Archive for the ‘In the Kitchen’ Category

Cooking with Em

Monday, February 18th, 2019

I am a cook.

This is a sentence I have never typed before about myself. Feels good. It has been a long time coming as they say. I didn’t catch the “cooking fever” until my late 40s. Now at 53, I find myself perusing the new releases of cookbooks as much as my beloved autobiographies and historical fiction.

A few weeks ago, Em and I, decided to pick a cookbook and work our way thru it together. Well ok, maybe not all the way thru it. We are both creative people and I highly doubt we could stick to one book for it’s entirety.

So we each complied our own Top Five list and compared. Immediately one book stood out, basically because it was on both of our lists.

Milk Street Tuesday Nights by Christopher Kimball

We take familiar ingredients such as ground beef and spice them up, add garam masala , ginger and garlic and you have keema mater. We dress pasta simply, but boldly, with ricotta and sage, for example.

Introduction of Milk Street Tuesday Nights

Two copies were immediately purchased.

If you flip thro these pages you will notice two things: simplicity and big flavors. That is how you get supper on the table quickly on Tuesday nights while also delivering great food.

Introduction of Milk Street Tuesday Nights

This is a BIG cookbook. At a smidge over 400 pages and well over 150 recipes (I stopped counting by chapter 5 of 9 in the book) it will be a book we may not cook our way thru entirely together but it will serve us both well.

Did I mention that my Em is a wonderful cook? She obviously didn’t learn from me. Paul Sr inspired her. I told her to pick the first recipe. Our plan is to make one recipe a week “together”. Meaning any day of the week that works in either of our busy schedules works. We may not even make it on the same day. But we will discuss it on Sunday.

This weeks recipe is on page 57 under the Fast chapter.

Tuscan Soup


I’m putting a link here and you will see a new AMAZON link box at the top of the right hand column of my blog. So many have been asking me to make a list of books I share on Facebook and other things that I have finally sat down and made this easy to access and refer back to list of links.

Ok, off to putter some more in my studio. Pictures are being taken for the next block release in the Mic’s Attic Picks series.

Watch for that this weekend!

Enjoy the day,

An Evening in the Kitchen in Paul & Mic

Saturday, November 17th, 2018

Lately there has been a whole lotta cooking going on at Chez Depre! 

We have fallen into a pattern of cooking up a storm one or two nights a week and then kinda coasting the rest of the week, sure maybe a steak or pork chop is grilled but all other parts of a well balanced meal are ready and just need a warming up.    This has really brought some freedom into our evenings and has kept us away from the easy…let’s get a pizza/Chinese/tacos pitfall. 

And it has become quite fun as we search out recipes to try.  Add to this a weekly delivery of produce from Imperfect Produce and the game is on to find ways to use it all and waste nothing.     About 7-8 weeks ago I spotted an add on Facebook for Imperfect Produce and immediately thought…wow that is a great concept.   Then a friend posted that she got her first box.  It looked great and I was in!  Imperfect Produce is basically  fruits & veggies that are deemed not perfect for store shelves but of course are yummy and good on all other fronts.  Of course the ease of picking out (yes you can customize your box weekly or let the people at Imperfect surprise you) of having these foods delivered is a plus with a busy life.  But what we really like and why we support it with our membership is it is a way for those in “food desserts” can obtain healthy food.   So while we can easily buy at our local store (and trust me we still do because there is always a need for more food with Paul in the house) our membership helps support this so that those who don’t have the luxury can still obtain them.

Friday is delivery day here and this was what was in this weeks box. 

Red Cabbage

Yellow Peppers



Green Apples 





Right off the bat I thought SOUP! with the Fennel. 

And a quick search of found this recipe for 

Zucchini & Fennel Soup

While I prepared the soup, Paul actually was making a Chuck Roast using up carrots, celery, onions and potatoes from last weeks box.  (with vacay, business travel and son travel we got a little behind) 


Sautee those veggies!  Very easy…simple and clean cooking.   While those sautéed I got busy wrapping brussel sprouts (also from last weeks box) in bacon that could share the oven with Paul’s dish. 

Veggies are done just as it is time to pop Paul’s dish and the bacon sprouts in the oven. 


Onward to using the blender to puree everything. 


I just wish you could taste and smell it.   So good.   I will be adding Fennel and Zucchini to our box for this soup at least once a month!

A little while later these came out of the oven. 







There were about twice as many as in the picture.  I had two.   That is all I am saying.   I am guessing more brussel sprouts need to be ordered.  LOL 

I forgot to take a pic of the Chuck Roast and Veggies…sorry.   It will be dinner tonight with Paul Jr after we pick him up from the airport.   

If you are interested in checking out Imperfect Produce you can do so here.  

I just went to get the standard link offering a $10 discount on your first order and found that they are running a special for a $20 discount!  if you sign up by November 27th!  So click and check it out! 

Now I am off to sew in the studio for a few hours.  

Enjoy your day!




Coffee Energy Balls – The Food Network Magazine

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018

We love anything coffee flavored.   It is quite the passion here at Chez Depre.   So when the recent issue of Food Network Magazine came with this little “extra” recipe booklet we happily jumped in.  Several recipes called  to us, and will be made.  Such as Candied Bacon, Coffee Cake, Meringues, Stuffed French Toast…all featuring COFFEE.   

But it was the Energy Balls that Paul decided were going to be first.  He is working some long hours lately and these looked like they would be good to have in his lunch container. 

Here is the recipe exactly as it is written in the booklet.  



Simmer 1 cup each brewed coffee and chopped pitted dates in a saucepan over medium heat until paste-like, about 20 minutes.  Stir in 2 tablespoons each honey and peanut butter, 1 tablespoon each instant espresso powder and butter, and a pinch of salt.  Stir in 1 cup each rolled oats and graham cracker crumbs.  Drop tablespoonfuls (about 18) onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.  Roll into balls, then roll in unsweetened shredded coconut. 

Easy-Peasy and they are delicious. 

We will be making several batches to take with us for our trek to the Smoky Mountains. 

Watch for a blog on Friday featuring some block coloring and quilt ideas for the Tennessee Circles block.  And remember the pre-order special is only good until October 10th.  You can order your Tennessee Circles Block items here. 

Enjoy the day, 

Hot Cocoa Yummies!

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

DSC07609Success again in the cooking baking invention (well new to me) department of Chez Depre.

Hot Cocoa Yummies! are what these new cookies have been dubbed.

Really they are nothing over the top ingredient wise but they are super duper yummy according to my official cookie taster.  Note: I have had strong willpower and  have only eaten two cookies since BakingFest 2013 began on Monday.   (Did I mention there is a cruise in my future?).

You will find the recipe on my PDF page.

Here are some visuals to help you along.





Also finally got around to photographing my Sawtooth Santa Christmas table runner.

I will go over to Craftsy later this week and make the visual changes there.   You can find this pattern via the link on the sidebar.

Super simple….and if your snowed in this weekend (as we might be) you might even get it done for the table on Tuesday!




Baking up a storm

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Two years ago after some serious surgery I found myself unable to machine sew for about two months.   And while I was hangin on the couch working on the first Pieced Hexies I also felt a strange pull to the kitchen.

Now those who have known me for years know one of the great attractions to living in an urban environment for me is that there are many many MANY restaurants within in walking distance of my abode.  And they deliver.  No need to be friends with that room that the frig lives in.   Be friends with your feet and phone.  Problem solved. images

And thank goodness Paul loves to cook.  So we never starved.  (look I have burnt every breadstick I have ever tried to make in my life)

Truly I could burn boiling water.

But then I felt the call of the kitchen.   And miracles began to happen.  Edible food escaped.

And all of the sudden I was demanding asking for trips to Bed Bath and Beyond and new kitchen tools entered Chez Depre.

And then I started to bake.   Now my grandfather was a baker, owning his own bakery here on the southside of Chicago during the 40s/50s.   So I also say that these genes of mine have been infused.  I found my niche in the kitchen.

imagesFA0K1W57My recipes are super simple.  Yes I like the kitchen now but that doesn’t mean I want to be there 24/7.  I’m not a professional chef so your not going to get step my step instructions, calories (do we really want to know) etc.  A bit of “winging it” will be required.  And by all means…tweak them to your own taste buds.  Afterall that is how I made them up.

On the PDF page you will currently find the recipes for Ginger Crack, Chocolate Ginger Crack, and a newbie recipe: Salted Dark Chocolate Toffee Cookies.

I am spending today in the kitchen baking some more.  I am trying out a newly conceived recipe and if all goes well there will be a blog and new addition to the PDF page soon.

Bake On!

MickeySignaturevanilla sugar

p.s.  This is what Vanilla Sugar Packets look like.  This year I have bought a jar of Vanilla Sugar from Penzey Spices.  A packet weighs 1/3 of an oz.  I have a kitchen scale.  But I will probably wing it.  A little extra vanilla sugar is good for the soul.



Blueberries & Pumpkin…oh my!

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

I found this recipe, Blueberry Pumpkin Muffins, in early October while just dinking around on the computer.  I think I was looking for pumpkin bread and lo and behold this recipe DSC07429crossed my screen.  I immediately hit print.  It immediately was clipped to the frig door where it just hung for a few days…weeks.

But yesterday I finally pulled a cup of blueberries from the deep freezer.

There are ten pounds of Michigan blueberries in the freezer from the farmer’s market.  And cans of pumpkin on my baking shelf.  It’s time to make the muffins. DSC07432

The next batch I will do three things.  First…double it and then a bit more because a) Paul wants to bring them to work for his shift  b) it will use the entire can of pumpkin up  c) I would put more batter in each cup to make the muffins larger.   The first go around of any muffin recipe I usually under fill because I have gone the route of GIGANTICA muffins that merge together during baking.  Never a pretty sight.  But I see now that these could use a bit more in the cups.   If making the standard recipe (12 muffins) I would fill 8 muffin cups.

While the muffins were baking I decided to make a batch of cookies too.   I have had this mix on the baking shelf (yes I have a shelf entirely devoted to just my making spices/decorations/etcs.)   This fact alone is enough to make Paul and Emily eye roll….the baking bug has hit hard in the last two years.   DSC07433

Found this mix at Target.  On the clearance rack.  I always check the baking clearance section at Target.  Many times the cute cookie sprinkles can be found there.  They age out in decades for use but age out of retail shelf time as soon as the “holiday” is over.

Cotton Candy Cookies.   $1.00.   Two bags went into the cart.

side bar: I just noticed the “only at target” on the front of the mix.  hard to see in the pic but it’s there. Hmmm….it does seem that Target and Betty Crocker have had some unusual mixes of late.  Last year someone mentioned on facebook that they found egg nog cookie mix at Target.  I am going to head over to Target this week to look for that one.

So I mixed up the cookies.  Kinda fun. They have sprinkles of cotton candy dots throughout.  Think mini chips.   Smells like cotton candy.   Baked them off.  Yep they taste like cotton candy.

Sorry no pic.  I forgot to take one.   They are all in the cookie jar now.  Well minus a few.  Apparently even though he teased that he will need a gallon of milk to wash down each one…well someone ib this abode likes them.

DSC07439And the muffins rock!  Give them a whirl.  Blueberry and pumpkin are quite yummy together.

Off to sew,




p.s. I highly suggest picking up a container of these sugar granules and sprinkle generously on your unbaked muffins.  Really gives your baked goods a splash of sparkle and flavor.

and best thing is JoAnn’s carries Wilton products and you can use your 40% coupon!


Ring Around The Hexies BED SIZE Part 5

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Sept27RATHpicHalfway done!

Well actually much more than that.  I just need to applique five more rosettes to backgrounds and sew together the remaining two wall hangings, join them to this half and viola the bed size version of Ring Around The Hexies pattern will be done!

Since this quilt top, no unfortunately it will not be quilted in time, will be traveling to Market and Festival I plan on putting a 2-3″ plain border on it of the burnt red paisley print that you see in the outside setting triangles.  This will keep those outer edges stabilized.   Then when it is back in my hands over winter I will remove it for quilting.

The debate is whether I will be quilting this myself or sending off to someone to do.  Time will tell with my chiropractor visits.   There is much discussion about rearranging the studio and making some changes to may be accommodate a stand up long arm.  But I am thinking this is just a dream for my current studio and it’s size and I will remain quilting on my APQS George machine.

Next blog post I will tell you exactly where you will be able to see this full quilt (top) at Festival.  I hope you will check it out.

Sept 27 Pic 2Along with a whole lot of sewing yesterday there was some homemade applesauce making.  My father-in-law’s apple tree has been bountiful again this year and several Depre abodes are simmering versions of apple sauce, chutney and spices slices to be canned this weekend.

Sept 27 Pic 1I wish there was a way to attach scents to posts….because it is unbelievable.


Speaking of scents I was trilled yesterday to learn that Yankee Candle had unretired truly my all time favorite candle.  Autumn Lodge.  This candle fills the house with the aroma of a wood burning fireplace.  And since my home is sans this wonderful feature. ..well this is the next best thing.

Two large jars are on their way.  Yankee Candle is having a wonderful Buy 1 get 1 Free sale….get over to their website to order or print out the coupon if you are lucky to have a brick storefront in your neck of the woods.

Sept 27 Pic 3And I have begun to decorate the house for Autumn.  Not Halloween, Not Thanksgiving, Not Columbus Day.  AUTUMN.

My very favorite season of all.






The best breakfast ever!

Friday, August 16th, 2013

I am back from my visit to Quilt Villa (Bonnie Hunter’s Mountain Cabin) and I cannot explain how much I miss it already.

Plans are in the works for a future visit.

It was perfect.   We just sat and sewed, talked, laughed and sang!  Ideas percolated, quilts were finished, quilts were born.

On the way to Quilt Villa we stopped and did all out grocery shopping for our 4 days of quilty bliss.  We shopped “gluten free” as Bonnie has been doing so for months now.  I had decided several weeks ago that this was going to be my jumping off to “gluten free” too.

After almost 20 months since my surgery and exercising my brains out maybe this would prove to be the vehicle to jump start my metabolism.  And besides with everything I have heard and read it is a healthy move to make.

We got to the cabin and I realized I forgot to toss an avocado into the shopping cart.  I wanted to make Bonnie what I consider to be the best breakfast ever.  And it’s Gluten Free!

Avocado Egg Boat.

A few months ago I saw the recipe on Facebook and Paul and I were just about to start making lunch and we had the fixin’s in the house so we made them.

OMGosh!  It is the best breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack ever!

Pretty much a staple recipe now at Chez Depre.


Two eggs, an avocado, some cheese and some spices.  Can’t get much simpler than that.








Slice the avocado in half, remove the seed.

Balance the slices on ramekins in a baking tray.





Crack and pour an egg into the pit of each avocado.  Now depending on the seed size you might want to make this hole a bit larger by removing some of the avocado meat.

Snack while cooking I say.




Add seasoning.

For us it a combo of Cajun Seasoning and Paprika.

Top with cheese or cheeses.

Pop into oven at 425.

You can actually click on the recipe name above for a print out of original recipe.


Texting Paul now as he is stopping at the grocers on the way home today for steaks for dinner.  I am going to have him pick up some avocados.  Pauli is coming down tomorrow to visit and stay the night.  I’m gonna make these for breakfast on Sunday.

And I promise Bonnie I will make these at Quilt Villa next time.  I won’t forget the avocado!

Enjoy the day,


A little birdie at the market

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013



                                                  Teaser pic….read on.



Whew, we just returned from the local farmers market.

The bounty was good this week.  Lots of veggies and 10lbs of blueberries to freeze.



But just incase anyone is thinking I have gone totally domestic (for years my tale was “I can burn boiling water) I have the following ditty to share.

Last night while reading an article yet again someone mentioned making Kale Chips.  I thought I need to explore this and made a mental note to myself to seek out and buy some kale at today’s market.

Well Paul was off putting the blueberries (and a watermelon and cantaloupe) in the car I wandered into our fav stand for veggies.  DSC06833

I picked up some green onions, mushrooms, cucumber, and this.


Oops…not kale…leeks.



Oh yeah I wanted to make Leek Soup (never had it before in my life) I told Paul.  He looked at me and laughed knowing full well I goofed.

Tomorrow I will seek out kale at the grocer.  DSC06837

DSC06839And no need to buy raspberries or tomatoes when the “farms” of Chez Depre and Chez In-Laws are giving this type of bounty.




Now onto another giveway for Christmas in July.

IJ967_FriendsofaFeather_IndygoJunction_SewingPatternThis pattern is by indygo junction and I am a big fan.   I just love these little birds.  I envision a flock of them flying around the house during the winter months when bird sightings are far and few between.  I think once my book manuscript is done I might make it a bird a week habit for a bit to get a good flock going by January. IJ967_01-FriendsofaFeather_IndygoJunction_SewingPattern



I hope you will join me!




DSC06835So leave a comment telling me your favorite bird and I will draw a winner for the pattern and fabric on Friday at 6am CST! 

Enjoy your day,


I’m a tea drinker!

Thursday, July 11th, 2013




No I haven’t given up my coffee habit.  The Keurig still churns out a few cups a day here.

But over the last few years I have begun to drink more and more tea.

I blame Paul.



logo94And this awesome and quaint loose tea shop in Glen Falls, NY. 

SensilbilitiesTeaIt is called SensibiliTeas.   And if you click on the name you will go right to the website.  My friend Donna runs the shop (and she quilts!  she is awesome too).

They just moved into a new location and Donna has posted these pics on the Tea Shop’s facebook page.  If you ask me it screams sit down let me poor you a cup and let’s chat.  Someday I promise myself I well see it in person.

Now this piece of info might shake Donna to the core…but well…we make a lot of the loose tea as cold iced tea throughout the year.   Some of the teas she actually gives instructions to do so but we are brave and run rampant in our exploration and play with her wonderful blends.

SensilbilitiesTea2shhhhh…..We have even been known to really go crazy and toss a little bit of blackberry tea into the remaining raspberry tea for our own blend.

Anyway if you are tea drinker and even if your not in the Glen Falls, NY area check out the website.  It is so full of special blends you won’t know where to start. I have so help for you about that in a bit.

I have also found the “Other Cool Uses for Teas” page (click on the About Tea tab) really interesting.

Oh and Paul and I recommend the following:

Caribbean Cooler (excellent iced!)

Mango Green

White Pear

Birthday Wishes (I love this hot when I need some cheer)

and the Chez Depre all time favorite : APRICOT ALLURE  (both hot and cold…all year round…all the time!)

teacupsfoundationpiecedTea and Quilting….a match made in heaven!


Enjoy your day!