Friday, September 23, 2011

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

Part 2, in what has apparently become an unintentional "Comfort Food" series, is another quick and recipe-free fall supper. Chicken Pot Pie has to be one of the countriest, most warm and cozy "Come-on-in-and-kick-off-your-shoes" kind of meals. I hadn't thought of making it this way, but here's a genius shortcut that will undoubtedly be added to my arsenal of home-cooked but quick-fix meals.

All it took was:
  • a package of frozen vegetables (mine were Italian-style with zucchini, carrots, green beans, etc but Veg-All, frozen mixed vegetables or any other kind you like would work)
  • A can of cream of chicken soup
  • 3-4 chicken breasts or tenders (or Rotisserie chicken for an even quicker shortcut)
  • a can of biscuits
  • 1.5 cups of milk
  • 1/2 cup of chicken broth
  • butter
  • seasonings
If you want the full version, I found the recipe here.

Here's the jist:

Boil your chicken until cooked, if using raw. Remove the chicken and set aside. Microwave your frozen vegetables as directed. I used these:

Bake biscuits for 10 minutes at 375 so they rise but do not brown.

Pour your chicken broth and cream of chicken in the pot.

Add your spices (Italian seasoning, garlic and herb seasoning or garlic powder, salt and pepper. Then add your half and half or milk.

Whisk together over medium heat.

Add your cooked vegetables to the sauce.

When incorporated, add chicken and pour into a buttered casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Add the biscuits on top and cook an additional 5 or so, just until the biscuits are golden brown on top.

Voila! So easy, creamy, and comforting. Enjoy:)

The Gray's

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Buffalo Chicken+Mac N Cheese=Comfort

The start of a new school year, a new challenging setting for work, and settling into married life has me craving relaxation and comfort every evening when we make it home. My workouts have gone on a short hiatus since the honeymoon (Don't tell!) and I'm not in too big of a hurry to kick it back into gear. We're just TOO busy and need some time to unwind at night. There's no better way to do that than with fall comfort foods.

We hosted a couples shower at our house saturday night after a crazy week of overtime. Totally spent, I slept in Sunday morning later than I have in ages. Sean somehow managed to go golfing that morning while I snoozed. That afternoon, Lindsay and baby Avery (who recently celebrated the big ONE!)

...came to play for a bit. After Sean and Avery swang in the hammock for a minute, I took her to run with the puppies in the yard. 45 minutes later, Sean still hadn't moved from that hammock. And when Lindsay and Avery left to go home, he STILL had not moved.

I checked to make sure he was still breathing.
He was.

Passed out, sound asleep, cocooned up like a caterpillar between two trees in the backyard, slightly swaying in the autumn breeze. I took a few pictures and woke him up with my uncontrolled laughing, then climbed inside for a little peaceful afternoon nap myself.

That weekend for the shower, I made buffalo chicken crescents and needed to use the leftover buffalo chicken. What better comforting combination than buffalo chicken and macaroni and cheese, I thought!

No real recipe here. Just inspiration for a deadly combination. You know I never follow them anyways. In addition to the comfort food kick I'm on, I'm also loving simple, easy "throw-together" meals with any short-cuts I can think of. This was perfect.

I used cavatappi, or corkscrew, pasta which I think makes the best macaroni and cheese. I added butter, milk, and leftover cheeses from different meals for a combination of velveeta, mozzarella, and cheddar, then a little sour cream and salt and pepper. Make whatever macaroni and cheese is your favorite!

The buffalo chicken I had was fully cooked and just needed to be nooked in the oven or microwave. I like the oven so it's crispy.

I used oven-safe ramekins to layer macaroni and cheese, chicken, then a little of the melted cheese from the bottom of the pot.

We topped with red pepper flakes and Sean used a few shakes of extra hot sauce on top. It was oh so bad. SINfully delicious.

If you would rather go full out and like an exact recipe to follow, here's one from YumSugar.


~Katie and Sean

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall Burlap and Felt Wreath

Fall has officially become one of my favorite seasons. Which doesn't seem like such a compliment to fall, since there are just 4, but it is! I used to think there was nothing special about it...For a kid, it just meant back to school, no more sleeping in, and no more running around barefoot in a swim suit all day long. I guess it's a sign of age, but I crave getting back to the normalcy of a predictable schedule...cooler, comfortable weather...warm comforting fall foods for supper...and football season!

My never-ending list of projects is longer than ever since everything was put on pause with the wedding. This little DIY wreath is the first of several fall projects I've got up my sleeve.

It's gracing my back porch with its presence and has me itching to make more. Surely I can find a door or window in the house for at least 5 more? I LOVE it!!

It started as a green styrofoam wreath...
...Combined with the burlap I had leftover from a dining room project...coming soon...It was simply wrapped around the wreath in long 3-4 inch strips; hot glued periodically.

I didn't use tutorials for making the felt flowers. I just looked at pictures of different flowers I liked and recreated them. But Tip Junkie offers a tutorial she used for this adorable wreath:

I also loved this wreath from Nest of Posies that I drew inspiration from for some of my felt flowers.

I loved the look of the rolled felt strips that made those cutesy, fluffy flowers. To make mine, I just cut a felt circle and several 2-3 inch long strips of felt. I looped the ends to touch each other then hot glued them to the circle, standing up. Only 78 more to go!

This flower was made exactly as it looks. Circles cut in decreasing sizes glued on top of each other, then leaf shapes glued to the back. So cute!

The roses were made by folding a circle in half to form a semi-circle, then rolling it up and gluing like a cone. Then I continued to wrap semi circles around it until I liked the look.

I added sprigs of random flowers I had leftover from DIY'ing our groomsmen's boutonnieres.

Happy Fall Yall:)

The Gray's

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dining Room Sneak Peek

I can't wait to finish up and share our new and improved dining room. It took almost a whole year for me to get to it and somehow once I started, it came together in just a couple weeks. It was one of those rare, magical puzzles of a room where every piece fit together so perfectly and so quickly. I have just a few finishing touches to polish it off, so here's a sneak peak into what it holds. Check back soon for the full reveal and see how closely you envisioned it!

~The Gray's

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Old bookcase revamp: weathered, gray and chic

Happy Long Weekend! We are ecstatic to be back in "Honey-Do" mode, with a long list of projects to complete over Labor Day Weekend. Now that "Hurricane: Wedding" has subsided, we are back to the home improvement projects and DIYs we love so much. And I have a finished project for you in celebration!

This little one makes me all warm and fuzzy when I look at it now. I love when old pieces sit around for so long with no purpose, and then FINALLY the perfect vision allows them to find their place and be beautiful again. I've had these 2 bookshelves sitting in the garage for over a year. And they sat in Dad's attic for a decade before that. I'm pretty sure they were in my room when I was little.

My project for the weekend is our dining room, the space we haven't touched since we moved in almost a year ago. I had 2 lamps I got on sale at TJ Maxx several months ago that were waiting to have something to sit on in the dining room. Those little bookshelves were perfect.


Not the most flawless finish:


Gray paint in SW Pavestone with some distressing and glazing in Smoke.

I covered the backs of the shelves with patterned paper I had bought for the wedding and never used. Just paper and a little mod podge.

I don't think the pictures show just how cute they are!

I LOVE them.

Happy "First Day of Football" to you!
~The Gray's