Cooking: Green Chilie Chicken Soup

Every year, a local grocery store, Central Market, has an event called Hatch Fest and it lasts for about two weeks. I look VERY forward to it each year. Hatch chilies are one of my most favorite foods. I do not enjoy desserts made with hatch chilies, but will eat just about anything else. If you can dream it up, they probably sell it at CM during Hatch Week.

That being said, in their cafe (love it!), they serve dishes that feature hatch Chiles too. I've been a few times this fest, and so far my all time favorite dish has been their Chile Chicken Soup. It's creamy, light, is loaded with pieces of chilies, and has nice bite size pieces of chicken. Of course, Central Market does not sell or distribute this recipe (even after I offered an insane amount of money for it to both the deli and cafe managers - it was THAT good). So, I set out to try and create it myself.

I am happy to report, that my version was VERY close to the one I was served at CM, and good enough for me to not even think about making any additional changes to satisfy my taste buds. It is a simple recipe, that really only took about 10 minutes to get going and 30 minutes to simmer. Here you go - enjoy!


1/2 C Butter or Margarine (Smart Balance is what I used)
3/4 C All-Purpose Flour (I was out of regular so I used wheat - the color was just a bit off)
2 C Milk (I used one large can of evaporated, and then added regular to make up the difference)
4 C Chicken Broth (that's one box, if you're using store bought)
2 C Cooked, boneless and skinless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
3/4 C Chopped Green Chile Peppers (if you roasted or froze your own into ice cubes, use at least 8 of them)
1/2 C Potato Flakes or Buds
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste


In a large pot melt butter or margarine. Add flour and stir the resulting paste over medium heat. Add the milk and chicken broth and whip to eliminate any lumps. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Add the chicken. Add the chopped green chiles, potato flakes, salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste. Stir well and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes and serve.

Soldering Classes - September 25th!

Due to popular request, I've added 2 soldering classes to my teaching calendar! 

Class Title: Basic Soldering 
Class Date & Time: Saturday, September 25th. 10:30am - 1:30pm
Class Pre-Requisite: None
Class Fee: $50
Class Description: This class will be a basic basic introductory class where you’ll learn the very basics of soldering (tools, supplies, and basic jewelry charm soldering) and get to try your hand at creating at least two charms.  All supplies for this class are provided – including art for your charms. 

Class Title: Intermediate Soldering
Class Date & Time: Saturday, September 25th - 2:00pm - 5:00pm
Class Pre-Requisite: Attendance in my basic soldering class
Class Fee: $50
Class Description: This class will expand upon the skills you learned in Basic Soldering. We'll continue adding upon your skill base by discussing and I will demonstrate creating bubble charms, working with bevels, shadow box charms, soldering non-glass items, and decorative soldering. Then, we'll work together to create a variety of charms to add to your collection. The supplies and tools are provided for this class also; however if you own tools, it would be helpful if you brought them with you.

Both soldering classes will be held at my local scrapbook store, Scrappers Boutique. 

If you are interested in attending this class, registering is easy! Simply click on the link below or contact Scrappers Boutique to register. Seats are only reserved once payment is received.
Basic Soldering Class
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Intermediate Soldering Class
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What's Cookin' Good Lookin? 8/8/10 - 8/31 Edition

It's no secret, I posted it all over the internet-osphere. I made the rest of our family's menu plan for the rest of the month. That's right! The REST of the MONTH! I had an idea that I thought would likely work, and I even put it into action (shocking - I know!).

So, I made the menu, and then did all of the grocery shopping. NUTS, I KNOW! But, today's the 17th - and it has WORKED so far! No joke. Amazing for us!

So many of you have asked what I did, and how I did it.

The Plan (aka So, here's what I did)...

We have a big honkin' calendar I kep on the fridge. Usually it keeps track of Steve's rotating days off, special events, my (rare) days off, doctors appointments and other such nuances. It also, when I have it created, keeps our menu plan. Having it on a calendar makes it easy for everyone to know what I have planned (even our friends and family who just happen to show up for dinner on their favorite dinner days).

I sat down with this years calendar and the last two years worth of calendars (me, a hoarder? never.... It's a memory keeper!!), and wrote down all of the different meals I had made over the years.

Then I sat down with this month's calendar, and started plugging in meals keeping our schedules (days off, Boy Scouts, birthday's holidays, weekends, etc) in mind.

Once I had all the meals plugged in. I started my grocery list. I created a form some years back that helps me plan both my menu and my grocery shopping for two weeks. You can download a copy of it for yourself (it's in MS Word here and in pdf here). Basically, as I review the menu, I write down all of the ingredients I need to make everything - regardless of whether I think it's in my pantry or not. Don't forget about staples like spices!

Then, I make a visit to my pantry to see what I need for the menu, and what I am in need of by way of restocking. I draw a line through what I don't need, and then I add on whatever else I do need.

Normally, I would do all of our grocery shopping at that point, going from the list.

However, since my goal was to do all of our shopping for an entire month, I had to make some adjustments. Instead, I bought anything that wasn't perishable; so canned, frozen (including meats that could be frozen), and the dairy that would last and still be good for the amount of time I needed to store it for (normally cheeses, sour cream, cream cheese, yogurts, butter, etc).

Each week, I stop by my local farmer's market and pick up the produce and any other small items we need (bread, dairy, and sometimes meats) for that week.

Here's how it's working so far... (just under two weeks in):

GREAT!!! Seriously! GREAT! We may not have followed the menu exactly every day, but our main goal was to not go out to eat - and we have NOT gone out to eat! My second goal, was to curb my shopping by eliminating extra superstore visits (you know you can't leave Target without at least one thing that wasn't on your list!) - and I have done very well there! There have been a few days where we had leftovers (easy days for me) so those meals were either worked out so that the ingredients didn't go to waste - or if the ingredients were not perishable, they went into the rollover/pantry storage.

I think another part that has really helped our plan to work so far, is that I planned meals that Steve would either know how to cook, or could easily find out. So, if he wakes up (he works nights, remember) and is raring to go before I get home from work with Fred, he can get things started. Knowing what we're having in advance also helps because the guesswork is taken out of the equasion. I also planned EASY dinners (box chicken, freezer pasta, grilled cheese sandwiches) so that if I have a hard day at work, am exhausted, or have other things yet to accomplish that day, i'm not spending what I have left of my energey in the kitchen. So far, so GREAT!!

Here's what I have planned out for the month of July. (I'm including the days I already posted).

Did you know it’s National Women’s Self Appreciation Day?

I didn’t either! But Katy, over at no big dill, has declared it so (and is even going to recommend it to President Obama - a brilliant move if I do say say so myself!). Women, in general, have such a bad habit of loving everyone except themselves. I just LOVE it!

National Women’s Self Appreciation Day it IS!

So today, lets celebrate us.

Really - I mean it. Let’s DO this!

What do you love about yourself? What do you do especially well? What is your favorite quality about you?

Please share the answers about yourself either on your blog or on Twitter, or on Facebook! I really WOULD love to read about what you celebrate about yourself! (I’ll even send someone a bracelet, inspired by the skills I learned at A Gilded Nest with the Gilded Life girls! Just leave a comment with a link to where you shared your information! I’ll pick a winner this coming weekend)


01 Though my home is often a disaster area worthy of FEMA support, I am a detail oriented, and organized person. I can organize like no-body's business. I can keep lists, manage tasks, handle events and staff and keep everyone around me organized. I can set up, organize, and facilitate an online community with style. My pantry is amazingly organized. (However, the rest of my home is SO not!)

02 I bake a mean batch of chocolate chip cookies. I really mean that! My coworkers are often remarking about them, and my family delights in them. I may not eat many of them, but I love that others love them!

03 I love to sing - Not professionally mind you, but I loooove to just belt out a tune. I love that I’m not afraid to just belt it out in public (and between us - Fred does too! He’ll sway and get his boogie-woogies on with me, no matter where we are!). I’m not a bad singer, but I’m definitely no professional either.

04 I love my smile. I love that it can make others smile. (No I don't love my teeth) I do love making others smile.

05 I love that I am straight up blunt about most things. I know that it can be hard to take for a lot of people. The good thing is that no one ever wonders where they stand with me. It's the German part of me popping out - I'll just tell it like it is. I honestly wish more people were the same way.

In the interest of complete disclosure, I must admit (and quite sadly too) that it took me almost an hour to think of things that I love about myself. I know that there’s plenty of good in me, and that I do plenty of good things. If find it sad though, that I can’t easily think of things that I love about myself - it is so much easier to be derogatory.

P.S. You should really check out Katy’s blog. I knew her when she lived out this way, and she is one creative woman. I have really enjoyed catching up with her beautiful daughters and husband and reading about her creative pursuits!

What's Cookin' Good Lookin? - 8/1/10 Edition

Several of my Gilded Girl friends asked about my lack of sharing our family menu’s. Really, it was always more of a thing for me. I can pop in here and see what I had planned or look back to see what we did and repeat it. It’s awfully handy for me too.
So, since there were so many questions about it, I’ll try to post them again for you guys.

Sunday - 8/1 - Gilded Black Beans (YUM!), White Rice, Foccacia Bread (DELISH!)
Monday - 8/2 - Freezer Pasta
Tuesday - 8/3 - Taco Salad with Ground Turkey
Wednesday - 8/4 - Pasta Salad with Grilled Chicken and Fresh Vegetable
Thursday - 8/5 - Box Chicken (My friend Cara’s recipe!)
Friday - 8/6 - Personal Pizza’s
Saturday - Whatever.someone.else.cooks (my favorite meal of the weekl!)

Cooking: Brazilian Feijoada (aka Gilded Black Beans)

Over the weekend, I had the wonderful opportunity to surround myself with some of the most amazing and creative women I have the pleasure of knowing. We were guests of Shea Fragoso and Debbie Murray of A Gilded Life and the event was A Gilded Nest.

I'll write more about the details later, but wanted to share the following recipe with you. Saturday night, we had the most amazing dinner catered by Texas de Brazil. The beans were out of this world. I'm talking YUMMY! I could have eaten just them alone (oh how I would have missed out on the other delicious fare). I knew that Steve would be in hog heaven with them. So, I began searching for a recipe or at least a few of the ingredients so that I could figure it out on my own. As luck would have it, I found a recipe that is DANG close.

Here's the recipe. I made it for dinner tonight, and Steve was as happy as a pig in mud. We'll be eating it for the next few nights for sure! It makes plenty so have a party when you eat it!You'll be glad you did!


4 cans of black beans
1/2 lb of beef cut in 1x1" cubes
6 oz of smoked bacon cut in cubes
1/2 lb of chorizo
2 Tbs vegetable oil
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs minced garlic
1 small onion diced
1 small malagueta pepper (optional) or any other small chilli
water and salt to taste


In a heavy bottom pot over medium heat bring together the oil, meat, bacon and sausage sauté until the meat is brown. Add the garlic, malagueta, bay leave and onion, stir for 2 minutes. Add the black beans and enough water to cover the beans plus 2 inches. Simmer the feijoada for about 1 hour until the beans are soft and sauce is thick. Add salt and more water if sauce is too thick. Serve over white rice.

(I like to just load it all in a crockpot and let it cook during the day. Easy, Peasy!)