Showing posts with label Sylvestermouse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sylvestermouse. Show all posts

Friday, February 23, 2024

Chicken Broccoli Casserole aka Chicken Divan Recipe Review

My aunt shared her Chicken Divan recipe with our family over 40 years ago and I have been making it ever since. Every member of our family will eat it (except the vegans), which is pretty miraculous. It is very rare to find a recipe that everyone likes. 

The original recipe called for frozen broccoli, however a few years back, I started making it with fresh broccoli, which the members of my household prefer. However, that does take a little more preparation time. Both frozen or fresh broccoli need to be cooked before the casserole is assembled, but fresh broccoli has to be washed and cut up into bite-size pieces. I usually just break the florets off the stems while rinsing the broccoli instead of cutting it up. 

After I wash it and separate the florets from the stems, I pour melted butter on the broccoli, add a little salt and pepper, then steam it for 8 minutes.  If I use less than 4 bunches of broccoli, I would adjust the steam time to 5 or 6 minutes, then taste test the broccoli before adding it to the casserole dish. 

I boil the chicken breasts in a large pot (5qt dutch oven) of water for 1 hr.  After it cools, I remove/discard the bones and skin.  Then I shred the chicken into bite-size pieces. 

*If you use fresh broccoli, you need 1 stick of butter to melt & pour over the broccoli before steaming


I used 4 bunches of Broccoli Crowns in the casserole shown

Chicken Broccoli Casserole Recipe
aka Chicken Divan Recipe 

Prep Time Cook Time Ready In Yields
1 hr 30 min. 35 min. 2 hrs 6 - 8 servings


    chicken divan ingredients
  • 3 – 4 Chicken Breasts  (cooked – deboned -- shredded)
  • 3 or 4 Bunches of Fresh Broccoli OR 20 oz. Frozen Chopped Broccoli (2 Boxes)
  • 2 Cans Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 2 Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese (we prefer the Sargento brand)
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • ½ cup Mayonnaise

  • Directions 

    • Cook Chicken Breasts  (see boiling chicken directions above)
    • Steam Broccoli  (see steaming directions and time above)
    • Line the bottom of the casserole dish with steamed broccoli 
    • Cover the broccoli with cooked & shredded chicken 
    • In a separate bowl, Mix chicken soup, mayonnaise, lemon juice & 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese together 
    • Spread the soup/mayonnaise/cheese mixture over the chicken 
    • Cover with remaining ½ cup of shredded cheddar cheese 


    chicken divan in layers
    You won't be able to see the chicken and broccoli once the soup mixture is spread across the entire top of casserole,
    but I wanted you to see how densely packed each layer should be.

    Chicken Divan Ready to Bake
    Ready to Bake

    Bake on 350° (325 convection oven) for 35 minutes


    Chicken Divan Baked & Ready to Serve
    Baked and Ready to Serve



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    Chicken Broccoli Casserole aka Chicken Divan Recipe Review Written by:
    House of Sylvestermouse

    © 2024 Cynthia Sylvestermouse

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Friday, February 16, 2024

A Perilous Circumstance by Laura Beers - Book Review

A Perilous Circumstance Book Review
A Perilous Circumstance is the 3rd book in the "Gentlemen of London" Regency Romance series by Laura Beers.  Thus far, it is my favorite in the series because of the unique plot, but all of the books have been enjoyable and review worthy.

Regency Romance novels are set during the time period of the British Regency (1811-1820).  They could be categorized as clean and wholesome since they do not contain explicit sex, gory content, or foul language.   

This is the first book series that I have read by Laura Beers, but it won't be the last.  I really enjoy her writing style and the characters she creates.

It would not be absolutely necessary to read this series in order, but the books share a lot of the same characters.  Each character is more thoroughly developed in the specific book written about them, their families and their lives.  Plus, their "occupations" will make more sense.  For instance, do you know the difference in a Bow Street Runner and an agent of the Crown?  That is explained in the first book in the series, "A Treacherous Engagement".  Without that explanation you might be wondering why some of the characters in "A Perilous Circumstance" have more authority, secrets, and connections.  Therefore, I would recommend reading them in order.

A Perilous Circumstance Synopsis

Miss Georgie Holbrooke is an heiress who has not yet reached her majority (the age where she is considered an adult).  She is still under the authority of her older brother, since her parents are deceased.  

 A Perilous Circumstance: A Regency Romance (Gentlemen of London)Check PriceUnlike her father, her brother is a brute who expects her to "perform" exactly as he demands and doesn't hesitate to hit her in order to force her compliance.  He has agreed to an arranged marriage for Georgie with a detestable man.  Georgie knows she must save herself, but she doesn't know how.  It is her loyal family servants who come up with a plan and a way to escape.  Because the cooks brother is a solicitor, he knows of an opening for a headmistress at an orphanage in the rookeries (the slums).  An orphanage would be the perfect hiding place since no one would think an heiress would be working there.

The Earl of Grenton is all alone in the world except for his old friends from his college days at Eton. William is often overwhelmed by his grief, but is determined to continue working and provide for those who depend on him.  He is also determined to see that his deceased mother's dream of providing a safe orphanage is fulfilled.  However, one of her expectations was to have a lady, a woman of means, serve as the headmistress.  Finding a lady who will work in the rookeries has not been an easy task.  Unfortunately, the lady that his solicitor has found seems to be secretive and rather demanding in his opinion.  Not only did she bring her lady's maid, but she also arrived with several other servants.  An orphanage simply does not have "servants" and he refuses to pay them in addition to supporting the entire orphanage.

Thus, there is a standoff between William Cobbett, the Earl of Grenton who needs a headmistress that is a lady of quality and the new headmistress, Miss Georgie Holbrooke known only to him as Miss Lloyd.  Georgie is also in a difficult place since she has no where else to go.

For those who love a romance novel with a touch of suspense, I highly recommend this book.  I must admit, I was truly surprised by who betrayed Georgie.


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House of Sylvestermouse

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Friday, February 9, 2024

Love's Sweet Recipe (2021) Movie Review

Loves Sweet Recipe
I can certainly understand how anyone who enjoys cooking would think of everything in terms of being a "recipe".

We hear phrases like "recipe for happiness" or "recipe for life", therefore it makes sense for a happily married chef to write a book on his "recipe for love".  

The husband/father in this movie is deceased, but he has left behind his book, "The Rule Book of Love" filled with idioms, quotes and memories.  His wife and daughter cherish this book and the love expressed within it's pages.  It becomes the inspiration for the changes in the restaurant, as well as Courtney's life.

I was not familiar with the actors in "Love's Sweet Recipe", so when I spotted this movie in the lineup on the Great American Pure Flix channel, I was pretty excited to "meet" two new people.  Turns out, I liked both Megan Hutchings and Damon Runyan.

This is a really cute story with delightful characters.  I highly recommend it for those romantics at heart who believe in a recipe for love.

"Love's Sweet Recipe" Movie Synopsis

Courtney Preston (Megan Hutchings) is a chef that is temporarily helping her mother run her father's restaurant.  Her plan is to return to her own career in New York as soon as she can get the restaurant back on solid ground financially.  Of course, her mother would love for Courtney to permanently move back home and take over the restaurant.  But, that is not the life Courtney has planned for herself.

The other main character, Jake Turner (Damon Runyan), was a pro baseball player.  However, after he is injured and can no longer pitch, he decides to pursue his love for baking and go to culinary school.  When he graduates, he returns to his hometown and the girl he once admired from afar.  When he proposes a business arrangement to work in her restaurant and do the baking, Courtney only briefly hesitates to take him up on his offer.  After all, she really does need the help and Jake needs a place to bake. 

Of course with a title like "Love's Sweet Recipe", you pretty much know what to expect, but it is still a sweet recipe for an enjoyable movie.


More Great American Family Movie Reviews

Fall Into Winter (2023)

A Brush With Christmas (2022)

Twas the Text Before Christmas (2023)

A Dash of Christmas (2023)

From Chicago With Love (2023) 

Accidentally Engaged (2016)

Check Out More Movie Reviews at

Love's Sweet Recipe (2021) Movie Review by:
House of Sylvestermouse

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Friday, February 2, 2024

Groundhogs aka Woodchucks and Groundhog Day, February 2 Reviewed

Punxsutawney Phil
Attribution: Anthony Quintano on
WikiMedia Commons CC By-SA 4.0 Deed
One of the most popular and recognized animals on earth is the famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil.  He is the little creature we all turn to on Groundhog Day each year to get our weather forecast.  

No one can deny this little fellow is adorable, especially when he declares spring is coming soon!  Of course, we still love him when he sees his shadow and predicts 6 more weeks of winter, but he just seems so much sweeter when he doesn't see his shadow and promises an early spring.

In spite of the fact that groundhogs have a lifespan of 6 years, Punxsutawney Phil has been making his weather predictions since 1886.  Yes, it is true (folklore)!  As the story goes, Phil drinks "groundhog punch" aka his "elixir of life" at the picnic each year, therefore he has lived a lot longer than the average groundhog life expectancy. 

The celebrated groundhog makes his appearance on Groundhog Day, February 2 each year, to give his prediction.  He only speaks to the current president of the Groundhog Club.  Then the president translates his "groundhogese" into English for the rest of us.  Personally, I blame the club president for disturbing this old fellow and not Phil when he declares, "you will have 6 more weeks of winter!"

Early Spring Has Been Predicted by Punxsutawney Phil for 2024!
Punxsutawney Phil Groundhog Day 2022 Pennsylvania (51858204001)
Anthony Quintano from Mount Laurel, United States, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Facts About Groundhogs

baby groundhog
Baby Groundhog
Attribution: LadyCamera, CC BY-SA 4.0,
via Wikimedia Commons

Groundhogs are members of the rodent family and are considered the largest squirrels in North America.  They have short legs and long, curved claws which allow them to burrow.  They prefer woodland areas, hedges, or open areas with plenty of ground coverage.  They can be found in the eastern parts of North America and southern Canada.

Groundhogs live alone.  Even a mother groundhog will send her babies on the way after a few months and reclaim her burrow for single occupancy. 

Groundhogs, also known as Woodchucks, eat twigs, bark, plant stems and leaves (not the seeds or blooms) and can live up to 6 years.  

An adult woodchuck will grow to approximately 2 feet and will weight somewhere between 5 - 11 lbs.

Groundhogs are one of the few animals that are true hibernators. They sleep all winter long, relying completely on their reserves of fat to stay alive. Their metabolism slows down to a fraction of normal levels to ensure their survival.   Most hibernators wake up to find food or urinate, but groundhogs don't even do that.

When threatened, groundhogs will make a shrill sound which is why they also have the nickname of whistlepigs.


to Read about More Beautiful and Endangered Animals!

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Groundhogs aka Woodchucks and Groundhog Day, February 2 Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Friday, January 26, 2024

Murder on the Orient Express Starring David Suchet Reviewed

David Suchet - Poirot
I recently watched Murder on the Orient Express starring David Suchet and I was reminded of how fabulous Suchet is as Hercule Poirot.  Frankly, in my opinion, he is by far the very best Hercule Poirot ever!  It is as if David Suchet was born to be Hercule Poirot.  He brings the character to life by giving him a face, a "personality" with quirks, mannerisms and recognizable traits.  David Suchet is to Hercule Poirot what Jeremy Brett was to Sherlock Holmes: Absolute Perfection!

Murder on the Orient Express is an excellent story that makes you question what your really think and how your really feel.  Would you prefer justice or the legal system?  Exactly what is justice and who should make that call?  If necessary, could you be the executioner? Definitely a movie worth watching, especially the 2010 version starring David Suchet.

It has been years since I watched the Suchet version of the movie and I wondered how I could ever think anyone else did that character, or Agatha Christie's novel, justice.  Because the plot is so spellbinding, unless a director or writer completely rewrites Christie's work, then the movie is going to be captivating.

Back in 2017, I reviewed the "Murder on the Orient Express" version starring Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot.  In that review, I commented that the actors made that movie.  It is true!  With actors like Michelle Pfeiffer, Willem Defoe and Johnny Depp, how could it not be a hit and fun to watch.  However, the story really doesn't need all the "tinsel" to be rated among the best, but I'm sure they made a big difference at the box office. 

If you only have the time and desire to watch one version of Murder on the Orient Express, I recommend the version that stars David Suchet as Hercule Poirot. 


Murder on the Orient Express

 Click Here to Watch Murder on the Orient Express
Episode 3 of Season 12
Check Price
The greatest detective in the world, Hercule Poirot, is fortunate to secure a seat aboard the Orient Express.  The train is sold out, but a friend, who happens to be the director of the train line, assures Poirot he will be able to accommodate him.  After much maneuvering and manipulating the passenger list, his friend is able to find a place for him.  However, this is one train Poirot may wish he had never boarded.  

Early on in the trip, Poirot is approached by a passenger who believes he is in danger.  He offers Poirot a large sum of money to protect him, but there is something Hercule doesn't like about the man, so he refuses the job.  When the man is murdered, it falls to Poirot to solve the crime.  

Who killed Samuel Ratchett and why was he targeted?  As Poirot studies the crime, he recalls seeing a picture of Ratchett in the newspapers.  As Hercule's "little grey cells" work, it all comes together.

This is a must-see movie for those who love a great mystery, especially one that challenges you to evaluate your perception of justice.


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Murder on the Orient Express Starring David Suchet Written by:

House of Sylvestermouse

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Friday, January 19, 2024

A Treacherous Engagement (Gentlemen of London Book 1) Book Review

A Treacherous Engagement
I love it when I find a series where every book offers a great read!  That has definitely been true for the Gentlemen of London book series by Laura Beers.

When I finished reading "A Treacherous Engagement", I immediately downloaded the second book and started reading it.  Each book is a continuation of stories that focus on the lives of 5 college friends.  They all start out wishing to not be caught in the "parson's mousetrap".  Even though the gentlemen need heirs, they aren't interested in getting married.  At least, that is true until they meet women who make them reconsider their stand against matrimony.   

It has been fun to watch these gentlemen do an about face and to hear their comments on marriage before and after.  

Plus, each book contains a suspenseful element.  Several of the gentlemen are agents of the Crown and have secrets, as well as questionable acquaintances or "business" in areas of town that most titled gentlemen would never consider acceptable.

I do recommend reading these books in order as the characters are more fully developed throughout the series. 


A Treacherous Engagement Synopsis

Nathaniel Calvert, Earl of Hawthorne, has a lot of secrets.  Even his family doesn't know why he dresses in old clothes and won't tell them where he is going or what he is doing.  As an agent (aka spy) of the Crown, anonymity is imperative.  If someone let his real identity slip when he is "working", it could endanger his family as well as himself.

When Nathaniel is mistaken as a Bow Street Runner (law enforcement officer), he doesn't correct Miss Dinah Ashmore.  He would prefer to deny any ability to help her, but when he hears her sister, Evie, is missing, he wants to be of assistance.  He lets her continue to think he is just a Bow Street Runner.  

Dinah is desperate to locate her sister and to ensure that she is okay.  She won't just sit at home and wait for news from the Bow Street Runner she has hired.  Therefore, in addition to trying to handle his assigned case, plus find Dinah's sister, Nathaniel has to juggle meeting and dealing with Miss. Dinah Ashmore and her aunt.  It is impossible to be everywhere and protect everyone at all times.  

As it turns out, Dinah's sister is a lot more than just the daughter of a Lord.  She is an intricate part of a tumultuous political case and she may or may not need saving.  Even Nathaniel is shocked by Evie's actions and where he finds her.

Along the way, Nathaniel develops feelings for Dinah, but he must not be distracted while involved in an assigned case.  Otherwise, someone could end up hurt or even dead. 


Read More Book Reviews at

House of Sylvestermouse

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Friday, January 12, 2024

Fall Into Winter (2023) - Great American Family Movie Review

Fall Into Winter Movie Review
I was initially drawn to this movie because of the name, Fall Into Winter.  In our area, I feel like we did literally fall into winter.  One day we were admiring beautiful red & gold leaves and the next we were looking at grey skies and bare tree limbs.  

It didn't really happen overnight, but it sure felt like it!  I keep wondering, where did our fall season go?

The second thing that drew me to the movie, "Fall Into Winter", was the actress, Lori Loughlin.  I have always liked her and her characters.  Thanks to her role as Abigail Stanton in When Calls the Heart, I'm used to seeing her in the kitchen, which is the setting for "Fall Into Winter".  She co-owns a candy shop and makes all of the candy.

Last but by no means least, I wanted to watch this movie because it is a Great American Family Movie.  I have come to rely on the Great American Family Channel to provide me with wonderful movies that do not include explicit content, violent or gory scenes, or foul language.  I find them quite uplifting, peaceful and easy to watch.

Fall Into Winter Synopsis

Kerry Murphy (Lori Loughlin) doesn't like change.  She is quite content co-owning the family candy shop with her brother.  However, when her brother, Jake, informs her that his wife has taken a job in London, England and he is selling his half of the candy shop, she is very distressed.  That distress is increased tenfold when he tells her that he has sold his share of the shop to his high school friend, Brooks McLeod.  According to her brother, Brooks is a very successful businessman who will surely be able to help the shop.

Kerry isn't as much interested in profit as she is in the community.  She has "lived in the same house, in the same town, and had the same job" her whole life.  She doesn't want to make drastic changes, raise prices, or view people as just customers.  She enjoys treating everyone like family.

Brooks and Kerry clash now as much as they did in high school, although Brooks doesn't really understand why Kerry has always had a problem with him.  As business partners, it is necessary for them to work out their problems, past and present, to have a successful partnership.


Fall Into Winter is predictable, but still a fun movie to watch.  Even though they had differences of opinion, they both worked toward finding areas of agreement and understanding for one another.


More Great American Family Movie Reviews

 A Brush With Christmas (2022)

Twas the Text Before Christmas (2023)

A Dash of Christmas (2023)

From Chicago With Love (2023) 

Accidentally Engaged (2016)

Check Out More Movie Reviews at

Fall Into Winter (2023) - Great American Family Movie Review by:
House of Sylvestermouse

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Friday, January 5, 2024

Hamilton Beach Electric Smooth Touch Can Opener Review

Hamilton Beach Electric Smooth Touch Can Opener
Many years ago, I discovered a hand-held safe cut can opener.  The ability to open can lids without sharp edges has been fabulous!

Sadly, during the holidays this year, I misplaced my beloved safe-cut can opener.  I have no idea what happened to it.  After weeks of looking, I fear it must have been accidentally thrown out with all of the trash generated over Christmas.  

I felt tremendously distressed when I discovered that my original hand-held safe cut can opener was no longer available, anywhere!  I have had that can opener for almost 20 years.  I spent a good bit of time looking at the different hand-held can openers that are now available and trying to select a new one.  There is simply not a comparable "4 in 1" replacement.  However, I did find an electric smooth-cut can opener.  I decided that having an electric can opener again would be nice, so I ordered it immediately.  

I love my new electric smooth touch can opener!  Just like my hand-held safe-cut can opener, there are no sharp edges on the can or lids.  Therefore, there are no hands or fingers cut by sharp lids when removing the lids or when they are "floating" around in the kitchen trash can.

Of course, I still hope my hand-held opener will be found, but for now, I will enjoy my new electric smooth edge, safe cut can opener.


Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch Electric Can Opener

This sleek design electric can opener is rather attractive sitting on the countertop.  It matches my other kitchen appliances, which are all black, including my coffee maker, my toaster and my stand mixer.  Having it out on the counter does make it very convenient to use. 

The push down activation lever is almost effortless.  The cutting mechanism easily locks into place on the can lid and holds it while separating the lid from the can, creating that smooth edge on the lid and on the can.

The can opener does not automatically stop or lift the lid off when the can is opened.  The motor sound shifts to a higher pitch when the can lid is completely separated. (You can hear it in the video below when the demonstrator opens the large can of Cento Peeled Tomatoes) Then, you lift the lever with one hand while holding the can with the other and physically remove it yourself.  That prevents cans from falling off the opener and making a mess.

There is also an area in the back of the unit for cord storage which is awesome.  Thus far, I have not left my electric can opener plugged in.  I only plug it in when I am using it, so I do use the cord storage in the back.

To clean it, you simply wipe it off with a damp cloth. 

I searched YouTube and found the video below so you can see the can opener being used and hear the pitch change when the lid is separated.

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Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

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