Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas

What a beautiful song. What a beautiful reminder of what really took place 2,000 years ago. Take a moment and quiet your heart in this season that can bring such busyness. "It was not a silent night on the streets of David's town...but the baby in her womb, He was the maker of the moon, the author of the faith that could make the mountains move."
(Remember to pause the playlist at the bottom to hear the video.)

Monday, December 14, 2009


If you have not followed the NieNie Dialogues at all, you must. Stephanie is an amazing person. Her family is amazing (and so funny). Her story was just written about in the Arizona Central. I have started reading it and had to stop to urge you to read it too.

There are days when I am struggling with our girls and feel like I could be losing my sanity, then I think about Stephanie and all that she has been through. I think about her spirit and the battle that she faces each day before she even gets out of bed. It makes me realize how blessed I am and how I need to cling to each day and be the Mother that God has called me to be.

Take a few moments and read her story. It is incredible and it is heart-wrenching. She is a beautiful, beautiful woman!

Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

My daughter and I made these before Thanksgiving and I forgot to share the recipe with you. They were divine and would be a great thing to share with loved one this holiday season.

Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ginger
1/2 t. salt
Mix above ingredients in a bowl.

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 1/4 c. sugar
2 large eggs. slightly beaten
1 c. pumpkin
1 t. vanilla
Cream butter and sugar together. Add 1 egg at a time and beat until thoroughly mixed. Add pumpkin and vanilla. Mix. Stir in flour mixture.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-13 minutes. Cool completely on rack.

4 oz. cream cheese, room temp
6 T. butter, softened
1/2 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
Mix above ingredients together to make filling. Spread on underside of one pumpkin cookie and sandwich together with second cookie to make whoopie pie! Store in fridge.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup (My Variation)

Have you been to the Farm Chicks site? Love it!!! It is adorable and oh so vintage. Serena is just the cutest thing ever and so creative. They have a cookbook out, The Farm Chicks in the Kitchen and my wonderful public library happened to get it and I had it put on hold immediately. It is so fun and has some great recipes. I made the Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup this past week for my family but I had no turkey so I guess I made Creamy Wild Rice Soup. It was delicious and will be made again I am sure for the family.

Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup
5 T. butter
1/3 c. diced celery
1/2 c. diced carrots
1 small onion, chopped
4 c. chicken broth
1 c. water
3/4 c. wild rice
2 c. diced turkey, cooked
6 T. flour
1/4 t. poultry seasoning
1 1/4 c. half and half
3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper

For the soup: Melt 1 T. butter in a large pot. Add celery, carrots and onion. (I also chopped up 3 cloves of garlic and added it because I really like garlic.) Sautee until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in broth, water, rice and turkey. Bring to boil, lower heat. Cover and simmer for 40 min.

For the Cream Sauce: Melt 4 T. butter. Mix flour and poultry seasoning. Add to butter and whisk together for 1 minute. Stir in half and half until thick. Stir this sauce into the soup.

Stir in bacon, salt and pepper.

Like I said above I didn't have any turkey on hand and it was incredible without. I'm sure the turkey would make it even tastier, even chicken. Also next time I will probably just use milk instead of the half and half but that sure made it creamy yumminess!

Be sure to check out this cook book! It's one that would be a great addition to any recipe book collection!

Christmas Music

I love Christmas music, so sue me! If it has a Christmas ring to it, I will probably love it. My husband does NOT love Christmas music as I quickly realized our first married Christmas when I popped in my Harry Connick Jr. Christmas cd. It makes him grumpy. He is a music snob. He would tell you this too. (I can't find that cd anywhere anymore...hmmmm.) Anyways...over just the past couple of years we have found a few cds that we both like, well he tolerates and I thoroughly enjoy. It wasn't too hard on my part as like I said before, I love Christmas music. I thought I would share with the Christmas cds thatwe have been listening to most the past few weeks. I highly recommend them if you are in need of some new Christmas tunes. So there you have it...along with a Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra one, this is pretty much what is playing non-stop at our house. Ahhh...the sounds of Christmas.

What's your favorite Christmas CD? Let me know in the comments.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Christmas Cookie

I am joining Mom's Creative's Christmas cookie exchange.

When I think about Christmas and all the yummy goodness that goes with it, I always think of one certain cookie, the Mexican Wedding Cake. This cookie has all sorts of different names, but this is the name that my mom called it and so I will always call it this too. They are melt in your mouth yummy! My mom made these at Christmas time. Another fave of hers was the Date Rum Ball but I am not a huge fan of this round, chewy cookie so I will help her memory live on with Mexican Wedding Cakes.

Mexican Wedding Cakes
1c. pecan pieces, ground
1 c. unsalted butter, soft
2 c. powdered sugar
2 c. flour
2 t. vanilla
1/4 t. salt
Beat butter and 1/2 c. powdered sugar in large bowl at medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add 1 c. flour, vanilla, and salt. Stir in the other 1 c. flour and ground nuts. Form into ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into 1 inch balls. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12-15 min. (pale golden brown). Cool 2 minutes. Place 1 c. powdered sugar in 9x13 dish. Transfer cookie to dish and roll until coated.

Makes 4 dozen.

Friday, December 11, 2009

My Christmas Wish List

Hubby in years past has asked me what I want for Christmas. I ALWAYS have a difficult time with this. I don't know why. It is hard for me to think of things that I really want. Weird? So I have been thinking about what I would like this year and I am going to put my list here for everyone (all 2 readers) to see. The funny thing is that this year we'll be focusing mostly on getting for our kiddos as hubby is back in college, we're trying to sell a house that we're still making payments on and renting an apartment in our new town, we are on a TIGHT budget. I think the kids are the only ones getting presents this year. So, I can dream! Ha! (You can click on all red or green highlighted words to see the item for yourself.)

1.) Perfume - I adore a good bottle of perfume and I am currently out. My dad started this love affair of mine with perfume. When I was a teen he took me Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve (our yearly ritual) and told me to pick out whatever I wanted for my present. I picked out a bottle of Eternity. I can still smell it. I still love it! The scent of perfume or even cologne can whisk me right back in time.

2.) The Office Season 5- I know this sounds silly but my hubby and I are huge Office fans and have all the seasons. It has killed me to know this one is out but we do not own it yet. I typically put an Office DVD in after the girls in bed just for background noise while hubby and I are working on things. We just giggle away.

3.) Sara Groves Fireflies and Songs - She is one of my favorite artists. This is her brand new CD.

4.) The Pioneer Woman Cookbook - I am a huge fan of The Pioneer Woman. This would be a welcome addition to my cook book collection (which is currently packed away since I have nowhere to put it).

5.) SLR Digital Camera - This certainly needs to be researched more and I know Santa will not be bringing one this year, but I'm dreaming here! I would love to have an SLR Digital to get those perfect shots of the girls!

6.) I Will Carry You by Angie Smith - This book is only available in pre-order but I would love to know that it will be coming soon. I have followed the Audrey Caroline blog for almost two years and this family has a very special place in my heart. I am so amazed at how the Lord has worked in their lives and turned tragedy into beauty.

7.) Clothes - I NEED some new clothes desperately. This isn't just a whim or just some girl who would really like the latest fashion trends in her closet. This Mama NEEDS some new clothes. My closet is SAD, SAD, SAD! VERY SAD! Do shoes fit into that category, because mine are in a sad, sad, sad state too.

8.) Anything from MD Sparks - Now I am not a jewelery fanatic, but I adore this etsy shop. Her jewelery is just gorgeous! I have a beautiful silver bird's nest necklace with the cutest 3 little pearl eggs in it. I LOVE this necklace and get TONS of compliments when I wear it, which isn't much as the baby LOVES to grab and pull it.

9.) Anything from Lisa Leonard - I think this hand stamped jewelery is so unique and sweet. I could handle anything from this site also bearing the names of my girls.

10.) Paula Deen Pots and Pans in Red - I love this set of of pans. I am using hand-me-downs and I am OK with that. My pots are fine but my skillets, well they are in bad shape. These are just gorgeous!

This was fun and now the first napper is up from naptime and ready to eat, so I must get. What do you want for Christmas this year? Link your list to my comment section if you make one.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Brunch Food

Yesterday I had the pleasure of enjoying making some fun crafts and treats with a very cool group of moms at a Mothers Group that I have joined. I was asked to bring a holiday brunch item to share. I remembered a recipe that a friend of mine had made for a brunch she held for a group of ladies awhile back. It certainly was brunch food and could certainly fit the holiday requirement. If you need a quick and yummy breakfast or brunch dish this season, this is perfect. Who can resist cinnamon rolls? These are out of a can, but with the mixture you pour over the top, they'll never know.

The one you know how much a jar of Maple syrup costs? I was dumbfounded as I only ever buy generic pancake syrup! It was worth it though. Yum!

Cinnamon French Toast Bake

French Toast Bake
1/4cup butter, melted
2cans (12.4 oz each) refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing
cup heavy whipping cream
2teaspoons ground cinnamon
2teaspoons vanilla
1cup Chopped Pecans
1cup maple syrup


Icing from cinnamon rolls

Powdered sugar
1/2cup maple syrup, if desired


Heat oven to 375°F. Pour melted butter into ungreased 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish. Separate both cans of dough into 16 rolls; set icing aside. Cut each roll into 8 pieces; place pieces over butter in dish.

In medium bowl, beat eggs. Beat in cream, cinnamon and vanilla until well blended; gently pour over roll pieces. Sprinkle with pecans; drizzle with 1 cup syrup.

Bake 20 to 28 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 15 minutes. Meanwhile, remove covers from icing; microwave on Medium (50%) 10 to 15 seconds or until thin enough to drizzle.

Drizzle icing over top; sprinkle with powdered sugar. If desired, spoon syrup from dish over individual servings. Serve with the additional 1/2 cup maple syrup.

Blustery Comfort Food

Winter is here, that is for sure. It has been a very cold and blustery day here. The wind is roaring and attempting to blow off the string of lights I hung around our door yesterday. My poor hubby had to walk around campus today and freeze to death so I was determined to make him something hot and comforting for supper. Chicken pot pie sounded good as I had the ingredients on hand. I found a very good recipe online and wanted to share it with you. This was delectable and will be made again, although I probably will just use milk next time. I don't usually have heavy cream on hand. The recipe did look a bit daunting with alot of steps, but it was really easy! (If you click on the recipe name it will take you to the site where I found this recipe.)

Wofgang's Classic Chicken Pot Pie
  1. 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  2. 2 tablespoons Snipped Chives
  3. 3/4 cup Unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
  4. 1 cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  5. 2 Egg Yolks
  6. 5 tablespoons Heavy Cream
  7. 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  8. 1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  9. 1 pound Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  10. 2 medium Carrots, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  11. 1 Stalk Celery, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  12. 1/2 pound Crimini or Shiitake Mushrooms, sliced
  13. 1 (10 ounce) package frozen pearl onions, thawed
  14. 3/4 cup Frozen Petite Peas, thawed
  15. 6 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  16. 1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
  17. 1 1/2 cups Chicken Stock
  18. 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  19. 1 teaspoon Minced Fresh Thyme
  20. Salt
  21. Freshly ground black pepper
  22. 1 Egg beaten with
  23. 1 tablespoon Water
Cooking Directions
  1. Prepare the pastry: Place the flour and chives in a bowl. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, work in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  2. Add the cheese and work in until just blend.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the yolks and 5 tablespoons of the cream.
  4. Sprinkle the yolk mixture over the pastry dough, a little at a time, stirring with a fork until pastry comes together.
  5. Add remaining cream if necessary.
  6. Knead lightly until just combined.
  7. Press pastry into a circle.
  8. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
  9. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add the butter and vegetable oil.
  10. Saute the chicken for 2-3 minutes, until lightly browned but not cooked through.
  11. With slotted spoon, remove chicken to bowl.
  12. In the same pan over medium-high heat saute the carrots, celery and mushrooms 5 minutes.
  13. With slotted spoon, remove vegetables to another bowl. Stir thawed pearl onions and peas into vegetables.
  14. Prepare the sauce: In the same pan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  15. Add the flour and whisk until the mixture is bubbling and smooth, about 2 minutes.
  16. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in stock, cream, and thyme.
  17. Return skillet to heat, bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.
  18. Cook for 2 minutes until sauce has thickened and is smooth.
  19. Season with salt and pepper.
  20. Stir in reserved chicken and vegetables.
  21. Set aside to cool for about 20 minutes.
  22. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spoon cooled chicken and vegetable mixture into a 10-inch deep-dish pie plate.
  23. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into a circle 11-inches in diameter.
  24. Place pastry on top of chicken mixture.
  25. Trim pastry edge, fold overhang under and press gently all around baking dish to make a decorative edge.
  26. Reroll any trimmings and cut out to make a decorative design for top of pie.
  27. Brush pastry with beaten eggwash.
  28. Using a knife, cut 3 slits in center of pie.
  29. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until pastry is golden brown, chicken and vegetables are tender and filling is heated through.

Yield: 6 servings

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Advent Calendar

Advent Calendar
We have been doing lots of fun Christmas activities in our household with the help of our nifty advent calendar. The Mom's group that I have been going to at our new church gave out all of the materials and ideas for this. I was so excited about making one this year because I knew our oldest daughter would really get into it now that she is 3 years old and she has. She loves getting up in the morning and finding out what our special activity will be.
Advent Calendar
It was very easy to make. We were given assorted scrapbook papers cut into squares. I just rolled these into cones and glued one side down. We then hung them by the cutest little clothespins to a piece of yarn that was hung on our kitchen wall. It is so cute and adds a festive, Christmas spirit to our home.
Advent Calendar
Here is the list of our Advent activities:
1.) Go downtown to see the Christmas lights and take pictures of the girls.
2.) Make paper snowflakes to hang on patio door.
3.) Make a paper chain to decorate with.
4.) Write a letter for Santa Claus.
5.) Have family game night with Christmas music and hot chocolate.
6.) Go to the mall to see Santa and the Christmas decorations.
7.) Make a Christmas craft.
8.) Buy a present to donate to Toys for Tots.
9.) Make cookies and decorate them.
10.) Go to a local town (with Gigi, YEAH) and see the Christmas lights.
11.) Make Christmas cards to send to family.
12.) Go to the library for a Sound of Music for a preview performance.
13.) Have a Christmas tea party with our family.
14.) Read Christmas books together and enjoy some more hot chocolate.
15.) Drive around after Daddy is off of work to see the houses all decorated.
16.) Go to Christmas story hour at the library.
17.) Make a birthday cake for Jesus and read the Christmas story from the Bible.
18.) Watch a Christmas movie and camp out for the night by the Christmas tree.
19.) Donate canned food to charity.
20.) Go to Gigi's canata.
21.) Make and hang an edible treat for the birds.
22.) Be a Secret Santa to someone.
23.) Make Christmas cookies to give away.
24.) Open one gift before bed and leave cookies for Santa.
25.) Celebrate the birth of Jesus!!!