Sunday, February 26, 2012

Spottswood Kitchen




If you haven't noticed, there are three entrances into the kitchen, one from the foyer, one from the dining room and one from the laundry room.  Kinda odd but pretty convenient nonetheless - oh, and one more from the basement!!  WOW!

Dark coffee brown granite countertops

A set of 10 glass blocks on each side of the sink, with a small shelf for each.  This is where I previously stored my cookbooks.  Practical but not very convenient as the cookbooks kept dropping out or sliding down, very irritating.  That's when my hubby decided to build me the built-in kitchen shelf.


So this is where it all happens.  We've only been in Spottswood for a little over a year and this is my favorite kitchen by far.  In our almost 30 years of marriage, I have cooked in eight kitchens before this one.  Now I know my kitchen isn't large compare to many other bloggers but believe it or not, it's my biggest kitchen thus far with a lot more cabinet space than I've ever had.  The cabinets, flooring, counter-tops, sink, microwave  and dishwasher were already here when we bought the house.  We added the ceiling light, refrigerator, gas stove and the built in wall shelf. I started my iSTW blog back in January of 2010 in my previous home, never knowing that we'd be in a different kitchen/house two years later.  I still have a few more projects left to do in the Spottswood kitchen but with it about 90% done, I'm in no hurry.  How fun it is to be content in a kitchen that serves its purpose, not to mention the many lovely delicious meals that come out of it.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

New Kitchen Shelf - Finally!

This is what inspired me . . . . 

Recessed light at the top

I forgot to take pictures of when I painted the red trim after dinner last night, so yes, you do see a red trim

Can I tell you how elated I was to finally put my snow scene goblets up for display?!?  They look so happy there.  By the way family, if you're reading this. . . . . I'm missing one!! OK, who's going to fess up!?

and now my what nots and my cookbooks

opposite view from above image

Voila!  and there she is!!  Isn't she a beaut!?  

Thank you hubby, I am SOOO happy with my new kitchen shelf :) I love you!   He's not much of a smiler for the camera, plus we got just got home late from a double header basketball game at Liberty.

Click HERE to see this project from the beginning.

Has this happened to you?  Do you go around collecting items that just don't make sense at the moment but then on down the road, you've realize all of the sudden that you have a collection of some sort with the same theme?  Well that's what happened with my kitchen.  I'm drawn to tall skinny men, short chubby men, all with a long curly mustache, white apron and a chef's hat.  I don't know why but they seemed to have gathered in my kitchen.  Maybe it's because we lived in Europe for two years, I don't know.  It's a mixture of Italian, French that I love even though we lived in Germany.  Have a great weekend!!

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Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

Parmesan Tilapia

(If Mr. Don Vito doesn't show the ingredients, give it a day - thanks to Photobucket editing feature)

Preheat oven broiler, spray pan with cooking spray

In a s mall bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice.  Season with dried basil, pepper, garlic powder and celery salt.  Mix well and set aside.

Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan.  Sprinkle fillets with more pepper, only if desired.  I desired :)  Broil a few inches from the heat for 4 minutes

Flip the fillets over and broil for 2 more minutes.

Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side.  

Sprinkle with paprika for color

Broil until the topping is browned and the Tilapia flakes easily with a fork

I'm so impressed how golden brown the fish came out, I believe it's because of the Parmesan cheese - so lovely to look at!

Need another way to cook fish?  Especially during the Lent season?  We don't participate in Lent but I seem to be wanting to eat fish on Fridays these days, I don't know why.  Maybe it's just the power of suggestion?  Any way, I needed to find another way to cook fish.  I was getting tired of the batter baked, batter fried, etc.,  La Bella Vita's recipe jumped out at me and I knew immediately that I would have to make it.  Fortunately, I had all the ingredients at home . . . . . well, kinda.  I committed a big nono in the art of cooking.  I didn't have lemons but had plenty of . . . . .lemon juice.  I hate to admit it as I'm big on using fresh everything but yes, I used prepared lemon juice, the kind in that cute little lemon looking container.  Shhhh!  Don't tell my apprentice (aka my daughter), she'll never let me hear the end of it.  I promise that will be the last time I substitute it for the real stuff!!  The Parmesan and basil seasoning to me is what makes this dish! Never cooked fish so full of flavors, a definite keeper.  I served this fish with Rice Pilaf and Pickled Beets.  Hubby was very satisfied.  Thanks La Bella Vita!!  Mi vida es muy bella!!

adapted from La Bella Vita (whom I'm convinced should have her own cooking show)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Constant Changes

As much as I loved the mustard brown, Tuscan style background in my blog, the text was too difficult to read so once again, I changed it.  It's so much easier to read now and pleasant to the eye - no more eye strain.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Chicken and Dumplings


2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
½ cups All-purpose Flour
1 whole Chicken, Cut Into Pieces (cut Up Fryer) (I used two large chicken breasts)
Salt And Pepper
½ cups Finely Diced Carrots
½ cups Finely Diced Celery
1 whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
½ teaspoons Ground Thyme
¼ teaspoons Turmeric
6 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
½ cups Apple Cider
½ cups Heavy Cream
1-½ cup All-purpose Flour
½ cups Yellow Cornmeal
1 Tablespoon (heaping) Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1-½ cup Half-and-half (I didn't have enough half & half so I used some heavy cream combined with some milk)
2 Tablespoons Minced Fresh Parsley (optional)
Salt As Needed

So I had my assistant. . . . uh, ehr, my daughter who had half a day off to prepare and roast the chicken for me.  I had her skip dredging it in flour, instead I had her get two large chickens breasts I had thawed out, liberally salt and pepper both sides, laid them in a pan and roasted them for about 1/2 hr - .45 minutes, until they were golden brown.  By the time I got home, they were out waiting for me to shred which I did.  I laid them aside and started on the rest.
I took the carrots (already had a bag of julienne cut carrots) and onions with some celery seed since I didn't have the real stuff. I also added the ground thyme and turmeric.  Sauteed them over low-med heated in a dutch oven until the onions were translucent.

Add the broth and apple cider to the pot, then add the shredded chicken.  Let simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes.

In the mean time, prepare the dumpling batter.  Sift and combine the flour, corn meal, baking powder and the salt.  Then add the half & half.

Combine and set aside.

Add the 1/2 cup of half & half.  Combine and simmer

Drop tablespoons of dumpling batter into the simmering pot.

Add the minced parsley.  Cover pot and simmer for 15 minutes.  Check seasonings, add salt if needed.

Remove from heat, allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Mmmmm, so rich and creamy

Enjoy every spoonful!

I've been wanting to make Chicken and Dumplings for a long time, I've just been too busy until now.  I had my daughter roast the chicken and forgot to tell her to take pictures as she went along.  We made this during the work week but with the chicken already cooked by the time I arrived home, half the work was already done.  I had this cooked and ready to go about an hour after I arrived.  This was so delicious and it hit the spot.  The dumplings were smothered in the creamy savory sauce, I could of just eaten the dumplings themselves.  There was enough leftover for me to take to work the following day.  I LOVE leftovers, don't you?

Adapted from the Pioneer Woman

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Valentine Cookies 2012 Part II

All dressed up and on a hot date
(click on all images for close-up look)

This one's for my grandson.  He LOVES Meeska-Muuska-Mouska-Teer!!  At this point, I'm not finished with this one yet

Bouquet of Hearts

This is what I believe

I love the black and red effect.  My grandsons cookie got ruined by the tube of red- icing I used but I'm trying to pretend it's ok.  Let me declare at this point in time that I will never, ever used tube icing EVER again.  It takes a decade or two to dry!!

I also love the way red and gold go together

Black swirlies with a hint of red is so pretty!

This matches an apron I recently got from some friends.  It says it all :)

I started painting these cookies around 1:30 this afternoon.  I was having so much fun that by the time I got done, sat down on the recliner to blog, did I realize how much my feet were aching.  WOW!  How time flies when you're having fun! :)

Click HERE on how I baked and frosted these cookies.

Click here to see La Table de Nana blog, who inspired me to make these cookies

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