off the beaten…recipe…

There are two kinds of home cooks: those who follow a recipe to the letter; and those who just sort of wing it.

I fall into the latter category.

Not necessarily because I’m such an amazing cook that I don’t need structure. But because I don’t always have everything I need when I start or the recipe seems unnecessarily complicated or I would prefer one ingredient over another. There are all kinds of reasons for my jumping the track and thankfully, it usually pays off.

Like it did with this chicken pot pie I made last night.

Never one to completely follow a recipe, I found one I thought sounded the best, used what I wanted from it and left the rest. I have to say, it was a big hit with Michael and my brother.

Here’s how I did it…feel free to add your own interpretation to my recipe… 😉


3/4 pound chicken (or three semi-large chicken breast pieces)

1 tsp diced garlic

3 tbsp olive oil

2 small potatoes

1 medium chopped onion

1 10-12 oz bag of frozen mixed vegetables

1/3 cup whole wheat flour

2/3 cup milk

2 cups chicken broth

2 – 9 in unbaked pie crusts

Salt and pepper to taste

In medium to large skillet, heat olive oil and garlic. Add cubed chicken and onions. Cook until onions are clear and chicken is no longer pink. Add cubed potatoes and bag of frozen vegetables. Cover with lid (if you have one). Once potatoes and veggies have become slightly softer (about 3-5 minutes on medium heat), add whole wheat flour and stir until “pasty.”

Pour in milk and chicken broth, add salt and pepper. Stir together until creamy, but thin. Let continue to cook over med-low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until thickened.

Meanwhile, place one thawed, unbaked pie crust into deep dish pie pan (or,you may use pre-formed deep dish pie crust in a tin found on the frozen baked good aisle) and bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, or until just slightly browned. Fill with chicken mixture. Place second thawed, unbaked pie crust over the top and pinch at edges. (if using pre-formed crusts, pop second thawed crust out of the tin and lay over the first).

Make several cuts in the top of the crust to allow heat to escape. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with a pitch of coarse sea salt, if desired.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until top is golden brown. Watch carefully so it does not bubble over (more incisions may be needed) or burn.


fall baking…

I promise I have interests other than decorating, DIY, clothes and baking…but where’s the fun in talking about those?! This is the place I get to express my Martha Stewart/Rachael Ray/Rachel Zoe wannabe sides…so here I go again…

It’s fall and that means I want to be surrounded by pumpkin and gourd displays, candles, chrysanthemums, Bath & Body Works scents – and baked goods. Oh, I know I shouldn’t and that the danger of overindulging is ever present. I know that if I do, the scale isn’t my friend, especially now that I’m pregnant.

But alas, my love affair with baked good persists. It’s not only the scrumptious treats that come from the baking, it’s the baking itself that I’m drawn to. I find it therapeutic for some reason. I always have.

Luckily, I have two men in my house that will share in the burden of ridding the evidence and I won’t be tempted for too long.

The weekend after this I have four of my college roommates coming to stay with me, so I’ve already begun to plan the indulgent goodies I want to have on-hand for their stay. After all, late night gab sessions are no good without decadent desserts and junk food, right?

Here are a few of the recipes I might try:

Just the thought of this fall-ish breakfast food makes my mouth water! Check out the recipe for these Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls at goodLife {eats}.


(Image found at goodLife {eats})


Then there’s always this Carrot Cheesecake recipe from Better Homes and Gardens!


(Image found at Better Homes and Gardens)


Or perhaps this Apple Crisp from Food Network’s Down Home with the Neelys is the way to go….


(Image found at Food Network)


Then again, maybe we’ll just try all three… 😉

do-it-yourself: harlequin patterns and changing tables…

I’ve been working on the nursery and it’s definitely coming along now…s-l-o-w-l-y, very slowly, but we’re getting there.
I still have three months, but I know that with the holidays coming up three months is going to fly by and Braden will be here before we know it.

Fortunately for us, my parents have given us the two main pieces of furniture that we’re using in the nursery! One piece is a wardrobe that was used in my own nursery. I love the idea that my daughter will grow up with something that I also grew up around.

The second piece my parents gave us was an old chest they used in their room for years and years. Deriving inspiration from the items on Layla Grace, I decided to try my hand at converting the piece into a changing table by utilizing a do-it-yourself harlequin pattern in the colors I’m using in the nursery.

This is how it turned out….

braden's changing table

Here’s how I did it:

-Remove any hardware (drawer pulls, etc.).
-Paint the entire object one solid color. Let dry.
-Use painter’s tape and create a diamond pattern over the entire object by focusing on one surface at a time. For instance, lay out your tape on the top first, then each of the sides individually and finally, the front (over the drawers). You can measure the distance between each piece of tape or lay it out freehand (like I did). Press the the tape down as firmly as possible to avoid heavy bleeding, but realize that this is a nearly impossible task and you WILL experience some bleeds. That’s okay.
-Fill in each diamond shape with a secondary color. Let dry.
-Once dry, remove tape. The diamond pattern should be obvious. Keep in mind there will be imperfections.
-Using a crafter’s angled-edge sponge brush (choose your own size, I used a smaller size), brush on a third color over each of the diamond’s edges, covering up any bleeds or imperfections along the way.

The trick, I learned, was to accept the minor imperfections (over-correcting also causes problems) while trying my best to achieve the look I wanted.

Overall, while it’s not perfect, I am really pleased with the way it turned out.