Thursday, December 30, 2010

Our Christmas Feast: The Sweets Edition

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I couldn’t resist sharing a few of the wonderful treats we enjoyed at our Christmas dinner.  Having a baker for a mom makes these holidays extra special…and fattening!

Of course, we enjoyed some of the leftovers from my holiday candy making.

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My neighbor pal, Katie, also exchanges a few goodies with me each year too.   This year she made my hubby’s fave, pretzel’s with chocolate and M&M’s and those cute little reindeer cookies. 

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She also shared a few of these chocolate pretzels…YUM!

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My mom made her always fabulous chocolate dream pie.

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Complete with chocolate shavings!

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My mom knows that Derek is a choco-o-holic so she tried out a new cheesecake this year…

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Marbled chocolate cheesecake.  It was fantastic!  And yes, she fretted about the crack.  Perfectionist I tell ya.

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And finally, she took the sugar coma right over the edge and brought up these pretty pumpkin rolls.

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Pumpkin is a squash.  Squash is a veg.  We’re all good in the hood then, right? 

To say that we were all unbuttoning the tops of our jeans is an understatement. 

More like, “Who’s putting on their jammies first?  I dyin’ here!”

I love the holidays.  Gluttony. 

Good thing we bought Just Dance for the Wii to work off those extra calories.  Smile

 

I love you lil’ brother…

Now, bring on the New Year!

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Our Christmas Feast: The Perfect Prime Rib

Pin It We hosted my side of the family for Christmas Day dinner this year.  I decided to buck our previous tradition of holiday ham and go BIG.
Prime Rib Roast BIG!
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Prime Rib or Standing Rib Roasts can be pretty pricey, especially if you’re feeding a carnivorous group like mine.  After keeping a close eye on all of the grocery store ads, I purchased mine for $4.99/lb at our local Dominicks the week of Christmas.  That is a TOTAL steal folks.  Lesson:  Be patient and score BIG holiday meat deals.
This was my first time wrestling one of these expensively large roasts.  I was pretty nervous.  Mess this up and we were likely to end up at a local Chinese joint eating Peking Duck.


I spent some time researching the best plan of attack for prime rib and decided to go with a mixture of Martha and Paula.
Prime Rib Roast with Garlic-Mustard Rub (printable)

  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons grainy mustard
  • Course salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6-8 lb Prime Rib Roast or Standing Rib Roast
  1. Place all ingredients up to the meat into a small food processer.IMG_9644  Blend until mixture becomes a slightly chunky paste. 
  2. Rub over the fat and cut surfaces of the roast.  Lightly cover and place into the refrigerator overnight.IMG_9646
  3. Remove roast from refrigerator at least 1 hour before roasting. 
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degree F. Place roast on a rack in the pan with the rib side down and the fatty side up. Roast for 1 hour. IMG_9716
  5. Turn off oven. Leave roast in oven but do not open oven door for 3 hours. (VERY important!) About 30 to 40 minutes before serving time, turn oven to 375 degrees F and reheat the roast. Important: Do not remove roast or re-open the oven door from time roast is put in until ready to serve.IMG_9733
  6. After reheating, remove roast and let stand for at least 15 minutes before carving.  Serve with Horseradish Sauce, if desired.
    Horseradish Sauce In a small bowl, mix together the following and refrigerate until ready to use:
    • 1/3 cup sour cream
    • 3 Tablespoon prepared horseradish
    • 1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
    • Dash of lemon juice
    • black pepper to taste
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I was completely proud at how this turned out…yes, I’m tooting my own horn. 
As many of the reviewers of Paula Dean’s recipe stated, it just seemed too simple to work and too scary to try out with such a great chunk of meat.  However, it worked out perfectly.  Foolproof. 
Just enough medium cooked pieces for my mom and dad and lots of medium rare in the center.  Definitely something I’ll try again for a special occasion in the future.  A new holiday tradition perhaps?
Edited to Add:
My mother-in-law just sent me an e-mail regarding bone-in vs. boneless rib roasts.  Good question, Grandma Bob!
So, I bought a Bone-In roast from Dominicks. Luckily I was right near the butcher counter and they asked if I needed help while I was looking at the prepackaged roasts.  They explained that they could find one for me at the exact weight I needed and helped me figure out how many pounds per person.  Then the one butcher said that he could cut the meat off the bone for me and then tie them back on.  FAB huh?  The bone adds flavor to the roast.
I suggest you buy the bone in and have the butcher do that for you too.  It was free.  Sometimes I miss the old days of actually talking to a butcher like that.  When I was growing up we talked to the butcher about all kinds of things and they are so helpful.  Our society has gotten so used to buying meat in plastic!   



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The Lazy Days of Winter

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Santa came and went…

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We were blessed with lots of the white stuff to make for a pretty “White Christmas”…

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Evidence that our bunny “friends” are still with us.  errrrr.

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And now we’re enjoying some lazy days at home.  Playing with new toys.  Eating the remnants of our Christmas meal.  Attempting to pick up the remains of the gift wrap explosion in our living room.

Hoping to return with some highlights of our Christmas meal in the next few days, as well as some crafty gifts I made this year.

Until then…I hope you all had a wonderfully Merry Christmas!

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Goody Making Time!

Pin It I always like to whip up some holiday treats the week before Christmas.  That way there’s enough time to pass them out to neighbors and friends AND I can still keep a portion of them for my Christmas gathering at home.
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As I shared with you last year, I LOVE making edible gifts during Christmastime.  One of my favorites is Toffee Butter Crunch.  This stuff is really easy and always a favorite…especially at my husband’s work.
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Another favorite holiday item that I like to make is homemade caramels.  These little melt-in-your-mouth bites are not quite so easy, but WELL worth the effort. 

Caramels (from Better Homes & Gardens Cook Book, 12th Edition)
(printable version)
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 1/4 cups packed brown sugar (or 1 16 oz bag)
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Line an 8x8x2 inch baking pan with foil, extending foild over edges of pan.  Butter the foil and set pan aside. IMG_9561
  2. Melt butter in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over low heat.
  3. Carefully add sugar, corn syrup and sweetened condensed milk (or cream). Keep stirring until completely mixed.
  4. Increase temperature to med.-high until boiling. Once boiling, clip on your candy thermometer, don’t let it touch the bottom of the pan. IMG_9585
  5. Reduce heat to about medium, adjusting so that you keep a moderate, steady boil. Stir frequently. VERY important to keep stirring!IMG_9586
  6. Watch thermometer closely. When thermometer reaches 244°, remove caramel from heat (this is low firm ball stage; reaching this stage from boiling takes me about 30 minutes, sometimes less.  
  7. Quickly stir in vanilla and pour the caramel into the prepared pan.IMG_9587
  8. Allow to cool for several hours and use a butter knife or kitchen shears to cut pieces IMG_9599IMG_9592
  9. Wrap in wax paper and try not to eat too many while wrapping!
CAUTION!!!  Holiday caramel making, chocolate spatula licking mixed with shots of Pepsi can cause you to go from Happy Helper:
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To Sugar Coma Useless in a heartbeat.IMG_9590
You’ve been warned!
We wrap our caramels with approximately 3x3 inch pieces of wax paper.  I suggest cutting these out ahead of time to make the caramel making day less hectic. 
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I’m hoping to make some more of these this week too…
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Do I have time????????  Probably not.
What are you making this holiday season???  
    

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Santa Success!

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The annual visit to Santa at our clubhouse has been a little stressful over the last few years…especially for Braden.

Exhibit A:  2008, Braden’s 1st visit to see the “Man In Red”santa visit 08

We figured better luck next year?

Wrong

Exhibit B:  2009, Braden relives the horror of ‘08 while his older brother watches in wonder

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Or is that glee on Lanham’s face???

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This year…2010.  Well, we were expecting the worst…and ended up happily surprised.

B-boy approached the situation with caution…

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Then posed with as much courage as he could muster…

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And even happily listened to his brother LONG “wants” list…

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Whew!!! Santa Success!

Now at least I don’t have to worry about him freaking out while listening to stories of a fat man in a red suit coming into our house via the fireplace anymore.

And we ALL toasted his success over cupcakes and cocoa afterwards.

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Congrats B!  Way to be brave like your big brother Lanham!

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