Monday, October 31, 2011

Holiday Time

I love this time of year~the decorating, the cooking, the baking, the smells of the season; but most of all the family time. Keeping to my schedule is important this time of year so that it doesn't become overwhelming. November is filled with decorations of Pumpkins, Scarecrows, fall leaves, pinecones, & Sunflowers; not to mention fall scented candles. Time to get the fireplace ready for the cool nights to enjoy home-made hot chocolate with marshmellows while having family night.

The kids will have a week off for Thanksgiving which means that we will have time set aside to keep up with their reading level but most of the time home will be spent preparing for Thanksgiving & out of town family arriving. The house will be filled with smells of fall, football, men hunting, & children laughing. Many times Thanksgiving is the only time of year that many think about what they are Thankful for. I try to emphisis to our kids that Thanksgiving is everyday of the year. So many get so busy during this time of year, that they don't have time to enjoy any of it~a missed blessing.

In the previous post I spoke about my "Tackle Box", this is a great way to keep up with what needs to be done so that nothing gets over looked. Once it becomes a habit it is easy to stick to it. Another trick I use to help stay on track is working non-stop for 15 minutes on a project. Use a timer and work on a project for 15 minutes; don't answer the phone~that's what the machine is for; don't go get something to eat or drink~it can wait until you are done. It's just 15 minutes! So what do I use this technique for? Everything! House cleaning, work projects, PTO project planning, etc. Did you know that working 15 minutes twice a day on household chores can keep your house clean all the time? I work 15 minutes down stairs & 15 minutes Upstair~this is dusting, sweeping, mopping, cleaning the bathrooms, dishes, & laundry! Eliminate stress from your life by implementing this small idea to your daily routine. You will have more time for your family, to work out, work on your hobbies, read your bible, start a new hobby,etc.

Let me know how it is working for you after your first week!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

November is here!

Yea! I love this time of year. Leaves changing colors, smell of pumpkin pies, cool mornings with sunny afternoons. November is often known to the men as No Shave November & to the Women as Thankful Month were you take each day and say what you are Thankful for. There are so many God Winks that we can be Thankful for. Everday that God awakens us is a day of Thanksgiving. Don't you agree?

Let's get in the kitchen for some fun... here are some great recipes that you can do as a family event.

STREUSEL PEAR TART Makes 8 servings.

4 tbs unsalted butter, cut into 1/4" pieces
3/4 tsp apple pie spice
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 pkg 14 oz refrigerated piecrust, 1 crust
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup + 2 tbs flour
6 pears

Unroll piecrust into a 10" fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press crust against the bottom and sides of pan, trimming top as needed so it is even with rim. Refrigerate. Heat oven to 425°. Peel, core and cut pears into 1/2" thick slices and place in a bowl. In a bowl, mix 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 tbs flour, apple pie spice and salt.
-Toss brown sugar mixture with pears to coat, then spoon into piecrust. In a bowl, stir together remaining brown sugar and flour. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle streusel over pears. Place tart on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 45 min. or until top is browned and pears are tender. SERVE warm

1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
6 tbs unsalted butter, room temp
4 cups puffed corn cereal
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 large egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup almond butter
1 cup sliced almonds

Heat oven to 325°. Spread almonds on a baking sheet and bake 5 min. or until lightly toasted, transfer to a bowl. Wipe baking sheet clean. Beat butter, almond butter, honey, sugar and brown sugar in a bowl until smooth. Beat in egg. Add baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and vanilla and almond extract and beat until combined. Add cereal, chocolate chips and half of the almonds to dough and mix.
-Form tablespoonfuls of dough into 2" balls and arrange on 2 ungreased baking sheets. Do not line baking sheets with parchment paper, the cookies may stick to the paper. Top each with some of the remaining almonds. Bake 12 min. or until cookies spread out and turn brown. Let cookies cool 5 min. on baking sheets, then remove to a rack to cool completely. If you have difficulties removing cookies from baking sheets, return them to oven for 2 min. to soften. The cookies will crisp as they cool, then SERVE
APPLE CIDER FLOATS Makes 2 servings.

In a saucepan, heat 2 cups apple cider with 1 cinnamon stick. Pour cider into 2 glasses. Top each glass with 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream, 1/2 tbs caramel sauce and a grating of nutmeg. SERVE each glass with a spoon

What about changing up your Thanksgiving Dinner Menu with some of these?

Salt and Pepper
2 onions, root ends discarded, then halved with skin on
1 tbs butter, room temp
2 tsp dried thyme
1 lemon, zested and halved
14 pound turkey, rinsed, patted dry

PLACE turkey in a roasting pan. Let turkey come to room temp, 1 hour. In a bowl, mash together butter and lemon zest. Smear butter mixture all over turkey. Squeeze lemon juice over turkey and put lemon halves in cavity. Place 2 onion halves in turkey cavity and the others in pan. Sprinkle thyme, salt and pepper over turkey. 20 min. before roasting, heat oven to 400°.

TIE LEGS of turkey together. Transfer to oven and roast 1 hour, lower temp to 350° and roast 1 hour longer. After second hour baste turkey with pan juices. Continue roasting basting twice until turkey registers 155° on an thermometer, 30 min. longer. Tilt turkey to pour any juices from cavity into pan. Transfer turkey to a carving board, tent with foil and let rest 30 min. before carving, then SERVE


3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup light brown sugar
4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup light corn syrup
6 tbs unsalted butter, cut into small pieces + 4 tbs melted
3 cups pecans
1 1/4 cups flour

IN A FOOD PROCESSOR, pulse sugar, flour, 1/2 cup pecans and 1/4 tsp salt until pecans are finely chopped. Add 6 tbs butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add 2 tbs cold water, pulsing until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed. Do not over mix. Transfer dough to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a 1" thick disk. Wrap tightly and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.
HEAT oven to 350°. On floured piece of parchment, roll disk of dough into a 12" circle. Slide onto a baking sheet and refrigerate until slightly firm, 10 min. Fit it into the bottom and up sides of a 9" pie plate. Trim dough so the overhang is even all the way around. Fold overhang under itself to create a thicker rim of dough and crimp as desired. Refrigerate until ready to fill.
IN A BOWL, whisk together corn syrup, eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, 4 tbs melted butter and remaining salt. Stir in chocolate chips and remaining pecans. Spoon mixture into crust. Bake 30 min. Cover pie with foil and bake until filling if puffed and center is set, 20 min. more. Transfer pie to a wire rack and let it cool to room temp, then SERVE

I know that the holiday season is busy for everyone. Think of someone you know, maybe they are single or a family that will be spending Thanksgiving alone~invite them to join you and your family for Thanksgiving Dinner.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Where did October GO?

It seems like this month has been a blur. Busy all month with activities in the school with the PTO, Homecoming, football games, dance, piano lessons, Fall Festival at school & one coming up Saturday at church; just a few things that has been keeping me busy. So I am so sorry for not keeping up with this blog. It did get me thinking about a practice that I have gotten out of that I need to put back in place. So I am reimplementing my "tackle box"! I have a file box that has file folders for every day of the month. It is a monthly "To Do" list.

So let's say that you want to start one for November. You will have all your file folders in the "Tackle Box", put all bills that are due on their due date that can be paid locally and those that need to be mailed; 5 days before due date. On November 1 go pull the 1st folder and do everything in that folder first. This will help keep you on track of all the things you need/want to do and won't get behind on the "Oh, that can wait projects," Like a blog.

My menu for Thanksgiving is already in my tackle box. Trying a few new recipes this year for our family dinner so when I am preparing them I will give the recipe and a photo. Yes, Sonya, just for you. As will be my daily "To Do" Lists.

We have a couple of busy months coming up. November is always big in our house with 6 Birthdays & Thanksgiving. I love decorating for the fall, baking pumpkin pies, Spice cakes, cute cookie cutter cookies. The Weekend of Thanksgiving we start our Christmas Baking and Candy Making. We have a great time making cornflake candy, Divinity, Fudge, No bake cookies, as well as the traditional cookies.

So what is on your agenda the rest of your month? Big plans for November yet?
Many Blessings~