Saturday, December 28, 2013

10 Recipes of Christmas

I know, I know, I've been a total slacker lately and haven't been sharing nearly as many good recipes as usual.  I PROMISE I'll get better once the new year is here!  I have even been slacking in my picture taking.  I looked back and I hardly took any good food pics.  **Shakes head in shame.**  Forgive me?  Please? 
I decided instead to share the main 10 recipes of Christmas.  So, in essence it is a food overview of how our Christmas day went.  I don't have pictures of most of it (again, slacker), but I will give you what I got and hope you will check out the links for the recipes.  Trust me they are good ones!  We did Christmas food total justice this year!  Some are tried and true recipes that I make every year and others are new ones that I tried for the first time or that I've made in the past, but not very often.  Without further ado, let's get started!

Christmas Breakfast with Coffee
1. Crock-Pot Hot Chocolate from Mrs. Happy Homemaker: This was the first for this one and it was AMAZING!  It is thick and rich and creamy and everything you want the perfect hot chocolate to be.  It was easy enough to throw together and we drank it throughout the day. 

2. Cinnamon Rolls from The Pioneer Woman: This was another first.  I've made cinnamon rolls before, but not these ones.  One recipe of these makes a lot and I made 2 recipes.  I made a lot to give to neighbors as gifts on Christmas Eve.  I made them and rolled them and froze them.  That way they could thaw and bake them when they wanted them hot and fresh for Christmas morning.  They turned out great!  I got compliments from the neighbors and my family gobbled them up too.  I will definitely make these again next year.  Great gifts and great food, perfect combination!

3. Creamy Berry Goodness from Becoming Betty: This was super easy and quick to whip together.  My daughter has been eating a huge bowl every morning since Christmas.  A great lighter fruit to add to the all the richness of the day.

4. Hash Brown Egg Casserole: I make this every year and it is a family favorite!
-Pour 1 bag of frozen hash browns into a bottom of a 9x13 lightly greased dish.
-In a medium skillet cook 1lb sausage, bacon or 1 cup cooked ham
-Add and sauté 1 onion and 1 bell pepper.  Set aside and allow to cool slightly and then pour over hash browns.
-In a bowl whisk 12 eggs and 1 cup of milk.  Pour over meat mixture in dish.
-Top with 1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese.
-Cover and refrigerate overnight.
-Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes or until knife comes out clean and is set.
**Note: Can be made with veggies instead to be vegetarian.

Christmas Afternoon Snacks
Since we had a big breakfast and I was making a big dinner and we were eating that early I just made some snacks and we just munched through the afternoon.  I had store bought hummus and cut up veggies, sliced salami and gouda cheese (we got it in a gift basket and it was the perfect addition) I had out all my Christmas cookies and then I made these two appetizers...

5. Oven Toasted Ravioli from Plain Chicken:  These were yummy and well liked too.  I had the smaller square raviolis and they worked just as well.  I put out store bought marinara sauce for dipping and they were delicious!

6. Deviled Eggs with Bacon: A friend made these sometime this summer and they were the best deviled eggs I had ever had.  I made up my own version for Thanksgiving and then needed a repeat appearance for Christmas.  Here's what I did: 
-Hard boil 12 eggs, let them cool and refrigerate over night. 
-Cook up 3 slices of bacon and refrigerate over night. 
-The next day peel, rinse and cut them in half. 
-Mix the yolks, 1 T mustard, 1/2-3/4 cup mayo (add and mix until it is the creaminess you want), 1-2 T sugar, 1 T vinegar (or you could us sweet pickle juice), salt and pepper to taste and the 3 slices of bacon finely chopped. 
-Mix it all really well and then spoon into each egg white half.  (I used a small cookie scoop)
-Cover and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Christmas Dinner with Wine
7. Fresh Green Beans from The Pioneer Woman: I've made these before and they are delicious!  Not a lot of ingredients and fairly quick.  My kind of side!

8. Twice Baked Potatoes: These are a great "fancy" side and they are great to make a day or two ahead of time.  You can even freeze them!
-Bake desired amount of potatoes (remember that they'll be cut in half for portions, so people may take only 1 half if they are big or 2 if they are smaller potatoes).  I wrap mine in foil and bake at 425 for about 1 hour.  If they are big they may need to bake a little longer. Let cool for a couple hours or until you are able to handle them with your hands.
- Cut in half and carefully scoop out insides of the potatoes into a mixing bowl or bowl of your mixer.  Place potato "skins" on a cookie sheet or bar pan.
-Mix potato insides with 4oz soft cream cheese and 2-4 T melted butter.  Mix until beginning to get smooth.
-Add milk until they are thick, but creamy.  Add in salt and pepper to taste.  Once desired consistency is reached, spoon filling into each potato skin.
- Top each with chopped cooked bacon and shredded cheddar cheese. 
-When ready to bake.  Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 or until heated through.  Top with chopped chives or green onions if desired.

9. Prime Rib:  This is my mom recipe.  This was the first time I made it myself.  I think it turned out pretty good, if I say so myself.  It was tender, juicy and good!  Leftovers are just as good as the real thing.
-For Marinade combine:
1/3 cup orange marmalade
2 T brown sugar
1 T ground dry mustard
1 T grated fresh ginger root
3 T soy sauce
1/4 tsp hot sauce
4 cloves minced garlic
-Mix well and then stir in 1 cup beer
-8lb prime rib roast, poke holes all over roast and pour marinade over it.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, basting at least twice.
-Place roast on rack of roasting pan and 1 cup of marinade to pan.  Drizzle 1/4 cup olive oil over roast and sprinkle with fresh black pepper generously.
-Insert thermometer into the middle of roast, don't touch bone if it has one.  Cover with foil and seal tightly around pan.  Cook at 400 for 1 hour.
-Remove foil and baste.  Return to oven uncovered.  Reduce heat to 325 and cook 1 more hour.
-Internal temp should be 145 for medium-rare, 160 for medium. (We wanted ours to be medium and it cooked for almost another 1 1/2 hours extra so plan accordingly to how your oven cooks and your desired doneness of your roast.)
-Remove from oven.   Cover and let roast rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

Happy Birthday Jesus Cake
My mom started the tradition every Christmas to have a cake to light candles and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.  I continued that with our kids when we moved away.  It is a special time to remember why we celebrate Christmas at the end of all the craziness of the day.

10. Popcorn Cake from Cookies and Cups:  This is a simple dessert "cake" that isn't too rich after all the other rich foods and desserts from throughout the past celebrations.  It's kinda like a rice crispy treat, but with popcorn and other goodies in it.  It would be a great dessert to make at any holiday with M&M's with the holiday colors.  I topped mine with Christmas sprinkles too.

Well, there you go!  I hope you enjoyed seeing our Christmas menu.  Make sure you try some of these great recipes!  Let me know which one you like best!  Merry Christmas (a few days late)!!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Apple Cider Sangria

I don't know many people who don't like sangria.  I, for one, love sangria of any flavor!  Usually it's more of a summer drink I think, but when I found this fall/winter version I had to try it.  I had an art party where everyone got to make their own subway style picture with their favorite quote, saying, Bible verse or holiday thing.  I made a bunch and we had lots of fun!  Here's one of the ones I made!
I love it!!  It is going to be hung in my coffee kitchen and is going to look perfect! 
So, fun crafts and lots of gals over called for good snacks and of course drinks!  This Apple Cider Sangria was the perfect one.  It was super quick and easy to mix up, looked good and tasted good too.  The fruit was delicious to eat at the end as well.  So, in some ways it's a drink and a snack!  What's your favorite sangria?

My nice pitcher was already packed, so I used a large bowl. LoL

1 bottle (standard size) of pinot grigio
2 1/2 cups fresh apple cider
1 cup club soda (Next time I might leave this out, I thought it watered it down a bit.  Taste it before you add this in to see what you think.)
1/2 cup ginger brandy (I used regular brandy, I couldn't find the ginger kind.)
3 honey crisp apples, chopped
3 pears, chopped
Combine all ingredients together and stir, stir, stir. Refrigerate for an hour or so (or longer!) before serving.



Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Library Birthday Party

My oldest daughter turned 8.  I still can't believe it!  She loves book and to read and write her own stories so we put together a library book party.  It was fun and different and everyone had a great time.  I was so excited about her invites, they turned out super cute!

I got the idea for these from here.  The template for the invites are from HERE and it is free!  I printed them on postcard pages and they were the perfect size and already perforated to cutting.  I bought the date stamp and stamp pad at Office Max.  They turned out so cute!  By far my favorite part. 
We had a book exchange where everyone came with a wrapped book that they had already read at home and were willing to pass on.
Then I invaded my scrapbooking stickers and pulled out all my pens, markers and stickers and they made bookmarks.  They did that at the table for almost an hour!
We of course did the usual cake and presents and then everyone went home with a gift bag.  For those I took an old book and ripped out pages, wrote the first letter of everyone's name and glued them onto brown paper bags.  I filled them with a little baggie of gummy "book" worms, pencils and little notebooks I found of sale.  I had also made stickers for their books with "This book belongs to" and forgot to put them in the bags.  Majorly mad at myself the next day!  Here is were there is a template for those or make your own using shipping labels.  This site had a lot of cute ideas.

It was a good day and good party and I had a very happy little 8 year old girl at the end of the day!  So if you have a reader and you're tired of the usual Disney something party, try something new!  It's fun!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Mini Turkey Meatballs in the Slow Cooker

Hello my lovelies!  I know, it's been awhile.  I'm sorry for that, but you know how life is.  We have on going birthdays in this family in the fall, all the holidays, sports and dance, church events and did I tell you that we are moving to England?!  So cleaning out the house, selling stuff off and filling the storage unit has been a big priority around here.  We'll just say that the last month has been quite crazy and hectic!  So, I'm here now... for the time being.  It is still crazy central around here and most likely will be for the next couple months while we prepare for our move across the pond. 
Enough about that.  How have you been?  I hope well!  Any good new Thanksgiving or Christmas recipes you've tried?  I'm trying some new ones and can't wait to share with you!  Today I'm posting a new one that saved me during this busy time with a meal that took no time at all.  Why?  Because it was made in my slow cooker and then the leftovers were in my freezer for a second meal!  I love those kinds of recipes.  They make my heart smile!  So with out further ado, I give you Mini Turkey Meatballs!

Mini Turkey Meatballs
from How Sweet It Is


1 pound 99% lean ground turkey breast
1 pound 94% lean ground turkey
2/3 cup cooked quinoa (preferably cooked in flavored stock) (I actually used almond flour instead and it worked great!)
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons finely grated Romano cheese
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 large sweet onion, sliced into thin rounds
2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes


In a large bowl, combine turkey, quinoa, garlic, beaten egg, olive oil, cheese, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly but quickly, just so the ingredients are combined - do not over mix! Roll into mini balls - slightly smaller than a golf ball, and place on a baking sheet.

Layer sliced onion on the bottom of the crockpot and add 1 can of crushed tomatoes.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat (mine was actually almost high) and add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Add meatballs, searing on the top and bottom until golden, about 1 minute per side. To flip meatballs, gently toss with a spoon. I also shook the pan a few times to roll the meatballs around - if you pan is hot enough this works! Add meatballs one at a time to the crockpot. Repeat with remaining meatballs - it is okay to stack them once they are all finished.

Once all the meatballs are in the crockpot, add the other can of crushed tomatoes, completely submerging the meatballs. Cook on low for 6 hours. Serve!
{don't skip the browning step! it helps seal the juices in so the meatballs are tender and also keeps them from becoming one giant mess of meat in the crockpot.}
{if desired, you can brown the meatballs one day (such as the day before) and then refrigerate until ready to use. you can also freeze the same way!}