Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Two Tickets To the Christmas Ball- Donita K. Paul

Yesterday I read Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball, and it was wonderful. I loved that the book was not only the typical romance, but that it involved family relations as well. While neither family highlighted was a carbon copy of mine, it was not hard to relate to them and their relations to each other. The author did a great job of including Wonder and Mystery while making sure to give God the glory for things miraculous and remarkable. Some will cringe at the first mention of Wizards and a "Wizard Ball," but the distinction is made between sorcery and witchcraft and the original meaning of the word wizard (wise one). Overall I was impressed and thoroughly enjoyed the book. What a great Christmas time book.

Here is a link to a video trailer for the book.

Thanks to WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for providing a free copy of this book for me to review. My Opinions are my own.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Menu Plan -

This week is already not going as I planned since my daughter's illness means we aren't going on our little mini vacation, but we still gotta eat. :) I'm going to have to run to the grocery store, because I ate everything that I had planned for next week during the two christmas parties/family gatherings that I missed last week because of sickness.
Monday - Spaghetti, salad, bread
Tuesday - I'm going to look for a good beef deal while I'm at the grocery store, I'll either do some sort of pot roast, or if I can find a good deal some steaks. Hubby deserves something nice for missing his family vacation. :)
Wednesday - Probably a family dinner night :) !
Thursday - Shrimp Alfredo, salad, bread
Friday - Off to Grammy's
Saturday - Christmas!!! Big Christmas dinner and bonus, I probably won't have to do anything except follow orders :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Smoked Turkey and Pasta

Another Leslie Sansone hit at our house!
We tried this pasta recipe and it was great. (Well, I tweaked it with what I had available)

First I roasted a pack of grape tomatoes and 1 vidalia onion in olive oil, salt and oregano at 450 for about 20 mins.

While that was cooking I boiled a pot of pasta and cut up a few ounces of Gouda cheese and some smoked turkey. I just went to the deli and had them cut a smoked turkey about a 1/4 lb in one thick slice and then there was no extra cooking. By the time the tomatoes and onions and pasta were all done I threw it all in one big pot and stirred it together until the gouda started to melt (YUM!) I added a little red wine vinegar, salt and pepper, and then a little bit more olive oil. It was great. My daughter loved it (of course on hers I covered her pasta in parmesan cheese) and so do my friend Mrs. Hazel (she's in her eighties) so I think I covered all age spans. Try it out! It was great.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Tortellini in a pumpkin cream sauce w/ toasted walnuts and dried cranberries

This was a recipe we got out of Leslie Sansone's EAT SMART, WALK STRONG book and I loved it. Now the rest of the house could have gone either way, and I would say that it meets the "fru-fru" food test at our house. It isn't something that we normally see and it doesn't have meat, therefor my husband classifies it as "girl food" or "fru-fru" food. It was really filling and I never missed the meat, but you could do it with a chicken tortellini or ravioli if you wanted it.
Here are the basics -

Cook your tortellini or pasta (about a pound)
Toast your Walnuts (1/2 cup) at 400 degrees for around 3 minutes (until you hear it sizzling) and set aside.
Meanwhile, melt 1 Tbsp Butter in a skillet on medium heat
Once it's melted add minced garlic (I think the recipe said 2 T but whatever you like is probably fine) and saute about 1 min.
Then add a bit of sage (2 t dry or 2 T fresh) and saute for another 30 seconds or so.
Once you can smell all of that cooking add 1 can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie!) and about 1/2 cup of milk and heat until it is bubbling.
At this point add milk until it is your desired consistency and salt and pepper to taste.

Combine pasta and sauce and sprinkle with the walnuts and dried cranberries.

I served my two year old with everything separate and told her that the sauce was dip. Works for us. :)

Meal Plans - The rush before the holidays!

This week is probably the last "normal" week before the craziness begins at our house, but by Friday we will already be starting to get crazy :)
We are trying out a couple of new recipes this week, and we'll let you know how they go.
Last night we tried tortellini in a pumpkin cream sauce with toasted walnuts and craisins. It was from the Leslie Sansone book that was free on amazon a few weeks ago. I loved it. My husband (who was eating dinner elsewhere, and therefore didn't try it) looked at the stove while it was cooking and wanted to know what in the world I was doing. If you have picky eaters it may not be a great thing to try, it has a very pumpkiny orange color that may freak out (or maybe delight) your picky eaters.
Monday - Spaghetti
Wednesday - Tacos
Thursday -
Friday - Family dinner (Happy Birthday, Gramma!)
Saturday - Another Family Event

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bookin' It

I didn't get anything read from start to finish this month. My husband worked all but 4 days in November, so I didn't get many breaks, even on the weekends. I have made a great start on A.S. Peterson's Fiddler's Gun and I love it. I hear that the second in the series Fiddler's Green is coming out this week. I did read a cook book that I enjoyed Everyday Italian. It was pretty simple and easy to understand, and there weren't a million ingredients, so I could actually cook the recipes. I probably won't get a lot read before the end of the year, but I will be raring to go for 2011. :)

Menu Plan with Freezer cooking thrown in. .

My loving husband surprised me with a late anniversary/early Christmas present and it was AMAZING!! It is a bright red Kitchen Aid Mixer! I haven't been able to stop using it, so I used it and my bread maker to do a little freezer cooking this week.
I made butterhorns, cinnamon rolls, banana muffins, and probably 6 dozen cookies. Between my bread maker and my mixer it really didn't take a lot of time at all.
So since we couldn't just eat baked goods this week I did have to do a little bit of extra cooking, so here's the plan.

Sunday- Shrimp Alfredo
Monday- Hamburger Casserole -
I can't find where I saw it last, but I got it from five J's, it was really good. It was basically egg noodles, ground beef, tomato soup, and cheddar cheese soup altogether and then baked it for a few minutes with more cheddar cheese on top. If I find the actual recipe again I will post it. :)
Tuesday - Tacos - you know how to make tacos, I'm sure.
Wednesday - Church
Thursday - Penne Rustica - we ended up substituting a pot pie last week instead, so we'll have it this week.
Friday - Family Night
Saturday - Chicken , I'm not sure what I'm going to do to it, but I have a few chicken quarters to work with. Maybe I'll try this...

For more great ideas check out Orgjunkie.com