Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Trimming the Tree

 It's Christmas time!!  I love Christmas.  I love decorating and the music and the family and the happy faces, but I don't like to rush it.  Let's give Thanksgiving its due.  There is no Christmas music in this house until the day after Thanksgiving and garland and trees are a big no-no.  We feel strongly about this can you tell?  Anyway-Thanksgiving is over and it is time for CHRISTMAS!!  YAY!!!

Last night it was time to trim the tree.  We love this night at our house.  We have a good snack supper and play Christmas music and decorate the tree.  We laughed last night because we found the ornament that says "Our First Christmas 1994."  That was the only ornamnet we had that year.  I spent about $10, which was just about all the extra cash we had, on red Christmas balls at Walmart so it would look a little better.   We had so many ornament last night there was no room left for balls!  I Love seeing all the ornaments from years past!

My kiddos love having supper in the den and something about it t feels all warm and cozy so here is what our snack supper looked like.

Little Smokies

 Kind of weird ingrediants but oh so good!  Always check your smokies to be sure they are GF.  The chili sauce and the jelly make a great sauce.  Just dump them in a sauce pan and heat it all up!  Yum!  I had a friend tell me once that that was wierd and couldn't you just use BBQ sauce.  Yes, yes you can.

Cheese Ball

 My son told me the other day that he loved Christmas.  "I'm so glad" I replied, "What do you love most?"  Cheeseball, he very quickly replied.  Well ok then.

The orginal recipe calls for 3 lbs of cream cheese.  Thats alot of cream cheese but it makes several balls and is great for party season.  I made a smaller version for us last night.

1 Lb of softened cream cheese.
About 1 1/2 cups of grated cheddar cheese (pre shredded worked fine-I was tired)
Several shakes of Worshestershire
Grated onion to taste

Mix it all together with your hands and form into a ball and sprinkle with paprika, or as my daughter says "the red sauce." Serve with Fritos Scoops.

 And for dessert

This was hard and time consuming.  GF oreos dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with Christmas sprinkles.  Took like 3 minutes.  Ok 4, the chocolate had to melt in the microwave.  Awesome!  Festive, easy,  not "weird".  Hoorah!

The whole meal took less than 20 minutes to make.  I'm not saying it was especially balanced but it was a hit!

And the tree is trimmed.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A warm Home

WHEW!!  It has has been a crazy few weeks around this little house.  I've had a couple of big craft shows with my little business  over the last month and it has consumed me.  But I'm back and it's Thanksgiving and then it's Christmas and that means - it's time to cook!!!  I'm sorry for the lack of Thanksgiving recipes before Thanksgiving, But I'm going to give this blog some extra love over the holidays!  Now on with the cooking!

Like I said, we've been crazy busy the last few weeks and I've done very little cooking.  So yesterday I decided to get busy!  It was turning cold again (yea!) and was raining all day.  About 3:00 the kids and I settled into the den with blankets and warm chocolate chip cookies and a movie.  I would tell you all about the movie we watched, Nim's Island, but I slept through most of it.  A good nap on a Tuesday?  Heavenly-love a holiday!!!  After we finished the movie it was getting dark and was still a little rainy so we finished up the day with more warm, feel good, stick your bones potato soup.  Yum!!

Potato Soup

I like to cook my potatoes in my crockpot.  I put 4 large potatoes in on high for about 3 hours and they cook really good that way.  When they are done-just gut those suckers.  

In my dutch oven, but any pot would work, I put 1/4 cup flour (Pamela's) and 5 tbsp. of butter.  Melt the butter and flour together being careful not to let it burn.  Add 4 cups of milk and let it cook for about 5-6 minutes.  It will get nice and thick and will be a beautiful white sauce.

Ok, here is where my cooking gets annoying for those around me.  No measurements, just feelings.  You know-that much cheese just feels right.  Sorry!

Add "some" cheese to the white sauce.  It was about 5 oz. of shredded sharp cheddar.  Let it melt and mix in with the white sauce.  Next add in the potatoes.  I like to use my submersible blender to make it really smooth.  You don't have to that but I like the smooth texture.

Next add "some" sour cream.  This is how much I added.
About 1/2 cup
Stir to blend it all together and then add the bacon.  Yep, cheese, sour cream, butter and bacon-can't go wrong! This is what I use 'cause I'm too lazy to make bacon.

I used to dump the whole jar in the pot but then I actually read the label and that was about 11 pieces of bacon and even I can appreciate that that is a bit much.  So I use about 1/2 the jar.

Stir together and let simmer.  Stir often or the bottom will burn.  Once hot you can even turn the heat off and cover it and it will stay warm for a long time.

Serve it up and you get some happy people on a cold, rainy night

Shane and I love this!  I could eat it 3 meals a day.  Will likes it fine.  He ate it without complaint.  Jenny not so much.  I am a big "eat what's in front of you" mom, but this is what my baby girl looked like on Sunday.

She ate a grilled cheese.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The one with the BIG party!

We had a big party at our house last weekend. How big you ask?  Guess. 

25 people? Nope. Guess again. 
75 people?  Nope. Keep going. 
100 people?  Getting closer. 
Our best guess is about 130 people. And by people I mean middle schoolers. At least 100 of those people were sixth, seventh, and eighth graders. Yep. 
How did I end up with over 100 people at my house last Saturday night?  
Cue the flash back music. 
My 13 year old was in the middle schools production of High School Musical. He was Chad.  I'm so proud of him.  He did an awesome job. There are few things as satisfying as a parent than seeing your child in their element. Enjoying themselves, excelling at something, being with friends and being happy.  With a 13 year old than can be hard to come by sometimes.  
I was helping get some snacks set up for the kids before the show and was chatting with a friend as the kids finished up practicing the last number. I had not been to any of the rehearsals so it was the first time I had seen or heard any of it.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw the main character, a friend of my son, step up to sing and then went back to my conversation.  I heard the voice change to another child and thought to myself, "what a nice voice."  I looked up to see who it was and there stood my boy singing his heart out.  I couldn't even help the tears that welled up.  So very proud.
Here he is getting ready to head to the show.

Anyway.... I had volunteered to help with the cast party and had not heard if anyone had taken the helm yet so I asked the director if she needed someone to organize.  She did and so I did.  Now let me say, I do love to plan a party.  It doesn't stress me out and I enjoying doing it. In the past we have had cast parties at restaurants or church gyms.  This was a large crowd so I opted for the church gym route.  We could play music, the kids could run around.  Easy peasy.  Except for the fact that that Sunday appeared to be the Sunday for banquets in the city of madison as every gym in town was unavailable.  We live in Madison, Mississippi. There is no shortage of church gyms. Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian. We tried them all.  No luck.  I received many emails encouraging me just to call the local pizza place, order a cake and call it done.  And therein lies the reason I ended up with 130 people at my house.
This is my son's last musical at the middle school.  I was in charge of the party.  No way I was planning a party with pizza and cake and that's it.  He can't have any of that. He would probably just roll with it and have good time but my conscience just wouldn't allow it.  So we had it our house.  And it was a blast!  Just ask my neighbors.
We did have pizza and cake, but we also had GF chocolate covered pretzels and GF chocolate chip cookies and GF cake balls and my friend Jill made GF party mix that was so good. 
I didn't really panic about having that many kids at my house until they all lined up on the stage at the end of the show.  Holy smoke that's a lot of kids and then after, "Thank you and goodnight" one of the kids grabbed the microphone and hollered, "Now let's go rock that cast party!".  As we came around the lake to our house and  car after car was  streaming down the street Shane said, "It looks like field of dreams! Except they are all coming to our house!". 
We played the High School Musical movie on a big screen outside.  We lit the fire pit and they roasted marshmallows and put away a ton of food.  They all cleared out within 15 minutes of the stated ending time and parents hung around and helped break down tables and clean up.  Nothing was broken and nobody called the cops for which I was grateful. It was a a really great time.
Here is a picture of the backyard.  Its not a very good picture but you get the idea.

This is Will and his friend Avery who was also in the show.

The moral of the story is this.  You do what you have to do for your kids and sometimes that means a big ole fat party at your house.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Heavy Heart

This post is not about food at all.  Or maybe it is.  Food is a big part of any family.  It's Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's muffins on Saturday morning and that one thing your mama makes that makes your heart warm because she made it just for you.

My heart is heavy this morning.  It's been heavy all week.  Our community has had a tragedy over the weekend.  Three young lives lost.  Three.  All at once.  I didn't know those boys or those families but I know lots of people who do know them.  And we are sad.  Their funerals are this morning and my first thought this morning was of their mammas.  How do you do that day?  How?

The worst thing that has ever happened to me was the loss of my Daddy.  It was sudden and unexpected much like these boys.  I would never compare the loss of my Daddy to the loss of a child.  It is light years of difference, but last night I kept thinking about my Grandmother.  He was 55 years old when he died.  She was 85.  But you know what.  It didn't matter.  He was still her baby boy and the pain was immense. They never stop being your babies.  You never stop worrying for them and about them.  But worry gets us no where.  I will admit to some extra worry this week.  When Will rode down the driveway on his bike Moday morning to go to school my thought was, "Please come home this afternoon.  Please come home and eat all the cookies I just bought and text your friends and answer every question I ask with a shrug and a "Uh."  Please. "

I have been praying for these families all weeks.  What do you pray?  I don't know.  And thats ok.  The Bible promises that the spirit interecedes for us when we don't know what to say.  I have prayed for peace that passes understanding to guard their hearts and minds.  I know that sometimes our thoughts and the fears in our hearts can overtake us.  I pray for a peaceful mind and a peaceful heart which is not possible in times like thiswithout the grace of Jesus.

And I have prayed for my children.  And if I'm completely honest I've prayed,"Dear Lord, please don't let this happen to me."  But that is not what I need to be praying.  I am praying that their lives will honor Him.  That they will love the Lord with all their hearts and minds and souls.  That they will love others and that others will see Jesus in them.  That their lives will be bring honor and praise to him.

And from what I have read and heard that is what these boys lives have done.  Even in death.  That is the hope of Jesus Christ!  First Corintians tells us that although we don't understand right now one day will see face to face!  We will see God's plan in total.  We will see Jesus face to face.  We will see our fathers and husbands and children.  We will see them and we will see them while we all see Jesus.  

I know this is a little heavy for a food blog.  But it's on my heart.  We had a big weekend with a HUGE party at our house and that post is almost fifnished but it just didn't seem right to post about a party when the people around me are hurting.  Tomorrow.  For today pray for these families.  Pray for your children.  Love the people around you.