Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Farmer in the Dell

The morning after Christmas I was able to make it up to Ashland to see my family. It was wonderful! I had an absolutely amazing trip and really enjoyed getting to spend time with everyone. Sadly, I forgot to take pictures. I always get so carried away with all of the excitement up there that I always come home with an empty camera card.

Momma always comes up with neat ways to celebrate the holidays (especially Christmas) and she told me this year she had bought me a $4 present and that she was going to make me go on a scavenger hunt to find it. It kills me to wait for presents! I always call and beg for hints but she is tough and won’t give in. Also, the hints were all out of the nursery rhyme “The Farmer in the Dell” which made in interesting!

The farmer in the dell
The farmer in the dell
Hi-ho, the derry-o
The farmer in the dell

The farmer was a vintage Shawnee farmer pig salt and pepper shaker.

And the second hint was the dell…which was the Dell Computer.

The farmer takes a wife
The farmer takes a wife
Hi-ho, the derry-o
The farmer takes a wife

The wife was my Granny. I had to run over to her house and she gave my next hint…

The wife takes a child
The wife takes a child
Hi-ho, the derry-o
The wife takes a child

The Child was actually the Baby Jesus in my Granny’s nativity set.

The child takes a nurse
The child takes a nurse
Hi-ho, the derry-o
The child takes a nurse

My Aunt Sue is a nurse and luckily she was at my Granny’s house and she told me my next two clues.

The nurse takes a cow
The nurse takes a cow
Hi-ho, the derry-o
The nurse takes a cow

The cow takes a dog
The cow takes a dog
Hi-ho, the derry-o
The cow takes a dog

A glass dog at my Granny’s house.

The dog takes a cat
The dog takes a cat
Hi-ho, the derry-o
The dog takes a cat

Puss N Boots…one of my Mom’s favorite cookie jars.

The cat takes a rat
The cat takes a rat
Hi-ho, the derry-o
The cat takes a rat

This part was actually a mouse in my Mom’s basement. She had him hiding in one of our play kitchens we had as kids.

The rat takes the cheese
The rat takes the cheese
Hi-ho, the derry-o
The rat takes the cheese

And the last clue took me to the fridge, in the cheese drawer.

The cheese stands alone
The cheese stands alone
Hi-Ho, the derry-o
The cheese stands alone

Finally after all that running around I had the cutest vintage salt and pepper shakers. I LOVE him! I think I am going to have to start collecting more of these. And the scavenger hunt was a really creative idea that made it so much fun. Much better than just pulling it out of a box!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas 09

Merry, Merry Christmas! We have so much to be thankful for this time of year that I couldn’t even begin to list everything. We are both happy with our jobs, grateful for our friends and family, and we have each other, which is the best gift of all. We are very blessed and thank the Lord for everything that He has given us.

I absolutely love presents and had us up early this morning to get started. Here are a few of our favorite gifts.

I love jammie pants. I want to live in a world were I can wear them all day everyday.
Katie gave me this great piece that she had at her house. I honestly can't remember where it was but I am so happy to have it in my collection!

Woot! Woot! for old movies!!! I racked up this year. I asked for a bunch of Bogart movies and also one of my all time fave's "Wait Until Dark" with Audrey Hepburn.

Wonder what time it is???

Time to cook you something scrum-dittle-ee-ump-tious with my new cook books! Oh yeah! That's Pioneer Woman! And Ham Biscuits. Blue Willow Bible is in the next box!

Derrick's gifts usually revolve around basketball or music. This year he got a couple of U of L hats, bottle opener, and Turvis Tumblers.

And his main gift was...

a docking station for his iPhone. Not as exciting as my gifts but he was pretty pumped.

We usually have turkey and ham for Christmas with all of the traditional fixins, but we thought we would change it up a bit this year. Derrick voted for lobster and crab but thankfully I convinced him that he couldn’t warm up lobster tails all day long and make sandwiches out of crab legs. So we are having prime rib. I did make him some crab dip so he wouldn’t feel completely vetoed.

It’s not the exact same taste as the fabulous crab dip at Big River, but it is extremely tasty and will find a new home in my recipe box. I found a couple of recipes on the internet but I had to change them up a bit and take a little from each.

· 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
· 1 C onion, finely chopped
· 3 garlic cloves, minced
· 2 Tbsp flour
· 1 C chicken broth
· ½ C whole milk
· 1 brick of cream cheese
· 1 C asiago cheese, shredded
· 14oz artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
· 2 tins crabmeat, drained
· 1 tsp minced fresh dill (or ½ tsp dried)
· ½ tsp pepper
· ½ tsp salt
· ¼ tsp finely grated fresh lemon peel

· Melt butter in saucepan. Sauté onions and garlic until soft (about 5 min)
· Add flour and stir till paste forms (about 2 min)
· Slowly stir in broth and milk. Slowly bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until it thickens (about 5 min)
· Add cream cheese and 1C of the asiago and continue to stir until there aren’t any lumps
· Carefully stir in the artichokes, crabmeat, pepper, salt, dill lemon peel
· Bake covered at 350° for ten minutes
· Sprinkle with remainder 1C of asiago. Bake or broil till top is a light golden.
· Sprinkle with pico de gallo of your choice and serve with toasted bread, crackers, or veggies.

The pico really does make it. I thought it sounded crazy at first and Katie and I almost didn’t order it at Big River Grille, but thankfully we did. I just chopped up about ½ cup of red onion, red pepper, green pepper and tomato and mixed it with about 3 Tbsp of cilantro and coated it with garlic powder and olive oil. Delicious!!! We actually have a ton of this left over because it made so much. I don’t think I will ever cut the recipe in half though because I want left overs!

Katie also told me about these green bean bundles. I had never even heard of these! I found a ton of recipes on the internet and couldn’t pick. So I mixed and matched again.

· 2 cans whole green beans (not cut)
· 1 stick of butter, melted
· 1 package of bacon, cut in half
· ½ C brown sugar
· ¼ tsp garlic powder
· ¼ salt
· ¼ tsp pepper
· ½ tsp soy sauce

· Drain green beans and separate into small piles (about 7 beans)
· Wrap each pile with a ½ strip of bacon, tucking the ends under the pile
· Bake at 325° for about 10 minutes
· Melt all other ingredients in a bowl in the microwave to make glaze
· Spoon over bundles (about ½ spoonful)
· Bake 325°for another 15 minutes or until bacon is crisp
And you know we had to have some mashed potatoes!!

And for dessert…

It is the chocolate cake off the December Southern Living. Not as pretty, but I never claimed to be a baker. I did omit the orange, though. I was afraid Derrick wouldn’t eat it and he would be stuck eating the rest of this hideous thing.

Sorry, I can’ get enough of that cookie. Anyway… I did have to substitute the bittersweet chocolate for semisweet chocolate because Kroger had already sold out of bittersweet. It was the BEST cake I have ever made. Scrumptious!!! When I make it again I am going to stick with the semisweet because I don’t want anything different. I don’t mean to be repetitive, but seriously the BEST cake I have ever made.

All in all, one of the best Christmas meals we’ve ever had. We are thinking that prime rib will be the new tradition for Christmas and just keep the turkey for Thanksgiving. I think we are about to warm up some leftovers and watch The Christmas Carol so in the words of Tiny Tim, “God bless us every one!”

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Cookie Contest...and Oysters

Derrick and I have decided that one of our Christmas Eve traditions is going to be a Christmas Cookie Contest. This year I found this HUGE bell shaped cutter in Chattanooga and we are going to see who can decorate it the best. We haven’t had any cook offs since about 2 years ago we decided to see who could make the best homemade pizza. Derrick thought that he would whip me by making a double-decker. We are so lucky he doesn’t work at Pizza Hut because this turned out to be one of the worst ideas EVER. Here is a picture I found of his pizza.

These are both of our pizzas side by side. Mine is the masterpiece on the left with half pepperoni. His would be the massive pile of cheese on the right. See it? The one without a crust. The one that resembles a volcano. There were some questions about whether or not I won due to the fact that I used a baking stone. Really? When he starts attending Pampered Chef parties he can use the baking stone. My oven never looked or smelled right after that. Thankfully we moved. Anyway, here are the cookies before decorations.

And TA-DA!!! Guess which one is his.

Let me turn it so you can read it... seeing how he wrote on it upside-down.

HAHAHA!!! Ok – neither of us will be bringing home any prizes for cookie decorating, but I have this contest in the bag.

Another Christmas Eve tradition is going to be oyster stew. My Papaw always makes oyster stew for Christmas morning and our family eats it up! We couldn’t make it to their house this year so I have decided to make it on my own. Delicious! I couldn’t talk Derrick into eating it for breakfast, so we had it for Christmas Eve.

I didn't cook it in the stew, but before I ate mine I added lots of cayenne pepper. It really helps make it spicy without the overwhelming taste of tabasco taking away from the oyster flavor.

He can polish these sausage balls off for breakfast. I hope we have enough for both of us! Yikes!!!

If this fella doesn't get to them first.

Chattanooga ROCKS!

So I met Katie, Amelia and Jack in Chattanooga this week for some Christmas gift exchanging and visiting before the holiday traffic got too bad. We didn’t actually go to the “rocks” or do any of the looking from Lookout Mountain…I just saw a t-shirt that said Chattanooga Rocks and I thought it was cute. Totally buying one of those next time I am there. And I might even go check out the “rocks”. We went to go eat at Big River Grille, which was delicious! We have one in Nashville but this was my first time going to either. WE had the BEST crab dip ever made and I have been searching all over the internet for a similar recipe. Nothing yet, but I know Google won’t fail me.

The highlight of lunch was Amelia trying to feed me. She wanted to leave the table and go look at the reindeer (a light display at the restaurant) and we told her we would take her after we ate. Maybe she thought if she helped feed me it would speed up the process…

Check out her tongue in this picture. Hilarious. I was laughing so hard at her that rice was flying out of my mouth in EVERY direction and Katie was of no assistance…she was a little too busy snapping 100 pictures of me with rice and beans all over my face. None of those photos will be appearing on either blog due to death threats. Anyway, we did some shopping/junking and found some really great finds. Some of which came from the Knitting Mill, which is an old sewing factory. It was a gorgeous building and they had some great pieces inside as well.

When we finished up we let the babies play outside a bit before they had to get back on the road. Here are my favorites… Amelia refusing to take a picture with me.

This hole in the ground is much more interesting.

Amelia telling us she is having a tea party and we aren’t invited.

Begging for one picture with her. Not happening.

I tried to bribe her with candy.

Katie said I need to be firmer - I tried that.

My evil face made her think about it...

But then she realized that Aunt Kiki is a pushover...

Jack wants to see what’s going on. He better use my hair to hoss himself up...

Which is wildly amusing to Amelia since it's not her hair.

Now picture taking is a game. She was running in circles, coming over and barely sitting down before running away and laughing every time Katie snapped the picture because she was long gone.

Don't underestimate a mommy with a camera. Gotcha! Kind of…

Then we tried to see if she would take one with her Momma. Yep. But Jack decided he needed her hair bow so that one didn’t turn out either. But it is still one of the cutest pics of the day.

Then that turned into “If you take my hair bow I will take your binky” moment.

We had a wonderful time and I hated to say goodbye, but hopefully we will get to see each other again soon!