Monday, September 26, 2016

Fall is one my favorite seasons.  I love the crisp morning air and the cool evenings.  My favorite days are the ones that you need to turn the heat on in your car in the morning and then you need the windows down on the way home.  I spent an 84 degree fall day picking the pumpkins and cutting down the cornstalks in my garden. 

Check out the etched pumpkin.  The Pumpkin Fairy visited the garden this summer and
etched my granddaughters name into a small pumpkin.
  

I used an old chair and an old crate in my display this year.  My corn didn't really grow so I ended up with "mini" corn stalks.  They were pretty cute.  Some of them were so small I put them into an old watering can and placed them on the chair.  Can you find Kallie's etched pumpkin?
              The long, skinny pumpkin propped up against the planter box grew in the compost pile.  Some years I get some pretty crazy gourds from the compost pile!



My pumpkins did not grow very well this year so I ended up with a small amount and none of the gourds grew. Front Porch Decorating Day is one of the best days of the whole year. 


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

Got Zucchini?




This recipe is a family favorite all summer long and into the fall and winter because they freeze well.
I have also adapted this recipe to be gluten free by using Namaste Gluten Free Flour Blend.  I have tried a couple of different gluten free flour blends and this one seems to come out the best. 
I learned several years back that these muffins will get eaten from the freezer but if I shred the zucchini in the summer and then freeze it I rarely pull the shredded zucchini out of the freezer and make things with it. It is worth a little extra effort in the summer to just make the muffins.  If I do use frozen, shredded zucchini then I like to add a little oatmeal to the recipe to absorb some of the liquid.
You could always add some walnuts if you like and leaving out the oatmeal is an option.










Thursday, March 24, 2016

Spanakopita Burgers & Sweet Potato Fries

I like to add a Spanakopita Burger to our menu periodically.  It is a moist burger with lots of flavor.  I use the Rachel Ray recipe from food.com as a starting point but I don't follow the recipe exactly.  I also like to serve them with Sweet Potato Fries. 

Here is a list of the changes that I make...
-I use fresh spinach and just tear it into small pieces.  I never have frozen spinach. 
-I use a yellow onion instead of a red onion because I rarely have a red onion on hand.
-I don't measure anything so my seasonings vary a bit each time I make these.
-These freeze pretty well.  I usually do a quick freeze and then use my Food Saver to seal them up.

Sweet Potato Fries
Cut 2-3 Sweet Potatoes into fries.  Toss with Olive Oil and Sea Salt. Bake in 350' oven for about 20 minutes. Stir half-way through.  To make fries a little crispy, cook under the broiler for 5-8 minutes after baking. 
Note:  Try to cut the fries about the same size so they cook evenly.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Crockpot Creamy Chicken with Wild Rice Soup

I created this recipe awhile back so that I could use up some cooked chicken that was in my freezer.  I like to boil a whole chicken and save the broth and then I pull all of the meat off the bone and use it.  The last time I did this I had some leftover cooked chicken so I put a couple of cups of it in the freezer.  I decided to make some chicken and rice soup with it and since I didn't have a recipe at my fingertips, I made one up!  It was delicious so, I am sharing it with all of you.

This recipe could easily be made gluten free. I used heavy cream and it could be eliminated. I chose to use it because I had some in the refrigerator that was leftover from a different recipe and I didn't want to waste it and, I was craving a creamy soup!

The recipe made about 10 cups of soups.  My husband and I had it for several dinners and lunches and I would have thrown the leftovers in the freezer but we ate it all in just a few days!

Enjoy!


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Apple Pie Pork Chops

Tonight I created a delicious pork chop recipe that I am definitely going to make again.  Who doesn't love applesauce with their pork chops?  I wanted that same idea but I cooked it all together.  I poured a jar of homemade apple pie filling over the top of my pork chops. I only had 3 pork chops so I used a 9x9 pan.  I had enough pie filling that I could have covered up to 6 pork chops in a larger pan. We ate the "baked apples" instead of applesauce.  We also had some home canned green beans.


The house smelled amazing while the pork chops were cooking.


Saturday, January 9, 2016

Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

As the new year begins I would like to consistently try new recipes.  I am constantly adding more and more recipes to my Pinterest board so I going to make a point this year to try at least one new recipe a month and then share my experiences with all of you.

This month I tried Slow Cooker Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup from 365 Days of Slow Cooking.  I found it on Pinterest.

I ended up having some friends over for dinner so I was a bit nervous about trying something new.  Much to my surprise this recipe was a hit.  I made a few changes to the recipe and next time I will make a few more.  My husband and I ended up eating it all week.  We had several dinners and lunches.

This is what I did that was different from what was on the recipe.

I added 2 quarts of stewed tomatoes that I canned instead of the 2 cans of diced tomatoes.  I did not dice my vegetables small enough so when I pureed them in the blender after cooking them in the crockpot all day they.  I did not sautee them first.  I also used 2 quarts of homemade chicken broth that I canned last spring.

I used Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Flour for my roux. I had never done this before and it made a nice thick roux.  I then whisked in one cup of the soup from the crockpot and then added 3 additional cups.  I then decided to add it all back into the sauce pot instead of back into the crockpot.  I added the parmesan cheese and the I used 1% milk instead of the half and half.  I was afraid that my soup might not be very thick but it ended up being fine. 

I also used the recommendation to puree the soup in the blender.  I should have done it a little longer because my soup had small chunks of vegetables. It tasted fine but it changed the texture.  Next time I will definitely puree it longer and try to thicken the soup a bit more.

We had cornbread with the soup for dinner.  I made some grilled cheese sandwiches to go with the soup when we ate it the next night for dinner.  I also think the soup would be great topped with some seasoned croutons.

I am excited to try this with fresh garden tomatoes next fall! I may even roast them first and throw in a few fresh bell peppers. 
Fresh garden tomatoes & peppers from 2015 season
thesavvymiddlesister.com





Monday, December 7, 2015

Pallet Wood Christmas Trees

I have always loved doing craft projects but now that Pinterest is available I have been inspired to create more often.   My  most favorite thing to do is to create with others.  Last winter I invited a few ladies to my house to do some "Pinterest Projects."  We all brought some ideas and the supplies we needed to make them.  We made bath salts, sugar scrubs, painted glass jars, and several other Pinterest ideas.  The idea came to me because I saw that several of my friends were repinning many of the things that I had pinned and I had done the same to them.  This idea continued throughout the year and into the summer and my Pinterest Pals and I had several Project Days.  (You can see some of our ideas in other blog posts.)

I pinned these amazing Pallet Christmas Trees and my friend Jennifer spotted them and repinned them.  She took it one step further and scheduled a Project/Craft day with several ladies.  Her amazing husband prepped all of the pallet wood for us and had it cut to size.  

I had several people ask me about the trees after they saw them on Facebook so I decided I would include some photos and some tips for others that might want to give this project a try.

Photo by thesavvymiddlesister.com
Here is a quick picture of my trees before they were finished.

You will need:
Pallet wood cut to size
Nail gun with nails
Mod Podge and foam brushes
Napkins and/or tissue paper
Buttons
Wooden star
Chalk paint or milk paint and brushes
Wood glue
Piece of wood to attach the pallet wood to (becomes the "trunk of the tree")
Sand Paper (optional)

Pallet Wood Trees (use this link for wood measurements and additional tips)

After the pallet wood has been cut to size you will attach it to the long piece of wood that becomes the trunk then you will be ready for some decorating.  We used wood glue and a nail gun to attach the pallet pieces to the trunk.

To decorate we used napkins and tissue paper.  Tear the tissue paper or napkin a little smaller than the "branch" you are covering.  If you are using two ply napkins then separate the decorative layer from the plain layer.  This will make your napkin more transparent.  Use Mod podge and a foam brush to adhere the napkin or tissue to the branch.  Apply a light coat of Mod Podge to the branch and then carefully press the napkin or tissue over it.  Then paint over the top of it again.  The napkin or tissue will be wet and this is good because it will look more transparent when it dries.  The Mod Podge will dry clear.  Choose a few branches to cover with a variety of patterns.  


We used chalk paint for the colored branches.  Everyone brought different brands and we found that that if we watered them down a little that they were more transparent.  I even wiped some of the white off after I painted it on because it was a little bit bold for me.  We also sprinkled a little glitter on some of them.

My trees are not quite finished so I will post a new picture when they are. I still need to add my wood star and my buttons for ornaments.  

If you have made these trees and have some additional tips or photos to share, please add them to the comments section.