Tag Archive | Holiday

Pumpkin Carvers

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I am always a day or two late after Halloween getting our pumpkins carved but the kids still enjoyed the gooey mess.

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My nephew, Q,  just wanted to play with the pumpkin’s “innards” so went around helping everyone scoop it out.

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We accumulated lots of innards.

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The young’uns masterpieces.

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finally Fall around here

For me, Halloween marks the beginning of Fall.  Up until this day, the weather is still warm enough to wear summer clothes but after this day, the chill sets in and I am giddy.  Giddy because my favorite holiday is approaching, Thanksgiving!

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Little Man said he was game this year to wear the “alien” costume.  Every year I beg one of the kids to wear this 30 year old handmade E.T. costume that was once worn by their daddy.  He was a hit with anyone over the age of 20.  =) I believe they need to do a remake of E.T. so this younger generation can get onboard.

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Middle Man working on staying in fierce Ninja mode.

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He wasn’t willing to get out of character even for me.

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My nephew, Q and his mama came from Alabama to visit for the sole reason to go trick or treating with his cousins!

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The dude can’t help but smile!

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We are supplied for the masses who will be ringing our doorbell.

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Princess dressed up a bit to hand out the candy.

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I even decided to put on a little something to get in the spirit of the day.

So we have one missing from our bunch.  Big Man was a bit bummed to not get to participate but he had duties to perform as ballboy for Luke’s football team.  His daddy told him that he made a commitment and when you make a commitment you keep it.  Tough lesson but I promised I would make it up to him and he would partake in his siblings spoils.

Grampa’s Green Beans

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My dad has been making these bean for a few years now and they instantly became part of our holiday menu and a side dish every month or so.

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SUPER SIMPLE INGREDIENTS:

  • Allen’s Cut Italian Green Beans 6 pound can
  • garlic salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 pound pork jowls  (can also use smoked ham hock or bacon)

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Cut up your pork (or bacon) and add it to a large pot.  Set the pot on a medium-high heat and allow the meat to cook.  You are wanting the grease from the fat before adding your beans.  (if using a ham hock, just place it in the pot)

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You will cook the meat for a good 8-10 minutes until the meat is browned and you have an ample amount of grease.

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This ginormous can of green beans is easy to find here.  I get mine at Walmart in the section that houses all the large canned goods.

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Add your can of green beans with juice.  Then sprinkle a good helping of garlic salt and pepper over this.  I use probably 2 tablespoons of garlic salt and 1 tablespoon of pepper.  Keep them handy because you may want to add more later as this cooks.

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Stir this up and set it over medium-high heat.  Cover and let it come to a boil.  Once it begins to boil, turn the temperature down to low and put the cover back on.

You will cook this for 4  1/2 – 5 hours.  Every hour or so, stir the beans and have a taste.  This is when you can add more garlic salt and pepper if needed.

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The reason I love the Italian Green Beans for this is that they stand up to the long simmering where other string beans will fall all to pieces.  This pot of beans is so very tasty and is why I added it to my holiday menu cause I just can’t get enough of them throughout the year!  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Roll

I am a lover all of things pumpkin.  With pumpkin in a name, I am more often than not going to try it!  This was the pumpkin experience that got me hooked!  A family friend, who happened to be a wonderful cook, made this recipe and asked if I would assist.  This was during my pre-baking and pre-cooking days when I was just starting college.  Well, the process was kind of fun and the end result was well worth any effort I made and ever since then, I am a pumpkin lover.

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INGREDIENTS FOR THE ROLL:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

INGREDIENTS FOR THE FILLING:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 8 ounces cream cheese – room temperature
  • 4 Tablespoons butter – room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

flour and extra powdered sugar

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Beat eggs on high speed for 5 minutes.

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You are wanting it to get nice and frothy.

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Gradually add 1 cup sugar to these frothy eggs while it is still beating away.

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Add 2/3 cup pumpkin and squeeze 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.  Stir these in until well mixed.

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So far so good.

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In a large mixing bowl add your flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.

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Mix together the dry ingredients and then dump that into the bowl with the “wet” ingredients.

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Fold the dry into the wet until completely mixed together.  This is still going to be quite runny but not to worry, that is what we want.  Our cake will cook thin.

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Spray the bottom of a jellyroll pan with cooking spray and then sprinkle flour in it.  Shake and toss this around until the jellyroll plan is completely covered with the flour. You want it good and covered to keep the cake from sticking to the pan.

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Spread the pumpkin mix into the jellyroll pan evenly and pop this into a preheated 375 degree oven for 15 minutes.

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While that is cooking, pull out a thin, clean kitchen towel (you don’t want a fluffy kind, you want one that is unfluffy if you get my meaning).  Spinkle powdered sugar over the towel and smooth it around with your hand.  We are going to turn the cake out onto this towel in a bit.

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Take a big spatula and go around and loosen the sides of the cake.  This is not going to look perfect, well at least mine never does but just ease around it and loosen all sides and underneath as best you can.

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Not sure where the picture before this went but what I did was gently flip the cake out onto the towel covered in the powdered sugar.  This is the underside that was facing the pan.  I then cover this side in powdered sugar.  Not looking so attractive but again, not to fret about.

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Now starting at one of the shorter sides (compared to the longer sides), begin rolling the cake up into a log.  You will be rolling the towel with the cake.  Pop this into the refrigerator to cool.

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Back to your mixing bowl.  Dump 1 cup powdered sugar, 8 ounce cream cheese, 4 tablespoons butter, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and beat this together until creamy.

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I could just eat this up but I will refrain because I know how good this will be in a few minutes!

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Take the roll out of the refrigerator and unroll it.. not very attractive is it?  no, it is not but it will be in a moment.

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Spread the cream cheese mixture over this ugly mess.  Use it all and lay it on nice and thick. Roll it right back up without rolling the towel into it like the last time.

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OOOhhhhh…. AAAAhhhhhh!  And it is as good as it looks!

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This is not just a Christmas treat and it will be devoured!  Enjoy!  T

Cranberry Salad

I am one of those who does not like cranberry sauce, cranberry jello..okay cranberry juice mixed with grape juice is good but all those others, I will just passed over.

BUT…. this is a recipe that I got from my Granny and I am in love.  You don’t have to wait until Christmas to make it you just have to find the raw cranberries and that can be tricky any time of year.

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Simple, simple ingredients which is almost always a pre-requisite.  The only problem is finding raw cranberries but I am on a mission to see if Ocean Spray will send them directly to me.  We shall see because I want this more than just Christmas time!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag raw cranberries
  • 2 large granny smith apples
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup grapes
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 cups mini marshmallows
  • 8 ounces whipped topping

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In a food processor, grid up the raw cranberries until they are al chopped up nice and tiny.

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Cut up your apples and toss them with the lemon juce to keep them from turning brown.

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Cut your grapes in half.

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Now in a medium bowl, combine the cranberries, apples, grapes and sugar.  Stir this up.  Send this to the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.

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Just before serving, fold in the mini marshmallows.

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Oh.  Yes.  This is the way I should have been eating cranberries all along.  This salad does not last long around my family!  Enjoy!

Crock Pot Mac ‘n Cheese

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I do believe most southern ladies have a similar recipe to this one but since I am a southern transplant from a military upbringing, I had never heard or tasted it before until meeting my mother-in-law.  Since that time it is a staple around here.

ingredients:

  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 12 ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1  1/2 cups half & half
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 cups sharp cheddar cheese – grated

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Boil your macaroni according to the box directions and drain.

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Spray your crock pot with cooking spray.

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In a small bowl, beat your eggs and then add the can of evaporated milk as well as the half & half.  Stir it up.

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With a bowl of eggs, you do not need to just dump those into the hot macaroni.  This can scramble your eggs and that is not what you want at all.  Add a few spoon fulls of the macaroni TO the bowl of eggs and milk mixture.  Stir this up to bring the temperature of the eggs up to the macaroni slowly.  I do this once more and then dump the egg/milk mixture into the large bowl of macaroni.

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Add the 4 cups of cheddar cheese to your bowl and then sprinkle salt and pepper over this.  I just grab a couple of pinches of each and then adjust later.

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Mix this up and dump it in your crock pot and set to low.  You will cook this for 3  1/2 hours.  Stir it up after every hour.  I also like to take some extra cheese and sprinkle it on top after that 3rd and last stir.

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Last Christmas, we were all sitting around the table enjoying our Christmas Eve feast.  I asked everyone to share their favorite food from this feast.  I think most everyone had a different answer, mine being that I loved the Cranberry Salad (I will share later).

My husband was one of the last to answer.  I sit a little straighter wondering which one of my recipes he would choose.  Would it be the cornbread dressing, the gravy that covers 3 or 4 of the items or the dessert that we hadn’t even gotten to yet?

He looks over his plate and considers his answer for just a moment and then confidently states, “The mac ‘n cheese.”

I do believe my fork rattled to my plate as I looked at him in a most curious way.  Not in a dozen answers would I have thought he would say the mac ‘n cheese which I might add is only on the menu because the kids love it so much.

I stutter through a response and come up with only, “How.  Old.  Are.  You?”

He looks at me just as strangely and really has no idea why I am questioning his answer but to this day I am.. I am still questioning his answer.  I have also not asked that question again since then.

***It’s just another MANIC MONDAY***

Actually the title there is misleading.  I love that song and it gets stuck in my head at the oddest times and it is Monday so I typed it in.  But….  I love Mondays.  I know there are not many of us out there who can say that but  I.  LOVE.  MONDAYS.  I love the beginning of things.  I love the week layed before me where I can actually get it all done this week.  The possiblilities are endless.  And so with that thought in mind, here is me spreading my positive joy to you on a MONDAY.

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1.   The “in” trends of 2013 and the “outs” that need to stay out!  I am no trend person and in no way know what is in fashion unless I have recently pinned it on Pinterest but these trends are my kind of thing!  Check these lists out!    #1 on the trends that are in, is my goal this year!

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2.  These incredibly ooey-gooey grilled cheese sandwiches will be on my menu this week!  Is there anything better than melted cheese?  Really!  Name one thing better than melted cheese!

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3.  I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions but I am one who likes to reflect and reevaluate the year.  I like to continue doing what is going well and incoorporate a few things that are on my wish list.  Here is an AWESOME TOOL  that I just found that will help me do all those things.

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4.  It is amazing to step out of our lives for just a second and view someone else’s.  Blogging has helped me do that more and more.  Take a look at an Australian department store that  helped those Down Under remember their unique Christmas.

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5.  Now, don’t boo me or cut  me off before I begin but I don’t think there is anything wrong with planning a few of those Christmas decor projects for next year.  Check out these simple ideas.  I am planning on doing “Joy to the World” and the gathering of the lanterns.

Now go have yourself a fantastic Monday!!