Archive for the ‘Holiday’ Category
‘Tis better to give than receive. For cooks getting crafty in the kitchen, this couldn’t be more true. There’s just something about presenting someone with a gift you made yourself that means so much more than buying a gift at the store.
This was the premise behind an article I just wrote for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. I made a Homemade Bellini Bar, Cherry Almond Muesli, Peppermint Bark, Beer and Caramel Pretzels, Cowboy Cookie Mix, and Tangerine Curd.
Looking at some of my old recipes during my Blogiversary and Giveaway Post, I decided this would be the perfect topic for a recipe roundup. Here are a few recipes that would make excellent holiday gifts this season:
Other Recipe Roundups:
Question: Do you like giving homemade gifts for the holidays? What types of things do you make?
It’s officially here: winter in Wisconsin. On Thanksgiving we celebrated in 60 degree weather and now it has dipped into the 20s. On the upside, the cold has put me in the Christmas spirit. I successfully put up half of our decorations (everything but the 3′ tree - you know, the most important part :) I can’t wait until I have a huge house and can finally have a big, fake Christmas tree (just like I had growing up). I take comfort that the tree I remember looking at when I was 5 is still the same tree my parents put up. Plus, I feel it’s better for the environment because it can constantly be reused. Here are some pics of the other holiday elements I’ve already put up:
We have a tradition of taking a picture with Oliver every year and sending it out to friends and family with our Christmas cards. I’m still thinking of ideas for this year.
On a completely unrelated note, I’ve been having some issues commenting to WordPress-powered blogs. I think because I have been commenting so much, WordPress may be recognizing me as spam on some of my favorite blogs (like Brigitt, Jane and Corrie’s). If you’d like to see the lovely notes I’ve been trying to write you, go into your comments section and approve my comments that are in your spam folder. For some reason I’ve been able to fix the issue on other blogs. Completely weird, but if anyone has experienced anything like this, let me know!
Question: Do you decorate for the holidays? And let’s settle this Christmas tree thing once and for all: real or fake?
You know you are addicted to social media when you are gone for just a few short days and the whole world seems to have changed. Not to mention I have no idea what my favorite bloggers have been up to (I’ll catch up over the weekend — I promise!).
I started my new job on Monday and between that, workout sessions with my favorite personal trainer, and getting ready for the holidays, I have been a little overwhelmed to say the least. Speaking of which, thank you all SO SO much for your kind words on Thursday’s post. You make it so easy for me to spill my heart out and share my crazy life with the world.
Since I have been so pressed for time, I’ve been making shortcuts to prepare for the Thanksgiving weekend. Instead of making Libby’s Pumpkin Roll like I originally planned, I decided to freeze unbaked pumpkin pies like I did last year (learn how to freeze homemade pumpkin pie in part 1 and part 2 of these blog posts). I also made and froze oatmeal raisin cookies a la King Arthur Flour to bring to our festivities as well.
Since I won’t be blogging until after the holiday, I want to leave you with my favorite dish as of lately. It combines two of my favorite foods: peanut butter and tomatoes. Now hear me out on this one…
I clipped this recipe for tomato and peanut butter soup simply based on the fact that I had some Hot Pepper Better’n Peanut Butter lying around and didn’t know what else to do with it.
As it turned out, spicy peanut butter is the perfect ingredient for soup (and Thai foods, like noodles with spicy peanut sauce). Add a slice of homemade bread and you have a meal perfect for fall or winter. And especially after all that turkey, stuffing and pie, you’ll be craving lighter meals. And in this case, you definitely won’t be skimping on flavor.
Tomato and Peanut Soup
Adapted from Food Network Magazine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/3 cup spicy peanut butter (such as Hot Pepper Better’n Peanut Butter )
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and spices and cook, stirring, 2 minutes more.
Add the tomatoes, chicken broth and brown sugar. Whisk in the peanut butter until incorporated. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and puree with an immersion blender. Add salt and pepper, to taste, if desired.
Ladle into bowls and serve.
Question: What are you up to for Thanksgiving? What’s your favorite part of the meal? For me, I love the stuffing. Homemade, I could eat that stuff by the bowlful. I also love pumpkin pie with Cool Whip :)
It may be almost November, but tank top weather is still here in Wisconsin (at least until tonight). Even my wedge sandals have made an appearance (despite my naked toes peeking out sans a toenail or two – thank you half marathon training). Here’s what has been going on lately:
1. Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a Primula Half Moon Teapot gift set! You have until Monday, Oct. 29 to enter (make sure to head on over to the original post). By the way, I’ve loved hearing about all your favorite gifts. Keep those stories coming!
2. My Pampered Chef party is being extended.
You now have until Sunday to order in case you forgot. For info on how to order, see this post.
3. I can’t wait for tonight. I DVR’d Nashville, which I finally get to watch. Has anyone else been sucked in? I knew I would love it when I saw the commercials months ago. Also, Brenton is making Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese for dinner.
Even better? I don’t have to do a thing. Because I will be making…
4. Halloween Cake Balls!
Tonight, making cake balls for our creative department outing tomorrow (a pig roast, mini-bowling and a good amount of drinking—this is advertising after all). Remember these Homemade Funfetti Cake Balls I made for Hillary’s birthday? Well I am going easy this time. Yellow cake mix, Pillsbury Halloween frosting, chocolate Almond Bark…and these cute little sprinkles for a finishing touch.
Question: What’s the funnest work outing you’ve ever been on? What did you do?
Happy Memorial day!
Yesterday we went to Brittney’s house for a pre-Memorial Day party. Ryan made the best ribs ever – I wish I had a picture! It was also the first time Oliver was going to meet Murphy. I really hoped they would get along!
That morning I took Oliver on a 5-mile run (it was probably about 80 degrees outside). Even still, he had a ton of energy to burn.
We played bags, aka corn in the hole, in her backyard. This brought me right back to my college days – so fun! It makes me pine for a backyard of my own, but at least we have our own balcony at the apartment (I know, it’s not even close).
Great start to the unofficial start of summer.
Today I had quite the productive day. After about an hour of weight training at the gym, I did some writing, recipe testing and bread making – homemade sourdough focaccia. In the afternoon, we headed down to my parent’s house (they only live about 45 minutes away) to grill out for the holiday.
My mom has the coolest chip bowl. I just had to take a picture of it. The dip is shrimp cocktail sauce over cream cheese – amazing with crackers. (Except this man looks like his leg was taken off by a shark attack!)
Dinner consisted of prime rib on the grill, corn on the cob, my dad’s potatoes (one of my favorite things he makes-it has bacon, onions and mushrooms in it), fresh tomatoes and focaccia bread.
And Tristan had his first Memorial Day. He is about 11 weeks old and is smiling all the time. I try to catch it on film as much as I can.
How was your weekend? What’s the funnest thing you did?