Monday, December 15, 2014

Meal plan: Week of 12/7-12/13

Weekly Meals: December 7th - 13th

Sunday: Hummus-crusted chicken with roasted Brussels sprouts & potatoes
Monday: Wild rice & bean casserole with guacamole
Tuesday: Pasta with chicken meatballs, artichokes & homemade marinara
Wednesday: (Out to Piper's Pub)
Thursday: Crab cakes, baked potato, steamed broccoli & cauliflower
Friday: 5-ingredient Crock Pot ham & navy bean soup
Saturday: Spiral-cut ham, green bean casserole, corn pudding

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday Five: Food with friends

Friday Friday, there you are!  Sort of snuck up on me this week, actually.  How about you?  Has it been a busy week or a quiet one?  Regardless, I hope it's been good -- full of holiday preparations and time to be thankful for all of the blessings in our lives.

Speaking of holidays and being thankful, I want to say thank you for sticking with me this week while things have been a little quiet on the blogging front.  The reason I've been so unplugged is because my sister and her fiance are in town for a week.  Who has two thumbs and is soooooo excited?  This gal!

Three months ago, Jenny and Zach moved to Sacramento, CA, because he got an incredible job offer.  While our family is so proud of them (and loving the pictures of their weekend trips to national parks!), we've missed them terribly.

Rather than make two very short visits (with lots of travel time) for back-to-back holidays, they made the smart decision to return home for a full week between the two.  We hopped around the city earlier this week and have been relaxing at our parents' house since Thursday.  Cozying up in front of the fireplace, playing Scattegories, and enjoying the fruits cookies of my mom's holiday baking = the best.  There really is no place like home!

Family, friends, and food -- isn't that what the holidays are all about?  Bypass the crowded malls, give the postman an Amazon break, and save your fingers from becoming wrapping paper casualties.  (My Band-Aid count is up to 2.  Please tell me I'm not the only one who sustains such "injuries".)  Rather than stress about what to buy, why not channel your energies to dreaming up what indulgent dishes to make?  You know, the ones you've bookmarked, Pinned, or dreamt up and saved for a special occasion?  Here are five of my favorite food-centric ways to get together with the ones you love.

Happy weekend and, for us, happy early Christmas! :)

1. Progressive dinner - Coordinate with folks who live relatively close to one another and each offer to serve up a different course in succession.  Wine and appetizers at the first stop, salad and/or bread at the next, then the entree, and dessert.  This is a great way to give everyone a chance to host and show off their holiday decorations.  Fun fact: according to Wikipedia, the UK is home to the idea of a safari dinner during which "the destination of the next course is generally unknown by the participants, and they have to decipher a clue before moving on."  Fun!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Meal plan: Week of 11/30-12/6

Weekly Meals: November 30th - December 6th

Sunday: Asian broccoli salad with peanut sauce
Monday: Parmesan-crusted pork chops with balsamic roasted cauliflower
Tuesday: Thai pork burgers with Sriracha aioli
Wednesday: Chicken, sweet potato & pecan salad
Thursday: (Out to Il Pizzaolo with girls)
Friday: Crock Pot shredded beef enchiladas (from the freezer)
Saturday: (Out to Caliente Pizza)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

68 Christmas & holiday cookie recipes

As of Saturday, the fall/Halloween/Thanksgiving decorations are packed away until next year.  By last night, the Christmas decorations were up and the tree was trimmed.  And tonight?  Tonight, Official Holiday Baking Season begins!

Last week, while helping my mom bake pies for Thanksgiving, we started talking about cookies.  We fantasized about all of the cookies we plan to bake this year: both old favorites and new recipes that have caught our eye throughout the year.  And then how we'd enjoy them: eating, mailing, sharing, exchanging, you name it.  Is there anything more fun than cookies to make?  No, sir!

Food is love, and what better way to spread love than to gift cookies and treats to those near and dear to you!  Whether you're planning to bake cookies for everyone on your nice list or simply make enough to take to a holiday party, there's something for variety of sweet tooth here. 

Happy baking!

Drop cookies
Giant kitchen sink cookies (with all the mix-ins!)
Cutout, iced, filled, rolled, or stuffed cookies

Bar cookies

Candy & other sweets

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

DIY: Homemade turkey stock in the slow cooker

Whatever you're doing right now -- reviewing tomorrow's cooking schedule, giving the pillows one more fluff, or showering off the pre-company sweat that's earned from the last-minute cleaning of the house -- I beg of you to stop.


Stop and make both a mental and literal note to do one more thing tomorrow on Thanksgiving: SAVE THE TURKEY CARCASS!

I'm sorry for yelling.  Forgive me.  It's because you're my friends, and I love you.  And friends don't let friends throw away perfectly useful turkey carcasses.

I'm saying carcass a lot.  Forgive me for that, too.

You're going to want the scraps because I'm about to tell you how to make the quickest and easiest homemade turkey stock ever.