Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fruity Turkey Salad

I bet you have all the ingredients. Tastes so good. Chop up some celery, apples or grapes, walnuts and leftover turkey. Add a couple of tablespoons of mayonnaise and some salt, pepper and Itailian seasoning. It is the seasoning that makes this addictive. I think it is the combination of poultry and thyme. Much tastier than that powdery old poultry seasoning. Make a sandwich or just eat with some crackers. Or add toasted pita bread like they do at First Watch cafe here in Tampa with their Fruity Chicken Salad. Enjoy.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Two Christmas Dinners

Classic Lenox Christmas china (photo by Lenox)

Darlene's Christmas Table before it was set.

Darlene and Rick from a couple of years ago.
We lucked out and went from no plans on Christmas Day to TWO dinner invitations. I had my camera but forgot that it was in the car so these pictures are from years past. Rick made oyster stew that was really good. Even Roger liked it. My mother used to make oyster stew for Christmas Eve dinner but this stew was full of herbs and it was great. The recipe came from Cooks.com. I will try to find it and post it. (Upon searching, I can't figure out which of 150 recipes Rick used. His had Half and Half and chives in it. It looked and tasted to me a little like the Knox vegetable soup mix that you make dip with. Anyway, I will have to ask him for the specific recipe.)

Darlene set the table with her beautiful crystal and her Lenox Christmas china. She made a perfect prime rib, roast potatoes and Brussels sprouts (Rick and I love them but Darlene and Roger HATE them.)

As luck would have it, our friends also invited Jaime, Aaron, Mia and Roger and me to dinner around 5:00. Roger was so tired he couldn't make it but I went and was treated to a beautiful rare roast beef dinner with Yorkshire pudding. Aaron is crazy for Yorkshire pudding and it was very good. Oh, and we had roast potatoes and (you guessed it) Brussels sprouts. Mia loved the special decorated ice cream dessert. I was not able to even try it.

I was sorry that I could not eat very much because it was a beautiful supper. We still have a couple more celebrations to go to before the end of the year. If you add in the Hannukah dinner I had at Irma and Mark's and the Christmas breakfast that Aaron and I made together, we have eaten quite well this Christmas Season.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Michigan Artist - 2010 White House Christmas

Picture of the dove is by James Lutke, the artist

This picture is from Marty Katz photos of the White House Christmas. I hope the photo police don't get me, but I wanted to show the beautiful natural peacocks on the tops of the trees in the East Room.
Simple Gifts is the theme Michelle Obama chose for the 2010 White House Christmas decorations. I saw a special on HGTV previewing the White House Christmas Tour and I was so taken with the beautiful birds made by James Lutke from Spring Lake, MI for the tree toppers. He made nine, but I have only been able to find close up photos of a few. The beautiful peacocks and a white dove for the military tree were some I found. The birds are made of all natural materials and I think they are very beautiful. Here is a link to a news story I found. This post is dedicated to Ruth at synch-ro-ni-zing.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Memories

Christmas Supper at a friend's house -- awesome!
I was inspired by reading Ellen's blog about what is important to her at Christmas. I find I have redefined my Christmas's over the years. I have very happy memories of Christmas as a child. We didn't have a big family, but my mother made sure we always had a good Christmas. There was a real tree with the big colored lights and tinsel icicles. Santa Claus brought presents on Christmas Eve and I could hardly sleep I was so excited. In fact, at some point during the long night I always had to make a trip to the kitchen for a drink of water. The living room would have been transformed by big mysterious packages piled around the tree and all over the room. One year I ran into a beautiful little dressing table with a ruffled skirt that my mother had carefully hidden at the neighbor's house so I would be surprised. That sight was so magical to me. I don't even remember particular gifts but instead the anticipation of all the beautifully wrapped boxes waiting to be opened. My mother would always give us hints that drove us crazy. And she made chocolate fudge with pecans. I remember the smell of simmering chocolate filling the house. One year I was sure I heard jingle bells on the roof.

I have had a lonely Christmas or two, a sad one when my son was a baby and we had no money and my mother was far away. I felt lost when my mother was in a nursing home and again after she died. I have had some beautiful experiences when I was into church as a teenager. I remember one Christmas Eve when I was gloriously in love with the boy next door and one Christmas Eve when I had my first taste of champagne. I have had many stressful Christmas's when my children were young and I worked full time. I attended a few fancy dress up Christmas parties -- not many.

Now I mostly enjoy decorating and socializing and doing things with the children. I have to confess since we have had to pare down the spending the last few years that I do miss the presents. Not what was in them so much but the excitement of seeing them piled around the tree on Christmas Eve. My brother used to arrive with arms full of professionally wrapped gifts. I have never seen such pretty presents. Now he gives the children gift cards. I have had more time than ever this year. Almost too much time to cook and clean and decorate. The only time I really listen to Christmas music now is in the car with my grandchildren. Mia's favorite is Little Drummer Boy. Jonah and Jill still favor Old Toy Trains by Roger Miller.

I think next year I would like to get back to church and I want to focus on doing something for others, maybe visit the nursing home where my mother stayed for the last year. Someday I would like to spend Christmas where it snows and where there are pine trees all aound.

I love entertaining on Christmas Eve, but I got over cooking on Christmas Day a long time ago. I do enjoy the times when Roger and I are invited to my sister-in-law's house on Christmas Day for a beautiful meal with her crystal and china and a perfectly cooked prime rib. We have also have some great Christmas dinners at Roger's sister, Mary's, house. Last year my friends had a nice English roast beef and Yorkshire pudding at their house on Christmas night. Aaron challenged Jonah and Jaime to each eat a Brussels sprout. That was funny. Jonah choked his down in one bite so Jaime had to eat one, too. Torture. (I love Brussels sprouts.)

I have been blessed with many wonderful Christmas memories. I wish that for us all. God bless us everyone!

Rollo Specials - Rollo Pretzel Turtle Candies

Jaime and "Rollo", Christmas Eve 2009

I wish I had a picture. I went to a great cookie baking party and to my daughter's Christmas party and both times, I did not have my camera. Anyway, my new favorite Christmas candy for several reasons. 1) Easy to make 2) Turtles are my favorite candy 3) Aaron's nickname from Jr. High was Rollo. He doesn't really like to be called that anymore, but he tolerates being honored with these little Rollo candies.

To assemble the candies, place little mini pretzel twists on a baking sheet. Top each with a chocolate/caramel rollo candy. Top that with a pecan half. Bake in the oven at 250 degrees for a few minutes. (Just soften candy. Do not melt completely.) YMMM!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Football Game at my Brother's House

Roger, me and Cory


Darlene with Sammy


Tree - They collect beautiful feather ornaments

Jackie O, Marilyn and Princess Di and a collection of crystal decanters

Dining Table

Roger by the fireplace
My brother and sister-in-law's house is always so beautiful at Christmas. Rick made clam chowder and had sandwiches and salad. We had a great time and the Bucs won a close one at the last minute. It was rainy and cold so the fire felt good.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Warm, sunny kitchen, cold weather, same decorations from Christmas past. Big pots of roast beef, soup and the grandkid favorite, chicken and yellow rice. Going to make Christmas cookies with the kids soon. I love Christmas!