Thank you for all of the sweet Happy Birthday wishes. Between my trip downtown, which doesn't happen too often, and then a really great day on my actual birthday Tuesday, I am feeling so spoiled! I spent that day just hanging out in the kitchen (my favorite place), making cupcakes which I pretty much gave away to everyone and anyone (as I certainly don't need them lurking around here!). I made a big pan of mini-cupcakes, vanilla with a cream cheese frosting...
...and then some larger ones, simply because they are less tedious than all those little ones you scoop out from the batter by the teaspoon. I'm lazy like that.
At the last minute I invited Emily and Mike over for dinner. Sounds strange to be making your own dinner on your birthday but The Husband and I splurged and had a culinary feast over the weekend... I still wanted to do something fun. I made lasagna, a salad and crescent rolls. And we had cupcakes for dessert of course. I probably shouldn't even show the table I set...someone set their plastic cup of ice water down. Well, real life intrudes. :)
I won another giveaway. Oh my gosh! I should be playing the lottery! This beautiful handmade pillow came from my "Best New Friend", Vera, from Row Homes and Cobblestones. We "met" just a few months ago. Have you ever read comments on a blog you are visiting and just had a sort of feeling about the person...as if you knew they could be a friend? That's how I felt about Vera. I had to go to her blog. We commented back and forth, emailed, and soon found we were soul mates.
She made several pillows for her recent giveaway and chose two winners. Each pillow was different and so beautiful. The one I liked the most (and it was so hard to decide), was this one and the gorgeous inscription on it is, "Life Is But A Dream", in Italian. Love!
I wanted you to see the fringe on the ends. Wow, you just don't see that too much anymore. This pretty pillow has taken center stage on my living room sofa for all to see. And the candy...sorry, The Husband snatched it up before me, I guess that's a good thing. Thank you Vera! :)
On to some food, but not a recipe. I thought I'd make mention of the popularity I've seen of roasted vegetables, especially in the fall, and also in the summer on the grill. However, I was always disappointed in my results making them. The veggies came out either hard or mushy. Some were dried up beyond recognition, so unlike the vibrant pictures I saw in magazines and cookbooks. The truth is, not all veggies are created alike. After a bit of experimentation, I came up with a great method, and we had the most delicious dinner recently that cast a whole new light on oven roasted vegetables.
I browned chicken breasts (bone in) in a saute pan with olive oil. This seals in the juices. I removed the chicken from the pan and set aside. I then added some roughly chopped root vegetables...carrots, turnips, and parsnips to the same pan. They caramelize a bit that way, releasing sugars. I put the chicken breasts in a casserole dish, arranged the veggies around them, added a few sprigs of rosemary for flavor and a pinch of S & P. Covering with foil, this baked for a half hour at 350 degrees. You can omit the chicken if you want a meatless meal, very easily done.
Now that you've baked (and steamed with the foil) these fibrous sort of veggies, you can add the softer, quick cooking ones. I did asparagus, leeks and cherry tomatoes. I drizzled everything with a little olive oil and seasoned with Mrs. Dash. Love this stuff! Cover with the foil again for 15 minutes, remove foil and bake another 10 minutes. Perfection!!
I thought this was great. It sounds like a lot of work but it's not. I actually did the chopping and sauteing while I was putting groceries away, using up the vegetables I had in the refrigerator to make room for more. This is foolproof. I hope you try it. I still haven't figured out the Pin It button but I thank all of you for the help. I just need someone computer savvy to help. In the meantime, you can always cut and paste the recipes and I would be so flattered! :)
Little Elsie has not entered our world yet and Mary Clare is a trooper, still working full time, just waiting it out. The original due date is February 11, but because the baby is growing by leaps and bounds, a delivery by caesarian was contemplated. Right now it's a "wait and see" sort of thing but I know it's weighing on MC and Kevin's minds. Say a prayer and let's keep counting the days, hours and minutes!! My friend Cindy from Applestone Cottage made this gorgeous little dress for Elsie. You probably remember that Cindy and I became blogger friends way back, six years ago in fact. We meet up personally every year. She has taught herself to sew in the past few years and has been churning out clothes for her two granddaughters like crazy. She has a grandson on the way, can't wait to see what she comes up with. She never stops!!! This is darling and the little sash ties in a bow in the back. Thanks, Cindy!
And as if you can't have enough thoughtfulness from blogger friends...thank you Melanie from Comfy House for the birthday card. That and the recent giveaways I've won, how lucky can a girl get?
I grocery shopped today. Before you think I'm some sort of hero being out there in 13 degree weather, consider this. There have been good, good people in our community driving around with shovels and sand helping others stranded in drifts and plowed in driveways. Just randomly driving around, helping where they can. The big plows come by and basically make a wall of snow in front of our homes and driveways. With the bitter cold, it's so hard to shovel. I've gotten stuck backing out, but I have years of experience and have done okay getting out of the mess. Abby has gotten stuck a few times trying to back out of the driveway. The Husband and her boyfriend, Tom, were trying to push her car out yesterday when a good Samaritan driving down our street jumped out to help. Wow, it makes you believe in humanity again.
Well, off I go. Let's hope for a warm up here and good wishes for the East coast yet again. Be safe.