Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A Saintly Day, Tasty Tuesday, and Baby, It's Cold Outside!

Greetings Everyone, and Happy Saint Nicholas Day!

Saint Nicholas Day is celebrated in Europe (most especially in Germany), and it is the day when the beloved saint rides on his white horse into the towns and villages to leave gifts and treats in the shoes of the children who have been good during the past year.  To those children who were not so good, he leaves a lump or two of coal.  I am guessing, though, that the ratio of coal given is quite low to the amount of happy gifts given.

And it is Tasty Tuesday Today!

As I am still focusing on holiday preparations and general busyness, I am sharing a recipe for a meal that is simple and satisfying and does not take long to prepare.  It is an excellent winter meal, great comfort food.  It is not so much a health food, though you can modify it by adding foods with additional nutritional value.  I actually do this myself.  I will let you know what I add to this recipe at the end of the Ingredients list.

Sausage and Potato Casserole (or Hotdish as we say in Minnesota)


1 pound bulk pork sausage or ground pork
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup (do not add water)
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp, salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 cups sliced potatoes
1/2 Tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces
1 and 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

What I add to this (optional): 
1/2 cup carrots, sliced thin or chopped small and sauteed in butter for about 2 minutes.
1/2 cup celery, chopped small and sauteed in butter for about 2 minutes (can do this with the carrots).
1/2 can of whole kernel corn, drained, OR 1/2 cup of frozen whole kernel corn, thawed and drained.

If you do add extra ingredients, you may want to add a bit more milk for moistness (it's up to you).


1)  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  

2)  Spray 1 and 1/2- quart casserole with non-stick cooking spray.  Use 2-quart casserole if you are adding the optional ingredients listed above in addition to the regular ingredients.

3)  Brown sausage or ground pork in large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring to separate meat into small chunks.  Brown meat until no longer pink.  Drain fat.

4)  Stir together soup, milk, onion, salt, and pepper in mixing bowl (if you are adding in additional ingredients, add them to the bowl as well).

5)  Place half of potatoes in prepared casserole dish.  Top with half of soup mixture and half of sausage or ground pork.  Repeat layers, ending with sausage.

6) Dot with butter.

7)  Cover casserole with tin foil.  Bake 1 and 1/4 to 1 and 1/2 hours until potatoes are tender.  

8)  Uncover; sprinkle with cheese.  Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Makes 6 servings.

I hope you enjoy this casserole meal.  It is perfect on a cold, blustery day.

And speaking of, Old Man Winter blew in today like a shock.  I know I should have been more than ready for it since I am in Minnesota, and Winter is what we do.  Still, the first big blast of cold wind sends the shivers to the bone.  I confess that on days like this it can be hard to keep my energy up; all I want to do is wear jammies, snuggle under the covers, and read a book.  But the cats are the ones who get to do that, except for the book part.  

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Making Up for the Lost Tasty Tuesday

Yes, I missed it.  Tasty Tuesday got away from me this week...

So I am setting about making it right by posting the Tasty Tuesday recipe on Thursday.  Because why shouldn't I confuse things once in a while?

First, I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving Day and weekend.  I had a beautiful Thanksgiving -- peaceful, blessed with loved ones, and free of any ridiculous bruhaha.  It was a wonderful day, and that made it easy to get back into my work routine and get things rolling in business again afterward. 

As we head into Christmas time, I will be focusing on recipes that: 1) Make the days a little easier by saving you time and trouble during this busy season, 2)  Offer options for different types of meals or events around the holidays -- such as snacks to accompany favorite movies or games with friends and family, 3) Include a variety of nourishing foods for meals as well as decadent foods for desserts, treats, and sweets. 

Today's Recipe is for Hunter Stew (with Chicken), an easy feast to make in the slow cooker or crock pot so you can plug it in early in the day and enjoy it for your supper in the evening.  


3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into pieces of about 2 inches by 1 inch.
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped into pieces about 1 inch square.
1 medium onion, sliced thin.
1 (15- ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained,
1 (14- ounce) jar (about 1 and 1/2 cups) tomato pasta sauce (such as Prego, Ragu, Classico).
1 (8- ounce) can mushroom stems and pieces, drained.


1)  Combine all ingredients in 3 or 4-quart slow cooker.

2)  Cover, and cook on low setting for 6 to 7 hours.

This meal is hearty and healthy and will work very well to feed your family with little fuss or hassle as you are likely busy with a lot of other things this holiday season.

Head over to my Abundant Empress Facebook page to find another recipe for a toasty-cheesy snack for informal nights in the home with the family or when friends stop over.  You can click the Facebook page button on the upper left of this blog.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tasty Tuesday -- More Autumn Seasonal Delights

This recipe will work great for the Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend, as a breakfast treat with coffee or tea, or as a snack.

Apple Cinnamon Scones


1 and 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 and 1/4 cup oats
1 apple -- peeled, cored, and diced (I often use Haralson or Braeburn apples for baking, but you can use a type you prefer).
1 egg
10 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/3 cup whole milk
A blend of cinnamon and sugar


1)  Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit

2)  In large mixing bow, whisk together flour, sugar, and baking powder.

3)  Stir in oats and diced apple.

4)  In separate bowl, whisk together egg, butter, and milk.  Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until moistened.

5)  On lightly-floured surface, pat dough into an 8" circle that is about 3/4" thick.

6)  Cut into 8 to 12 wedges and place on greased cookie sheet.

7)  Sprinkle the tops with cinnamon-sugar mixture.

8)  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

I might not be back here before Thanksgiving, so I want to wish all my readers a lovely holiday.  May you be blessed.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Some Items I Made for the Show

I remembered this time!

Here are some photos of items I made for the show I was part of.

First, some little journals upcycled into a chic and shabby, vintage style.  I used old book pages to cover the booklet covers, then some ink and some pretty acrylic stamps I had, some pearl flat backs, and some lace ribbon. I made 33 of these, and I have to tell you, they are surprisingly labor-intensive.

Next is a photo showing 3 of the bookmarks I made.  These are of course intended to be used with actual books.  The ribbon goes inside the pages to be marked and the charms dangle out of each end.

I made two lengths, one for larger books, one for smaller.

And finally, a few of the rings I made.

I will be offering these and other items for sale either on Facebook, Etsy, or eBay starting this coming Saturday, November 19.  I will post an update on this blog then as to where you can go to purchase if you like.  I will also update my Facebook business page, which you can go to by clicking the button to it in the upper left.

Have a great evening.  I am off to finish cooking my cabbage soup.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Today's recipe is for a sweet fruity salad to go with your Thanksgiving holiday meal.

Cranberry Pecan Salad


1 (6-ounce) package of cherry gelatin (or 2 (3-ounce) packages)
1 can whole cranberry sauce
1 pint sour cream
3/4 cup chopped pecans


1)  Dissolve gelatin in 1 and 1/4 cups boiling water.  When well mixed add cranberry sauce.

2)  Mix well and refrigerate until gelatin mixture begins to congeal.  Then add sour cream and pecans and mix well.

3)  Pour mixture into a casserole dish measuring about 7 x 11 inches.  

4)  Chill for several hours in refrigerator before serving.

And I know I said I would share photos of some art show items...

And I completely forgot.  I apologize for that, and right now my work table has active projects on it so I will share some photos tomorrow when I can get the table cleaned up and take some pictures. 

Instead, I am showing you a painting I made for a very good friend of mine, Saurabh, who is in the U.S. for a couple of weeks before he leaves for India again over the weekend.  We got together Sunday evening for an early supper, and it was wonderful to enjoy his company over a lovely Thai meal.  I painted a small canvas (about 5 x 12 inches) to celebrate friendship.  Right now the painting is in the U.S. mail system on its way to where Saurabh is staying at a hotel.   Here is a photo:

Wishing blessings to all of you.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Gotta Clean This Up

Good evening, everyone.  I am playing catch-up after sleeping late today since I stayed up most of the night to watch election coverage online.

Just wanted to share with you a photo of how my art desk looks when I have completed all the projects I want to make for a show and have not cleaned up the desk yet:

I need to get it cleaned up so I can take photos of items to list in my eBay store.  These are the times when I wish I had an art fairy to come out of the cabinet and clean up while I sleep.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Tasty Tuesday

Wow, what a week.  The show was on Saturday.  Over 3,000 people came through, and sales were better than they ever have been.  I was not sure what to expect with this being an election week and all.  I am a bit sore still from lugging around boxes of my creations and from being at the table all day.

I took my mom with me today as I went sourcing, gorgeous November day, no jacket required. 

Anyway, time to focus on the recipe.  I enjoy many kinds of Asian food, and I have been craving egg rolls, chow mein, beef and broccoli, and more types of Asian food lately.

So, to hopefully help satisfy the Asian food cravings, I am sharing a recipe for:

Fried Rice


3 Tablespoons Salad Oil
4 cups cold cooked rice
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed, rinsed, and drained of excess moisture.
1 cup shredded or diced cooked pork, beef, or shrimp
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
salt to taste (optional)
6 green onions, including tops, thinly sliced or chopped


1)  Saute rice in oil over medium heat for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
2)  Add meat and peas to the rice.  
3)  Pour beaten eggs over rice mixture.
4)  Cook, stirring often, until egg is set.
5)  Mix Soy Sauce with the sugar and salt,
6)  Sprinkle onions and pour Soy Sauce over the top of the rice mixture.
7)  Stir until blended and then serve.