Friday, December 31, 2010

Swedish Meatballs

First off, I don't know why these are called "Swedish" - this recipe was given to me by Hubby's mother, whose parents were from Norway!  One Christmas break, she made these and sent them with us as we headed back to the college apartment.  I knew I had to have the recipe as Hubby-to-Be's eyes would glaze over as he ate them.  They are a great way to use up some of the Christmas ham* and go so good with cabbage and black eyed peas!
 Assemble about a pound of leftover ham, a pound or so of ground pork, 2 eggs, a cup or so of dry seasoned bread crumbs, brown sugar, vinegar, and dry mustard.
 I don't own a food processor, so I pulse the ham in a blender in batches.  Works fine!
Mix the finely minced ham with the pork, eggs, bread crumbs.  Have a little milk handy if the mixture is too dry - mainly this depends on how much bread crumbs you have - I only had a cup or so, but you could always use more.
 Form into large meatballs and place in a deep casserole dish.  Then mix your sauce ingredients:
About 1/4 cup each water and vinegar, with 1 cup brown sugar and 1 T. dry mustard.  Pour over the meatballs and place in 375 oven.  Bake for one hour, basting with the sauce every 15 minutes or so.
Meanwhile, you could be baking your sweet potatoes, or braising cabbage, and heating up black eyed peas...or reheating leftover side dishes from Christmas!
The picture does not do them justice.  The sauce gets a deep caramel color and is so good spooned over the ham balls....yuuuum.  They are a family tradition here; one I'm sure will continue as the years go by.  Since I work on Saturday, I will have these babies all ready to be heated up when I get home.  They bring sweet memories of my dear mother in law, and help us ring in the New Year in a deliscious way (:
Well, the decor is up, the house is clean, and I get a night off from cooking, courtesy of hubby and Carraba's!
So, with that...
Happy New Year, everyone!

*Don't forget to use the ham bone as the basis for the best pot of beans your crock pot ever made!

File this away for next New Year's!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Post Christmas de-crap

The last couple of Christmases  it's taken me as long to un-decorate as it took me to put all the decor out...and I've come to a's because we have too much crap.  And all that crap clouds the true meaning of the season if you get too caught up in it - the buying, storing, arranging, dusting, re-storing, and clean up after wards.  It gets to be a bit much...with that in mind, I put aside items to donate  as I put Christmas up sloooowly ...
 Once I got this far, I felt overwhelmed and we took a burger break leaving it  looking exactly like this!
 And I gotta tell you, it felt good.  I was holding on to things that no longer made me feel happy to see them out at Christmastime.  And it was getting harder and harder to store them, as I have limited space what with all the accumulating we've done over 25 plus years...
I don't have every smidgen of it up yet, but I'm getting close to being done. Today the kid's tree got put up, as well as all of the ornaments from both trees.  I'm taking down the real tree in the front room tomorrow, but for tonight we can admire it's tiny white lights while we sip cocoa and think about what a great Christmas we had together.   Then tomorrow I will work on making out my project lists for the year - and de-crapification will figure in prominently!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Faux pas birthday cake?

I got this recipe from Pioneer Woman for a rum cake - looked less complicated than the one my mother always made, so I thought I would give it a whirl for Bubbie's birthday.  The only thing I did differently was to use Captain Morgan spiced rum...yum!
 Basic cake mix, spiked with rum, with vanilla pudding for extra moistness
 It has pecans and a sweet rummy glaze, too.  Of course, this made the teenagers act the fool, thinking they're getting away with something by actually getting some alkeeyhol.  My daughter informed me that perhaps I had gotten Bubbie's age of 12 confused with Firstborn's of 21...har dee har.
I served it with Redi-whip and everyone agreed it was delish! 
And Bubbie was too into his new mp3 player to get too excited about the rum, anyhow.  Yes, that is a single candle in the center of the plate that plays the birthday song. I will do better on this next year - promise!

Happy Birthday to the best stocking stuffer I ever got!

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Monday, December 27, 2010

A new tradition

My hubby likes to take "stuff pictures" on Christmas morning.  A shot of each person with all of the "stuff" they received for Christmas...I take stuff pictures of my own...
The stuff all over the room and not another living soul in there - they flee the destruction, leaving gifts and wrapping, and instructions, and other assorted flotsam and drift into the kitchen where there is hot chocolate, sausage balls, cheese and fruit...and pretty much forget about the mess.  And usually, mom comes in a couple hours later and rallies the troops to come get their things and help me clean up.  Not this year!  I grabbed another hot coffee and my laptop and put my feet up in the den, watching a silly Christmas movie and enjoying a turkey sandwich and guess what happened?
A Christmas miracle!  
Around 5 p.m., hubby and the boys put down the Wii controllers and hand held electronics and began cleaning up the front room!  A short while later, this is the view - a beautiful room in which to serve our Christmas Day dinner.
Maybe the best gift we got - family relaxing and working together to have a beautiful day. (:
I think a new tradition was born!

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Homebody: Christmas House Tour and Linky Party

Sunday, December 26, 2010

More silhouettes for gifts

Remember these?
The profile shots from our failed attempt to get good Christmas card pics for my sister and niece?  Turns out they worked great for another plan...I wanted to make Silhouette Art as a gift for them.
 I was really happy with the results:
(Yes, the glare is pretty extreme here - it was 10 p.m. so I gave in to the flash and an overhead light...)
I bought the nicest frames I could afford for these without going over-budget.  I wanted them to be dining room worthy, so I checked with her about the colors she has in there.  I love the look - so simple and elegant!  And if you look closely, you can fill in the spaces from your memory of the person's smile, eyes...just lovely I think.
I think I was able to capture face shape fairly well.
I also made four more of my own dear ones... hang on our tree.  That was fun, but I think I am over silhouetting now!
{Update:  my sister Told me that she "finally" found a place to hang them in March; the junk room at her house.  Her way of telling me she didn't care for them?}

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve Candy Making

My sister came over for lunch and an impromptu candy-making session!
Here she is showing me how to make my favorite Christmas treat: marshmallow-caramel-rice-krispy- thingamajigs! I don't think they have a real name...
You roll the frozen marshamallows in melted caramel sweetened condensed milk and butter goo, then roll them in rice krispies.  Yes, highly technical, I know.  And very, very, messy!
 She also made this peanut butter confection with Golden Grahams cereal. YUM.
They are chewy, crunch, peanut buttery and so good!  I think it had melted peanut butter chips, peanut butter, butter, and corn syrup.  Not a diet food, obviously!
These are so good with a cup of coffee.  She left us quite a few to munch on over the next few days.  A nice treat on a rainy and cold Christmas Eve.  
Merry Christmas, everyone!
 I hope your weekend will be filled with family, good food, and good times (:

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cookies for neighbors

I made these cookies for the neighbors to tuck into a gift bag along with some nice cocoa:
 Chocolate Chip Gingerbread!
Don't go thinkin' I was all "Martha" or anything - my friend Betty Crocker did most of the work.  I just added mini semi-sweet chocolate chips to a mix, then froze the dough til I was ready on baking day.
After I made them and put them in pretty sparkly zip loc containers,
back into the freezer they went, right next to our Christmas ham.
Right behind them are more of those Cinnamon Pretzels
I really love how both are sweet and spicy 
and so good with cocoa.  I think the neighbors will be pleased!

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Where do you hide them?

My kids aren't little, and they don't mess with Christmas gifts, but I still don't place them under the tree until Christmas Eve.  I think it adds to the excitement to wait to put them there.  But I still have to have a place to put them, as the closets are already full so there's just not room!
 I found the solution: up high, in plain sight.  Fun to look at, but no one can be tempted to shake...
I use all the space I can up there - I just leave whatever decor is up there, and put presents all around it.  
It's only for a little while...Santa doesn't wrap gifts, so these are just the ones from Mom and dad...
My kids see them up there, of course but don't suffer too much from curiosity - after all, it's way up there.  No one has yet tried to climb up to investigate, and we've lived here 13 years.
Hiding them in plain sight - works for me!

Monday, December 20, 2010

A dying breed

The soft flannel vintage stuffed beagle doggie group - the last of it's kind.
 A lavendar one for the baby:
 Her big sister, the pink one.  Notice they both have blue eyes!
 The dusty blue big bro.  Wait - is he rolling his eyes at me?!
There they sit, the last of a breed; doggies #9, 10, and 11.  Their maker tired of them. 
Ready to move on to other sewing projects...
...and ready to wrap them up for their new home.


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