Monthly Archives: July 2014

Before & After Painted Vintage Side Tables


A little elbow grease goes a long way on vintage side tables given to me by my dear friend Gene from his estate sale last summer. I’m guessing they’re from the 1950s/60s based on what he shared with me over the years about his traditional home decor.  Mr. Gene, as my sons affectionately called him, also gifted me with two picnic bench seats I added seating to and shared more about in this post here and here.


Continue reading

Baked Raspberry Pecan Brie


This recipe and photo is from my cousin Cyndi who lives in Florida. It looks so good — warm, melty, creamy — yummy! And I can’t wait to scoop up some of this gooey goodness for myself. She posted this photo on Facebook and I couldn’t private message her fast enough for the recipe, which she graciously shared. Several of her friends asked for it too, so I know many of you will be happy to have it.  I picked up all the ingredients to bake it this weekend when my sons get back from youth camp — if I can wait that long!  Thanks for the recipe Cyndi! xo

Baked Raspberry Pecan Brie

Cooking spray
4 sheets Fillo (Phyllo) dough
1 egg white, mixed
raspberry jam (not jelly)
1 – 8 oz. round of Brie cheese
1 cup of fresh raspberries
chopped pecans
fresh fruit of choice like strawberries, apples, etc.
wafer crackers of choice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray cookie sheet or baking dish with oil. Lay down 4 sheets of fillo dough in center of pan or dish. In the center of the dough spread raspberry jam to make a large circle. Cut Brie in half horizontally through the middle to make a top and bottom. Place and center bottom of Brie on top of jam circle and sprinkle with pecans and top with the other half of Brie. Snip the corners of the fillo to round the dough and avoid overlapping. Brush egg white along the round edge and fold over then brush the top to seal it closed and for nice browning. Bake for 15 minutes, remove from oven and spread raspberry jam over the top. Cool 10 minutes to set. Serve with fresh raspberries and any fruit, favorite wafer crackers, or slices of thin French bread for scooping.

How do you like to bake your Brie? There are so many ways to indulge in this decadent treat.


Shrimp & Ceasar Salad


Oh Momma! This salad is a specialty my mother serves at our family gatherings. Her favorite entrees to pair it with are marinated grilled pork or grilled herb chicken breasts. Mom’s secret is in the bottled creamy dressing she blends with a smidgen of milk. She’s tried them all and says this brand is the best! I do agree, because her version of Caesar salad is better than any I’ve ever had.


I served it up with leftover baby shrimp and added fresh basil from the kitchen, but the extra herb is not necessary. You can add any meat or fish you like of course and it’s amazing with marinated grilled kabobs. Mom says it’s divine with Greek olives, too!

Shrimp & Ceasar Salad

2 whole romaine lettuce stalks, washed, leaves removed and lightly chopped
1/2 seedless cucumber, peel on, sliced thin, cut in half
1/2 onion, sliced thin, ringlets cut in half
1 cup small red grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 cup cooked salad shrimp, peeled and ready-to-serve
3/4 cup Ceasar dressing (Marketside Classic Caesar Dressing available in produce dept. at Walmart).
1 tbsp milk
Bacon bits (optional)
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
6 fresh herb leaves of choice (optional)
salt & pepper to taste

In large bowl combine lettuce leaves, cucumber, onion, tomatoes and shrimp. In separate bowl mix dressing, milk and bacon bits to combine. Pour dressing over salad and toss. Sprinkle sunflower seeds over the top and add fresh herb leaves (optional). Salt and pepper to taste and serve. Also delicious with grilled chicken breast or marinated pork.

Don’t forget to enter my Better Homes & Gardens Magazine 1-year subscription giveaway. Look in the right sidebar on this page for the contest.


My First Giveaway: Win A One-Year Subscription to BH&G Magazine This Week





Hi Friends,

I’m so excited to offer my first contest to readers by giving away a 1-year subscription to my absolutely favorite decorating magazine Better Homes & Gardens. I have been a subscriber for more than 15 years and love getting my copy in the mailbox every month. This week I received a notice from the publisher for my next renewal, along with the offer to give a FREE 1-year gift subscription to anybody I choose – that’s a full year (12 issues) absolutely free! I thought it would be fun to offer you the chance to win it!

All you have to do is subscribe to Modern Hen Home with your email address to receive posts direct to your inbox, then leave a comment to tell me you have entered in the reply box below.  You can do this at the link “Follow by Email” on the right side of the page —>

The winner will be announced on Monday, July 21st.  I hope YOU win!


Building A Chicken Coop From Scratch

Good morning Friends! I thought you might like to see a chicken coop being built from scratch at 12 Oaks Blog. I’ve been reading Ben and Amanda’s complete home makeover this past year or so, and this week they are sharing their adorable backyard chicken coop, along with what it’s been like to raise six chickens and enjoy really fresh eggs. I’ve noticed chicken coops have made a big comeback lately and sure can see why!



You can read about the coop, view their photos of the process and see their cute chickens at this link: Our Backyard Chicken Coop by 12 Oaks Blog

I hope you enjoy the read and will leave a comment for me with your thoughts about the coop and the whole idea of raising chickens from home.


Asian Summer Rolls With Savory Dipping Sauce


Asian summer rolls are the perfect salad wrapped in soft rice sheets and dipped in a spicy, sweet, savory sauce. I added red bell pepper slices for color, crunch and natural sweetness.

After searching all over my grocery store for the rice sheets, I finally found them in the healthy and organic refrigerated section.  This recipe, like so many, calls for fresh herbs and lettuce and I was able to pick them straight from my container garden, which I wrote about starting several weeks ago.   I can’t tell you how often I have snipped a few leaves for sandwiches, burgers and quick salads with one step outside the back door. Two green-thumbs up for container gardens!

Asian Summer Rolls With Savory Dipping Sauce

Dipping Sauce
1-1/4 tblsp sugar
2 tsp warm water
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tsp chili sauce, such as Sriracha
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp finely shredded carrot
1 green onion, finely chopped
Dissolve sugar in warm water, combine with other ingredients, and chill until ready to use.

Summer Rolls
1 cup (approx 40) small salad shrimp, peeled and cooked (from 12 oz bag)
2 oz Vietnamese or Thai rice noodles (about 1 cup dry)
6 rice-paper rounds (about 8-1/2 inches in diameter)
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
12 fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup shredded carrot
12 large fresh mint leaves
3 red-leaf lettuce, spines removed, making 6 halves

Line up ingredients in small bowls before beginning to make rolls. Fill a large bowl or saucepan with very warm water. Place a rice paper round in the hot water. Soak for between 30 seconds and 1 minute, or until rice round is pliable and pattern on the round is barely visible. Remove and place on a clean, slightly damp kitchen towel. (Rice sheets tend to stick to solid surfaces and plates.)

Place 2 basil leaves on the inner edge of the rice round, top with approximately 1/4 cup cooked rice noodles and several red pepper slices. Place 6-8 shrimp halves on top. Top with about 2 tablespoons carrots, then 2 leaves of mint. Fold 1 piece of lettuce leaf and place on top of pile. Bring the edge over filling and tuck underneath. As you continue to roll, fold in the sides. Finish rolling, repeat with the other rolls, and reserve under a damp cloth or paper towel. When ready to serve, slice in half and serve, cut ends up, with dipping sauce.

Ellie Krieger from the Food Network inspired me to make these delicious, healthy Asian rolls.

They are quite easy to make by the way. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!


Potluck Baked Beans & Smoked Cherrywood Bacon

Baked Beans

Let’s face it, if you’re going to take the time to prepare and actually bake baked beans in an oven on a hot summer day, it’s probably for a special occasion or potluck. My husband and I worked together to prepare several large pans for an event just like this recently. He crisped the bacon outdoors in the electric skillet early in the morning while it was still cool outside. I love cooking outdoors in nicer weather and have found our old camping standby, the electric skillet, great for this. Keeps the kitchen cleaner, too!

Potluck Baked Beans & Smoked Cherrywood Bacon

1 lb thick Smoked Cherrywood Bacon
1 can (7lb 2oz) Pork and Beans
1 – 28 oz can Bush’s Maple Cured Bacon Baked Beans
1-3/4 cup chopped onions
1-3/4 cups ketchup
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/3 cup prepared mustard
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp black pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Crumble cooked bacon. In 6-quart oven-proof bowl or pan combine bacon, beans, onions, ketchup, brown sugar, molasses, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Bake uncovered, 2 hours or until thickened and bubbly, stirring every 30 minutes.

Oh, and don’t forget to sneak a crispy bacon strip for yourself!


%d bloggers like this: