Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Chicken Pot Pie SOUP!

If you're a long-time reader, you might know that I love making chicken pot pies. It was a few years ago when I first had a recipe for a pot pie, and I've been making them like crazy ever since. Turns out, the boyfriend is a huge fan, so they've become one of my go-to recipes, every month of the year! Yes, I know they are more a "winter" recipe, but I make them all summer long. I tend to make them a bit differently each time, not really following any recipe anymore, and I've also made a few beef pot pies. Should I post that recipe too?

I recently saw a recipe for a chicken pot pie soup, and thought it would be fun to try. Despite it being late June, I love making soup year-round too, and Sunday night, I tried this recipe. I found it on a blog called no. 2 pencil, and as always, made a few of my own tweaks to the recipe! Here is the original:

Serves around 6
2 tablespoons of butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 large carrot, diced
2 tablespoons of flour
6 cups of chicken stock – plus additional to thin if soup is very thick
4 cups of frozen shredded potatoes, used for hash browns
4 cups of cooked, diced or shredded chicken
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1 cup of frozen peas

Frozen pie shells
Bake pie shells according to package instructions, once cooled break into bite size pieces to sprinkle on top of soup.
In a large stock pot, melt butter and cook onions, carrots and celery over medium heat until softened. Sprinkle in flour and cook about one minute more. Add chicken stock and increase heat to medium high. Once chicken stock begins to simmer, add hash browns and let simmer for about 15 minutes, or until potatoes begin to breakdown and thicken soup. Add chicken and let simmer until heated through, then add heavy cream and frozen peas and let simmer about 5 more minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste, and adjust consistency of soup with additional chicken stock if needed.
Sprinkle with flat leaf parsley and serve with pie shell pieces.


My notes:
I didn't have shredded frozen potatoes, but I had them in patty form, so I used those, and chopped them up. They broke down pretty well, and I don't think I would have known the difference if they'd been shredded! 
Also, I didn't have any pie crust, so I made biscuits and served them on the side, and we liked them that way. They can be dunked! 

We really enjoyed the soup, and it reminded me a bit of the chicken and dumplings that I made a few months ago. It was less thick than that recipe, as this called for six cups of chicken stock, and a bit of heavy cream (yum!), but the potatoes definitely added something. It was very hearty, and we had leftovers for lunch today! 

What are you cooking this week? Do you make "winter" recipes in the summertime, or am I the only crazy one??

Friday, June 21, 2013

quote of the day

One day last week, I was writing a speach while at work, and came across this quote, from Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President. This was said to a group of students at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania during his first term, in the fall of 1913 - 100 years ago! 

“You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. 
You are here to enrich the world.”

So many years later, this quote still rings true, and I find it to be an inspiration. I was happy to find it, and I think that we can all learn something from it, and it can serve as encouragement for us to find ways to share what we have with others, think about our purpose in life, and what our contribution to the world will be. 

What is your favorite inspirational quote? 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Strawberry and Cream Cupcakes

Here's another delightful recipe from my sister Bethany! She's sent a few over in the past, as she loves to bake, and they always look delicious, and these cupcakes were too good not to share! Of course, I just wish I lived close enough to try one...DC and MA are just too far apart! Looks like we need a photo or two of her in one of our aprons for her next post, eh?


Normally I like to bake from scratch, but I always keep a few boxes of brownie and cake mix in the cupboard for those "emergency moments." My husband and brother in law spent the day ripping up the carpet on the stairs in our new house and putting in new hardwood stairs- yay, they look so pretty!  I was in the mood to bake, which isn't anything new, and felt the boys deserved a treat after their hard work.

Luckily, I had all the ingredients necessary for a cupcake recipe I'd been wanting to try!

I didn't have as much time as I hoped, as I had plans for the evening and it was already 4pm, so I pulled out a box of chocolate cake mix, heavy whipping cream, and fresh strawberries.

Make the cake mix as directed on the box, and fill cute cupcake tins about three quarters full.  For maximum moistness, bake for a few minutes less than directed on the box.

While cupcakes are cooking, wash and dry strawberries.  Cut into thin slices and set aside.

Wile cupcakes are cooling, whip heavy cream with hand mixer until fluffy.

Carefully cut off tops of cupcakes.

Spread a layer of whipped cream onto each cupcake, cover with a strawberry or two, and replace cupcake top.  I also put a dollop of whipped cream on the top so it would stick to the strawberries!  Add another dollop of whipped cream to the cupcake top and cover with one more strawberry.

Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve and store extras in fridge as well.

This is a delicious, easy summery recipe that got thumbs up from all!

What's baking in your kitchen this week??

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: 2-for-30 Sale!

Thrifty Thursday has returned! This week we're offering our reversible apron Annie Jane and adorable half apron Daphne. Both have been big sellers for us, and we need to make some room on the website and in our ST closet for the new product en route from the Village!

Our amazing online community is going to be the beneficiary. These pieces retail at $34 and $22, so the 2-for-$30 sale is a savings of $26!!!

Visit www.scarletthreads.org to take advantage of the sale!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Monday Montage: A Baby Quilt Experiment

For a long time our faithful readers and customers have been clamoring for baby quilts. We haven't quite figured out how to produce them in our village and bring them to market for the right price. But, the first step in this experiment is to find out whether we have the demand!

I mentioned in a recent post that we are starting to work with women here "at home" to develop new product ideas. We pay these women for the fruits of their labor in keeping with our values and the proceeds are going to our Scarlet Scraps Adoption Grant Fund. It's our way of wrapping up our entire mission  in the product development effort.

One of the challenges of producing these abroad is that they are bulky to ship. So, we are looking into creating the toppers in our village and then having quilters here at home sandwich the quilt top, batting, and backing, and stipple and bind! Won't it be amazing to have a collaborative effort between women in China and women in America? I think it is going to bring a whole new dimension to Scarlet Threads.

We recently sold a handmade baby changing pad and we are now looking at creating a few more of these items.

Currently we are featuring a new idea - a handmade baby quilt. My own sweet mother quilted this piece with love and we will create more if this sells. The top is 100% cotton and the backing is a white super-soft flannel. The size is 26" x 40".

We are going to set the price at $65.

You can place an order on the website or place an order via paypal by emailing Eileen(at)scarletthreads.org.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sunday Snapshot: That Guy on His Phone...

We found the perfect location for taking modeling pictures of our newest aprons! But... there was this guy, sitting in the gazebo, talking on his cell phone. He didn't seem bothered by our picture-taking, and didn't seem in a hurry to leave. So we just kept taking pictures, but at different angles. The pictures turned out great, but we're still laughing about the guy in the background.

So, what do you think about the apron? It's a must-have, right?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Waiting for Justice

My sweet girl and one of her new Burmese friends.

Sometimes words fail me. The world doesn’t work the way I think it should. Justice doesn’t always seem to prevail. The "right" don’t always seem to win.

Summer has arrived in all her West Texas fury. 108 degree temperatures make the roads sizzle and pop, and the oil pumps drawing liquid gold from the ground shimmer as if they were mirages. And for some, right here in our home town, the incredible wealth pouring from the ground seems just like those mirages… far away, unreachable, not part of reality.

Saturday I walked into the apartment of a Burmese refugee family; a family we met because of our involvement in the community as we develop Scarlet Threads' new Chin Collection. Their little boy, probably my daughter’s age, was tied to his father’s back in a traditional sling. His dad wiped sweat off his brow as he thanked me. “We asked for them to fix our air conditioner two months ago. They never did. But you ask and the very next day they give us a window unit.”

My blood boils, and it isn’t due to the heat baking their living room through the Western-facing windows in the late afternoon sun. Is it because I’m white? Because I speak English? Because I'm American and know my rights?  Because I have a college degree and friends with influence and power? Why would the management listen to me – someone not even paying them rent – when they refuse to respond to their faithful tenants?

My husband comes in from inspecting outside. Like the others we’ve seen, the AC unit is still broken; unrepaired in spite of promises. The new window unit cools one room of their three room apartment; but for the most part, the space is unlivable. There are no windows positioned to catch a cross breeze. There is no relenting from the heat. The little boy leans against his Daddy’s back, weary and calm in the stifling room, sucking on his sippy cup filled with water.

When I tell the manager we won’t back down; that we want to see all the broken air conditioning repaired in all the apartments, the manager responds with threats of her own. Fearing the reprisals for their maintenance requests to be far more severe than living without AC in this brutal Texas summer, the tenants back down and my heart breaks.

This isn’t what justice looks like to me. Justice is having the apartment owner repairing his property, not a group of my friends buying portable AC units to help make-up for the lack of response. Justice is having new locks put on your apartment when you move in, not being refused for 3 months and then fined when you do it yourself. Justice is having a working refrigerator and a stove with 4 working burners, not a kitchen that’s barely functional.

These refugees may be used to not having any rights, but that’s not how things are supposed to remain now that they are in America.

I don’t know how this story will end, but I know that God is their defender and it isn’t over yet.

Isaiah 58:9-12, The Message
If you get rid of unfair practices, quit blaming victims, quit gossiping about other people’s sins, If you are generous with the hungry and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out, Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness, your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight. I will always show you where to go. I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places— firm muscles, strong bones. You’ll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry. You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, rebuild the foundations from out of your past. You’ll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community livable again.
I know this post will likely make some of you as angry as it makes me.  For reasons we can't fully explain here, we can't move forward with pushing the management for response, even though we know it is a legal right for the tenants to have AC.  We have attorneys involved, and we know the law... but stories are never black and white.  So please keep the situation in your prayers, but know that we aren't taking further steps not due to a lack of knowledge or resources, but due to extenuating circumstances.