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Archive for December, 2007

Ahh, Bing Crosby!

I don’t think there will be much kissing goin’ on but we are having a little New Years Eve shindig going on tonight!  It has become sort-of a tradition to have a smorgasbord of snacks and a bonfire on New Years Eve at our house.  Unfortunately it is VERY windy so I don’t think we will do a bonfire but we do have LOTS of snacks prepared!

New Years Eve Menu:

Potato Skins
Fried Chicken Wings
Mini Pigs in a Blanket
Shrimp Cocktail
Veggies and Dip
Cheese and Crackers (Mango Stilton, English Cheddar with Carmalized Onions, French Brie)
Fruit and Chocolate Fondue
Korbel Champagne

Yes it is a lot! And NO it’s not very healthy but I don’t make too much of anything and it is the ONLY thing we eat New Years Eve.  We set everything on the table buffet style and then we eat in the living room and watch a movie.  After the movie we play cards or something and TRY to stay up til midnight!  Richie’s mom will be joining us and so will her best friend Judy that lives down the street.  I would have also invited our very good friends Dee and Randy and their two kids but they are somewhere in the middle of that Caribbean right now on a cruise! How dare they! 🙂 (We miss you guys and hope you are having fun!)

  

Here are some recipes!

Cocktail Sauce

1/2 C. Ketchup
1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
Good sprinkle of celery salt
2 Tbs. Prepared Horseradish
3 dashes of Franks Hot Sauce

Mix well with a spoon. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. Serve with cooked shrimp.

Chocolate Fondue

16 0z. Chocolate (milk, dark or semisweet) broken into pieces
1/2 pint whipping cream
1/2 cup caramel topping
3 Tbs. favorite liqueur (I’m using Kahlua)

Place all ingredients into fondue pot over low heat. Stir constantly until melted and smooth. Do NOT allow mixture to bubble. Serve with an assortment of fruits, nuts, pound cake, and marshmallows.

Have a safe and Happy new year and if you drink, PLEASE designate a driver!  Keep yourself and others safe!

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I recently purchased an amazing CD made by Elizabeth Ann Barlow, one of my farmgirl friends. 

 

This Christmas CD is her latest and is an absolute joy to listen to. Her voice is like an angel!

Here is the description of her CD as found on her etsy site:

Twelve carols for the twelve days of Christmas, featuring the talents of songstress Elizabeth Ann Barlow (yours truly), with harpist Hanna Barlow and Julian Nelson on recorder. The carols are beautifully obscure, including many examples from medieval Britain, and one selection from early America. The recording was made in a historic building with a lovely acoustic (formerly a general store and now an art gallery). The CD is packaged in a creamy cardstock folder and tied with a festive green ribbon. You’ll find no plastic here.

I HIGHLY recommend this CD and plan to order her other CD very soon. You can order her Christmas CD from her Resolutely Outmoded shop on etsy and you can here a sample of her voice on her my space page.

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I love vegetables but my husband is definitely a meat (usually fried) and potatoes guy! This year I want to really try to increase the amount of vegetables we both eat.  I have plans for a good sized garden and I am looking forward to putting that in in the spring. I have spent the last week pouring over seed catalogs and trying to narrow down my choices.  I have also decided that I am going to cook at least one “vegetarian” meal per week. I still plan on using eggs and dairy products but the meal will not contain any meat.  Today we had eggplant Parmesan and it was delicious.

Granted Eggplant Parm is probably not the healthiest of vegetarian dishes but Richie likes it and I felt like it was a good place to start.  Here are my recipes.  Of course I suggest the use of local produce or organic when available.  Unfortunately this time of year, Mexican Eggplant was the best I could do!

Eggplant Parmesan

1 Large Eggplant
1 Jar Organic Sauce (I used Prego Organic Tomato Basil)
6 Cups Shredded Mozzarella
2-3 Organic Eggs
Organic Bread Crumbs
Canola Oil
Basil, Oregano, Salt and Pepper

Slice eggplant into 1/4 inch thick rounds. Sprinkle generously with salt and place into a microwave safe bowl.  Add 1/8 cup of water, cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 5 minutes.  This helps to soften the eggplant.  Remove from microwave and allow to cool until you can handle.  Place 2 eggs in a small bowl and beat until yolks and whites are well mixed.  Place breadcrumbs into a separate bowl and add salt, pepper, basil and oregano to taste.  Heat a large skillet and add about 1/4 inch of oil to the bottom.  Dip slices of eggplant into egg and then into the breadcrumbs. Fry in the hot oil until golden in color.  Drain on paper towels.  When all eggplant has been fried you can assemble the casserole in a 9×13 baking dish.  Pour 1/4 of the sauce into bottom of casserole dish. Lay down a single layer of eggplant and cover with cheese.  Add 1/4 of sauce, more eggplant and more cheese.  Repeat with any remaining sauce, cheese and eggplant.  Top with sauce and finish with cheese.  Bake in a 400 oven about 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly.  Any remaining sauce can be served on the side.

Garlic Cheese Biscuits

1 Cup Organic Budget Mix
1 handful shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Organic Milk
3 tbs. organic butter
Garlic powder

In a bowl combine budget mix and cheese. Add milk and stir until a stiff biscuit type dough forms.  Dough will be wet.  Drop spoonfuls onto a baking dish.  You will get about 8 large biscuits.  Bake until golden in a 400 oven. About 12 minutes. While biscuits bake melt butter and garlic powder in a microwave safe dish.  Remove biscuits from oven, drizzle with garlic butter and serve.

Steamed Asparagus

1 Bunch Asparagus, ends trimmed
Kosher Salt

Trim woody ends from asparagus. Place into a skillet with a small amount of water (1/8 cup or so).  Cook over a high heat until the spears develop a bright green color and are heated through but still retain their crispness. Remove from pan to a serving platter and season with salt.

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We just got back from another AMAZING Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert!  This was our second year to go and it was just a fabulous!  If you are not familiar with TSO you need to check out their site! TSO puts on an amazing rock/light/pyro show with a Christmas theme.  I have never seen a show with such great lights and fire and talented musicians.  This year Richie and I took two of our students from school with us. J and G are both into music and G even has his own band yet neither had ever been to a show like this before.   It was in the Alltel Arena in Little Rock.  We even managed to get floor seats which was really cool. J and G really had a great time and were wide eyed through the whole show.  I think J even recorded the whole thing in 3 minute increments on his cell phone!  It was really great!  Here are a few pictures of the lights but words and even pictures can not describe how amazing the show is!

We will definitely be going again next year!

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I made these cute Soft Blocks for my 9 month old nephew for Christmas.  They were super easy to make! I didn’t use a pattern I just cut 2 squares from 3 different pattern fabrics and then stitched them together.  I used basic fiberfil to stuff them.  I cut 8 1/2″, 6 1/2″, and 4 1/2″ squares and used a 1/4″ seem allowance and got  8″, 6″ and 4″ finished blocks. I found a great FREE online tutorial if you want to make your own soft blocks! Ester over at London Mummy has a fabulous blog! She also has a great flickr tutorial for making soft blocks.  I highly recommend that you take a look at her blog and her tutorial.Here are a few pictures of my nephew enjoying the holidays!

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Sorry I haven’t posted in a few days. We have been away visiting my sister and brother-in-law in Illinois for a few days.  Of course it is my nephews first christmas so that has been really fun! He sure brought in the loot today.  My mom and dad are here too which is also great.  I will post more when we get back home. It looks like Richie has a hunting trip planned for Friday so that will give me lots of time to catch up on all of my blogging. I want to add a new tutorial feature at least once a week for the new year so I also plan to spend some time getting that ready.  Any way, I hope you all had a wonderful day with you family and loved ones and I will post again in a few days.  Merry Christmas! I will leave you with this beautiful picture of my sisters house!

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I haven’t had an advent calendar since I was a kid.  The once we had were those cardboard kind that had the little chocolate candies hidden inside of the perforated doors. 

I saw an abundance of advent calendars on the internet this season and that got me thinking of making one for myself and for my sister and brother-in-law who would be spending their first Christmas with their new son, Silas, my first nephew!

There is a great advent calendar group on flickr.

www.flickr.com

photos in Creative Advent Calendars More photos in Creative Advent Calendars

I made my own advent calendar based on Jenny B. Harris’s tutorial on www.allsorts.typepad.com and sent it to my sister.  I am working on my own to use next year.  Here are some pictures of the one I made hanging up in my sisters house.  Each pouch has a little candy and a little dangle inside of it.  I enlarged the pattern a bit and added some decorative stitching onto the pouch for the 25th.

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