Thursday, October 29, 2015

Crock Pot Brunswick Stew

Brunswick stew

Growing up in Virginia, I've had many a Brunswick stew.  From Family reunions to Fairs and Festivals there was always a steaming pot simmering.  Although I've made it for years, I wondered, where did it begin?  I decided to research it's roots.  Yes, Virginia lays claim to it in Brunswick County, but I also discovered that Brunswick, Georgia and Brunswick County, N.C. also take credit for it. What is Brunswick Stew?  It's kind of like a thick soup but it can be as thin or as thick as the chef desires.
So in Virginia the story goes that the recipe started on a hunting trip and used squirrels or rabbits. (I was always told it was rabbits) Where it truly started, well, your guess is as good as mine. 

I do have a delicious and easy recipe for the crockpot.  My ingredients are more store-bought rather than wild since I don’t eat squirrel but it’s delicious nonetheless.  I like to brown the chicken a bit before I toss everything in the crockpot.

If you would like more information about Brunswick stew check out American food roots.

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Crock Pot Brunswick stew


1 tbsp. olive oil
2 lbs. chicken tenders cut into bite sized pieces
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. poultry seasoning
16 oz. frozen succotash
1 ½ tbsp. all purpose flour
2 medium potatoes cut in bite-sized pieces
15 oz. can tomato sauce
15.5 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 small onion chopped


Add some olive oil to a non-stick skillet on medium heat.  Add the chicken, salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning.  Cook for a few minutes till the chicken browns a bit.  Add some butter to the pan till it melts.  Add the flour and cook for 2 more minutes. 
Add the browned chicken, potatoes, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, onions, succotash and Worcestershire sauce to a large slow cooker.  Set it on low for 6-8 hours.
Serve with warm dinner rolls or biscuits.

Brunswick stew

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Recycled DVD ornament tutorial

Did you know that old DVD’s have two layers?  If you separate the layers, one side will be a shiny disc that you may cut easily with a pair of scissors.  The other disc will have the printing on it.   When you fill a plastic ball ornament with the cut up pieces they will shine and flash with the lights on the tree!  So pretty and so quick and easy!  I used three DVD’s to fill the ornament, two of them I only used the shiny discs.  One was a DVD rewriteable so it was just white on one side of the discs which worked well.   Note:   Only DVD’s are layered and this will not work with CD’s.


  • Plastic Christmas ball with wide opening
  • Several old DVD’s
  • Awl or nail
  • Flat head screwdriver (Optional)
  • Scissors
  • Glue for plastic or glass
  • Safety glasses


1.     Cut the DVD to the center.  Carefully stick a nail or awl or flat head screwdriver between the layers and gently pry up.  They will come apart easily once it gets started.

2.     Cut pieces of the DVD with scissors.  It will cut very smoothly and easily.  Cut the shapes any way you like.  If you want to get fancy you can cut little hearts, stars, or just random shapes.  The larger the shapes the less you will need to cut. Take off the top cap of the ornament and add the DVD pieces.

3.     When you have filled the ornament to the amount you desire, add some glue around the rim and attach the top cap.  The pieces of DVD’s will catch the light when you hang it on the tree.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Free printable autumn owl tree coloring page

When my daughter was little we would go out in the fall to collect leaves of all colors. Then we would take them home and press them to try and preserve their beautiful colors. I remember thinking at the time how cool it would be if one tree had all the leaves so we could get back in the house and enjoy the best of autumn's beauty.

This fantasy tree autumn owl coloring page does just that.  There are leaves of all shapes and sizes on this tree.  Watch out for the poison ivy by the roots though, they are one of the first leaves to change colors and are often very beautiful!

Enjoy printing and coloring this free page.  Coloring is no longer just for kids.  Adults enjoy coloring too!  It's fun and relaxing to color and has been proven to relieve stress.  Just click on the photo, download and print on your home printer.  Check back often for more one of kind free printable coloring pages from Make it easy crafts.

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of coloring check out this article, "Coloring isn't just for kids."

Monday, October 12, 2015

Autumn twig broom swag door décor

You know I love to decorate my door for each season.  I change the wreaths and swags often. Fall is such a busy time.  One minute It’s Labor Day, you turn around, and before you know it Halloween is sneaking up on you with Thanksgiving close behind. And look out because here comes Christmas!

It’s so busy in the fall when school is in full swing and there are tons of festivals and events to attend that I like to combine the décor for Halloween and Thanksgiving.  That way it stays up longer!  You can make this quick (and I mean quick) and easy Autumn twig broom swag door décor in just a few minutes with a leaf garland and some fall picks. Add a beautiful burlap bow that you create with the Bowdabra bow maker for the perfect final touch.  Right now the craft stores are offering 50% off on fall garlands and picks so grab a few and get crafting.

Click on the photo to visit Bowdabra blog for all the instructions!  

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Shrimp and smoked sausage gumbo

I admit that I love gumbo.  I’m also a big fan of okra, which is why I grew one pretty tall okra plant in my little garden this year.  So I collected the okra, blanched and froze them just waiting for a cool day when I could make some gumbo.  I like my gumbo a bit on the spicy side and it just hits the spot on a cold and damp day.  This recipe is pretty quick and simple to make and tastes pretty darned awesome!


·      2 tbsp. olive oil
·      2 medium bell peppers
·      1 large sweet onion
·      2 large stalks of celery
·      ½ tsp. salt
·      ¼ tsp. black pepper
·      1 lb. lg. raw shrimp, thawed if frozen
·      14 oz. package smoked sausage
·      32 oz. chicken broth
·      3 bay leaves
·      ¼ tsp. garlic powder
·      ¼ tsp. thyme leaves
·      1 cup cut okra
·      2 14.5 oz. cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
·      Cayenne pepper to taste
·      2 cups white rice cooked according to package directions


Add 2 tbsp. olive oil to a large 4-quart soup pot on medium heat.  Cut the peppers, onion and celery into bite sized pieces and add to the pot. Add the salt and pepper and cook on medium heat for 8-10 minutes. 

Meanwhile peel the shrimp if unpeeled and set aside.  Cut the smoked sausage into bite sized pieces.

Remove the vegetables to a bowl and set aside.  In the same pot add the smoked sausage and cook until browned.  Add the vegetables back in the pot along with the 32 oz. of chicken broth, 2 cans of tomatoes, shrimp, 3 bay leaves, ¼ tsp. garlic powder, ¼ tsp. thyme leaves and 1 cup of cut okra.  Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.  Cover and simmer for about 20-30 minutes until all the vegetables are tender.

Add cayenne pepper to taste.  I usually add 1 tsp. but that is pretty spicy so I suggest you start with less and add more if you desire. Add as much cooked white rice as you like to the top of the soup when serving.

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