Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cookies in My Jar #9- an M&M surplus

The theme of today was all about using what I already had to cook with. We had leftover turkey from Christmas so we had turkey quesadillas, turkey and dumplings and I made a huge pot of turkey noodle soup to freeze.

I had planned on making carrot cookies this week, you know to cleanse our systems from all the holiday eating (or maybe NO cookies would have been more appropriate)...but didn't have the pineapple it called for.

What I DID have on hand was M&Ms. When we made our candy trees, I had asked Jeremy to pick up one pack of M&Ms while he was at the store. You know, at the checkout. Jeremy, being the perpetual over-doer that he is, instead heard 'pick up one giant king size mega bag of M&Ms from the baking section...like the size of your head.'

So I had surplus. Instead of just munching on straight candy until it is gone, I decided instead to make M&M cookies!

I don't have any pictures because Jeremy had taken Tessa and my camera off to the movie theatre to capture pictures like this...

But you can imagine that they looked sorta like this...

Yummy and simple. Here is the recipe that I used.

A Family Masterpiece

I've got to pass along a boatload of credit to my cousin Kelly for a wonderful tradition she started. Kelly is the scrapbooking genius of our family and a few years ago she started a cookbook of Mamaw's most 'famous' recipes. Every year Kelly scraps together several pages with new recipes and new pictures.

It's come to be something we all look forward to every Christmas, and the book continues to get thicker and thicker. Thank you Kelly for all of this hard work!

There's a mix of very recent pictures and very old ones, which are the most fun to look at.
Look at my studly Papaw as a young man

And my beautiful young Mom holding baby me.

Today I referenced this page, Mamaw's chicken and dumplins (except I used turkey leftover from our Christmas bird). Such an easy noodle recipe...flour and stock, roll it out and cut it into squares using a pizza cutter.

I boiled those noodles along with some turkey meat in a big pot of stock and it looked something like this...

My side of the family is not the only one with a family cookbook. Jeremy made this old thing in 1995 in memoriam of his grandfather, and we still reference it all the time. It is spattered, stained, ripped and well loved.

I've thought of laminating the pages so it doesn't fall apart, but haven't brought myself to undertaking that task as it is almost 300 pages long.

Passing the family traditions and recipes seems to be part of a long standing holiday tradition for which we are eternally grateful.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Morning- still in recovery

I'm not going to lie, Christmas kinda kicked my butt this year. I guess that's what happens when you have a toddler and preschooler in the house. Two days later we are still recovering from Christmas and not quite back to ourselves yet. We are all very tired and maybe even a little cranky, and Tessa managed to pick up a cold.

Don't get me wrong, everything about our Christmas was fabulous....family, food, presents, praise and giving. And yet somehow I still feel stressed and glad it's over. Par for the course?

So I was catching up with my idol, the Pioneer Woman, this morning and was inpired by the way she had bullet pointed her Christmas thoughts. I think I'll do the same cause really, it's all a blur.

-- Not celebrating Santa was a sucess and the kids were still very much in awe of the 'magic' of Christmas. Their presents were under the tree and in stocking by the 22nd, which was nice because Mom and Dad got to chill a bit. Tessa came the conclusion that Santa was basically a wiseman, and some people like to wear Santa costumes.

-- Our house is a disaster zone. From toys, piled up laundry and dishes and vacationing a little too hard. Enter at your own risk.

-- Unlike a lot of girls her age Tessa is not so girly. While she does love her new baby and dress up clothes, her favorite things are exactly what she had asked for...binoculars, a flashlight and legos.

-- The new metal pots and pans that I got for the kids play kitchen was the best money ever spent. A full set including little metal ladels and spoons, only $10.50!

-- Apparently it is no long neccessary for me to slave over a hot stove on Christmas morning to make our annual biscuits and gravy, because it can be made several days before and reheated in the crockpot. Who knew? Seriously good advice.

-- Jeremy is getting better and better at buying me presents. I think at some point he started really paying attention. He got me a wallet and together we got the Rockband piano keyboard. And green glasses made from recycled wine bottles....really anything from Uncommon Goods is up my alley.

--Charley loves his sister's Vtech writing thingy as well as his new toy cell phone. Basically anything with buttons.

-- Mom got Tessa the Beauty and the Beast DVD and after watching it with her, I'm almost positive that I have never seen this movie before....eventhough it was released when I was 11. I didn't really like it when the servingware turned back into people, cause they were so dang cute.

And on that note...a few pictures from our Christmas Day.

Christmas Eve in North Vernon

On Christmas Eve we headed down south and spent the whole day in North Vernon. We just hung out and ate at Mom and Dad's all the morning, and then later had a gift explosion wih the cousins. A very nice celebration!

Can you tell Mom was playing with a new flash on her camera? Don't worry no permanent vision damage was done.

Mom gave Tessa my little nativity from when I was a girl.

We took one of our candy tree forests but it didn't make it too long before the kids ate it.

Mom and Dad's kitchen, gathered around the snack table

This is my happy face, below is my brother's happy face. Yeah he doesn't like having his picture taken.

This is what the Dads do...hang out on the the couch and shoot the crap until they are called upon to provide their knives for package opening. It's a tough job.

Charley got a tugboat for the bath

Tessa got a new hat and dressup clothes (and lots of other stuff)

And I got a counter top composter!
We have a big composter on the other side of our fence but I'm not always able to leave the kids and go throw stuff out there. This thing will keep compost for several days and has a filter so there's no stink...then you can dispose at your leisure. How cool is that??

Cousins on the couch. It never fails that there is always one who refuses to participate. This time it was David.

Mamaw Betty with Tessa Betty

I think this may have been Tessa's favorite present of the year. She has a couple of babies but this one (whom she named Sally) came with a diaper bag full of STUFF...bottle, paci, clothes, toys. She's been carrying her around for two days and woke up at 3 am last night because 'Sally is cold and needs more blankets!'

At the end of the night Charley got hot and started stripping. I'm not sure how he went from a diaper to completely nude. I think I'll blame Jeremy for that one. Yes there are about 20 people in the room...we have no shame. Remember my happy face from before? I think this is my tired face.
At the end of the night we had a little trouble getting up Mamaw's hill because it had been snowing on top of some ice. After several attempts at the hill we finally backed the car all the way down the road (almost to the valley) and got a running start. Our little hybrid Escape got to momentarily pretend it was a race car and by the time we hit the cattle crossing we were airborn...but we made it!
We got home by about 10, with two very sleepy kids in the backseat, and took our long winter's nap ready for Christmas morning.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A New Tradition- Polar Express Night

We had alot of fun last night and I think I'm going to add this to our annual tradition for Christmas Eve Eve or Eve Eve Eve (that's permissable all the way back to the 21st by the way)

We had Polar Express night with Josh and Rachel. We watched the movie...

I think their favorite thing of all was having a pizza picnic IN THEIR PJS on our living room floor while watching the movie.

After the movie, there was a ticket for everyone (except Charley cause it was his bedtime and he would have been cranky) for the Bennington Express!

I borrowed my conductor hat from Jeremy. Why so high on my head? Because my brain is so freakishly large that a men's size large hat doesn't fit me. True story. (I'm saying choo-choo by the way, not punching someone)

The kids all got stamps on their hands before boarding the 'train' (aka our car). I had to test my stamp on Jeremy. It worked.

Everyone also got a sippy cup filled with homemade hot chocolate. The conductor got a cup of coffee.

And we went in search of the best Christmas lights in town. We found some that were synchronized, lots of inflatables and a whole neighborhood where every property had white Christmas lights on their trees. It was like a beautiful magical forest. We also counted nativities, 19 total.

Our last stop was right near their house, where several properties work together and make a big winter wonderland. There was even a manger scene IN a real barn. It was beautiful and definitely the biggest and best.

Our adventure ended in us dropping Joshua and Rachel at home, and since it was about 1.5 hours past her bedtime, Tessa fell asleep in the car 3 minutes later.