Friday, February 8, 2013

Hearty Winter Soup

Well, currently Mr. Pie Plate are waiting for The Blizzard of 2013, a.k.a. Nemo to hit.  The snow has been consistently falling since we awoke today and we are ready for the storm!  Here is a view of our street:

I wouldn't classify this as a blizzard quite yet, but the electric company is already saying 30% of us will lose power... I have blankets ready and soup on the stove!  The Hearty Winter Soup is perfect for a winter day like today, and it is relatively simple to prepare.
The Ingredients:
1 tablespoon Butter, more if needed
1 medium onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 potato, peeled and diced
40 oz. chicken broth
2 parsnips, peeled and sliced
11/2 cup diced ham
3 large leaves of Kale, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
In the butter, saute onion and garlic until translucent over medium heat.
Add the sweet potato, potato and parsnips and saute for a few minuets, stirring regularly. 
Add the chicken broth, and ham and cover, cooking until the vegetables are tender (about 40 minutes)
When the vegetables are tender, add the kale and cook for about 5 minutes. 
Taste, and add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with crusty bread and enjoy!


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Owl Obsession

I have always thought owls were adorable, but recently they have been everywhere!  I am pretty sure I can classify my current love of owls a small obsession!  They are adorable.  Instead of writing my assignment that is due on Tuesday for my graduate class on music research, I've been spending my last hour searching the internet for adorable owl items! 
This owl fabric is adorable!  Owls cooking and baking?  What could be any cuter!  I love it and I want to make a cover for my kitchen aid out of it! 
The Henry the Owl necklace is absolutely adorable!  He has glasses and is so very perfect!  Valentine's day Mr. Pie Plate? 
Henry the owl necklace -Sterling Silver-
If you love owls and have children, this necklace is really beautiful! 
You can put their names on the necklace, very sweet!
Personalized Necklace - Hand Stamped Owl Necklace - Personalized Name Necklace - Personalized Jewelry
If I could bake and frost adorable cookies like these, I'd open an Etsy shop too!  Too cute!
 Owl cookies and Hearts - Valentine Cookies - 2 dozen
Every owl hat I've found a pattern for has been crochet, but this one is knit!  I want to knit one and and wear it everywhere and then knit one for Mr. Pie Plate! 
Knitwit Knits Owl Hat -- PATTERN-- PDF, 8 sizes available, emailed within 24 hours
And last, but not least, the musician geek in me feel in love with this ribbon:
Owl you need is love grosgrain ribbon 7/8" 10 yards
Have a great week!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Happy New Year and a Giveaway! Winner announced!

The winner of the key fob is Amanda!
Congratulations! The random number generator I love autumn too! I'll be contacting you soon! Thanks to all who entered!

The month of December is always crazy for music teachers, and since Mr. Pie Plate and I are both music teachers, it was something else!  After our concerts were over, I tried as hard s I could to finish my handmade Christmas gifts, and then we hosted Christmas Day brunch and dinner.  We had a wonderful time celebrating with family and friends, and now we both feel like real adults, mostly since we cooked a turkey!  Here are some highlights from my Christmas crafts:

Key fobs!  I love their fun patterns and functionality! I gave these to all the female cousins!  I made a pattern after looking up so many tutorials on Pinterest, and I'll be posting my tutorial soon. 

My favorite cowl-neck scarf with a seed stitch pattern.  I made seven of these and I kept the red one because I love the color!  Here's the pattern! 

This is the hat I made for Mr. Pie Plate for the fifth anniversary of our first date!  It's the Thorpe Hat pattern available on Ravelry.  It's a very quick knit, and it looks great!
 I also made over sixty jars of jam, and many of them were given away, but I kept 4 jars for us! 
The giveaway:
I'm giving away one green stars and swirls key fob.  It's very fun and it's functional! 

It will fit right around your wrist, and it hangs on a hook so you can always hang them on your key hook if you have one ( I have one at home and at school). 

To enter this giveaway, answer the following question in the Comments section of this post:

What is your favorite season?  Do you love the cold of the winter, the color of autumn, the flowers of spring or the warmth of summer?
One entry per person please. The giveaway will close Friday at 11:59 pm, EST! The winner will be randomly selected and announced on Saturday.  Have a great week!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Apple Cider Glazed Porkchops with Cream Sauce

I love fall!  It is by far my favorite season.  This fall has been insane weather wise.  Last week, Superstorm Sandy graced us with her presence, destroying homes and beaches and tearing down power lines.  Today we were surprised with a Nor'easter and this is the view from our front door:

The round blob at the top left of the staircase is my pumpkin...  RIP pumpkin! 

One of my favorite dishes in the fall is pork chops.  I love them any way, but they are especially delicious when pan fried.  Enter Apple Cider Glazed Pork Chops with Cream Sauce. 

The ingredients:
Two center cut pork chops
2 tablespoons Montreal Steak seasoning (I use pre-made, but you can make your own)* you may wish to use less, I like lots of flavor and texture.
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon sour cream

1. Heat a skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. 
2. Sprinkle the Montreal Steak Seasoning over both sides of the pork chops and place in the skillet. Cover the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes. 

3. Flip the pork chops and fry until they are cooked through.
4. Remove the pork chops to a plate and cover them.  Turn the burner heat to high.
5. Take the apple cider and pour into the hot skillet.  Using tongs or a spoon, de-glaze the bottom of the pan. 

6. Add the sour cream, mix thoroughly and reduce to low heat while the cream sauce thickens, about 3-4 minutes. 

7. Top the pork chops with the cream sauce and serve with apple sauce and carrots, or whatever you would like. 

This meal is relatively quick to assemble, and so delicious.  Mr. Pie Plate loves it, and he is a picky eater, so it is a successful meal!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Canning, Sewing, Baking and Rosin- Back to School for a Middle School Teacher

The beginning of the (school) year is always so very crazy for teachers.  This is true of music teachers as well, and I haven't posted as much as I would have liked.  But, here's some of the things I've been working on:

Chris and I have decided to make all of our Christmas gifts this year!  I'm super excited, although it will mean that the majority of the gift making will be my responsibility.  Bring it on, I love crafting!  I currently have 50 jars of jelly or jam in the basement, and two weeks ago, I turned these beautiful grapes (10 pounds!) into delicious jam!

I also made owl cupcakes for my friend John's birthday.  They were super cute!

And here's me making an owl face:

My husband and I have a side business making rosin for stringed instruments called Rockin Rosin.  We recently made a new shape of rosin:

I've been doing a good deal of sewing in preparation for the holidays and I made myself a quilted camera strap cover (the picture is awful so I didn't include it) and I made my mother in law a key fob.  I love them both!  I also made several pacifier clips, but since they are for a present I won't post them here!  :)


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Meet Mr. Pie Plate (A.K.A. Chris).
He likes skiing, playing the cello, being extreme (check out the avalanche conditions) and me! He also loves chocolate. I have never met anyone in my life who likes chocolate as much as he does. Ever! I think it might be one of his food groups! Now, if I had a little more energy, I would whip up a pyramid of food according to my husband, and it would be awesome, but alas, I taught middle school children all day and am a little tired. I digress...
So Mr. Pie Plate loves chocolate and I love fruit! Sometimes, we disagree on dessert choices, but these cookies are a wonderful combination of the two. They also can be made with all chocolate chips if you have cranberry-phobic people in the house.
The recipe is loosely based on Hillary Clinton's Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, which look very good but I can't justify using a cup of vegetable shortening in one batch.
Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies
½ Cup Butter
½ Cup Sugar
1 Cup Packed Dark Brown Sugar
½ Cup Applesauce
2 Eggs
1 Tsp. Vanilla
1 ½ Cup All Purpose Flour
½ Teaspoon Salt
1 Tsp. baking soda
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 Cup chocolate Chips
½ Dried Cranberries

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cream together the first three ingredients.

3. Add the applesauce, eggs and vanilla.

4. Then add the flour, salt, baking soda and oats.

5. When all is combined, add the chocolate chips and cranberries and mix until combined.

6. Drop by tablespoon on to an un-greased cookie sheet or Silpat.

7. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden.
8. Let cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet, than move to a plate.

9. Eat the delicious cookies!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Peach Jam Giveaway Results!

Thanks to all who participated, those jams all sound so delicious and you have all inspired me to make more jam!  I used to "choose" the winner, and the lucky winner is #5, HiLesha!  She loves blueberry jam!  Congrats to HiLesha, and I am so glad so many people participated in the giveaway! 

I love fruit!  No matter what the season, I love fruit.  My favorite fruit changes depending on what fruit is in season.  Right now I'm loving peaches!  I've gone peach picking at Bishop's Orchard twice in the last month, once with my sister and once with my friend Jac (who took these photos)!

The peaches are glorious right now!  They are the most beautiful color and so sweet! I've been eating a least two a day and I have enough peaches in the freezer for two peach crisps or pies.  We'll be able to have a little bit of summer when it's not so beautiful out! 

I've also made four batches of peach jam.  I am in love with this jam and have had it on toast every morning for the past week!  It also has a nice lemon flavor, which I adore.  Since I have 39 jars of peach jam in my basement, and Wednesday was the first day of school (my students are the best, by the way), I'm giving away one 4 ounce jar of my peach jam. 

The Giveaway:
To enter this giveaway, answer the following question in the Comments section of this post:

What is your favorite type of jam? 

One entry per person please.  The giveaway will close Wednesday at noon, EST! The winner will be randomly selected and announced Wednesday night.  Have a lovely weekend and Happy Labor Day!