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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Chicken – its whats for dinner tonight

Taken from ( I love that website)


Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipe

A good chicken rice casserole is typical homemade “mom food”. The kind of food we grew up with, came home from college looking forward to eating as a home-cooked meal, and what we want to serve when memories of family meals are made.

This recipe doesn’t have the usual suspects…creamed canned soups. The time it takes to make the real sauce that serves as the base of this dish is a few minutes longer than popping open a can the premade soups. The difference in taste is definitely noticeable.

Easy to make and wonderfully simple, tasty food is a treasure. Serve this up when you want a nostalgic chicken casserole and a cozy family dinner.

Chicken Rice Casserole


6 Tablespoons butter

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (3 cups)

1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/2 cup all purpose flour

2 cups chicken broth

1 1/2 cups half and half or whole milk

4 cups chopped cooked chicken

3 cups cooked rice

1/2 cup dry bread crumbs

2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 Tablespoon melted butter


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 baking pan.

2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.

3. Stir in the mushrooms and rosemary, cook until softened (about 5 min.). Stir in the flour until well blended.

4. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and the half and half or milk.

5. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook until sauce is thickened and smooth (about 5 min.).

6. Mix in the chicken and the cooked rice, combine well.

7. Pour into prepared pan.

8. Mix together the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and 1 Tbsp. melted butter, stir well. Sprinkle on top of the chicken and rice mixture.

9. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the topping is golden brown.

via Chicken Casserole Recipe.


Could A $5 Catalogue Save America’s Oldest Seed Company? | Head Butler



Could A $5 Catalogue Save America’s Oldest Seed Company?


Published: Sep 7, 2011

Category: Food and Wine

Anybody want to order a gorgeous seed catalogue for $5?

Or, better, invest in a seed company?


This story behind this offer — this extremely urgent offer — begins in 2003.

After 21 years working in venture capital, Barbara Melera was more than ready to move on.  But when she had lunch with a friend who also worked in venture capital, she expected nothing more than a pleasant hour of griping and gossip. Instead, her friend had a life-changing idea.

“I know a company you could buy,” she said, “but if you buy it, we won’t be friends.”


“It’s in terrible shape. And you’ll jump in — and drown.”



Her friend wasn’t exaggerating. The company owned no computers. Shipping labels were created on a Smith-Corona electric typewriter. The accounting department was still using file cards.

But Landreth Seed was a sacred name in American gardening. Founded in 1784, it’s America’s oldest seedhouse. It introduced Americans to the zinnia (1798), the white-fleshed potato (1811) and the tomato (1820). It is revered for its vast range of heirloom seeds. With a new generation of gardeners sprouting up across America, Landreth was positioned to become the gold standard for high quality seeds.


So Melera and her husband Peter, a professor at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, bought Landreth. The years of 7-day, 80-hour weeks began. Business started improving.  But the seed company needed seed capital — and no VC or investor would step up.

In 2005, Melera told her story to Liz King, a wealthy Californian who had learned about Landreth from Melera’s cousin. King was captivated. She loaned the company $75,000. And did it again. And again, until Landreth owed her $250,000, plus interest, due in five years.

The biggest issue: Liz King wanted her money. As Melera tells it, she asked King if she’d be willing to convert the loan to equity — or give Landreth more time to repay it. King declined and turned the matter over to her lawyer.

Those turned out to be plague years. Landreth was battered by a busted economy, equipment failures, website glitches and a perpetual lack of capital. “You name it, there’s been an issue,” Melera says.


From here, it gets murky. Melera was too broke to hire a lawyer, so she handled King’s 2010 demand for repayment herself. Or didn’t handle it — struggling to make payroll, she never approached King’s lawyer with a repayment plan. She says she didn’t receive notice of a court date or the judgment that she had defaulted. And so, she says, she was stunned to learn on August 31 that she had only 30 days to pay the loan plus interest — or lose the business.


It’s not as if Melera has spent the past year cultivating her home garden. She’s actively pursued potential investors or lenders. She’s written letters to foundations. She’s courted the wealthy, cashed-out entrepreneurs, agriculture conglomerates and investment bankers. She raised not a dollar.


Barbara Melera is now reduced to an urgent request for help: “We need to sell 1 million catalogs to get rid of all of our debt, please help the oldest seed company in America!” That appeal has radiated from Landreth’s Facebook page to gardeners across the country; in a matter of days, 2,000 people have paid $5 for Landreth’s new catalogue, a thing of beauty printed in America on quality paper. At this rate, selling a million catalogues in less than a month seems impossibly ambitious.


In fact, Landreth only needs to book a million catalogue orders if it’s intent on paying off, as Melera writes, “all of our debt.” But her most urgent priority is Liz King’s $250,000, plus interest. And to pay that off, Landreth needs to sell “only” 250,000 catalogues by the end of the month — or sell fewer catalogues but have massive seed orders roll in.


Hearing Melera’s story, you understand her wish for another year or two to settle Landreth’s debts. The company was profitable last year on sales of $500,000; it will be more profitable this year on sales of $600,000. And as more Americans decide they don’t want to grow vegetables from genetically modified seeds, sales of Landreth’s authentic heirloom products could grow dramatically.


Reality check: Time, for Landreth, ends on October 1.


If I were Barbara Melera, I’d be sweating blood. To my surprise, she’s both worried and guardedly optimistic. But then, she’s been digging in the soil for 55 of her 61 years. She’s got a very green thumb — her gardens grow. And so, she believes, will this one.




Note: Whatever her troubles as a business owner, Melera is a stellar gardener. I was pleased to note she uses the raised bed gardening method discussed here — and adopted by many of you.

via Could A $5 Catalogue Save America’s Oldest Seed Company? | Head Butler.

Bonnet 6-12 month with Recycled Denim by CelebrationsCrafts on Etsy

I thought I would share my latest creation.  I started making bonnets several months ago when I, being a mother of 2 boys, found out my sister was having a daughter.  A perfect excuse to make something cute!  I sell some of them in my Etsy store, a long with a few other things I have created.

Bonnet 6-12 month with Recycled Denim

Reversible Denim Bonnet made with recycled denim and fully reversible. A cute vibrant floral pattern inside. Completely hand stitched. Light weight denim perfect for fall and winter weather. Size 6-12 months

via Bonnet 612 month with Recycled Denim by CelebrationsCrafts on Etsy.


Apples, my favorite fruit!  Im a bit of an apple snob I guess.  I worked at a farm market for several years in my youth and learned which apples are best for eating and cooking and how to spot the different varieties.  I love Golden Delicious for cooking and eating as well as Empire which is so wonderfully crisp.  And the hard to find Stayman Winesap is my favorite for eating, slightly tart, crisp and juicy.  I planted a Winesap tree in my old orchard and unfortunately for me Dad plowed it over a couple winters ago while plowing a path to my chicken coop in 3 feet of snow. Sigh…..

Any how, I had some Gala apples (good all purpose) and wanted to make a bit more than a tart and a little less than a pie.  I had seen a recipe in a magazine for a tart with a cream cheese layer on the bottom but it was kind of plain so I came up with my own, recipe to follow.

Cream Cheese Apple Tart

3 medium apples such as Cortland, Golden Delicious or Gala peeled, cored and sliced

toss with 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tbsp sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tbsp all purpose flour and a couple shakes of nutmeg

1 sheet ready made pie crust in your pie plate

Mix together 1 package light cream cheese, 1/4 c sugar, large pinch of brown sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1 egg.  Spread on the bottom on the pie crust and spoon apples evenly over top, be sure to drizzle on any liquid the apples may have left.

This will not fill the pie pan but it will rise a little during baking.  Fold in the edges of the crust so they dont hang over.

Bake at 350 for approximately 25 – 30 minutes till crust is brown and cream cheese layer is set.

Adding the cinnamon and brown sugar to the cream cheese makes all the difference!

Diabetes Friendly Red Sangria Recipe

Diabetes Friendly Red Sangria

(from A couple months ago, I posted a great recipe in my Simply Cooking blog for white sangria.  But sometimes you’re in the mood for red!  This recipe is a great way to enjoy yourself on a hot summer’s day, but will keep your blood sugars in normal range.

1 bottle inexpensive, red Spanish wine

1 orange, sliced

1 lemon, sliced

1 peach, pitted and sliced

1/4 cup Cointreau, or orange liquor

2 packets, Stevia, Splenda, or artificial sweetener of your choice

1/2 liter diet 7-Up

Combine all ingredients except for the 7-Up in a pitcher and stir.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.  Right before serving, add the 7-Up.

Servings: 6

Amount per Serving

Calories: 150

Carbohydrates: 12g

Dietary Fiber: 2g

Sugars: 6g

Fat: 0g

Saturated: 0g

Trans: 0g

Sodium: 16mg

Protein: 1g

via Diabetes Friendly Red Sangria Recipe.

{Free Kindle Book} Gooseberry Patch Tailgating Recipe Book | Mama Cheaps

Free Kindle Book

Another free Kindle Book from Amazon: Gooseberry Patch Tailgating Recipe Book.

Don’t forget – you do not need a Kindle to enjoy these books.  Just download a free Kindle reader onto the device of your choice.

via {Free Kindle Book} Gooseberry Patch Tailgating Recipe Book | Mama Cheaps.


copied from

Flood of 9/7/11 in Pennsylvania

Or How to pump out your basement.  The worst flood in history is upon us.  Worse then what most people around here compare floods to, Agnes in June of 1972.  We are high upon a hill but that doesnt mean we are immune, we had 6-8 inches of water in the basement.  Local coverage and some incredible pictures below

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