MMM – Media Alert Monday: Polyvore

Heard on NPR this morning: allows Web fashionistas to express style; change fashion is the link. The actual radio broadcast was very interesting, worth a listen to the announcer talking about the metrics that this Web site can grab from its users and how fashion designers (once a rather unruly group that did not like to be told how to design) are starting to listen.

Very interesting report that shows a very important connection between two arenas you may never have expected!

Click on over and check it out. Definitely give this one a listen and then make your own Polyvore fashion collage. My first attempt is below, featuring designs from some of my favorites – old fave DVF and new favorite Issa (neither of which I can afford, by the way). I think I’ll have to visit this site often – they even have interior design options.

P.S. Check out the ads that you drag in with your image – very clever. I wonder what percentage Net-a-porter and others pay for their click-throughs? Good site all around for Web professionals to follow. Wish I’d thought of that!

I think I should title this image: “Mom can dream, right?”

569 EUR –
Ballet dress »

Christian Louboutin Patent Pump
$595 –
Patent leather shoes »

Mulberry bags BLACK
914 GBP –
Oversized bags »



Too sick to cook. Oh, well…

Bowl of hard-earned chicken soup.

Bowl of hard-earned chicken soup.

I really was too sick to cook this past week. Barely got out of bed on Thursday, but the dear husband was out of town on Friday. So, I dragged my germy butt out of bed and began to rummage through the kitchen for something besides sugary cereal and miso soup for my little one and me to eat.

No luck.

The good thing about buying good, fresh veg, raw meats and lovely cheeses, as well as making many of your own pastas, breads and snacks is that I control much of what goes into my family’s collective tummy. Less preservatives. Less freezer burn.

The bad thing? No frozen crap available to nuke when Mom is sick.

And Bethy’s idea of cooking is pulling some graham crackers out of the snack drawer. Bless her.

So, since there were 4 pounds of chicken thighs waiting to be cooked in my ‘fridge and I was always told to feed a cold – I propped myself up on the kitchen stool and got to work. First, boiled the chicken thighs until nearly done. Cooled those suckers and then picked the meat off. I dumped almost all of the water out of the pot – but I did reserve about 4 cups. I decided to make this “broth like” to keep my cough to a minimum. No cream of chicken soup was to be found in my cupboard, anyway.

Chicken went in.
A can of carrots.
A can of ‘schrooms.
Leftover peas.
The kernels from two frozen ears of corn.
A little salt and pepper.
And I threw in a stock cube to make sure it was nice and salty.

Now, originally, I found a half box of wheat pasta in the pantry and planned to throw that in. Simple, right? But, when I ventured to the pantry to dig out the stock cubes – darn if I didn’t see that box of “baking mix” on the baking shelf. I could suddenly see those fluffy little clouds of bread-y goodness melting in my mouth (had to visualize it, couldn’t actually taste anything at this point of my cold). So, once the veg and the chicken pieces got nice and happy in their hot tub (did I mention that my cough medicine has codeine in it?) I threw together the recipe for drop biscuits on the back of the box. Threw those in. I happily watched them puff up. Flipped those dudes over and let them finish cooking.

A few minutes later, I was the proud owner of a large mixing bowl full of Pantry Dump Chicken Soup. And, hey, it wasn’t too bad. I think. But, hey, I stayed upright for about 30 minutes to accomplish my task. And, even though my toddler refused to share in my bounty – preferring cheese and crackers –  the warmth, salt and protein got me through a very long Friday.

Unfortunately, the cold medicine also got me. I fell asleep far too early and spaced it off, leaving the “leavins” on the stove. So, the dogs got a very nice Saturday morning breakfast!

Beautiful tenderloin

The Never Fail Tenderloin never fails me and I can cook it just right - mooing!

The Never Fail Tenderloin never fails me and I can cook it just right - nice and rare!


A friend introduced me to a new cookbook and I simply love it. It’s beautiful, it has wonderful food and it’s even local. Written in honor of Carlene Banks, one of Wichita’s late “Grande Dames” and with proceeds benefitting our terrific museum (the Wichita Art Museum or WAM), Artfully Done Across Generations is both a cookbook and a coffee-table-worthy art book featuring images of art from the WAM collection. 

 With 538 recipes (I’ve only tried a handful), but I can testify that they have all been spectacular. In fact, I’ve included several in my cooking school and served the Never-Fail Beef Tenderloin several times already. The family even asked for it for this year’s Easter dinner! I’m thinking we’ll go with a more traditional ham, though! 

You all should try this terrific recipe – it’s incredibly easy and very tasty! It gives a sweet and savory crunch to the outside of a succulent and tender cut of meat. And it is simple to ensure you reach your desired “doneness” with this recipe, as well. Just make sure you have a thermometer!

Another little trick? This rub works beautifully with a skirt steak or flank steak – you know those less expensive cuts meant for fajitas in the meat case? Follow the same instructions, but start watching your meat after about 10 minutes – those thin cuts cook quickly!

Never Fail Beef Tenderloin (modified)
Original recipe from Artfully Done Across Generations
1 (5 to 6 pound) beef tenderloin, trimmed
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 pressed garlic cloves
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup brown sugar  (packed)
1 cup beef stock

Preheat your oven to 375. Combine mustard, garlic, salts and pepper then coat the tenderloin with your mustard mix. Then, press brown sugar evenly into the mustard and place in the oven, uncovered. Bake until reaches desired doneness. (140 degrees for rare and 150 for medium rare. Anything more than that and you’ve committed blasphemy and ruined a 40-buck cut of meat.)

I serve the tenderloin sliced and without any sauce or decoration. It’s too good to cover up in my opinion. However, the formal recipe says that while you allow the meat to rest (10 minutes should do it) that you add the stock to your pan drippings and heat through to serve as a sauce.

Hint: This is extra good the next day, sliced thinly and served on a fresh croissant with a creamy horseradish sauce.
Artfully Done cookbook



Chicken bundles make elegant nibbles

Chicken bundle.

Chicken bundles are tasty and adorable.

I’ve blogged before about the Artfully Done Across Generations cookbook that was published to benefit the Wichita Art Museum (WAM). I’ve had fun working my way through this beautiful cookbook, and I can’t decide whether to put it back on my shelf of cookbooks, or place it on the coffee table with warnings of dire consequences to my children if they touch or maim it in any way.

Many of the cookbook’s recipes require fancy, expensive or just plain not-in-my-cupboard kind of ingredients. But I keep going back! So, I suppose it will stay in my kitchen, gaining many stains of honor.

I’ve tried several recipes, but this one is my favorite, so far. I’ve made up dozens and frozen them so that I can have plenty available for unexpected company or (the more likely) the night that a “frozen dinner” is necessary for our busy, crazy family.  Chicken boursin bundles are one of 538 recipes, and a definite standout.

The best part? The main ingredient is cheap chicken. And you can stock up on the Boursin cheese (just freeze it, double bagged in a Ziploc!) after most holidays, to help minimize the cost of these tasty treats.

Chicken Boursin Bundles
From the Artfully Done Across Generations Cookbook
Phyllo sheets (they call for 8, but I rip 8 before I finish, so get a big box)
1/2 cup butter (I recommend sweet cream)
4 or 5 chicken tenderloins, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 carton French garlic and herb cream cheese
1 tablespoon grated onion (or shallot)

Prep for Chicken Boursin Bundles.

Prep for Chicken Boursin Bundles.

 Thaw phyllo dough and unroll sheeets onto a smooth, dry surface (I have a12x20 piece of marble I use for work like this, picked it up at Lowe’s for a few bucks!). Cover with plastic wrap THEN a damp towel.  Next, grate some onion (or shallots, I really liked it when I substituted one) and mix into your Boursin cheese.

Bundles before the Pinch!

Bundles before the Pinch!


Now take one phyllo sheet at a time, and lay it on a countertop (or another surface like a marble floor tile above), brush with some melted butter and layer them. Eight sheets should do it. If you’re like me, you’ll go through sixteen in order to get eight unripped, unblemished sheets. Don’t worry, it’s normal – I think.

Cut your phyllo-butter dough into squares that are about four inches. Spoon about a half teaspoon of cheese/onion mixture onto each one and top with a chunk of chicken. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Gather edges and pinch together. Brush with butter to help glue phyllo together better and to give it a good, golden glaze.

 Place them, evenly spaced, on a baking sheet.

Place them, evenly spaced, on a baking sheet.

Pop into a 425 degree oven after placing on an ungreased cookie sheet. The recipe says to freeze them first, but I’m a mom, I’m usually in a hurry so I skip that step. Bake on lower rack for about 10 minutes. Serve warm. Yum.

Note: even though my husband loves these little bundles of joy, he claims they are more “baby shower” appropriate than Final Four, SuperBowl or BCS Championship appropriate! Not sure I agree, but thought I would share the opinion!

Don’t forget the cookbook is available: Artfully Done Across Generations Cookbook