Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cheese Wafers

Criminy.  It's time to start thinking of New Years Resolutions, y'all.  Or as I like to call them, goals.  I feel like framing it as a New Years resolution makes it less likely to happen.  I do think that the beginning of a year is good time to set goals, though.  These are some ideas I'm tossing around:

  • Run a 5k.  I know I can do it if I keep working on it.  
  • Bake more bread.  I know most people try to limit their carbs in the new year, but I plan to fully embrace them.  And a healthy dose of cardio.  Carbio if you will.  
  • Use all the salts my sister gave me for Christmas.  Yeah, she gave me this sampler pack of different sea salts that I can't wait to bust out.  They're really pretty and come in these test tubes in a handy display rack.
There are more that I can't think of at the moment.  But that seems like a pretty good list to start!
I have a feeling these cheese wafers are probably not a part of anyone's goals for the new year.  Unless that goal is to eat more cheese.  That should totally be one of my goals...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas in Carolina

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Lovely Kwanzaa/generally good weekend!  We survived our first Christmas and my first birthday without my grand-daddy and only had one sentimental spell.

This was also Grady's first Christmas.
He gave us lots of smiles this weekend.  He loved when Aunt Mandy talked to him.  He'd just start grinning and getting close to a little baby giggle.
At one point I had both Grady and Puddin hangin' out on me.  Forgive my hair.  It's also worth noting Puddin sat on my lap the entire time we opened presents.  He ended up with glitter all over him.
Our Christmas morning breakfast was the usual mountain of food.  Egg casserole, sausage balls, sticky buns, fruit salad, country ham and biscuits, and the best cheese ball I've ever had.  And let me tell you something, I would sell my soul for sausage balls.  It's just sausage, cheese, and Bisquick, but we'd rather eat sawdust than not have sausage balls Christmas morning.
After all the presents were opened, Daisy decided she'd finally sit down.
Rich liked reading to Grady.  I gave him his first Christmas book with his Christmas jammies.
James was really proud of his sausage and cheese tray.  I told him I'd blog about it.  The sausage was a venison summer sausage.  Sooo yummy.

Grady got a giraffe pillow that's supposed to be good for tummy time because it's really soft.  Puddin figured that since there was a pillow in the middle of the floor, it must be for him.  I think this is after he fell in the pool.  Poor guy, he just walked right in.  Usually he's good about walking around it, but he just walked right in.  He's still a good swimmer though.

We had a good Christmas.  It had the usual wackiness that comes along with any of our family gatherings, and of course the food was good.  Now it's time to get ready for the New Year!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Swedish Wedding Cookies

I don't like to brag or toot my own horn.  I like to be self-deprecating because...well it's funnier.  But, y'all, I got all my Christmas shopping done in about an hour yesterday.  We're not talking online either.  To be fair, I stayed at one shopping center.  But really, I kicked ass.  'Scuse my language.  I didn't get random crapola either.  Each gift was exactly what I wanted to give each person.  I even got myself a birthday outfit.  Boom.
What do you call these cookies?  We call them wedding cookies or Russian tea cakes depending on our moods.  Some of my friends call them pecan sands.  I've been making them my whole life practically, and they're one of those cookies that instantly brings up holiday memories.  Speaking of holidays, my birthday is tomorrow, so this will be the last post until after Christmas.  I hope y'all all have happy holidays, no matter what you celebrate.  This is a beautiful time of year.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Apple Bourbon Balls

Bourbon balls: The classy way to get schnockered around the holidays.  I kid of course.  There's no way to be classy and get schnockered.  There are sneaky ways to get schnockered, and bourbon balls might be at the top of the list.  Let's be honest.  You're probably not going to eat bourbon balls and sip on seltzer.  You're probably going to have a glass of whatever floats your boat and toss a couple of bourbon balls in your mouth.  And the alcohol doesn't get a chance to cook out because this is a raw cookie.  So.  There you go.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Peppermint Mocha Krinkles

Y'all.  It's crunch time.  Gifts need to be wrapped.  Actually, gifts need to be bought.  Whomp whomp.  I'm going to get to it, promise!  Speaking of gifts, have y'all seen the trend of people making payments on other people's layaways?  I think that's pretty awesome.  It's one of the things I love about this season.  People doing good things for other people.  No recognition needed.  Doing it just because it'll make someone's life a little easier.   I'm a big believer in karma.  That's why I let cars in ahead of me in traffic (safely of course).
These cookies will totally get you some good karma if you make them for other people.  They'll also just make you happy if you eat them yourself.  So it's a win-win.  I got the idea for this cookie when I had a similar cookie from Panera.  My sister and I like to split a chocolate chip cookie now and then, and one time they were out of our usual; so I picked out a peppermint chocolate cookie for us instead.  I also wanted it to have a bit of a coffee flavor, like a peppermint mocha from Starbucks.  P.S.  I have no idea why I'm spelling krinkles with a "k" when I know good and well the word is crinkles.  It's a mystery.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Spicy Lentil Soup

Tonight is going to be full of magic.  A celebration of one dear heart's completion of his degree and reuniting with another who's been off at med school.  And I'm going to eat my weight in Chinese food.  Holla.

But right now, I'm here to give you the antidote to those sticky buns I made.  Because while decadent and completely delish, they're...well decadent and completely delish.  And we all need balance in our lives.  The answer is a filling soup/stew that couldn't be healthier if I tried.  Lentils, greens, the healing power of ginger.  It'll let you eat at least two more of those sticky buns.
A nice hunk of crusty bread never hurt either.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Gooey Overnight Sticky Buns

I'm happy to report the tree is still standing.  It's even straight I think.  Of course, I didn't realize it was leaning before, so maybe I'm not the best judge.

So...I ran 30 minutes today.  For most of you, that's probably not a huge deal.  But for me, it's a mega-huge deal.  I'm not sure I've ever run 30 minutes in my life.  That's not to say I've never exercised more than 30 minutes in my life.  I used to do Zumba for an hour on the reg.  But running and enjoying it always eluded me.  I've been following the Couch to 5k plan loosely, and today I finally did 30 minutes!

In honor of that achievement, I give you these sticky buns.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Funny Thing Happened Last Night

Ohh mah goodness, y'all.  Our tree completely toppled over at 3am last night.  I was dead asleep until I heard a thud and the sound of glass breaking.  It scared the bejesus out of me.  At first I'd thought my mom had fallen in her bathroom, so when I saw the tree lying prostrate I was a little relieved.  We lost a few ornaments in the fall but we've seen worse damage.  I think this little ornament sums everything up perfectly:
Hah!  Do you know the Maxine cartoons?  It's the dog from those.  I made a joke that he didn't look like that until the "incident."  And then I proceeded to laugh hysterically because I had not enough sleep and thought I was waaaay hilarious.

On a completely unrelated note, check this business out:
"What is that freaky looking object in the produce section?" you ask.  It's a Buddha's hand.  I Googled it after I saw what it was called.  It's in the citron family, and we Westerners commonly use the zest.  There's really not much to the flesh or pulp, but the pith is far less bitter than other citrus fruits; so you can use more of it.  Other peoples use it to perfume things.  I did smell it, and it had a lovely fragrance. You can also candy it.  Cray-cray.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Peppermint Marshmallows with Peppermint Hot Chocolate

My sister has a critter.  I'm not talking about Grady either.  There's something in her attic that makes little noises that can only be heard when the TV is off and no one else is with you.  She had suspected something was up there for a while, then she got confirmation when they went to get Christmas decorations out of the attic and ornaments were strewn about.  Also up there was an empty bag of jerky treats that had been torn apart.  That's how we ruled out a ghost.  Ghosts don't need jerky.  So we're thinking a raccoon.

I really hope it doesn't decide to take a walk downstairs.

Y'know what you need?  Marshmallows.  Legit homemade marshmallows.  Because guess what?  They're incredibly easy to make.  I know what you're thinking.  "I can buy marshmallows at the store.  Why on God's green earth would I take the time to make them?"  Because they're way freakin' better if you do them yourself.  You may quote me on that.  My only qualification is that you need either a stand mixer (preferable) or at least a hand mixer because this business has to go 12 minutes straight.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Whomp Whomp

So I had this totally awesome post in my head about the peppermint marshmallows and hot chocolate I made last night.  I was gonna rock your world.  So I set off to find the little cord that connects my camera to my computer to edit the pictures's nowhere to be found.  I searched.  I even cleaned my car and unloaded my suitcase.  That's how desperate I was.

What's a girl to do?  I'm 90% sure it's in Columbia.  For about half an hour now, I've been thinking "Ugh, I don't want to go to Best Buy tomorrow to get a replacement cord" because BB is 45 minutes away.  And then my brilliant self reminded me that Wal-Mart is 5 minutes up the road.  Um, duh-sies.

So with a little hope in my heart and a marshmallow in my coffee, I leave you with this:
My very favorite present under the tree :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Things That Were and Things To Come

Do you ever have those days where you just feel kind of...bleh?  Today is one of those days.  I'm hoping with a little sleep and Nyquil, I'll be up to no good in no time!  In the meantime, let me tell you a little bit about the lunch my sister and I had yesterday.  Oh and don't worry, I'm back at the beach, so no worries about my wee little Grady getting any of my blehs.

There's a little bakery just down the street from my sister called Sweet Cake House.  For you Columbia folks, it's on St. Andrews Road.  We'd noticed it before but never stopped in.  She grabbed us lunch yesterday on her way back to the house, and it was delightful.
We each had a more-than-generous portion of chicken pot pie.  It was a double crust pie, which I love, and was yummy to boot!  Each lunch came with a side salad and a petit four.  The pasta salad (bottom) was creamy with a nice injection of onion, and the potato salad (top) had the consistency of chunky mashed potatoes while tasting like the potato salad you expect.  We split the petit fours, tiramisu and carrot cake.  Usually I'm not a tiramisu fan (I know, there's something very wrong with me), but I loved the little bite of it.  The carrot cake was cream cheese-y and sweet.  A nice cap to the meal.  The best part is that each of the meals was less than $6, which is kind of a bargain considering how much food we ate.

I've been seriously contemplating my Christmas/holiday treats.  I have major plans for cookies, cakes, and even marshmallows!  I'm so excited about the marshmallows, y'all.  I've never made them before, but they're not that complicated...I think.  I even have plans for...wait for bourbon!  The kitchen is about to be a magical land of powdered sugar and smiles.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Risotto-style Coconut Rice Pudding

Thanks to my sister, I've become obsessed with these:
If you see these little Dove holiday chocolates, snatch them up with a quickness.  And don't blame me when you eat the whole bag.  I warned you, but I'm totally encouraging you to get them.  At first I thought "Well these are probably okay so I'll try one."  Then it melted in my mouth and was wonderfully full of peppermint and chocolate and Christmas spirit.

Speaking of obsessed because of my sister...
He's like "'Sup, y'all."  He is not okay with those pants by the way.  He definitely prefers to be pantsless.  I've been in Columbia for the past week and a half helping my sister out.  Her company gave her an extra six weeks to basically work from home, so I've been baby wrangling while she works.  From the blogging perspective, I have an incredible amount of respect for mommy bloggers. On the reals, I'm more or less lying completely flat while G-man sleeps on me right now.  Serious business.

I have no pretty segue into this rice pudding.  So let's just go at it.  I'd never had rice pudding until I made it.  I'd been planning this recipe for weeks until I finally made it.  It's got a serious coconut flavor and wonderfully sweet.  Using arborio rice makes it extra thick and creamy.  Let's get on this!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Green Bean Casserole, With Love

This post feels like it's a little late, but it's not really.  I made this green bean casserole for Thanksgiving, but let's be real.  T-Day is not the only day green bean casserole gets made or eaten.  It's totally apropos for a holiday potluck or Christmas dinner.  It's a make-ahead meal for the most part and so much better than slapping some canned green beans and cream of mushroom soup together.