Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sewing Table Paint Job

Here are some before and after pictures of my sewing table. The table had been used at my parents house as our kitchen table for 25 years. The wear and tear and sun fading made the sanding part not too bad at all. Loving how it turned out!! The color I used is Laguna Green by Valspar.

After - Table with leaf and two chairs

Table Top - Before, without leaf

Base - Before

Chair - Before

Chair - Before detail 

Side View -After  

Base detail - After

Chair - After 

Chair Detail - After

Thursday, January 17, 2013

French Onion Soup

This is my all time favorite soup! I've been testing out different recipes and finally created the perfect mix. To me, the key ingredient in the soup is some type of wine. Many recipes call for red wine, Sauvignon Blanc, Sherry or Port wine. I've experimented with both Port and a combo of Cabernet Sauvignon and a Sweet White. There was a very subtle difference between using Port vs. my red/white combo. Use what you have on hand or your personal preference.  It takes so much time to do this recipe right, I like to take advantage and prepare enough for leftovers and to freeze.

8 yellow onions, halved & sliced
2 sticks of butter
5 T olive oil
10 oz. Cabernet Sauvignon
4 oz. sweet white wine
4 quarts stock (2 qts beef broth & 2 qts vegetable broth)
1 tsp dried garlic or 2 fresh garlic cloves, chopped
4 dried bay leaves
2 fresh thyme sprigs or 1 tsp dried thyme
1 baguette, sliced
Gruyere or Swiss Cheese
Cooking spray

Cook Time:
3-4 hours


In a large deep pot melt butter and olive oil. Add onions and sprinkle generously with salt. Bring the pan to medium heat and stir onions to coat well. Cover, cook for 15-20 min. After this time, the onions will have gotten very soft and let off a lot of water. Remove the lid and continue cooking on very low heat. It will take at least 1 hour to caramelize the onions. There is no short cut for this process. In the hour, they will brown and develop a rich flavor. Slice bread and let stand. This helps the bread toast better and get less soggy in the soup.

When the onions are very brown and have gotten much smaller, add the wine and continue to cook until it reduces by half. Add the bay leaves, thyme and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Continue simmering at least 1 hour. Taste the soup, and season more as necessary. If the thyme flavor is just right, remove the sprig if using fresh. It should become thicker and completely delicious! Simmer longer until the desired flavor and consistency are reached.

Toast sliced bread on low heat until crisp, then cut into medium bite sized pieces. Spray edges of crocks with cooking spray. Fill ovenproof soup crocks 3/4 of the way with soup. Top soup with bread pieces and then cheese of choice. Place crocks under the broiler and continue to cook until the cheese is brown and bubbly. Mmmmmm! Enjoy!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Crock Pot - Raspberry Piquillo Chicken

This dish turned out great and it was just something I threw together pretty quick, honestly. Making notes of my recipe for the future!

- 2 - 4 chicken breasts, sliced into 1'' wide strips
- 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 large zucchini, sliced (1/2'') & quartered
- 10 oz. Raspberry piquillo pepper sauce ***
- 1/2 of a large bunch of cilantro, chopped
- 4 gloves garlic, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon cumin
- 1 Teaspoon salt (on chicken)
- 1 full Tablespoon sliced, pickled jalapenos
- 1 fresh avocado
- dollop of low fat sour cream

Mix ingredients well in Crock Pot. Cook on low 4 hours.  When ready to serve, spoon mixture onto plate and top with fresh sliced avocado and a dollop of sour cream. The avocado made it!

* Notes: I only had 2 chicken breasts on hand, but next time I will use 4. My husband LOVED this dish so much! He additionally added more jalapeno's and a bit of salsa for more heat. This dish was "warm" and not too spicy, but just the right amount of light heat.

*** Raspberry Piquillo Pepper sauce was found at Home Goods. Here is the link for online ordering: Sauce Link