Easy Chicken Envelopes with Mushrooms and Cheese

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In my opinion, every cook should have a go-to recipe. It’s the recipe that you know by heart and can make in about 30 minutes to impress those last minute guests that your husband just announced are on their way over. It has to be as easy as it is impressive and something that just about anyone (minus folks with food allergies) will enjoy. This is my favorite go-to recipe.

My dear friend Katie introduced me to a version of this recipe over a decade ago, and I’ve changed it dozens of times over the years to make it my own. I’ve made it for friends and boyfriends, dinner parties and weeknight meals. It’s easily J’s favorite dish! You wanna know what it is? A buttery crescent crust wrapped about a savory blend of cream cheese, chicken and veggies. Yum. And it’s SOO easy. Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients:

1 tube of ready to bake crescent rolls

1 lb chicken breasts

1 tsp coconut oil

1 cup mushrooms, sliced thin**

1 package of cream cheese

1/2 Cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 tsp italian seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

**you can really use any veggies you like here. I’ve also made it with spinach, broccoli and red bell peppers. Vegetarian?? Leave out the chicken and fill it with veggies!**

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Get Cookin’:

1. Preheat your oven to 375 F or whatever temp your crescent roll packaging recommends for it’s rolls. In a large pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Reduce heat, add in your chicken breasts and simmer until cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.

2. Once your chicken is fully cooked, remove from the water and cut it up into bite sized pieces.

3. Heat a large skillet and add your oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add in your sliced mushrooms (and any other veggies) and saute for about 5 minutes. Stir in your chicken and add your italian seasoning and a pinch of salt and pepper. Reduce your heat to medium low and stir in your cream cheese, starting with half of the package (about 4 oz). We’ll be adding in more cream cheese little by little. We want enough to coat the chicken mixture without being a slimy mess. Add in more cream cheese as it melts until you have enough that is coating all the chicken and veggies. Slowly stir in the cheddar cheese and stir just until it melts. Remove mixture from heat.

4. Let’s make some envelopes! Lay a sheet of parchment paper over your baking sheet. Unroll your crescent roll dough and lay it on the counter. There should be 8 triangles pre-cut, but we’ll be combining them into pairs to make 4 squares. Take two connecting triangles and pinch the seam together, laying the new square shape on your baking sheet. It doesn’t have to look pretty, you just want it to hold your ingredients in. Spoon 1/4 of the chicken mixture onto the middle of the dough, then make the dough into an envelope by folding opposite corners into the middle and pinching the seams closed. Repeat for the next 3 envelopes.

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5. Bake for 11-13 minutes, or until your envelopes are a light golden brown. Eat. Drool. Enjoy! So easy!

5 Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies

5 Ingredient Cookies

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend. I felt like our weekend went by way to fast, and I’d love to have an extra day today.

On Saturday I had a bit of extra time on my hands while I waited for J to get home from a photo shoot, so I decided to bake! After a bit of looking around on Pinterest, I found this great recipe for cookies that was super intreguing to me — no butter, no flour and only 5 ingredients. Yep, they are gluten-free with no funky flour substitutes! It really was the 5 ingredient part that sold me. No mixing dry ingredients in a separate bowl from your wet ingredients. The cookies are held together with almond butter instead of flour and literally take about 3 minutes to mix up. It’s genius!

And the cookie itself? So moist and chewy and good! The one bummer is that my cookies fell apart a bit, mostly because I made them extra-large in size. But who really cares if a cookie breaks in half when it tastes good and only takes a few minutes to make. Try them! You’ll love them!

**One lil disclaimer: This recipe calls for all almond butter. I ran out of almond butter and made mine with half almond butter, half peanut butter (both all natural, no sugar or salt added) so feel free to do that as well if you enjoy a peanut buttery taste.

Ingredients:

1 large egg
1 cup almond butter (can also use peanut butter her OR go crazy and do half almond butter and peanut butter)
1/2 Cup light brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips

To Make:

Preheat your oven to 350 F. In a medium-sized bowl whisk your egg. Add in the almond butter, brown sugar and baking soda and stir to combine. Lightly mix in the chocolate chips until just combined.

On a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, drop balls of cookie dough and flatten with the back side of your spoon. Bake for 7-9 minutes. The cookies will continue to bake once out of the oven so don’t over bake! Makes one dozen large cookies or 18 smaller cookies.

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Original recipe from theviewfromgreatisland.com

Our DIY Patio Sofa

photo 1 copyI am SO excited to show this project off today! A special thank you to my amazing hubby, for his mad skills.

I’ve been wanting to spruce up our patio for a while back with some cozy furniture. I had been wanting a place where I could lounge with a good book or catch up with a friend over a warm afternoon latte. But after spending a few summers looking at the furniture at places like Target and Home Depot, I knew that their prices were more than we wanted to spend. I scoured Craigslist but everything listed seemed either grungy and mold-covered or still crazy expensive. I even considered joining the pallet furniture trend and building seating that way, but I hadn’t seen any outdoor furniture with pallets that I really loved, and pallets tend to be crazy heavy.

Then I found my answer. One day I stumbled across this amazing blog called The Design Confidential. The blogger, an incredibly talented woman named Rayan, creates plans to build beautiful furniture inspired by stores like Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn and West Elm and then shares then for FREE on her site. Amazing! So of course I showed the plans I found for a Crate and Barrel patio sofa to J and told him we just had to make it (read: he would make it, I’d find some way to try to help). I had the task of making the cushions. How hard could it be? I used to sew things like in junior high. That was just like yesterday-ish.

Lucky for me I married the manliest of men. J is the kind of man that brews his own beer, rides a vintage motorcycle and takes his own ax on every camping trip in the hopes for chucking it at something wooden and then chopping it into submission. He was up for the task.

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We ended up borrowing a few tools from some friends who are renovating their house, and we built this sofa in about a day. J was the man with the plan (literally), giving me tasks like sanding and drilling and screwing things into wood. It definitely was a 2-man task, mostly because you need the extra hands to hold things in place while the other persons screws them together. I honestly can’t believe how well this thing turned out. It looks totally professional, like we went to the store and bought it!

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Once the building was completed, it was time to stain and seal. We picked out a lovely weathered grey stain that would go super well with the small cushions I’d found at our Crate and Barrel outlet down the street. It went on soooo nicely! And then we sealed it. That’s when things went south.

photo 4 copystain color pre-sealer. le sigh.

The sealer has a honey yellow tint to it, as most sealers do. Unfortunately the yellow when mixed with the gray turned the wood a bright green color. Ugh. It was not what we intended, but it will have to do…for now. If we had known the sealed would have that effect on the stain color, we would have either found another sealer to use that wouldn’t alter the gray color, or would have stuck with a more neutral brown wood color. Nevertheless, it’s stained and sealed. And green.

The final step was to sew some cushions for the seat and back of the couch. I’d done some research and learned that I should get a special type of foam called Ez-Dry which allows water to pass right through it instead of holding on to water like a big heavy sponge. It isn’t cheap — I probably spent close to $100 on the foam alone — but I know that it will last and won’t sag or be all moldy like the cheap stuff. I ordered my fabric online from fabric.com and borrowed a few sewing machines from friends (long story but the first one didn’t function properly and basically brought me to tears of frustration).

I really was crossing my fingers that my jr high sewing skills would come back, and after LOTS of online tutorials on sewing box cushions and a first not-so-perfect cushion, I managed to create 3 mostly well sewn cushions and one ugly duckling. I had plans to give each cushion lovely green piping, but it was going to take such a long time that I ditched that plan. Thankfully, when it’s all put together it still looks great!

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If there is a piece of furniture for your home or patio that you’ve always wanted but don’t want to shell out lots of money on, why don’t you take a stab at making it yourself? Even with it’s imperfections, a piece that you make is going to be way more valuable to you than something you just pick up at the store.

Want to make this piece? Here are a few extra details:

  • projects costs (estimates) : wood and tools about $125 / fabric $45 / foam $100 / 3 crate and barrel pillows $30 (outlet)
  • the plan we used is for Crate and Barrel’s Reef sofa (click here for the building plan)
  • the sofa in this plan sits just 6 inches off the ground. That was too short for our liking so we added about another 5 inches to our height
  • you CAN build this in one day if you have two people working together. One person sanding while the other cuts. You’ll need another day or two for staining and sealing
  • splurge and buy the EZ-dry foam. In the end I think it only came out to about $20 more than the regular foam which is totally worth it to not have water-logged cushions
  • Make sure your fabric is made for the outdoors! Sunbrella is the best known outdoor fabric but also is very expensive. I found this fabric for just $8.99 a yard on fabric.com. It is water and mold resistant and can withstand 1500 hours of direct sunlight
  • Don’t give up if you mess up! Most mistakes can be fixed or hidden.