Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Hot Wing Dip

As promised I am going to share another dip recipe with you today. It's great for the New Year's Eve snack table or to have while watching all of those football games tomorrow. My family has made this recipe for years. It is always well received when we share it, so today I am sharing it with you. The recipe requires some cooked chicken. When making this I often use the Purdue Short Cuts Chicken, but if you plan ahead you can make chicken for dinner the day before you plan to make this recipe and just cook a little extra to save for when you make the dip. I've also placed leftover cooked chicken from dinners in the freezer to have available for when I want to make this recipe.
Hot Wing Dip

2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 8 oz package cream cheese                                                    
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup ranch dressing
1/2 cup Louisiana style hot sauce

In a 3 quart slow cooker combine all ingredients, cover and cook on low for 1 hour or until all of the cheeses melt.

That's it...super simple and really tasty. Serve it with multi grain chips, crackers, celery and other veggies. We usually double the recipe when we are having a party and there is rarely any left over (and someone always asks for the recipe).

Linking with:
Best DIY Projects and Recipe Party at The 36th Avenue

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Chile Cheese Dip

I hope everyone had a great Christmas!  Our holiday was wonderful and we enjoyed spending the day together with lots of family doesn't get any better than that. Now as 2014 is drawing to an end, it's time to think about New Year's Eve. Ever since our children were little, we usually spent the evening with a few friends either at their house or ours, with a true kid friendly celebration. This year we are having the celebration at our home so I've been thinking about the finger foods I want to have readily available.Since there will be teenagers here I know we'll need lots of munchies. My son's girlfriend recently shared a very simple dip recipe that her family has made for years. This recipe was given to her family by one of her sister's friends and has been a hit at her house ever since. It couldn't be easier to prepare and  it appeals to many. What could be better to add to a list of snacks for the New year's Eve gathering than a quick, simple tasty dip recipe that appeals to kids, teenagers and adults? So here you are...

Chile Cheese Dip

1 8 oz package of cream cheese
1 can of chile (we used Hormel Chile with no beans)
1 1/2 cups of grated cheddar cheese (more or less to taste)

Spread the cream cheese into the bottom of a pie dish and then spread the entire can of chile over that. Top with the shredded cheddar cheese. Place in the microwave for  about 2 minutes or until the cheddar is melted and the chile is warmed. Allow it to cool slightly before serving with multi grain chips.

I know....this is so easy that it really doesn't qualify as a recipe. But if you are having a house full of teenagers or hungry guests over for New Year's Eve, it can be the perfect addition to your snack table because it doesn't take a lot of time or effort, and will allow you to spend more time socializing. I have another fun and tasty dip recipe that I am going to share with you tomorrow. 

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans

     The Christmas Box was originally written and self published by the author as a gift for some family members. He wrote the story when he was a young father of two daughters with the hope that one day they would understand the joy they brought to him.  After receiving requests for more copies of the story, Richard Paul Evans submitted his work to a local  publisher but it was promptly rejected. He then self published the story that would eventually climb to the top of the word's bestseller lists, gain national  media attention, and ultimately become part of a trilogy. In the 20th anniversary edition, there is an introduction by the author in which he tells how the book came to be, and the impact it has had on his life as well as others. He also tells of three miracles that he believes came about because of the book.
     This is a short, touching story that can easily be read in one sitting, yet the message it instills will remain with you long after you turn the last page.  The narrator, Richard and his wife Keri, accept a position helping to care for a lonely widow (Mary Parkin) and move into her spacious Victorian home with their daughter Jenna.  Mary becomes concerned with Richard's desire for success and the way he seems to be placing his career as a priority over his family. As the holidays draw near, she asks him to consider what the first Christmas gift was, and becomes angered when she feels Richard does not give the question ample thought or consideration. Eventually, with the help of some letters he finds in an old box in the attic, as well as the insight of a neighbor that has known Mary for almost all of his life, Richard is finally able to understand the lesson Mary is trying to teach him.The first gift of Christmas was love...a parent's love for their child. This is manifested by the Christmas story, when God sent his beloved son to earth to care for all of his children.
     Ultimately Richard realizes that Mary gave him a sacred and precious gift as well...the gift of appreciating and relishing his daughter's fleeting childhood. He finally understands that while Jenna would be his little girl forever in his heart, someday she would be grown and gone, and he would only be left with the memory of her giggles and secrets.
     I urge you to take some time during this beautiful holiday season to grab a cup of hot chocolate and curl up in front of the fireplace for an evening with this book. You may even want to make reading this story an annual Christmas tradition as I do. Though this time of year can be hectic, The Christmas Box can serve as a reminder of what Christmas is truly about and that family should be cherished. I hope you are all enjoying the magic of this holiday season and that you have the joy of experiencing it's wonder through the eyes of a child.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Transforming An Old Rocking Chair

 I know it's been a while since I posted, but we 
have been having some technical difficulties with our computer, so I apologize. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Our holiday was wonderful and we enjoyed spending the day together. We woke up to this beautiful scene in our yard...

It was a really heavy snow and we actually lost power for about 10 minutes while the turkey was in the oven. Luckily, we were part of the lucky group that got our power restored quickly and we were able to continue preparing the Thanksgiving feast without any incident. From the stories we've heard however, others were not so lucky and they were not able to prepare their holiday dinner. I guess we can just add our restored power to our long list of things to be thankful for this year!
Today I want to share a recent project I completed. This is an old rocking chair that we purchased many years ago from the people who owned our home before us. It is a heavy and very sturdy rocker, but as you can see, it was quite scratched and had certainly seen better days...

 It also had a lot of gold paint that I was not fond of...

So, this was the perfect opportunity to try out another color from the Miss Mustard Seed milk paint line. Since I wasn't sure which room we would ultimately use this rocker in (it's had many homes throughout our house over the years), I decided to stick with a neutral color that would work in various settings. Trophy was the winner for this project. It is the deep gray in this milk paint line, and I have been looking for the perfect piece to try it on.
When using milk paint, it is often easy to get concerned after your first coat of paint. This product is not like latex paint, and the coverage is very different from other paints you may have worked with. There is sometimes an "ugly phase" to the project, and I've learned not to panic or get too upset with this phase...

   I just take a deep breath and wait for the first coat of paint to dry. Luckily milk paint dries rather quickly, as I usually can't wait to get the next coat of paint on to prove to myself (and my family) that it really was a good idea to paint another old piece of furniture.
 Patience and a little faith really pay off however...

After the second coat of paint, I finished it with a coat of hemp oil, which really enhanced the color. The waxes in the Miss Mustard Seed line are great to work with, but I have to admit that I really love working with the hemp oil.
I  think it looks like a completely different piece of furniture don't you? This might be one of the  more dramatic "before vs after" projects I've done yet.