Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Eve...

Our family is not celebrating a typical New Years for 2011. One of my daughters is getting married on Tuesday, so we'll be all together for the holiday! We're so scattered that it's pretty rare for us to all be in one place. This visit will be extra special, since it's the holidays and there are two new babies for everyone to meet. Can you tell that I'm a little excited?

New Years Day was never a big deal in my house when I was a child. We always took down our Christmas tree on the 1st, and once or twice we had a nice meal, when my mother didn't have to work. I was an adult with two children before I learned that some people have special foods that they eat every New Years Day.

When my children's Aunt Lizzy (yes, she of angel fame) was dating he who would become her hubby, he offered to cook dinner for New Years Eve. He loves to cook, and served his mission in Southern Italy. He prepared a meal that we still remember fondly to this day (spaghetti carbonara, stuffed peppers and a special cake), and thus our New Years tradition was born. Uncle B cooked for us every December 31 until we all began to migrate to the four corners of the earth.

For the last several years, New Years has been a very quiet evening for my hubby and me. We're not into crowds or partying, so I usually make a savory snack or two to eat with some Dr. Pepper (the only true and living soft drink. I love that stuff!), while we watch movies or play games until midnight.

I don't usually follow recipes, and seldom make any dish the same way twice, but here is my method for a zesty dip for two, using my Lil Dipper crockpot.
  • Place 1/2 block of cream cheese in the dipper, along with some vegetables.
  • I usually use some green onion, some spinach, and some garlic, and what ever else I have that might go well.
  • Marinated artichoke hearts, diced tomatoes or mushrooms often find their way into my dips.
  •   Cover the dipper and heat for about an hour.
  •  Once the cream cheese is soft and the vegetables have wilted a bit, add about 1/2 cup sour cream, and whatever cheese you like. I usually used about 1/4 cup grated mozzarella and 2 TBSP freshly grated parmesan.

  • Cover and cook another half to one hour, until cheese is melted. Serve with chips, crackers, bread dippers (I used pita bread) or raw vegetable dippers.

 Bon appetit! And Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

I try to eat sensibly while celebrating the new year. But sometimes too many treats scream my name. So this is a recipe I made the last 2 years. They are filling, so I eat a couple of them first and then the other treats have muffled voices. They can be made low-fat with turkey sausage, which is what I usually use. Choose low-fat or part-skim cheeses and that will help lessen your guilt (although ridding yourself of guilt altogether might be a great new years resolution). I have found I am not fond of fat free cream cheese in this recipe, however, low-fat works great!

18-20 medium mushrooms, wash and pull out stems(set aside)
1 lb. sausage
1 8oz. pkg. cream cheese
3 sliced green onions
handful spinach leaves, then chop
1-2 cups of grated mozzarella cheese OR Parmesan cheese.

Brown sausage and drain and rinse off excess fat and oil. Return to skillet, add onions and use mushroom stems (chop these a little first) and spinach, cook till spinach appears slightly wilted then add in cream cheese. Continue cooking until creamy and well mixed. Use a small cookie dough scoop to fill mushroom caps, then place in baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove and sprinkle mozzarella OR Parmesan cheese on the tops, return to oven to melt cheese. Serve warm!
fyi: Regular sausage and cream cheese will yield approximately 150 calories per mushroom.

Happy New Year!!


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Years Day celebration and some Rocky Road

Yesterday Amanda mentioned the New Years Day celebration our family carries out each year. I thought I would share this years menu and a recipe of a family favorite holiday tradition. My mom started making Rocky Road candy when I was in Jr. High School and it has been requested by neighbors every year since.

Rocky Road Candy
1 - 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 Tbls. butter
2 cups dry roasted peanuts
1 - 10 1/2 oz. pkg. mini-marshmallows
In a large bowl combine nuts and marshmallows. Line a 9 x 13 inch cake pan with waxed paper. In a heavy saucepan on low heat melt choc. chips with sweetened milk and butter. Remove from heat and fold into nut and marshmallow mixture. Pour into prepared pan and spread to fill in the corners. Chill for 2 hours. Remove from pan and peel off wax paper; cut into squares with a large knife.
**To make Double Peanutty**
Omit butter - stir 1/2 cup peanut butter into the choc. mixture then proceed as directed.

So here is the menu:
The serious stuff!
-Stuffed Mushrooms (featured tomorrow here on Paisley)
-Buffalo Dip (featured yesterday here on Paisley)
-7 Layer Dip with Juanita's Tortilla Chips
-Undersized hot dogs - recipe for a future post
-Cheese and Meat platter with Ritz and/or dinner rolls
-Spray cheese -preferably sharp! (each child gets to choose 1 thing on the menu and this is a repeated staple for some reason)
-Veggie Tray with Ranch Dip

The sweet stuff!
-Rocky Road Candy (featured today)
-Big Bowl of M&M's and other leftover Christmas candy
-Sweet Chex Mix
-Rice Krispie Treats

For beverage we have Shasta Cream Soda and bottles of water. I prefer to save my calories for food rather than drink them so I start with 1 Diet Pepsi and then move to water.

I pray your New Year is full of peace and joy!

I have linked to some of THESE fabulous parties!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Years Traditions

New years day in our family is one of the most gluttonous days of the year!
Its the last day of the *holiday* season that I gorge myself and then of course renew my goal{s} toward a healthier me.
We make a delightful spread for our table and then feast all afternoon as we watch 3 consecutive movies {new releases of course!}
This year we are watching: Knight & Day, Inception and Eat,Pray,Love. 
Im super excited to FINALLY get some much needed relax time 
and to watch these anticipated films!
There are SO many recipes that I love to make and eat during our movie-fest but, 
for the sake of time I am only including one recipe. 
I crave this recipe insanely but, 
only allow myself to have it on rare occasions for it. is. fattening!!!! 
Bring on the cream cheese!!

 Blazing Buffalo Chicken Dip Recipe

16 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces hot sauce
1 cup chopped/shredded cooked boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese,
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese for topping
tortilla scoops
celery sticks

 Combine cream cheese and hot sauce. 
Heat in microwave/stove until cream cheese is melted. Stir. 
Add celery, chicken and cheese.

Mix together and transfer to a baking dish. 
Top with more cheese. 
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Serve with tortilla chips and celery sticks. Enjoy!

Whats your New Years traditions???

we link to these parties.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Favorites

When my children were growing up, every Christmas I would buy or make them an ornament to hang on our tree. They sometimes got ornaments from other family members, friends or school as well. After a few years of 6+ new ornaments a year, we needed an extra tree to hang them all on. So for several years, we had one tree in the dining room and another in the living room.

Now that my children have all moved on, I have only a few ornaments of my own, but they're all so special to me. Each year as I bring them out and unwrap them, it's like seeing a group of old friends. Here are a few of my favorites.

This is my oldest ornament. My grandparents gave it to me when I was 5 or 6. It's been on my tree every year since. I'm not sure you can see it, but my name is engraved across Rudolph's body.
I bought this donkey in 1983 on a trip to Ensenada, Mexico. I actually bought 4 corn husk ornaments for $1. This is the only one that has survived. Amberlou can have it when I die.

 We lived for several years in Northern New Mexico. This one is from the Nambe pueblo and reminds me of my time there.
 I collect dragons, and one day I came across this porcelain specimen. We named him Ebenezer. (My children named most of my dragons for me over the years.)

 I like to get ornaments from places I visit. I got this one on a trip with my daughter's high school choir in 1999.
 And this is from a store down the street from the house where we lived on Maui for over 5 years. My step-son calls it "The Black Pearl".
 My daughter made this lovely tree in kindergarten. She's getting married in about 10 days!

 My grandson's first Christmas...
 For many years, I did not have a tree topper. I never found one I liked and didn't want to spend the money on something that wasn't what I wanted. It drove certain friends and family members nuts! They were always trying to give me tree toppers that I thought were pretty tacky. Then, about 15 years ago, I found this angel at a craft show.
We named her Lizzy, after my children's favorite aunt, who is blonde and plays the violin. The years are starting to show on poor Lizzy here (not so much on Aunt Lizzy, who will be forever young!).

Merry Christmas from all the ladies of the Paisley Cupcake!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

O Tannenbaum

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Du kannst mir sehr gefallen!

(O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Much pleasure dost thou bring me!)

Our new, sleeker trim line tree has decorations of red and white that have came about purely by mistake. It is adorned in homemade (school made) ornaments of the children. This cute Santa was made by The Big C when he was 7.

This porcelain doll is about 8 inches tall. My Grandma had a tree solely decorated with dolls and she gave one to each granddaughter to remember her. So this doll is one of my most cherished tree decorations.

The same wonderful grandma made me this tree skirt. It is pieced and quilted and hand-crafted with love. She is/was my hero!

Our tree also has an abundance of snowmen and a few 'snowball' ornaments. One day all these ornaments will be divided and given to my 4 children and I will have a Non-Kid-Friendly Tree. But this one is full of memories and nostalgia...and it makes me warm and fuzzy inside.

Wie oft hat schon zur Winterzeit
Ein Baum von dir mich hoch erfreut!
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Du kannst mir sehr gefallen!

(For ev’ry year the Christmas tree,
Brings to us all both joy and glee.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Much pleasure dost thou bring me!)

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wrap it Up!

Amanda recently posted about our families Christmas countdown with 24 books here. She tells how we made homemade gift wrap to wrap these books up. As my children were young we had so many family traditions and they are remembered fondly. With a new generation beginning I figure, why not start over with the tradition. It's the perfect activity to do on family night so here I go... featuring our recent fun of making gift wrap with a 2 1/2 yr. old.
Here's a pic of our supplies...

We use potatoes as stamps. In this pic we are using a miniature cookie cutter to make the shape, but we also free-handed trees and stars. I use a pencil to "engrave" the shape into the potato and a small paring knife to trim around it. Dab the potato on a paper towel when done cutting to remove excess juices.

Dip in a thin layer of paint and gently press onto your surface (we recycle grocery sacks and also use small lunch-sized sacks). Brown craft paper or butcher paper works well too. Look how easy this is for little hands. The bigger end of the potato are easy for Miss H to handle.

Here is some of the finished product. Lunch sacks and a wrapped gift.

I have actually wrapped the gift with the brown paper and then painted the whole gift if I wanted a particular pattern on the gift box.
The brown grocery sacks are very sturdy. I have been know to use them year after year to wrap new gifts. I have cut out the design and made gift tags. Folding them into small envelopes and sewing up the edges makes a cute way to give gift cards. The possibilities of recycling them keep coming to me and I am sure they will come to you as well.
Happy Christmas crafting.
I have linked to some fabulous parties.

Christmas Eve Cookies

Last week, I needed help finding some yummy cookies to bake....and help I received! I know my hubby Santa is going to LOVE these cookies:

One of our lovely readers {Noelle} suggested these cookies and they look sooo pretty & scrumptious! I hope mine turn out as cute.

Christine's Lemon Wreath Cookies
 For the recipe click here.

I also decided to make the following cookies...and save a few for my dad...he loves anything cherry chocolate flavored!

Cherry Blossoms
 The recipe can be found here... and while your over at Crafty Like Lindy, take a look around! Her blog is fantastic!!!!

Thanks everyone for your suggestions...I look forward to baking these and watching them disappear!

Merry Christmas!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree

This is the first year I have had a pre-lit is FABULOUS! 
It took 10 minutes to put up the tree and separate the stringing lights saved our family an hour of perfectionism:]

My tree is bright red & lime green...  Its my Who-ville tree. 

I wrapped ribbon around the tree diagonally and then stuffed it with all different shapes & sizes of glittery ornaments.
I topped it with a sparkly, red barn star and some twigs of red & green berries both of which, I bought at Real Deals. Love that store!

I like to be traditional with a twist & I think our tree definitely shows our style. I purchased our tree & ornaments at Walmart last year after Christmas...cant beat a good deal!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

O Christmas Tree!

My Christmas tree is red and gold, child friendly, has shatterproof ornaments, and poinsettias on top in lieu of a star. It is my favorite holiday decoration. Also, it is artificial. I like to put it up the first week of November, if Herr Handsome lets me. If he rolls his eyes too much, I put it up at Thanksgiving. Real trees aren't meant for that length of indoor exposure, y'know. 

Merry Christmas, everyone!

<3 AmberLou