Thursday, December 27, 2007

New Apron

Look at my cute new apron! I was out with my best friend (retrohousewife) doing some last minute Christmas shopping and we found these in the dollar spot at Target. We each bought one. They were $2.50. I thought that was quite a bargain. I wore mine while I was getting our Christmas Eve dinner ready. The hearts are little pockets. I especially love the ball fringe.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Eve Dinner

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! We had Christmas Eve dinner at our house this year. We usually go to my mother's house, but she wasn't feeling up to it this time. I love entertaining and I was thrilled to have it at my house. I only provided desserts and side dishes, so I was able to spend most of my preparation time on getting the house ready and the table set. The girls had so much fun getting out the good flatware and crystal and helping me set the table.

We had such a nice time. The food and the company couldn't have been better.

I didn't take pictures of the kids' table, but here are some pictures of the adult table, the food table, and my impromptu fruit centerpiece on the snack bar. I trimmed the greenery off of one of my trees in the front yard. My sweet mom told me the house looked like a page out of Southern Living. I think she's a little biased, but I did appreciate the compliment! :)

Mike goes back to work tomorrow and Peter flies back to his base. I'm dreading seeing him off. It's so hard to say goodbye. He's very good to keep in touch and I know I'll get to talk to him on the phone often. It's just hard to see him leave and not know for sure when I'll get to see him again. It will probably be months and months. I'm trying to put off the being sad until after he leaves so that I can enjoy this last day with him.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas!

A Joyful Christmas, Angel with Tree
A Joyful Christmas, Angel with Tree

We are going to watch It's A Wonderful Life tonight and then after church tomorrow we'll have friends over. I'll also be getting ready for Christmas Eve dinner with the extended family at my house. Things are busy, but I'm enjoying every minute! Hope you are too.

I wish you all a very happy and blessed Christmas! I'll be taking a break from blogging for a bit and I'll see you back here next week!

Jesus Is The Reason For The Season! Rejoice!

Luke 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Luke 2:8 ¶ And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
Luke 2:9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
Luke 2:10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
Luke 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
Luk 2:12 And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
Luke 2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tonight's menu

Tonight we had pot roast with potatoes and carrots, homemade bread, and dutch apple pie for dessert. The pot roast recipe is from one of my back issues of Martha Stewart Everyday Food and it's my favorite way to make pot roast.

By the way, the table wasn't completely set when I took the picture. We DO have drinks and napkins with our dinner. ;)

Pot Roast
Inexpensive chuck is one of the most flavorful cuts of beef. Simmering it slowly and gently in the oven makes the beef wonderfully tender.

Note: Browning the meat makes the whole dish tastier and gives the pan juices an appetizing deep brown color.

Prep: 25 minutes
Total: 4 hours 25 minutes
Serves 8
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 5-pound beef chuck roast
Salt and pepper
2 cups beef stock or reduced sodium canned beef broth
1/2 cup red wine (optional)
3 onions, cut into large wedges
4 cloves garlic , chopped
2 dried bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 pounds carrots, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
2 pounds potatoes, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle roast all over with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Place in pan, and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.
Turn meat fat side up. Add stock, wine, if using, onions, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme. Stir in tomato paste. Bring to a simmer, cover; put in the oven, and roast for 3 hours. Add carrots and potatoes, and cook until vegetables are tender, about 1 hour more.
Transfer the roast, carrots, and potatoes to a platter. With a spoon, skim the fat off the surface of the cooking liquid. Cut the roast into thick slices, and serve with the vegetables. Pass the pan juices separately.

When I have enough leftovers (I think I'll just have enough this time), I make Pot Roast Ragu from the February 2002 issue of Martha Stewart Living.

Pot Roast Ragu

serves 4

This recipe can be doubled depending on how much pot roast and vegetable are left over. Cooled completely, it can be frozen for up to one month.

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, finely chopped (I sometimes just use an onion)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup red wine (or substitute an extra 1/2 cup of beef stock)
2 cups finely chopped leftover roast and vegetables
1/2 cup leftover gravy or homemade or low-sodium canned beef stock
1 28 oz can whole plum tomatoes, roughly chopped, with juice
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme (I usually use dried)
1 tsp coarse salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
Cooked pappardelle or other pasta
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
Crushed red pepper flakes for garnish (you can leave this out, but it really makes this dish for us)

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic and cook until softenend, about 3 minutes. Add wine and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add chopped pot roast, vegetables, gravy or beef stock, tomatoes, and thyme.

2. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cover; cook 30 minutes for flavors to blend and for sauce to thicken slightly. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Serve hot over cooked pasta, garnished with grated parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.

And here's the pie. Wal-Mart had them on sale for $2.50. I don't think I could make one homemade any cheaper. Plus it was nice to have a special dessert even though I've been out nearly all day helping Peter get his Christmas shopping done. We even braved the mall!

Secretary Gifts

Mike needs to take a little gift to the secretaries at work. Our budget is very small for this sort of thing. I found the cute mugs at Walgreen's 2 for $1. I filled little treat bags (leftover from last year)with a couple of packets of instant cocoa, some Hershey's kisses, mini marshmallows, and a candy cane and tied them up with curly ribbon. I made tags with the following poem and snowman stickers.

Snowman Soup

Was told you've been real good this year.
Always glad to hear it.
With freezing weather drawing near,
You'll need to warm the spirit.
So here's a little snowman soup
complete with stirring stick.
Add hot water, sip it slow,
It's sure to do the trick!

Saturday, December 15, 2007



I love to bake cookies year round, but I especially love them at Christmas time. Snickerdoodles are always a favorite.

Cream together:
1 cup butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

In another bowl, mix together:
2 3/4 cup flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients. Chill dough for one hour.

Mix together:
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar

Roll chilled dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in cinnamon sugar mixture, covering completely. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.

And be sure to go over to The Sparrow's Nest and check out Mrs. Wilt's Cyber Christmas Cookie Exchange.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Today's Apron

This is one of my favorite everyday aprons. I've been wearing it while I work on the Making Your Home a Haven Challenge. It's a yellow and white gingham with cross stitch and a cute little pocket. It's homemade and belonged to my grandmother. Maybe this apron collecting thing is genetic! ;)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Big Chef Apron

I normally post these on Fridays, but I was so busy yesterday getting ready for company that I didn't get it done.

This apron is obviously a man's BBQ apron. It looks to me like it's from the 50s (how appropriate)! It has a few small stains, but otherwise it's in very good condition. I think it's SO cute!