Friday, November 28, 2014

A Recipe to Share ~ Classic Chicken Potpie

I hope that you all had a blessed Thanksgiving!


This recipe seemed fitting to share right after the holiday as it can use leftover turkey. It calls for chicken, but we've used rabbit in it, too, and turkey would work just as well.

I found the recipe quite a few months ago when looking for more dishes that we could use rabbit in, and after making it the first time, it quickly became a family favorite! I did a fair bit of tweaking to it so my recipe is below and the original can be found here (as well as a photo of it.)

Classic Chicken Potpie
 (some of the ingredients are approximates as I didn't exactly measure. :)

 -- A total of 3 1/2 cups chopped vegetables, peeled if necessary (i.e. potatoes, carrots, celery, corn, green beans - this particular time, I used the first three listed.)
-- 2 1/2 cups shredded chicken, rabbit, OR turkey
-- 1/2 Tbsp. dried minced onion
-- 1 can (4 1/2 oz.) sliced muchrooms, drained
--1/4 cup butter
-- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
-- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
-- 1 tsp. dried basil
-- 1/8 tsp. pepper
-- dash of salt
-- 2 cups hot water with 3 tsp. MSG- free chicken broth powder dissolved into it
-- Pastry for single-crust pie (recipe for that is below)

Boil vegetables in water until tender. Drain. In a greased deep 2 1/2 qt. baking dish, combine the vegetables, rabbit/chicken/turkey, onion flakes, and mushrooms; set aside. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Combine the flour, thyme, basil, pepper and salt. Stir into butter until smooth. Gradually add broth mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Pour over meat and vegetable mixture.

Make pastry following the below recipe. Roll out to fit top of dish. Place over filling; trim and flute edges. Cut slits in top. Bake at 450 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting. Enjoy!

Single Crust Pie Pastry

-1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1/2 cup butter
-4 to 5 tablespoons cold water

Sift flour and salt together; cut in butter with pastry blender till crumbly. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon water over part of mixture. Gently toss with fork; push to side of bowl. Repeat till all is moistened. Form into a ball.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Weekend with Family

This past weekend we were able to enjoy an early Thanksgiving with some of my Dad's side of the family which was so enjoyable! Saturday our kitchen was busy in preparation as my Mom made cookies and apple pies and I made a bunch of rolls.

Then early Sunday morning (as in, 4:00 in the morning early!) found us up and getting ready to make the trek to Nebraska. The entire drive was through dreary skies and also rain much of the way, though the miles and hours seemed to go by quickly. 

Crossing the Elkhorn River

We were some of the first ones to arrive at my aunt and uncle's house (who were hosting), and it was so nice to see them again as well as my Grandma and another aunt who were already there.

Grandma with Uncle Jim behind her, Mom, Aunt Marci and Dad

Before long, everyone else that was going to be able to come had arrived (save for one aunt who came later.) All in all, it was us four, my grandma, four aunts, two uncles, and two of my cousins and their families. It was wonderful seeing everyone again!

Aunt Linda with her two granddaughters

In the kitchen visiting and finishing the meal preparations

Some of the desserts plus rolls and salads

She really wanted Shiloh (the dog) to play with her, and Dad was trying to get him to come out! He wasn't too keen on the idea right at that time. :)

Aunt Judy, Mom, and Aunt Linda working on meal preparations

Tonya (our cousin) holding her son, Mom, Leah, Aunt Linda and Aunt Judy

Leah, Melinda (our cousin) and Grandma visiting . . . we had many wonderful conversations together!

I loved spending time with both of these special girls!
(Photo by Leah)

In the background: Leah, Melinda and Grandma
In the foreground: Aunt Marci, Dad, Uncle Pat, and Byron 

The day was wonderfully filled with much visiting, laughter, reminiscing and telling family stories, working in the kitchen together, enjoying a delicious meal of so many different dishes that people had brought, and more.

Ethan giving me one of his more mischievous smiles.

 Aunt Linda, Aunt Judy and my Mom . . . it was fun listening to them!

Dad with his brother Pat and one of Uncle Pat's granddaughters

Leah and one of our cousins' sweet girls enjoying time together

Aunt Linda and her grandson . . . he was such a smiley, fun little boy!

Dad and his older sister Marci visiting

Me with the sweet little daughter of one of my cousins
(photo by Leah)  

Grandma with both of her sons

Aunt Monica with one of her granddaughters

Dad and Grandma visiting
(photo by Aunt Judy)  

Some of the highlights for me were having a special talk with my Grandma about faith and trusting God in all things, visiting with my cousins including about natural/organic foods, gardening, etc. (we have quite a bit in common in our thoughts on those things!), having one of my cousins' little girls (the one in the below photo) run straight to me to give me a hug as soon as she came in the door (and then wanting to be close to either Leah or I so much during the day), playing a bit with my cousins' children, talking with everyone, and then simply seeing my family together, hearing them laugh, and just enjoying being there with them.

Family is such a blessing, and I am so thankful for all of mine!

Me and little cuddlebug :) . . . it was really nice to see her again!
(photo by Aunt Judy) 

The hours passed all too quickly and eventually it was time for goodbyes to be said, and the rest of the family headed for home. 

Grandma saying goodbye to Tonya and two of her children
(photo by Aunt Judy)  

A precious moment . . . I love seeing how much the great-grandchildren love Grandma and in turn, her all of us. She has such a big and loving heart, and I am so glad she's my grandma!

Andrew with his sleepy son and Uncle Jim
(photo by Aunt Judy)  

More hugs!
(photo by Aunt Judy) 

The remainder of the day found Uncle Jim, Aunt Judy, Aunt Monica, my parents, Leah and I visiting into the night. It was a fun and special time! And one I am thankful for.

The next morning we had intended to leave fairly early, but that didn't exactly happen. :) We instead sat around the dining room table with cups of hot chocolate and coffee and talked and talked and talked . . . until finally we had to pull ourselves away and begin the drive home.

On our drive up, I had noticed this impressive barn, house and outbuildings , so was prepared to photograph them on the way home . . . .

Isn't the barn amazing? And what a beautiful setting with the large trees and the fence. As always my curiosity was aroused, wondering how old it was, who had lived there, etc. etc.

Another old barn on the drive home

It was so windy on Monday that we were about blown home. :) We pulled into our driveway just a bit before dark so were able to do the animal chores in the remaining light.

I am so thankful that everything came together for us to take this trip and to enjoy this special and memorable time with family!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Treasures from the Past

If you have been reading my blog for much length of time, you probably already know how much I like antiques. :) There is just something special about the pieces from the past . . . the beauty, character, and history of them is so appealing. Anything made of wood especially catches my eye . . . and another thing that quickly draws my attention is quilts.

The often faded, yet colorful, fabrics carefully sewn together to create a priceless treasure. Tiny handstitches cover the surface of many of the quilts, showing the time that the maker put into carefully making a beautiful bed covering for her family. I have wished more than once that the quilts (or any antique really!) could share some of its history . . . where has it been? Who made it? Who has used it? What stories could it tell?

When I wander through antique stores, most times I am simply admiring . . . the price tags on the quilts and many of the other items are often far above what I would want to spend! But every once in awhile, I find a treasure of a quilt with a price that I cannot pass up . . .

. . . such as this one . . .

At some point in this quilt's recent history, someone had attempted to repair a torn end by sewing a large neon pink strip very crookedly over one edge. Perhaps that is why the price was so low, but for me, it was an easy thing to remedy! A ripper and some time quickly had the very unappealing strip of fabric off. The quilt still needs some TLC, though . . . after a thorough washing, it will need to be rebound and have some holes repaired.

I love the quilting on this quilt! Tiny hand stitches cover it in a beautiful pattern . . .

Having been hand quilting myself, I have a great appreciation for the quality of the stitching and how much of it there is!

This next quilt was tied instead of quilted. It has seen a lot more wear and has several holes, quite a few missing squares, and is going to need a fair bit of work (if I decide to repair it completely.)

When I first saw it draped across a bed at an antique store and saw its poorer quality, the first thought that came to mind was how nice it would be for a picnic quilt or to use when going outdoors to read underneath the trees or things like that. And for a price of $12.75, the time to repair it will be worth it!

My winter project list has been fast filling up, and included on it will be
the fun restoration of these two quilts!