Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Fabric Easter Egg Tutorial

I know it seems early to be thinking of Easter, but I found a great tutorial for making fabric eggs over at Retro Mama! Get a head start on making them for Easter, or make them in colors to match your decor for in baskets or nests for Spring! A nest filled with some of these eggs and a folk bird would be great, maybe even under a glass cloche or on a beautiful cake stand.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Salsa Chicken & Black Bean Soup Recipe

These wintry Ohio days call for cozy soup & homemade bread! I like to use my crock pot to make soups as often as possible, and this recipe was a huge hit at our house and SO easy! Found the recipe at A Year of Slow Cooking, where you will find a ton of recipes to try in your slow cooker, and the blogger's reviews of the recipe, too. So gather the ingredients, bake some fresh bread or cornbread to go with it, toss a colorful salad together and you've got a budget-friendly delicious meal for your family! Just you, or too many leftovers? I think this recipe would be a great one to freeze in individual servings! (we didn't have ANY leftovers at our house!)

Salsa Chicken & Black Bean Soup
--1 pound chicken
--1 cup dried black beans (or 2 cans, drained and rinsed)

--4 cups chicken broth
--1 cup sliced mushrooms
(I omitted these, as they weren't on hand)
--1 cup frozen corn
--1 jar prepared salsa (16 oz)

--1 1/2 tsp cumin
--1/2 cup sour cream (to stir in at the end)

--shredded cheddar cheese, avocado slices, cilantro (all optional)

You will need a 4 quart or larger crock pot.

If you know you are going to make this the night before (yay for meal planning!) soak the black beans in enough water to cover and another 2 inches overnight. In the morning, drain the water and rinse the beans. (I used canned beans)

Drain and rinse the beans.
Add to the slow cooker. Put in the chicken, and add the broth and salsa. Pour in the corn and mushrooms, and add the cumin. Stir, but don't disturb the beans---let them stay at the bottom of the pot, closest to the heating element.

Cover and cook on high for 9 hours. Yup. High. For 9 hours. It took a crazy long time for the beans to soften, but they did.

If you are using beans you soaked overnight, canned beans, or pre-cooked beans, you can cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4-5--similar to normal soup-cooking time.

If you'd like to thicken the broth, you can use your immersible blender to blend a bit of the beans and chicken. If you don't have one, scoop out 2 cups of the soup and carefully blend in your traditional blender. Stir the mixture back into the crockpot.

Stir in the 1/2 cup of sour cream before serving, and garnish with shredded cheese and avocado slices.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


2010...a New Year, new beginnings, new opportunities, new challenges, and best of all--new life!

I am looking forward to what this new year holds for me, counting the blessings one day at a time.

We've been cleaning, re-organizing, simplifying, and preparing for changes.

I am so blessed to have my dear little family, and also am thankful for the friends in our lives.