Senin, 29 November 2010

Gifts-in-a-Jar Recipes

Cocoa in a jar -
Choose your recipe, then layer the ingredients in a jar for a simple, stylish gift.

Recipes for cocoa in a jar:

Classic Cocoa
Mexican Cocoa
Mocha Cocoa
Peppermint Stick Cocoa

Friendship Soup Mix in a Jar Recipe -
"Your friends and family will love you for this! A soup mix in a jar recipe you can give out as gifts!"

Oxmoor House

Gifts-in-a-Jar Recipes: Jams, Spreads & Sauces
These recipes require just a handful of ingredients for a big payoff in flavor and presentation.

Homemade Caramel Sauce

More ideas

Sealed & Delivered: Recipes in a Jar : Recipes and Cooking : Food ...
Surprise your friends this year with a homemade gift: a recipe-in-a-jar from Food Network!

Senin, 22 November 2010

Creative Christmas Garlands

How pretty is this!

Be Merry. A string of holiday-ish photographs in tones of winter.
littleputbooks $12.00 Etsy

Inspired by the the winter season this banner is my absolute favorite at the moment. A collection of cold and frosty and holiday images all taken in winter- cold, dark, bright and light all in one!

Vintage Christmas Post Cards Garland
VintageScraps $14 Etsy

Seven of my gorgeous early 1900's Christmas post cards have been copied onto card stock and crafted into a garland perfect for Christmas trees and holiday decorating. Great for winter birthdays as well, the post cards hang from over six feet of deep red seam binding.

Twelve Days of Christmas Mini Stocking Advent Calendar
liltulip $29 Etsy

What a fun tradition for your little ones to count down the twelve days of Christmas! Stuff with small surprises, candy canes, and treats for each of the twelve days.

photo Steven Randazzo, Country Living

Brawny sugar pinecone swags anchor a mixed-cone garland above the fireplace. Make it yourself with a variable-speed drill and braided picture-hanger wire. Place inverted cones in urns to create pinecone topiaries.

For more creative ideas please go to:

Christmas Garlands - Decorating with Holiday Garlands - Country Living
How to Get the Look.
Creative ways to use garlands to spruce up your home for the holidays...

Jumat, 19 November 2010

Thoughts on being Thankful

Thanksgiving is a time when the world gets to see just how blessed and how workable the Christian system is. The emphasis is not on giving or buying, but on being thankful and expressing that appreciation to God and to one another. -John Clayton

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone. ~G.B. Stern

Grace isn't a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal. It's a way to live. ~Attributed to Jacqueline Winspear

It isn't what you have in your pocket that makes you thankful, but what you have in your heart. -Unknown

The thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings. -Henry Ward Beecher

If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness. It will change your life mightily. ~Gerald Good

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Psalms 105:1

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34

Mary Mary and Kirk Franklin - Thank You

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Rabu, 17 November 2010

Savory and Sweet Brunch Menu Ideas

Good Housekeeping

Next week we have a boat load of family coming from out of town to celebrate Thanksgiving. Which is why I'm always on the lookout for delicious recipes that I can make ahead so that I'm not in the kitchen 24/7.

Brunch Recipes - Brunch Menu Ideas - Good Housekeeping - 8:46am
It's one of life's most delicious indulgences -- sleeping late and then sitting down to a savory brunch. Here, some of Good Housekeeping's favorite recipes...


Syrupy Banana-Nut Overnight French Toast

Southwestern Rice and Corn Frittata

Crustless Tomato-Ricotta Pie

Better Homes & Gardens

The Best Brunch Recipes
Whether you're planning a simple brunch for a small group, or a meal to dazzle a crowd, we've got just the right recipes for you...


See Rosemary Potato Frittata recipe

See Maple-Bacon Oven Pancake recipe

See Ham-Asparagus Strata

Sabtu, 13 November 2010

Parties and {more} Pumpkins

I realized that I totally skipped over Jack's little birthday here it is! His party was rescheduled because we got sick, and then it was supposed to be at the pumpkin patch, but we got rained out so we ended up at my sister's house, which was great! The only bummer was that since we had to change the date (and location) twice, a few people couldn't make it. We missed the Gonsalves' and the Molchanoffs!! I made apple cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting- a less processed, fake, sugary type of dessert for the little ones, but still super delish!
We love our boy!
Jacky loves "Sofunky" {soft monkey}

 On his real birthday we went to Nana's house for yummy banana bran muffins and coffee! We celebrated Isabella too, because her birthday is 3 days before Jack's!

"Fighter" truck from Nana!!

Jumat, 12 November 2010

I'll Take Turkey Cake With My Cheesecake

Southern Living Magazine

Uptown Banana Pudding Cheesecake - - The Best ...
A cooked mixture of bananas, lemon juice, and brown sugar is swirled into the cream cheese-and-coffee liqueur base of Uptown Banana Pudding Cheesecake.

Recipe: Uptown Banana Pudding Cheesecake

Wow -- this really looks good!

"Almond Joy" Cheesecake Recipe -
Crust:, chocolate graham cracker crumbs, sliced almonds, salt, unsalted butter, melted, Filling:, 8-oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature, sugar ...

Who thinks up this stuff? I spy some serious monkey business going on here with this "Thanksgiving Turkey Cake" recipe:

Thanksgiving Turkey Cake Recipe - CHOW
Nov 12, 2010 ... Whether this Thanksgiving centerpiece incites horror, amazement, or confusion when it's served, it's certain to evoke some kind of outburst.

Kamis, 11 November 2010

Thanksgiving Classics: Best Dinner Menus Ever

Best Thanksgiving Dinner Menus – Recipe Ideas for Thanksgiving ...
5 Celebrity Chefs Tackle Thanksgiving Classics.

We asked five of our favorite chefs to deliver their best Thanksgiving dinner menus ever. The only criteria? They had to include turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and cranberries — plus a wild-card dish of their choice. As a bonus, each expert recommended a wine pairing that costs less than $25 a bottle.

This is a great web site! Check it out:

Thanksgiving for Kids ~ 20 Table Ideas — Tip Junkie
Nov 9, 2010 ... I absolutely love decorating the kids table for Thanksgiving! For me, making Thanksgiving for the kids extra fun starts with decorating the ...

Rabu, 10 November 2010

Who's the boss

It is so fun (and funny) living with a toddler who is learning to speak. I'm sure most moms would agree that it is so cute when your little one starts to babble, and then say little words, and then speak in short, often disjunct sentences. It is literally like a little cave man; and while I can pretty much always understand what Jack is saying, it often requires some translation on my part so everyone else understands too. He is in the nouns, verbs, and adjectives phase, but every day I'm noticing his sentences becoming more and more complete and complex. 

Jack started talking really early for a boy. By the time he was one, he could point to many objects and give them their correct names, but his favorite thing to say was, "Wasat?" {what's that?}. He literally asked "wasat?" about everything. I could just see his little mind encoding and processing all of the information he was taking in about the world around him.  At Thanksgiving last year, we were at my Nana's house and Jack was going around pointing to various breakables saying, "don't touch, don't touch" Smart boy.  

Smart boy is also a very funny boy...sometimes by accident. 

The other night Sean was sitting on the floor playing the guitar, or "tarrrr" as Jack calls it, and he all of a sudden shouted,

 "Daddy, SOPPP" 

and he kind of swatted at Sean's hand that was strumming. Sean told him no no, and I commented to him in passing that Jack is definitely in the stage of pushing boundaries and trying to figure out who the boss is. 

My lil boss (wearing Papa's hat)
What happened next was one of the funniest things ever...this typed version will never do it justice since it is lacking in timing and intonation.

Sean jokingly looked at Jack and said, 

"Who's the boss? Daddy's the boss."

and without a single second of hesitation, Jack retorted, 

"No, Mommy's boss."

Like I said, he's a smart boy. Sean and I both cracked up, and luckily he is not one of those men who let their egos overtake any kind of rational thinking, so he was not offended at all. {Although he did tell Jack several times over the next half hour or so, that Daddy's the boss...} haha. 

Some of the humor in little one's early speech is not what they say, but how they say it. For example:

Giden Fider: giant spider
Zizard: lizard
J-bug: Jacob 
Gobbles: goggles
Fighter truck and fighter men: fire truck, fire men

I'm just happy he knows who's boss :-)

Deep Dish Chicago-Style Meatball Pizza


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons garlic
1 28 can plum tomatoes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup onion minced
1 1/2 tsp basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons red wine (optional)

1 lb. sweet Italian sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. thinly sliced pepperoni
1 tsp. basil flakes or 1 tablespoon fresh, minced
1 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. pepper

1 tube refrigerated pizza crust
2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese
1 pkg. (8 oz.) shredded Mozzarella
Olive oil

Cooking Instructions

Preheat oven to hot 400°F.

Step 1: To make pizza sauce -- satue garlic in olive oil. Add can plum tomatoes, tomato paste, minced onion, basil, oregano, salt, sugar a wine and mix well. Simmer for 20 minutes or until sauce thickens.

Step 2: Remove casings from sausage and form into walnut size meatballs. In a large heavy skillet brown over medium heat, stirring often until meat is no longer pink. Drain on paper towels, pouring off excess fat.

Step 3: In the same pan, sauté onions in olive oil over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, cook 1 minute. Stir in pepperoni, basil, oregano and black pepper. Cook 2-3 minutes. If the mixture seems too dry, add 1-2 tablespoons water.

Step: 4 Unroll the pizza dough and place in a well seasoned 9-10 inch cast iron skillet, stretching dough slightly to fit up sides about 1 inch. Roll pointed corners under or cut off and reroll to make a small pizza.

Spread dough with several tablespoons pizza sauce. Spread half of the vegetable mixture over the sauce. Top with half of the sausage meatballs. Sprinkle with half of the tablespoon Parmesan cheese. Dot with 3 tablespoons sauce, then 1/2 the Mozzarella. Repeat layers. Drizzle top with a little olive oil

Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes (depends on your oven) or until edges of crust are browned and cheese is bubbly. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Jumat, 05 November 2010

Warm Winter Ciders and Brews

Warm Winter Ciders and Brews
Come in from the cold to enjoy warm holiday ciders and mulled wine with a touch of spice.

1969 Gourmet Magazine { Hot Spiced Buttered Rum }

Top 5 Hot Cocktails at
In the era before space heaters and Thinsulate, simmering concoctions of wine, beer, and spirits were a staple of colonial taverns.

I also like this recipe:

LunaCafe Hot Buttered Rum LunaCafe
If there is one drink that says Christmas more than any other, it is surely Hot Buttered Rum.

Kamis, 04 November 2010

Mmm D' Licious: Chicken Curry

In an effort to add some variety to our dinner hour, I'm trying some new recipes! In this case, a delicious Chicken Curry over rice! Although, I have to be honest, this recipe comes from my mom's kitchen, so its not exactly "new" to me. However, this was my first at attempt at it. 

{Bell pepper and onion for the Curry sauce
& zucchini squash for our side dish}
Recipe: {this will feed about 6-8 hungry ppl...I only made a 1/2 recipe, and we ate it for 2 dinners and a lunch}
4 chicken breast halves
2 Tbs butter
1 Tbs oil
1 large red bell pepper
1 med. onion
16 oz sour cream (I used Knudsen's fat free)
2 cans Cream of Mushroom soup 
1/2 cup chicken broth
4 Tbs Yoshida 
2-4 Tbs Sherry ( I used Marsala instead)
2 tsp curry powder (into sauce) 
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
dash nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp chili powder
dash: pepper, Worcestershire's, garlic powder, paprika (1/4-1/2 tsp)

To cook chicken: cover in pan with broth, a little sherry, and garlic.
Bring to boil, then simmer till white (about 15 min.) Remove from pan, sprinkle with curry, garlic, and Lawry's seasoned salt. Dice.

Saute onion, bell pepper in butter & oil
Blend in curry powder
Add soup, seasonings, and sour cream
Add chicken.

I like to taste and add anything else I think it needs, although my palate is not super sophisticated, and I'm really still learning. I basically left this one as is, because I was afraid I would add the wrong thing and ruin it. 

I served it over Trader Joe's Organic Brown rice, which if you ever cook rice, this will save you tons of time and's microwavable! 5 min in the good 'ol micro, and you are good to go!
I forgot to take a picture the first night...hence the lack of side dishes accompanying the curry.
Curry is also one of those dishes that allows for all sorts of tasty toppings. I chose coconut shavings, cashew pieces, and raisins. YUM! It was so good, however, the first night I didn't think it was as good as my mom's. Magically, and this is no joke, the second day it was amazing! All the flavors had time to mesh together I guess...Sean and I both said it was better the second night! 


A Conversation with Ina Garten

This is a great interview...

A Conversation with Ina Garten at
The Barefoot Contessa shares her sources of inspiration and strategies for stress-free entertaining—plus three new recipes...

Thirty-two years ago, Ina Garten took a chance. She left a job in the White House Office of Management and Budget and bought Barefoot Contessa, a small specialty food store in Westhampton, New York. Despite Garten's complete lack of experience—she had never run a business nor worked in the food industry—the shop blossomed, eventually....

Just released . . .

Barefoot Contessa: How Easy is That? Fabulous Recipes & Easy Tips.

Selasa, 02 November 2010

Lets Talk Turkey

This is one of my favorite recipes:
Roast Turkey with Sage Butter Bon Appétit, November 1995
Bacon was a staple meat for the pioneers. (They stored it in bags surrounded by bran for insulation.) As a result, the cured meat has found its way into a variety of heartland dishes. This all-American bird embellished with sage and bacon is a good example.

Deep-Fried Turkey Recipe : Paula Deen : Food Network
Prep time: 5 mins - Cook time: 35 mins
Nov 1, 2010 ... Food Network invites you to try this Deep-Fried Turkey recipe from Paula Deen.

Photo: Tina Rupp

Pancetta-Wrapped Roasted Turkey Recipe - Tim Love Food & Wine
Top Chef Judge Gail Simmons loves this recipe so much she sent it to a friend last Thanksgiving. After rubbing this turkey with a bold and delicious mix of chile powder, cumin, sugar and herbs, Texas chef Tim Love blankets it with slices of salty, fatty pancetta, resulting in a supermoist and savory bird.

Go to recipe