Missing in Action

Hello there to all of my ‘pershing road’ readers, that is, if you’re still here after my ‘sabbatical’ from this blog!! I started ‘pershing road’ last fall after hemming and hawing, writing and prepping throughout the summer months. I was so excited and gung-ho to get it up and running, and I was pretty diligent about posting regularly. Then the time came to dive head-on into preparations for Gracie’s after-prom party. Many months later, after lots of blood, sweat and tears (literally!), I am glad that it’s over and so proud of what was accomplished!

What is the After-Prom Party?

I was a co-chair for the decorations committee for my son’s after prom party five years ago, then again for my older daughter’s three years ago, so, of course, I wanted to be a part of it for my youngest’s prom! I am extremely grateful that our school district and amazing local community support this event. It is put on by our PTSA and it is a lock-in party after the formal prom party. We hold it in the high school and we usually have a 95% or more attendance rate from the prom goers and junior class members (even if they don’t attend prom!)

Although I have been involved with decorations, that is just one aspect of the many important factors that make this event possible! It is completely free for the kids to attend and we do a lot of fundraising and rely on donations from so many community members! We actually start planning around October. There are a lot of games and entertainment such as a casino area, musicians, magician, hypnotist, bouncy houses, photo booths and an unbelievable raffle with hundreds of prizes, everything from concert tickets, kayaks, dorm fridges, AirPods, clothing, hiking and camping equipment, you name it! Not to mention the food!!! The food committee gets donations from all different local venues and there is so much good stuff to eat all night long!!

The formal prom ends at 11:00pm and the students rush home to change into comfy sweats or shorts and get to the school as quickly as possible before we close the doors. The party goes from 11:45 pm, when the kids have to arrive and check-in by, until 4:00am.

Why have an After-Prom Party?

We consider it our job to make this after-prom party so awesome that they:

  1. Can’t wait to get there
  2. Don’t feel like they’re ‘in school’
  3. Have so much fun that they tell their friends, who then can’t wait to go in the future!

There are too many horror stories out there about terrible tragedies that occur on prom nights. Our school district and we parents don’t want our students to be faced with any of these challenges! Each year the PTSA chooses a secret theme for the after-prom party. We then decorate around that theme in the hopes of transforming the school into a fun-filled environment that doesn’t look like the same old walls they see day in and day out!

Why is it so much work?

This year we decided to transform different areas of the school into different cities around the world. The students enter the party into one of our gymnasiums. Believe me, it’s a pretty ugly space! We have our work cut out for us!

Welcome to London, England

We built a huge Big Ben towering up into the center. Lots of left-over cardboard came in handy for our double decker bus that we made as the backdrop for the food cafe area. Assorted cafe tables, kindly donated from local families and friends, finished out the eating area. Then we created the outline of the London Eye ferris wheel out of strings of lights on the wall. Old materials from past proms and school musicals came in super handy to build a facade of the London Bridge.

On another wall we decorated around the bleachers to make it look like Kensington Palace, complete with some royal visitors!! These made some fun photo ops for the kids.

At the exit heading out of London we had the Platform 9 3/4 for all of our Harry Potter fans! This was another fun place to take pictures!

Where to next?

When the kids left London they found themselves entering the Central Park area of New York City. There was a fun hot dog cart serving hot dogs from one of our favorite local restaurants!

The walls were decorated with lights to outline the cityscape at night and the Brooklyn bridge. We transformed a staircase into a NYC stoop which then led to a fun newsstand filled with delicious treats!

My teens are as into the show ‘Friends’ as I am. When I think of NYC I think of ‘Friends’ and felt it necessary to make this image of the Central Perk facade on my Cricut machine. We had a Central Perk sitting area as they exited the park and entered the subway.

From here we had a very long hallway to decorate. What else could it be but the NYC subway? We bought and created some artwork of New York scenery, enlisted some talented art students to make some graffiti, and transformed this space into a subway.

Off to Venice, Italy

The last area we had to decorate was where we were serving coffee and desserts. We decided to make it resemble an outdoor cafe in Venice, Italy. We set up many tables and had lights and flags strung above. There was a musician playing and many kids tended to hang here and relax and enjoy all of the amazing desserts from local vendors!

After-prom success

I am mostly highlighting the decorations in this post because that is the committee I was on, however, they are just one part of why the after-prom parties at our school are such a big hit! Each time I have been involved I am blown away by all of the hard work put forth by a multitude of parents, staff and community members!

What about the actual prom?

I haven’t posted about the actual prom yet because those pics will require permission from my girl!!! Hopefully I’ll be able to share those in the near future!!

Do you think an after-prom party is important?

I’d love to hear what you think about our after-prom party! Do schools in your community host one? Do you do other things to help avoid prom-night tragedies? Please leave me comments below!

Amazon Favorites

Happy Friday everyone! Here’s to surviving yet another week! We are full on into February now and the holiday season is well behind us. This is the time that most people are starting to be able to look ahead and think about spring and beyond!! Yippee!

I had a lot of feedback during the holidays when I posted gift buying guides for you all. It made me feel so good that I could actually make your shopping experience a bit easier! I wanted to share some of my faves, all available through Amazon, that I either have given in the past or received and loved. For the most part, they are not exactly romantic ideas for Valentine’s Day, but we all have birthday gifts to buy year round for friends and loved ones, right?

I am providing direct Amazon links with each item, and, full disclosure, if you choose to purchase anything by buying through these links, I MAY receive a small commission, with no additional charge to you! Just putting that out there!

Most of these items are just things I buy regularly and use in my everyday life. They are available from many different stores, but sometimes it’s just really convenient to shop from your couch, ya know? I tried to include things priced more competitively on Amazon than anywhere else. I have made quite a few Amazon purchases lately. It’s just so convenient and most items are on my doorstep in the blink of an eye! Plus, with all the cleaning and organizing I’ve been doing those boxes are coming in handy for packing up my donations!!

Neutrogena Makeup Remover Wipes

Life savers at night and when traveling! I always have these on hand and so do my girls!


Sensodyne Toothpaste

Great for those of us with tooth sensitivity!


Rapidlash Eyelash Serum

This really works and is much cheaper than others on the market!


Feetures Socks

I can’t run in ANY other socks!!!


O’Keefe’s Helping Hands and Lips

The ONLY lip and hand treatments that get me through the winter months!!


Joico Color Balance Shampoo

I highlight my hair and the lighter strands can get brassy looking at times. This shampoo helps to tame the yellowing in blond and grey hair. I use once a week.


Glide Anti Chafe Balm

This magic stick works so well to help avoid skin chafe for athletes and also works well to help avoid blisters when wearing new shoes!


Gimme Brow

This is a fool proof, slightly tinted gel that is so easy to apply to enhance your brows!


Instant Pot Duo Plus

You had to know I was going to include this!!!  If you didn’t get one for Christmas then get one NOW!!  You’ll thank me later!


Instant Pot Accessories

Just ordered these because the sealing rings do take on the scent of spices that you cook with. Now I’ll have options! The glass lid is great for making popcorn and for when you’re keeping a meal warm.


So there you go, ten of my current Amazon faves! Honestly wouldn’t want to live without any of these products! Let me know if you have any questions and if you do purchase or already use any of these, please let me know what you think!!!

Basement Organization Project

Hey everyone! I know I’ve been a little MIA for the last couple of weeks. The end of the holiday season and the start of a new year always tend to catch me a little off guard. I put my all into the fall and early winter, preparing and decorating for the holidays, which I just love to do! I always have tons of energy and get super crafty and festive.

Then comes January, and my ‘get up and go’ seems to have left the building! I feel like a wet noodle and just want to take a nap! Well, we all know that’s never possible, so I usually have to give myself a little pep talk, put on my big girl pants, and charge forward to tackle the new year!

All of the bloggers that I follow started out on January 1st with major intentions, plans and wonderful resolutions. They put out tons of fresh, new, inspiring posts full of positivity and exciting content. Not me, I’ve got nothing… Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been cooking, baking, cleaning and organizing up a storm, but I haven’t taken the time to sit and compile blog posts on all my endeavors.

I’m not usually one for major resolutions for a new year, why set myself up for disappointment, right? My personal plan did involve a more organized, regulated exercise regimen. I ended up getting a nasty stomach bug in December, and between that and the usual holiday chaos, I really didn’t feel that great for a few weeks. My exercise routine went right down the toilet…which led me to my next project!!!

As you may recall, the day before New Year’s Eve my husband woke up to our upstairs toilet leaking down through our first floor and basement. Good times! Once we got the leak to stop and all the water cleaned up, we had weeks of contractors in and out of the house to repair all the damage.

As I mentioned, the water leaked all the way down to our basement. Our basement is not what one would call ‘finished.’ We live in an area with a high water table, and we have had water in our basement on two or three occasions, once being just last week as we had a terrible freezing rain storm on top of many inches of snow and ice buildup. We have the one side of the basement, the side that is the driest, fixed up as a room for the kids to hang out in and have their friends over. It has wall to wall carpeting(that I had cut to fit the room but NOT installed permanently in case of water issues), a large sectional, comfortable chairs and the largest TV that we own. Our kids spend innumerable hours down there and that is where they always gather when their friends are over.

The treadmill is at the other end of the basement, in another decent room that is actually an add-on from when we had our house renovated 15 years ago. The problem is the room in between these two spaces, the room I have to pass through everyday on my way to the treadmill.

I know many people have ‘that room’ in their house. The room where everything gets thrown. The room that collects basically everything in the lives of the people that live in the house. The ‘middle room’ in our basement is the bane of my existence! I am a fairly clean and organized person, and when I have to pass by this disaster area everyday to get my workout in I just cringe!

I swore it was going to be my first project when the kids went back to school in the fall. Didn’t happen. It just got worse and we added even more to it! Then I swore it would be my first project of the new year. BINGO!!! Once the water leak occurred and we had to scramble so much to move stuff around I finally got the inspiration I needed to get my butt in gear!

I’m not going to lie, I forgot to take pictures at the very beginning. These were taken after I had already started to clear stuff out!!! Yeah, gross, right? Remember, it is NOT a finished basement, especially this room! The floor needs to be scraped and painted, the walls, too. It is literally just a storage space.

In the past few weeks I have spent almost all day every day down here trying to make sense of the chaos! I pulled everything out of the room and started from scratch. I bought and put together several new shelving units, and I put them all on casters in case they need to be moved for water issues.

As I started to organize I put everything that I knew was trash into black garbage bags and everything that I wanted to donate into clear garbage bags. That way I knew where each bag of donations was to go. This was a big help when I organized the truck deliveries!!

I have now taken two truck loads of items to our local Habitat for Humanity Restore, two truck loads to our high school boutique, which offers clothing and other personal items for those in need, and two truckloads to the dump! It helps that I’ve been watching Marie Kondo’s Netflix series on cleaning out and organizing! She’s so inspiring!!

Now I walk through this room everyday on my way to the treadmill and I tend to stop and just smile a little. It’s so organized! I know where everything is!!! I used all clear storage bins which, in my opinion, is the only way to go. You don’t need to label them or open them to find things.

I am so happy to have this project behind me and to be able to see the light of day again! Up next is tackling the mudroom closet, cleaning closet, front hall closet and the linen closet. I’m anticipating a few more truckloads leaving the house soon! I’ll keep you posted! I already cleaned out all of my kitchen cabinets and gave away all the extra glasses, coffee mugs and water bottles that we have collected through the years. Those items seem to multiply like crazy!!

How about you guys? Have any of you been hit by the Marie Kondo bug? Any big plans for home projects coming up? If you do have a desire for inspiration to get a project going I really recommend watching this show! Not only will it inspire you, but you will realize there are many people with bigger messes to tackle than you!


Favorite Family Games

We are heading into a long holiday weekend with a huge storm heading our way. Living in the northeast, we are used to storms like this, and for the most part, we go on ‘business as usual.’ With the predictions for this storm there are also a lot of travel warnings and suggestions to stay home if possible, especially Saturday night into Sunday.

Yesterday I went to the grocery store and stocked up on a few staples along with some fun treats for Gracie to enjoy this weekend. The temperatures are supposed to plummet so much Sunday into Monday that her ski race for Monday has been postponed. You KNOW it’s a storm in the northeast if a ski event is affected!!! With this news I assume that most social and sporting events will also be canceled.

Besides all the skiing, sledding, skating, snowshoeing and shoveling that will undoubtedly happen this weekend, many people will also be stuck inside with the dangerous travel conditions and frigid temps. I have already purchased ‘A Star is Born’ which, in my opinion, is THE BEST MOVIE EVER, to watch again this weekend. I’m sure that there will be a lot of TV binge watching and movie marathons going on!

Another thing that our family loves to do is play games! We have a couple of go-to faves, but I decided to share a handful of game ideas with you to bring some joy and laughter and fun-filled family bonding to your weekend.

First off, puzzles. Yes, I can definitely say that our extended family has a bit of a puzzle obsession. We love the challenge, and the more complicated the better. Here’s the thing…we’re a competitive bunch and sometimes it’s a little hard to walk away!!! Deciding where to work on a puzzle is important because you are inevitably going to lose that space for a few days or for however long it takes you to complete! We have spent so many family vacations and holidays together having to stand up and eat somewhere random because the kitchen or dining room table is covered with puzzle pieces! We also have a tendency to work late into the night, as long as we can keep our eyes open enough!

Next up, card games… We have a few favorites that we play over and over again whenever we’re together. I would have to say that our oldest fave is ‘SPOONS.’ Spoons is a fun, easy card game that is great for all ages! My kids started playing it when they were really young, and when Gracie had her ski team to dinner this week the kids (teens) all played a couple rounds before they ate. I think of it as musical chairs in card-game form. We have an actual store-bought version from when my kids were little because it contains giant plastic spoons easier for little hands to grab. You can play it with a regular old deck of cards and metal or plastic spoons right from your kitchen! I will link the store-bought version, but you’ve most likely got everything you need right in your homes! You can easily look up the rules on-line.

SPOONS

‘LCR’ or ‘LEFT CENTER RIGHT’ is a dice game that our family also plays a lot! You need at least three players. If you purchase the game it comes with playing chips, but our family likes to either play with quarters, starburst, or other fun things that make it more interesting!!! You’ll love it and it’s fun for all ages, also!

LEFT CENTER RIGHT

‘KINGS IN THE CORNER’ is another favorite! You play with a regular deck of cards and the rules can easily be found online. It is basically solitaire for a crowd! Very fun! I love to play cards but I am always messing up the rules between all the different games I have been taught throughout my life. ‘Kings’ is so easy to learn and remember!

There are a handful of other family-friendly games that we love. ‘HEADBANDS’ is super fun and great for all ages, ‘PICTIONARY’ is also great for any size crowd. When we play we set up the kids old art easel from when they were little and attach large pieces of paper to it. You can just google words online if you don’t actually own the game!

‘BOGGLE’ is one of my very favorites, but that is because I usually win!!! It is all about connecting letters to see who can make the most words each round. Each player writes down as many words as they can find while trying to beat the clock. Whoever comes up with the most words, that no one else saw, wins! There is also BOGGLE JR for younger kids!

BOGGLE

‘HEADS UP’ and ‘5 SECOND RULE’ are games we learned about from watching one of our favorite shows, ‘ELLEN.’ They are hilarious and spark a lot of competitiveness!!! If you have never played MAD GAB then you don’t know what you’re missing!!! It is played with teams and you race against the clock to sound out a group of words that spell one thing but actually sound like another. Hard to explain, but just go out and get it, you’ll thank me later!!! Just be ready to laugh!!!

‘HEADS UP’
‘5 SECOND RULE’
‘MAD GAB’

The links that I have included in this post are all to Amazon, but most of them are available at Target, Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond and/or Barnes and Noble, in case you want to run out before the storm to grab one!

Let me know if you do and if they add laughter to your weekend! I hope you all stay safe, keep warm and have fun!!

There’s a Storm Coming!

The meteorologists are predicting our first significant storm of the season this coming weekend. The temps are dropping and there’s no doubt that winter is really here!

Since it is looking like we may actually get a decent amount of snow accumulation, there’s a good chance that a lot of us will be staying in for most of the long holiday weekend.

I thought I’d share a few of our favorite winter recipes to make and enjoy with your family while you’re hunkering down and staying cozy! I have some delicious, easy ideas to make in the instant pot to enjoy after a day of skiing or sledding, and some yummy baked goods to keep you fueled for all of that inevitable shoveling!

Last week I made buffalo chicken sliders for dinner for my extended family when we got together to hang out and play games. This was a super easy dinner that I, of course, made in my instant pot!

I bought a pack of four boneless, skinless chicken breasts, a 17 ounce bottle of my store brand’s buffalo wing sauce and a jar of one of our favorite kitchen staples, Saucy Susan. Saucy Susan is a peach apricot glaze-type marinade that we use for many different things.

I placed the chicken into the instant pot, salt and peppered both sides, then dumped half of the bottle of wing sauce and half the jar of Saucy Susan on top. Be sure to spray the pot first with cooking spray!

I put the lid on the instant pot, sealed the steam vent, and set it to pressure cook for 18 minutes. Once the time was up I released the steam, removed the lid and shredded the chicken breast on a cutting board with two forks and put it all back in the sauce and set my pot to ‘keep warm.’

I am so mad that I didn’t take any photos of the end product! They were so delicious! The Saucy Susan just adds a bit of sweetness to the wing sauce and cuts the heat a bit. If you like full-on buffalo wing heat then you certainly don’t have to add it!

I bought mini rolls and made a batch of coleslaw, a big salad, and tater tots for the kids. For the sliders we put the shredded chicken on a roll, sprinkled some shredded cheddar on that then added some coleslaw on top. So yummy! Those of us trying to do less carbs and calories had a salad with the chicken and coleslaw on top. I put out ranch and bleu cheese dressings to serve with both. Delicious!!!

Another easy, yummy dinner I made recently is chicken tacos. I make this recipe a lot in my crockpot, but I made it in the instant pot this time and it’s so fast and easy! All you need is 3-4 boneless chicken breasts, a packet of taco seasoning, a jar of your favorite salsa, a can of black beans (optional), canned or frozen corn (optional) and a small jar of diced green chiles (optional).

I put the chicken, half of a 16 ounce bag of frozen corn, the green chiles and the black beans, after rinsing and draining them, into my instant pot. Then I poured the salsa and the taco seasoning packet into a mixing bowl and stirred to combine. Then I poured the liquid mixture over everything.

Like I said, this is a recipe that I make a lot in my crock pot. I wasn’t sure how to convert it to the instant pot use so I did browse through pinterest to see if I needed to do anything differently. One recipe said to add a half cup of chicken stock to the liquid, so I did follow that advice.

(Side note: the chicken broth was not necessary, too much liquid!!!)

I put the lid on my instant pot, sealed the steam vent and set to pressure cook for, I think, 15 minutes? Once the timer went off, I released the steam , removed the lid, and removed each chicken breast to shred with two forks. It literally falls right apart!

I added the chicken back into the pot and stirred everything to combine. Then I set the pot to ‘keep warm’ and prepped the rest of my taco fixings. Go-to toppings for us are diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, avocado, shredded cheese, sour cream and fresh chopped cilantro, but use whatever your people like!

We like to warm our tortillas on our favorite cast iron griddle pan and melt the cheese first as the base of the taco. Once the cheese is melted and the tortilla is slightly browned, remove and build your taco. Enjoy!!!

So far this fall and winter I have posted a few baking recipes that are sure to keep you warm and cozy over the long, stormy weekend to come. I made a double batch of our favorite banana bread yesterday because I had a bunch of overripe bananas. You may recall me posting this recipe a while back, but if you’d like to make it please click on the link below the picture!

Best Banana Bread

Another long-time favorite in our house is mini pumpkin muffins. I make these a lot!!! The recipe is for pumpkin bread, but my family prefers the mini muffins. They go a LONG way!! I will link the post below containing the recipe.

Mini Pumpkin Muffins

Waking up on a snowy, winter weekend morning is made that much better when the smell of fresh-baked scones is wafting throughout the house! Our faves are buttermilk scones and your family will love you for making them! Recipe below!

Buttermilk Scones

I hope you all stay safe and warm this weekend and that you enjoy time with family and friends. I encourage you to try one or more of these recipes and PLEASE let me know what you think of them!!! I have no doubt you will be pleased!

Happy Weekend!

Twenty-Four Hours in New York City

My three kids and I were able to get away for a quick trip to NYC between Christmas and New Year’s with my sister and her two kids, my parents and my brother and his family. That means we were trying to explore and navigate the city with thirteen people between the ages of 9 and 73.   Not an easy task I tell ya’!

My brother found us a great hotel in the financial district, an area  I had never explored before. The rooms were suites and the kids loved the rooftop deck! We had a nice living area to hang out in together and the views from the roof were amazing!

Nonna and Poppy’s kids. Oldest (22) to youngest (9)

All I can say is…thank goodness for Uber!  We popped around during the day to a few different areas of the city, mostly centered around food places the kids wanted to try! We did some shopping and had lunch in the West Village, once we finally found a place that could accommodate our large group at a moment’s notice!

That night we divided and conquered. The guys went to the Ranger’s game so the girls headed out to the Black Tap in Soho.  Very cool place with yummy cocktails and great appetizers!  The girls got the milkshakes and they did not disappoint!!!

The next day it was pouring rain with crazy winds.  We decided to head to the 9/11 Memorial Museum and the Oculus.  We all met up inside the Oculus and boy, is that place amazing!  It’s an absolutely incredible structure with a ginormous mall beneath it!

We walked across the street and spent some time by the reflecting pools. They are just unbelievably beautiful!  Then we headed inside the museum and explored the various displays and memorials.  It was all a very humbling experience and I’m so glad we visited.

Every time I have visited New York City I wish that we had more time!  There is so much to see and do but we always seem to just go for a short overnight.  However, I truly cherished this experience with ALMOST our entire family.  My husband and my sister’s husband stayed home to work and take care of our dogs.

What is your favorite thing to do in NYC?  I’d love to hear and start my list for our next visit.  I’m bound and determined to stay a minimum of two to three nights next time!

Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings

Happy Monday everyone!  I hope your weekend treated you well and that you were able to relax and recharge your batteries to face a new week!!!  My boys took off on a guys’ ski weekend so my girls and I enjoyed a nice, quiet girls’ weekend with lots of  take-out food and movie time on the couch by the fire!

Last week I shared my new obsession with my Instant Pot on my Instagram and Facebook stories. I did apologize in advance for the inevitable influx of Instant Pot mania!!  I thought I’d share the first recipe I made because it was so easy and a big hit in our house!

Now, I love to cook and I cook A LOT, but there’s something about starting out with an instant pot that is SO intimidating!!  I was so stressed.  I’m here to tell you… don’t be!!!

I spent the entire day last Sunday taking down all of our Christmas decorations and cleaning my house. I usually wait until New Years’ Day to do this, however, we woke up to our upstairs bathroom leaking down two floors with an overflowing toilet!!!  That was wicked fun! NOT!  After we ripped the kids out of bed and the five of us scrambled around trying to contain and clean up the mess, I figured that I would continue on and get everything done.

We have my parents to dinner most Sunday nights, but I hadn’t given dinner much thought that day. I didn’t even get to the grocery store until 5pm and I started preparing dinner late after checking and re checking recipes on Pinterest and seeing how quickly they supposedly cooked, but I was still skeptical.  It just didn’t seem possible that I could feed seven people a home-cooked meal in just half an hour.  Well, let me tell you, it’s TOTALLY possible!  My sister has had her Instant Pot for months and every time she would send me a picture of something she made, with the short amount of time it took to make it, I couldn’t believe it.

A favorite dinner in our house is chicken pot pie.  Well, except for my son…he’s not a fan!  The girls have been asking for it so I decided to look and see if there were any instant pot recipes for it.  I usually make Barefoot Contessa’s recipe, which has homemade biscuits on top.

I found a couple different options on Pinterest and decided to use one and change it up a bit!  The recipe called for a 16 oz. tube of refrigerator biscuits. You can find the recipe here.  My family hates peas (which I love) so I always substitute with corn in a pot pie.  I used about half of a 16 oz. bag of frozen corn.  We also love potatoes and celery in pot pies so I used about a cup and a half of mini golden potatoes cut into quarters and diced up three celery stalks.

Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings

Author: Winona Rogers

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup water

1 tsp olive oil

1 1/2 lbs chicken breast, cubed

1 (16 oz.) tube refrigerated biscuits

1 cup chopped carrots

1 cup frozen peas

2 tsp oregano

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp basil

2 cloves minced garlic

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

Flatten biscuits and cut into strips.  My daughter, Ellie,  did this job and I had her cut each strip in half.  I actually think they could have been cut again, too.  They cooked perfectly like dumplings, but some were larger than I would have liked.

Pour 1 tsp olive oil, chicken and spices into pot.  I did not spray first with cooking spray but I highly recommend doing this to make clean-up easier!  I used more olive oil because I also added the potatoes to sauté at this point.

Turn instant pot to saute, with the lid off, until chicken seems cooked or slightly browned, stirring frequently. Don’t overcook, remember that it still has cooking time to go!  Turn pot off by pressing cancel.

Add chicken broth, water, and veggies to instant pot and mix well. Stir in biscuits. Seal lid of instant pot and close the steam valve.

Set instant pot to manual ( some pots are different, I set mine to pressure cook) and adjust the time to 5 minutes.  It takes about 5-10 minutes for pot to come to temp. and then it will cook for 5 minutes.  Once cooking cycle finishes press cancel and release steam valve.  Stand back, that baby shoots like crazy!!! In the future I will probably set my instant pot on my stovetop so that when I release the steam valve I can turn on my exhaust fan. My cookbook shelf was above where I cooked this meal and I was afraid of warping the pages from all of the steam!!

Voila! That’s it, you’re done.  Open lid and serve your delicious, comfort food that took no time at all to prepare!!!

Isn’t that picture perfect?  Looks like you slaved all day!  Let me know if you try this recipe and share your thoughts!!!  Have a great week!

Buttermilk Scones

Happy Friday everyone and here’s to the weekend!  I hope you’re all adjusting to being back in action after the craziness of the holidays!  With this being the first weekend post-holidays, I’m sure most of you are looking forward to regrouping and getting your act together!  Hopefully some extra rest and time with family or friends is in your plans!

I wanted to share our family’s favorite scone recipe with you all because they are such a yummy, warm and comforting thing to make during the winter months! If any of you have never made scones, or eaten them for that matter, I hope this recipe will change that!  They are easy to make and loved by all of us!

I first fell in love with scones when we moved to Seattle 25 years ago.  Before then I’m not sure if I’d ever heard of a scone.  In Seattle you could get a fresh-baked scone on just about every corner.  One of our favorite little stops was a small take-out espresso shop on Pike street, below my husband’s office building, called Monorail Espresso.  Not only are their espresso drinks top-notch, but their scones are TO.DIE.FOR! My favorites were raspberry and maple!

In 1996 we left Seattle to move back home to upstate New York.  I was VERY pregnant with our son, Sam, and we were driving cross-country.  We couldn’t leave town without coffee and scones from Monorail.  That was our last stop before hitting the road.  Our good friends met us there to say good-bye, and they took our picture holding a  ‘NEW YORK or BUST’ sign they’d made us out of a torn-apart box! We drove across the entire country with this in the window of our Subaru!

Anyway… that was a LONG time ago and through the years I’ve made scones so many times for my family.  We like pumpkin scones, maple scones, lemon-blueberry scones, strawberry-rhubarb scones, you name it, we love ’em! Today I’ll share a basic recipe with you that I make the most and could be adapted to your liking.  I found it on Food Network and it’s from 1997.

Original recipe here:

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/buttermilk-scones-recipe-1969170

 

Buttermilk Scones

Food Network TV

Recipe courtesy of Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger

3 cups flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp. salt

2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

1 cup buttermilk ( I just use regular milk and add a capful of vinegar to the measuring cup for a few minutes before using)

1/2 cup currants (optional)

1 tbsp. heavy cream for brushing

Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl or in your food processor.  Dice cold butter into cubes and add to dry ingredients. Crumb together with fingers, two knives or a pastry blender if you have one. Or pulse 8-10 times in food processor until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add the buttermilk and again, mix gently with knives, fingers or pastry blender until it is just combined.  If using food processor pulse until just combined but not over mixed.

Dump dough onto floured countertop.  The original recipe makes 16 smaller scones, so if that’s what you’d like divide the dough into two at this point.  I just make 8 bigger scones so I keep it as one. Gently combine into a ball then flour and roll out into a circle, not too thin!  Using a knife or pizza cutter cut disc into 8.  I also make them a lot just shaping the dough by hand without a rolling pin.  You could also use a biscuit cutter or cookie cutters if you’d rather have round or shaped scones!

Place two inches apart onto greased or parchment lined cookie sheets. If you want to you can brush the tops with heavy cream (or half and half or egg wash, whatever you have in your fridge). I usually sprinkle white or brown sugar on also.  Half of us like plain scones and the others like chocolate chips so I wait and sprinkle these on last.  If you want you can add the currants, or raisins or chocolate chips (or berries) right into the dough at the end before rolling out.

Oops!!!

 

 

Don’t be intimidated by all of the pictures!  I just wanted you to see each step as I go along!  Honestly, you should make these for your family this weekend, they will love you for it!  It’s just such a cozy way to start a winter weekend morning!

To make your morning easier you can make the dough the night before and wrap the disc in plastic and refrigerate.  Just roll out in the morning and bake.

Let me know if you make these and if your people become scone lovers!!!  Thanks so much for visiting the blog and HAPPY WEEKEND!!!

We still have the sign!

 

 

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope the flip of your calendars into this new year finds you all well and in anticipation of great things to come!  I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted!  Why is it that I am 48 years old and still manage to forget that every year the holidays wipe me out???

I look forward to it all year long and then, BAM!!!  I give it my all, and truly enjoy every minute of it, but then I need a serious nap!  This year I came down with a nasty stomach bug between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Fortunately I was pretty ahead of my game in the holiday prep department.

One of the big things that I neglected was working out.  My workouts are not only important to me for staying in shape, but it is the key to my sanity!  I swear that I solve all the world’s problems (in my head at least!) while running, doing crunches or lifting weights! I’m pretty sure I only worked out twice in December, even though my Apple Watch is saying I worked out seven times.  I’m going to go with that, sounds better!  My watch makes me feel like superwoman when I DO workout, but on days that I don’t it makes me want to throw it against the wall when it reminds me that I’m ‘behind where I usually am!!’ Anyone else relate? In fact, as I’m sitting here writing this post, it’s telling me to get up and walk around.  I’m going running, I swear!!

My goal for January is going to be closing 25 or more activity rings!!  Wish me luck, I’ll need it!  As it so happens, I’m writing this blog post and putting off the treadmill, but I AM eating an apple and getting a jumpstart on my water intake for the day!  I’m so good about drinking tons of water in the warmer months but terrible about it in the winter!!!  I’ve got my big water bottle back out on the counter today and my goal is to drink at least four of them a day. Yesterday was my first day back to working out in a long time and it felt so great!!!

SWEAT = SANITY!!!

 

My to-do lists are miles long right now, as they usually are this time of year!  I have taken down all of the holiday decor and scoured the house as I took down each area.  I’m always reluctant to put away all of my beautiful decorations, but I just love the clean simplicity of getting back to basics!

 

 

 

After my workout today my plan is to take down all the wreaths on my windows and clean each window as I go, they are disgusting!!  The thought of it makes me giddy, every time the sun comes out I cringe!

My mind is spinning with ideas for new blog posts.  There is so much to look forward to and I can’t wait to get started!  I can’t wait to share tons of recipes and kitchen adventures.  I finally joined the Instant Pot club.  My sister has been hooked for months and she told my husband to buy me one for Christmas.  Made my first meal last night and I’m hooked now, too!

Chicken and dumplings

 

Next on the instant pot list is chicken tortilla soup.  I’ll let you know how that goes!

So sorry for the totally random, rambling post!  Just trying to get back in the game and get this new year rolling!  I’d love for you to share with me some of the things you are looking forward to this year.  A new workout?  A great trip? Recipes? Projects?  Scroll down and let me know!

Happy New Year!  The possibilities are endless, make it happen…

 

Cranberry Citrus Simple Syrup

Happy Friday Everyone!  Today I thought I’d share a ‘simple’ recipe with you all that will help make your holidays a little more festive!  It’s the start of the weekend for most, and, if you’re a teacher, the start of vacation!  If you are parents, it’s the start of a couple of weeks at home with your kiddos!!

Soooo, on that note, I’d like to share a recipe for a festive, holiday simple syrup to enhance your cocktail experience! I made it last week and it’s easy, delicious and adds just that special touch!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups sugar

2 cups water

1 12oz. bag of fresh cranberries

2 clementines

1 lime

1 sprig fresh rosemary

In medium saucepan add sugar, water and cranberries. Zest the lime and both clementines into the mixture. Add the juice of the three fruits into the pan. Toss in the fresh rosemary and bring to boil over medium high heat.  As soon as it starts to boil and cranberries begin to pop, turn to low.  Let simmer while stirring often until it becomes a bright red color.  I left mine for probably a good ten or 15 minutes.

 

 

 

 

Strain the mixture and when completely cooled pour into a sealed container and refrigerate.  You can add to vodka, prosecco, champagne or whatever your cocktail of choice may be!  Kid friendly if added to seltzer for a festive kiddie cocktail!  I can see it making its way into a Moscow mule at some point also!!!

 

 

 

Go ahead and mix some up!  It’s easy and adds that extra special holiday touch! Let me know if you try it! Cheers!