Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Peanut butter-y heaven

Peanut butter and Jelly... delicious.
Peanut butter and Chocolate...MAGICAL!!!!!!
The perfect marriage between the creamy, crispy, crunchy peanut butter and the smooth sweet milk chocolate, in this treat, will have you going back for seconds.

Check this out! The first thin layer is chocolate chip brownie. Next, comes the magical mix I took from a recipe my dear friend Jodie gave me for buck eye's. It's chunky peanut butter, mixed with butter and rice cereal. The top layer is a thin layer of melted milk chocolate chips. It is just enough to finish off this treat...

I still need to come up with a name for these...they are soo good!!!!

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

I've been busy!!

Our holiday was fabulous! Spending time with my family is the most important thing to me. We were able to visit a little bit with everyone this year! But that didn't keep me away from my kitchen! Coming up soon is a fabulous recipe for molasses rolls.. And..Here's a little something I've been working on this weekend!
I made these cute little cupcakes for a holiday gathering a friend was having for her family. :)

I went a little camera crazy.. I hope I can get some to show you how they look-- all set up on the cupcake tower.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Sugar/Shortbread Cookies with Royal Frosting

Busy working on these sugar cookies..they take a LONG time..but they are worth it...
I want to share the recipe I found online for Royal Frosting (I switched it up a tiny bit) is so fluffy & very easy to work with! Check out some of my pictures!

Royal Frosting Recipe

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Royal Frosting Recipe

2 pounds confectioners' sugar (maybe a little bit more- so get an extra bag just in case)
start off with 2/3 cup of water (you will need to add more)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of meringue powder (I use the wilton brand and they have it at walmart or your local cake supply store... our's is AC MOORE or Michael's)
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
gel paste in the colors you would like to use

First mix sugar water and meringue powder in your mixer on low. (Mix this nice & slow at first... or you will have a puff of sugar all over the place...) Your icing will probably be thick, so add water (a little at a time) until you get the consistency you are looking for. I like to keep the icing on the thicker side. But thin enough to pipe designs on my cookies. Next, if you would like to make the icing a different color- add your gel paste a little at time until you get the color you are looking for. I divided the icing into a few different batches and made a few different colors for my cookies.
You can either use this right away- or refrigerate up to a week.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Challah Bread

Well, I did it! This morning I made the bread dough..then I let it rise for an hour... after that, I punched it down... and let is rise again..but this time in the fridge..while I was at work.
It more than doubled in size and it was gorgeous looking dough.. but wait...I think the bread came out just as nice... I am still working on the braiding...but here are my two sweet challah breads. I just finished taking them out of the oven... One is a chocolate chip bread and the other is just sweet challah...I wish you could smell my house... the air is so sweet and thick...
it's that smell when you open the door as you walk into a bakery----the thick air tickles your nose..and as you breath in your first breath, you gain about ten pounds from that wonderful sweet smell...

Chocolate Chip Challah

Sweet Challah Breads

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Challah Bread


For the past week or so...I have had Challah on my mind. I've researched a variety of recipes. This morning I woke up at about 4 and as I sat up in bed..I knew today was the day to try it out.
I've never had Challah...although I've seen it in bakeries...and heard such wonderful things about how it tastes...
SO this morning as I let the yeast do it's magic...I am trying it out!
Hoping it comes out just right. This recipe calls for honey as the sweetener...which make me SO HAPPY!  I love using healthy & local ingredients...
I have this great honey... it's made a by a local bee keeper in Milford, CT. I actually bought a TON of it to replace my son's allergy medicine... we wanted to try that theory out!
I'd better get back to baking this Challah!
Has anyone ever baked it before??? How did yours come out... ?? Recipe and picture's to follow soon!

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Half Moon Cookies

This cookie recipe was passed down from my my mother, who is the master of all cookies and just about anything baked! My mom is amazing in the kitchen! I can remember every year at Christmas-- the teachers in my elementary school would wait patiently for the enormous tray of cookies my mom would give out. The tray was filled with a large variety of all of her special holiday cookies. They were beautiful!
I admire my mom for all of her hard work...and for the hours she spent baking these special gifts.
These are one of my favorite cookies (aren't they all?? lol) They are such a light cookie and they practically melt in your mouth. The powdered sugar and flakey butter cookie..mixed with that little walnut in the middle is the perfect holiday treat!

Here's what ya need:
4 cups of flour
1 cup of confect. sugar
2 eggs yolks
1 jigger (shot) of whiskey
1lb unsalted butter
extra confect. sugar

In your mixer blend the sugar & butter.
Next,add egg yolks and mix.
Now, add the whiskey and mix
Finally add the flour.
Mix the ingredients until dough comes away from bowl (I used a spoonula thing..because the dough gets all over your hands.. I use my hands at the end... when it comes together better)
** You may need a little more flour at the end.. you'll know.
Once your dough is formed, roll into crescents (they should look like a cresent moon.. not too thick.. not to big.. about the length of your pointer finger..then curve to shape like a moon)
Once you have formed the crescents, push a walnut in the center.. (small - medium piece of a walnut.. not an entire huge walnut)

Now, bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.

While they are baking- place some confectioners sugar onto a plate or piece of wax paper.

Then,while the cookies are still warm(but not burning hot! Wait a minute or two! If they are too hot they will break in half).. roll in confect. sugar.

I just know you are going to love these!!!

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009


December is the official month for baking all different types of cookies, for me!! But this year I am going to throw in some cupcakes and cake truffles too!!
So check out the recipes this month! They are sure to be YUMMY!!!


Peppermint Cupcakes decorated for Christmas

Half Moon Cookies (greek cookies)

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Madagascar Bourban Vanilla BLONDIES

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees

here’s what ya need:
2 sticks of unsalted butter (melted)
2 cups of dark brown sugar
2 eggs (at room temp)
2 teaspoons of madagascar bourbon vanilla extract (powder or liquid)
¼ teaspoon of salt
1 ¾ cups of flour
¼ cup of wheat germ
1 cup of milk chocolate chips ( you can use semi‐sweet if you have those!)
1 cup of white chocolate chips
½ cup of chopped walnuts (I also added a ½ cup of macadamia nuts)

First, in your mixer – mix in brown sugar and melted butter.
Next, add in your eggs & vanilla. (should smell really good by now)
Then, add the salt, flour and wheat germ.
Finally, fold in your chocolate chips & nuts.
Spray a 9x13 baking dish & coat well. Pour you batter into the dish and bake for about 25 minutes. Keep checking on these. They should look a little shiny on top (like the crust on a
brownie & they will be gooey!)

Let cool – Then cut into bars.

For the bars in the picture… I melted extra milk chocolate in the microwave & drizzled it over the top of each bar.


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Pecan Turtle Recipe

pecan turtle recipe

here’s what ya need:

2 bags of whole pecans (from the baking aisle)
1 large bag of whatever chocolate chips that you like ( i used milk chocolate!)
1 bag of kraft caramels
Couple of teaspoons of milk
Before you do anything else… line a cookie sheet w/ parchment paper & spray it well with a nonstick cooking spray. (you will probably need 2 cookie sheets)

Okay now, melt the caramel with the milk.(I put it in a microwave safe bowl, for about 20 seconds at a time until it is melted…stirring as I go)

Next, grab a bunch of your pecans & place them in little bite size clusters on your parchment paper… go ahead & do that, remember to leave enough room between them.

Now, take the caramel you just melted, with a spoon dollop a little bit over the pecans. Once you’ve done that to all of your clusters, place the cookie sheet in the freezer so that the caramel can harden.

While the caramel is cooling, grab another microwave safe bowl and melt your chocolate… watch out…my bowl gets really hot!

Once your chocolate is ready and the caramel has hardened… take the cookie sheet out of the freezer then dip the tops of each cluster into the chocolate.
Place back on the cookie sheet to set.

These are so YUMMY!
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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Nutella Linzers

2 cups of flour (regular all purpose flour..I use King Arthur)
2/3 cup of sugar (you are going to need about 1/4 of this when you ground the almonds--so they don't form a paste)
1 cup of sliced almonds toasted then ground up
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of cinammon
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 teaspoon of madagascar bourbon vanilla extract
 2 egg yolks

confectioners sugar to dust over top of cookie

Toast the almonds for about 8-10 minutes.
Let cool. Then put in food processor with 1/4 of the sugar. (this is part of the sugar you need)
Set this aside for later.

In your mixer cream the butter & left over sugar until fluffy. Add in the egg yolks and vanilla. Once that is combined add in the nut mixture.Lastly add in the flour & the salt. Once the dough is mixed, wrap in platic wrap and let refrigerate for about an hour.

Once the dough is refrigerated... and ready to go...
roll out your dough on a well floured area to about a quarter of an inch. (you will probably have to cut the dough in half  & roll seperately)
Cut out your cookies... some of your cookies will be the top and some will be the bottom. The tops will need an extra small cookie cut out in the middle of the cookie. Make sure you make enough matches. ( you can re-roll out the dough.... the only problem I had was that the dough got crumbly from rolling it out to many times! I don't have a lot of I had to roll it out a few times!)

I use a baking stone to bake my cookies. I baked these at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes..(keep checking them) They will be a pale golden color.

Cool these cookies on a cooling rack.

Then take one full cookie and use as the bottom.. I flipped the cookie over and spread the nutella on it.
THEN place your top cookie (the one with the cut out) on top and make a little sandwich.

Dust with confectioners sugar!!!

These are so delicious!! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!!!
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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Chicken Roll Ups

When my children beg me for chicken nuggets... I always ask... how about some "chicken balls" instead? That's what we call them..but when I share the recipe I change it to roll ups.(lol)  The name chicken balls, always gets a chuckle from my son.
This recipe is delicious and has been passed down through my family.
You can make a few or a bunch at a time--- they freeze well.  I find myself making extra  & freezing them. Then, when I need a quick "go to" meal, I can grab a few out of the freezer and warm them up.

Here's what you will need:

One package of boneless chicken breast slice thinly-- I usually get about 12 thin slices out a a 1- 1 1/2 pound package (if you want to buy the thin slices... go for it...)
1 to 1 1/2 cups of seasoned bread crumbs
about a 1/4 of a cup of olive oil
about 1/3 of a cup of fresh parmesan cheese
about 1/2 tablespoon of paprika
salt and pepper to taste

First slice your chicken breast thin. You should get about 12 slices..more or less.
Next, combine the breadcrumbs, parm cheese, paprika, (and salt and pepper ) on a plate.
Then in a bowl or plate, with ridges, pour your olive oil.

Now, you can do one or two things...
You can either take your chicken & dredge it in the olive oil..
 or you can coat it with a brush.
I like to coat it with a brush..don't laugh..
I use my grilling brush (my utensil space is limited in my little kitchen!)

After you have the chicken coated or wet enough that the breadcrumb mixture will stick to it...
Place it on the breadcrumbs and then flip so that both sides are coated with breadcrumbs.

Now, all you  have to do is roll them up...

AND place them side by side on a cookie sheet (please excuse mine, it is well seasoned, I think it was my mom's at one point). The side should be touching.

Bake them in the oven at 325-350 (depending on your pan)for about 25-30 minutes.

I serve this with homemade rice pilaf and broccoli. My family (especially the kids, LOVE THIS MEAL!)

(whoops I overcooked the broccoli)

Rice Pilaf

1 1/2 tbsps of butter
couple handfulls of thin egg noodles
3 chicken flavored buillion cubes
2 1/4 cups of warm water
1 cup of rice

put butter and noodles into small sauce pan/pot..brown up noodles just a little bit
mix warm water w/ buillion cubes
after noodles are toasty..take off burner..let cool for a sec.
then add the water and buillion cube mixture (be careful..water and butter don't mix well..stand back if it is still hot)
let water come to a boil
add rice
let it bubble for a sec then, stir, turn down to low heat and let the rice do it's thing for about 12-15 minutes-- take off burner and let sit for about 5-10 minutes.


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Monday, November 30, 2009

Carmelita Bars

The story behind this recipe goes like this...

A couple of years ago...for our anniversary we took a trip to Cape Cod. It was October and alot of the restaurants were closed or closing. But our favorite little pizza place was still open & we found out, that trip.. that it is open all year round. It's a small little new york style pizza place in a tiny little plaza in Orleans.

After dinner, while we were headed to the door to leave... I caught a glimpse of a small shelf with desserts on it. One caught my said "Carmelita". Most people who know me, know- that I don't usually go for dessert. I am more of a frozen yogurt type of person..not a cake, cookie...dessert person! (isn't that funny!!!) Anyway, I walked up to the counter and ordered one of the carmelita's...and I FELL IN LOVE. My husband & I walked to the car and we both tasted it... It was DEVINE! It was SO good that, I had him go back in to buy 2 more. One for my mother in law to taste (she LOVES dessert) and one for my work out buddy (who doesn't really eat dessert either!). Let's just say.. my work out buddy never had the chance to come for tea and taste the flakey oatmeal crust filled with chocolate chips, nuts, and mouth watering caramel because I ATE the entire bar. IN FACT.. I savored that bar...and it took me 3 eat it...piece by piece.
 WELL, I had to know how to make it.. So I tried out a few different recipes...but they just were not the same. Right before I perfected my own version of the Carmelita, I had the bright idea of calling that restaurant... from my home in Connecticut. I thought that I would just ask the restaurant owners for the recipe. "What could it hurt?" I thought to myself. Of course they would share their recipe ...right??? Wouldn't you???


NO, was the answer they gave me. I was standing in my kitchen, when the women on the phone... so nicely told me she didn't sell or share her recipes! She was very nice... I must say...
What did I do next...


Here it is.. the most mouth watering dessert I have ever had...I hope you try it out and enjoy it as much as I do!

Carmelita Bars

Carmelita Recipe

Click here for the story behind..the carmelita bars!
Oatmeal Crumb Crust:

1 1/2 stick of unsalted butter (very soft but not completely melted)
1 cup flour
1 cup instant oats
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Middle Layer:
1 cup  milk chocolate chips
1 cup of walnuts
3 tablespoons of flour
1/2  bag of kraft caramels (unwrapped) w/  about 3 of tablespoons of milk, melted (I found that kraft caramels works the best)

First: Combine ingredients for the crust until it forms into crumbs.
Next, place 1/2 oatmeal crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9” square pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until it becomes a golden color.
(REDUCE heat if you are using a dark pan.)

Take out of oven.

In a seperate bowl, mix the chocolate chips and nuts with the flour.
Then sprinke chocolate chip/nut mixture over the crust.
Next, pour the caramel mixture over the chocolate/chip nut mixture.
Lastly,sprinkle with remaining oatmeal crumb mixture over the caramel.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Keep an eye on it, make sure you don't burn that yummy caramel.

Once the pan has in fridge to cool and harden.

When your yummy carmelita's have completely cooled and hardened, cut into bars.

These taste FABULOUS with a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt (or ice cream) on top...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Peanut Butter and Jelly Pancakes

Last week RC (my son) had his friend over.  It was about lunch time and I offered a menu of items to choose from. (LOL) One of the choices was peanut butter & jelly. Well, that must of sent off a spark in RC's friends mind..because he began telling us about these peanut butter & jelly pancakes that he saw on tv. As I watched RC listening to his friend's description of how good these pancakes tasted...I could almost smell the oil from the gears in his mind rotating...

What do you know..that night before bed he asked if we could get up early (it was a work day for me) and try to make the pancakes ourselves.
...And of course I could never deny a mini-cook in the kitchen the excitement of coming up with his version of a recipe.

Here is what we came up with (very simple!)

2 cups of bisquick (you can use the low fat or regular)
2 eggs
1 cup of milk (we use organic skim milk)
2/3 cup of peanut butter (we use organic)
jelly (we use low sugar smuckers concord grape)

Warm up your skillet or pan on low to medium heat. Make sure you spray it with some cooking spray. We use Pam olive oil spray.

First, in medium-large bowl, mix the bisquick, eggs and milk together.     When the batter is formed & you have most of those little lumps out, add the peanut butter. We chose to use a fork (instead of a whisk) to mix the peanut butter.

When your batter is mixed well and the pan is ready...
Use a large spoon and dollop your batter onto the pan. When you begin to see little bubbles forming & they reach the edge of the pancakes...
it's time to flip.

Once you have made all of your pancakes... put your jelly on top!


Saturday, November 21, 2009

fall cookies

These are the fall cookies I've been working on... will post more once I am finished.
They are homemade sugar cookies with royal frosting piped onto them! FUN!

They are drying on wax paper!!

Decorating with Royal Icing.. 
You can find royal icing at any place that sells wilton products...
You can make your own.

Powdered Sugar

YES! That's all you need!!! I am serious! You will have to get it to the consistency that you like. So start off by only adding a little of milk at a time. Then mix into the sugar..(it's kind of a messy process!) 
If you want to add color...I use the wilton color paste. (you will need to only add a little at a time for that too!)
GET YOUR ARMS MUSCLES READY!!! This will be a workout!
You will do a lot of mixing! But it will be worth it! When you mix your own you are guaranteed to have just the right consistency that you need and the perfect color!
TRY IT OUT!! The possibilities are endless.



Saturday, November 14, 2009

Dirt Bombs

I remember waking up early at Nickerson State Park campground. If you know the rules of the have to be REALLY quiet until 8 am. VERY difficult for a tent of 4 little girls.

I remember waiting for my Dad to wake up.  My sisters and I usually didn't leave the tent until my parents woke up.  We knew the deal, the local bakery usually delivered FRESHLY baked donuts, already packed in boxes, to the campground store..but they ran out fast and you couldn't pick your own.

As soon as we heard Dad's loud stretched out yawn... we would quickly unzip the double zippers of our nylon tent. The air was always dryer and cooler as we popped our head through the door and stepped onto the dirt and pine needle covered ground, one after the other...(ok..maybe not one after the other...maybe it was a after the other...and one of us..would still be laying there sleeping)

Dad would be standing outside his tent in his p.j. pants, his hair sticking up like a parrot...and we would line up, one girl next to the other and watch, as he rubbed his eyes. With his elbow bent and pointed upward, he would peek through his turned fist and you want to go get donuts???
We would all race to the caravan and he would take us straight to the bakery where we could pick out whatever donut we wanted.

The sweet smell of cinnamon and sugar fill my kitchen while baking these little sugar muffins. It reminds me of those summer mornings where Dad would take us to the bakery on Cape Cod.


3 cups of flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of all spice
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of milk (whatever you have in the fridge will do)
2 eggs
1 1/2 stick of UNSALTED butter

2 sticks of butter 
1 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

Oven temp 400 degrees. If you are using a dark muffin pan make sure you reduce the heat a little bit.. I baked it on 375 and mine were a little dark on the bottom.

Also, You will need to make sure you pan is coated with either butter,spray, or oil. I use usually use cooking spray (but I tried butter this time)..just make sure all those little crevices on the bottom part of the  muffin tin are covered. You definitely don't want these yummy treats to stick to the pan.

                                             (my little sidekick, RC, coating the pan with butter)

First mix the butter and sugar in your mixer. When they are nice and fluffy slowly add your eggs. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and all spice.

Add the dry ingredients slowly into your mixer with the wet ingredients alternating with the milk. Starting and ending with the dry mixture.This batter is thick.(THESE TASTE LIKE DONUTS!! DENSE DOUGH)

Fill your muffin tin 3/4 of the way... my  batch made 6 regular size muffins and 13 mini muffins. (as a friend once said to me..when you eat the mini one's--- you feel less guilty..until you eat..too many!) 

(can you see my spoonula?? somehow it mysteriously broke?? How does that happen?? I will come back the that!)

Bake these for about 25 minutes. Check on them...they will be done when they are a nice golden brown. ( You can also do the tooth pick test..stick a tooth pick in..if it comes out w/ dough on it.. they are not done..if it comes out clean..then they are FINISHED BAKING!)

Ok now you are going to have coat these little sugar muffins.
FIRST: Put your melted butter into a bowl and your sugar cinnamon mix into a separate bowl.

NEXT: Dip your muffins into the butter and immediately dip and roll them around in the sugar mix.

These are soo yummy! Try them out...share them....
and enjoy.

Friday, November 13, 2009

3 tiered chocolate cake with chocolate mousse filling and buttercream frosting.

This is the cake that I made for a special friend. His girlfriend's parents were celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary
I was so happy when he asked me to make this cake.
My first 3 tiered cake...for a big event!
I even found the original cake topper on EBAY!! AMAZING!!! 
I couldn't believe it!

I used fresh ingredients. Homemade chocolate cake, chocolate mousse from scratch, and the most delicious tasting crusting buttercream frosting you will ever have... 
you will want to lick the bowl clean..
Right Mom??? Jess???


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Buttermilk Biscuits

seriously delicious.. 


2/3 cup of flour (you can substitute 1/3 cup with whole wheat flour if you want to be healthy.)

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 large egg white
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1/4 cup of low fat buttermilk (you can use regular low fat milk if you have that in your fridge)

Oven temp 450 degrees

1) First  mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
2) In a separate bowl whisk together oil, milk, and egg.
3) Add the wet mixture to the flour mix and stir until combined.

4)Then make place 4 scoops of dough onto cookie sheet and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Laying around??

Well you could take all those yummy chocolatey candies and add them to your favorite
CHOCOLATE CHIP Recipe and make some delicious treat filled

MY little helpers made these this morning! Don't they look yummy!??

Talk about extra sugar!! 
It was fun..I love having my helpers in the kitchen.

That's not all you can do...

How about DONATING that extra candy to our  
Service Men and Women 

What do you think about that?

My helper number 1, RC, just sent a bunch of his Halloween candy into school and they sent a package over seas.

I found this link.. it's called Operation Gratitude. (I am looking into it)

This holiday season my family and hopefully some friends will be preparing some care packages for our soldiers over seas.
Let's support the our service men and women (and their families)  together, to show our gratitude for the sacrifices they make.

I am waiting on some information from a Navy friend overseas..apparently service men can sign up to get care packages while they are away. As soon as I find out more information I will post it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chicken Stew Recipe

I know it might sound weird...usually you hear Beef Stew. But I just love chicken stew! Almost the same as the beef stew...just with CHICKEN!!
You can cook this on the stove or in your slow cooker (crock pot)

3 full chicken breast
2 sweet potato's chopped into large chunks (if you have red potato's or regular potato's in your cabinet...hey use those! I always have sweet potato's...they are my fav!)

1 large onion (I love red onions!!--use what you have!)
3 carrots chopped into large chunks (oh yeah, peel them!)

About 3 or 4 cups of broth
small can of tomato puree
salt and pepper to taste

tablespoon of garlic
2 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
1/2 a can of tomato paste
1/2 a teaspoon of basil 
2 tablespoons of flour

So I'll be honest and tell you that...I throw it all in the crock pot first thing in the morning and let it sit all day on low! Then when I get home from work, I take out the chicken and cut or pull it apart (then put back in) usually just falls's so good!

But if you can't do that..
Cut the chicken into chunks and brown it up, with the garlic and onion. ( be careful not to burn the garlic!)

Then throw in the rest of the ingredients - except the flour- on medium heat. When your stew starts to bubble.. IN A SEPARATE BOWL, take some of the liquid out and carefully mix it with the flour. (I think this is what you are call a RUE) Then add this flour mixture back to your stew and stir. Now let cook until your veggies are cooked.

It's so easy!
I like to serve this with some delicious molasses rolls. (that recipe is on it's way!)