Pecan Sage Corn Bread Stuffing

26 Nov

I grew up eating Stove Top stuffing for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Stove Top. It is easy to prepare and very tasty. But 10 years ago I wanted to try a new stuffing recipe. I found a corn bread stuffing recipe attached to a Cornish game hen recipe in the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (page 411 of the 1996 version).  Whoa. Seriously, I crave this corn bread stuffing more than turkey, more than mashed potatoes. This dish is my favorite part of the meal. I make my version of this recipe every holiday since. It’s a family favorite.

Pecan Sage Corn Bread Stuffing

Pecan Sage Corn Bread Stuffing

The original recipe calls for chopped sweet green pepper and dried currants or raisins. I omit those, but you can certainly add them back in. I also (roughly) triple the ingredients. I love this recipe because it’s easy to make a day or two before the big meal and the flavors are heavenly paired with roasted turkey. I mean, really—toasted pecans, green onions, and fresh sage—unbelievably packed with flavor. The picture shows the stuffing before baking. It browns up a little more after baking. Here is my adapted version.

Pecan Sage Corn Bread Stuffing

Ingredients

-          About 6-8 cups crumbled corn bread. (I use three boxes of the classic Jiffy corn bread mix. If you use that mix, make sure you have a cup of milk and 3 eggs on hand. You can use any corn bread mix, but I like the Jiffy mix because it’s fairly dry and easy to crumble for the stuffing.)

-          1 ½ cups chopped, toasted pecans (I toast the pecans on a baking sheet in a 375° oven for 10 minutes)

-          ½ cup fresh chopped sage (you have to use fresh, you really do)

-          1 cup sliced green onions (roughly 2 bunches of green onions)

-          ¼ cup melted butter

-          1 can (14.5 ounces of chicken broth) [I use Swanson’s low sodium version]

Directions

-          Bake corn bread according to package directions. Set aside and cool. (For 3 Jiffy mixes, I divide the corn bread batter and pour 2/3 into a 9×13 pan and the remaining batter in a 9×9 pan. Spray both baking dishes with cooking spray. I use PAM.)

-          Toast the pecans on a baking sheet in a 375° oven for 10 minutes. Set aside and cool.

-          Slice the green onions and snip the fresh sage.

-          In a large bowl, combine the corn bread, pecans, onions, and sage. Pour the chicken broth over the dry ingredients.

-          Melt the butter and drizzle the butter over the mixture. Mix well and spoon into a 9×13 baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover the dish and chill overnight. You can make the dish at least a day in advance.

-          When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°. Bake covered for about 35 minutes.

I serve the stuffing with a traditional turkey dinner. But I’ll be honest with you. I would eat this as a main dish any day of the week. I am hosting Thanksgiving this year and here is our menu for 5 adults and two children:

-          Turkey seasoned with fresh rosemary under the skin, and rubbed with olive oil, salt and pepper. I use my mom’s trick of stuffing the cavity with sliced onions, lemons, and oranges.

-          Mashed potatoes

-          Dinner rolls (I make Rhodes white dinner rolls)

-          Cranberry sauce (the jellied, sugary kind where you can still see the can indentations)

-          Sweet potatoes (this year I’m trying the whipped bourbon bacon sweet potatoes from How Sweet It Is. So excited!!!)

-          Pumpkin pie (I use Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust and Moosewood Cookbook’s no-fault pumpkin pie recipe on pg 203)

-          Green bean casserole with the crunchy fried onions on top

-          Relish tray (pickles, olives, red and green pepper slices, and carrot sticks)

 

What’s on your holiday menu? Enjoy your time with friends and family. Happy Thanksgiving!

More DIY Canvas Art: Cowgirl Room

17 Sep

I’m on a roll with making DIY canvas art. Thanks to several trips to craft stores, I delivered on a promise to make my 3-year-old a cowgirl room. She’s my tutu-wearing girly girl that loves horses and bugs. She asked for a horsey room, but it needed to be pink and frilly.

Little cowgirl room

I can’t decide which canvas is my favorite.

I made the pink heart with 16 handmade felt roses hot glued to a canvas painted with three coats of brown acrylic paint.

Cowgirl3

If you’re intimidated by trying to make felt flowers, don’t be. Felt flowers are easy to make and inexpensive.

Cowgirl7

cowgirl6

For the cowgirl canvas, I painted the canvas pink, used stencils for the “saddle up cowgirl” phrase and brown pony, and hot glued two white, wooden gates to the canvas.

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And the last piece was fun to do. I stretched a cow print fabric over canvas and secured it with staples. I painted the letter “L” pink and hot glued it to the fabric.

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I found the cowgirl sign, stencils, wooden gates, “L” letter, and cow fabric at Hobby Lobby. My other finds: pink gingham duvet from Ikea, adorable pottery piggy bank (a gift from the talented Potter Daughter in Battle Lake, MN), and the super sweet pony is from Toys R Us.

Cowgirl2

My daughter loves her room, but I think I’ll store the paintbrushes and stick with cooking.

~Amy

DIY Canvas Art: Boho Girly Room

27 Aug

We are moving to a new home (more on that later) and I am working on simple ways to decorate our daughters’ rooms. My older daughter is in kindergarten now and she loves bright colors. I’m calling her new room, the “Boho Girly Room.” Using the LAPPLJUNG bedspread from Ikea for inspiration, I created DIY canvas art in fun colors. Here is a link to my Pinterest board with more ideas for her new room.

To be honest, I tried to decoupauge scrapbook paper onto the canvas. FAIL. I am a decoupauge dummy. I ended up with a wet mess of air bubbles and ripped the paper–twice! I scraped off the gooey paper and tried again.

DIY Canvas Art Supplies

Luckily, I can paint with acrylics. Here is the art I made for her bright new room. Paint seeped under the sticky letters, but I think it works fine for this piece, especially on the word “dream.” Next time, I will try frog tape for crisp letters.

DIY Canvas ArtI used flat letters for “DREAM” and “happy”. To add texture, I used 3D letters for “love”.

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art5

And here is the finished product!

art1

UPDATE:

The room is complete! Well, nearly. It probably needs a few more finishing touches, but it’s coming along nicely. Here are more pictures of the room and a couple new pieces of DIY canvas art–batik fabric stretched over canvas and a silly hodge podge of painted stencils, scrapbook paper, and chipboard shapes.

I did not create the artsy “C” painted on canvas (that was a baby gift from a friend), nor did I make the cool “Let all the children boogie” quote sign from Bowie. I love that sign. We should all boogie, all the time.

What do you think?

BohoGirlyRoom1

BohoGirlyRoom2

 

BohoGirlyRoom3

BohoGirlyRoom4

 

The end! (For now.)

~Amy

Rainbow Birthday Party

5 Jun

Look what I found! Pictures from my daughter’s 4th birthday party. (Side note: She’s 5 now and I’m just getting around to sharing the pictures. That’s how time flows in our house–like a river, like a lazy river.)

I drew a ton of inspiration from Pinterest and, with my daughter’s help, we put our own spin on the party.

Rainbowparty1

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Menu:

- Double Layer Tie Dye Rainbow Cake, frosted with a Skittles Rainbow and Marshmallow Cloud

- Red seedless grapes

- Rainbow goldfish

- Big bowl of Skittles

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Goody Bags:

- Colorful kazoos

- Rainbow heart and star stickers

- Plastic leis in a rainbow of colors

- Pixie sticks

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Party guests were asked to dress in bright colors and we lined the table with cups full of crayons to color rainbow pictures. But the main entertainment was dancing under the streamers. Have you seen the hula hoop streamer trick? Check out the tutorial at the lovely Housing a Forest blog. Tip: Spin your ceiling fan s-l-o-w-l-y. You might think it would be cool to turn up the speed and crank it. Yeah, at higher speeds the hula hoop starts to wobble, the streamers start to tangle, and the parents begin to look a little nervous. (The parents already think you’re crazy for hanging a hula hoop on your ceiling fan. Not to mention they are probably more than a little ticked that you served the kids a giant bowl of Skittles and then gave them a kazoo.)

Rainbowparty16

Hard Cider White Chicken Chili

17 Feb

Do you ever start cooking, but you don’t really have a plan? I knew I wanted to make chili, but not much beyond that. I started with onions and chicken simmering in olive oil, added some Angry Orchard hard cider and a jar of salsa verde, threw in pinto beans and let it simmer. I’m really happy with how it turned out. The sweetness of the cider pairs nicely with the tangy salsa. This recipe is a winner. We served it with loaded baked potatoes, and more hard cider, of course.

chiliIngredients

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (chopped roughly in 2-3 inch pieces)

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup hard cider

2 cans of pinto beans (total of 16 ounces)

1 jar of salsa verde (8-10 ounces)

2 cups of water

Toppings: shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream for a garnish

Directions:

In a large saucepan heat olive oil. Add onion and chicken. Simmer about 3 minutes and add hard cider. Simmer another 5 minutes until chicken cooked thoroughly. Add remaining ingredients and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes.

Top chili with shredded cheese and sour cream. We served it with baked potatoes loaded with more cheese, sour cream, and bacon.

I will make this again, and next time I’m tempted to put bacon in the soup. Yes, that will take this great chili over the top.

Simple Stacked Sugar Cookies for Valentine’s Day

28 Jan

cookiesv12

I secretly have a thing for Valentine’s Day. Maybe it’s because my husband proposed to me on Valentine’s Day. In fact, that’s probably it. It could explain why I love baking heart-shaped desserts.

Today was definitely a baking day. I made cheeseburger pie, a spinach quiche, and these Valentine’s Day sugar cookies. Digging around in the pantry, I found a Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix and decided to whip up some cookies for my daughters. These are really easy because they look pretty and you don’t have to mess with icing.

To make these, you’ll need a sugar cookie mix, 1/3 cup of butter, 1 tablespoon of flour, 1 egg, red food coloring, and heart-shaped fondant or cookie cutters.

Valentine's Day Stacked Sugar Cookie Tutorial

Valentine’s Day Stacked Sugar Cookie Tutorial

Follow the sugar cookie mix directions. (Or, if you want to be healthier, you can try this whole wheat flour sugar cookie recipe.) Split the dough in half and place in two separate bowls. In one bowl, add several drops of red food coloring (use your best judgement–I lost count of the number of drops) and mix well. Roll out both colors of sugar cookie dough out on a pastry mat or clean surface. (Don’t forget to lightly coat the rolling pin with flour.) Use the cookie cutters to cut several different sizes of hearts and stack them however you please. I tried several variations. My favorite are the plain sugar cookies with a medium-size red heart stacked on top. Bake according to the directions, but you might want to add 1 more minute because the stacked cookies are a little thicker.

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I love the way these look. We didn’t miss the icing or sprinkles at all. You know, there’s something special about a simple sugar cookie.

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Happy (early) Valentine’s Day!

~Amy

Pink and Purple Tutu Party

4 Jan

Birthdays are big at our house. We’ve had picnic parties, minnie mouse parties, and even a rainbow party. This year I wanted to plan a party that would wow my three-year-old daughter. Her favorite colors are pink and purple, and the child is obsessed with tutus. She asks to wear a tutu every day to school, she likes to wear a tutu over her pajamas, and she’s even worn a tutu over her snowsuit. I draw the line at bath time–no tutus in the bathtub! So, to match her girly personality we threw a pink and purple tutu party to celebrate her 3rd birthday. She was thrilled and it was a fun way to usher her into the preschool years.

To keep costs down, I made a lot of the party favors, decorations, and treats myself. We scheduled the party from 3-5, so we provided snacks and cupcakes instead of a full meal. For party games, we played pin the tail on the donkey and a “rock and roll freeze” dance party.

Pink and purple party treats: cupcakes, yogurt covered pretzels, grapes, and strawberries 

Menu

- Pink and purple cupcakes

- Yogurt covered pretzels

- Purple grapes

- Strawberries

- Pink and purple cake pops (donut holes dipped in melted white chocolate and sprinkled with–you guessed it!–pink and purple sugar)

- Fruit punch juice boxes

 

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Goody Bags:

- pink and purple bracelets ($1 bin at Michael’s)

- pink or purple star wands ($0.30 each at Party City)

- pink and purple Nerds candy

- pink and purple homemade tutus (2 yards of tulle gathered and sewn on coordinating ribbon, ~$2 per tutu.)

tutuparty6 tutuparty7

The tutus looked fancy tied on chairs for decoration. Each girl took home a tutu, a cake pop, and a whopping case of pinkalicious! Rather than a princess party, this was a frilly tribute to her favorite colors. Overall, the party was a success because my daughter was so happy. You could say she was tickled pink.

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