Monday, May 31, 2010

{Recipe} New England Clam Chowder

In honor of Memorial Day weekend, here's the perfect all-American recipe!
I make this hearty cream soup for many of our parties and get togethers. It's my most often requested recipe. So here it is!! My recipe is adapted from the Gooseberry Patch: Welcome Home for the Holidays cookbook.  This makes a lot an I usually double it for a big crowd.

                                                          Ingredients:
Peel and cube 4-6 large potatoes
Chop 4-5 stalks of celery

and one onion(I like Vidalia)

Combine vegetables in a stock pot and pour the liquid from the three cans of minced clams over them. Note: I like using minced clams because I don't like big chewy pieces of clams in my soup.  Add water to just cover the vegetables.

 Bring to a boil and then simmer with the lid partially off of the pot to allow steam to escape. Cook until fork tender.

Meanwhile, melt a stick and a half of butter in another pan, add 3/4 cup of flour to the melted butter and cook, stirring constantly.
Add 1 quart of half and half and whisk it all together.


Keep whisking until it thickens.
If the vegetables are ready(and they should be) combine them with the cream mixture now.  Add in the clams and season with salt, pepper & celery seed.
I add a splash of balsmic vinegar and a few drops of hot sauce as well.

Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.  It's ready, but even better the next day!!   Keep it warm in a crock pot with some oyster crackers and a pepper grinder nearby and you'll have them lining up!

What's your most requested recipe?

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

A little red, white & blue


Hope you're enjoying your holiday weekend!

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Candelabra Solution

Thanks to my brilliant sister, I have the best solution for candelabras!! I bought these candelabras at a thrift store a little while ago.  Read all about it here.

I put them on the piano and didn't really think about them until we had a power outtage and needed some light.  I put some tapers in and my daughter entertained us.  Yep, they are crooked. My sister suggested using ball candles instead. Brilliant!!


I found some white ball candles at Target and tried them out.


                                                                      Do we like?


What do you think?
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Thursday, May 27, 2010

You Capture - Sky

I took these about three weeks ago. I thought the early evening sky was looking so beautiful, I tried to capture some of it.
I love big fluffy white clouds!

The clouds look like snow-capped mountains here.


Want to join in on the photo fun? Click on the link below and go visit Beth.




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Updating our Abode - The Basement Part 2

Need to catch up? Here's where we were on my last post about updating our basement.  We had a nice large walk-out basement that was badly partially finished. The layout wasn't working at all and we weren't taking advantage of the space's full potential. On our wishlist: bigger family/play space, home office, powder room, more storage and a snack center.
                                         The giant dumpster(the ladder was too hard to resist!)
So began the demo...I don't have any demo pics but this is after the demo and as the framing was going up. We removed a half wall next to the staircase to open it up and not feel so tunnel-like as we came downstairs. By "we" I mean our contractor.  Through the doorway here was the future office (what used to be two big storage closets).

This wasn't a typical basement refinish, we had to completely demo and start over. 
(more on that later)
Now we had dry wall!  The columns still needed to be dealt with. This view is from the previous two offices looking into the previous unfinished area (that had French doors?!)
In the far left corner is the new powder room (it had an existing window).
And this is the view from the opposite side of the room (looking from the new powder room back to the old office...the other window)
The new office with the drywall up(and working lights). It was a good thing we completely demo'd because the wiring and phone system were a hot mess-DIY'ing at its worst!
Now the columns were boxed in and you can see the new closet over to the far right next to the French doors.
Here's a close up of the powder room.

Everything all drywalled, taped and joint compounded(?).
The office got it's own new French door.
We also found out that the old double French doors were warped and in bad shape so we had to replace them (surprise!). The molding went up around the columns and the base boards were installed also.
Here's another view, the door to the left of the powder room goes into the new unfinished space-for storage and utilities.  A few of the doors were hung.



We were on the home stretch now!!


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