Perfect Chicken Salad


There's nothing better on toasted bread...period.

While I was in culinary school, I interned under Chef Fred Amato - a known Italian chef in the Myrtle Beach area who decided after many years in the uber busy restaurant world to slow down a bit and open a small Italian deli. I was lucky enough to spend a year under his wing learning techniques and recipes he had perfected over time.

One of his more popular sandwiches was his chicken salad. I could literally make it in my sleep!! His recipe is BY FAR the most flavorful traditional chicken salad I've ever tasted - and I've had tons of chicken salad!

So, would you like for me to share? It's quite simple...and I bet you have everything in your fridge right now!
  • 2 cups of shredded chicken
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, diced
  • Splash worcestershire sauce
  • Splash hot sauce
  • Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup-1 cup mayo
  • Season salt, pepper and granulated garlic to taste
Start by boiling your eggs - I use Martha Stewart's no fail plan: cover eggs with water in a pot, bring to a boil, boil for 5 minutes, take pot off of burner and let sit for 15 minutes, put eggs in ice water bath to cool. And voila! Perfect hard boiled eggs {never a green ring} every time!

As far as the chicken goes, I only ever use one of two options - either a bought rotisserie chicken or a roasted chicken from my oven - and I always use both white and dark meat. We usually have leftovers from the night before's dinner, so I just use that. Shred the chicken in a large bowl. Add diced onion, celery and hard boiled egg and combine. Add worcestershire, hot sauce {I
like Siracha}, mustard and seasonings. Combine those ingredients.
I was super excited when Hellman's came out with an Olive Oil version of their mayo!! And, the best part is it tastes good...like I can't tell a difference! Plus, it's a great option for my family's health - what could be better!?! I say to have anywhere from a 1/2 cup to a full cup of mayo ready to go. I start with a 1/2 cup and just add more {one tbsp at a time} to the mixture until I've reached the perfect consistency. Remember, you can always add more, but once it's in there, you can't take away...so, be careful because there's nothing worse than soggy chicken salad!

Easy as pie, right? I like to let mine sit for at least an hour before serving, just so all the flavors can marinate together. Serve on toasted bread, a buttery croissant or your favorite bagel. You'll love it!

Can you believe we're only 1 1/2 days away from 2011? Ahh!


English Toffee Pie

Gooey Butter Cake

Have you ever heard of this or tired to make one? I have not, that is until Christmas night after my son had passed out from playing so hard all day long. My husband and I were veggin' out with the Food Network on and Miss Paawla Dean {done in my very best southern belle accent} was working away on this cake.

There's not much in the sweets world that I haven't heard of, so it peaked my interest and I ran to the store for the few ingredients I didn't have on hand.

Click HERE if you'd like to see her recipe on foodnetwork.com. It's super easy with a short list of ingredients!

So first of all,
cake does not have a crust and my OCD not only made me half the batter and bake in two pie dishes, it also pushed me to change the name. I'm calling this English Toffee Pie! :)

this is SO easy! I literally had everything in my pantry other than the cake mix and it took me less time to get this pie made than it did for me to load the dishwasher when I was done!

Like, I never want to stop tasting that taste or chewing that soft, buttery, gooey, chocolaty, salty, yummy, magical fabulousness!

If you hadn't had this, go try it now! Remember, we all have a few more days before we have to start our diets...so indulge one last time! This is sooooooooo worth it!


A Crafty Christmas #4

It's December 23rd and this will be my last post before Christmas. First of all...


I hope you and yours have a wonderful weekend full of laughter, joyment and remembrance...take this time to sslllooooowwww down, drink lots of hot chocolate, give multiple hugs and "i love you's" and relax with family and friends!
{Eat more than one cupcake, too!} ;)

Well, last night I finished up the final Christmas craft:
This gift is for my sister-in-law who is anxiously awaiting her second child {gender to be a surprise}, a caring full time nurse and super busy homemaker on her off time. So, what better gift to her than something that can organize her crazy schedule!

This magnetic board is covered in some fabulous fabric I found that is right up her ally...she loves red and the frame matches her home theme perfectly! I can not wait to see her reaction! Hopefully, it will get lots of use...from baby pictures to toddler drawings and a grocery list here and there, it should be a great way to display and organize!

Thanks for tuning in! Again, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas! See you in the New Year!


A Crafty Christmas #3

What do dudes like better than anything?
Chocolate Chip Cookies, of course!
That's my inspiration for all the guys in my family's gifts! A few weeks ago, I saw several blogs posting their refillable cookie jar idea and I LOVED IT! As a baker, this is right up my ally!

All the men are getting a jar of chocolate chip cookies as either a stocking stuffer or part of their gift...when they run out, all they have to do is drop it by and I'll bake a new batch!

Would you like the Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe? It's so easy!
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 cup raw sugar {Regular sugar can be substituted here, but I love the flavor raw sugar gives these cookies! I'll never use white sugar for chocolate chip cookies again!}
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • As many chocolate chips as you like - I didn't even measure mine...just poured a lot! :)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter and sugars together. Add eggs and vanilla - when combined, add in flour and baking soda. Stir in chocolate chips. Spoon dollops of dough on a greased cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes. Cool on a rack and ENJOY!

I think they turned out super cute! {Cuter if my printer wasn't missing, but they're dudes- they probably won't even read the tag!} ;)

I'm loving this Crafty Christmas I've got going on! Only a few more days....Yay!!


A Crafty Christmas #2

You all have inspired me!!

I've seen homemade coasters on many DIY blogs and loved how easy {and inexpensive without looking cheap} they were to make! Here's how mine turned out:

I found white and beige tiles at Lowes for 36 cents a square! Whaa Hoo on that price! I had the paint and stencil from projects past.

After painting each tile, I sprayed the acrylic sealer in 3 coats {waiting an hour between each.} When the last coat had dried, I placed pads in each corner of the tile's underside and after a little fru-fru packaging, I was done!

Women stocking stuffers - CHECK!

I hope you're all having fun with your Christmas crafts! We're only 5 days away!! Yay!

Gingerbread Marshmallows

Ohhh Emmm Geeee!

Have you tried Gingerbread Marshmallows? How can I describe them...looking for the perfect word... SCRUMDIDLYUMPTOUS should work! ;)

And, they really taste like gingerbread! I mean, I had to put them away in my pantry before I could stop eating them! {I have a major sweet tooth and N.O. self control!} For lunch today, I made a Twice Baked Stuffed Sweet Potato and replaced regular marshmallows with these. Sooo good!

Besides snacking on them alone and Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, they would also be great in:
  • Mexican Hot Chocolate
  • Holiday Rice Crispy Treats and Fudge
  • Topping for Sweet Potato or Carrot Casserole
  • Sweet Potato Balls
  • Frosting and Fondant for Cakes
  • Cupcake or Cookie Toppers
They are also super cute - cut into little gingerbread men shapes! You could even decorate them with edible ink pens! I bought a bag last night and have planned quite a few recipes including
them! Mmmm mmmm!


A Crafty Christmas #1

So, this year I am doing the present thing a little different. Up until this point, I have always bought gifts...I L.O.V.E. to shop! And, by shop I mean slap on my tennis shoes, arm myself with coupons and hunt for awesomely discounted merchandise! ;) It's like such an accomplishment and almost high when I find the perfect gift at a deal. Plus, who doesn't like the hustle and bussle of a crowded mall at Christmas? {Well, other than my husband, who until he met me was a full blown internet shopper!}

I have been inspired this year, though, and will be giving {mostly} handmade gifts. I'm pretty excited and thought I'd share my crafts and ideas.

My first gift is to my husband's grandma, Miss Eloise. She is quite spunky and fiesty for a lady her age. Quick story - the first family dinner I was invited to when my husband and I were dating {also the first time I met Eloise}, she leaned over and said to me, "You know, I've heard redheads have the devil in 'em." I could have died because at the time I was sporting red hair! She thought it was hilarious making me squirm like that! I love her - she is so great!!

Well, other than poking fun at all of us, she also likes birds and enjoys a good trip to Big Lots! This is what I came up for her...

I know most of you saw the Button Monogram Pillow splashed around blogland a couple of months ago. That was my inspiration for her gift. I found this gorgeous pillow on sale and bought a bag of buttons from A.C. Moore {with my 40% off coupon!} With a piece of chalk, I drew a bird sitting on a branch freehand and figured out the button placement. I finshed it by adhering the buttons in place with my handy hot glue gun!

Since I hardly spent $5 on her pillow, I wanted to do something more for her...then, I was shopping in Micheal's and found this adorable mini birdcage for $1! I thought it would be perfect to hold a gift card and since Big Lots is one of her favorites, the rest of her gift came together effortlessly!

I'm super excited to see her reaction...although it won't be a giddy "EEEKKKKK!" I know she'll love it, still! Thanks for stopping in! I'm off to finish some stocking stuffers!

Parties I Linked Up To:


Mini Christmas Home Tour

My home is not even close to being finished. I'm sure most of you can sympathize with the fact I'm constantly changing, tweaking and adding to decor. :) Soooo, I'm going to share a few rooms that I'm happy enough with to post!

I don't know anyone who doesn't LOVE this time of year...I look forward to it starting in the summer. {Shhh, don't tell anyone, but I actually had all my Christmas decor up a week before Thanksgiving! That's how much I enjoy the feeling I get at the holidays! haha!}

We're starting in the dining room...and yes, I have a Christmas tree in the dining room! :) This
year's theme is "Partridge In A Pear Tree" - I hosted a Cookie Exchange a couple of weekends ago with that theme...I could kick myself for forgetting to take pictures! Ugh! Anyways, here we go!

This is my favorite room in the house....some of it is probably because I'm a chef and that's where my creations are enjoyed! But, it really is where my family spends most of their time - not to mention, that wall paper is to die for! Literally, I may love it more than I love my husband! ;) {Just kidding, honey!}

I know the table is a little on the skimpy side, but it is used several times a day so complicated centerpieces just doesn't make since for us. That's an old frame I found in the dump pile at a thrift store, so I gave the owner a quarter for it. I have another plan for it after the Christmas decor is put away!

Don't you love this window? My friend and fellow DIY'er gave it to me - it's from her parent's first house which was built by her grandfather. It's the best, right!?! I think I'm going to eventually hang it in our bedroom with an antique map behind it.

Now, we're moving into the living room...my second favorite room in the house! I just placed those shutters behind my hounds tooth chairs. What do you think? It's growing on me...I do think they need something, though, just not sure what that is...

Along with the shutters, this door was found in our attic. They are both solid wood and h.e.a.v.y!

This is my birdhouse wall...my husband and I almost divorced over those shelves! Haha - let's just say, we don't work that well together {when it comes to hanging shelves, anyway} - we both think we're right and have the best way of doing something! ;) No worries, we're still honeymoonin' it!

Check out this neat little area in the small hallway - it's a telephone station! I hated this so much when I first moved in! I just couldn't come up with a cool concept for it...I mean, I'm a baker at heart, ya know! But, then I found that odd little multi-vase thing at a flea market {it's held together by metal wire that's covered up by the Christmas bow.} Isn't it funny how one little $3 piece can get your creative juices flowing?

And, I'm leaving you with snippets of my kiddo's tree...the topper is a wooden train {"choo choo," as my son would say} tied with a bow.

Thank you so much for stopping by...
feel free to comment on any shutter suggestions! :) I need a creative boost for those! I hope you all are having a fun and festive Christmas season!

Jade C.


Making Life A Little Sweeter

I have found something {a little something} that truly makes peeling myself out of the warm, cozy, king size bed COMPLETELY worth it...well, that is other than my son's cutie pie face! ;)

I decided one morning after seeing this tip on Food Network to spice my morning coffee with a little cinnamon - getting into the Christmas spirit, ya know! I just mixed about a teaspoon's worth of cinnamon right in with my coffee grounds before I brewed! {I was making 4 cups that morning...you may want to add more if you're making a larger pot} And, it was DE-lish! It adds a little spice, but more of a depth to the coffee flavor than anything.

This is my kind of math equation!
I have since made it one time without the cinnamon...let's just say I'm not sure I'll ever be able to go back to a regular cup of joe! Small things like this is what makes life a little sweeter! Give it a try and let me know what you think!



"And there was a baby, lying in the manger..."

As far back as I can remember, my family has always had a manger scene displayed at Christmas. It was one of the many ways we remembered what December 25th really represented...the memory of our Savior's birth.

My childhood manger was unlike the one's found in department stores, though. No gold or emeralds or sparkles could be found on it- just a little wood and pine straw made by my dad's hands. It certainly was not beautiful in the traditional meaning, but it was perfect none the less.

When my husband and I bought our house {oddly enough at Christmas time} I searched for a manger to continue the tradition. But, I just couldn't find one that I felt stayed true to the one a baby was born in so many years ago. Completely bummed, I gave up on the purchase and decided to wait until the following year to make one.

Then, I was surprised by my father Christmas day...I remember him handing me a large cardboard box with the top flaps open and tissue paper sticking out. Inside sat a manger, just like the one sitting on his mantel! Although I was not apart of this particular craft, I feel like I just have to share how easy it really is to make! You won't believe it!

My dad used a scrap piece of wood he had on hand. Placing it flat on a work table, he used a little wood glue to adhere the bark along each edge, omitting what will be the front. After placing the sides, he finished by gluing the top piece to the manger's "walls." All that was left to do from there was lay down the pine straw/moss inside the manger {to make the "floor"} and place my figurines.

We did decide to add another piece of bark across the bottom to cover the front edge and really give it a finished look. Literally, in matter of minutes you can have a manger sitting in front of you!

This is one of the best presents I've ever received and I'm so excited I get to share this tradition with my son for years to come...perhaps even make one for his own home one day. {many, many years from now!!} ;)

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!


Blogs I've Linked Up To:



Tracy's Trinkets and Treasures

Not JUST A Housewife

No Minimalist Here

Someday Crafts

The Shabby Nest