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

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Do You Have Your Funnels Ready?!!

Remember in one of my previous posts I had posted pictures of some funnels that I had purchased from a couple of antique shops in Amish country and I said that I had a project in mind for them?

Well......this is what I made with them!

What do you think?  I'm pretty excited with how they turned out!

If you would like to learn how to make one for yourself, you can find a tutorial in the Spring issue of A Primitive Place magazine.  If you don't already have a subscription, you can click HERE and order yours today!!

Until Next Time. . . . .Kris


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