Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Salad Recipe….


I love salads, and I love pasta, so this was a no brainer for me!
Sunday night we had a few people over for a birthday party. I think salads are a perfect dish to serve when you have lots of people to feed.
 
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This is a little salad that I threw together with stuff I had on hand in my pantry and fridge.
 
1 box of tri-colored rotini pasta (cooked & drained)
1 English cucumber, sliced and quartered
1/2 c. black olives, halved
3 med. carrots thinly sliced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 c. onions, diced
 
For the dressing….
 
I really wanted to use Faye Henry’s recipe for her Spicy Tomato Vinaigrette, but I didn’t have any tomato juice. Instead, I decided to improvise with what I did have in my pantry by using a jar of my garden stewed tomatoes. I’m glad I did, because it came out delicious. I just put them in my food processor and pureed them, then followed the rest of the recipe. I did omit the hot sauce, though. I’m not much for heat.
 
Thank you for the wonderful recipe, Faye!
 
I hope everyone is having a great week so far. The weather has been a bit warmer, and the wonderful smelling breeze has been great for line drying clothes. I love the smell of spring, don’t you? I told someone that one day and they replied, “I hate to tell you, but that’s mud your smelling.” Well, I guess I like the smell of mud. I think they need to make a candle with that scent!
 
Enjoy your evening folks, and thank you for stopping by our little red saltbox!
I always enjoy your visits…..
 
Blessings,
Julie

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Birthday Celebration….

 Thomas through the years....

                                            bathtimetom
teddyandtom                     tomatbeach
                                   101_0442               Tom's bootcamp graduation 020
We were so excited when he told us he was joining the Army!
 

tom                       033[1]
Thomas proudly serving our Country in Nasiriyah, Iraq.
 

                            Thomas' 23rd Birthday 004                  IMG_7477
                          Thomas at 23.                                                             Thomas at 25.
 

                                                          bathtimetom
This picture is so worth posting twice!

Our middle son, Thomas, turns 25 today!
I’ve said it before I know, but where did all the time go?
 
Thomas was by far our easiest baby, most sensitive child, and hardest teenager to raise.
 
One thing’s for sure….Thomas will always be our favorite middle child!
 
He has become such a loving adult, and will soon become a daddy for the first time.
 
We can’t wait to see that beautiful baby girl, who he says has already become the newest love of his life.
 
Happy Birthday, Baby Boy!
 
Blessings,
Julie

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken Thighs Wrapped in Bacon…..

Another Sunday dinner recipe…
My husband and I have three wonderful sons. Two things we made sure they learned growing up was how to cook and how to sew. All three are great cooks, and for two of them the sewing came in quite handy while they were in the Army. Not only were they able to sew their own patches on their uniforms, but they also made a little money on the side by sewing patches on for other soldiers who had no idea how to thread a needle. I loved it when one of them called home to thank me for teaching him this wonderful skill. I am one proud mama!
A few nights ago, our middle son made this really great stuffed chicken. We just knew we had to try it after he told us about it. I know you’re gonna love it, too!
So, for this recipe you’re gonna need…..
1 8oz. container of garden vegetable cream cheese
10 boneless/skinless chicken thighs (you could also use boneless/skinless breasts)
10 slices of maple flavored bacon
brown sugar for coating
Lay thighs flat with what would be the skin side down. Spread vegetable cream cheese on one side of thighs. Fold over and then wrap up the thigh with bacon slice. Spread some brown sugar on a plate and gently roll your bacon wrapped thighs in sugar until lightly coated. Place neatly on baking dish and bake at 350* until chicken juices run clear and bacon is nicely browned.

 Before it went into the oven....
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The final result! Oooh! Just look at the cheese ooozing out of the chicken. YUMMY!
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Along with the chicken, we had baked red potatoes and fresh Florida sweet corn.
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And of course we can’t forget dessert…

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Homemade strawberry rhubarb pie.
Now don’t you wish these pictures were scratch and sniff? LOL!
I’ll let you in on a little secret….
You can make some great panini’s with the leftover chicken. Choose a bread that you like; I like to use a nice rustic bread. Then brush some olive oil on one side of each slice of bread. I like to add a little chopped rosemary to my olive oil, but you don’t have to. While you heat your pan, thinly slice leftover stuffed chicken into strips. Place bread, oil side down into a hot pan, or panini press. Place chicken strips on bread and whatever sauce you want on it, I use honey dijon, and then top with your other slice of bread, oil side up. Use a heavy pan or a bacon press to press your sandwich down, if you don't have a panini press, while it cooks on med/low heat. You want to make sure heats slowly, so the whole thing heats up good and browns well. If you like you can add some cheese. I use gouda and it tastes great.
I’m so glad you stopped by to visit our little red saltbox, and I hope you enjoy these recipes. I really enjoy your company and would love for you to share my blog with your friends. I always love meeting new people.
Blessings,
Julie

Friday, April 12, 2013

April Keepers Meeting…


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Food dehydration is the oldest form of preserving food. It can be dated all the way back to the Egyptians. I’m sure that when the pilgrims came over on the Mayflower they were carrying lots of dried foods, too. People dried food, not only because it lasted longer and it was easier to carry from place to place, but also because fresh food was not always available. Somewhere along the way electricity came into the picture and jars of dried foods were replaced with canned or frozen foods.
 
Today, technology has combined the old form of drying food with electricity, in the form of the food dehydrator. You gotta love modern times!
 
Recently, my husband and I purchased an Excalibur food dehydrator. Let me just say….WE LOVE IT!
 
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The best part about it is that it has a temperature dial. Not everything gets dehydrated at the same temperature. Our old dehydrator was the kind that you just plug in to turn on, and unplug to turn off. Everything had to be dried at the same temperature, and there was no telling what that was. More often than not, things got over dried.
 
Last night we had our April keepers meeting. We talked about food dehydration and had lots of dehydrated foods to sample.
 
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Some zucchini, cabbage, soup mix and pineapple from my pantry.
 
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Soup mix.
 
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Some onions and mushrooms.
 
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My counter was filled with all kinds of goodies from Janice’s pantry and mine. Oranges, grapefruit, fruit leather, granola, jerky, potatoes, celery, stuffing mix, hot peppers, and more. I didn’t make the granola in the dehydrator, but I used some dehydrated fruit in it. I also made a chicken soup using some of my dehydrated vegetables.
 
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The soup was delicious!
 
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Janice brought some homemade soap for all the ladies to take home with them. It smelled AMAZING!
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Marianne loves her soap.
 
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This is a bar of lavender chamomile soap that Janice gave to me. MY FAVORITE! I think she knew that.
 
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 The evening ended with a craft that Janice did with everyone. Silly me, I didn’t get a picture of the finished product. We modge podged plates using fabric. They were adorable.
I think everyone had a great evening. I know I did.
Thanks ladies!
 
Blessings,
Julie

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Old Ice Box…..

 
This is an old ice box that we had at camp, but when we sold the camp a couple years ago we couldn’t bear to part with it, so it followed us home. It still looks pretty much the same as it has over all the years. We don't know much about it, except what is written on it...
 
White Mountain
manufactured by the
Maine Manufacturing Company
Nashua, New Hampshire, USA
 
Right now we have it sitting on our porch. We use it as storage for our outdoor seasonal decorations. We were never really sure what to do with it, but we both knew we had to hang on to it. I can only imagine all the stories it could tell.
 
What would you do with it? Would you restore it? How would you use this beautiful piece? Where would you display it? What would you store inside? I’m quite curious…..
 
                              IMG_7414          IMG_7415

I’d love to hear your answers to these questions!

Blessings,
Julie

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sunday Dinner and a Recipe....


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I know what you’re thinking…but eating is not all we do. My husband and I do love cooking, though.
 
My wonderful sister gave us some honey and maple syrup. Those just happened to be two things that were on my grocery list, so thanks to her I crossed them off. Thanks Robbi!
 
I have always wanted to make homemade granola bars, but have never been able to find a recipe worthy enough to try. Well! Thanks to Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, I found a fabulous recipe that is just as wonderful as it looks. Be warned, though…It’s hard to stop at just one!
 
When you have extra bananas….MAKE BANANA BREAD! I never get tired of eating banana bread. I love it hot out of the oven, or sliced and fried in a bit of butter. Have you ever tried it that way? It is SOOO yummy! I usually add a dab of homemade jam and totally enjoy myself!
 
Faye, from The Blessed Hearth, has a great brown bread recipe. I used it to make rolls on Easter Sunday and today my husband and I doubled it and made 3 loaves of bread. One for my in-laws, one for my mom, and one for home. I’ve already taste tested it to be sure it was good enough to share. (giggle!)
 
As I’ve said before, my husband and I have always made a big Sunday dinner. Our nest is empty, but the tradition carries on. Today we are making a roasted lemon/rosemary chicken. I can’t wait to try it…it’s still in the oven and smells delicious! Along with the chicken we are having glazed carrots, and whipped potatoes with gravy. Dessert is a German chocolate cake with coconut pecan frosting. I wish you could smell these wonderful smells through my blog, but they don’t have an app for that yet!
 
The recipe for the chicken is simple…
Take one roasting chicken, washed and dried. Place it in a baking dish and set aside. Add 1 sprig of chopped rosemary and the zest of 2 lemons to 1 stick of softened butter. Use your hands to mix it all up good. Now just rub it all over the chicken…inside and out, under the skin and on top of the skin. Then you’re going to halve the lemons, squeezing the juice of one on top of the chicken and then stuffing all the lemons into the chicken cavity. You can squeeze some of the lemon juice inside, too. Grab 3 more sprigs of rosemary and stuff it in the cavity with the lemons. Bake this covered for 45 minutes at 400*, and then uncovered for another 30 minutes until it's nice and golden. DELICIOUS!
 
I have been receiving so many wonderful comments from all kinds of new and existing members of my blog. I LOVE hearing from all of you! It really is the highlight of my day to read what you’ve been up to.
 
Welcome newbies! I hope you have been enjoying your visit to our little red saltbox. I certainly enjoy you!
 
Blessings,
Julie

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Busy Life…..


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Hello friends!
I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend. We attended mass as a family, and then came home and Joe and I cooked a large meal for everyone. I'm still stuffed!
 
We have lots of leftover ham, so my husband is going to make a pea soup with it tonight. Do you like pea soup? It's one of my favorites, but I don't like peas. I have know idea how that works, but it does. Oh and Faye, I made rolls using your bread recipe. They were DELICIOUS! Thank you!
 
This past week has been a busy one, as you can see from my photos. The nights are still a bit chilly, so rocking in front of a warm fire has become an evening thing for me....and Hollie. LOL!
 
Our granddaughter, Piper came over on Thursday and stayed until Sunday evening. She loves to play dress up. In the above picture she is wearing her lady bug dress wrong side out, and taking her baby Dora out for a stroll.
 
Angus finished his food and then fell asleep with his bowl on his head. Not sure how that happened, but I had to get a picture.
 
I found a really great rustic bread recipe on a friends blog. I am in love with her recipe! I had never cooked bread in my cast iron Dutch oven before. It came out perfectly! Thank you, Rhonda!!
 
My husband and I bought our youngest son and his girlfriend Redsox tickets for Christmas. They finally came last week. Now they are planning the rest of their trip to Boston. I have never been to a live ballgame before, but I'm thinking it's got to be a lot more interesting than watching it on t.v.
 
Danielle spent all day Monday with me. We worked on a little something for the baby's room. They are little picture frames that we put coordinating fabric in, and then wrapped them with some ribbon and glued some wooden letters on them. They came out so much better than I could have imagined. I cannot wait to meet our new little granddaughter!
 
Today I washed a couple loads of laundry and hung them out to dry. The wind has been strong today, so drying didn't take long. I also did some mending. Having a new puppy in the house with sharp little teeth has given me lots of things to mend. He seems to like Piper's little twirly dresses best.
 
The snow is melting fast, the days are getting longer, and my hands are yearning to work in the garden again. It shouldn't be long now.
Do you have a garden? Is it for vegetables, flowers, or both? We have both, but I love our vegetable garden best.
 
I'm so glad you stopped by our little red saltbox. I hope you come by again, and maybe bring a friend or two.
I'd love to hear what you've been doing to keep busy.
 
Blessings,
Julie