Monday, December 26, 2011

A Blessed Family

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!  We did in our house!  We did our traditional throwing of reindeer food on Christmas Eve in the front yard that we had made using oatmeal, sugar, green sugar, and red glitter.Tessa was beyond excited about the gifts Santa brought.  She was enthralled with her new baby doll crib and Snow White princess doll.  She would have been perfectly happy with just those two gifts-sweet child.

We headed over to my parent's house in the afternoon to visit with my sis and brother-in-law who had flown in from San Diego.  We spent some quality time with them, my grandmother, parents, aunt and uncle, and aunt and cousins.  Boy, did we have food.  Mom made a roast, creamed spinach, cranberry casserole, potatoes, rolls, and Aunt Cathy brought her holiday fruit salad.  It was delicious!  And don't get me started on how many cookies we had for dessert.  I don't think I can look at another cookie.  My mom put her cookies out that she had made, Cathy had brought hers, and I had brought my cookies that I had made.  We probably had about 12 plus different kinds of cookies to choose from.  Too bad I'm 34 weeks preggo.  I could use a good run to sweat out all the sugar. 

This is our last week of break and we are looking forward to having my sis and her husband come stay at our house with us.  I put together my grocery list so we could have some homemade meals together.  One night this week we will be joining our Bible study group for a post-Christmas party and I'm bringing the meatballs. 

We're going to be cooking the following meals this week:  Corn and wild rice soup with smoked sausage, Chinese beef and broccoli, and for New Year's Eve we are cooking up some Hoppin' John for good luck in 2012!

Here is a meatball recipe I have used before that is super easy!  A good friend and former co-worker of mine (Kim Howard) gave it to me.
2 pkgs. frozen meatballs
1 can of beer
1 cup of ketchup
1 cup of brown sugar

Combine the last three ingredients in a bowl.  Place meatballs in slow cooker.  Pour combined mixture over the meatballs and cook on low until heated through.  So easy and yummy!

I am loving the soups I have made at home.  They make for such a light meal, but are filling at the same time.  My sis gave me the Bon Appetit cookbook for Christmas and this is the first recipe I am trying from it.
Corn and Wild Rice Soup with Smoked Sausage
12 1/2 cups low salt chicken broth, divided
1 1/4 cups wild rice (about 7 1/2 ounces)
6 1/4 cups frozen corn kernels (about 2 1/2 pounds) thawed, divided
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
10 ounces fully cooked smoked sausage (such as kielbasa), cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 carrots, peeled, diced
2 medium onions, chopped
1 1/2 cups half and half
Chopped fresh chives or parsley

Bring 5 cups broth to simmer in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add wild rice and simmer uncovered until all liquid evaporates and rice is almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, blend 3 3/4 cups corn and 1 1/2 cups broth in processor until thick, almost smooth puree forms.  Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-hight heat.  Add sausage and saute until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.  Add carrots and onions; saute 3 minutes.  Add 6 cups broth and bring soup to simmer.  Reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes.

Add cooked wild rice, corn puree, and remaining 2 1/2 cups corn kernels to soup.  Cook until rice is very tender and flavors blend, about 15 minutes longer.  Mix in half and half.  Thin soup with more broth, if desired.  Season soup to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls.  Garnish with chives or parsley and serve.

I get weekly e-mails from Parents magazine with easy recipes for the busy moms!  I love Chinese food, so I try my best to make it at home and not break the bank by eating out.  I can't wait to try this recipe!
Chinese Beef and Broccoli adapted from
  • 3 tablespoons teriyaki sauce, divided
  • 3 teaspoons cornstarch, divided
  • 1 pound lean beef, such as top sirloin, sliced for stir-fry
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup sliced red peppers
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • Quick-cook brown rice, prepared according to package directions
Make It 1. Combine 2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce, 2 teaspoon cornstarch, and the beef in a small bowl. Refrigerate 15 minutes, or up to 10 hours. Place broccoli and peppers in large bowl and cover tightly. Microwave on medium-high 5 minutes.
2. In large nonstick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon oil over high heat. Add beef and cook, stirring, until browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl with cooked vegetables.
3. Dissolve remaining cornstarch in 1 tablespoon water. Heat remaining oil in skillet; add ginger and garlic. Cook 30 seconds, then stir in broth and remaining teriyaki sauce; bring to a boil. Whisk in cornstarch mixture and boil 1 minute. Stir in beef, broccoli, and peppers, and cook until just heated through. Serve over brown rice.
Nutrition Facts Servings Per Recipe 4

  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories 346
  • Protein(gm)32
  • Carbohydrate(gm)35
  • Fat, total(gm)9
  • Dietary Fiber, total(gm)6

I have never made a traditional New Year's Eve dinner because we are usually out and about celebrating or with family.  If I don't make this New Year's Eve, I will make it on New Year's Day. 
Hoppin' John Recipe from Emeril Lagasse

Prep Time:  15 min     Cook Time:  50 min    Serves:  10 servings


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large ham hock
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 pound black-eyed peas, soaked overnight and rinsed
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • Bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme leaves
  • Salt, black pepper, and cayenne
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped green onion
  • 3 cups steamed white rice


Heat oil in a large soup pot, add the ham hock and sear on all sides for 4 minutes. Add the onion, celery, green pepper, and garlic, cook for 4 minutes. Add the black-eyed peas, stock, bay leaves, thyme, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 40 minutes, or until the peas are creamy and tender, stir occasionally. If the liquid evaporates, add more water or stock. Adjust seasonings, and garnish with green onions. Serve over rice.

Happy New Year!

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