Recipe Request Feed

One-Pan Harvest Chicken: Recipe Share!

Harvest chicken 2

Last night Bookworm made us an absolutely delicious (and wonderfully seasonal) supper and I thought I'd share a link to the recipe here!

One Pan Harvest Chicken - a bit of prep work, but quick to cook. Chock full of tasty, late autumn vegetables (plus apples!), smokey bacon and economical chicken thighs ...

Harvest chicken 2

Everybody loved it! Next time we might try using boneless/skinless chicken, because for one thing, they're just easier to eat and for another, they may cook more evenly matched with the veggies. (We ended up taking the vegetables out and broiling the chicken to finish up.)

On tonight's menu ... Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore! It simmered in the crockpot all day yesterday and tonight we'll serve it over linguine. (Along with salad and crusty bread.)

What dishes have you been making this autumn? Any new recipes to share?

Enjoy the rest of your Monday my friends ... see you here again very soon!

My Tea Journal ~ Thanksgiving Week

November tea 13

Happy Monday, my friends, and welcome! I'm so glad you could stop by. Would you care to join me for tea? 

This is one of my favorite weeks all year. Thanksgiving is upon us and folks are bustling about, making their way homeward. Families are reunited, nostalgia abounds, and home cooks are doing what they do best: taking care of their families ... feeding them, body and soul! 

I think it's clear I am someone who likes to look for the simple joys in life. I have always felt this way and try to bring that positivity to my blog as much as I can. We all know life is not always (often, ever?) perfect or easy - but there is always much for which to be grateful. Family and home, good health, good work, good food, good friends. And always, above all, God's love and grace. More than anything, I hope and pray my boys are blessed by all of these things throughout their lives ...

In my weekly teatime journal, I hope to sit down and take a moment to feel grateful for, not just the "biggies" (as mentioned above) but also, the little things that I might easily overlook or take for granted. I would love to have you join me when you are able. :)

(And let me just say right here and now, I am grateful for every one of you dear people who take the time to stop by and read whatever I might have to share. I am humbled to think you spend some of your time here and honored by your encouragement and friendship.)

Now, I'm still sort of piecing together how these teatimes will work ... how I'll make them happen for myself and how I will share them with you all. (I fear this first one is a bit rambly.) So please bear with me as I find my way, but for today, here are some pictures of my teatime and the happy things surrounding me right now ...

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 Thankgiving decorations along the mantel ...

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A few favorite seasonal books ...

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Vases along a sunny windowsill, stuffed with a last bit of autumn. 

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A lovely "vintage book" filled with children's poems and prayers.

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One pretty tablecloth, fairly new ...

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And another, fairly old ... but much loved. This woven cloth belonged to my grandmother and was one of her most often used kitchen linens. It's faded now, but so very soft, and I love the memories it brings to mind ... 

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And I think it looks rather pretty beneath an apple-filled cornucopia. :)

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A lovely season's greeting card. (I like to prop special cards on a small art stand like this. Gets them out of the mail basket and into the open!)

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 A cocktail napkin for Turkey Day, featuring Good Ol' Mister Tom, himself. 


 My Tea Journal for 11/24/14 

In the Natural World ...

The day started out drizzly and gray - wonderful tea-drinking weather! Though strangely warm for this time of year, as well and overcast skies parted as the afternoon waned. There's a rather large flock of robins in the neighborhood that seem out of place (though are quite welcome) in November.

What I'm drinking (and eating!) ... 

My cup (pictured at the top of the page) is an old favorite. Part of a set I grew up with, famliar in my parents' kitchen cabinets. They're mine (and Bill's) now and I think they originally came from Vermont. Which of course, makes them all that more special to me. :) Today I'm drinking Constant Comment Decaf - another old favorite of mine and just right for the holiday season: black tea + orange + spices. Quite fitting for Thanksgiving, too - the blend was first formulated by a home cook here in New England!

To nibble on: a couple of THESE COOKIES which OMgoodness I cannot stop eating. My parents gave me a box last month - well, they gave it to US, but they quickly became MINE - and I am hooked. Hooked, I tell you. For me, they are quite possibly the perfect cookie - buttery and dense with a scant touch of salt. The kind of cookie I truly have no business ordering in bulk.

 What I'm reading ...  

Not a lot right now - too busy! But I did get this from the library after reading an interesting review and I also picked up this today (again from the library). Magazines are piling up - the Christmas issues look amazing.

What I'm working on ... 

Aside from Thanksgiving Day preparations, I am also working on my Advent planner and the kids' Advent calendar. I'm using library pockets, index cards and stickers - and I will post about it very soon!

Words to inspire gratitude ...

 For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson  


And now, I'm very grateful to two dear friends, longtime readers, Michelle and Emma, for sharing their thoughts on teatime ...

From Michelle:

Good Afternoon Dawn! I am sitting here reading your blog with a hot cup of apple cider. So yummy on this wintery day in Indiana and to go along with it 5 inches of snow! It was so beautiful this morning to awake to a winter wonderland. This is our first snowfall for the season and my boys are loving it. I am so excited that you will be starting up your Tuesday teas again. When the boys were younger we would have tea/story time. I would try to coordinate the tea and sweet treat (of course) to go along with the book. One of our favorites was a gingerbread tea with a little dab of sugar. Precious memories! Thanks for letting me share.

 And from Emma:

 Dear Dawn. Thank you for making me even more mindful for all my everyday blessings, you and your blog are so dear to my heart. Tea time in my kitchen: a favorite cup of warm, sweet earl grey, a piece of pumpkin gingerbread cake, the last Autumn greeting to mail out later today, a shopping list  - and in the background a CD with Thanksgiving hymns and one of my very favorite Yankee Candle" Cranberry Chutney", so wonderful. A calm, joy filled moment. Thank you for inviting me, have a lovely afternoon.

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Thank you for the lovely thoughts and kind words, Michelle and Emma!

I would be so happy to hear from more friends about their teatimes this week (or next week or whenever you are able). If you'd like to participate - with words and/or pictures - please send me an email at your earliest convenience ...

>> [email protected] <<

I look forward to hearing from you!

Next Monday we'll begin our Advent Teas, so there will be lots to to talk about and share. Some thoughts on our hopes and ideas for the season ... so please stay tuned! 

But before I go, how about a recipe for the week? If you were all coming for tea I might make this since it is so seasonal and yummy-sounding! (I'm making it for Thanksgiving, so I'll let yo know how it turns out!)

Cranberry Spice Cake



1/2 cup unsalted butter

3/4 cup sugar

3 large eggs

1 cup currants

1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt 

1 cup jellied cranberry sauce 

1 tablespoon orange zest


 Cranberry Cream Cheese Frosting


1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped

 3 tablespoons orange juice

 1/2 cup (4 oz.) cream cheese, softened 

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened

 Pinch of salt 

1 pound confectioner's sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a tube pan or two 8" round pans.


For the Cake


In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after beating each egg in. Stir in the currants and nuts. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda and salt; mix into the sugar mixture. Stir in the cranberry sauce and orange zest.

Pour evenly into the tube pan or divide between the round pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cake begins to pull back from the edges of the pan(s). Remove from the oven and cool completely before frosting.

For the Frosting

In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine the cranberries and orange juice. Microwave for 30 seconds in high, to allow the fruit to soak up the juice. In another medium bowl, mix the cream cheese, butter and salt until no lumps remain. Add the confectioner's sugar and mix well. Add any unabsorbed orange juice, and vanilla and mix until creamy. Use the cranerries for garnish or mix into the frosting as you please.

Yield: 16 servings

(From The Baking Sheet (published by King Arthur Flour) which is SADLY going out of print. I have many years' worth of back issues. Earlybird loves to read them as well.)


Enjoy your Monday evening, my friends ... see you here again very soon!


Wednesday Q & A: Due Dates, Desserts & Diet

Pink-blue butterfly

Good morning, my friends! I thought I'd do a little Q&A catch-up today ...

Now and again I am asked when I'm due, and I can tell you my "official" due date is May 27th (Memorial Day) - and that's (wow) three months from today! I tend to deliver close to my dd - Bookworm was born one day late (the day after the summer solstice), Crackerjack came two days early (two days before the Assumption) and Earlybird arrived a whole week early (just in time for his Papa's birthday!). But we'll have to wait and see what this baby has planned ... ;)

Yesterday, Michelle asked:

Can you share the recipe for the potato and leek soup? I think you have mentioned it before but I couldn't find the recipe. I bought leeks at the store today in hopes of making it Friday.

I'm trying this one, Michelle: Martha Stewart Potato Leek Soup. It sounds earthy and delicious - a perfect supper for the first of March. :)

Why leeks you might wonder, dear readers? Well March 1st is The Feast of St. David, who is the patron of Wales, and leeks are a national symbol (alongside the daffodil). Traditionally they are worn on a lapel, but I prefer the idea of serving them in a meal ...

Are we Welsh? No. But we're Catholic, and I enjoy working simple faith traditions into our everyday family life. Over the years they bring us a familiar, fun comfort - and happy memories, as well. :)

Now, Jen asked:

I wondered if you make a dessert almost every night? I think I would weigh 300 pounds if I ate all the yummy desserts you serve! :-) Which brings me to another question, I have noticed that there are always (or usually!) seem to be delicious sweets in your home? How do you keep your girlish figure, Dawn? Do you squeeze exercise into your already-busy schedule? I would love to hear your thoughts on this!

Ok, lots of points to touch on, Jen!

I do serve dessert at every dinner, but I don't always make it myself - and it's not always something big or special. I usually have simple cookies (vanilla wafers, gingersnaps, oatmeal raisin) or plain ice cream/frozen yogurt on hand. My family really enjoys a little something sweet after a meal and I feel as long as we keep it proportionate and nobody has issues tied to sweets, we're ok. I also try to keep our desserts as natural (homemade) and fruit-based (seasonal) as possible.

Honestly, I'm a big believer of "all things in moderation," so we don't forbid sweets, but we do monitor them. Earlybird is the only one of us who has a weight issue, and that is tied tightly into his autism: eating is an addiction for him - he literally wants to eat all the time. But it's not so much sweets he wants, but rather, carbs and dairy. And actually he rarely eats the family dessert - he's usually pretty happy with a couple of low fat "Fig Newmans" or a few graham crackers after a meal. Currently we're working with him on portion control and making healthier choices ... and this would be a great topic for a future post! I'll start a draft now. :)

But I do enjoy desserts, I'll admit! And I also love to bake. In fact, Bill, looking over my shoulder at this draft just said, "You love to bake stuff but you never eat it!" Which is not entirely true - I do allow myself to have a small sweet a day - but I don't eat it at night after supper, because that gives me heartburn. So I usually save my "sweet" for midday. I don't know if that makes a big difference, but I've heard it said it's wise to limit calories late in the day. And if I'm having a cupcake with lunch I'll only eat half a sandwich instead of a whole. I have to keep my meals small because I tend to have slow digestion - if I eat too much in one sitting my stomach can't deal.

Now, do I exercise?

Well, um ... no. 


I know I should - I really should - and I am always meaning to start! But the truth of it is, I just can't find the time ... or energy ... or motivation. Generally speaking, my weight stays about the same even without "formal" exercise ... but I know exercise is about way more than staying trim - it's about heart health and flexibility, etc. I have this conversation with my doctor at each annual physical!

Ideally, I'd be walking/using the eliptical a few times a week and doing some yoga or stretching every day. It's in the back of my mind that once I've recovered from this baby's birth I will get serious about doing something "formally" physical, a few times a week. I'm sure it won't be as easy to shed baby weight in my 40s as it was in my 20's and 30s!

As for watching my figure, well I try to stay aware of how my clothes are fitting - and if things feel snug I know I need to be a little more careful with my food choices for a week or two. All that said, I could definitely stand to eat healthier - I don't eat nearly as much produce as I should and I tend to shy away from whole grains. Our family food goals this year include eating less processed food, and eating a more varied (seasonal/local) diet - more food for a future post!

But Jen, I too would love to hear opinions on this subject ...

How do we moms fit exercise into an already busy schedule? Better yet - how do we find the energy to do said exercise if and when we have the time?


Well friends, I'll wrap things up here since this post is getting long and my time is getting short. Time to rattle my older boys' cages and get on with my day. I do hope your Wednesday's a good one, and if you have questions or comments, please leave me a note below!

See you here again sometime soon ...


Recipe Request

Potato salad

Maybe it's our Irish roots, but we're big potato fans here. It's the one vegetable every one of us likes! We especially like roasted potatoes, but at this time of year I'd like to cool things down a bit. Potato salad would seem the perfect answer BUT, we have some dietary issues to deal with first ... 

So, I'm looking for a dairy-free, non-mayo based potato salad recipe. If you have one to share, please leave a comment below! 

Thanks in advance for any and all help ... and have a great weekend my friends!