Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve Dinner for 2

Cranberry-Orange Glazed Pork Chops
Sauteed Green Beans with Pears

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Warm Chocolate Melting Cake

Dusty and I have a tradition of staying in on New Year's Eve and cooking a yummy dinner to eat with a fire crackling in the fireplace. I thought I would share this year's menu and recipes with you so that you can enjoy them too! All of the recipes have steps that can be done hours before dinner to minimize dish washing and last minute prep work. I made most of the dishes beforehand to eliminate the stress of timing everything perfectly.

Cranberry-Orange Glazed Pork Chops
(2 servings, but the glaze is enough for 4-6 servings)

1 can cranberry sauce that I'm sure you have laying around from Christmas
1/4 cup Orange Juice
About 1/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 pork chops
Lemon Chicken Seasoning (or 1/2 tsp dried oregano)

Combine first four ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer (you can add more or less OJ to achieve desired thickness). Season glaze with salt and pepper (about 1/4 tsp. of each). Dry pork chops thoroughly with a paper towel. Season them well with salt and pepper and lemon chicken seasoning if you have it, if not, oregano will do the trick. Sautee in EVOO until both sides are nicely browned and transfer to a pan lined with aluminum foil (to eliminate mess). Pour about 1/2 of the glaze over chops, reserving the rest for plating. At this point you could stop and put the chops and remaining glaze in the fridge to bake later. Bake at 350 until pork chops are cooked thoroughly. Plate and pour remaining glaze over chops. The remaining pan drippings make perfect gravy for mashed potatoes.

Sauteed Green Beans with Pears
(2 servings)

1 Pound of Fresh Green Beans

1 Medium Pear

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp sugar

I know this recipe sounds really strange, but trust me, it's DELISH! Wash green beans and trim the stems off, leaving them whole. Blanch them in boiling water for about 2-3 minutes or until they reach a bright green color. If you don't know what blanching is, all you have to do is boil them and then immediately drop them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Slice pear and sprinkle with lemon juice to keep from browning. You can stop at this point and refridgerate to cook later if desired. Sautee beans and pear seasoned with salt, pepper, cinnamon and sugar in EVOO until crisp-tender.

Warm Chocolate Melting Cake, or as we like to say, WCMC
(2 servings)

1/2 cup unsalted butter

4 ounces semisweet chocolate (I used a Hersheys Special Dark Bar)


1/4 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
Powdered Sugar

Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler and remove from heat. Beat eggs, sugar and salt with a hand mixer in a medium bowl until sugar dissolves. Beat chocolate into egg mixture until smooth. Beat in flour until just combined. (Batter can be made a day ahead; return to room temperature an hour or so before baking.) Heat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a soufle dish with nonstick spray and pour batter into dish. Bake until batter puffs but center is not set, 8 to 10 minutes. Top with powdered sugar and serve it while it's hot! (not that you would be able to wait) Compeletely forgot to photograph this, it was too YUM!

I also made the mashed potatoes ahead of time adn reheated them at dinner time. The grapes are a tradition that Dusty passed on to me from his family. You have to eat 12 grapes and make a wish for the new year with each one.

Hope you all had a wonderful New Year's Eve. May God bless you and your families in 2010!

Lots of Love,


Monday, December 28, 2009

Bloggie Vacation

Hi Everybody,
I'm on vacation in North Carolina right now. 'Bout to hit the slopes. Hope you all had a merry Christmas. I'm completely psyched, my boyfriend got me this incredibly amazing camera. It's a Cannon Rebel EOS. Here is my baby.

Just kidding, here he is.

Let me tell you, he is lovin' being the subject of my photo shoots! hehehe

And my BEAUTIFUL turkey...yay! It actually turned out just like the Martha said it would.
And Dusty's fried was our first and was completely DELISH!!!
And a few shots from our trip:
Happy New Year everyone!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Busy Busy Busy Christmas Update

WHEW!!! It's nice to finally slow down a little bit even if just to write this post. I have been shopping, crafting, wrapping, cleaning (REPEAT). NEED A NAP!!! I thought I would post a few pics of some of the things I've been up to. Hope you enjoy, I just need to mark my progress and make myself feel like I have actually accomplished some things.

MMM...Apple Cranberry Oatmeal

You will need 1/2 apple for each serving of oatmeal. Boil amount of water and salt for desired number of servings. Boil the chopped up apple in the water as well as some cranberries (you can use as many of these as you like) for about 3 minutes. Add oats and continue as directed. Just before its done, add brown sugar and cinnamon to taste.

I like adding a little extra cinnamon to the top. YUMM and so Christmassy!

Tins of Christmas Crack (recipe here) YUM!!! I bought tins from the $ Tree and sprayed them with chalkboard paint so I could write on them.
Ornament Wreaths (I was testing these out before I give them away). I accidentally deleted the pics of Dusty making these, but it was too cute. We were both covered in glitter and the dog is definately blinging!

Wreath #1: This one is Dusty's
Wreath #2: This one is mine
P.S. don't you love the reflection?
Packaged gift baskets with homemade jellies, jams, pepper sauce, crack, hot cocoa, and cookie mix (no pic of this, my camera just took a poop on me)

Finished the prayer journal and Bible bag gift sets for my grandma and aunt. Tutorial for journals is here and one for totes is here.

Made butter cookies (or crescent cookies, or wedding cookies these have like a million names). These things are seriously delish...totally addicting!
Dusty making crecent cookies-looks threatening, right? Loving the camo hat and apron combo. He is so going to kill me if he sees this posted on here. hehe
Recovered some magnets for the for the fridge. The law ads just weren't cutting it for me with all the sweet Christmas cards. I used a hot glue gun to adhere some cute fabric to the magnets then cut off the excess. Then I embellished them with ric rac and buttons. Adorable and seriously easy. I did these with the help of a two-year old. Sorry, no pic of the finished product. My camera decided to play humpty dumpty.
These are what I used, who doesn't have some laying aroud?

Finally, my daunting first ever turkey is sitting in the fridge stressing me out. Any last minute words of wisdom?
And a little laugh before I finish this extremely long post:
Here are a few Cookie-eating rules to help get you through the next few days:
1. If you eat a Christmas cookie fresh out of the oven, it has no calories because everyone knows that the first cookie is the test and thus calorie free.
2. If you drink a diet soda after eating your second cookie, it also has no calories because the diet soda cancels out the cookie calories.
3. If a friend comes over while you're making your Christmas cookies and needs to sample, you must sample with your friend. Because your friend's first cookie is calories free, (rule #1) yours is also. It would be rude to let your friend sample alone and, being the friend that you are, that makes your cookie calorie free.
4. Any cookie calories consumed while walking around will fall to your feet and eventually fall off as you move. This is due to gravity and the density of the caloric mass.
5. Any calories consumed during the frosting of the Christmas cookies will be used up because it takes many calories to lick excess frosting from a knife without cutting your tongue.
6. Cookies colored red or green have very few calories. Red ones have three and green ones have five - one calorie for each letter. Make more red ones!
7. Cookies eaten while watching "Miracle on 34th Street " have no calories because they are part of the entertainment package and not part of one's personal fuel.
8. As always, cookie pieces contain no calories because the process of breaking Causes calorie leakage.
9. Any cookies consumed from someone else's plate have no calories since the calories rightfully belong to the other person and will cling to their plate. We all know how calories like to CLING!
10. Any cookies consumed while feeling stressed have no calories because cookies used for medicinal purposes NEVER have calories. It's a rule!
So, go out and enjoy those Christmas Cookies - we only get them this time of year!
Hope you are all having an absolutely wonderful Christmas season with your families and friends. Don't forget to share you blessings with those who are less fortunate this year. God has called us to take care of others. A new jacket or a warm blanket could truely make someone's Christmas. May God bless you all and I hope you have a very merry Christmas!

Lots of love to each of you from me,

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Stockings Were Hung...

This project is so easy a caveman can do it. (No offense to you cavemen out there who are reading this) This stocking is for a gift but I had known how cute and simple this was, I would have made ours instead of going out and buying $30 stockings. Crazy right!
This little buddy was from the $ Tree (amazing place by the way). Anywho, you can see where I tried to iron on a name from the transfers that came with it and the cute factor was obviously not up to par.

So what is a girl to do a 11:00 at night when her sewing machine and all its supplies reside outside on the COLD dark porch/sunroom? Hot glue of course!!! A little fleece, a tad bit of ribbon, and a few buttons, and VOILA! Cute stocking in minutes.

Hung in its rightful place by the fireplace.

Not bad for 1 buck and 11:00 at night!

Lots of love and Christmas Cheer!

Linking to:

Its So Very Cheri

Monday, December 14, 2009

Pop Top Packages

Here is an idea that I stole borrowed from the wonderfully creative Becca at Blue Cricket Design.
She is awesome! If you haven't checked her out, do, like now. (Well after you read this, of course!)
So to make these, you will need a can with a pop top, such as this for Campbell's soup, in whatever size suits your fancy. You will also need some lovely goodies to fill it with. Mine were for boys, so I filled them with booklets that I made by printing out coloring sheets and jokes from a website for free. I also added flarp (if you have boys I'm sure you know what this is all too well and it's disgusting), Tootsie Rolls, and crayons. I was going to add bouncy balls, but I overestimated the size of my cans.
Open the can and eat or save the soup. Wash it well (be careful of sharp edges).

I bound my coloring books with strips of fleece left over from the taboggans, I think they turned out cute.

Stuff those puppies good and tight so you can squeeze lots of yummy goodness inside! (I actually contained myself and only stole 2 Tootsie Rolls!

Now all you have to do is embellish 'till your heart's content. WARNING: you might get carried away on this part, I did!
Wrap the can with scrapbook paper (or, if you're like me and you don't have a craft store nearby, make your own using paint shop and print it on cardstock: noone will ever know!). Seal edges with craft glue or hot glue. Cut circles for the top and bottom and glue on. For the top, make a notch for the tab. Then add ribbons to the pull tab and a cute tag. I also gave mine some ric rac and button love, see I told you-carried away.

One thing, I wouldn't do this for really young kids because of sharp edges. Make sure you know the kids you are giving these to or make sure to have an adult present. I added a warning to the tag to watch out for sharp edges.
Have Fun!
Lots of love!
Linking to:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Cute Clipboard Christmas Gift

I made a few of these last year to give as gifts so I thought I would post a tutorial on them. These are oh so cute on the door or the wall to hold chore charts, honey-do lists and grocery lists. I do love organization! Disclaimer: image quality=less than acceptable. It was really rainy and the lighting was bad. I know, excuses excuses. Maybe one day I will have an awesome camera that takes beautiful, professional-quality pictures, one day.

You will need a clipboard, thanks again Wal Mart! (I have made them using clear and brown, both are equally cute)

paint pens (you can also use paint and a brush if you would rather)
hot glue gun

First, you need to create a template for the initial in Microsoft Office Word. Insert word art, type your letter in the font of your choice, and enlarge it to cover the whole page. Make sure to choose a bold font so it will be easy to cut out and trace around. For brown clipboards, flip the paper upside down and trace the letter from the bottom with a pencil. Make sure to appy plenty of lead. Flip the paper right side up, place it on the clipboard, and trace from the top. The letter should appear on the board, if not rub harder on the back. Trust me this is easier than trying to get the paint off of the brown board if you make a mistake. I hope that makes sense.

For the clear board, cut out the letter and tape it in the desired location and trace it with a paint pen. Fill it in with the pen color of your choice.

For the polkadots, trace something circular, I used the bottom of a cup, but you can use whatever size you want. I think it would be cute to use a star-shaped cookie cutter for a boy's room. Fill in the dots.

Now for the bow, there are a bazillion types of bows that you could use (try my favorite function: google). This is just one type. Take a length of ribbon, the longer the ribbon, the bigger the bow. Loop one side around to make the first half of the bow and pinch to hold in place.

Loop the other side around so that it looks the same as the first.

Pin in place and thread a needle. Wind the needle through the bow and pull tight (see pic)

Wrap the thread around the bow several times and tie off at the end. Cut excess. To keep the tails of the bow from fraying, paint on a little clear nail polish.

I hot glued a second bow without tails inside the first to make it look a little fuller. I also added a button to the middle. Hot glue the bow to the top of the clip part of the clipboard so that it can still open and close. Thats it! Hope you enjoy making these and let me know if you do!



Linking to:

The DIY Show Off

Dare to DIY

The How to Gal
BCD Show and tell

Friday, December 11, 2009

Mmm...mmm Cauliflower and a Little Christmas Joy

I made this recipe to take to the office Christmas party as a side dish and it was so easy and super delish that I thought I would share it with you. Nothing like a yummy, cheesy way to get your veggies! The recipe came from a crock pot cook book, but I made it in a pot on the stove and it turned out fine. I just added a little extra water.
2 heads of cauliflower
1 jar cheddar cheese pasta sauce (right by the alfredo sauce)
small onion

First, saute the onion in EVOO (extra virgin olive oil for those of you who don't speak Rachel Ray).

While the onion is carmelizing, cut the cauliflower into florets. I didn't get a pic of this because the lighting in the kitchen wasn't good and I thought you could probably figure this part out. Put the florets in a pot (or a small crock pot) and pour cheese sauce over them. I filled the sauce jar up about a third of the way with water to get the remaining cheese out and poured that in too.

Once the onions are soft, mix them into the cauliflower, add pepper, and cover. Cook on the stove on medium to low heat until cauliflower is soft. (If you are using a crock pot, cook on low for about 6 hours/high for about 3)


I was so blessed to be able to enjoy the wonderful Christian fellowship at our office Christmas party this Thursday. It is extremely refreshing to see people celebrating the true meaning of Christmas in a world filled with "Happy Holidays" and "Season's Greetings." We began the party in prayer and were greeted at our seats with a sweet package, tagged with a verse from Matthew, which contained a "Baby Boy" mint. It was a wonderful little reminder of why we celebrate the season of Christmas.

"And she will have a son and you shall call him Jesus (meaning Savior) for he will save his people from their sins." Matthew 1:21

Don't get too caught up in the shopping, partying and crafting this Christmas to remember the true reason for the season, our savior, Jesus Christ. Praise God for such a wonderful blessing!

Love to you,


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