Showing posts from 2015

Christmas with My Family

We had the best week leading up to Christmas!  Ashley and her husband, Eric, were here all week.  It was a week of good food, fun games, seeing Christmas lights and just simply enjoying each other's company, the way it should be! Monday:  Botanical Gardens Glow Lights Tuesday:  Wild Lights at the Zoo Wednesday:  Vino Van Gogh painting at Padavan's Thursdsay:  Movie Friday:  Christmas!! Merry Christmas to all!
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Elegant. Delicious. It's What's 4 Christmas. Beef.

Christmas is such a wonderfu time to really create a special meal for your family.  This Christmas, our family has chosen Certified Angus Beef, particularly Beef Wellington, for our Christmas dinner.  Since the dinner hasn't happened as of yet, I will tell you of our plans. Using the #RoastPerfect app, my husband and I will make Beef Wellington.  We've made it before, but not using this recipe.  The recipe calls for mushrooms of all kinds, butter, puff pastry, demi glace, what's not to love?  Download the app to get the entire recipe! We are purchasing our beef from our favorite Schnuck's store in St. Charles, Store #179, that is closest to our house in New Town.  These wonderful butchers will be serving us! I'm so looking forward to our beautiful Beef Wellington, and hope you will consider a beautiful #CertifiedAngusBeef roast this Christmas, too!  Let me know if you do! M e r r y C h r i s t m a s !
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Top Ten Winter Crockpot Meals

Winter is another good season to use your crockpot (the others are spring, summer and fall!)  I like using the crockpot to make thicker stews and soups and meats that might require a lot of watching over.  These Top Ten Winter Crockpot Meals are sure to warm your belly on those cold, cold days! 1.  Ravioli Casserole from Recipe 4 Living .  What I love about this one is that it starts with frozen ravioli!  It is such a comforting dish and perfect after a day in the snow.  Pair with warm garlic bread... 2.  Turkey Meatballs from Mom's Kitchen Handbook will be good for your heart as well as your tummy!  Serve in a shallow bowl with crusty french bread in order to sop up the red sauce. 3.  Macaroni and Cheese in a slow cooker?  Yes!  And, this version is creamy and delicious.  Check out this wonderful recipe from Culinary Cory and make your heart go a little faster! 4.  Crockpot Beer Cheese Soup?  Oh, yes, please!  Since this soup cooks for six hours, the alcoho

New Town Residents Home Tour

The 2015 New Town Residents Home Tour was a huge success this year!  This year we had the largest ticket sales and that means that two food banks in our local area will each receive a big check this year and that is what we are all about! Here are some of the highlights from this year's tour, from my perspective: The colors in this room are sparkling and gorgeous. Beautiful tree and bedspread Love the European pillows angled like this! Love seeing the carolers! It's the year of the Peanuts characters! A sweet spot to relax in. I love this book tree! This is favorite quotes from books. A cute way to keep visitors from rooms you aren't willing to share. Merry Christmas everyone!  Another very successful year of Christmas homes tours!
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Things I Like

It's easy to find things you like during the Christmas season.  While this isn't a gift guide, per se, you might see something here that you would like for yourself, or that someone you know might like! I love these sunglasses from Vacay. Reasonably priced around $30, they are designed for both men and women.  My round face loves these glasses! I fell in love with this ice bucket and then proceeded to use it for a salad bowl!  This ice bucket , larger enough for two bottles of bubbly and ice, is really pretty in person.  You can get it from Amazon for around $30. This is the neatest cutting board I have ever used, and it has become my go to chopping board, even though I have a perfectly good chopping block sitting on my countertop.  Why?  That green sliding tray.  You can chop, scoop all your veggies into the tray and keep on chopping.  I love it.   It's priced at $30 on Amazon. My last awesome find were these step lights .  I love these little lights that
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Make It Happen Challenge: Egg Nog!

Our November Make It Happen Challenge is Egg Nog!  When we were looking for this challenge, we wanted to do something we hadn't done before, and somehow, egg nog came up!  It was a great challenge, as some had never had it, some had only tried it store boughten.  You will see some interesting takes on this challenge! As for me, I have had egg nog at Christmas for every year of my life!  So for me, the challenge was going to be for me to find something different.  I've posted on egg nog here and I made egg nog fudge here and an egg nog cake here... so I was really going to have to stretch! Then, I found Alton Brown's Aged Egg Nog.  Aged.  This held some promise.  As I read the recipe, I knew right away that this was going to be a challenge.  For one, egg nog never lasts beyond a day at my house.  Never.  Second, we never serve it with alcohol.  So these two details were going to be the challenge! The recipe: 12 egg yolks.  Yes, 12. 1 lb sugar 1 pt. heavy
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New Town Book Club~The House on Sunset

I love reading and sharing books with people, so I was determined to have a book club in my new location when I moved here three years ago.  After several months of trying, we finally got a small group of dedicated people to meet regularly to read and discuss books. Recently we had the opportunity to read a book by a local author.  The book, The House on Sunset, is a book about surviving domestic violence.  The main character, Sarafina, tells her story upfront and personal.  She describes the process of falling in love, and then watching it turn into brutal abuse at the hands of her boyfriend.  In the story she weaves the signs of abuse, the circular cycle of reconciliation, the beatings, the mental abuse and torment that an abuser does with the skill of a brain surgeon.  Our book club with Lindsay, the second from the right. I had to read Sarafina's story in small chunks, because the prose would take my breath away in unexpected ways.  You can feel your insides start to
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How to hold a Cookie Exchange

I held my third annual cookie exchange this year.  I was really brave when I moved from Jefferson City to St. Charles and decided to host a Cookie Exchange in my new town, after having lived there for only six months.  I had a few people attend.  I had a lot of fun and I met a couple of new friends.  Last year, I was brave again, and held it in a house I had lived in for less than a year.  More people came and that was a lot of fun, too.  This year, though, was so much fun! First, I selected a date and sent out a Facebook invite several weeks in advance to a group that I know likes to cook/bake/eat.  I asked for Rsvps and I had five who responded quickly.  I held the invite open a few more days, but I ended up with five, six counting me. We decided to bake a dozen cookies for each of us plus a few to share.  You needed to pack them in some kind of container so that they could be easily carried home. Second, the menu.  For the first time I decided to have a soup and salad supper w
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Ornament Swap!

I participated in an ornament exchange like I did last year.  I love doing this, I meet a lot of new bloggers this way!  Not to mention, collecting a lot of fun oraments, too!  This year I sent an ornament to Linda at a la carte  who was a fun gal to send to.  She and I found out that we like to do pocket letter swaps, so we also exchanged one (to be seen later!) I was surprised to learn that my swap partner was someone different than Linda.  Stephanie, from The Enchanting Rose was my partner.  She has a beautiful blog and also owns Rose Petal Blessings , an Etsy shop.  She's taking a little break before the big holiday rush, but check back after November 23 and see what the shop is offering! First, my box was beautifully wrapped and packaged.  I didn't show it to you as it had both our names and addresses on it.  You know, safety reasons.  Trust me that it was lovely! On top, inside was the ornament, a white sparkly snowflake with a pink ribbon to hang it from the tree.
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SCR Reveal: Holiday Treats

I am so excited to be a part of the Secret Recipe Club Holiday Treats issue this month!  The Secret Recipe Club is a group of bloggers who come together to stalk each other's blogs in order to cook one of their recipes and then on reveal day, show what recipe we chose and a little about the blog we stalked.  That way you get a new recipe AND a new blog to follow!  Cool beans! I was assigned to Burnt Apple blog.  She had so many wonderful treats to choose from, such as this delicious  looking Baked Funfetti donuts , these HOMEMADE Gumdrops , and these Squash Brownies with Homemade Ice Cream.   Honestly.  What's a girl to choose?   After much deliberation, I chose to make the Apple Pumpkin DOG TREATS.  Yes, your furry friends love their sweets, too, and during the holidays we decided to share homemade "cookies" with all our furry friends!  I tried them out with Wilson and Truman after I made them, and oh my goodness!  they loved them!
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October/November Cook the Books/Food 'N Flix~The Hundred-Foot Journey

This month Food 'N Flix and Cook the Books combined forces to do one book/movie pick.  The one they picked, The Hundred Foot Journey, was such a great combination.  For me, the book and movie were vitally different, which makes for interesting conversation at your book club! So first, thank you to  Deb of Kahakai Kitchen for choosing The Hundred Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais. Book review, from Amazon, as I tend to go into more detail than necessary: Grandson of an entrepreneurial lunchbox deliveryman, Chef Hassan Haji tells of his rise to culinary success in Paris via Bombay, London, and a small town in the French Alps. With a fond, over-the-shoulder regard, he presents the lively family members, friends, and former foes who shaped him as a young chef, leading him to face his destiny and realize that cooking is not only in his heritage but also in his blood and bones. The novel floats along a bounty of vivid food imagery, a twisty-turny river of dishes Ind
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Skinny Crustless Quiche: Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day!

It's time for the reveal of my Secret Recipe Club partner:  Caleigh's Kitchen! It was fun to go through the blog looking at recipes.  A lot of Amber's recipes are toward the healthy side, with an occasional treat thrown in, like these brownies and this no bake pumpkin cheesecake . I decided to give the Skinny Crustless Quiche a try because my husband enjoys breakfast and every morning makes himself some eggs before work.  I'd like to be the kind of wife that gets up and makes my man breakfast every day, but I'm not.  However, this quiche might be the perfect answer to all of that!  I can make it ahead and he can help himself to it!  Giving back some time to his day will be a gift! My version has a couple of changes to it to make it more like my husband's taste. Skinny Crustless Quiche Serves 8 2 slices turkey bacon, cooked 1/2 yellow onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 medium red skinned potato, small dice 1 c chopped broccoli 1/3 c b
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It's Friday and I'm in Love with CHRISTMAS!

Our It's Friday and I'm in Love linky parties continue this week with Christmas!  Please join me by adding your favorite Christmas links, past and present, to the linky party below.  I love the collection of fun Christmas links already assembled.  As I have been browsing the internet, looking for my 2015 Christmas ideas, here are some that are making this list this year. We've already featured snowflakes at The Hen Family , and cranberries at Nemcsok Farms ,  and pinecones at Rhythms of Play.   Go and check them out for a mountain of ideas! I love this garland-ribbon idea from Nikki on Tikkido .  So many uses, but I can really see this on a tree or gracing some evergreens on the mantle.  Simple, elegant, multipurpose garland. I'm in love with the simple elegance of this bottle decoration.  The white candles with the clear bottles, so pretty.  Relatively inexpensive to recreate, too.  This comes from Vibeke Designs in Norway. I love flocked trees bu
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