Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Trees and Menorahs

On Tuesday we went back to our storage unit and pulled everything out looking for our tree and ornaments. They are gone. :-( All my ornaments I've been collecting for many years, Taylor's first Christmas ornaments, as well as all the ornaments I've made with Taylor are gone. I'm so very sad.

Life goes on so we've replaced the tree and bought some simple ball ornaments.
























Taylor and I decided to start a new tradition and every Christmas we will buy one new ornament each that reminds us of the year we had.

I already got mine.
























I just need to find or take a picture to put in it.

If anyone is wondering why on earth would we use a fake tree instead of real one. Well one year we had some little visitors that came with the tree we bought from the lot. Spiders and a lot of them. I do not like spiders. Getting them to move out was not an easy job. So we fake it now.

Hanukkah Dinner

For the last night of Hanukkah I made Jason Roasted Chicken and Vegetables with Latkes.


















I used Chicken Legs and for the vegetables I used carrots, parsnips, and onion. In a roasting pan I added the chicken and vegetables. I seasoned with olive oil, garlic and onion powder, basil, salt and pepper. I baked in the oven on 375 degrees for about an hour. For the latkes I got the recipe from the food network minus the scallions. I served them with apple sauce and sour cream.

Christmas Dinner Planning

Now I have to start planning for Christmas dinner. I'm excited because my family is coming to town.
Can't wait to see my niece and nephew.

Christmas 2008. The last Christmas I spent with them.
























I've come up with a few ideas.



What are your Christmas plans?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

And on the Sixth Day She Posted

I can't get over how it's been six days since my last post. Boy the days are going by fast. Last Saturday Taylor and I went to our favorite gingerbread party. We've been going every year since 94.

2008













2009










2010
Lots



















and lots



















of candy





































old friends


karaoke



















houses falling apart



















while the kids were having fun so were the parents

























Taylor's masterpiece






















which she never finished.




















Friday, December 3, 2010

Feliz Navidad

We started decorating for the holiday's on Wednesday.

















We have a fake tree that seems to be missing with all my ornaments. I'm pretty sure it's at our storage unit. I'll just have to wait until next week to get it. In the meantime we have a few lights up to enjoy. 

For Dinner last night and tonight I went Mexican. Last night Chicken Fajitas and tonight Mexican Pizza. Both super easy and super tasty. Two of my favorite things.

Chicken Fajitas

chicken
onions
green pepper
shredded cheese
tortillas 
salsa 
sour cream

I baked the chicken earlier in the day. 
























Cooked onion and green bell peppers in some olive oil.


I Shredded the Chicken and added  it to the pan.



















For the Salsa I cut up one tomato, added some lime juice, onion, garlic clove, cumin, cilantro, salt and pepper.




















For dessert we had Taylor's new favorite cookies.






















Mexican Pizza

tortillas
ground beef
shredded cheese
enchilada sauce (recipe below)
taco seasoning (recipe below)
salsa
sour cream

I put the tortilla in the oven to become crisp.

















Cooked the ground beef in a pan. Seasoning it with taco seasoning.

Taco Seasoning

This is a healthier taco seasoning then the packaged seasoning you get at the store. I like making my own  because I get to control the amount of salt as well as I know what is in it.

2 tbsp Chili powder
1 1/2 tbsp Whole Wheat Flour
2 tsp Cumin
2 tsp Ground Oregano
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp Paprika 

Directions
Mix all ingredients together.
Store in an airtight container.


Enchilada Sauce


2 Cups No Salt Added Tomato Sauce (2 8 oz. cans)
2 Tbsp Taco Seasoning (above)
Sea Salt & Black Pepper to taste

Directions
Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan. Stir over med-low heat for 5 mins.


Building the pizza.

Add a couple tablespoons (or more if you want) of sauce onto a baked tortilla. Add some of the seasoned beef. Add the cheese.

Broil for a couple minutes.

Add Salsa and Sour Cream

















Other toppings you can use
olives
green, yellow, red peppers
avocado
chicken

What topping would you put on your pizza?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mad Over Bananas

I don't get mad over - over ripped bananas. I get baking.

Banana Bread is one of my favorites. I'm the luckiest girl ever when I make BB because Jason and Taylor don't share the same feelings. More for me!


Oh so Good (for you) Banana Bread Muffins
4 mashed overripe bananas
2 cups whole wheat white flour
1/8 cup honey
1 cup apple sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup chopped almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degree. 

Mix all ingredients until combined.
Line cupcake pan with liners (optional). Sray liners with nonstick cooking spray.















Bake for 25 minutes.

These not only taste outstanding, they are good for you too.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Many Faces of T-day Leftovers

For the last five days I've had at least one meal a day that contained turkey. Thanksgiving I had a wonderful dinner at Michelle's. Then the day after Thanksgiving I cooked a Thanksgiving meal (the reason why). For the remaining three days I've come up with these meals out of the leftovers. I'm happy to report there is not a piece of leftover Turkey or it's side kicks in my fridge. Mission complete.


The Classic Turkey Cranberry Sandwich 






















Biscuit
Cranberry Sauce
Mayo
Turkey



Easy Turkey Pot Pie

























To make this I chopped up half a small onion. In medium sauce pan I added the onion with a small amount of olive oil. Over medium heat cook until soft. I added half a bag of frozen mixed vegetables. Add 1 cup of milk. In a microwave safe dish melt 1/2 a tbsp of butter. Stir in 1 tsp of corn starch to melted butter. Add butter and corn starch mixture to vegetable pot. Stir until it thickens. I then added my leftover carrots and cut up cooked turkey. Transfer to a baking dish. I then took 3 Pillsbury biscuits and cut them in half. Flattening each one out and place them on top of the mixture. 

I cooked this in a preheated 350 degree oven for 14 minutes.

Turkey Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette Dressing






















Lettuce and Turkey - I love simple.

Cranberry Dressing

1/2 cup cranberry sauce
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
salt to taste






















Turkey Shepherd's Pie
























For this I sauteed some onions in a pan with some olive oil. I added the last of the turkey (chopped) and gravy. I then added some frozen vegetables (corn, green beans and carrots. In a separate pan I reheated the mashed potatoes with a little milk. I also had a little stuffing left over so I just added that to me potatoes. In a baking dish I added the turkey/vegetable mixture. Then I topped that with the mashed potatoes. In a preheated 350 degree I baked this for about 15 minutes.

Can you say easy?

I'm am officially done with turkey. I do not want to see, taste or hear another turkey for a very long time.  

Back to Life...

Back to Reality. That was the song I woke up to in my head. Pretty fitting, that is exactly what I'm doing.

I had a fabulous holiday break. I use to think how funny that we call holiday breaks "holiday breaks". They are far from breaks. These breaks are full of cleaning, decorating, cooking, more cleaning, hosting, running around, baking, shopping, more cleaning. I needed a break from my break. 



Not so much anymore. Maybe I'm just use to it. Maybe I look forward to them because I get a break from sitting in front of my computer working on the breakdowns and my phone ringing all day long. I appreciate the cooking, decorating, hosting, running around, shopping. Notice I didn't say cleaning. You'll never hear my say that. It's just what I needed. I'm grateful for my busy work day. But sometimes you just need a break.

Now I have the Christmas break to look forward to. Bring it on. No really, bring it on.

Breakfast

I had a bowl of granola with nuts and dates.

Off to the gym.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday Bakeday

Taylor has been asking bugging me all week to bake her some cookies. Today was her lucky day.

These little puppies are out of this world yums. I came across these while searching  for a chocolate chip and peanut butter cookie recipe. I scored because not only did I find this recipe I found a new blog to follow. Great looking recipes and a fun read. 

Source: Peas and Thank You - I've made a couple modifications (in bold).

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Balls

1/2 cup of margarine
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup powder sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
3/4 cup chocolate chips

In a mixer mix the first five ingredients.



In a separate bowl combine the following four dry ingredients. 
Add the dry ingredients a little at a time to the mixture.
























Mix until dough forms.
























Add chocolate chips. Mix until combined.
Mama P says to chill for 30 minutes. I didn't and they worked just fine.
I scooped the dough using a 1/8 cup measuring cup. 
Place onto a cookie sheet.






















I baked these in a preheated 350 degree oven for 12 minutes.


















Saturday, November 27, 2010

Turkey Dinner Part II

The Menu

Turkey
Creamed Corn
Stuffing (I won't be stuffing the bird. I just don't like calling it dressing. That's for the salad)
Mashed Potatoes
Gravy
Pineapple Cranberry Sauce
Candied Carrots
Dinner Rolls

And for dessert... 
Pumpkin Pie with whipped cream

The Bird

1 cube of butter, 1 tbsp each of garlic powder, onion powder, salt and Pepper. 























I slathered the butter mixture of the turkey. The bird not Jason.

























I then placed 6 slices of bacon over the turkey.




This 12 pound turkey cooked in a preheated 350 degree oven for 4 hours. I kept the bird uncovered for the first hour. For the remaining three I covered it with foil. 

Creamed Corn

1 12oz bags of Frozen Corn 
1 cups of cream 
1/2 stick of unsalted butter
2 tsp of corn starch
1/4 cup of sugar
salt to taste


Add the corn and cream to a pot. Cook over medium heat.

















Melt the butter and add the cornstarch. Add to pot.






















Cook until until corn thickens. Add the sugar. Cook over low heat for a couple minutes.

I also make a healthier version. 

1 12oz bags of frozen corn 
1 cups of cream soy milk
1/2 stick 1 tbsp of unsalted butter earth balance margarine
2 1 tsp of corn starch
1/4 cup of sugar agave syrup or honey
salt to taste

For the Stuffing I cheated a little. Thanks for your help Mrs. Cubbison!
I just followed the directions on the box.












































Mashed Potatoes

Lots of Cream and Butter
























Gravy

Remove the turkey from the roasting pan. Using two burners (if needed) on low heat. Deglaze your pan by adding a couple cups of chicken broth. When your done scrapping all the goodness. Add some onion to flavor the sauce. Cook for 10 minutes.






















Strain the gravy into a sauce pan. Cook over medium low heat. While whisking add a couple tablespoons of cornstarch (more if needed). Continue whisking until the gravy is thickened.

Pineapple Cranberry Sauce

12 oz. bag of fresh cranberries
1/2 cup of pineapples (I use Trader Joe's frozen pineapples)
1/4 cup of Chardonnay
3/4 cup of orange juice
3/4 cup of sugar

Rinse cranberries.

















Place all the ingredients into a sauce pan.























Cook to boil, stirring occasionally. Lower heat to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer to a bowl and let the sauce cool completely to room temperature. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Candied Carrots

I made a small amount because Jason and Taylor aren't big carrot eaters. I didn't want to waste. This make four small servings.

4 large carrots - cut into large slices
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
pinch of pepper
Salted water - enough to cover carrots.

Cook carrots for about 10 minutes. You don't want to over cook the carrots. 






















No mushy carrots allowed. Drain the water. Reduce the heat to low. Add the butter, brown sugar and pepper. Cook until the sugar is bubbly, about 3 minutes or so.

Pumpkin Pie - Yep I got a little help with this one too.






















Drum Roll Please...