Sunday, May 27, 2012

Pinterest Project: Paddle Board

Less a project and more a quick tip that I have seen lurking on the pinterest boards many a month,  I decided to try shedding cooked chicken breasts using the paddle attachment in the KitchenAid Stand Mixer.we tackled our tried and true slow cooker taco soup recipe today which calls for cooking the chicken and then shredding it.
Action shot:
Success!
Much better than handling the piping hot chicken or waiting too long for it to cool. Only downside? A few more dirty dishes!

As a side note, to find a pinterest pin to link to for this post, I searched on the phrase "chicken paddle." Not sure I have ever uttered that phrase before. . .

Friday, May 25, 2012

Finally Framed

Our Egypt trip was over a year ago, but we only just got around to framing the papyrus painting that we bought for our home. This piece is "Final Judgment." The following description is taken from http://www.fromcairo.com/judgement.htm.
Here the deceased being lead by Anibus (the jackal) to the final judgment. (Perhaps because of a jackal’s tendency to prowl around tombs, he became associated with the dead) Anubis was worshipped as the inventor of embalming, who had embalmed the dead Osiris, thus helping preserve him in order to live again. His task became to glorify and preserve all the dead. With Anibus leading, the deceased appears before a panel of 14 judges, depicted above him. It is here that he will make an accounting for his deeds during his life. The ankh, the key of life appears in the hands of some of the judges, note Anibus also holds the sacred ankh.

Anibus is then charged with weighing the heart of the deceased in the left against the feather of Ma’at, the goddess of truth and justice in the right tray. If the heart of the deceased outweighs the feather, then it is a heart which has been made heavy with evil deeds… and his ultimate fate would be meeting the god Ammit, the god with the crocodile head and hippopotamus legs will devour the heart, thus condemning the deceased to oblivion for eternity. But if the feather outweighs the heart and the deceased has led a righteous life he is presented to Osiris, the judge of the dead. Thoth, the ibis-headed god of wisdom stands ready to record the outcome. Horus, the god with the falcon head, who is also carrying the ankh, will lead him to Osiris.

Osiris, is shown wearing the crown of Lower Egypt, the north. He holds the symbols of Egyptian kingship in his hands – the shepherd’s crook to symbolize his role as the shepherd of mankind, and the flail, representing is ability to separate the wheat from the chaff. The sacred lotus flower is in front of his throne. The Eye of Horus is holding the outcome of the deceased’s life. Behind him stands his wife Isis, and her sister Nephthys. Together they welcome the deceased to the underworld.

With a 60% off plus 15% coupon in hand, we brought the papyrus to Michael's and spent a chunk of time looking at matting and frame options. In the end, we laid out the piece on a black matte, inlaid enough on the matte to highlight the frayed edges of the papyrus. The next two matte layers added were a complementary blue and gold linen. The frame itself is a textured black and brown we thought was just thick enough to sustain a large piece like this without being too overbearing.
We decided to hang the piece in our hallway across from the coat closet, above a non-existent - but hopefully soon to be purchased - table.
Well worth the wait, we love seeing this as we walk in the door. Slowly but surely our walls are filling up!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Fairy Well

Having a three year old neice is indeed a treat - she's a whiz at puzzles, loves reading and adores her baby sister. And it isn't just a stereotype - kids really do say the darndest things. Such as wrapping a napkin around my arm and telling me it is a band aid to cover my owies (I think she's still figuring out what freckles are!).  Ella's birthday party took place this past weekend and my sister organized a woodland fairy theme that took over the living room and left one little girl a bit speechless when she walked in! My weekly trip to Michael's came in handy and I offered to pick up a few things to help decorate the morning of the party while Ella was out of the house.

The theme was in part inspired by this adorable dress that Ella insisted she put on over her clothes as soon as she walked in the door. She was also wearing it the next day, so I think it is a new favorite!
Fake flowery vines and bunches of flowers were strewn about. We also picked up a couple mini wooden bird houses (or "fairy houses") for only $1 each. Clip on butterflies in pink and purple (the birthday girl's favorite color) accented the decor.
When in doubt for vases, I sift through the stemless wine glass shelf - a trick I have used at birthday parties past! Simple green ribbon and tissue paper helped fill the vases - no water needed for these guys!
Michael's had a selection of foam wands so I grabbed three and a stack of butterfly, dragonfly and star stickers. While Ella waited for the adults to finish lunch so she could get to the gift opening, we worked on decorating our wands. Ella made sure to grab the purple one and went to town on the stickers! If the party had more kids attending, I thought this would be a fun activity - or if the kids are a little older, find wooden wands that they can paint. Painting "fairy houses" was also an idea seen on Pinterest.
My sister found a mat of moss to cover the top of Ella's play area shelves and added a topiary and colorful bowls to set the scene for a dessert table.
Thanks in no small part to Pinterest, the table had a little added whimsy with these toadstool cupcakes (red frosting and upside down white chocolate chips).
Ella's cake from Deerfield Bakery featured Tink wishing her a happy birthday!
World Market had a great selection of butterfly pillows, plates and platters that would be excellent decor for not only this party but other spring and summer bashes to come.
Clusters of green helium filled balloons were added to corners of the room and one special Tinkerbell Mylar balloon was tied to the birthday girl's chair. However, I think the hit of the party was the dress itself - Ella loved to twirl around in the dress and by the end of the party she was covered in stickers - that's one happy kid!
All in all a very special day for a lucky 3 year old! What theme birthday parties are your kids asking for? Pirates, Princesses or Paleontology? Reading Young House Love today I have to give credit to the 2 year old who wanted a "worm" themed party! Now that's specific!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I Melt With You

Tarragon Tuna Melt? Don't mind if I do.

A trip to my parents' house for the weekend ensured two days of great food and relaxation (the Saturday night weather held out for us to light up a bonfire and enjoy the insanely large Supermoon).

For a tasty lunch, my mom whipped up these Tarragon Tuna Melts from a Better Homes & Garden recipe.
1 thinly sliced green onion, including the greens
3 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon leaves or 2 teaspoons dried tarragon, crumbled
Zest of one lemon
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 6-ounce cans of solid white tuna, well drained and flaked
8 1/2-inch slices French or Italian loaf bread (or your favorite bread)
1 thinly sliced tomato (8 slices)
4 ounces grated sharp white cheddar cheese (about 1 cup)
2 Tbsp softened butter



Mix the green onions through mayo in a medium sized bowl, add the tuna - making sure to flake big chunks and mix it in. Lay out four slices of bread and divide out the tuna mixture. Top each with tomato slices and grated cheese. Spread butter on other piece of bread and place sandwiches on heated griddle. Butter the top and continue to cook until nicely browned on each side.

Now that's a keeper!