19 December 2008

Red Gold

If you're still looking for last minute gifts for those hard to shop for people on your list, may I suggest Red Gold? This powerful film can be appreciated by anyone who loves and respects Mother Earth. An amazing documentary on the Bristol Bay area of Alaska and the proposed Pebble Mine project that threatens to destroy the way of life of thousands of Alaskan natives, you will never regret the money you put toward this cause.

Click here and buy a movie that will touch the hearts of all your favorite people at this most festive time of year.

12 December 2008

Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

My sister carved a hilarious pumpkin for Halloween, and we were all happy to indulge in eating the seeds from it. My mom toasted them two different ways - some were just salted, and some were seasoned with a Cajun spice blend and garlic. I really enjoyed the spicy ones!

Because Jenna is a procrastinator, I'm just getting the photo now! So, we're out of season, but I thought it still merited a post.

For your viewing pleasure, here is the drunk pumpkin:

06 December 2008

Honey Mustard Curry Chicken with Mashed Sweet Potatoes

I received a Crock Pot as a wedding gift, but had yet to use it. Andrew loves slow-cooked meals, but I have no experience cooking them. My friend Samantha gave me yet another fabulous chicken recipe - Honey Mustard Curry Chicken.


7 chicken thighs - skin removed
4 tbsp. honey
4 tsp. mustard
4 tsp. yellow curry
3 tbsp. melted butter

Whisk together all ingredients except chicken. Place chicken in slow cooker and pour sauce over the top. Cook on low 6-7 hours.
The chicken was so moist, with wonderful flavor from the sauce. I served it with mashed sweet potatoes and crescent rolls. I would have added something green if I had it on hand...oh well, maybe next time!
Sweet potatoes are so much better for you than white potatoes - so many more nutrients! We don't eat them often, as I was never sure whether Andrew would like them, but all that will change now that I've broken the ice with this recipe.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled & cubed
maple syrup
skim milk
salt & pepper to taste
Boil the cubed potatoes until you can break them with a fork.

Drain them and return to the pot. Add the remaining ingredients and blend with an electric mixer until smooth. Taste and reseason accordingly. So easy, yet so good.

Christmas Cookies - Gingerbread

I am on a mission to save money and spread cheer this holiday season, and one of the things I want to do is bake lots and lots of cookies! I have been making time at night during the week and on the weekends to get some baking done. Everything I make is getting frozen, so that just before Christmas I can put together cookie gifts for our friends and family.

Cookie #1 - Gingerbread

I was lazy with my first cookie, and I used a store-bought mix (shh!) Andrew loves gingerbread, and I have tried several different "from scratch" recipes, but they always turn out awful. This year, I decided to hedge my bets and use a mix.

I cut the gingerbreads into stars and gingerbread men. I got about 3 dozen shapes, rolling the dough to about a quarter inch thick. I hate waste, so I rolled out the bits of leftover dough and used a mini cookie cutter to cut small flower shapes. I got a dozen little flowers out of that little bit of dough! You can see the flowers on the rack below the men in this photo.

I let Andrew have two of the first batch - the star-shaped cookies - as a snack, then as I was taking the men off the tray, I broke two of them! So he got to bring those to work the next day.

Baking is already starting to put me in the holiday spirit!

Quiche Lorraine & Other Variations

My mom's side of the family holds a Holly Brunch each year, typically the first weekend of December. About 20 years ago, my Nonnie realized that stockings were taking up a huge chunk of time during our Christmas Eve celebration, so she split stocking presents into a different holiday...Holly Brunch! This year, the family held brunch the Saturday after Thanksgiving so that Andrew and I could be there.

My mom and I made quiches for the brunch - two were typical Quiche Lorraine, per Betty Crocker, and two were Quiche Lorraine, but with spinach subbed for the bacon.
You can find Betty's original recipe here. We usually don't mess with Betty's instructions too much, but this time we swapped white cheddar for the recommended swiss, and increased the amount of cheese, onion, and bacon that we used.

For the spinach quiche, we used one pound of fresh spinach, steamed in a couple tablespoons of water in the microwave. Regardless of whether you use fresh or frozen spinach, make sure you squeeze all the water out, or you will have a very soggy quiche!

In order to transport the food to my Nonnie's house, we used our traditional carrying method: the tops of copy-paper boxes my mom brings home from work. Hey, they get the job done!

Quiche is such an easy thing to make, and it's a filling breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack. You can put anything you want in it, making it as comforting or gourmet as you like.

01 December 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Mr and I traveled to Connecticut for Thanksgiving this year - the first time we've spent the holiday on the East Coast in four years. A wonderful feast was enjoyed, and then came hubby's favorite part: the Thanksgiving leftover sandwich!

I am assured that part of what makes the leftover sandwich so good is the slapdash assembly. As an ::ahem:: "picky" eater, all this mixing together isn't my cup of tea, but here's how to do it:

Fresh rye bread (preferably baked by little old Polish ladies)
2 slices American cheese (or your favorite)

cranberry sauce

Toast two slices of rye bread (Andrew says he would have grilled it in a pan if he wasn't so hungry, and that this is how you should do it!) Smear cranberry sauce on one slice of rye bread - this is your base. Top with turkey, then a pile of stuffing. Add the cheese, top with more stuffing. Put the entire concoction in the microwave for about 30 seconds to ensure full melting of the cheese. Drizzle warmed gravy over the sandwich, and add your top slice of bread.

While it's not exactly heart-healthy, you really only have all the ingredients for this sandwich once a year. So don't feel guilty about indulging in a fantastic Thanksgiving leftover sandwich! It gets the seal of approval from husbands everywhere.