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Monday, January 4, 2021

DOUBLE CRUST CHICKEN POT PIE

 I've watched the America's Test Kitchen episode featuring this recipe twice, and I finally decided I needed to try it.   Personally, I find a lot of their recipes to be very complex, filled with lots of prep and steps before you finally get to the reward of eating the finished product.  It's probably why I've waited so long to try this one.  It comes complete with a crust recipe, but I'll be honest, I chose the shortcut of buying the pre-made package which includes two crusts.  It tasted wonderful, and it saved a whole lot of time and effort.

Be forewarned, there's a bit of prep.....cutting up veggies and shredding chichen, but once those steps are finished, it comes together fairly quickly.  Bake time is 45 minutes total, with a time for it to cool.  They said 45 minutes, I felt it would be cold by then, so I waited 25 minutes, and I was able to get it out of the pan with no problem and it was still warm.

INGREDIENTS:

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 onion, chopped fine 
2 carrots, peeled and cut into ¼ inch pieces
2 celery ribs, cut into ¼ inch pieces
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
6 Tbsp. flour
2 ¼ cups chicken broth
½ cup half and half
1 small russet potato, peeled and cut into ¼ inch pieces
1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
1 (2.5 lb) rotisserie chicken, skin and bones discarded, shredded into bite size pieces
3/4 cup frozen peas
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 package frozen pie crusts 

DIRECTIONS:

Adjust rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450 degrees.  Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion, carrots, celery, salt and pepper and cook until vegetables begin to soften, about 6 minutes.  Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until golden.  1-2 minutes.  Slowly stir in broth and half and half and bring to boil over medium high heat.  

Stir in potato and thyme (if you're using dried thyme, use 1/2 tsp).  Reduce heat to medium and simmer until sauce is thickened and potato is tender, about 8 minutes.  Off heat, stir in chicken and peas.  

Transfer filling to a dough lined 9" pie plate.  Loosely roll remaining dough around a rolling pin and gently unroll it onto the filling.  Trim overhand to 1/2" beyond lip of plate.  Pinch edges of top and bottom crusts firmly together.  Tuck overhang under itself and crimp dough around edges.  Cut four 2" slits in top of dough.

Brush top of pie with egg.  Place on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake at 450 degrees until top is light golden brown, 18-20 minutes.  Reduce oven temp to 375 degrees, rotate sheet and continue baking until crust is deep golden brown, 12-15 minutes longer.  Let cool on a wire rack for about 25-30 minutes.  Serve.  

Enjoy!

Saturday, December 12, 2020

OMBRE SEQUIN DRESS WITH LONG OVERSKIRT

 I fell in love with this sequin fabric I spotted when walking through the fabric store over a year ago...I loved it so much, that I decided I just had to create something with it.   I immediately thought cocktail dress....so I purchasied a yard and a half.  

So I opted for a halter neck with a fun keyhole back opening.  After I completed it, I thought a long overskirt could be a fun addition to give two different looks. 
The dress is fully lined, and has an invisible zipper in the skirt and 3 buttons with loops at the back neckline.     I strategically placed the pattern pieces so that the ombre was highlighted.  I was thrilled when I found a grey chiffon that was a great match to the darkest of the grey at the bottom of the dress! 
                       
Grey colors can be so difficult to match due to the blue or green undertones.  That goes for grey paint too!    I draped the overskirt on my dress form, so there really isn't a pattern for it.  I tend to do things like that when I'm creating a custom project.  I'm really pleased with how this turned out.  I have no idea when my daughter will ever wear it, so I'll just add it to the many, many items I've created over the years just because I had an idea or found a special fabric that I just had to work with.  I literally have a closet full of these "one off" items!

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

BRIDAL CAPES

Since the bridal cape trend continues to be strong, I've decided to include more design options in my Etsy shop.  Different lengths, fabrications, trims....all to provide more offerings to my clients. 

This pearl encrusted tulle was super fun to work with.  I wanted to take advantage of the art deco pattern, so the hemline is unfinished and absolutely shows off the scallops in the front and the points in the back.  

Since it's a circle shape, I added some additional fullness at the center back (which is where the opening is) to show off the gorgeous drapability of this fabric.   The variance in the length from the front to the back also creates a beautiful line.   I added some beautiful embellished lace trim around the neckline for the perfect finishing touch!                                                                                    
The next design is a cathedral length with a lace yoke.  It attaches to the straps of the gown.  It would even work with a strapless gown since every commercial strapless gown I've seen includes a set of spaghetti straps.  When the bride wants to remove the cape,                                                                she would also remove the gown straps.                                                                
The third design I added to the collection this year is a mid length.                                                  It features a beautiful embroidered tulle with a gorgeous beaded neckline.   I love the creative process, and can't wait to offer even more designs!                                                     

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

PUMPKIN BREAD WITH STREUSEL TOPPING

 It's officially fall!  So that means, some pumpkin infused recipes.  I went looking for a pumpkin bread with streusel topping and landed on this winner.  So I just had to share!

This bread is super moist, loaded with pumpkin flavor and of course, who can resist a streusel topping!
The best thing is this recipe makes two loaves, so you have one for now, and you can freeze the other. 

INGREDIENTS:

Topping:
1 cup flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar (lightly packed)
¼ tsp. kosher salt
½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick, melted and cooled)

Bread:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
4 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
15 oz. can packed pumpkin (not pie filling)
2 ½ cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt
2 tsps. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp,. ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground cloves
1 cup chopped pecan (optional, but recommended)
powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)

Topping:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.  Stir in the melted butter until crumbs form.  Set aside.

Bread: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in the middle position, butter or spray two (2) 1-1.5 lb. loaf pans.  Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy; about 3 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, beating to combine after each addition.  

Scrape the bowl and beat in the vanilla and pumpkin.  The mixture might look curdled; no worries.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add to the pumpkin mixture in 3 additions, mixing until just combined.  Stir in the pecans.  

Divide the batter between the two prepared pans.  Top each with half of the topping, very gently pressing it into the batter.  Bake for 60-70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaves comes out clean, or with just a few crumbs.

Let loaves cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Dust with powdered sugar, if desired, and serve.  

Notes:  There was a note on the original recipe that dark brown sugar is preferred for the flavor profile, but you can substitute light, which is what I had on hand.  

Enjoy!

recipe c/o:  www.stripedspatula.com

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Cathedral Veil

 This year I introduced several new veils to my Etsy collection.  Two new cathedral designs which definitely different from one another, and added more variety for the bride-to-be to choose from!

This first one has a fun added ruffle element at the hemline.  The horsehair trim creates a beautiful wave and the lace trim accent which goes all the way around the perimeter helps to highlight that unique hemline.  In addition, I added some beautiful lace appliques around the inner edge of the hemline giving it just the right finishing touch.                                  




The second veil is a lovely cut edge cathedral veil with the most gorgeous lace appliques.  Laying out the appliques to create just the right design can take me hours with pictures in between the different layouts until I land on just the right combination.  

This lace is so delicate.  It's a light ivory color with gold threads which outline the florals and leaves.  It truly is  amazing up close.  Also, due to the colors, it really looks great with either a diamond white gown or an ivory gown, so what could be better?     
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              



Monday, October 5, 2020

SUNDRIED TOMATO AND SAUSAGE

There's nothing better than a recipe that is super simple and super yummy!  You can certainly pull this one together on a weeknight.  I literally put it together in about 20 minutes.  It takes about 12-15 minutes to simmer, so you can be sitting down to dinner in about 35-40 minutes.

INGREDIENTS:

13 oz. smoked sausage
1 Tbsp. olive oil
½ sweet onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
Just before serving

2 oz. sundried tomatoes, julienned and dry packed
8 oz. penne
2 C. low soldium chicken broth
3/4 C. half and half
½ C grated gruyere
2 Tbsp. freshly chopped parsley

DIRECTIONS:

Slice sausage into ¼" thick rounds, then set aside.  In a deep, 12" skillet over mediuim heat, heat oil.  Add onions and sausage and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook one minute more, stirring constantly.  Add tomatoes, penne, chicken broth and half and half.  Turn heat to high.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Stir, cover, and cook, 12-15 minutes (12 minutes is al dente).  Fold in cheese and parsley and serve immediately. 

Enjoy!

recipe c/o:  www.delish.com


Monday, September 21, 2020

PUMPKIN PECAN SPICE CAKE

For this year's Fall family get together, I kept in the spirit of fall and brought a homemade Pumpkin Pecan Spice Cake.  Since it received unanimous "lip smacking, thumbs up" reviews, I'm sharing it with you!

It starts with a box cake mix, but with there are some unique additions that elevates it well beyond its box status.  Isn't she pretty?

 This recipe takes some time, but I would say it was worth the effort.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups crushed vanilla wafers (about 60 wafers)
1 cup chopped pecans (I chose to use only 1/2 cup) 
3/4 cup butter, softened

CAKE:
1 pkg. spice cake mix (regular size)
1 can (15 oz.) solid pack pumpkin
4 large eggs 
½ cup butter, softened

FROSTING:
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/3 cups butter, softened
6 cups powder sugar
4 tsp. vanilla extract

TOPPING:
½ cup caramel ice cream topping


DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, combine the wafers, pecans and butter until crumbly.  Press into three greased and floured 9 inch round baking pans.

In another bowl, beat cake mix, pumpkin, eggs and butter.  Beat on low speed for 30 seconds.  Beat on high 2 minutes.  Spread over crust in each pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 24-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

While the cakes are cooling, prepare the frosting.  In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until fluffy.  Add sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth.

Place the layers crumb side down.  Spread the frosting between the layers and on the sides and top of the cake.  Once completely frosted, spread the caramel topping over the top allowing some to drip down the sides.  Store in the refrigerator to set the frosting.

Serve at room temperature.  

Enjoy!

recipe c/o:  Taste of Home fall 2020 magazine (pumpkin cookbook)