Spread the remainder of the batter over the filling.

In a bowl, combine the sugar, flour, salt and melted butter until moistened and crumbly.  Stir in the almonds, reserving 1-2 Tbsp. to sprinkle over the icing later if you'd like).  Sprinkle the struesel over the batter. 

Bake the cake on the center oven rack for about 45-50 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Set aside to cool while you make the icing.

In a bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, cream and almond extract until smooth and has a thick drizzling consistency.  Drizzle over the hot cake and sprinkle with the remaining chopped almonds.  Let cool 20-30 minutes.  

NOTES:  I had an 8x8 and a 9x9 square pan.  I opted to use the 9x9 pan and made a parchment sling to ensure I could get it out of the pan nicely.  I did not need to adjust the baking time, and the cake plumped up nicely.  

I didn't make as much icing as it called for and I waited until it had cooled some before I drizzled it so it wouldn't melt into the cake.

I thoroughly enjoyed this coffee cake.  It has a great almond flavor.


recipe c/o: