A Crafting We Will Go

The flip flops, Bow, matching barrettes, and bracelets

The flip flops, Bow, matching barrettes, and bracelets

A Girly Birthday

Spane and Noelle are very good friends, and play together a lot. Her mother, Amber, and I sat down a few weeks ago and started making plans for the party. Amber is going to make a waterfall scene cake, and I told her I would make some pixies for it. I will be posting that when I make them made the Pixie wings, as the party is not for another 10 2 days, and now, I have made the pixies out of marzipan. But, we went to Michaels and got some great gifts to make for Noelle. You can view the album of pictures we took to see the completed projects.

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50 Again? Great Northern White Chicken Chili

Recipes in this Post

  • Great Northern While Chili

    Well, it’s that time of year again. Until I was in my late thirties, it always rained on my birthday, then it stopped raining on my birthday. I was rather amused when I looked a the weather forecast and saw that it was supposed to rain on the 16th of February, 2011 in Los Angeles.

    As we have just moved in, and some things are still not completely organized, I thought I would make a simple dinner and a simple cake. It turned out I did not have to make the cake, my friend Adel brought a great cake from the bakery for me. But what to make for dinner on a cold, wet day?

    Chili, of course, was the answer – but not any chili – no I wanted something special for my birthday, and I remembered that I used to make Great Northern White Chili. I had not made it for years.

    The like this chili because it’s not too hot, so it’s perfect for people who don’t tolerate heat very well. I love a lot of heat, but I know a lot of people don’t. This chili is also rich because it has cream in it. This chili also does very well in the crock pot, just precook the ingredients and let the beans cook in the Crockpot.

    Recipe: Great Northern White Chili

    Summary: This is a great change from the usual bowl of red


    • 1 package Great Northern Beans
    • 2 Pasilla Chilies
    • 1 Green Pepper
    • 1 Onion
    • 2 Garlic Cloves
    • 1 Chicken Breasts skinned and boned
    • 3 cans Chicken Stock
    • 1 tablespoon Oregano
    • 1 teaspoon Basil
    • 1 teaspoon Thyme
    • 1/4 cup Cream


    1. Rinse beans. Fill a large pot with beans and cover with cold water. Bring to boil and boil for 5 minutes. Cover and remove from heat, let sit, covered for 2 hours. Drain beans and set aside.
    2. Char and peel chilies and green pepper.
    3. In food processor with chopping blade:
    4. 1. Chop charred peeled chilies and pepper.
    5. 2.Chop onion and garlic.
    6. 3. Chop cut up chicken breast.
    7. Reheat the pot and add oil. Add chilies, pepper and onion and sauté until the onion is translucent.
    8. Add chicken and break up with a spatula as you sauté, about 5 minutes.
    9. Add beans and broth.
    10. Add seasonings.
    11. Cover and simmer for about 1 hour or until the beans are almost tender. Remove the cover and allow some of the broth to reduce.
    12. Add the cream and reduce further, stirring to prevent scorching.
    13. Serve with sour cream and cilantro.

    Quick notes

    This is also a very good dish for a Pot Luck.


    You can make this in the Crockpot as well. Sauté the onions, pepper and chicken separately, then add them to the beans and liquid and cook for 8 hours.

    Preparation time: 30 minute(s)

    Cooking time: 8 hour(s)

    Number of servings (yield): 6

    Culinary tradition: USA (Southwestern)

    My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 10 review(s)

    Copyright © The Good Plate.
    Recipe by Adrienne Boswell.
    Microformatting by hRecipe.

Birthday Impossible! Spane’s 7th Birthday Party

Bonnie and Charley took Spane and I out to the movies on Saturday night, November 20, 2010 to see Megamind and have dinner at Olive Garden.  Olive Garden’s wait was an hour and a half!  So, we decided to go to Outback instead.  It was a fine dinner, much better than I think Olive Garden would have been.  But, we did not get home until after 10pm, so doing any of dishes mentioned in the Spane’s Birthday – The Prep was impossible.  How in the world was I going to have everything cooked and ready to go by 2:00pm when the party was supposed to start?

Lotus Organizer to the rescue – thank you forever, Adel, for hammering this into my head.  I sat down Saturday night and planned the schedule for the next morning.  It was tight, and below is a picture of my schedule:


5:45 – Get up

I got up at 5:45 and got going on the schedule.  The first thing was to put the beans on for its soak.  Wait! Not soak beans over night?  According to the U.S. Dry Bean Council

Preferred Hot Soak and Quick Soak Methods — Hot soaking helps dissolve some of the gas-causing substances, making the beans easier to digest. For each pound beans, add 10 cups hot water; heat to boiling and let boil 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and set aside for at least one hour (Quick Soak), or up to 4 hours (Hot Soak).

I also removed the chili grind beef from the freezer and put the stew meat and pork chops in the freezer so they would be easier to chop up later.  Partially frozen meat cuts a lot better.  It only has to be in the freezer for about an hour or so.

The next thing I did was pour myself a cup of coffee left over from the day before.  Yes, I drink left over coffee.  Coffee does not spoil for a long time – it’s too acidic.

When the coffee had woken me up a little, I floundered around until I found my glasses.  I’m not sure how I got the stuff done before I had my glasses on, but I did.

7:00 – Begin Prep for Spinach Balls

Chopping onions for the Spinach Balls and Chili.  Amber started working on the tablescape – this birthday’s theme – Thomas the Tank Engine.

7:30 – Prepare Chili

The meats were sufficiently hard to cut up.  I cut up the beef stewing meat and the pork chops.

8:00 – Make first cake – Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting

Had all the ingredients together, mixed the cake and put it in the oven to bake.  Ezekiel got the bowl.

8:30 – Make Spinach Balls

Asked the children if they wanted to help making the Spinach Balls. Ezekiel and Spane were my biggest helpers.  Noelle said she didn’t like the way they felt, so she just made a small one.

9:00 – Put on Chili and Spinach Balls

Sautéed onions in bacon fat, and added chili mix, meats, soaked beans and water.  Removed the first cake from the oven and set to cool.  Put spinach balls in the oven..


  • Bag Dried New Mexico chili
  • Bag Dried Pasilla chili
  • Bag Dried California chili
  • Bag Dried Cumin

Be careful doing this.  Those chili pack a punch.  As the cook, you will be fine, but it’s a good idea to tell anyone downwind to leave for about 20 minutes.  I didn’t realize that until it was too late, and Amber and the kids eyes were watering and choking from the cooking dried chilies.

9:30  – Make second cake – Grapefruit Birthday Cake

Amber did not have a spring form pan, so I just put the eggs in like I would a regular cake.  Mistake!  There was hardly any batter to split between the two pans, so we had very short layers for that cake.

10:00 – Make vegetable plate and Stuffed Celery

I cut the mushrooms in half and the celery sticks in quarters.  I had purchased mini carrots, and they were perfect.

The stuffed celery was a recipe from Saveur magazine, originally from my favorite restaurant, Musso and Frank in Hollywood.


10:30 – Frost Chocolate Cake

I love this frosting.  It’s so easy, and I found out if comes out better using a whisk than using a beater!  When I went to remove the wax paper from the bottom of the plate, the cake was so moist it broke apart!  Chocolate Jimmies to the rescue, though.  Spane thought it would look great with an invitation stuck in the top.  He was right!


11:00 – Frost Grapefruit Cake

Even though the layers were short, the cake turned out lovely.  I used a lot of the frosting for filling, put grapefruit sections on top, and decorated the plate with purple and green sugars.


11:30 – Make Ham Rolls

I made the ham rolls, and put them on a plate garnished with parsley,  Then we put a bowl of ripe olives in the middle for those who were a little afraid of the spiciness.

Recipe: Spicy Ham Rolls


  • 1 package cream cheese
  • 1 package of 8 slices of smoked ham (not honey ham)
  • 1 can chopped jalapeños


  1. Bring the cream cheese to room temperature. Knead it while still in its pouch to make it more malleable.
  2. Mix the jalapeños and cream cheese together.
  3. Put some of the cream cheese mixture on the top of a slice of ham.
  4. Roll the slice of ham away from you.
  5. Cut the ham roll in three and put on a nice platter. Do this with the remaining cheese and ham.

Quick notes

You can use fresh peppers, but the canned ones are more convenient.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time:

Number of servings (yield): 8

Culinary tradition: USA (Southwestern)

My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

Copyright © The Good Plate.
Recipe by Adrienne Boswell.
Microformatting by hRecipe.



12:00 – Take a shower and dye hair

Well, I didn’t have time to dye my hair, but I did have time to take a shower and get dressed.

12:30 – Make Sweet Corn Bread

Usually, I make muffins, but running out of time by now, it was regular corn bread.  Yum!

1:00 – Final Tablescapepartystarting

The kids did a great job helping Amber put up her wonderful idea for a tablescape.  The theme was Thomas the Tank Engine, as Spane really loves trains.  She used his plastic train tracks from child care that Maria Torres had given us years ago, and placed trains along the tracks.  She also put up a picture of Thomas on an easel on the table.


Noelle put on her party wig, and she and Spane took a picture by the lovely table.

1:30 – Spane takes his shower

Spane just did not look right for his party, so I asked his father, Douglas, to get him some clothes and supervise him while he took a shower.  He was ready just in time for the party.

2:00 – Party starts – RIGHT ON TIME

candleslitThe party was a big success.  Spane got a bike from his father, a bear from Amber, a book from Noelle, Play Dough from Lillian, a puzzle from the BVM Sisters, a book from Laura, and Dreambox from me.

Check out the photos on Spane’s 7th Birthday Party Album.

Spane’s Birthday – The Prep

Spane on November 15, 2010 at the camera store

Recipes in this post

Spane’s birthday is tomorrow, November 21, 2010.  He is going to be 7 years old!  So, like every birthday there is the preparation for the party.  This year will be the first one where he gave out invitations.

Originally, we were going to have the party at Carr Park, but since it is supposed to rain, Amber volunteered to host the party at her house.  That meant sending out notices to everyone to let them know about the change of venue.  I hope everyone will make it.

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