You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2008.

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I hate frost/ice covered windshields.  Now I don’t live up North so I don’t have to worry about the snow much but ice you never know about. 

Why is it one day it freezing cold and you have no ice and then the next (literally where I live the next day) it is warmer but the car has a thick layer of frost?  It doesn’t help your morning go any smoother since you are already running late to work.  I try and look out at my car early on to see if it is frosted but that doesn’t always happen

I just wish a had a little elf, or a man for that matter, that would scrap my window or give up the garage for my car in the winter months.  But until then I have found this nifty little cover.  I think I might have to invest $14.99 for one.

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I’m slow at getting this blog out but I was away from a computer for a week.  Yes, I almost went crazy without being able to check on my blog status and read my blogging friends post. 

I have finally gotten caught up on my reading I believe now so I will let you  in on some of my Christmas happenings.  I didn’t get to many pictures this year as I enjoyed the family and forgot about taking pictures.  Guess that was a good thing.

Since I was 4 (the year after my Granddad past away) my mother’s family always took turns having our Christmas Eve at one of the sisters house’s and we always have a seafood Christmas.  Yes, our family doesn’t like having the traditional Christmas dinner. It is wonderful. This for 14 people we downed 10lb of shrimp and 20lb of crab legs and lots of appetizers. Mmm…We love our Seafood.  Next year this guy is going to add his lobsters to the mix.  Can’t wait.

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Then another tradition we started was a little Christmas program.  There were always 4 kids including my cousins, my brother, and myself. We were expected every year to put on some type of show and include games.  The 4 of us finally out grew that era when we were we got to high school even though it broke our grandmother’s heart.  This year we would have made her proud, we welcomed back the Christmas games and a little program.  My niece rocked the song Jingle Bell Rock.

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Not part of tradition but I have to include this story.  My aunt is terrified by the Burger King man.  My brother found perfect Christmas gift for her this year.  It didn’t cost him a penny…well okay he did have to buy a kids meal but one of  his kids enjoyed the hamburger.  Here is what she got and her reaction when she opened the box, notice she is bearly holding onto it.

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Last but not least something my grandmother started and now my mother does it for my Brother and I.  This is the part on Christmas Day that my brother, sister-in-law, and I can’t wait for every Christmas.  We start dropping hint early on in the year. It is our commodity bags.  This bag has necessities of life that we need.  We never know what we will find in them, but we do know my brother family will always get underwear, panties, and socks, and both bags always has toilte paper.  Here are some pictures of us as we go through our bags.

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So what are some of your Christmas Traditions that your family has?  Ones you like and don’t like? Ones that you just set and wonder why on earth do we do this?

As a kid I was always told to eat black eye peas on New Years Day for good luck for the new year.  When I began looking for fun facts to post on here I can a cross an interesting fact that in Italy, Spain, Turkey, and Mexico they…

 

Wear Red Underwear on New Years Eve

 

This tradition date back to Middle Ages, when it was not allowed to wear red garments. The reason why red was forbidden was that this color was associated with blood, devil and witchcraft. However, people wore red garments anyway, believing that in the dark winter, red garments were a symbol of life. As red garments were not allowed, they wore it under their clothes, trying to avoid the major punishment – the gallows-.  Today wearing red underwear brings good luck to the wearer for the new year.

 

What are some things you do to ring in the new year?

With tough times this year I am  unable to buy my friends gifts that I would love, So I have decided to send some of them virtual gifts. These are gifts that I would buy them if I could.

For my Beach buddies here you go

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It would be great beach bag!

 

I’ve already posted these once but I’m going to give this wonderful friend a pair.  I know they will go great with all her style and she loves mittens.

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And for Pegram, you will need this beginning January 1, 2009

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If I haven’t given you a gift yet don’t think I haven’t forgeten you.  I just haven’t found the perfect gift for you yet.  I only give gift with special meanings not just anything.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas.  I’ll be back on here the first of next weel.

This past weekend I gathered friends over to the house for one last Christmas Party before we all began leaving to go spend the Holidays with our families.  During the Christmas season I love trying new recipes and the party was a great way to test them out.  Thanks to a great little kit that I got from Target we had a Wine and Appetizers party.

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This year we all discovered new wines that we like and some great new recipes.  Below are some of the recipes that I have added to my wonderful recipe book that my mother made for me several years ago.

What are some new recipes that you have discovered this Christmas Season that are keepers?  Post in the comment your favorite and if you are willing, leave the recipe for all of us to enjoy.

Peppermint-Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Prep Time: 20 min

Inactive Prep Time: 2 hr 25 min

Cook Time: 10 min

Serves: 12 sandwich cookies

 

1 (16.5 ounce) tube refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1/4 cup all-purpose flour plus extra for dusting
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Decorating suggestion: crushed candy canes or peppermint candies; white, red and green sprinkles; or red and green decorating sugar
Special equipment: a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, and a 1/2-ounce cookie scoop

Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, knead together the cookie dough and 1/4 cup flour until smooth. Lightly flour a work surface. Roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thick. Using a 2 1/2-inch cookie cutter, cut out circles from the dough. Knead together any scraps of dough and roll out again. Continue to cut out pastry circles until there are 24 pieces in total. Place the dough circles on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are slightly golden around the edges, about 10 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Reserve 1 parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Combine 1 cup of chocolate chips and the cream in a small bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the peppermint extract and refrigerate the mixture for 1 hour. Using a 1/2-ounce cookie scoop or a tablespoon measure, place the chocolate mixture in the center of the flat side of 12 of the cookies. Place the remaining cookies on top and gently squeeze to distribute the filling evenly. Place on a baking sheet and freeze until the filling has set, about 25 minutes.

Combine the remaining chocolate chips and the vegetable oil in a small bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Dip the top of each cookie in the melted chocolate and return to the baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops with crushed candy canes or peppermint candies. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Store in an airtight plastic container.

Parmesan, Basil and Lemon Wafers (Frico)

Prep Time: 15 min

Inactive Prep Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 5 min

Serves: about 12 wafers

 

 

1 cup shredded Parmesan
2 tablespoons shredded basil leaves (substituted with Rosemary)

1/2 tablespoon grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Transfer a heaping tablespoon of Parmesan mixture onto a silicone or parchment-lined baking sheet and lightly pat down. A silicone baking sheet is highly recommended for this recipe. Repeat with the remaining cheese mixture, spacing the spoonfuls about 1/2-inch apart. Bake for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden and crisp. Cool and use a flat spatula to transfer from lined baking sheet.

Bacon Crisp

Prep Time: 10 min

Inactive Prep Time: 0 min

Cook Time: 2 hr 0 min

 

Serves: 24 bacon crisps

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 sleeve buttery rectangular crackers (recommended: Waverly Wafers) (I used Club crackers and didn’t split them)

1 pound sliced bacon cut in ½ (I used turkey bacon and didn’t split them since the Club crackers are lager and the turkey bacon is wider)

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Place 1 teaspoon of the cheese on each cracker and wrap tightly with a strip of bacon. Place the wrapped crackers on a broiler rack on a baking sheet and put the baking sheets on the oven rack. Bake for 2 hours, or until the bacon is done. Do not turn. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot or at room temperature

 

** I didn’t use a broiler rack since I didn’t have one and they come out fine, maybe because the turkey isn’t as greasy as bacon.**

Cook’s note: You can also bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes if you’re in a hurry!

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Cheesecake Pops

Prep Time: 15 min

Inactive Prep Time: 2 hr 0 min

Cook Time: 2 hr 15 min

Serves: 36 mini squares

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peanut butter, chocolate, and cheesecake? Put it on a pop and it’s all our favorite things in a kid- and party-friendly form.

Cheesecake:
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups creamy peanut butter

Chocolate:
5 tablespoons vegetable shortening
12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

Wooden pop sticks

For the cheesecake: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Line a 8 by 8-inch baking pan with foil letting long flaps overlap on each side. Spray foil with nonstick spray.

Break up the brown sugar to remove all lumps. In a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until very smooth. Add the cream and beat slowly; then add the yolks and vanilla mixing until just combined. Gently stir in peanut butter. Take care not to over beat the mixture; this incorporates too much air and causes the cheesecake to crack.

Pour and evenly spread the batter in the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Open the oven to release some heat, then lower the temperature to 200 degrees F. Continue to bake the cheesecake until the outside is set but the center is still loose, for about 45 minutes. Turn off the oven, and cool cheesecake in the oven for 45 more minutes. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

Lift cheesecake from the pan by lifting up the foil. Transfer to a cutting board. Cut into
1 1/2-inch cubes. Stick a wooden pop stick halfway into each bar and freeze for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, put the shortening and chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with an inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching, the water. Stir the chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. (Alternatively, put the chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Melt at 50 percent power in the microwave until soft, about 1 minute. Stir, and continue to heat until completely melted, about 1 minute more.)

Dip the pops into the chocolate mixture, and stand on waxed paper to set, about 5 minutes. Serve cold (straight from the fridge), or freeze up to 2 weeks. Frozen pops make a cool summer treat, or can be allowed to temper for 10 minutes at room temperature before serving.

Upgrade: Coat the pops with chopped nuts or candies for a really decadent finish. To do this let the dipped pops drip over a bowl for 15 seconds before rolling them.

Greek Feta Spread (Kopanisti)

Feta cheese whips up into a smooth, creamy spread when blended with olive oil in the food processor. The Greeks like to flavor it with garlic, mint and pickled peppers to make a piquant dip for pita bread. Serve it with radishes and cucumber spears for dipping, too.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. Greek or French feta cheese

3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

1 Tbs. minced fresh mint or 1 tsp. crumbled dried mint

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, plus more as needed

6 Italian peperoncini (pickled green peppers), chopped

 

 

Directions:

n a food processor, combine the cheese, olive oil, garlic, mint, the 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes and the 6 chopped peperoncini and process until smooth. Taste and add more red pepper flakes or peperoncini, if needed. Transfer to a serving bowl. Makes 1 1/2 cups; serves 4.

 

 

***I don’t know what is wrong with my post with all the extra lines.  I didn’t add them and I tried to delete them but I coudn’t.  It is late and I don’t feel like fighting with it any more***

 

Sorry I am late getting this out but better late than never.

It is Christmas and the most recognized face at this time is Santa (kind of sad, but it is true).  Well does anyone know what beverage company was the first to use Santa in a winter promotion?  It was Coke-Cola in 1920.  It wasn’t until the 1930s when the image of Santa changed to the following picture.  Coke changed his look because some people thought the original Santa look to stern.

 

 

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Some question if Coke-Cola gave Santa the red suit.

Actually, Coke-Cola does not claim the color of Santa’s coat, though it has worked out quite well for them, since red is so closely related to Coca-Cola! But they did not come up with the idea of putting Santa in red clothes.

Coca-Cola did help to create the modern-day image of Santa, and in fact the way most of us see Santa Claus – friendly and plump with a white beard – did come from Coca-Cola advertising. Before these ads, Santa was drawn in a variety of ways – even as a scary elf – but he was already wearing red!

Do you have a favorite Christmas commercial that you love watching? Is it a Coke-Cola ad?

Since I still haven’t figured out how to add a video on here I will link you to my favorite.

In the Ukraine, if you find a spider web in the house on Christmas morning, it is believed to be a harbinger of good luck! There once lived a woman so poor, says a Ukrainian folk tale, that she could not afford Christmas decorations for her family. One Christmas morning, she awoke to find that spiders had trimmed her children’s tree with their webs. When the morning sun shone on them, the webs turned to silver and gold. An artificial spider and web are often included in the decorations on Ukrainian Christmas trees.

This makes me feel better and wonder why my mother would always make us clean the house really well and get read of the cobwebs Christmas Eve before we had the family over for Christmas.

 

Also this makes me wonder if this is where we get the idea to throw tensile on the tree. Does anyone else hate that stuff as much as me?  Yes it looks pretty but I always find that stuff all over the house for months to come.

 

However you have decorated your tree I am hoping you are setting back and enjoying it.

If your office is like Rachel’s or mine you are freezing every minute you are at work.  This is such a large problem throughout offices that back in 2004 Cornell University did a research on how the office temperature affected productivity and accuracy. Read the findings here.

If the research finding doesn’t change your office manager’s mind on keeping the temperature set at -45 degrees Fahrenheit then this is the next option.

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These are not just ordinary mittens.  They are USB heated mittens

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No need to complain your fingers being too cold to type.  Let’s just hope the IT departments don’t start banding them.  You can buy them for $24.99 at perpetualkid.com

 

Any other suggestions on solving temperature problem in the office?  I take all suggestions.

Beginning today I’m going to try and be faithful on posting Fun Facts every Monday.   You guys have to keep me accountable.

Well, as we approach the Christmas season I thought I would post about the song “12 Days of Christmas.” Since 1984 PNC Wealth Management calculates the cost of the gifts in the 12 Days of Christmas.  With the economic downturn this year the cost is $86,609.  This is price is up 10.9 percent from last year. 

You ready?  Here you go…

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So is it worth it?

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While home during the Thanksgiving Holiday I saw this article on the front page of the local newspaper.  I couldn’t help but laugh when I first saw the headline.  “Yeah right, you GAVE marijuana to people as CHARITY.  Come on, can’t you thinks of a better story.” 

But wait, this guy was saying he gave, meaning he has a giving heart, and helped people out that where in need.  In no way do I approve of what this guy was doing, giving or selling, it is illegal, though, how many of us can say we have a giving heart? 

It is the Christmas Season, a time to thank God for his giving heart, a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, a time to give. So many people are struggling this year with the economy on a downward spiral and hurting.

How are you helping the hurting this season?  Just like the man in the article you don’t have to give money.  Just giving your time, offer up a ear to listen, or just a hug can do wonders to the hurting.