Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Chicken and Rice Bake Pantry Recipe

This is a great recipe to make out of the pantry.  You can use any cooked chicken that you have.  Cook up some rice and instant or parboiled rice will work just fine.  If you have microwave rice, place it in the dish without running in the microwave.


Chicken and Rice Bake
            3 cups cooked rice
            2 cups chicken broth, divided
            3 cups chicken, cooked and cubed (3 reg chicken breast pieces)
            2 Tbls. Butter
            1 cup sliced mushrooms (4 oz. Pkg. or 6.5 ounce can)
            ½ bell pepper, red, chopped
            3 Tbls. Butter
            6 Tbls. Flour
            1 ½ tsp Backyard Patch Poultry Herbal Seasoning
            ½ tsp granulated garlic
            1 tsp. Salt
            ½ tsp. Black pepper
            1 cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 2 Quart casserole or a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. 

RECIPE THEME

Each month a theme is chosen and a number of recipes on that theme from my massive archive will be shared.  This year we have 12 new topics, different from the topics of last year.  To find the recipes of last year, check out this recipe link or search the blog with the topic Recipe2018, or Recipe2019 

You can search the monthly theme by looking for the theme keyword in the search box and it will pull up the recipes on that theme as posted, so look at the bottom of the recipe in each posting for the KEYWORD in the () to search for each  month.  All recipes this year will be tagged Recipe2020 so you can find them all.



The themes are:

Feb 2020 - Footbal Tailgate Favorites (AppFeb)
March 2020 - Kabobs (KabobMar)
April 2020 - Brunch (BrunchApr) more in 2021 also
May 2020 - Non-Traditional Pizza (PizzaMay)
June 2020 - StirFry Dishes (StirJun)
July 2020 - Salads with no lettuce (SaladJul)
August 2020 - Pickled things (PickleAug)
September 2020 - Quiche (QuicheSep)
October 2020 - Squash Soups (SquashOct)
November 2020 - Pumpkin (again) (PumpNov)

December 2020 - Turkey Recipes (TurkDec)

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

DIY Spring Scented Coasters - Homemade Gift Series

DIY Spring Scented Coasters
These simple scented hot pad coasters are the perfect gift for any coffee or tea lover in your life, including yourself!

NOTE: The rice needs to sit for about 24 hours to absorb the scents properly before you put the hot pad together, so plan ahead when doing this project!
Here’s what you need for this project:

·         5″ x 12″ piece of pretty fabric for the outside of the coaster (I used 100% cotton in a fun pattern)
·         two 4.5″ squares of plain muslin
·         plain, uncooked rice
·         100% essential oil in your favorite scent
·         Zip seal bag
·         Needle and thread or sewing machine


Steps:
1.      Prepare the rice. Put about one cup of rice into a zip seal bag and add 6-7 drops of your favorite essential oil. Seal up the bag, shake the rice around so the oil is mixed in, and set the bag aside in a cool, dry place for 24 hours so the rice can soak up the scent.
2.      Once your rice is nice and scented, it’s time to make the coaster. First you’re going to make an envelope style cover for the outside.
3.      Fold over half an inch of fabric at one short end of the rectangle of outer fabric, and hem the end by sewing along the fold with about a 1/4″ seam allowance. Repeat on the other short end.
4.      Fold the long strip of fabric, right side in, so that both ends overlap each other about an inch or so. You want the final dimensions of the cover to be 4.5″ long, so adjust accordingly.
                               
5.      Sew along the open edges, leaving a 1/2″ seam allowance. Clip the corners and turn the envelope cover right side out.
6.      Then pin the two muslin squares on top of each other and sew around all four edges with a 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving a small hole on one edge to add the rice.
7.      Use a funnel to pour the scented rice into the muslin pouch. The fuller the pouch, the more stable the coaster will be, so fill it as full as you can! Then sew the small opening closed.
8.      Put the small muslin pouch inside your envelope cover, and you have your very own scented hot pad coaster! Warm up a mug of tea or coffee and test it out!
The reason I made this coaster in two pieces rather than just making a pouch of the pretty outer fabric is because it’s easily replaceable this way. If the rice loses its scent, just make a new inner muslin pouch with a new batch of rice, and you don’t have to get rid of the pretty cover! Or just use a seam ripper to pull open a corner of the muslin pouch and switch the rice out with freshly scented rice.
You could also switch up scents if you want to! If you have three or four favorite scents (maybe one for each season?!), make a muslin bag full of rice for each scent, and just switch them out into your favorite cover and you have a “new” hot pad each time! You should store your scented hot pad coaster in a plastic baggie when you’re not using it to keep the scent fresh and strong!


Monday, April 27, 2020

Plant Sale Online - Garden Club of Villa Park

This year the Garden Club of Villa Park has moved its plant sale online.  So far this is saving us some work.  And it is providing needed social distancing for pick up and delivery of plants.


If you live in the area of Villa Park, IL and would like to get in on the sale, here is the link.  We will deliver to anyone living in Villa Park, Lombard, Elmhurst and Bensenville, but those living in other communities can pick up their orders on Saturday May 2, 2020 in Downtown Villa Park between 11 AM and 3 PM

As always, we are featuring  herbs, native plants, vegetables and garden perennials.  We added a few more vegetables this year as many people want to try the Victory Garden idea this year.


In years past we have shared recipes with our visitors, but this year I will have to do that virtually.
So please visit the garden club website: www.homegardening.org and and find the page of recipes which should be linked on the home page.

Here is a Sample of the plants we have this year and a recipe to try:
Wild Indigo
Lemon Herb and Parsley Salad Dressing
1/4 cup vinegar
3/4 cup vegetable or olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp lemon thyme (or lemon basil or lemon grass)
1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
dash of garlic powder

Mix together in a glass jar or cruet and shake well.  Refrigerate one hour before serving.  Keep remainder in refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Lemon Grass
Vegan Pesto
2 cups lightly packed fresh basil
1/2 cup raw, unsalted pine nuts
2 large gloves garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
1 Tbls lemon juice
3 Tbls nutritional yeast (substitute Parmesan cheese,if not vegan)
salt and pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients in a food processor and store in an airtight container up to 5 days.  Enjoy on pasta or as a dip for veggies.

ginger scented geranium

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Take a Virtual Garden Tour of the Luther Burbank Gardens


I had this blog post planned over a month ago, but just could not get into it so I put it off.  But in these days of sheltering in place I thought a virtual tour of a garden might be just the thing. I chose the Luther Burbank Home and Gardens.  


March 7th was the birthday American horticulturist Luther Burbank.  Born in 1849, he developed many new varieties of fruits, vegetables, and flowers including the Shasta Daisy.  There is a foundation, museum and gardens devoted to the history of this influential plant specialist on his property in Santa Rosa, California.


After his death in 1926, he was buried on the front lawn “under the Cedar of Lebanon.” The property was opened to the public in the 1930s when Burpee Seed Company owned most of the property and seed development of Luther Burbank.

Luther Burbank Garden Art
A bit of whimsy int he Luther Burbank Garden

On the website they offer a great coloring book entitled The Man Who Could Make a Flower, which is perfect for kids.



The Gardens can be viewed in vivid color by taking a virtual tour. They have a page on the website called “What’s in Bloom.”   For each month of the year they have a huge page of photos of what can be seen blooming in the garden.  It is like a virtual walk through the seasons of color.  


After you have gotten your fill of the Garden you can check out the wealth of information on Luther Burbank, his history breeding plants and explore information how what happened to his seeds and creations.


Imagine a world without the summer staple the Shasta Daisy – This edible flower was actually created by Burbank in 1901.  But it took 17 years to accomplish.  The flower was created as a quadruple hybrid.  Meaning the origin plant a New England Oxeye Daisy was mixed in succession with pollen from 3 more daisy species until it created his vision of the ideal daisy with large pure white flowers, smooth stems, early and persistent blooming, good keeping quality as a cut flower and sturdiness as a garden plant. They were named for California’s glistening white Mount Shasta, and presented an entirely new plant species, now known officially as Leucanthemum x superbum.




Of special note is the fact that 100 years ago Burbank was a member of the Victory Garden Committee of World War I. The goal of the National War Garden Commission was to encourage Americans to plant vegetable gardens so commercially produced agriculture could be shipped overseas to US troops and allies. The effort was so successful that there was no food rationing during WWI.  Burbank had created (introduced) a variety of fruits and vegetables which were then used for canning at home by many people in the U.S.  

In these current times many people are thinking of creating another season of Victory Gardening which made me realize it was a great time to explore the gardens of Luther Burbank. Don’t you agree?



All images in the post are from 
the Luther Burbank Home and Gardens website - www.lutherburbank.org

Friday, April 24, 2020

Five Layer Ground Beef Dinner -Weekend Recipe

Here is a great recipe to use with what is in your pantry.  If you don't have carrots use celery.  If you don't have potatoes add uncooked rice and add an extra can of water in the bottom layer.  If you don't have ground beef, use cooked chicken or ground turkey.  And if you want it vegetarian, use impossible meat or Beyond Meat instead. And if there is no tomato soup in your pantry, substitute cream of mushroom instead.


5-Layer Ground Beef Dinner

1 layer potatoes, uncooked and sliced
1 layer onions, chopped
1 layer (about 1 cup) wild rice, pre-cooked for 15 minutes
1 layer carrots, sliced
1 layer  1 lb. ground beef, browned topped with 
    ½ of a green pepper, chopped
           
1 can tomato soup, thinned with 1 can water (or cream of mushroom soup)

Brown ground beef and add 1/2 of a green paper diced, set aside. Chop remaining ingredient.  Use at least one of each item, or add more if you want more vegetables. Layer in a deep casserole in order above, starting with potatoes on the bottom.  Season each layer with a sprinkle Do-It All Herbal Seasoning.  Combine tomato soup with water and pour over top and bake at 350 degrees for 1 ½ to 2 hours or until potatoes are tender.  Water may need to be added to keep dinner moist while cooking.  Serves 8

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Special Mother's Day Gifts at Home and a Giveaway

Mother's Day is right around the corner, so I thought I would start sharing a few make at home gifts you could do yourself.  And to combine with it, we are so excited to be giving away $350 in gift cards for Mother's Day to four lucky readers. The giveaway will run from April 23 – May 8.  



For the next couple weeks we are going to give you instructions for some personalized herb theme gifts  to make for your Mom. and if you visit the other bloggers in the links at the bottom you will get entries in the drawing.  Have fun explore and creating!

Herb Pounded Gifts

Tools Needed
parchment paper/wax paper
rubber mallet
fresh herbs, leaves or flowers
card stock, note cards, plain gift bags or plain white napkins

Steps
You need a sturdy table or the floor to do this craft, as you will be pounding things and don't want to take out a table in the process.

Line the table with newspaper or torn brown paper bags to protect the surface.

Gather some fresh herbs, leaves or flowers from the yard.  The brighter the color the better the transfer in pounding.  You can even gather some grass fronds.

Do a test run to see how this works and get a feel for how hard or soft you need to pound.


I use a few pieces of card stock to test my flowers.

You place the flower/leaf face down on a sheet of white paper. Place parchment or wax paper over the greenery. Pound with a rubber mallet, being careful not to allow the flower/leaf  to reposition itself.  




Don't pulverize it, just pound it hard enough to break open the cells of the plant so they release the color onto the paper.



Once you get the hang of how hard or not hard to strike, then you can move to your real items.

Again lay your item flat on the surface.  Place the flower, leaves or grass on the surface 
Cover with parchment. Pound with the rubber mallet to transfer the color.

Remove the parchment and remnants of greenery and compost them.  Then add different layers of color with other leaves and plants.




You can add some drawn art to fill in the colors or just go with the natural pounded flower look.



If you use card stock, trim the card stock to fit in an envelop and you have stationary for Mom.

or if you use a gift bag, you can put other gifts inside your homemade bag. And maybe that gift are these great grass decorated napkins.

Like a grass stain these are hard to wash out, so the napkins are totally washable,the grass patterns will fade over time, but it will take a while.  Have fun and get outside!

Now onto the Giveaway - all you have to do is follow the links in this rafflecopter and each visit, like, share, etc will get you entries in the drawing.  Four lucky folks will win up to $350 in gift cards.  Have fun exploring!


Now on to the giveaway!

Come and enter the Mothers Day Giveaway! Enter for your chance to win gift cards totaling $410! Winners choice of gift card  #giveaway #MothersDay #2019MothersDayGiveaway
We are so excited to be giving away $350 in gift cards for Mother's Day to four lucky readers. The giveaway will run from April 23rd – May 8th.

The prizes are:

  • 1 - $125 gift card
  • 1 - $125 gift card
  • 1 - $50 gift card
  • 1 - $50 gift card
Each winner will choose the gift card they want. Please choose a gift card which comes from an online store and can be paid by US dollars. EX: Amazon, Target, Walmart, Macy's, Kohls, etc. You may ask for more than one gift card but must add up to your prize amount.
Now its time to meet our co-hosts who have made this giveaway possible.
Come and enter the Mothers Day Giveaway! Enter for your chance to win gift cards totaling $410! Winners choice of gift card  #giveaway #MothersDay #2019MothersDayGiveaway
Tammy - My Life Abundant | Ahna - Hammers n Hugs | Heather - Super Mom Life | Denise - This is My Everybody | Carrie - Curly Crafty Mom | Debi - Life Currents | Audrey - That Recipe and Munofore | Dana - Create to Donate | Falak - This Mama Reviews | Emily - Domestic Deadline | Kathleen - Our Hopeful Home | Tammy - Creative K Kids | Meredith - The Mom of the Year | Lisa - Blogghetti | Michelle - Our Crafty Mom | Leslie - Once Upon A Time & Happily Ever After | Linda - A Labour of Life | Marcy - Backyard Patch Herbal Blog | Kristen - White Arrows Home | Trish - Trish Sutton | Zan - At Home with Zan | McKenzie - The Enser Establishment | Sinea - Ducks 'n a Row | Jamie - As For Me and My Homestead & Coffee With Us 3 | Donna - Blog by Donna
Please stop by and say hi to these wonderful co-hosts and their blogs.
The giveaway will end midnight on Friday, May 8th, a few days before Mother's Day. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to the email claiming their prize. If we don't hear in 48 hours, we will choose another winner. The giveaway is open to anyone over 18 years of age and able to receive e-gift cards from the U.S.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Slow-Cooker Garlic and Herb Chicken - Weekend Recipe

This weekend we have a simple easy one dish meal you can serve at a brunch or for an at-home meal.

Crockpot Garlic and Herb Chicken
            3 lb. Frying chicken, cut into serving pieces
            Salt and pepper to taste
            2 Tbls. Olive oil
            ½ cup dry white wine
            2 Tbls. Vermouth
            5 Tbls. Backyard Patch Garlic and Herb Combination Herb Mix (2 packages)
            2 stalks of celery, sliced
            Juice of 1 lemon
            Peel of 1 lemon

Remove the skin from the chicken pieces, if so desired.  Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.  Warm the olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  Brown the chicken on all sides and remove to a platter when golden.  In a large mixing bowl, blend together wine, vermouth, and BYP Garlic and Herbs.  Add the celery and mix to coat.  With a slotted spoon, transfer the coated vegetables to a slow cooker.  Add the chicken pieces to the remaining herb and wine mixture and coat well.  Place the chicken on top of the vegetables in the slow cooker.  Sprinkle the lemon juice and peel over the top of the chicken.  Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or until the chicken in no longer pink in the thickest cut and juices run clear.  Discard the celery and serve warm.


RECIPE THEME
Each month a theme is chosen and a number of recipes on that theme from my massive archive will be shared.  This year we have 12 new topics, different from the topics of last year.  To find the recipes of last year, check out this recipe link or search the blog with the topic Recipe2018, or Recipe2019 

You can search the monthly theme by looking for the theme keyword in the search box and it will pull up the recipes on that theme as posted, so look at the bottom of the recipe in each posting for the KEYWORD in the () to search for each  month.  All recipes this year will be tagged Recipe2020 so you can find them all.

The themes are:

Feb 2020 - Footbal Tailgate Favorites (AppFeb)
March 2020 - Kabobs (KabobMar)
April 2020 - Brunch (BrunchApr) more in 2021 also
May 2020 - Non-Traditional Pizza (PizzaMay)
June 2020 - StirFry Dishes (StirJun)
July 2020 - Salads with no lettuce (SaladJul)
August 2020 - Pickled things (PickleAug)
September 2020 - Quiche (QuicheSep)
October 2020 - Squash Soups (SquashOct)
November 2020 - Pumpkin (again) (PumpNov)
December 2020 - Turkey Recipes (TurkDec)
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