Monday, February 22, 2010

Guest Blogger: Designs of Avalon

My Guest Blogger is Athena aka Designs of Avalon.
Tell me what inspires you to create the gorgeous items at Designs of Avalong. All the wonderful things you can do with beads and buttons. I especially take pride in my bead mosaics. I love seeing the picture really come to life as I place each little bead where it needs to go. A lot of my inspiration comes from different time periods. At the moment I am working on the signs of the zodiac, but I've done mosaics that were inspired by ancient Eqypt, and soon I'll be working on some Japanese inspired art.
I'm having a give away on my blog from now until March 1st. Everyone has up to 4 chances to be drawn by random number generator. The prize is one of my 2x3 inch bead mosaics. All you have to do is blog or tweet about my giveaway, then comment on my blog post (  and become a fan on my facebook page.
Do you have a blog? Yes, it's Designs of Avalon and is about an Artist turned Stay at Home Mom and how she juggles it all.
What recipe are you sharing?
Chicken and Dumplings
(2½ to 3 lb) broiler fyrer
2 Quarts water
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 cups all purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
3 TBS shortening
¾ cup buttermilk
Place chicken in a Dutch oven or large kettle; add water and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1½ hours or until tender. Remove chicken; let it cool slightly. Bone chicken, cutting meat into bite-size pieces; set aside. Bring broth to a boil; add pepper.
Combine flour, soda, and ½ teaspoon salt; cut in shortening until mixture resembles course meal. Add buttermilk, stirring with a fork until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface, and knead lightly 4 or 5 times.
For drop dumplings, pat dought to ¼" thickness. Pinch off dough in 1½" pieces, and drop into boiling broth. To make rolled dumplings roll dough to ¼" thickness. Cut dough into 4-x ½" pieces. Drop dough, one piece at a time, into boiling broth, carefully stirring after each addition. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 8 to 10 minutes or to desired thickness, stirring occasionally. Stir in chicken.
Serves 4 to 6
Where can readers find Designs of Avalon?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Glazed Brownie Hearts

1 box Betty Crocker fudge brownie mix
Water, vegetable oil, and eggs called for on brownie mix box
1 container Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy Chocolate frosting

Heat oven to 350°F. line bottom and sides of 13 x 9 pan with foil. Crease foil on bottom only of pan with shortening or cooking spray. Make brownie mix as directed on box, using water, oil and eggs. Bake as directed for 13 x 9 pan. Cool completely 1 hour.

Using foil to lift, remove brownie from pan; remove foil. With deep 2½" heart shaped cookie cutter cut 14 brownies. Place brownie hearts on a cooling rack or waxed paper.

In microwavable bowl, microwave frosting uncovered on High 10 to 30 seconds. Stir; frosting will be thick and spoonable. DO NOT BOIL. Carefully spoon melted frosting over brownies to glaze, allowing excess to drip down sides. Sprinkle with candy sprinkles before frosting sets.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Garden Patch Minestrone Soup

2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 medium carrots, sliced (1 cup)
2 medium stalks celery, sliced (1 cup)
1 small onion, chopped (1/3 cup)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium zucchini cut in half lengthwise then cut crosswise into ¼" pieces
1 tsp dried basil
1 box Hamburger Helper beef pasta
1 can (15 oz) Progresso cannellini or dark red kidney beans, drained,, rinsed
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano, undrained
5 cups hot water

In 5 quart Dutch oven or stockpot, heat oil over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, onion, and garlic, cook about 5 minutes stirring frequently, until vegetables are almost tender.

Stir in zucchini, basil, uncooked pasta and sauce mix from Hamburger Helper box, beans, tomatoes and hot water. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer about 10 minutes or until pasta and vegetables are tender.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Coming Soon: Guests

Hello, I'm TDFIRMOAFM and I'm a recipe collector.

I was asked to share something that someone may not know about me. Something that is often over looked but that I really enjoy doing. It took some time and deep soul searching to come up with an answer. I enjoy many things. But one that many people don't really grasp is that I like to collect recipes.

Many of the recipes I have come from people I met for one reason or another. Those reasons caused the chance meeting to turn into a beautiful friendship, that naturally led to swapping recipes. Other recipes come from odd sources such as magazines I used to read, newsletters from schools and organizations, and get togethers. A home ec class that I took or someone else took. A few come from cookbooks that have been passed on to me by friends and family or found at various tag sales, friends of the library sales, etc.

I have found that a quick way to break the ice and become better friends with others is through the discussion of food. Often I have been at a function where I've been assigned to sit with people I don't know. As my anxiety of the unknown raged, often a discussion would start innocently regarding a food or drink that was or wasn't being offered or the simple remark of "Gee,wish I would have eaten before I came". This would then lead to opinions being shared and the ice of unknown being shattered. I could relax enough to not be as anxious because suddenly there was a common denominator of food amongst us.

Anyways, that is why the odd recipe or many appear through out the pages of my ramblings. Often I am given a recipe that is so interesting that I just have to share it. This has caused the question to be asked of "why do you post recipes to your blog without a comment about how you enjoyed the recipe?" The reason is because I haven't tried the recipe personally. I am either excited to share it with others cause its interesting and may help them come up with something to enjoy or it's because of more personal reasons such as a food allergy or lack of resources to get the ingredients. After all I have a few recipes that the only place that I can get the ingredients for them is to travel over 12 hours one way to a place with the known ethnic venue. Not very advantageous to trying to make those recipes.

So what does the above have to do with the announcement of Guests?

Over the last  two years I have had the privilege to meet many wonderful artisans and small business owners through various online venues.  We have been interacting now to the point that we are sharing not only what's for ___(dinner, lunch, breakfast, holidays). But a few have even shared recipes for x to help out ___ with y.

So my guests that will appear here will  be sharing about their business ventures and a recipe that has special meaning to them. And I think that you will find as I have that while we may all be similar in some things and completely different in others; food is a very real and common bond that we have.

So who will it be? Just wait and see....

Monday, February 1, 2010

Mango Strawberrry Sorbet Torte

1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist white cake mix, water, vegetable oil, egg whites called for on cake mix box
1 pint mango sorbet softened
1 pint strawberry sorbet softened

1½ cup whipping cream
½ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp grated lime peel
2 Tbs lime juice

Lime peel twists
Fresh Strawberries

Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan).
Spray bottom only of 15x10x1" pan with baking spray. Line with waxed paper; spray waxed paper.
In large bowl make cake mix as directed on box, using water oil and egg whites. Pour into pan. Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until toopick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan to cooling rack; remove waxed paper. Cool completely about 1 hour.
Cur cake crosswise into 3 equal sections. On long serving platter. place 1 section rounded side down. Spread mango sorbet evenly over top. Place another cake section onto the sorbet; press down. Spread with strawberry sorbet. Top with remaining cake section; press down. Cover lightly; freeze about 2 hours or until firm.
In large bowl, beat frosting ingredients with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peak form. Frost sides and top of torte. Freeze about 1 hour or until firm. Just before serving garnish top with lime peel and strawberries.
To serve let stand at room temperature 10 minutes. Cut torte in half lengthwise, then cut crosswise 7 times to make a total of 16 slices