Welcome to my blog! I hope to make your visit worthwhile and reward you with some new inspirations, sewing and recycling, crafts tutorials and recipes. Please add yourself as a follower, so that you will automatically be updated when I post something new! Please comment, I appreciate sharing mutual interests, like sewing, crafting, cooking and of course eating well! I am a former Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher, I sub in 3 school systems and moonlight at a retail ladies clothing store. which sometimes allows me to indulge my creative energies. A wife, a mom through adoption, Christian, boomer and a member of the sandwich generation I hope to share my unique perspectives and help you with some of yours!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Holiday Count Down

Dear Diary    Friday Dec 17th: Whew, so glad it is Friday, and I finally can approach my Christmas to do list with vigor!  Just finished 10 weeks as a long term sub, with today on another assignment.  I was hoping to use today to get through the list.  Our family party is in 2 days, and as usual I like to torture myself by offering to bring the cookies and side dish.  Don't get me wrong, I love it all, but in less than 48 hours, I have gifts and food to make, cards to finish, and then, I have to focus on creating the Christmas magic for my own family.  At least I got my side of the family little tokens mailed off.   I haven't blogged in a while, all my creative energies went into teaching my 6 classes, 4 preps and hours of grading papers.  And I completed 2 grad online classes, resulting in keeping my grade point at 4.0.  Yay...hope I have enough energy to follow through on my next class. This 2 week break from school couldn't some much sooner!

I put together little packages for my siblings and dad, that are safely in the mail; and included my "Powell" potholder towels.  Everyone needs a new kitchen towel, right?  For my sis, a pretty recycled tote bag, a tutorial will follow this post...hopefully before the big day!
For my brother and his wife a Powell of course, a few little trinkets including an upcycled butterfly pin, made by my besty friend Max. My dad and step mom got some homemade cookies and honey made in my other besty friends' backyard, from our local bees.  The taste is so floral and sweet! Hope they like the simplicity of it all, we got Omaha steaks, so now I know what we are making for Christmas day!

Tuesday Dec 20th: Ok, I got through hours of baking and cooking on Saturday and Sunday, my hubby's family's party was at a hunting lodge on Sunday evening.  Thankfully I got all the little family gifts and sis in law gifts done, daughter and I made homemade cinnamon cocoa mix, in little canning jars.  Each family will get theirs, (I have 5 sis n laws, but one couldn't make it).  The following are cookie pics and activities and a few from the event

 Recipes for some of my favorites follow:  hubby saw this recipe on the Today Show Producers Cook segment, it included all his favorites, Bacon, Feta Cheese Mushrooms...the chef created it as an alternative to the green bean casserole everyone always makes at holidays.  I left out the almonds because there are a few nut allergies sprinkled amongst the cousins,  it wasn't missed! Along with cookies, our potluck was colorful!

Green Bean stir-fry   Sarah and Pete Clagett
Ingredients:  olive oil
1/2 cup thinly choppednuts (almonds or pecans)
2 slices chopped thick-cut bacon
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced (Vidalia or white)
1 1/2 red peppers ( I used pimentos)
1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
2/3 handfuls about 3/4 pound fresh french-cut green beans
4 ounces thinly sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper
Feta Cheese

On medium-high heat, start cooking, chopped bacon, cook for a few minutes, then add chopped nuts with some olive oil until it forms a bit of a paste.
Continue cooking bacon and nuts for a few more minutes until the nuts are toasted.  Then add thin slices of red pepper and onion and cook till onion is translucent.  Add in heaping teaspoons of minced garlic, add french-cut green beans and mushrooms to the above ingredients and then stir-fry green beans and mushrooms for a few minutes.  Pour in chicken broth, put lid on to steam.  Finish cooking the green beans, add salt and sprinkle feta cheese over the top.  Keep warm in a chafing dish or in my case, I used a crock pot.  ENJOY!

Gingerbread Cookies

4 cups sifted flour
1 T cinnamon
1 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 t ginger

1/2 t cloves

1/2 cup shortening, (I use margarine, the cookies are firmer)
1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg, well beaten
1 cup molasses
2 t vinegar
1 additional cup flour/confectioner sugar for dusting work surface

Sift together flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, ginger and cloves, put aside.

Cream brown sugar and shortening, add egg.  Blend in molasses and vinegar, then stir in dry ingredients.  Add additional flour if necessary until dough can be easily handled.  Chill dough in refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.  Roll dough out on floured surface to about 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut dough with cutters or design your own.  Using pancake turner carefully transfer cookies to well greased cookie sheet.  Bake in 350 oven for 10 to 15 minutes.  When cool, decorate with frosting or candies. 

Royal Icing
2 cups confectioners sugar
2 egg whites
almond or lemon or your choice flavoing to taste
food coloring
Mix all ingredients together until smooth.  Spread or pipe onto cooled cookies. 

I hope to post a few tutorials, if I can get back into my sewing room!  Seems like it will have to wait till all the flurry of finishing up Christmas prep.  Come back, followers, more recycling and tutorials to follow!

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