Saturday, December 25, 2010


I have two friends who make scotch-a-roos. If you don't know what scotch-a-roos are, your thighs are thanking you. They are absolutely delicious rice krispie treats with a layer of peanut butter and chocolate on top. Sam and I call them Kryptonite because they are our diet downfall. Consider these my Christmas present to you:

1 c. sugar
1 c. Karo syrup
1 c. peanut butter
6 c. rice krispies
1 pkg chocolate chips
1 pkg butterscotch chips

Melt sugar and syrup until bubbly. Remove from heat, stir in peanut butter. Mix mixture with rice krispies. Melt chips and layer on top. Cut into squares and proceed to eat the whole pan.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Dinner Night at my House

Whenever I host gourmet dinner night at my house, I insist that it simply be called "dinner night." I can't guarantee "gourmet" but I can guarantee that there will be a dinner of some sort. This group has been getting together for at least 5 years and it is a blast (when it isn't your night to host.)

I had two objectives this year. 1. I wanted to serve a traditional Christmas dinner and 2. I wanted to avoid becoming Bobby. Enter a Costco ham. Delicious. The thing comes pre-sliced with a glaze. I used orange juice instead of water in mine and I think it turned out pretty good.

The table: I enjoy having a reason to buy tableware and it is fun for me to set the table. I borrowed my mom's Spode dishes and my grandmother's red glasses:

I splurged on these cute cloth napkins from Pier 1 and my friend Heidi loaned me these ornaments to use as napkin rings:

I used it as an excuse to finally get candy in my candy jars:

I served a yummy punch that I learned from my Thanksgiving Point cooking class. The punch looked festive with cranberries and cucumbers:

We started with a cheeseball and crackers (thanks Harmons!) then moved on to spinach salad, jello salad, cheesy potatoes, my sis-in-law's famous creamed corn, and rolls and honey butter from Texas Roadhouse. You've got to hide the evidence:

For dessert, we had an array of tarts and goodies from Kneaders. FYI--You can buy 20 desserts for 25 bucks (thanks for the tip Misa!) It was fun to cut these up and let everyone try everything. I didn't even try to pretend I made these:

The best part of the night was the gift exchange. All nine of us bring eight identical gifts (one for each of the other girls.) We had a really fun selection of jewelry, wrapping supplies, magnet boards, aprons, etc. It was fun to see what everyone picked out and we were all giddy opening all of our new stuff:

The favorite gift of the night were the aprons that Jaime made everyone. We are wearing them in the photo at the top of this post.

These little kitties were on my doorstep all day long. When everyone left at midnight, they were still out there. I'm not an animal lover but I'm not completely heartless. I couldn't let them freeze to death. So I got a box and a blanket and they cuddled in there for the night. PETA would be proud:

The next day, they were gone.


Holiday Beverage (Thanksgiving Point)

1 can limeade with three cans water
2 liter diet Sprite
fresh cranberries
cucumbers sliced
Mix and serve

Christmas Spinach Salad (Thanksgiving Point)

baby spinach
candied pecans (made with 1/3 cup sugar, 1 cup pecans and 2 Tbsp butter on the stove)
blue cheese, crumbled
orange pieces from little oranges (cuties)
pomegranate seeds (Costco sells the fresh seeds in their produce section)

2 T sesame seeds
1 T poppy seeds
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp minced onion
1/4 t paprika
1/4 c white wine vinegar
1/4 c cider vinegar
1/2 c oil

Mix in blender. Toss with salad ingredients just before serving.

Easiest Cheesy Potatoes

1 bag "simply shreds" frozen potatoes
1 1/2 cans Cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
any kind of cheese (I like chedder)
crushed corn flakes

Stir together cream of chicken soup and sour cream. I like to shake in some minced onion. Stir in the frozen potatoes. Pour mixture into a 9x13 pan. Grate chedder cheese on top. Crush up corn flakes and put over the top. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.

Annette's Ultimate Creamed Corn

2 lbs frozen whole kernal corn (I like Costco's)
12 ounces cream cheese cut into cubes (can use low fat)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup margarine or butter
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Spread corn over bottom of crockpot. Top with cream cheese cubes. Stir together remaining ingredients in small bowl. Pour over corn and creamed cheese.

Cover and cook on high heat setting for 2-3 hours.

Stir well before serving. Corn will hold on low heat for up to 2 hours.

Layered jello salad

6 (3oz) pkgs jello--3 red and 3 green

Dissolve 1 pkg is 1 cup boiling water. Divide that in half. Set one bowl aside. In other bowl, add three tablespoons cold water or add two ice-cubes. Pour into 9x12 pyrex. Let sit 30 minutes (give or take until it isn't jiggly.) Add 1/3 cup plain yogurt to other bowl. Beat briefly until there are not any little white specs. Wait a second for foam to settle and then pour over first layer. Wait as long as you want to add the next layor. Repeat and repeat.

A special thanks to Costco for the ham, Texas Roadhouse for the rolls, Harmon's for the cheesball and Kneaders for the desserts. Why cook when you can buy?

For more recipes, you can visit our gourmet dinner group's blog Cookbook Junkies.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

This and That (shallow thoughts)

(Cute pic of Buster that has nothing to do with anything.)

The computer is back home tonight and seems to be working despite flying off the passenger seat onto the floor when Sam had to slam on his breaks on the way home. It still makes an obnoxious humming noise but I can live with it--I'm back to blogging!

Each one of these items could be it's own post but for the sake of time, I'm lumping 'em all together. (Gourmet dinner night will get its own post.)

1. Buster got tubes last Friday morning. Everything went well and he is doing fine. The funny thing is, when I took him to the ENT a couple weeks ago, they had me sit in a small booth with him so they could test his hearing. The nurse would say "Mitchell" over and over through different speakers in the room. Buster never turned and looked in the right direction even one time. I didn't realize until I got home that he would probably only answer to "Buster." They assumed he is hard of hearing and scheduled the tubes. Here he is ready for surgery:

2. Santa came early this year and I got a new coat and scarf. Love it:

3. I just volunteered to do a Sub-for-Santa for a Sudanese family that lives downtown. Am I the only one who completely stresses over these types of gifts? I think it is so sad that a 10-year-old girl is asking for a coat and boots for Christmas. The least I can do is find her the cutest coat and boots on the planet. I think I'm going to buy her something fun too. This project is going to be really good for my kids who have lists a mile long.

4. My mom and I took my kids to a breakfast with Santa at Thanksgiving point on Saturday. It was really cute and the kids had a great time:

Check out this elf:

Doesn't he look exactly like Will Ferrell? Ryan was so happy all the way home:

5. I am currently obsessed with the new Kneaders that opened off Bangerter Hwy. It has delicious food, nice employees and cute decor and stuff to buy. I am loving their turkey, cranberry, sunflower seed salad and peppermint brownie. Delish. If past is prologue, I will probably eat there once a week for a year and then turn my back on the place and never return. That's how I roll with food places.

Sammie enjoying the peppermint brownie after ballet class. My kind of girl.

6. Speaking of Kneaders, I ate there with my high school friends about a week ago. We haven't all been together in at least 8 or 9 years. We were missing Noelle but still had so much fun. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. Don't I have cute friends...I'm the big one:

7. My friend Megan who now lives in VA brought me peppermint Jo-Jos and chocolate covered peppermint jo-jos from Trader Joes. Holy crap. Those babies are wicked! I'm in LOOOOOVE.

8. On a more serious note, I was deeply saddened yesterday to hear about Elizabeth Edward's death:

I liked her because she was intelligent and down to earth. I was always impressed with her grace and courage in the face of so much adversity in her life. She lost her 16-year-old son Wade in a car accident years ago, her husband John Edwards (who is a total tool) had an affair and fathered another child all the while she was battling cancer. She knew she would die and leave young children behind--the ultimate heartache for a mother.

Despite all of this, she was optimistic and grateful for what she had. She had these words (from the song Anthem by Leonard Cohen) painted on her wall:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

Isn't that beautiful?

9. Back to the silly--Here are my kids in their Christmas pjs:

Yes, it drives me crazy that they are not coordinated. I have already bought their pjs for next year and they all match!

10. November and December have been one big binge-fest for me. Well, in all honesty, it started with the Halloween candy and probably won't end until after the girl scout cookies are gone. I feel nasty. Every night I swear I will do better the next day and then wake up and eat Oreos (or jo jos if I've got 'em) for breakfast. I need an intervention.

I can't believe we only have about two and a half weeks until Christmas. This time of year goes way too fast. This post has so much random stuff, I want to hit delete but I'm too lazy to do different posts, so it is what it is. Enjoy.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Like Anyone Cares

Just when I actually have some stuff to blog about--Gourmet dinner night, breakfast with Santa, random computer died. I am now fasting and praying that the dudes down at PC laptops can revive it. If they can, it will be my Christmas miracle--because who really wants to blow the wad on a new computer this time of year?

I'm blogging from Sam's laptop but I'll be awol the next few days. Expect some great posts from me when I get back, unless the computer is dead, in which case, this may be goodbye.