Sunday, October 23, 2011

Christmas Santa Mobile

This is my beloved Santa Mobile that I have taken out once a year, every year, for the past …hmmmm … let’s just say … a long time!  LOL  I made it in third grade … yep you read that right … third grade.  I get comments about it almost every year.  Its really simply made.  Red and white poster board, cotton balls, red yarn and glue.  I’m not sure what the strip of cotton batting across the top of his beard is all about …but its there … or why he has a tongue in the middle of his beard LOL …or maybe that’s supposed to be his mouth … I don’t know.  But this I do know … I love him and he’s hung up somewhere in my house every year at Christmas!!!  This would make a great craft project for school …hey its lasted this long …

Monday, October 17, 2011

Traditional Irish Potato Soup

¼ cup Butter (not margarine)
2 large Onions, finely chopped
4-5 medium sized Potatoes, diced
3 cans Chicken Stock
Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper, to taste
Fresh Chives, chopped (for garnish)

Melt the Butter in a large heavy pot and add the Onions, turning them in the butter until well coated.  Sprinkle with Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper.  Cover and leave to sweat over very low heat for about 10 minutes. 

Add the Potatoes to the pot and mix well with the Butter and Onions.  Cover and cook without browning over a gentle heat for about 10-15 minutes.

Add the Chicken Stock, bring to a boil and then simmer for 30-60 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Dip out about 2 cups of the mixture and set aside.  Then with an immersion blender (you can also do this with a blender but let cool first) blend the potatoes until smooth.  Add back the 2 cups you set aside.  (I do this so that I have a few chunks of potatoes in mine but it isn’t necessary.)

Serve hot and sprinkle with Chopped Chives.  You can also sprinkle with Shredded Cheddar Cheese or Bacon Bits.

NOTE: Why does the pic above of mine have red flakes in it?  Today, I used New Red Potatoes since that’s what I had and they needed to be used.  I left the skins on because Alayna loves potato skins plus they (skins) are full of vitamins.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Italian Wedding Soup

An Italian-American Soup whose name is a mistranslation of the Italian language, minestra maritata, meaning married soup, a reference that green veggies go well with meat.

2 Tblsps Olive Oil
1 cup Yellow Onion, diced
1 cup Celery, diced
1 cup Carrots, diced
1 Tblsp Ham Seasoning
1 Tblsp Garlic, minced
Sea Salt/Fresh Black Pepper, to taste
6 cups Chicken Broth (I use 4 cans)
2 tsp Dried Oregano
Pinch or two Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 Bay Leaf
30-50 Marble Sized Meatballs (I use frozen)*
1 can Cannellini Beans, undrained
2 cups Fresh Whole Spinach Leaves
8 ounces (or less) Uncooked Acini di Pepe Pasta (cooked separately/rinsed in cold water)
Parmesan Cheese, to taste upon serving

Sweat Onions, Celery, Carrots, Ham Seasoning, Garlic and Salt/Pepper until vegetables are softened.  Add Chicken Broth and seasonings.  Simmer 15-20 Minutes.  Add meatballs (cooked or uncooked) and cook until they float to top.  About 3-4 minutes.  Stir in Cannellini Beans and Spinach and cook just until Spinach wilts, about 2 minutes.  Add Pasta last and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Serve with freshly grated Parmesan Cheese.   Makes 12 cups.
* I use ready made frozen (when I can find them) or I make my own ahead of time, cook them and then freeze them.  Basic Meatball Recipe

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

HaPpY BiRthDAy to Me!

I know … I know … it is a little selfish of me in wanting to celebrate my 50th Birthday in a big way … but when you’ve never really had a birthday celebration … the 50th just seems like the perfect time to do it … cause life is passing by pretty dang fast by the time you turn 50!!!

I was born on a Wednesday, December 27, 1961, at 2100 hours …yep born on a military base, Turner AFB in Albany, Georgia.  Daddy literally dropped Mama off at the front door of the hospital and left her there to have me because he didn’t want to miss his show Wagon Trail, or some other western.  LOL  Men! 

I’ve never liked having a birthday in December though … with it already being such a sacred month, and then having all three of my siblings with December birthdays …5th, 12th and 22nd … mine being the last one … I always got forgotten!  My Birthday and Christmas gifts were always combined … even now as an adult … there’s no distinction between my birthday or Christmas.

Sadly, one year my Birthday was completely forgotten about until New Year’s Day … oh back then I never reminded anyone about my Birthday … they’re supposed to remember right?  It’s only been in recent years that I start early every year reminding my family that its coming up.

And Birthday Parties?  Forget that.  I had ONE  … yep just one … my entire life.  I remember begging to have one … all the other kids always had Birthday Parties … I wanted one too …with blown up balloons you sit on to see who can pop theirs first and pin the tail on the donkey and party hats … the whole nine yards … you know the classic Birthday stuff … well I had one on my 10th Birthday but it still wasn’t ON my actual birthday.  Nooooooo we had to have it the last day of school before Christmas break since everyone would be off with families celebrating Christmas and then New Year’s.

And Birthday Cakes?  LOL  When I was growing up you didn’t have the custom cakes you have today so I (guess I should say “we”) always got a Christmas themed cake, that’s what was available in the bakeries, and I would have to share it with my brother, Ricky, since no one wanted birthday cake two days after Christmas … not after eating so many Christmas goodies.

Now, I do have great memories of having my own Birthday Cake (as an adult) ON my actual birthday … like my 18th Birthday … Mama made me a Banana Cake with Banana Frosting and bought me a bottle of Mogan David Wine (legal drinking age back then was 18).  I remember having some cake and a little wine and then going to DHS, my alma mater, to cheer for a basketball game a little tipsy.  LOL

And then there was my 29th Birthday… I was pregnant with my baby girl, Alayna, and Mama and Daddy were visiting me and the boys in Pennsylvania (Scott and I were separated) and Daddy insisted Mama go out and buy me a Carvel Ice Cream Birthday Cake … yummy.  And I even got 8 inches of snow that night as a Birthday present from above!

Then on my 35th Birthday, Mama again made me my fav Banana Cake with Banana Frosting … Scott was there spending Christmas and New Year’s with us.

Back up a minute here … I gotta admit that during the years Scott and I were divorced, he did buy me Birthday presents … not Christmas presents though LOL … one year he even had the kids help pick it out.  He gave me the card and then with it a long velvet jewelry box with a ribbon on top … I opened it and inside was this bea-u-ti-ful …. (at this point I’m thinking “wth”) … child’s plastic multi-colored elastic necklace and matching bracelet … I’m sitting there like ‘mmm uh uh … thank you” as I look at my Mama who has a horrified look on her face!  The kids start laughing and I’m sorta about to cry cause I’m thinking “what a cruel thing to do” … then the kids all start saying “look under it” … “what do you mean look under it” and so Alayna proceeds to help me take out the box insert that would normally hold a real piece of jewelry in place and there underneath was a beautiful … truly beautiful tri-colored gold necklace and matching bracelet!!!

In all the years I worked, there was only one place, Perry & Walters, where they always bought me a Birthday Cake and sang Happy Birthday to me … every year!  For some reason though they thought my fav cake was Carrot Cake so that’s what they always got me LOL

A few years back, two years in a row, I believe, Scott surprised me with a Birthday Cake … the Fresh Banana Cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory!!  Yum yum

And then the last Birthday Cake I remember was the year I turned 48 … the kids were all here for Christmas and they got together and bought me a ‘last minute’ sorta Birthday Cake, I don’t even remember the flavor (sorry kids lol) but they bought 48 candles and lit every last one of em … dang that was a wonderful sweet surprise!!!

 I wanted a Surprise Party this year … I wanted all the kids home on my Birthday … I wanted a big celebration …but now its not to be … Alex and Heather are pregnant so they can’t be here … we’ve decided no one would really want to come to a Birthday Party on December 27th (and any date around Christmas is pretty much out of the question) … and now my baby girl will be leaving on my 50th Birthday for the USAF Boot Camp …

But its all okay … I’ll still be turning 50 … celebration or not … there’s no way to stop that LOL … and I have so much to be thankful for … I have my first gbaby on its way … Anthony and Kay will be here … and Alayna WILL still be here for Christmas … which is a much more important Birthday than little ole mine anyway!  And maybe, if I’m lucky, someone will remember to take me out to dinner … sometime in December.