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September 23, 2009

Home | Mrs. Blandings | Daily Inspiration

Fellow Kansas Citians : In case you've somehow missed Mrs Blandings, a KC home decor blogger (and much more, I assure you), you mustn't deny yourself any longer. is one of my daily blog stops and I recommend that it be one of yours, too.  Filled with visual inspiration, written wit and sugary sarcasm - what's not to love!

Recipes | Chicken Pot Pie

More often than not, when people think about pot pie they think unhealthy, time consuming and boring.  Not true.  My recipe is filled with vegetables and lean protein.  By roasting the ingredients and using a small puff pastry top instead of an entire pie crust, this recipe has a lot of flavor and minimal fat and calories.

Chicken Pot Pie with Puff Pastry (4 servings) :

2 Split Chicken Breasts - $3
4 Carrots - chopped into 1 inch pieces - $1
1 pound of Red Potatoes - cut into 1 inch pieces - $1
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil 
3 tablespoons of Butter
3 tablespoons of Flour 
1 cup of Chicken Stock - $1
1 cup of Frozen Peas - $1.50
1 package of Puff Pastry (I use Pepperage Farm's in the Freezer section) - $4
Salt & Pepper

Total - $11.50
Calories per serving (approx) - 400

Start by placing the chicken breasts on one side of a baking sheet and the carrots and potatoes on the other side.  Drizzle everything with olive oil, then sprinkle generously with salt & pepper.  Roast for 20-25 minutes in the oven at 425 degrees.

In the meantime, make the white sauce buy melting the butter in a large shallow saucepan.  On low heat, add the flour while stirring.  After the butter and flour mixture have combined, add in the chicken stock - whisking until smooth.   Done.  You've just made a white sauce!  Turn off the heat and let it sit until the chicken and vegetables have finished roasting.  If it gets to thick, just whisk in more chicken stock or milk.

Remove the chicken from the bone and cut it into 1 inch cubes.  Add the peas, chicken and roasted vegetables into the white sauce. 

Put the mixture into individual oven safe bowls.

Top the bowls with squares of puff pastry.  Sprinkle Salt & Pepper on top.  Place the bowls on a baking sheet and bake them for 10 minutes at 425, or until puff pastry has puffed and browned.


September 21, 2009

Workshops | Fall Harvest Entertaining Workshop

Join me next Tuesday, September 29th, at A Thyme for Everything in Lee's Summit for my Fall Harvest Entertaining Workshop!  

September 29, Tuesday Cooking Class 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Jenny Steffens
Harvest Entertaining with Fahrmeier Farms
Jenny and her cousin from Fahrmeier Farms will be back for their annual pumpkin and squash class.  Lots of great heirloom pumpkins to purchase and great decorating ideas too!  Blue Hubbard Creamy Crab Artichoke Gorgonzola Dip, Butternut Squash Pasta, Perfect Roasted Chicken, Pancetta Brussel Sprouts, Apple Crosata
$55.00 per person

Click Here for more information.

Here are some photos of table settings from last year's Fall Harvest Class.

Home | Inspiration Art

I've been struggling with solidifying the color palette for our home... I am naturally drawn to neutrals, soft blues, greys, creams, whites, etc., but I want to create a warmer feeling than the breezy colors these lend themselves to.  

While on our trip to DC last spring, I remember being so struck by the beautifully composed paintings in The Capital.  Very regal seaming, yet filled with my favorite hues.  This morning I came across these images and I think I've finally found my inspiration... again.

Some more paintings that are inspiring my color palette :

Home | Magnolia Leaf Wreath

Yesterday afternoon, I finally found some time to have some 'fun' around the house... and by 'fun' I mean start some projects.  My first project was this Magnolia Leaf Wreath.  I have always loved Magnolia leaves - the rustic matte finish on the back and the glossy deep green contrast on the front.  I'm beyond thrilled that I finally have my very own Magnolia Tree in my back yard.  No more 'borrowing' leaves from the neighbors!

The total cost of this project was $0.  I have had this twig wreath form for years... might have originally cost $2.  

I plan on using a lot of magnolia leaves in my Holiday decorating - I'm thinking a thick garland swag on my mantle... any other ideas?!

BTW : I was inspired to create this when I saw a similar version at Target... for $35.  What?!  And the leaves were silk.  Yuck.

September 14, 2009

Recipes : Homemade Guacamole

I love fresh, chunky guacamole.

3 Avocados, cubed
1 cup of Cherry Tomatoes, sliced in half
2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
1 Lime, juiced
Salt & Pepper

Stir all ingredients together.  Done!

Recipes : Entertaining : Simple Lobster Grill

Sometimes on the weekends, we're in the mood for something special, but aren't in the mood to get all dressed up and spend $100+ on dinner out.  So, last weekend, we treated ourselves to a $25 lobster dinner at home.

Menu :

4 - 3 ounce Lobster Tails (for $15)
2 ears of Corn, buttered
Fresh Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette 
Boiled Red Potaotes

I grilled the lobster and the corn for about 5 minutes and boiled the potatoes in water for 8 minutes.  To make the lobster extra special, I served it with lemon butter that I made by melting butter in the microwave with a slice of lemon in it.  So simple. 

Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette :

1/2 Cup of Olive Oil
1/3 Cup of White Wine Vinegar
2 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
1 Lemon, juiced
2 Teaspoon of Salt
2 Teaspoon of Pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a jar and shake.  Store in the refrigerator. 

Recipes | Homemade Garlic Croutons

Mike's not a fan of salads, so I'm always trying of ways to sway him.  These homemade garlic croutons might have done it!

Garlic Croutons : 
3 Cups of Cubed French Bread
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
3 Cloves of Garlic

In a saucepan, heat the oil, butter and cook the garlic to flavor the oil and butter.  Remove the cloves after a couple of minutes.

Toast the bread cubes, tossing constantly.  It will take about 5 minutes for them to brown and get crunchy.


Entertaining : Easy Hors D'oeuvres Party

Last week, I created this easy Hors D'oeuvres Party.  We wanted the food to seem effortless and casual, yet special.  We combined both passed hors d'oeuvres and a bountiful food display.  Here's the menu :

Food Display :
Crudites Platter with Green Goddess Basil Dressing
Gourmet Cheese & Berry Platter with Homemade Parmesan Biscuits
Watermelon & Tomato Kebabs with Balsamic
Mini BLT's
Petite Grilled Salmon Sliders with Lemon Caper Aioli
Shrimp & Avocado Sliders
Goat Cheese & Caramelized Onion Puff Pastry Tarts

Passed :
Mini Crab Cake with Red Pepper Aioli

The food display was on the screened in family room.  Everything on the table could be served at room temperature, which is essential!

I created these little signs - aren't they cute!  I just printed them and hot glued a wooden skewer to the back.

I used piles of berries, and lemon leaves to make the cheese really pop.  The parmesan cheese biscuits are super easy to make - they are like homemade cheezits! 

These little Salmon Sliders with Lemon Caper Aioli were a big hit.  I baked a whole side of salmon with a teryaki glaze over it for 20 minutes at 425 degrees, then placed pieces on the sesame rolls.  For the aioli, I started with regular mayo and added a squeeze of fresh lemon, capers, salt & pepper.  Simple. 

I sliced Pepperage Farms French Loaves to get this mini sandwich bread look.

Mini Cupcakes are always popular.  I did vanilla bean, lemon cream and chocolate.  I love these stone cake platters.

On the way out the door, guests took individually wrapped blueberry muffins for breakfast in the morning. 

September 05, 2009

Entertaining | Steak Frites | Truffle Fries

Last night, we had some friends over for dinner and I experimented with one of my 'restaurant' favorites - Truffle Fries.  I'm proud to say that I think they were a hit!  I found the truffle oil at the Brookside Market - the entire bottle was only $10... which I thought was pretty good considering it will last a long time and add so much to any simple dinner.  We served them with seared steaks - the classic French dinner, Steak Frites.  

**This photo came from this site.  I didn't want to take away from my party by taking too many photos. 

4 baking potatoes
3 cups of vegetable oil
3 tablespoons of truffle oil
Sea Salt

I cut the potatoes in large matchsticks (leaving the peel on for a rustic look) then placed them in cold water. In a large pot, I heated the vegetable oil and fried the potatoes in 3 batches for about 6 minutes each.  When they came out of the oil, I drizzled them with the truffle oil and plenty of salt.  

September 02, 2009

Everyday | Satin & Grosgrain Ribbon | High Quality Discount Price

From years of wedding and party planning, I've found some great resources that I find invaluable.  Over the next couple of weeks, I'll share my secret sources with you! 

Ribbon : I'm a huge fan of luxurious double faced satin and charming grosgrain ribbon - seriously, you should see my collection.  One of my favorites for ribbon is their prices are shockingly low.  I'm talking $20 for 50 yards of 3 inch double faced satin... anywhere else, it would cost $75!

Here are some of my must haves : 

Above : This silver satin ribbon (this is shown in 1" width, I order 3" - extra special) for an upcoming wedding and I'll be using for my Christmas gifts that I'll wrap in brown craft paper.  I really like the mix of the rustic craft paper with the luxurious satin.  

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