Friday, December 24, 2010

A Christmas Wish.

Merry Christmas Eve everyone! I hope this weekend is full of love, laughs, and great food for all of you. I kicked off Christmas Eve with brunch with my Dad and 3 girls. We had the best time too. I don't know how we got off on this, but Dad ended up taking the heights of all the girls. Guess what? My oldest is now officially one inch taller than me. That thoroughly depressed me and I ended up going back for one more biscuit.....Tonight we will celebrate with K's family. My MIL will cook her fanny off all day in preparation for it too. I'm planning on taking oven roasted potato wedges sprinkled with sea salt, cheddar cheese, sliced green onions, and of course crumbled bacon. I'll serve them with a sour cream dipping sauce. I've also got my favorite hot jalapeno popper dip (recipe here) that I'll be bringing. Tomorrow will start off with my kids seeing what Santa left them under the tree and we will have our family gift exchange. I'm making a breakfast sausage casserole (recipe to come) for breakfast then. My parent's will stop by to see the kids' gifts and then dash home to prepare for my Mom's side of the family who will join us for lunch at my Parents' house. My Aunt P brings an icebox fruitcake that is to die for and her famous cheese ball.  My sis-in-law, J, will bring Chex Mix that I will eat on for the rest of the day. I'm making green beans cooked with caramelized onions and bacon in a sweet vinegar sauce for our lunch buffet. We'll play a spirited game of Dirty Santa with that crew and they'll be off. Then, my Parents and siblings along with all of our kids will have our family Christmas. My Dad will kick it off with reading Luke's account of Jesus' birth. We will talk about the wonderful gift that God gave us when He sent His Son to earth on that blessed day. We will talk about all the things that we have to be thankful for and give God thanks for all His blessings. Next, we'll open our presents. Finally, we'll end the night eating leftovers from lunch and popping in a funny movie for the whole family to enjoy. I'm painting a really pretty picture here, but we are an ordinary family who doesn't always feel the love towards each other on a 365 day a year basis. We get into scuffs. We sometimes "exchange words", especially me and my sisters. However, we love each other and we always get over it. Whatever "it" was. *Just keeping it real.* It's wonderful to spend Christmas with our loved ones. It's also wonderful to share that love with others who may not have family to spend it with. Christmas is about Christ. It's about giving of ourselves. Serving others. Spreading God's love. Praying for people that we know are hurting. Asking God to show us what He would have us to do to glorify His name. Being willing to do what He commands us to do. To God be the Glory forever and ever! And believe me, He will get the glory He deserves whether we believe in Him or not. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Him Lord and day. Merry Christmas Y'all!

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Christmas Cookie Recipe.

I've been on a Barefoot Contessa kick lately. I have a lot of her shows recorded and one afternoon last week all I did was watch Ina work her magic in the kitchen. One of the shows was right up my alley. She was entertaining a large group and gave ideas for a fairly simple menu. She served a huge pot of Lobster Corn Chowder, a fruit & cheese tray, a big Marmalade Glazed Ham, a simple green salad, and Dried Fruit Cookies. I thought to myself, "I can totally do that!". I don't have the funds to go around throwing lobster into my soup, but I can certainly handle a simple chicken corn chowder. I'm planning a little get together at my house after Christmas for a small group of friends and this is going to be my menu (provided all the recipes turn out as good as they look on tv).

 Of course, I tested the dessert recipe first. Winner! These Dried Fruit Cookies (recipe here) are really good. I had to make a few adjustments, like leaving out the nuts because I have a child with a nut allergy and I also left out the raisins (simply because I've just never liked them). Other than that, I pretty much followed the recipe as outlined. I like these because they are not overly sweet and a have a spice quality to them (because of the ground cloves, which I only used 1/2 of what the recipe called for). I can't wait to sit down with a nice cup of coffee and eat these. My kids weren't too crazy about them because they were under the impression that they had chocolate chips in them (a good guess considering I was the one baking them). They remind me so much of Christmas partly because they resemble little fruitcakes. I hope you get a chance to try these soon. I think you will find that you will reach for them every time the cookie jar is opened. Which reminds me...I've got to get rid of that thing before I begin the new year with an extra twenty pounds. Enjoy!

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Christmas Tour of Homes.

This morning I was catching up on some of my favorite blogs. I haven't got to do that in a while and I've really missed some good recipes and decorating tips along the way. One site I like is She has my kind of taste and often has good tips along the way. She had a recent post here and it was called a link party for a tour of Christmas homes. Anyone who has a blog could submit a photo of a decorated space in their home. I really enjoyed clicking on all the different pictures and it took me straight to the person's blog who submitted it. I found so many good ideas on there. The above picture is from one of the links, it was taken from the lettered cottage. She has a beautiful home and I really thought this was a simple, yet elegant and inviting way to decorate this space. I hope you can find time to take the tour of homes and see all the beautiful things for yourself. In the meantime, I'm busy getting Christmas cards ready to be mailed and still have some gifts to wrap. However, I'm so thankful to the One who truly deserves the glory and praise. Thank you Jesus for giving us this special season to remind us of the awesome gift you gave us when you came to Earth as a precious baby boy to ultimately give yourself up on a cross to pardon our sins. HE is the best gift...ever. Merry CHRISTmas!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Chocolate Christmas Treat.

It's the most wonderful time of the year! I've had the best time surfing the web and finding wonderful treats to compliment this Christmas season. I used to get a candy cane in my stocking every year when I was growing up. I wonder if that's why my favorite shower gel fragrance for this time of the year is candy cane? Okay, let's get down to business. How do you like the looks of the little treat pictured above? I bet it's cold (like straight of the fridge cold) and slightly hard on the top, but as your teeth sink in it becomes a silky, creamy, chocolatey party in your mouth. I'm sort of an expert on this subject. Okay? Let's just say, it took years of practice. I found this recipe on the food network website and it had a 5 star rating from all who had made it. You can find a printable recipe for this chocolate peppermint cheesecake here. I will tell you that I haven't personally tried it yet, but it's on my "to do" list before the month is out. I hope you enjoy it!