Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
We were having family over, so I turned it into a centerpiece!
Friday, December 25, 2009
Something fun and festive for Christmas morning. For a non-alcoholic alternative, make Shirley Temples, substituting maraschino cherry juice for the Grand Marnier and Ginger Ale or 7UP for the champagne.
On the night before Christmas, gently crush enough ripe, fresh cherries to have one cherry for each glass. Place the cherries in a small bowl and add a shot of Grand Marnier for each cherry. Cover the bowl and leave in the fridge overnight, simultaneously chilling enough bottles of champagne or sparkling wine to serve a glass for everybody around the tree.
In the morning, put one cherry and a teaspoon of Grand Marnier in the bottom of each glass. Top with the chilled bubbly.
A Note From The Little Lady: For some added festive color, we sometimes use a Rose Champagne.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Looking for a good book to make your way through over the holidays? Want something that's easy to get hooked on, easy to read, and easy to set-down-and-pick-back-up during those busy holiday moments? This is one of the best books I've read in a while. It wasn't mentally challenging, but there was enough substance to make it worth reading. Something about it had me addicted from the start. I typically read while I work out at the gym -- my praises behind this combo are a whole 'nother story -- and let's just say I had some fantastic sweat sessions while reading this book.
From Publishers Weekly:
"In her first and second bestsellers, Good in Bed and In Her Shoes, Weiner came up with female characters so smart, lovable and mordantly funny that they reminded readers that Bridget Jones wasn't the first single woman to light up a bestseller list or the big screen—there were Sheila Levine, Mary and Rhoda, the Golden Girls. Now, just as the star-studded movie version of In Her Shoes is about to be released, Weiner delivers the interwoven tale of four new mothers who come to form a tight posse in contemporary Philadelphia. The heart of this third-person narrative is Becky, an overweight but thoroughly appealing chef at a chic bistro. Married to an adoring doctor and living in a cozy row house, the warm, nurturing Becky is the latest incarnation of Weiner's previous protagonists, as Weiner's fans will recognize as she rushes to help another woman who collapses into sudden, crushing labor pains after a prenatal yoga class ("Being in labor all by herself —no husband around, no friend to hold her hand—was about the worst thing she could imagine," Becky thinks. "Well, that and having her midriff appear on one of those 'Obesity: A National Epidemic' news reports"). The woman whom Becky helps is Ayinde, the gorgeous wife of an NBA superstar. Picturesquely if improbably, she, Becky and another expectant mom, perky blonde Kelly (who was also at the fateful yoga class and lent a helping hand) become fast friends. Eventually, Lia, a beautiful young actress who has left Hollywood for her hometown of Philadelphia in the wake of a tragedy, joins the group. For much of the story, Weiner, a wonderful natural writer and storyteller, renders her characters and their messy, sometimes wrenching lives in details that resonate as the real deal. In the end, alas, she slips in a soapy Hollywood ending. Still, this is a rich portrayal of new motherhood and a fun ride. Weiner's readers will root for her to trust ever more her ability to float between comedy and pathos, leaving the shallows for true and surprising depths.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. "
Monday, December 21, 2009
I need photography classes. Or a better camera. Or both.
Just trust me? It tastes good. And it's cinchy to make.
Friday, December 18, 2009
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 egg yolks
1/8 c. bourbon or light rum or banana liquor (I used Malibu Coconut Rum)
In a saucepan, melt butter and sugar over medium heat. Do not boil. Remove from heat and slowly blend in egg yolks. Pour in alcohol gradually to own taste, stirring constantly. Sauce will thicken. Pour over pudding decoratively and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
This was a nice variation from our typical veggie sides of plain 'ole steamed veggies, seasoned with butter, garlic salt, and pepper. The potatoes and green beans compliment each other well, and the addition of bacon? Yes please!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
1/2 bottle Catalina dressing
1/2 packet (about 2 heaping T.) dry onion soup mix
1/2 can whole berry cranberry sauce
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Cookie #12 in The Little Lady's "12 Days of Christmas Cookies."
Source: Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook
2/3 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar
2 egg yolks
1 t. vanilla
1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
Friday, December 11, 2009
Andes Mint Brownies
Makes about 36 pieces.
"Cookie" #11 in The Little Lady's "12 Days of Christmas Cookies."
1 package fudge brownie mix
egg(s), according to brownie mix directions
water, according to brownie mix directions
vegetable oil, according to brownie mix directions
approximately 24 Andes mints
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Combine brownie mix, egg, water, and oil in a large mixing bowl, following directions on the back of the box. Stir until well blended. Spread in prepared pan. Bake for amount of time suggested on box, or until set.
PlaceAndes mints over the hot brownies. Let stand for 1 minute or until mints are thoroughly melted. With a knife or small spatula, spread the melted mints evenly over the top of the brownies, to frost them.
Cool completely. Cut into bars.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Peanut Blossom Cookies
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Cookie #6 of The Little Lady's "12 Days of Christmas Cookies."
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Makes approximately 4 dozen.
Cookie #1 of The Little Lady's "12 Days of Christmas Cookies."
1 c. butter, softened
1 c. powdered sugar
1-1/2 t. vanilla extract (or rum extract)
2-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 t. salt
Using a cookie press fitted with a disk of your choice, press cookies 1 inch apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Sprinkle with colored sugar.
The disk I used to make cookies pictured above:
Bake for 6-7 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Sweet Potato Casserole
Whether she remembers it or not, I received this recipe from Jessi of To Kiss The Cook back when we were sorority sisters at Miami University. She brought it to a family gathering of another KKG we were attending; I loved it; went home with the recipe; have been enjoying it ever since. Thanks Jessi!
My only changes involve reducing the amount of butter, not in an attempt to "healthify" the recipe, but because it seemed to turn out a little too soupy.
I contributed this casserole to the Thanksgiving spread this year. As it was my first Thanksgiving with The Mr.'s side of the family, I was less than enthusiastic to whip out my camera at the dinner table. I had to sacrifice the blog and keep my camera tucked away, but trust me when I say that it's fantastic. Everyone loved it!
7 sweet potatoes or yams (I used 5 huge ones)
1/2 stick butter
1/4 c. flour
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. flour
1/4-1/2 stick cold butter
sliced almonds, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prick potatoes with a fork a few times each and boil them (with skin) for about 45 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork. Drain and place potatoes on a plate until they are cool enough to touch; peel the skin off with your hands. Add the peeled potatoes to a large mixing bowl along with the other casserole ingredients and blend with a hand mixer on high until the mixture is smooth.
Place mixture in a casserole dish (ideally glass or ceramic) that has been coated with non-stick spray.
In a separate bowl, prepare topping by combining sugar and flour, and then cutting in the cold butter. It should be a chunky streusel topping. Sprinkle on top of the sweet potatoes.
Bake for 30 minutes, 45 if you have prepared ahead of time and refrigerated.
A Note From The Little Lady: Upon first reading the recipe, I was hesitant to boil the potatoes whole, with skins. I was unfamiliar with that method, and instead went through the traditional work of peeling, chopping, and boiling in smaller chunks. Believe me when I say that the method of boiling with skins works and it's actually just as easy as it sounds. The skins pretty much slide right off. I'm not sure if sweet potato skins are thicker to begin with, or if this would work with regular potatoes too -- anyone know?
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Flap fabric: Cookie Cutter Christmas Holly Berry Dots Vanilla/Green (1 yd.)
Flap fabric: Winter Fun Checks Red (1 yd.)
Main fabric: City Girl Holiday Ribbon Stripe Red/Pink (1 yd.)
Flap fabric: Holiday Greetings Polka Dot Camel (1 yd.)
As show in picture above, layer fabrics and batting in the following order:
1: Flap fabric, right side to floor, wrong side up
3: Main fabric, right side up, wrong side to batting
4: Main fabric, right side down, wrong side up
6: Flap fabric, wrong side down, right side up
Pin around edges, about 1" from edge.
At the top of the flap fabric, fold under (wrong side to wrong side) about 1/2" to create a clean, non-fraying edge. Pin and stitch.
This is where it gets a little confusing...
To create flap, carefully fold flaps "into" the stocking and "into" each other. Remember, at this point, your stocking is inside out, so by folding the flaps into the stocking, you are creating them on the right side. Pin into place. (You may have to take a few of your original pins out to make space for the flap. Just repin them after arranging the flap.)
At this point, your layering will look like this:
1: Flap fabric, right side to floor, wrong side up
3: Main fabric, right side up, wrong side to batting
4: FLAP: right side up, wrong side pinned to main fabric
5: FLAP #2: right side to floor, wrong side pinned to other main fabric
6: Main fabric, right side down, wrong side up
8: Flap fabric, wrong side down, right side up
Using a sewing machine set to a straight stitch, stitch around edges,
Clean up the edges by cutting away any extra fabric and batting. Don't cut through the stitch though!
Turn your stocking inside out.
Did it turn out?? I hope so!
Every stocking needs a way to hang above the fireplace, though, right? Create a hanging loop but starting with a piece of main fabric, about 2" wide and 7" long.
Fold them over lengthwise, right sides together, and stitch close to the edge.
Turn inside out, put ends together, and sew to inside of stocking.
Again, I apologize for any faulty directions. I should've taken more pictures!
A Note From The LL: All fabric bought at http://www.fabric.com/
Saturday, November 28, 2009
I learned how to sew in high school, from the teachings of my home economics teacher and my very own mother, a clothing and textiles major. As a wedding gift, I received my very own sewing machine. ::sigh:: It was a day up there with, although still a long shot from, the Christmas I received my first KitchenAid mixer. (Yes, first. My grandmother "Mimo" upgraded me to the industrial size as a wedding present.) Anyway, I digress. Having a sewing machine in my possession could mean only one thing: I'd have to create something. So, first on the list: pajamas. I've made pajama pants in the past. I'm familiar with that. This whole shirt thing -- with buttons, a collar, and interfacing??? -- was a whole new area of exploration.
Needless to say, "production" has slowed now that the pants are finished. I have the workings of my shirt strewn across the living room floor, trying to figure out where I'm supposed to sew next. In due time, I hope to have it completed, but for now, I bring you Striped Pajamas, Part 1.
Here are the supplies I used. Since I followed instructions on the Kwik Sew pattern, I'm not going to go into detail on the actual production. But for those who are familiar with sewing, you might appreciate seeing what I ordered.
pattern: Kwik Sew Pattern #2811 Misses Sleepwear Pajamas (bought on Ebay)
fabric: #QQ652 Coral Multi-Stripe Shirting (bought on http://www.fashionfabricsclub.com/)
thread: All-Purpose Polyester Thread #NMC020938, also from FFC
buttons: (4) 3/4" light tortoise shell 4-hole #NMC090477, also from FFC
interfacing: Pellon Decor-Bond NR-744, fusible, white (http://www.fabric.com/)
elastic: 1" wide white; 1 foot
Cutting out the pattern pieces:
Friday, November 27, 2009
Or if you're spending the day exploring the metroparks, keep in mind they are open for lunch!