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The Freckled Canvas

The Freckled Canvas: March 2014

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Wedding Thank You Notes Advice

I'm a planner. I like lists and making preparations so everything goes perfectly. So a long time ago I started asking for peoples wedding invites, like people I barely knew. Why did I do that? So that when the time came to write and make my own I would have plenty to draw from.

via k. holly photography

My favorite to this day is from a friend I met at Institute in Salt Lake. He and his fiance had their friends write a little something about them. Either how they met, what they were like as a kid, what their talents are, and their missions. Then they made their own little newspaper and sent it as the announcement and then also a color picture. Seriously, I told some of my friends about it and then everyone wanted to see it. I would take some pictures but it's packed away in Utah.

I also collect the wedding thank you cards. I've been known to take pictures of wedding thank you cards or even take them. Some of my favorites are ones who take a picture on their wedding day with the words "thank" and "you" or even use pictures from the engagement shoot. I also really like when the wedding thank you cards match the wedding colors because then it's like a little reminder of the fun reception!

But the best part of the wedding thank you cards are the personal notes. Ladies (and gentlemen who are helping your wife write thank you notes) please make it personal! Don't use some poem that someone else wrote that has no connection to you and the gift-giver. The person you're writing to took the time to pick out a gift, write you a card, get dressed up, and come celebrate with you. I know you are writing quite a few a ton of thank you cards but take the extra couple seconds per card and make it personalized. Because the people you are sending it to will realize that you just BS-ed your way through this. And then when it comes time for your baby shower, they might not be so generous. And let's be honest, gifts are the best part of the baby shower!

Write something like this:

Dear (people's names-first names if you're close, last names if not),

Thanks so much for your (lovely gravy bowl, sweet gift card, awesome mr. and mrs. hoodies, or what have you)! We (loved it/can't wait to use it)! Thank you for supporting us!

Mr. and Mrs. (your new last name)

Because you should take every chance you can to write your new last name while you still get excited about it!

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Best Chicken Parmesan in the World!

That's right! This is the best recipe I have ever had! And that includes the first time I ever had it. It was a warm summer night, in the hills of Georgia. It was at Camp Concharty-a Girl Scout camp and man was it good! But this tops it!

 About two years ago I was listening to Elvis Duran and the Morning Show and they talked about Elvis's Chicken Parm recipe. A couple days later they posted it online. I made it and the family fell in love and the rest was history!

 Here's a picture from the latest batch:


The recipe isn't hard, but it does take a little bit. The first part of the ingredients don't need to be measured, but the second part does.


Boneless Chicken Breast(s)
1/2 cup of Salt (to brine the chicken)
Italian Seasoned Breadcrumbs or Panko (about one package for 4-5 chicken breasts)
2 eggs
Olive Oil
Mozzarella or Provolone Cheese (I recommend having extra)

1/2 of a Small Onion 2 cloves of Garlic
(2) 28 oz cans of Crushed Tomatoes
(1) 12 oz can of Tomoato Sauce

 I start by dissolving the 1/2 cup of salt in 4 cups of cold water. Then I move to cutting large breasts in half, and then I put them, one by one, in a gallon size plastic bag to pound them. I find it so much easier than using plastic wrap because it's sturdier and lasts for all of the prep instead of having to cut multiple pieces of plastic wrap. After that's finished I put them straight into brine. I brine for 20 minutes. If you're worried about it being too salty, which only my brother Will does, then only brine it for 10 minutes. It's soft but not at all salty, or at least that's what he says.

While the chicken is brining I make a simple tomato sauce that is AMAZING! Dice your half onion into as small as you can get it, I use a chopper. For the garlic, I love using the jarred stuff, so simple! Saute those along with some olive oil, but be sure not to burn the garlic. Then add in the the cans of tomatoes. I like to get cans of crushed tomatoes that have a little bit on an italian blend. Usually it's basil and two other herbs, but original will do as well. Let it simmer for 30 minutes, then add a touch of salt and pepper.

The sauce makes a lot, but it's great to use for spaghetti or to use on pizza. I make a couple batches and then can them. And by can them, I mean my mom cans them. By the time you've got the sauce going your timer for the brining should have gone off, or is close. Cover a baking sheet in tin foil for easy clean up. Set oven to broil.

Get two plates and a bowl out. Put your flour and breadcrumbs or panko on separate plates. Then crack the eggs into the bowl, wisk and then add about 2 teaspoons of water. If it's still thick, add more water slowly. Take out the chicken breasts, and dry them-I use paper towels.

Dredge the chicken in the flour and shake off extra. Coat it in the egg wash. Then cover it in your choice of breadcrumbs or panko. Press down to make sure it's thoroughly covered!

Fill a large skillet with half an inch of olive oil and set on medium high heat. Once oil is hot, but not smoking. Saute each piece until golden brown.

As each piece is done set it on the baking sheet in the oven. When you're half way done, or the thirty minutes are up, spread some sauce onto each breast. Then put some cheese on top of the sauce. Leave it in until it starts to bubble.

Once you get going you'll see how easy it is! If you don't have time, or the ingredients, to make the tomato sauce it's still great with the bottled stuff! Let me know how it worked for you and your family!

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