Slow Cooker Tuscan Chicken Stew

A few weeks ago I came across this recipe from Sweet Peas and Saffron and I had a short face palm moment… Since Lee doesn’t eat red meat, I automatically assumed stews wouldn’t be part of our menu (as I am used to beef stews) I never realized I could just substitute the beef for chicken…

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With the cold weather setting in, we are all about comfort food so I excitedly showed Lee the recipe and she agreed it sounded delicious. Of course Lee isn’t the type of person that follows a recipe, she inevitably will stray from it, adding to it. So here’s her version of the Slow Cooker Tuscan Chicken Stew.

Ingredients:

  • 8 medium-sized potatoes, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 can of diced tomatoes, drained (or 2 fresh tomatoes, diced)
  • 1-3/4 cup of chicken stock
  • 2 gloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. of Mrs. Dash seasoning
  • 2 tsp. of Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. of chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp. of salt
  • 3 boneless chicken breasts
  • 2-1/2 tbsp. of corn starch mixed in 1/4 cup of water

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Directions:

  1. Toss the potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, and tomatoes in the slow cooker.
  2. Add the chicken stock, garlic and spices (Mrs. Dash, Italian seasoning, cilantro and salt).
  3. Lay the chicken breasts on top.
  4. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
  5. About 15 minutes before serving, combine the corn starch with the water and mix until no lumps remain, add to the slow cooker.
  6. Shred the chicken with a fork and mix in before serving.

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Have you ever made a chicken stew before? What other comfort food is a staple in your house?

The First Snowfall

Yesterday morning, I woke up to my alarm, sleepily walked over to the kitchen sink to turn on the light and stopped dead in my tracks as I caught sight of the white blanket of snow covering everything outside. There was already a few inches of perfectly white snow layed across our yard.

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I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning as I excitedly ran back to the bedroom to wake up Lee and show her. The reaction on her face told me she felt the same excitement!

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Unfortunately I had to get ready and leave for work but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the beauty surrounding me.

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The air smelled of winter and snowflakes and everything was so quiet, all the sounds muffled by the freshly fallen snow.

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Fortunately, Lee was off and she sneaked outside to capture a few close-up images of this first snowfall which we are sharing today!

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Did it snow where you are? Do you still get excited for the first snow like we do?

Past Projects | DIY Coffee Filter Wreath

I thought it would be fun, from time to time to share past projects we have made and still use to this day. We have many of those throughout our house and better yet, we can attest to how well they stood the test of time. So here’s the story behind the first project in this series of past projects.

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Last December, a few months before buying our house and starting this ‘ol blog. I was looking to make a Christmas-y project that wasn’t your standard red/green colors and that wouldn’t scream Christmas either, as I didn’t want to have to put it away only a few weeks later. I decided on something more winter-y than Christmas-y in order to achieve that.

While searching Pinterest for the perfect idea, I discovered the popular Coffee Filter Wreath and knew that I just had to make one. I purchased the needed supplies: a wreath form (about 10$ at Micheal’s) and a few packages of coffee filters (100 pack for 1$ at the dollar store). I also pulled out my trusty hot glue gun (and extra glue sticks) as well as a sharpie marker.

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I don’t have detailed pictures of the process as this was done about a year ago, before this little blog was even a thought in our minds, but it’s quite simple:

  1. Drape a coffee filter over a sharpie marker (or any other pen/pencil), add a dab of hot glue to the tip and press onto the wreath form for a few seconds.
  2. Repeat over and over again until the wreath form is entirely covered.
  3. Trim with scissors if needed.

Luckily, I sent Lee pictures of my progress as I went so you can see for yourself what the process looked like:

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I kept the back of my wreath free of coffee filters so it could sit flat against the wall. I added a wide black ribbon which I secured to the back with hot glue (the wreath weights virtually nothing so the hot glue is enough to hold the ribbon securely in place). To help keep the coffee filters around the edge facing forward, I added a piece of cardboard (recycled empty cereal box) cut into a ring shape and secured it with hot glue.

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While the color is as neutral as it gets, the textured feel and look of this wreath is amazing. It makes it look so sophisticated.

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This project took a bit of time to make but was perfect to work on while watching a Christmas movie. I especially love how versatile this project is… I had originally wanted to use it as a winter/Christmas wreath but I liked the look so much that when we moved, I hung it above our bed in an effort to fill at least one of our blank walls and it’s been there ever since.

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Have you made a coffee filter wreath yet? Wold you keep it hung all year round as a decor piece rather than a seasonal decoration?

The Mud Oven | Final Product

I finally had a chance to photograph our finished ceramic pieces from the Mud Oven (you can read more about the process here and here). We picked them up back in early October, mine was tucked away at the back of their studio on the shelving unit along all the other finished pieces waiting for pick-up. Lee’s on the other hand had made it to their front window and was on display for anyone walking by to see, how exciting!

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Both our pieces turned out quite differently from what we imagined, as we knew they would.

Let’s first look back at what Lee’s owl planter looked like when we declared it completed and transferred it in the ready-to-be-glazed-and-fired section of the studio:

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And now what it looks like after being glazed and fired:

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Lee was a little bit disappointed the colors didn’t turn out as opaque and dark as the sample tiles. They suggest putting on 3 coats to get an opaque color with no streaks which is what we did, but I think we put them on too thinly since they also warned us an excessive amount could bubble and crack/peel during the firing. I think this gives personality and character to it, but it’s something we’ll know for next time.

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Lee is happy to finally have a cute place to store all her paintbrushes, now if only we could get the office looking as cute we’d be set, but as they say “it has to get worse before it gets better”.

On my end, last time we left the studio, my yarn bowl looked like this:

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And when we picked it up, it had turned into this:

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I also expected my coloring to be more opaque (though mine makes more sense as to why it is so light since I used a sponge to achieve the gradient of colors). My plan was for the flowery design on the side to blend in with the bottom color and almost disappear (since it is the same color) but as the background color showed up lighter, that didn’t quite happen.

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That being said I like it’s look very very much and I can’t wait to use it to hold my yarn while I crochet.

So you can truly see the difference, here are the before and afters side by side:

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We truly enjoyed our experience at the Mud Oven and plan on going back to make more pieces in the future. Is this an activity you would do? As a date or with friends?

Merrickville, Ontario

A few weekends ago, Lee and I made the hour-long drive from Ottawa to Merrickville, Ontario. Merrickville’s main street (St-Lawrence street) is full of houses/buildings converted into tiny shops most of them filled with vintage, handmade and/or locally made items. You can easily spend half a day to a full day walking down the street going in and out of the different shops, many of which have a second floor.

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We started our visit by looking at the Rideau Canal Merrickville Locks which are right near the free parking lot.

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Although there were no boats on this chilly fall day, I’ve seen the process of passing a boat through the lock-station from beginning to end, including the swing bridge for bigger boats and it is quite something to see as it is mostly all done by hand.

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Next we walked over to the Interpretative center of the Merrickville Ruins which was also closed, but we had fun exploring around enjoying the beauty and stopping for a few pictures.

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On the way back across the swing bridge, going towards the shops, we passed Merrickville United Church with its gorgeous bright blue doors, stone and stained glass windows.

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We spent the rest of the day walking through the shops, one after the other. Admiring the little details that give this town its charm, from the old gas pumps, to the iron horse head on a bright red railing, to the exquisite ceiling details that must have been a good 12-13 feet high, clearly original to the building.

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From the old stone to the flower planters… such a quaint picturesque little street.

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We left with quite a few things, including Christmas gifts for both our moms, wax melts from Wick Witch, delicious fudge and a porcelain market-stand berry box from Country Bumpkins, and Matouk’s hot sauce from Chilly Chiles. Lee was especially happy to find this last store as she can now use real Trinidadian hot sauce on her meals.

Do you have a nearby town you like to visit yearly? Whether it is for shopping, exploring, entertainment, etc. we’d love to hear about them.

November

It’s November! I apologize for being late to post this, but I had completely forgotten about my monthly sketches until last night when Lee reminded me I hadn’t drawn anything for November yet. I posted September‘s and October‘s version, and because November is my birth month, I simply couldn’t skip over it, so here it is today!

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I do get the irony of me forgetting this month’s sketch and then deciding to include a poppy in honor of remembrance day…

We have so much fun stuff we can’t wait to share with you all this month.