Monday, October 23, 2017

Wax Resist Leaf Rubbing Paintings

I really wanted to do some sort of fall/ leaf themed art project with my boys.  I had quite a few great ideas and so I left it up to them to decided what we'd be doing.

They all agreed on trying our hand at some wax resist leaf rubbings.



We went walking through the woods to collect leaves and then we assembled our supplies:

  • white computer paper
  • crayons 
  • watercolors
  • brush
  • water
The boys all settled on a color they crayon they wanted to use for their leaf rubbings and then assembled the leaves under their paper the way they wanted.  Using the side of the crayon they rubbed their paper until they had their leaf shapes set.


It's practically impossible to see the white crayon leaf rubbings on the white paper; no matter what angle you use! 



Once we had our leaves all rubbed we used watercolors to color in behind them and make them pop.



Once dry we looked them over and determined that those darker leaves looked better; especially if we used a nice dark wash of watercolors with them.

We really enjoyed the white and black outlines and talked about what the leaves would look like in other colors..












It was such a fun, quick and easy art lesson that was just perfect for fall!

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Tammymum

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Pesto Caprese Chicken

I had made some fresh pesto last week and had every intention of freezing it for use at a later date.  Then I was struck with inspiration-- what if I put it on the chicken we were going to be having for dinner that night?

I knew it would only take a little bit of pesto to give the chicken some incredible flavor and it would be something new for us to try.

I topped the chicken with fresh sliced tomatoes and a bit of cheese too and OH MY!  Everyone loved it!



It was so flavorful, juicy, and tender.  I know we'll me making it again for sure!


Ingredients:

3 chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup pesto (see my homemade pesto recipe here)
sliced fresh tomato
1 cup mozzarella cheese

I laid the chicken pieces in a single layer in the pan and sprinkled them with salt and pepper.


I spread a bit of pesto on each chicken breast and topped two of them with sliced tomatoes (my son really didn't want any tomatoes on his).


I used 1 cup shredded cheese and sprinkled cheese over all the chicken and tomatoes. I set the oven to 350 and baked them for 20 minutes.


Once the chicken was cooked through and the cheese was all bubbly and lightly browned, we served the chicken with some rice and garlic roasted green beans.



I just can not even begin to tell you how yummy this was!

My only disappointment was that I did not make enough for leftovers the next day.

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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Slow Cooking Beef Stew in the Crock Pot

I happened to pass by the meat counter at the grocery store and saw stew beef on sale.  I just knew I had to buy some and make some beef stew in the crock pot.

It is one of my favorite fall meals and I always serve it with fresh bread I make in the breadmaker.  I love that I can prepare it in the morning and come home to a nice hot meal.

I do not have a real recipe written up anywhere so it never comes out quite the same way twice but I do have a general idea of how I like my stew-- hearty, warm, and packed with flavor!



Ingredients: (makes 5 servings)

1 cup carrots
4 large potatoes; diced
2 beef bullion cubes
2 bay leaves
2/3 cup flour
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp. celery salt
1 1/2 pounds stew beef
cooking oil
water

I start by lining the bottom of the crock pot with a good splattering of carrots; usually about a cup or so of baby carrots.


I then wash and cut up four potatoes into bite sized pieces then layer them on top of the carrots.


I typically add 2 bay leaves and a couple of beef bullion cubes (unless I have leftover beef broth in the freezer).


I set the crock pot aside and work on browning and favoring the meat.  In a large Ziploc bag I combine the flour, garlic salt, celery salt, and onion powder.  Then I add in the stew beef and shake it up until all the meat is coated in the flavored flour mixture.



With my burner set on medium I heat the oil until it's nice and hot and then I brown the beef on all sides;; turning with a fork when needed.





I take the leftover flour and add it to the crock pot so it will help thicken up the broth to make it more of a stew than a soup (though on this particular day I didn't put ALL the flour in and my broth was quite thin).


Once the meat is all browned I add it to the crock pot as well.  I add a bit of water to the pan and scrape up any last browned bits.




I pour the water from the pan into the crock pot and add enough cold water to just barely cover the food in the crock pot.  I make sure to give it a good stir and mix in all the flour with the cold water.  I use cold water so that the flour wont clump and I get a nice smooth and thick broth to go with my stew.   Then I turn the crock pot on low and let it sit for 8- 10 hours until the potatoes and carrots are tender.



We serve it hot with fresh bread and butter.


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