Sunday, December 27, 2009

Holiday Goodies and Tasties

Happy Holidays!

I can honestly say that this has been the best Christmas that I have ever had; this may be an economically dismal year but the bad times have further shown me what is truly important.

I hope that you and yours are having a great holiday season full of love and joy, here's to hoping that we all enjoy a 2010 full of happiness and prosperity!

My fiance, mother, and I celebrated Christmas Eve together at our apartment this year and I cooked. I made walnut chicken, stuffing, broccoli and hominy cassarole, and sweet corn. All the recipes are super simple, dinner was ready in about an hour, and everything is budget friendly :)
Walnut Chicken
  • I used three fresh boneless, skinless breasts and baked them at 375 degrees in glass baking dish sprayed with non-stick spritz. Bake these according to thickness and number of chicken breasts.
  • The batter is comprised of tablespoons melted butter mixed well with chopped/mashed walnuts (if you can squish these a bit to get the walnut oil out the flavor becomes all the more delicious and nutty) and ultra-fine breadcrumbs.
  • Coat chicken thickly in batter, use any excess to top off breasts once you place them in the glass baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake. Remove foil 3/4 through baking. You can lightly broil these to make them even more golden but make sure you watch them very carefully as they will burn!
Broccoli and Hominy Casserole
  • Blend a can of cream of mushroom soup, 1 regular size bag of frozen broccoli florets, 1 can of drained hominy, a dash of pepper, 1 cup of crumbled saltine crackers, and 1/3 cup milk in a glass baking dish.
  • Create top layer by spreading a generous amount of crumbled saltines or breadcrumbs (or both, like I did) on top of the mixture. Cut thin pats of unsalted butter and distribute on top of the casserole, cover with cheese (I like sharp cheddar or a cheddar blend).
  • Bake in oven covered with aluminum foil for about 30 minutes, remove foil and bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until cheese is desired level of bubbly. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.
    My mom and I split the dessert duties, she made my request of a strawberry pie and I made her request of something with chocolate and peanut butter. These are quick little candies that are so simple to make, I've served them at parties and given them to friends and they're always a hit.
Easy Peasy Peanut Butter Candies
  • Mix 3 cups of broken up pretzel sticks with 1 cup of peanut butter and blend together well. I like to use 1/2 to 3/4 crunchy peanut butter though you can use all crunchy or all creamy. If you choose to use all creamy then add more pretzels as you lose a lot of the crunch and stability.
  • Drop spoonfuls of these onto wax paper, each spaced a little apart.
  • Microwave (on high) 1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips in 30 second intervals until fully melted, stirring frequently as you heat it. You can burn it very easily so keep an eye out, you want it to be fully melted but not start to cook too much.
  • Spoon chocolate onto the drops of peanut butter. I find a tablespoon works best, one full tablespoon is the perfect amount to drown your little peanut butter yummies in. The top and sides will get decently covered but don't worry about the bottom- too messy!
  • Pop these in the fridge to cool for at least an hour and you're done! They can be a bit messy to easy so have some napkins handy!

And last but not least, a few Christmas morning moments... we don't have kids yet, so Bubbles is fully spoiled during the holidays. She actually woke us up several times on Christmas morning, she could smell the catnip in her stocking and got excited. We finally had to get up early and open gifts to appease her highness. LOL!
And last in my agenda of holiday goodies to share, my Neopets stocking! I made Zane and I new stockings this year, this features the slime dudes from Dragon Quest (his favorite game ever) and mine is a Christmas Slorg from one of my addictions, Neopets. I actually made it for a contest on the website, I'll let you guys know how that turns out ;)

Edit: I won first place =D

The stocking is made from felt and cotton. I free hand drew a slorg shape (they are kind of like insanely cute slugs if you're not Neopets savvy, hehe) on felt and copied that onto a piece of polka dot cotton for the back. The fur is a sparkly white/silver, the rest of the shapes are felt. I did the majority of the sewing on a machine (though I tackled Zane's first by hand it did not turn out nearly so well) and used fabric paint for the glitter effects. Star sequins are in the eyes and a cool shiny bead is the accent on the flower.

Working with felt is a rather new thing for me but this project has encouraged me to try some of the amazing tutorials that I've seen on Craftster and the like.

Please check back for the BIG UPDATE! I have a big change... a new business... I'm launching something that I am really excited about on JANUARY 1st so check back! And remember, M&M Etsy is still offering free shipping until the 1st!

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