Monthly Archives: January 2016

Let’s Play! Creativity, food and football – GO PATS!!!

After an unseasonably warm December and beginning of January, winter finally has arrived. With Rhode Island bracing for its first measurable snow storm, we share our warm artichoke dip with homemade bagel bites (perfect for the Patriots game on Sunday), offer thoughts on restocking art and craft supplies, playing creatively, a patio update and, of course, the bears!

WARM ARTICHOKE DIP

Here is one of our favorite recipes. Great for halftime! GO PATS!!!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 and 1/2 cups light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (freshly grated is best, but the green can works)
  • one 14 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic herb mix
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

To prepare:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine all the ingredients, reserving 1 teaspoon parmesan cheese.
  • Sprinkle mixture with reserved parmesan.
  • Bake for 45 minutes until golden brown.
  • Serve with chips, including those shown below.

Bagel bites

Slice 2 whole marble rye bagels into quarter-inch rounds. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes, flipping halfway through. These crispy dippers are great paired with the artichoke dip. (They also make great croutons for your favorite salad!)

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We also enjoy the artichoke dip with our easy, healthy pita chips. Here is the link :

https://funclesarts.com/2015/01/18/game-time/

 RESTOCK AND PLAY

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Winter is one of our favorite seasons for crafting, but most of our craft materials were used prepping for the holidays. January is a great month to take inventory and re-stock your supplies. Good timing, because craft stores are offering deep discounts. Take a look at your supplies and, if you need to, restock! Don’t forget to use craft stores coupons, easily found online.

 When you do restock, why not play?

Just playing with craft materials can be inspiring. One of the goals we have for this blog is to create new things, and sometimes the best ideas come during play, when one idea leads to another. The “Create Peace” collage and the “Let’s Grow!” patio sign from last week’s blog evolved from this technique – covering your work space with a variety of materials and playing creatively.

In the photo above, Roy tried out our new Sharpies and crayons on a big sheet of newsprint. It was just for fun, sort of like the new adult coloring book trend. We probably won’t use the paper for anything (although Kevin thinks it would be cool gift wrap) but either way, that’s ok. Have fun – you just might create something!!!

Take some pictures

Speaking of playing, we continue to play with and learn about our new(ish) camera.

Still looking for Tippi Hendren from Hitchcock’s, “The Birds”!

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PATIO UPDATE

We got some snow earlier this week. The Flamingo looks cooold!!!

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PLAY AND PLANTING

We received an Amaryllis bulb as a Christmas gift and planted it this week. Turns out we didn’t need our potting soil. Who knew the small brown disc in the picture on the left would become three cups of the nutrient-rich soil pictured on the right!

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Amaryllis updates to come. Looking forward to some beautiful blooms to brighten our indoor winter garden! Thanks, Chris and Bernard!

New door

After some false starts, we are pleased that our new sliding glass door is installed. We’re looking forward to spring and summer, when the screen door will allow us to enjoy our patio garden even more!

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FOOD ART (Roy played with photo editing on this one – background is actually a gray cabinet!)

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THE BEARS

The bears are enjoying browsing through our recent library finds. Hmm . . . shouldn’t they be hibernating?

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No!!! They are too excited to sleep! GO PATS!!!

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Enjoy!

Roy & Kevin!

 

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Positively 2016!!!

Happy New Year!  In the northeast, the new year brings cold weather. Our white bean chicken chili will positively warm you on a cold winter’s night. We also offer a couple of upbeat craft projects, our garden update, and of course, the bears, who share their New Year’s resolutions!

WHITE BEAN CHICKEN CHILI

We were surprised when we looked back at our previous 64 blogs and saw that we hadn’t shared one of our favorite recipes, white bean chicken chili. It’s a healthy, warming comfort food, perfect for a cold winter night!
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This chili is easy to make and delicious.

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Ingredients:

  • One teaspoon olive oil
  • One lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • Three 15.5 oz. cans cannellini beans, rinsed
  • One 16 oz. can fat-free refried beans
  • One 32 oz. carton low sodium chicken broth
  • One small onion, chopped
  • One 4 oz. can chopped green chilis
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash garlic herb mix
  • One teaspoon cumin

How to prepare:

  • Chop chicken breast into 3/4 inch pieces.
  • Warm olive oil over medium heat in a 5-quart Dutch oven.
  • Saute onion in olive oil until soft.
  • Sprinkle chicken with chili powder and add to Dutch oven.
  • Cook chicken until lightly brown, about 3 minutes.
  • Add cannellini beans, refried beans, chilis and cumin to pot.
  • Stir to break up refried beans.
  • Cover mixture with chicken broth.
  • Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
  • Simmer 20 minutes or until thickened.
  • Serve with tortilla chips, guacamole, olives (Kevin’s favorite), green onions, salsa, sour cream or any of your favorite toppings.

Adjust seasonings to make it more hot or mild according to your own taste!

COLLAGE

The new year is a hopeful time and one way to maintain that feeling is to surround yourself with positive messages. We combined two uplifting thoughts into one inspirational piece of art.

We cut out letters from old magazines and newspaper inserts, choosing contrasting sizes, colors and fonts. If you can’t find all the letters you need for your project, use stickers or print letters from the computer. Once all of our letters were gathered, they were attached to a piece of specialty scrapbook paper cut to fit the size of the frame. Gift wrap or construction paper also could be used as a background. Total cost for our framed project was about $6.00! This easy and effective type of collage has many applications. It’s a fun project for kids and adults alike. We’d love to see your positive messages for 2016!

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SPEAKING OF POSITIVE MESSAGES

People appreciate being remembered. We make a point of mailing birthday, anniversary and holiday cards to family and friends throughout the year. To make this easier, one thing we do at the beginning of the year is to note special occasions on a wall calendar that hangs in our living room. It’s an easy way to keep track of card-worthy events throughout the year. Who doesn’t like to be thought of with a card? We recently received a touching, handwritten thank you note from Kevin’s 5-year old great-niece, and it made our day. Positivity bounces back and forth!

PATIO UPDATE

We removed the decorative holiday items this week, but left the greenery and lit tomato cages. The greenery will be removed when it starts to dry out. Hoping the tomato cages will be glowing on the patio all winter.

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Sign for the Patio

While we were designing the “Create Peace” collage, we came upon a beat up old door from a long-discarded cabinet. A quick paint job and fun message adds a bit of whimsy! Let’s grow!

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Hitchcock’s view from our patio:

Is Tippi Hendren in town? (Rizzolty rozzolty now now now) This photo from our patio reminds us of Hitchcock’s classic movie, “The Birds”.

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FOOD ART

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THE BEARS

The bears are doing pretty well with their resolutions!

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Enjoy!

Roy & Kevin