Friday, December 31, 2010

Turning 1: Happy New Year!


I was thinking my 1 year blogging anniversary was today. As in the 31st. It was the 29th. I'm not good at this anniversary thing.

But honestly, 1 year? Wow! I stuck to a hobby for one whole year! I'm really excited. I love the friends I've made and the things I've accomplished. Life is good :)


Wishing everyone a happy and safe New Year. I'm looking forward to everything to come. See you all back here tomorrow with new posts. I have a new wireless router and it's being testy. I can't upload any of my photos I've taken of the craft fair and such. I'm hoping to get this fixed soon. It was so fun!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

totally, absolutely love!

I was making my daily visit to Miss Elsie and came across this beautiful photo:

If she loves it, of course I would. Katie's DIY Glitter Bangles are absolutely beautiful. They're totally must have stocking stuffers I hope to get finished up this week! Visit Katie and check out her collection of holiday DIY posts for December. 18 in all by Christmas Eve!

Craft fair was AWESOME today! Super tired today (been up since yesterday) and just winding down before an early night to bed. Will share everything tomorrow, including sales AND finds!

Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

catching up.

{via weheartit}

December is absolutely the busiest month of my entire year, every year. I really wish it was the opposite so I could sit back and really enjoy the holiday season. I've just realized Christmas is in a week and I'm not nearly finished with my shopping. Good heavens.

On top of being busy, I've been sick. TWICE. I usually get sick every November with my typical illness that causes me to lose my voice and I get an impromptu vacation from work for 10 days. This year I didn't lose my voice, but I've been struck by death TWICE in the last month. I've been out of work two days in November and December. I'm on the upswing today, but my head hurts and I'm still super congested. A coworker's grandfather has just passed away and I absolutely hate creating overtime for the other shift and I'm going to try my best to get in and work tonight so she has the chance to be with her family.

Sunday is my craft fair! I couldn't be more excited! We ended up being scheduled for the wrong week and only get to take part in the fair on tomorrow, but I sure hope it's a success! On Wednesday I finished up the last of my projects and attached cute little DIY price tags to every thing (tutorial to come on the tags, so cute!). I have a few tags left to attach to a few of my items and I have tons of cute things for setting up the table. I'm excited to take pictures and share in the experience. I'm not sure if I'll keep doing craft fairs, but I've already had a great interest in custom orders and have filled quite a few already for Christmas. I'm learning a lot about my creative side and what fuels me. Thrilling I tell you!

As this next week will be busy for all of us, I wanted to wish all of my blog friends a very Merry Christmas! You all mean the world to me and I truly cherish the connections I've made on here. I'm looking forward to another fulfilling year of blogging with the people I've grown to "know" so well :)

Lots of love!

Friday, December 17, 2010

2 years and counting.

Happy Anniversary to my handsome husband. The best 2 years I've spent in my lifetime so far, and the years that have moved by with the greatest of ease. I'm loving knowing there are so many more ahead.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Receiving is the sweetest thing.

This post is so overdue. On Thursday I received a package on my doorstep from none other than my blogging BFF, Ashley! I was so excited.

I found it on my way out the door, so I put in the car and opened it at work with in front of my coworkers. They were just as excited as I was. I wish I'd had the patience to remember to take pictures before I tore in to it, but I didn't.

She made this! I was beside myself. I love it so much! It fits perfectly with my love for all things yarn, my love for traditional Christmas colors, yet a fabulous vintage touch. Man, this girl knows me!

I've wanted this Asker from Ikea since she first showed it in her kitchen. Super clever to hang on the wall for your sponge!

Two gorgeous nail polishes. Hidden Treasure on the left, Chinchilly on the right. I wore Hidden Treasure on my nails to a Christmas party on Saturday.

Thank you so much, Ashley! I love this little blogging community and the friends I've made. Can't wait to get the next package out in the mail to you!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I'm not making any promises

But I'm trying to jump back on the wagon. I bought a treadmill from my husband's coworker last week, a great piece of lightly used equipment for the right price. I've been working up the motivation to get on it.

Did you have any idea that it would take my husband using it first to get me to hop right on when I got off work at 0300? I didn't, but it was a great motivating factor.

I did it, I feel good and I plan to do my best to keep up. I'm not promising myself anything or making big lofty goals, just a small one of trying to get some activity in a few days a week. I have to work off all these Christmas cookies somehow.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

38. Cornbread Dressing

I didn't learn until this year, the difference between stuffing and dressing. But now I know.

And though this was good, I think I'm more of a stuffing girl. But I do promise, this was good.

I went to work, my husband made lots and lots of cornbread. When I got home that nice I diced up mushrooms, onions and celery.

Early Thanksgiving morning I got up to begin prep. Popped oil & salt coated mushrooms in to the oven.

Browned up some breakfast sausage.

Cooked up the onions, celery and brown sugar.

Popped open a bottle of wine for the dressing, and to enjoy a little later.

I added all three types of bread to my giant bowl. Cubed french bread, sour dough bread and corn bread. Added the sausage and vegetables, then mixed with the chicken broth.

Fresh chopped parsley. Yum. Mix and you're ready to cook.

We love stuffing the bird and that's exactly what we did. Doesn't he look cute?

The rest was put in to a pan and cooked for 30 minutes until browned.

Oh that turkey turned out so handsome! We really need to cook another for no reason.

Cornbread Dressing
adapted from The Pioneer Woman

16 ounces, weight White Button Or Crimini Mushrooms
4 Tablespoons Canola Oil
½ teaspoons Kosher Salt
3 dozen cornbread muffins, Cut Into 1-inch Cubes
1 loaf French Bread, Cut Into 1-inch Cubes
1 loaf Sourdough Bread, Cut Into 1-inch Cubes
½ pounds Italian Sausage
1 medium Onion, diced
1 bunch Celery, diced
5 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 cup White Wine
½ teaspoons Kosher Salt
32 ounces, fluid Low (very Low) Sodium Chicken Broth
1 teaspoon Ground Thyme
½ teaspoons Turmeric (more To Taste)
2 teaspoons Rosemary, Leaves Minced
½ teaspoons (additional) Kosher Salt
Black Pepper To Taste
Fresh Parsley, Minced

Allow diced bread to sit out on cookie sheets for several hours or overnight, until dried out.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Wash mushrooms thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels. Chop, toss in a bowl with canola oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Spread mushrooms over baking sheet and place in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven when mushrooms are deep brown. Set aside.

In a large skillet, crumble and brown sausage over medium high heat. Remove sausage from skillet and set aside. Without cleaning the skillet, add in diced onions and celery, brown for five minutes. Increase heat to high and add brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until deep golden brown.

Decrease heat to medium and pour in wine (be careful if you’re using an open flame). Stir and cook to reduce liquid by half, about two to three minutes. Pour onion mixture into a bowl and set aside.

Return skillet to medium heat (again, without washing) and add thyme, turmeric, rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Heat for a few minutes, then set aside.

Add bread to a large bowl, then add browned sausage, mushrooms, and onion mixture (and juice that might have accumulated.) Next, add broth mixture gradually as you toss the ingredients, being prepared not to use all of the liquid according to your taste.

Check seasonings at the end and add in minced parsley. Pour into a large baking dish (I used an iron skillet) and bake at 375 for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

Friday, December 3, 2010

37. Cranberry-Pomegranate Sauce

The cranberry sauce is my brother's favorite. The only positive to him not coming over for Thanksgiving dinner is the fact that we didn't get him the gelatin cranberry sauce in a can. I'm pretty sure he would have complained.

You'll need 1 bag of fresh cranberries, a 16oz bottle of pomegranate juice & 3/4 cup of sugar. More or less to taste of course. We would have preferred more. We like it sweet!

Stir everything together and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning. The mixture will reduce and thicken slightly.

Place in to a bowl or serving dish and transfer to the fridge and allow to cool. Of course, don't pour it in to a bowl that's too small, then messily pour in to your serving dish. If you do, you get the mess in the picture above. None the less, it was good.

Cranberry-Pomegranate Sauce

1 bag fresh cranberriess, 12 to 16oz
16oz bottle pomegranate juice
3/4 cup sugar, more or less depending on taste

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning. Mixture will reduce and slightly thicken while it cooks.

Transfer to bowl or serving dish and allow to cool in the fridge. When cooled, serve with dinner!

Pretty easy recipe. Hope you try it and like it!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

36. PW's Favorite Turkey Brine

We will start off the Thanksgiving recipes posts with the brine! Really, this would make more sense to have posted all of these prior to Thanksgiving, but I wasn't making them twice. There just wasn't enough time. Though you could use them for Christmas. Depending on how my family is feeling, depends on what we eat for Christmas dinner.

We've brined meat before that we've smoked. Though PW (the Pioneer Woman or the love of my life) didn't smoke her turkey, we chose to this year. Amazing!

I went back to work and told my coworkers about this brine. Somehow I managed to recite the entire recipe by heart and had only put it together once. My freakish mind never ceases to amaze me. I mean, seriously, we have partial caller ID on the business lines at work (number only,  no name) and I know who the number belongs to. So strange.

Water, apple juice, brown sugar, salt, whole peppercorns, fresh rosemary, garlic and the peel of three oranges. It smelled devine. But nothing quite like how it smelled after it started boiling. We brought it to a boil then removed it from the heat and covered it to let it steep. I breifly lifted the lid for a whif and the aroma filled the entire house. It was heavenly!

We left the brine to cool that night and had the turkey prepped in it's big bowl waiting for the bath of a life time. The next morning we poured everything we could manage to fit in the bowl over the turkey and covered it. It sat and bathed in the fridge for 24 hours. Just the tiniest part of the breast poked out above the brine so my husband was sure to flip it over half way through the soaking process to ensure an even brine.

Here's my honest review of the brine recipe: She gives lots of tips on how to prevent the turkey being overly salty when prepared, and I'm sure most aren't a fan of an overly salty meat. We purchased a fresh turkey, containing less salt product than a frozen turkey, and followed all of the instructions to the letter when preparing the brine and turkey.

It was still just a tad too salty for our taste. Don't get me wrong, the meat was amazing! I've never had a jucier turkey in my life. The flavors imparted by the brine and the smoke, a mix of hickory and alder, were just delicious. We will absolutely use this brine again, but will lessen the salt used.

I even think just a fraction of this recipe would be great for a roast chicken and even pork chops. Something to try in the future.

PW's Favorite Turkey Brine

3 cups apple juice or cider
2 gallons cold water
4 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups kosher salt
2 cups brown sugar
3 tbsp whole black peppercorns
5 bay leaves

Combine all ingredients in a large pot, stir until salt & sugar dissolve. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat and cover. Allow to cool completely.

Remove neck and giblets from turkey & rinse. Place in a large pot, bowl or brining bag & pour brine over the top. Cover and place in the fridge 16 to 24 hours.

When turkey is ready to be roasted, remove from the brine and submerge in a pot or sink of fresh cold water. Allow to sit for 15 minutes to remove excess salt from the outside of the turkey.

Remove turkey from the water, pat dry and prepare to your roasting desires! And be sure to discard the brine, we don't need it anymore.

Please try it & enjoy!