Monday, December 24, 2012

Fear Not!

If you've made it to this Christmas Eve and you're still not done with the shopping, decorating, baking, wrapping and you've passed one too many irate shoppers...AND holiday overload has completely set in...

"Fear not", as the angel said to the shepherd, "for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."  Luke 2:10-11

That's what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Santa Squirrel visits T-town

It's final exam week for my daughters at college.  I am looking forward to them being home for Christmas for a couple of weeks!

But not before Santa Squirrel makes a visit to T-town!   Final exam week is stressful, I can hear it in their voices when I talk to them.  So to give them and a few of their friends a little encouragement Santa Squirrel pays a visit.

This year he is delivering acorns.  Cute adorable acorns, if I must say so myself, hee hee!

(No, I still haven't decorated my tree yet!)

This fall when I saw this post about making acorn coasters,  I knew Santa Squirrel would deliver acorn coasters in Alpha Gam colors, of course.  I hope they like them, they should arrive soon and hopefully not lost in the mail!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Strings Orchestra Christmas Concert

Uh, my tree is still not decorated.   I just gotta have some Christmas music first!!!

My nephew plays violin in the Florence City Schools Strings Orchestra.   This is such a good program and I enjoy going to their concerts.  (Just overlook the awful photos as I was playing with my camera, should have left it on Auto!)

They display their talents and what they've learned in guitar ensembles, beginner, middle school, and high school string orchestra.  They add in piano and even electric guitar for some presentations.  You can't play Trans-Siberian Orchestra Christmas Eve/Sarajevo without an electric guitar, now can you?

Christmas Strings

Middle school strings orchestra

High School strings orchestra

 I think I forgot to breathe and you could have heard a pin drop when they played Mannheim Steamroller's version of Silent Night.

Partridge in a Pear Tree
And I laughed out loud as they acted out the 12 Days of Christmas!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Winter white lap afghan

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree....  Oh, the Christmas tree!!!  Decorating the tree has definitely taken the backseat to other more fun things this holiday season.  If I don't get the tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving, then it just gets attention off and on until I decide it's done.  It makes a difference when the kids aren't around to enjoy it too!

So instead of decorating the tree, my attention has been among other things on this prayer shawl.  It's more like a small afghan.

This is one of 2 stitches I have learned.  I can do this and talk to the Bassman while we're watching TV at the same time.  

If you're interested the stitch instructions are here.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Handmade napkins with a vintage twist

Thread, my favorite fabric store, occasionally has Tutorial Tuesdays.  This is where they pick a night and provide instructions and a discount on fabrics.  I already know how to sew and can certainly find plenty of tutorials online, but it's so inspiring to see some of these projects and fabric possibilities come together in person!

The first one I went to was a tutorial about making napkins.  I don't often use cloth napkins at home, maybe on special occasions, but with the wonderful selection of fabrics, I may start using them every day!  They also work well as basket liners for breads or muffins.  Or as a liner in any container on the countertop or shelf.

The most exciting thing about this Tutorial Tuesday is that she showed us how to select several fabrics to coordinate.  If you want the matchy matchy look, where all the napkins are made from one design, go for it.  But if you want an eclectic, or shabby chic, or just a different front and back they showed us how to select the fabrics.  So this was one of my first attempts at choosing coordinating fabric.

At the end of the day, if you like what you've chosen, then that's all that matters.

Since I had a certain purpose in mind for these, the colors I wanted for this set are red, yellow, and green.

I had some vintage looking fabric and matched it up with a more contemporary design.

I would like to have had more red, but the red fabrics were really bright reds and just weren't coming together with the shades of green and yellowish gold.

Instead of making them all different, I decided two matching napkins of each combination might make a nice table setting for 2, 4 or 6 people.

Tie them together to make a gift set.

I enjoyed making these so much, now I can't wait to start on the blue and brown set.   And maybe some Christmas designs would be nice too.

I might be using a cloth napkin with my peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch!

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Chic On A Shoestring

Friday, December 7, 2012

Baked Chicken Parmesan

Looking at my posts this week, it looks like the "week of food" at the well!  The Bassman and I both agreed this meal was a great break from the holiday food that we've been devouring lately.

I paired Baked Chicken Parmesan from Skinny Taste with a super easy authentic Italian pizza sauce from Frugal Ain't Cheap.   Both dishes are so easy and healthy too.

Add some pasta (or not) with the same delicious pizza sauce plus something green and enjoy!

Notice how my plate is mostly pasta?   Hee hee ; )

Thanks Dani, the sauce is very good!

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Monday, December 3, 2012

PW Roasted Cauliflower

We especially love roasted asparagus and even roasted young tender green beans and broccoli.  But I had never tried roasted cauliflower until this recipe showed up on the Sweet As Pie Cooking Club for November.

The Bassman doesn't like cauliflower so I prepared this dish for one of our Sunday family gatherings.

It's easy, as is roasting any vegetable.   Cut, toss, sprinkle and bake!

I think my oven is old and tired.  A new oven and a kitchen update are on our to do list ... but not until after our daughters graduate from college.  The cauliflower had only a few roasted brown areas and I was short on time.  I'd like more brown roasting on there so next time I'll roast it at a slightly higher temperature.

The cauliflower must have been small for the amount of bread crumbs called for in the recipe.  That's way too much bread crumbs, I only used a cup and it was still way too much in my opinion.

I let the crumb topping brown only slightly so I could heat it up and brown it more at lunch time.  This was a different side than usual and most of the family did give it a try but no one commented on it at all.  

The roasted cauliflower is good, I'll definitely add that to my roasting vege options.  And I'll just leave off the bread crumbs completely or use a lot less and maybe add some of the variations like parmesan cheese or herb seasonings.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Mary, did you know?

First things first.  The nativity scene is the first Christmas decoration I pull out of storage.  Yeah, it's a material thing, but it's a symbol of what this season is about and that's what's important.

When I bought my nativity scene, I wanted one that had nice colors and the figurines had "normal" looking eyes.  I mean, who wants the wise men or any others to have wonky eyes?  Is that too much to ask?   You know what I'm saying!

Now about Mary, an unmarried virgin carrying the child of God!  She has an awesome faith story.

Can you imagine the responsibility she felt of what was given to her?   Can you imagine

the faith she had

that God would see her through the circumstances she found herself in?   

He would see her through her relationship with Joseph.  He would see her through with dealing with nosey neighbors or anyone who questioned her or had anything negative to say.  

He led Mary like he leads us today.  He made her strong.  He leads us through whatever we are going through if we let Him.

He gives us Hope. 

I'm not a parenting expert by any means but I know there is only a few short years to impress upon our children the values and morals that we want them to carry on in life.  And in their children's lives, and in their children's get the picture.   We don't know what our children's choices will be or what's in their future.   I know choosing God to lead is the most important decision we can make in life. 

I imagine Mary, raising her children, didn't know exactly what to expect.  But wouldn't you like to ask her?

Linking with:

Home for Holy Days 2012 at Imparting Grace

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Nutella Craze

What is with the Nutella craze?   As I understand it, this stuff has been around for a while yet I couldn't understand why it suddenly became so popular.  

I guess it's a chocolate lovers thing?  Chocolate on toast just didn't catch my attention nor did any other Nutella recipe I ran across.  But these Nutella Turnovers did.

Puff pastry and Nutella, simple enough so far.

Divide the pastry into 4 squares.  You'll get 8 turnovers out of a package of 2 sheets.

Put a dollup of Nutella on each square.

Fold over into a triangle, seal and brush with egg wash.

Oh, just follow this recipe for Nutella Turnovers.  These things are good!

Friday, November 30, 2012

PW French Onion Soup

I just enjoyed this PW French Onion Soup, one of our November Sweet As Pie Cooking Club selections (I am a little behind on the November menu!)

Be aware it takes a couple of hours to prepare this, but it's worth it.

After a long onion prep and simmer...

....and the bread has been toasted and cut into croutons for easier eating (my preference)...

...and smoked gruyere, my latest cheese addiction... is piled on top and broiled ...

it's ready to eat...

I promise there is soup under all those yummy layers!

And I had a second ladle full...

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

PW Angel Sugar Cookies

We don't eat a lot of cookies at my house, except for the occasional college kids cake mix cookies.  So I held off until the holidays on making this September Sweet As Pie Cooking Club selection thinking these Pioneer Woman sugar cookies might be good to give as a gift.

I was excited to start using these cute recipe bookmarks that I got on sale at Anthropologie.  I don't do black Friday shopping but the Wednesday before Thanksgiving you can get some good deals too.

There's a whole book full of them!  They're perforated and you tear them out of the book, fold in half or tear them into two bookmarks.

The colors and graphics are so cute and fun!  I just love flipping through it and looking at them.  Much better than these bookmarks...random notepad papers, coupons, etc.  Ugh.

Now on to the cookies.  Once the butter has softened and all the ingredients are stirred together, it doesn't look so appetizing here.  But it's easy to stir together, no stand mixer necessary unless you just want to use it.

After an hour in the frig, they're a nice chilled consistency to spoon onto the cookie sheet.  I liked the idea of using the buttered bottom of a glass to apply the sprinkles and flatten the dough.

Don't crowd them though, especially if you don't want the sides to touch.  Since these are "crumbly" I really didn't want to overcook them so the edges are just barely browned.

PW says in the cookbook that these cookies don't travel well.  I was a little worried about that but I piled them on a couple of trays and sent them on their way.  Maybe they can handle a long ride in the car!

Yum!  They are light, crispy and the center is slightly soft if you don't overcook them.  Oh, and it makes many more than 18 as stated in the recipe.  Now that would be 18 ENORMOUS cookies.

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Pioneer Woman Pecan Pie...Again

My favorite men in my life, the Bassman and my Dad love Pecan Pie.  After I made PWs Pecan Pie the first time, and gave it away, I wanted to make it again and this time I planned to EAT some of it myself!!

This was also my challenge to overcome my fear of making the "the crust".    The crust recipe makes 3, so there's already one handy in the freezer from the first pie.  I like that and the crust taste good, it's light and flaky.

One of the Sweet As Pie Cooking Club ladies said hers turned out runny.  I just hope the pie I gave away wasn't runny, but I don't know for sure!   PW says cook it ... and cook it some more...without burning it...until it's only slightly jiggly.   Kinda high maintenance keeping a check on it while it's baking.  

Using a 10 inch pie pan, the crust came just to the top, not enough to ruffle.  No ruffle, less fuss.  I left the foil over the edges for 40 minutes instead of the 30 minutes in her recipe, so it wouldn't brown too much while trying to bake long enough to get the jiggle out.

It baked for about 75 minutes, until the jiggle was pretty much gone.

This recipe has more sugar than my usual pecan pie recipe, maybe that's why it tends to be more jiggly.  But it wasn't runny, so it turned out good.

Only a small slice for me, please.  I usually eat the pecans off the top and have a bite or two of the crust so I need lots of help eating pecan pie.  That's where my two favorite men come in!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wounded Warriors

Each year Semper Fi of North Alabama hosts about 30 wounded veterans, flying them into town to show them some of the sites and activities of this area.   

For the past few years, the Bassman has volunteered his boat and a day of fishing on Veteran's Day with the Wounded Warriors.

On their last day in town, we attended the farewell dinner.

Entertainment was provided by Easton Corbin.

This lady warrior had served multiple tours in Iraq and took General Libutti up on his offer to dance.  They had a lot of fun with it!

A young marine was eager to hold the door for us as we left.

Thank you Wounded Warriors for your service and sacrifice.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

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