Friday, November 29, 2013

Here We Come A Wassailing

Wassail Recipe
1 gallon apple cider
2 cups orange juice
3/4 cup Red Hot candies
1 cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Start early in the morning.  Dump everything into a crock pot, stir and simmer on med or high for 4 hours. Stir occasionally.

Our daughter has been making this Wassail for years.  It's now a main staple at our holiday gatherings.  It's a great drink hot or cold.  As I was in the kitchen on Thanksgiving day, I poured me a cup and added some ice and it was sooo tasty.  Such a good cinnamon-y taste, I love it!

Enjoy your holiday weekend and remember to savor every moment!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

DIY - Birchwood Candle Holders Centerpiece

On our recent trip to N. Michigan, my sister had this 4' 1/2" Birchwood log in her garage and asked if I wanted it and I said sure!!  This is an authentic piece of Birchwood from N. Michigan and I immediately knew I wanted to make candle holders out of them for the holidays.  I had hubby cut the log into about 12 pieces, in various sizes and then had him drill a hole at the top, the size of a tealight candle.  I had some leftover canvas fabric from my table runner, I cut into 10" strips, 1 1/2" wide.

I took a strip of the canvas fabric and glued around a piece of wood.

I placed the strip in a different position of each piece, mainly because I wanted the knot to be exposed, to give the piece some "character".

I then tied some jute twine around the strip and piece of wood.

Here are a few I used for my centerpiece.  I had some leftover battery operated tealights from last year that fit perfectly in the candle holders.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours and remember to savor every moment!


Shared with:

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thanksgiving Meal Planning Made Easy

In my early young bride days, I was usually a mess on Thanksgiving or Christmas day.  Only because my legs and feet were aching from being on my feet all day from cooking, cleaning and hostessing.   Needless to say,  I learned early on that these days were A LOT of work!  Years later I was able to get help from the likes of Martha, Ina, and some home shows on TV.  I learned to plan ahead, cook ahead and even look like Donna Reed on that special day, well almost.
Although it's not too late to post and share my method for Thanksgiving this year, there's plenty of time to also utilize this for your Christmas meal as well.
(Click on each image to view larger image.)
Grab a pen and some paper.  Make a list of your menu* (see sample image above)
I pulled this menu from my very own menu that I use every year.  As you can see, I'm very traditional and my family and I look forward to these favorite foods every year.  Anyway, scour your cookbooks, grandmas recipe box and the internet to find recipes you want to serve.  Gather all the recipes together.
In the image above, here are some sample recipes from my very own menu list.
STEP TWO:  On another sheet of paper, title it "Draft Shopping List" as this won't be the list you'll be taking to the store.  Begin to write down every ingredient (I also like to use the amount but that's up to you) from each recipe.  In the image above, I'm using two recipes from my real Menu List, G'mas Jello Salad and Mashed Potatoes as an example.  Once you write down the ingredients from each recipe, take this list to your kitchen.
STEP THREE:  As you're in the kitchen with your draft list, go through your cabinets and refrigerator.  Scratch off each item that you have and don't need to buy. This saves you from guessing and it also saves you $$!
STEP FOUR:  Grab a clean sheet of paper and title it "Shopping List".  Transfer everything  that's left from your "Draft Shopping List" onto the new sheet. This is the list you'll be taking to the store with you.  Obviously, this list will be a lot longer from other items on your real Menu List.
I also create a calendar list that helps me spread out all the work from the Saturday before Thanksgiving through to the Big Day.
Try to get your grocery shopping over and done with no later than the Friday before Thanksgiving.  The stores will be crowded but they'll be more crowded the week of Thanksgiving not to mention, empty shelves.
Enlist family members to help with chores.  If a guest offers to bring a dish, by all means, say yes!! It doesn't say anywhere you have to do it all, right? Donna??  
On the big day, don't forget to remove the dishes from the refrigerator to heat just before serving.  I usually will take it out about 30 minutes before I heat it up in the oven or the microwave.

If you plan ahead, I can almost assure you that on Thanksgiving Day, even Donna Reed will be jealous!  and ladies and gentlemen, this is how I roll! 
I haven't shopped on Black Friday in probably over a decade and I like it that way. I relax on Black Friday and shop on Cyber Monday :)
I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday spent with family and friends.  I hope this post will help you.  Feel free to ask any questions should you have any.
Feel free to print these blank forms to help with your planning:


* Keep your menu and place it on your refrigerator with a magnet to serve as a checklist and to make sure you don't forget anything.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Bell Peppers

Salt & Pepper
Olive oil
5 skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup cooked Quinoa
1/2 lb. Mushroom buttons
5 Scallions
1 1/2 Roma tomatoes
2 Bell Peppers (any color)
1 small bunch of fresh Baby Spinach
1 tsp. Cumin
1/2 tsp. dry Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp. ground Chili Powder
8 slices Colby Jack deli cheese
1 10oz. can green Enchilada Sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (reserve 1 tbsp. for garnish)

Preheat oven to 425F degrees. 

Pour 1 tbsp. Olive oil into an 8" skillet or medium size oven proof pan.

Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken thighs

Place chicken thighs into a skillet (I used my 8" skillet)

Cook the Quinoa at this time if you haven't already,  according to package directions.  Set aside covered when done.

Dice the mushrooms, set aside.

Dice the scallions,  Reserve 1 tbsp. for garnish.  Set aside the rest.

Dice the tomatoes, set aside.

Cut the stem off the bell peppers.

Cut the bell peppers in half, from the stem to the bottom.  Remove seeds and veins. Set aside.

Chop the Baby Spinach, set aside.

Stack the cheese slices

Dice the cheese in small squares, set aside.

By the time I prepped all the vegetables, the chicken was browned and ready to be removed from the oven.

Remove chicken from skillet and place in another container to cool.  Reserve the chicken juices in the skillet.

In the reserved chicken juices, saute the mushrooms, scallions and tomatoes for about 7 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.  Add the Cumin, Garlic and Chili powders.  Stir until most of the juices have evaporated.

While the vegetables are sauteing, take the chicken and remove from the bone with two forks if it's still hot.

Once the chicken has been removed from the bone, chop into small pieces, set aside.

Turn the heat to low, add the chopped chicken to the skillet and stir in, simmer for 1 minute.

Add the chopped Baby Spinach,

Add the cooked Quinoa,

Add the diced Colby Jack cheese.  Stir in just until it starts to melt and remove skillet from heat.  Remove meat mixture from skillet with a rubber spatula and place temporarily in another container (I used my 4 cup Pyrex glass measuring cup).

With the same rubber spatula, stuff the Bell Peppers with the meat mixture.  Stuff as much as you can get in there.

Drizzle skillet with some Olive Oil.  Place Bell Peppers into the same skillet.

Sprinkle on the Parmesan Cheese.  Pour Green Enchilada Sauce over the Bell Peppers.  Place in preheated oven and bake for 1 hour, uncovered.

Garnish with chopped Scallions and Parmesan Cheese.

This half of my piece.  The other half was already in my BELLY!

So delicious and ready to dig in!!

I bought the Bell Peppers because I was in the mood for Stuffed Bell Peppers, just wasn't sure how I was going to make them.  There's nothing wrong with the original recipe, with tomato sauce, ground meat and rice.  BUT, I'm staying away from pastas and rice as much as I can and that's when I googled "chicken stuffed bell peppers".  After looking at several recipes, this is what I came up with, mainly because that's what I had.  I absolutely love the aroma of Bell Peppers cooking, it just smells so wonderful to me.

I'm not crazy about ground chicken or turkey.  Cooking and chopping my own chicken meat was the way to go, just makes it tastier and flavorful in my opinion.  The Quinoa took the place of rice (shhhh! don't tell my meat and potatoes man).  I never dreamed of stuffing and giving a Bell Pepper a TexMex flavor.  Who would of thought?

Have a great week and savor every minute!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...