March 30, 2015

Spring has sprung… (pt. 2)

OK -- we were talking about a young birdy couple needing a place to stay. Well, this space was recently renovated. I’ll show you the “before” & “after” pics:

inv 018BEFORE


Yes, sometime in the past I had a flair for the dramatic… Believe it or not, this is the entry to the office/guitar/piano studio.we (7)

DSCN2147(speaking of renos… my Pinterest board for office redo is screaming to be used! Still trying to figure out how to blend the nautical & music themes…)

Much as I love our monogram being visible upon entering the front door, it didn’t quite convey the cozy factor I want every one to feel in our home. Our nest.end_27But then some vintage sheet music got involved…

March 28, 2015

Spring has sprung… (pt.1)

Many years ago my dear MIL had a miniature Christmas tree delivered to my door. (It was long before blogs/pictures, so you’ll have to imagine it…) Here’s how that 2-foot tree looks now:DSCN2150Anyhow -- the tree was covered in tiny nests with tiny eggs & lots of birds. Being the hoarder I am, those were saved.DSCN2062But then along came a certain black kittyDSCN2069who dearly s to watch & “play” with birdies.DSCN2064“Who, sir? Me, sir? Couldn’t be, sir.”DSCN2070So I boxed up the surviving birds & nests to give to my craftiest niece.  Well, I saved one nest & a bird couple.

Because I know just where they belong…

March 19, 2015

Mediterranean Chicken Ravioli

Chicken & noodles is the Improv Cooking Challenge theme that our hostess Lesa assigned for March. You know me -- never met a pasta I didn’t like. Well, until my gluten-free era, that is…EJchknoodleI haven’t made pasta since this challenge over a year ago; so I figured it was time to try again. I made a few adjustments to my recipe to use Cup 4 Cup flour.

Lemon Basil Pasta

  • 280 g. all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 37 g. garbanzo bean flour
  • 1 T. xanthan gum
  • 1/2 t. kosher salt
  • 2 eggs + 1 yolk
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 T. chopped fresh basil
  • 1 t. finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 c. cold water (or enough for dough consistency)

Sift dry ingredients into mixing bowl. Add remaining items and mix until dough forms a ball. Turn out from bowl & knead a few turns. Wrap in plastic to rest.

While I was making the pasta dough, I had my boneless/skinless chicken thighs marinating in drained juices from the filling ingredients. (For the marinade I simply added a little white wine and lemon juice to the liquids from the capers, olives & artichoke hearts.)

EJchknoodle1As the dough was resting, I grilled the thighs & then chopped them and added them to the other filling items. (Half the amount of this recipe filled the ravioli; the remaining we used as a chopped salad in pita pockets…)

Mediterranean Chicken

  • 2 T. capers, drained
  • 6 oz. kalamata olives, drained & chopped
  • 6 oz. artichoke hearts marinated in oil, drained & chopped
  • 1/3 c. onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 oz. fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 c. feta cheese, crumbled
  • 4 cups grilled chicken, chopped

You could add some fresh-cracked black pepper to this mixture, but I liked the way it tasted (and tasted, and tasted, and tasted, and tasted, and tasted, and…) without additional seasoning.

Now it was time to drag out the pasta maker. (I rolled the sheets pretty short to cut four rounds at a time, otherwise the pasta tended to dry out a little.)I think this dough handled much better than the recipe I used before.EJchknoodleAgain I used my trusty old 4” Pampered Chef Cut-N-Seal® to manufacture the raviolis. EJchknoodle (5)I covered them with plastic wrap and let them rest on a platter while I made the Alfredo sauce requested by my men.

Greek Yogurt Alfredo Sauce

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 c. Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 c. chicken broth
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1 T. arrowroot starch
  • 8 oz. Parmesan cheese, shredded

Lightly heat the garlic and olive oil in a sauce pan. Stir in the yogurt. Mix the starch (could sub tapioca or corn starch) into the milk, then add that & the chicken broth to the heating mixture. When that begins to bubble & thicken, whisk in the cheese little by little until the sauce is smooth & of proper consistency.

Boil the ravioli until pasta is done (ours was about 10 minutes) Drain & serve with the delish Alfredo sauce.EJchknoodle (6)Yum!EJchknoodle (9)


…and here are some recipes created by my friends:

March 18, 2015

…when life hands you garbage,

make compost!

20150311_111040My grapevine knows that the best nutrients sometimes come from the nastiest junk...