Saturday, March 28, 2015

Comfort food on a cold day: a good chowder...

The weather has taken a sudden cold turn where I live ~ spring has retreated and it feels more like winter outside. Since it’s so chilly and will remain so for a couple of days (it’s going to dip down into the 20s tonight), I thought I would make something warm and hearty for dinner.
About a month ago, one of my favorite blogs ~ Wives with Knives ~ published a recipe for Shrimp Chicken Corn and Bacon Chowder. I tried it out then and it was absolutely scrumptious. I thought I would make it again tonight. The recipe is below; I hope you’ll give it a try. You’ll find my notes for the recipe in parentheses. And do stop by Wives with Knives for a nice and easy printable version of this recipe ~ click here for that.

Shrimp Chicken Corn and Bacon Chowder

4 slices of thick-cut bacon, diced
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup onion, chopped (I used 1/2 of a large yellow onion, which was a bit more.)
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1/2 to 1 whole jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped (I substituted 1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes.)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups 2% milk
1-1/2 cups chopped roasted skinless chicken breast (I used 2 chicken breasts.)
1/2 cup cooked shrimp, cut into small pieces (I used a 12 oz. bag of salad-sized shrimp, which is a bit more.)
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste (I skipped this.)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
1 15-ounce can creamed corn
2 bay leaves
1 chicken bouillon cube dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water
1 medium size russet potato, peeled, diced and cooked in boiling water until tender, about 5 minutes (I used two potatoes.)

You’ll notice that I added a bit more of some ingredients to the chowder. It didn’t change anything with the cooking process; it just meant the chowder was a bit fuller. Mostly I did it for my own convenience and taste.

Cook bacon in a medium pot until just crisp. Remove from pot and drain on a paper towel. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease from the pot. (I pretty much left it all since it wasn’t much more; if you need to, add a bit more flour.) Add butter. Saute onion, celery and jalapeño pepper until tender, stirring frequently. Add flour. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until thick. Remove bay leaves. Serve with a garnish of chopped bacon and parsley, if desired.

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The classic beauty of red roses...

Ah, red roses. Gorgeous, abundant, deep-red roses. Is there a more classic, glamorous beauty in the world of flowers? While I generally tend to buy yellow or pink roses for myself, I must admit there is an unmistakable beauty to long-stem red roses the other colors lack.
My husband brought me this gorgeous bouquet for our wedding anniversary and I was struck by just how beautifully lush these red roses are ~ beauty personified. So much so I may have to add a few bunches of red roses to my normal flower buying.
What is your favorite color for roses?

Wishing all of you a lovely day...

I am linking to:
Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life
Thursday Favorite Things at Katherines Corner
A Return to Loveliness at A Delightsome Life

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Friday, March 20, 2015

Happy Spring...

Spring is here! Finally! Although, honestly, you wouldn’t know it by the weather we are having here lately. It’s been cold and rainy, mostly, with a few gorgeous days sprinkled in. Then again, maybe that is the beginning of spring in a nutshell.
The plants and bulbs in my yard have definitely noticed it’s spring. The bulbs are all coming up (like this crocus), the rose and hydrangea bushes have started to come to life and the grass is starting to green nicely. I’ll take some photos over the next week or so and share them, along with plans for my new shade garden and a porch update.
Wishing all of you a lovely first day of spring...

Photo by The Art of Living Beautifully

Sunday, March 8, 2015

First signs of spring...

In the first glimpse of spring, some of my bulbs are starting to poke through the ground. A few of the daffodils are out and in bloom; the ones I planted in the past year are just starting to sprout. It’s lovely to see a bit of color pop up in the yard again. I can’t wait for spring to arrive in earnest so we can get back to our garden plans.
This afternoon I’ll be pouring over garden magazines and books, looking for inspiration and guidance in what to plant along our new white picket fence in the front yard. The side of the fence has been planted with rose bushes ~ gorgeous colors and varieties that actually smell like roses. But the front offers a space for two gardens between the sidewalk and the fence and I am debating on what to plant there. I would like a cottage garden feel ~ hearty perennials to go with the shrubs I planted in the fall. If you have any suggestions, I’m all ears. The only things I know for sure I want are hydrangeas and climbing roses. If you would like to see the space I’m talking about, click here.
Wishing all of you a lovely day...

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully