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February 2011
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April 2011

March 2011

The Budding Artist!

Simple Chicken Stir Fry from The Weed Patch

Art is - or at least used to be - a major focal point in our home.  Janene is an artist of immense natural talent, although she hasn't had the opportunity over the last couple of years to pursue her passion.  So it was with no small amount of joy the other day that we piled into the car to take a drive, and ended up at Ben Franklin in Monroe - where we all decided that Ben should pick out some art supplies, as he has been showing a lot of interest in doing some art projects.

Simple Chicken Stir Fry from The Weed Patch Simple Chicken Stir Fry from The Weed Patch

This is a VERY good thing.  Because he has to sit still, if nothing else.  Plus, it's fantastic mom and son time!  

So, we explored the store for a while, and came away with several new art supplies.  We piled back into the car and headed for home, with Ben jabbering a mile a minute about both his new purple balloon and his new art supplies.  He was literally begging us to let him play with them in the car... 

Simple Chicken Stir Fry from The Weed Patch Simple Chicken Stir Fry from The Weed Patch

He knows his colors and his shapes (at not quite four, it's amazing how many trapezoids he sees, followed closely by parallelgrams - this boy KNOWS his shapes!), and he was so excited to be able to paint a rainbow.  Followed by random acts of color.  And some glitter.  And a beautiful masterpiece was born....

Simple Chicken Stir Fry from The Weed Patch

Simple Chicken Stir Fry from The Weed Patch

 

What are some of your favorite activities to do with your kids?  
What kinds of arts are you passionate about?


Potato Corn Chowder

One of our longtime favorite comfort food meals is Potato Corn Chowder.  It's easy, tasty, filling, and perfect for a cold rainy evening!  

Simple Chicken Stir Fry from The Weed Patch

Ingredients

  • 6-8 strips bacon (more or less depending on what sounds good to you)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (we like sweet yellow)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced or run through a garlic press (or, if you're like Chris, use the whole head of garlic)
  • 2-3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut to 1/2" pieces
  • 1 carton good-quality chicken broth (32 oz)
  • 1 bag of frozen petite sweet yellow corn (depending on the size of the batch, you may not use a whole bag)
  • Dried Thyme, to taste (start with 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup cream (you can use light or heavy cream, half and half, or even whole milk if you prefer)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Extra flavor options - a favorite poultry seasoning blend, a tablespoon of butter, freshly grated parmesan cheese, sour cream, etc.

 

Directions:

  • In a large soup pot or dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy.  Drain on paper towels, crumble, and set aside.  Remove most of the fat from the pan.  (You can drain the fat completely and do the next step in a little olive oil, but we like the flavor the little bit of bacon fat adds)
  • With the pot still over medium heat, add the minced garlic.  Saute for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly, taking care not to burn or brown it.  Add onion and stir well.  Cover, and allow to steam for about 5 minutes, or until the potatoes look like they are starting to soften.
  • Raise heat to medium high, and stir in the broth.  Potatoes should be pretty much submerged in the liquid - you can add a little water, if necessary.  Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer (meaning, some small bubbles, but not a hard boil) for about 15 minutes.
  • Stir in the corn (we use about half the package, but add what looks good to you), bacon,and thyme. Simmer for another 10 minutes or so, until the potatoes are soft.  At this point, you may leave the soup on low heat, if you're waiting for someone to get home for dinner, etc.  It does not hurt anything to let this sit in the pot for a while, as it just allows the flavors to deliciously blend.  But if you're starving and ready to eat now, the by all means, move on as soon as the potatoes are soft!
  • Mash up soup with a potato masher, until you acheive a nice chunky, mashy texture.  
  • Stir in the cream or milk - this will thin the soup down a bit more, and add wonderful flavor.  Add as little or as much as you'd like.  The chowder will be relatively thick. If it's TOO thick for you, you can add a little more broth, water, or cream.  If it's too thin, let it simmer uncovered for a few minutes (do not boil once you've added the cream).
  • Season to taste with salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.  At this point, we often find the soup needs just a little something extra.  In the past, we've added a little fresh parmesan cheese, or a nice herb chicken seasoning blend.  I imagine sour cream might be good too, like on a baked potato, though I've never tried it.  The last time, I simply stirred in about a tablespoon of butter, and it was perfect.
  • Toast your toast or muffins, grab a bowl and fill 'er up, and enjoy!

There are several variations on this chowder.  For example, you can cut the butter out, if you like. Use more or less of all the ingredients. Make it more brothy if you prefer that texture.  Play with this recipe until you like it, and then tell us what you did differently! 


Quick and Easy Chicken Stir Fry

Simple Chicken Stir Fry from The Weed Patch

If you've got a few basics on hand, this yummy dish doesn't take much work, and doesn't take all that long to put together! While it's a very basic recipe, that simply leaves room for exploration and experimentation - let us know what you did differently so we can try it!

Ingredients:

  • Boneless / Skinless Chicken Breasts (we were feeding 3 people tonight, so we used 5 "thin sliced" pieces, which are what was on a smokin' sale at Safeway a little bit ago...)
  • Peppers: 1 Red, 1 Yellow, 1 Orange
  • Snow Peas (we just had a good handful on hand)
  • Handful or two of mushrooms (we could have used more, but we used them in an omelet the other day...)
  • 1 Medium Onion (we used a yellow sweet, but whatever you have on hand will work great)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Yoshida's teriyaki sauce, or your sauce of choice.
  • Sticky Rice, or whatever you're going to serve it over.

Simple Chicken Stir Fry from The Weed Patch Simple Chicken Stir Fry from The Weed Patch

Directions:

  • Firstly, cut the onion into strips.  Put it in some butter in a pan and turn the heat on low to medium-low.  The onions take the longest, because we're going to slightly caramelize them.  As they heat, stir them occasionally, so that they don't burn.
  • Cut each pepper into chunks, and put 'em in a bowl for later.
  • Cut the mushrooms into pieces, and put them in a bowl for later.
  • Wash the snow peas and set them aside.
  • Cut the chicken into bit sized chunks.
  • Peel and crush the garlic into a separate pan, in a little pool of melted butter or olive oil.
  • Turn the burner on for the garlic, and let the garlic start to cook. Once it starts to cook, dump the chicken chunks in.  Let the chicken cook over a medium heat.
  • Don't forget to stir the onions.  We'll cook them until they start to caramelize - they'll turn translucent and start to brown.  You don't need them totally caramelized, but you do want them to have a bit of a sweet flavor.
  • Once the chicken is cooking nicely, add some sauce and stir it all up, so that it's all covered.  Turn the heat down to low.
  • Get the rice started, since it takes 20 minutes.
  • Once the onion is done, dump it into the chicken.
  • Put the mushrooms into the now empty onion pan, and cook 'em nicely.  Once they're done, add that to the chicken mix, and stir well.
  • Now repeat with the snow peas - these only take a moment or two, as you don't want the mushy but just cooked a bit.
  • Finally, repeat with the peppers; again, these only take a moment.  You want them to cook, but to still crunch when you bit into them.
  • Mix those into the rest of the dinner, add some more sauce if necessary, and give it a solid stir.
  • Pull the finished rice off the burner, and dish yourself up!

Simple Chicken Stir Fry from The Weed Patch Simple Chicken Stir Fry from The Weed Patch

Do you have a great recipe that you wouldn't mind us sharing?  
Email it to us, and we'll share it! (Please Note: This email address doesn't handle sales questions, just newsletter and blog content!)


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Willow Tree Journals by Demdaco

The Well Dressed Home in Bothell's Country Village Do you collect Willow Tree Angels, Memory Boxes, or Plaques?  Or perhaps you or someone you know is a dedicated journal writer..?  Even if you're not familiar with Willow Tree, these beautiful books are worth looking at.

The books are bound in antique looking faux leather and gold-tone embossing.  They come in a variety of earth tone shades. There is a cameo on the front of each journal that corresponds to one of the Willow Tree figurines or boxes.  "Bluebird" and "Keepsake" are two examples of the meanings these books can convey.

My Garden Nursery

There are two sizes available - 8.75" x 6.25" and 8"x4.5".  The paper is aged-looking, ruled, and recycled.  There is even a keepsake pocket in the inside back cover.

We would love for you to visit us and see these lovely books for yourself!

~Marcia


My Garden Nursery

The Well Dressed Home in Bothell's Country Village Today we had a wonderful little adventure at a nursery we've driven past hundreds of times but never managed to stop in at - "My Garden", on Bothell-Everett Highway up by Mill Creek.  This was perhaps the most amazing nursery visit we've ever had, and we would highly recommend a visit!

Firstly, the place is just beautiful.  They of COURSE have plants - and lots of them - from indoor house plants to trees and everything in between (we got 4 different kinds of strawberry plants!).  They have garden gnomes, home decor, gifts, garden supplies for everything from starting seeds and up.  

My Garden Nursery

And they have a train table, which pretty much sold Ben.
My Garden Nursery

My Garden Nursery My Garden Nursery

So WHY were we so incredibly impressed?  I mean, besides all the fantastic product that should be part of any decent nursery?

My Garden Nursery My Garden Nursery My Garden Nursery

Simple.  Absolutely first rate, blow your socks of, unheard of customer service.  From the moment we walked in the door we were literally taken care of like we were royalty.  Ben was given carrot seed packets to use in his new veggie garden.  Every question we had was answered immediately - and even some we hadn't thought to ask.  We chatted about everything from gardening to trains, and truly made to feel welcome.  We've NEVER felt so incredibly welcome at a business where we were total strangers.

My Garden Nursery My Garden Nursery My Garden Nursery My Garden Nursery

So if you're in the area, definitely take a moment to check them out.  If you're not in the area... http://www.mygardennursery.com/ is a great place to start!  And don't miss 'em on Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/my.garden.nursery!

My Garden Nursery My Garden Nursery My Garden Nursery My Garden Nursery My Garden Nursery My Garden Nursery


A Spring / Easter 2011 Preview...

Hello wonderful friends!  Welcome to MARCH!  Can you even believe it?  This year is going SO incredibly fast it's just insane.  But it's Spring(ish), and Easter is coming down the path... So here's a very brief preview of some of the beautiful new products we have in the store (including some GREAT new ESC, tons of Blossom Bucket for those fans, and SO much more!)  Here we go!

 

Spring and Easter at The Weed Patch

Spring and Easter at The Weed Patch

Spring and Easter at The Weed Patch

Spring and Easter at The Weed Patch

Spring and Easter at The Weed Patch

Spring and Easter at The Weed Patch

Spring and Easter at The Weed Patch

Spring and Easter at The Weed Patch

Spring and Easter at The Weed Patch

Spring and Easter at The Weed Patch

Spring and Easter at The Weed Patch

Spring and Easter at The Weed Patch

What's your favorite holiday and season? Does it feel like Spring yet where you live?