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Archive for January 2011

At the age of 36 I’ve somehow managed to avoid preparing a traditional holiday dinner, until now. I decided to challenge myself and see how I do. So last Saturday night we invited our best buddies over and planned a late holiday dinner to have before we went to see our local AHL hockey team play.

The menu

  • Spinach dip with pita chips, served with green onions and radishes
  • Cooking Light’s Ultimate Roasted Turkey
  • Sweet Potato and Apple Bake
  • Dried Fruit and Nut Quinoa Salad
  • Pasta Salad
  • Garlic Bread
  • Orange Rum Cake

The spinach dip was just the traditional Knorr Spinach Dip package mix, an oldie but goodie that was a perfect starter for the occasion. The turkey was about 13lbs and I was surprised how hard it was to handle something of that weight… By the time all was said and done I could actually feel a difference in my lower back (great when you’re going to sit in cold bleachers at a hockey game!) I highly recommend the recipe, especially for a newbie, if you’re interested you can find the recipe for Cooking Light’s Ultimate Roasted Turkey on the Myrecipes.com website, or just with a Google search. The Quinoa salad was a recipe I made camping last summer (you make it ahead and eat it cold, makes a great refreshing camp recipe and is so easy since it’s ready to eat!). The actual recipe is Cranberry Walnut Quinoa Salad, but I don’t like walnuts so I use either almonds or pine nuts. I also had dried cherries and apricots as well so I diced those and included those with the cranberries. Quinoa (Keen-Wa) is an awesome grain that is super easy to cook, and a great source of protein, we’ve started using it in place of rice in many dishes.  They carry it at our local Stater Bros. now, though when we first started using it we had to shop at specialty stores like Trader Joes. The Sweet Potato and Apple Bake is from a holiday cookbook I have, but I found a very similar recipe on Cooks.com. The major differences include a 1/2 cup of rum in the orange juice mixture with some allspice as well. The rum was a bit potent, so I might actually leave that out next time. Our friend made the rest, including a yummy, if not rum heavy, cake. The cake itself was delicious and I think I’ll try to make cupcakes out of it one of these days. In fact, I would love to have one right now.

Fleece Scarf

Fleece Scarf

In the middle of all that I was able to finish off this cute fleece scarf in the colors of the hockey team, our Ontario Reign, for my daughter. The pattern for this was inspired by a friend’s scarf, and I was able to copy it with a little help from an online site called for this Fringe Scarf. I didn’t follow the pattern exactly because I wanted to stay with the color them of the Reign, and I accidentally cut the dark blue panel a little narrow, but once you fringe the fleece and shake it up, you can’t really tell. Daughter says that it helped keep her neck warm in the ice rink, and she looked great in it. It’s so easy to make I think I’ll have to make several more in all our favorite team’s colors!

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His and Hers Pendants

His and Hers Pendants

Today was a crazy busy day, turns out there are not enough hours in the evening to tackle everything I’d dreamed of.

I was, fortunately, able to get these two obsidian arrowheads wrapped and turned into pendants so they could be strung onto silk cord and made into matching his and hers necklaces for my daughter and her boyfriend. I’ve used this wrapping technique once before and it turned out better on the other shape I think, but this turned out interesting, especially with the angle of the copper twist on the stone. I really like the copper against the black obsidian.  My picture’s not great, I apologize for that, just used my cell phone to get a quick shot so I could share it here.

Banana Muffins

Banana Muffins

I got to this jewelry project while watching a recorded episode of Cupcake Wars (Hard Rock) which was funny because I had made a new recipe for banana muffins with crumble topping and  they were cooking while we watched them make banana cupcakes in honor of The King. It smelled SO good, I can’t wait to try them for breakfast tomorrow.
When the episode was over and after the necklaces were ready I made the best Shepherd’s Pie ever. Out local grocery store started carrying a small selection of imported British items, and last time we shopped a picked up a seasoning packet for this Shepard’s Pie which is always one of our favorites. It seemed expensive to me for just a seasoning packet, but I was willing to try it anyway. I am so glad I did, as I stated earlier, this was by far the best Shepherd’s Pie I have ever made…and I have tried a more than a few different recipes. And the best part is that it was the easiest one too. I love it when I find something that tastes good, is home-made and is super easy. I was literally savoring the bites as though they were the best, most decadent chocolate just melting in your mouth, it was literally that good to me!
 
The other thing for the night that I didn’t get to was  to string a seed bead chain to have something nicer to put my crystal on, but after I trimmed my nails because they were driving me crazy I realized I’d cut them too short to allow me to work well with the seed beads. Maybe in a couple of days they’ll have grown out enough to finish that project. I’m sure I’ll get to it one of these days…

Jack FrostThis morning it was about 34 degrees when I drove into work, and with a crisp clear morning I saw the first evidence of frost across the land. As I was driving in to work I saw image after image that would be great if I’d had my camera and the time to stop, so I took a few 3x5s in my mind and commited them to my internal photo gallery.

When I pulled into the parking lot I couldn’t believe my eyes as I saw this fallen telephone pole used to hold the net between the driving range and our parking lot covered with frost and shimmering as the sun’s first light set it to sparkling. I ran over and took many shots on my cell phone and on my little point and shoot camera. Amazingly the best shot I got was from my cell phone and all day long I was thinking about how I could “fantasize” it. I pictured some northern lights and crystals on it taking the sky out and putting in the more fantasy style atmosphere… after spending more than an hour on it I just couldn’t come up with something I liked. So I cropped the shot, framed it and like it way better after five minutes work than everything else I tried. So, behold, today’s masterpiece… Jack Frost.

Lemon-Mousse-Tini
Lemon-Mousse-Tini

Yesterday we celebrated a late Christmas with our closest friends, dinner, games and of coures the presents! We had a great dinner of home made tacos and tamales from a local panaderia, so I had to make a fun dessert to go along with everything of course! I had an old recipe from a Jell-o book I got years ago that was for a fun Strawberry Mousse-Tini served in martini glasses. But I made lemon mousse in champagne flutes and they turned out great! I think it would have been better with fresh fruit on the rim of the glass, and it wasn’t as good as the lemon pudding version I make, but it was a nice fresh dessert to finish off our dinner… of course it was freezing out, so something warm would have been a little better. Go figure… I always seem to plan soup for the hot nights and cold salad for the rainy nights… Tonight I threw a bunch of cans of beans, chili and tomatoes in the crock pot to simmer together and have a nice warm chili since it’s raining out, it smells delicious and I can’t wait to start!

I believe I’m going to continue working on the soft baby blanket that I started for Jaggar, he’s going to three months old soon so I better get a move on! And then when I’m done I think I’m going to make one for me (minus the hood) so I’ll have a nice lap blanket for work, it’s always freezing in my office and I usually use my sweater as a lap blanket instead.


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