Great Christmas

Had a great Christmas! We woke up Christmas morning, opened presents and then I made biscuits and homemade country gravy. We got together with the whole family as we always do at my husbands older brothers house. With six siblings there are alot of us and we always have a good time. Everyone seemed to like the "thank you" cards I made. Another family member gave store bought truffles as gifts so mine didn't compare to those but mine were full of love. Here's some pics of Christmas day.

I've been so busy I haven't been able to get here. I've been super busy planning my sister-in-laws baby shower. This is her first and she is having a boy and is due April 1. I've decided on the color scheme and theme. I'm making the invitations and decorations. Hopefully it turns out cute and she likes it.Photobucket

Merry Christmas Eve

We finished the truffles yesterday! I can't believe it but my arm is sore from scraping the chocolate out of the bowl, sad I know. But they are tasty and look pretty good. Hopefully everyone likes them. The sprinkled ones are orange infused and the powdered are regular. Brenden helped with the final coating of sprinkles and powder.

 My little Hannah is 8 months old today! She ate her first banana today without it being mashed up. She really enjoyed it. She's growing up so fast.

We have a busy day ahead, I have to make my whoopie pies that I wasn't able to get to yesterday, we're going to my husband's grandma's house, church and then his parent's house for dinner. Should be a fun day.

Merry Christmas Eve!!

My Bic Mark-it Holiday Challenge entry

This is my entry, it ended up better than it started. I love the owl, the Bic Mark-it really work great. I'm able to create the gradation look and they blend well.

Today I have alot of to. Just finished another run in which I ran my best current mile of 11:30, way slower than I used to run but I'm practically starting over. I literally gave my all and I had to walk the rest of my 30 minute workout.

Later I have to clean, finish my truffles and start my whoopie pies.

Merry Christmas Eve Eve!


Somebirdie told me...

Here is a birthday card that I made for a friends child who turns one today. I think it turned out pretty darn cute. I cut down scrapbook paper and used my printer for the wording. I have some pretty cute fonts that I found online for free. It's really fun using them for different projects.

Today I start working on the food for Christmas. I'm going to start the chocolate truffles, not sure if I'll get to rolling them today but we'll at least get the mix made. My son is going to help me. Should be a fun project.

I'm also working on a Christmas card to enter into the Bic Mark-it challenge. I'm not happy with what I'm coming up with but I'm going to enter it anyways. I'll post a picture of them next time.

Very first "thank you" card

Above is the very first "thank you" card I made. The flower idea is from one of my favorite blogs http://littlebirdiesecrets.blogspot.com/2009/08/how-to-make-torn-paper-flowers.html.  I used construction paper for the flower and some black pigment ink for the edges to give it more substance and added a blue jewel and hemp twine. Blue and orange are two of my favorite color combinations. This card is really simple and I like it that way.

Last minute shopping while helping a good cause

If you have any last minute online shopping to do for the holidays a great website to do it through is Carnie Wilson's Mall.http://www.theangelsmall.com/cwilson/ By shopping through this website at the stores provided a portion of your purchase goes to help Autism Research. There is a no extra cost to you, it's super easy, with big name stores. It's really a no brainer. Happy Shopping!


Hannah's Walking!

Ha ha, well not really. But she did just take her first steps in her walker. I've been putting her in it for a month now kind of like her saucer because there are cool toys on it but today is the first day she's made it move. She even walked into a cabinet.

I haven't been doing as much baking as I like. I'm so busy with Hannah during the day that it just flies by. The other night I took the easy route and after making chilli and corn bread for dinner I made a box cake. It's the new decadent style, very rich. I made it look a little festive by using a cookie cutter and colored sugar.


Bake, Bake, Bake all day long....

It's that time of year that makes me want to bake... alot. Yesterday, I made some peanut butter banana bread, I had some bananas that were extrememly ripe, I didn't have any nuts to add to the bread but wanted to do something so I added peanut butter, it turned out pretty good. Normally I use butter in all of my cooking, but we ran out and I don't want to go into town just for butter so I substituted with oil and it worked just fine.

Peanut Butter Banana Bread
1/2 cup oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
4 bananas (this is what I happened to have to use, you can use how ever many you have, it will just taste more like banana or less)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup peanut butter (this you can also adjust depending on taste)

Preheat oven 325 degrees
Grease 1 loaf pan.
In a large bowl using an electric mixer, cream oil and sugar.
Add the eggs, blending well.
Add the bananas, flour, baking soda, vanilla and pb. I use an electric mixer because I don't have to pre-mash the bananas that way.
Mix well.
Pour batter into greased pan.
Bake 1 hour or until brown.

I also took some pictures of our tree and one of my favorite decorations. We've yet to put the star on the tree and my gnome's foot broke, so we plastered it but haven't colored it. You can't see it in the picture but the gnome's candle flickers. Our last house was so small and our sectional was so big that we couldn't put this tree up but now we have plenty of room, so we're pretty excited. Right now, we do not do a real tree, we prefer having a hassle free experience and we use candles for the smell. When our little one's are older we probably will do a real tree for the experience.


What I've been up to...

I've been super busy since Thanksgiving weekend. I haven't had much time to get online and write. It started with using the whole weekend to find a new mama mobile, and luckily Sunday afternoon we did.

 Then this week has been full of errand running and Christmas shopping. The good thing is everything is wrapped and under the tree. The only thing I still need to get is something for my husband and I'm still trying to figure what that is going to be.

Saturday night consisted of baking some lemon bread and then running my 10 year old to the urgent care to get two staples put in his head. He hit his head on a cabinet in our kitchen and it split his head open, thankfully it stopped bleeding pretty quickly and he's doing just fine.

 The lemon bread had just come out of the oven as we were running out of the door. The recipe is below. 

When life gives you lemons make lemon bread
1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh preferably)
2 large eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tbs grated lemon zest, if using a fresh lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a loaf pan.

In a bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, lemon juice and eggs.
In another bowl, sift together, the flour, baking powder and salt.
Add the flour mixture and milk to the butter mixture alternately, beginning and ending with flour.
Fold in lemon zest.
Pour batter into the pan and bake for 1 hour 10 minutes.
Cool for 10 minutes, then turn onto a wire wrack.

I've also been busy making "thank you" cards, these are going to be presents for the female members of the family. Well little miss Hannah is crying so that's it for now.

Happy Belated Thanksgiving

Yesterday I planned on blogging but with hosting Thanksgiving, cooking, baking and everything else I was exhausted by the time I could finally get on the computer. We ended up having a beautiful Thanksgiving. Everything went well. The brine worked out perfect, the turkey tasted great and was falling off of the bones by the time it was done. I have no complaints for the day.
My thanks for the day were for Joe's family. I pretty much only have my mom and she lives out of state so I rely completely on my husbands family. They are the best, we all get along so well, which can be tough when there are six siblings and always have a good time.
Now on to what I made for the day. First here's a pic of the turkey, they had a hard time pulling it out of the roaster, it was so juicy and tender it was falling apart.
The only other things that I made were my Merry cherry pie, It's a southern thing cornbread dressing, and my Orange you glad you tried it salad. That's another nice thing about big family is everyone brings something. Below are my recipes.
Merry Cherry Pie
Perfect everytime pie crust (recipe below)
2 14.5 oz cans tart cherries
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 ts salt
2 tbs butter
1/4 ts almond extract
1/4 ts red food coloring
1 egg yolk

Preheat over 425 degrees.
Make perfect everytime pastry and refrigerate.
Drain cherries, reserving 1 cup juice.
In a saucepan combine sugar, flour and salt. Stir in cherry juice and bring to boil, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture thickens, less than 5 minutes.
When mixture is thickened, add butter, almond extract, food coloring and cherries.
Cover and refrigerate.
On lightly floured surface, roll out half of the pastry into an 11 inch circle.
Put into 9 inch pie dish.
Poor cooled cherry filling into pie dish.
Roll other half of pastry into another 11 inch circle. With a knife cut your design in center of pastry circle.
When done designing, place pastry on top of cherry filling and lightly brush with egg yolk.
Bake 30 minutes and cool before serving.

Perfect Everytime Pie Crust
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 ts salt
3 tbs granulated white sugar
1/4 cup crisco
12 tbs butter, cold and cubed
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, salt and sugar. Add the shortening and break it up with your hands as you coat it all up with the flour. Add the colf butter and work into the flour with a pastry cutter.
Work it quickly, so the butter doesn't get too soft. Work until mixture is crumbly.
Add the ice water, a little at a time, until the mixture comes together forming a dough.
Bring dough together into a ball.
Divide ball into half, flatten it slightly into a disk shape. Wrap it with saran wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
On a floured surface roll each disk out into an 11 inch circle to make a 9 inch pie.

It's a Southern Thing Cornbread Dressing
One 8x8 batch baked cornbread, cooled
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 hard boiled eggs, diced
1-1 1/2 cans chicken broth
salt and pepper

The night before or first thing in the morning bake you cornbread so that it will be completely cooled by the time you are going to make the dressing.
Preheat over to 350 degrees.
Sautee the chopped celery and onion in oil or butter until soft.
Salt and pepper to taste.
In a 9x13 baking dish break up the cornbread.
Add the celery, onion and diced egg to the cornbread.
Mix together with hands.
Pour chicken broth over cornbread mixture, you can make it as dry or moist as you like.
Season with salt and pepper.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, if not brown enough on top, broil on low for 3-5 minutes.
Serve warm.

Orange You Glad You Tried It Salad
1 tub cool whip, thawed
1 small tub small curd cottage cheese
2 small cans manderin oranges, drained
1 box orange jello

In a large mixing bowl. Add thawed cool whip, 1/2 tub cottage cheese, maderin oranges and dry orange jello. Stir together, refrigerate until ready to serve.

If you haven't tried these dishes before I hope you try them out. These are some of my favorites from my childhood growing up in Atlanta. Hope you all have a great decorating/shopping weekend!


Happy Thanksgiving Eve and a third day of thanks

Today and everyday I am thankful for my two beautiful and healthy children Brenden Michael, 10, and Hannah Grace, 7 months today.
 Brenden is the sweetest and most polite boy, he always cares about others feelings. He is growing up so fast, I can't believe this is his last year of elementary school. I'm so proud of the person that he is becoming.
 Hannah is the most beautiful and precious child ever. She is such a sweet baby and her smile will light up a room. I can't believe she is already 7 months old. I'm so proud to be her mama.  

Today I am brining our turkey. This was my husband's idea, I take no credit. I only have to do it because he's at work and it has to start today at noon. So for his sake hopefully it turns out good. We have a 21lb. turkey and we are going to brine it for 18-20 hours. We are using a 5 gallon bucket we bought at our local grocery story which has a hardware section. We are using as much water that will fit in the bucket along with the turkey, our measurement isn't exact.

Joe's First Thanksgiving Brine

3/4 cup table salt
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbs sage
1 tbs thyme
1 tbs rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 tbs peppercorns
1 chopped onion
1 chopped celery stock
1 chopped carrot
4 cans veggie broth

Fill standard stock pot half way with water, bring to boil. Add salt and brown sugar, stir until dissolved. Turn off heat, add all other ingredients. Fill stock pot rest of way with water, cover with lid and cool in fridge for 3 hours. Do not add turkey to brine without cooling first, this could create salmonella. Once cooled, pour brine into 5 gallon bucket, slowly lower turkey into brine. If there is still room for more liquid add more water, make sure turkey is fully submerged. Cover with lid and refrigerate for 18-20 hours.

We luckily have a fridge that you can adjust the shelves to accommodate a 5 gallon bucket. If you don't, check out google, they have several different brining techniques and ways to store the turkey while brining.