Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Hint of Spring

Hi, friends!!  Can you believe the warm weather that we had a few days ago?  The warmer temps melted off all of the snow!!  Yayyyyy!!  This is what I have longed to see for a looooong time.


Yep!  It's all melted!!  I am SO glad that the snow is all gone.  And do you know what I discovered after the snow melted?

My daffodils and hyacinths are starting to pop up!!  Woo Hoo!!

I know, I know....I'm not going to get myself too excited since tonight we're suppose to be under a Winter Weather Advisory with a mix of snow, sleet and rain!  UGH!!  Plus, the other day, my local weatherman pointed out that the average snowfall in the month of March is 11", so I know we're not done with snow!  But, come on Spring!!  I know your just around the corner!!

After I heard that news, I decided to take a little trip to Amish country with the hopes of getting cheered up by seeing some spring displays and I sure wasn't disappointed!   The shops were brimming with spring goodies!! I went with a list of things in particular that I was looking for, but ended up coming home with a few spring things that I couldn't resist instead!! 

Here are some pics of what I brought home:

A few faux potted plants and a bunch of greenery.

I bought a couple bunches of ivy and  yellow flowers.  I just tucked them in this basket, for now, for photo purposes.

I picked up some hand-dyed wool fat quarters and a couple yards of blue calico fabric.  I also bought Family Heirloom Weaver's new Angstadt pattern table square, which I absolutely LOVE!!

I also hit a couple of antique stores where I found a pair of pewter salt and pepper shakers and this plastic horse.  You're probably wondering what I'm going to do with the horse!  Well.....I have a project in mind.  I'm not sure how it'll turn out, but I'll let you know if it does!  lol


For Valentines, we celebrated on both Sunday and Monday.   On Sunday, with the whole family, we grilled lamb chops along with roasted red potatoes and onions as well as roasted butternut squash. For dessert I made a double layer chocolate cake that is a recipe from the Barefoot Contessa.  Yummmm!!  On Monday, Brittney had to work, so I made Chicken with Mascarpone Marsala Sauce, which she doesn't care for.  It's a recipe from Giada de Laurentis/Everyday Italian.

Chicken with Mustard Mascarpone Marsala Sauce

1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, each breast cut crosswise into 3 pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T. olive oil
5 T. butter, divided
3/4 c. chopped onion
1 lb. cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 T. minced garlic
1 c. dry Marsala wine (I use sweet Marsala wine)
1 c. (8 oz.) mascarpone cheese
2 T. Dijon mustard
2 T. chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
12 oz. dried fettuccine

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.  Heat the oil in a heavy, large skillet over high heat.  Add the chicken and cook just until brown, about 4 minutes per side.  Transfer the chicken to a plate and cool slightly.

While the chicken cools, melt 2 T. of butter to the same skillet over medium-high heat, then add the onion and suate until tender, about 2 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and garlic and saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 12 minutes.  Add the wine and simmer until it reduced by half, about 4 minutes.  Stir in the mascarpone and mustard.  Cut the chicken breasts crosswise into 1/3" thick slices.  Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet.  Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through and the sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes.  Stir in the chopped parsley.  Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the fettuccine and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.   Drain.  toss the fettuccine with 3 T. butter and season, to taste, with salt and pepper.  Swirl the fettuccine onto serving plates.  Spoon the chicken mixture over top.


Beatty's Chocolate Cake

Butter, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 c. all-pupose flour, plus more for pans
2 c. sugar
3/4 c. good cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 c. buttermilk, shaken
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 extra large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 c. freshly brewed hot coffee
Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Butter 2 (8 inch) round cake pans.  Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.  In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla.  With mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.  With the mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.  Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely. Frost when cooled.

Chocolate Buttercream

6 oz. good semisweet chocolate
1/2 lb ( 2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra large egg yolk, room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. sifted confectioner's sugar
1 T. instant coffee powder

Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes.  Turn the mixer on low, gradually add the confectioner's sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy.  Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water.  On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended.  Don't whip!  Spread immediately on the cooled cake.


Until Next Time. . . . .Kris


  1. You just made me hungry looking at all your yummy food Kris! What great finds you got in Amish Country, I am jealous! I am also jealous of your green grass, ours is still buried under so much snow. Hope Spring is on our way though. Thanks for the post!

  2. Oh that cake.... now I need chocolate!!

    Love all your goodies and I too am jealous of the grass!! And those plants sprouting. We are just thrilled that I can see over the snowbanks when I back out now! LOL

    Take care and have a great week!

  3. Great finds in Amish country! Love the hint of Spring you found in the yard! And I think if I ever make that chocolate cake I will definitely have to take it somewhere as a dish to pass. Not sure how much self-control I'd have with that on the counter!

  4. Kris, your food looks delish, esp. that cake! Love your finds and I can't wait to see what you do with that horse! I'm sure it will be something amazing. You are so talented and ambitious! Have a great week and enjoy the warmer weather. It was 67 here today.

  5. Love all the things you found. I can't resist fabric finds either, even if I'm not sure what to do with them. But it's good to have when an idea hits you. Also love the basket you hung. It reminds us that spring is around the corner. Yey!
    Have a good day! Looking forward to your creations.
    Country at Heart

  6. That food looks scrumptious! I love your faux plants and greenery! I always enjoy reading your blog.

  7. The food looks so yummy - thanks for sharing the recipes. I'm looking forward to seeing a little of that grass in my yard - soooooon I hope. Love your friends from Amish Country and those flowers you just tossed into the basket - look great to me. Of course you can't beat the wool you got and what your going to do with the horse has me intrigued.

    Hugs - Karen YSF

  8. Hi Kris! Like your new blog look! Also love that table square fabric. Can't wait to see what you are up to with the horse - hope it goes as planned! I just finished shovelling last night's snowfall so I hope under it my crocuses and daffs are coming up!lol Have a great week - sincerely, Jeannette

  9. Love all your new goodies! We also can finally see grass, it has been a long winter.

  10. Don't you just love to see shoots popping out of the ground? They excite me so much, hehe!

    Even though you just stuck the ivy and yellow flowers in the basket for photo purposes, I think it looks great! Love all the faux greenery and flowers. You picked up some great goodies too!

    I have come to the conclusion that anything chocolate made with buttermilk is delicious! I always buy buttermilk brownies when I visit the small Amish community down the road from me, they are truly wonderful! I've not had cake made with buttermilk, but I'm sure it is divine!


Thank you for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed my blog and will visit again. Have a great day!


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