Friday, December 18, 2009

Rhinestones & Pine Cones (how this blog got its name)

I started thinking about keeping a blog- as a way to add a little more structure to my unscheduled day, to share recipes and other random thoughts with friends, and to have a record-keeping of sorts of our everyday life.  So earlier this week when Tinkerbell and I were in the midst of craft time (which we usually do once a week or while the Bear naps) it dawned on me that *this* is how I want my kids to remember me as a stay-at-home mom....elbow deep in rhinestones and pine cones.  And thus was born the (silly) name of this blog.

Here is the craft that was the inspiration:

Start with these supplies: pine cone, glue, paint, glitter, paper bag.

Mix white paint with some glue, and paint the pine cone.

Put wet, painted pine cone in a paper bag, sprinkle glitter inside, and shake it up!

Remove and let dry.  Optional addition- Tinkerbell requested that we add rhinestones to her pine cone.  Fab-u-lous!

Final product:

We will probably add a ribbon and a little jingle bell and add it to our Christmas tree.  Crafty fun!

We also did this little "Elf on a Shelf" inspired Santa on the same step-by-step pictures though, just the final product!  We used a toilet paper roll for the body, some construction paper, paint, googly eyes, and two strips of felt for his legs.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thrifty Thursday- Easy Chicken Broth

An easy, healthy, and delicious way to make chicken broth at home.  This is a compilation trial and error, and my favorite/easiest results.

Start with a rotisserie chicken, remove all meat, separate into 2 or 3 meals (I usually save white meat for recipes like Buffalo Chicken Wraps , dark greasier meat for soups)

Place all remaining parts of chicken- skin, bones, juice, etc into a slow cooker.  Cover with COLD water and add 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar (I use Apple Cider vinegar) and let sit for an hour to extract all the nutrients- namely calcium.

Technically you don't HAVE to add anything else in the broth if you are going to save the broth for recipes other than soup recipes where the base IS chicken broth (e.g. Chicken Noodle Soup)

But if you have other ingredients on hand, the trifecta of celery, carrots, and onions makes for a super tasty broth.  I usually cut off the ends of a bunch of celery (that normally would get thrown away), quarter an onion or two WITH the skin, and add an unpeeled carrot with ends trimmed (do not use washed, peeled baby carrots!  They will do nothing for the broth, as they are essentially carriers of Ranch and have no flavor.  But I digress.)  The more carrots, the sweeter the broth will be, so it depends on your preference.

I also like to add some thyme (fresh or dried), a couple of bay leaves, and if I want a little extra punch some whole peppercorns.

Simmer on low in Crock Pot from anywhere from 6-12 hours, tasting as it cooks until it gets to a flavor that you like (or until you need it!)  Now I usually scoop out the veggies, chicken carcass, etc until I am left with broth and I usually separate them into 1-2-or-3 cup portions in disposable plastic containers, and then refrigerate overnight and skim the fat off the next day.  Not only will you be left with a healthier broth but it actually has a better texture when used in soup.  After refrigeration the broth will seem kind of gelatin-y and this is a good thing!  It means it is packed with good-for-you stuff.  At this point you can label and freeze the containers and you will have great broth on hand when needed!  Note that there is no salt added- usually if a recipe calls for a cup of chicken broth, it won't need extra salt, but if you are making a broth-based soup you can add salt to taste.

Sooo much healthier & cheaper than store bought broth, and VERY easy despite these lengthy directions :)

Buffalo Chicken Wraps

Easy-peasy dinner tonight that B.R. (Big Richard) claims is on his top ten list.  Good for late nights with a tentative arrival time.

Rotisserie Chicken
Frank's Buffalo Sauce
Romaine lettuce
Shredded Cheese
Ranch dressing

Instructions: Remove desired amount of chicken from bones, toss in buffalo sauce, distribute into tortillas.  Sprinkle with cheese, add chopped/torn lettuce, top with Ranch dressing.  YUM!

Saved remaining chicken for Buffalo Chicken Dip (thanks Jules) for church group this weekend.  Used chicken remains for an amazingly easy chicken broth .

Sidenote to Cub Foods shoppers- organic Braeburn apples on sale, $2.98 a bag ($2.50 off normal price!)  Apples are heavily organic!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

7 things.

1. SAHM, 2 kids, 1 husband, and a funny little dog.
2. Drunk and tone deaf are never a good combination.
3. Once a Mac & Cheese'er, then a Make & Taker, now a Do-It-Yourself'er.
4. Jesus is my homeboy.
5. Buffalo Chicken Wraps
6. Carly, Joni, Tracy C.
7. To blog, to clean, to teach, to laugh, to love.

(1. Stats, 2. Lessons I Learned from College, 3. How I Describe my Culinary Resume, 4. Religious Affiliation, 5. What I Made for Dinner Tonight, 6. Three of my Best Friends- Simon, Mitchell, & Chapman, 7. Goals for 2010.)