December 28, 2010

Hamburger Soup

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I couldn't wait to tell Grumpy what we were having for dinner the night I made hamburger soup.  :) 

If you are one of my Facebook Followers, you probably know the story about how when I ask Grumpy what he is making for dinner....and I get the response "hotdog soup". That is his reply no matter how much I wished he would help out and at least come up with an idea for dinner. 

Needless to say, I received pure pleasure when Grumpy called me to find out what was on the dinner table that night, and my response was "hamburger soup".  He thought I was joking.....little did he know just how serious I was.  ;o) 

Hamburger Soup

1 lb hamburger
1/2 large onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1-1/2 teaspoons Aromat (or any other all purpose seasoning)
2-14.5 oz cans diced petite tomatoes
2 cans hot water
3 vegetable boullion cubes
1 package Birds-Eye Steamfresh mixed vegetables (I used the one with asparagus and baby carrots, so I cut them up smaller before mixing into the soup)
1/2 cup quick cooking barley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme

Saute hamburger, onion, garlic and Aromat seasoning until beef is browned.  Drain any excess fat from beef.

Stir in two tomatoes, boullion cubes, vegetables, and hot water.  Simmer a few minutes until boullion cubes have dissolved.  Add salt, basil, oregano, and thyme.  Stir in barley.  Simmer about 10 minutes.

About the salt and boullion.  If you are watching your sodium, you will want to adjust this.  I tend to like things on the saltier side - but even Chris said this needed more flavor - so I added about 1 teaspoon of the better than boullion paste at the end.  This made it perfect for us.

I used quick cooking barley - but orginally had plans to use a small pasta.  I switched to barley when I found I didn't have the pasta that I wanted (ditalini).  I probably could have used orzo but then the barley caught my eye, so I went with it.  This soup was enjoyed by everyone....and next time Grumpy may not think I'm joking when I tell him we are eating hamburger soup!

December 27, 2010

Apple Fritters

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What do a mother and son do when they are basically snowed in for the day?  Well, this mother and son hung out, watched some TV, played some games, took down the Christmas decorations, cleaned up the house some, and the son went out to clean the cars off and touch up where the snow plow didn't get.  :)  I'm such a lucky mom to have such a handsome helpful son!

December 26, 2010

Happy Birthday to my Christopher!

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Justin, Me, Christopher

My baby.  I know, most children don't like to be called that....but in all honestly, that is what they are and will always be in a mother's heart - no matter how old or big they get to be.

My Christopher.  One of the two most precious babies I had and the last one I had.  To think, I wasn't ready to have another child when I found out I was going to have Christopher.  I cried.  I thought to myself, "how on earth can I ever love another child as much as I love Justin?"  Nine months later I found out that it was more than possible and if anything, Christopher was the most precious Christmas present a mom could ever receive.  He turned out to be the most loving, kind hearted, handsome young man.  How this wonderful young man hasn't had some sweet little thing snatch him right up yet I will never understand.  Of course, it probably isn't because someone doesn't want to....more like he doesn't seem to deem it important to him at this point in his life.  I do know one thing.  If the way he treats his momma is the way he will treat soulmate, this young man will be the most attentive, loving partner that anyone will be able to find.  I'm so proud to have been participant in raising this boy.  (yes, his daddy gets credit too!).  Happy Birthday Fur.  Mom loves you with all her heart and soul....and I am so happy you decided to find a way into this world!

December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

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Yes.  This is Rudy's idea of how to decorate the house.  Usually we find his little fishy toy in this spot.  Lately he has been enarmored with the Christmas tree.  I guess it is a good thing he is such a lover because otherwise I'd be ready to throttle him....although every ornament I find off the tree brings forth the words "I'm going to hurt you Rudy".   I'll never do it.  I'm all talk.  I guess he just wants to decorate his favorite spot too. 

Merry Christmas to all of you from the home of
The Life & Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch!

Oh....and of course, from little Rot-ten Rudy Rut-ton too.  :)

December 23, 2010

Macadamia Eggnog Creams

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As Christmas gets closer I just get more and more excited this year.  I haven't had the "real" Christmas spirit in a long time now.  Christmas always seems to just plain make me sad.   With all the change over the years with traditions fading, children growing, not always being with family on the holiday, it just isn't the same.  I always would look forward to the holiday for the main reason of seeing my family. 

What makes this year so exciting for me is two things!  First, I will have my children in my home on Christmas Eve and they will wake up here on that morning to open their presents under the tree!  Next, we are going to have a very special Christmas Day at my Aunt Ann's house - something we have never done before.  I remember many Christmas past spent with her - but either at my mom's, Grandma's or Aunt Marlene's home.  Because my Aunt Ann lives nearby, we get to spend the holiday with her and her family this year and I am super excited about that too!

My Aunt was telling last night how excited everyone will be to eat my food.  lol.  I will be taking these cookies, along with the Oreo cookies I made this week - and a platter with the rest of the cookies I got at our cookie exchange we had at work.  We will also be having pumpkin roll (can't believe I never blogged that, but I see several blogging friends did so this year!), vanilla cheesecake with a raspberry dessert wine (which I got from For the Love of Wine at Crossgates - thanks to Kristen and Alan for turning me on to this!).  I will also provide my Mom's crockpot stuffing by request of my Aunt, along with homemade dinner rolls.  There will be Prime Rib, mashed potatoes, and squash....that I know of for certain....and I'm sure many other goodies on our table.  What special foods will you be serving this year at your holiday gathering?!

Macadamia-Eggnog Creams
Recipe from Cook’s Illustrated Holiday 2010
Makes 5 dozen cookies

3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons eggnog
2 tablespoons rum
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup macadamia nuts, toasted and chopped

Combine flour, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt in bowl. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy, 2 minutes. Add edd and beat until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and alternate additions of flour mixture and ½ cup eggnog, mixing after each addition until combined. Divide dough into quarters, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.

Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll each dough quarter between 2 sheets of parchment paper to 1/8 inch thickness. Using 3-inch star cutter, cut out cookies and place 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake until edges are light brown, 8 to 10 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Cool 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.

Whisk remaining eggnog, rum, and confectioners’ sugar together until smooth. Spoon scant teaspoon glaze over cookies, sprinkle with nuts, and let dry, 30 minutes.

December 20, 2010

Short on time? Chocolate Dipped Peppermint Oreo Cookies

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Its not like you haven't seen this recipe/concept before.  In fact, I'm very certain you have.

The cookies are an "Oreo knockoff" I found at Wal-mart.  But my, oh, my.  Are they ever yummy!  The creme filling is a peppermint cream - white with pink specks...sandwiched between two very crunchy chocolate wafers.  When you bite into one of these, they are just as pretty as they were before you bit into one!

So, if your short on time but still want to impress.....make some of these up...guarantee, your friends will love you for it!

You can't get much simplier than these....and if you can't find the cookies I found (Rippin Good Candy Cane Twists), then I'm quite sure the oreo mint filled one will work too!

White Chocolate Coated Candy Cane Twists
1 lb package Rippin Good Candy Cane Twists
1 lb white melting chocolate (the kind you would use to coat pretzels)
Red, white, & green non-pariels for decorating
friends to share with

Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat.  Stir frequently.  When chocolate seems to be almost all melted, remove from burner and stir until chocolate is all melted and incorporated.  Be careful not to let condensation get in your will make it sieze up on you!

Dip the cookie in chocolate, flip, lift with fork and tap fork on rim of dish to knock off excess chocolate.  Place on tinfoil lined cookie sheet and sprinkle non-pariels over top to decorate.  To quicken the hardening process, place cookie sheet in freezer.  These are awesome frozen or room temp and make a super pretty addition to your cookie platter! 

December 19, 2010

Memories of Christmas Past with the Law's

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This time of year I get really nostalgic.  I don't have a lot of "everyday" memories with my dad's family, but I do have a lot of Christmas Eve memories.  That was one time we could all go to Grandma & Grandpa Law's house and know we were going to see our aunts, uncles and cousins...and we have a lot of them thanks to my Uncle Lyle  & Aunt Thea!  ;-)

I remember Christmases waiting out on our side deck for mom and dad to come outside and take us to Edwards.   It was dark, snow would be falling and so pretty.  I remember sticking my tounge out to catch the snowflakes.  I remember Grandma, always so quiet....but I can still here he calling my dad by his name, sitting in her same chair all the time, holding off the dogs because she knew I was afraid of them!  I remember Grandpa, always happy and smiling and so happy to see us all and always ready and willing with the fiddle or banjo.  I remember the cousins, all of us, going out to play in the snow and tossing snowballs or throwing each other down in the piles of snow. 

I remember the food....especially my mom's cheese ball!  Most of all, I remember the love.  We still have the love, we just don't have all the people anymore.  My Aunt Bonnie, Grandma, Grandpa, cousin Eugene (Rip), Renee...we've had heartache in the Law family at young ages.  I still love them all and miss them all.  This is the hard part of the holidays.  People grow up and leave, people pass, and nothing is the same anymore....except we all still love each other as strongly as we always have. 

I guess that is where the heart of Christmas all lies....the love in our hearts for our families....and for those of us who are Christian minded - knowing that this is the time of year that Christ was born out of love for us.  I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Enjoy your family and loved ones.  If your old traditions are gone, its time to start new ones to remember, I know this year, for Grumpy and I, that is exactly what we are doing.  New friends, new area, same family but different homes. 

December 12, 2010

Is it stealing?

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I have edited this post this morning to let you know that there was a big difference this morning when going to Google Analytics to check my stats.   I started noticing more entries on my Italian Cookie post on my sitemeter yesterday so this morning I couldn't wait to see what the change was.   Just by her taking my photo down from her page, my views went UP on that page by almost double.  The person who had my photo on her site is telling everyone she credited Google images - however, she gave nobody credit prior to my contacting her and now she is giving credit to the incorrect place.  Don't be like this poster and be so self righteous that you can't admit a mistake, correct it and move on.  Do what is right.

Yesterday was quite the experience for me. I was searching images on google. I like to look at images for two reasons. To see the photo styling of other foodie images and to find recipes linked to the photos. I never use it for the purpose I found another blogger used it for.

While browing images I saw the image to my Italian Christmas Cookie post and when my mouse pointer hovered over it did not lead me to my site. It lead me to a site that I will leave un-named here. My initial reaction when I went to the site was, "she stole my photo". I immediately left a comment that said:

"I am really disappointed that you stole my cookie photo from my blog.  I have a copyright on my blog that states you are to not use my photos or content without my permission.  Please remove the cookie photo or at least give the credit to the photo to me and link back to my blog."

After I submitted the comment I immediately deleted it and left her another comment that left out the "stealing" portion. Needless to say, I pissed her off. She dedicated a whole post to me saying that I was "not nice" and that I should be contacting Google images as it was obvious they don't credit my photo either. She couldn't be more wrong. Where on earth does she get that? Google images does credit the photo! Google images links you to the website where the photo is located!!  I guess I'm not nice because my first comment that I deleted called her a thief.

I emailed her personally and told her that I would not apologize for asking her to either remove or give credit where credit is due, but I would apologize for using the word steal.  My thought was she could be innocent in knowing that what she was doing was wrong.  I also brought to her attention that I know and she knows that I deleted that comment myself and she chose to make it public. Why did she make it public anyway?Attention maybe, revenge?  She got it....but I doubt it was the kind of attention/revenge she wanted. She calls me not nice but yet when I did apologize that my wording in my first comment wasn't the best she ignored me and just left another comment on her blog that the issue was over. No apology for being rude herself after I did what I did to make sure other people did not see my first comment.

What did I learn from this experience? Will I stop contacting people if I see they are using my photos without permission or without giving credit where credit is due? Damn straight I will! Will I let one of my blogging friends know if I see their content on someone else's blog?  You betchya chet!  I will refrain from calling them thiefs....but in all reality, knowingly or unknowingly....isn't that what they are? When you think about it, how can they not know they are using something they shouldn't?

If you are going to write a blog and make it public, I believe you had better be "tuned in" to what is ethical and what isn't. If she had of asked me in the first place if she could use my photo, would I have let her? Probably. As long as she told people where she got it from. That is the difference between her and me and that is why someone will never tell me to please remove their photo from my post.

December 08, 2010

Christmas Cookies

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Since my time is limited lately and since I have been blogging for almost 3 years now (can you believe it!?!) I decided that it was time to do a Christmas Cookie round-up and showcase my favorite cookies!  I also am looking for a cookie that will be easy for me to wrap and take to our cookie exchange at work so please, feel free to link up your favorite cookie!

I want to also give you a heads up that I am planning a special giveaway for my 3rd year anniversary of blogging.  Watch for the post after Christmas....on December 27, 2010!

First of all....what are the holidays without thinking of mint?  Some of my favorite mint cookies....

Of course, we all love eggnog, right?

Don't forget your Family Recipe cookies....the ones that make you remember the loved ones in your life!

Don't forget the tradition Italian cookies....

Its not Christmas without some Chocolate and Hazelnut!

My newest addition of favorites!

and lets not forget - it isn't Christmas without SNOW....of some kind!  Snow is kinda special to me since it is my son's last name....I call them my snowmen!  ;-)  I know, I'm a dork (in case my brother Steve is reading!)

Today, I am also going to share my sugar cookie recipe that I would make for all the holidays - and decorate with my Nanny.  While I didn't use this recipe for the snowflake photographed here (this was a TwD contribution) this recipe is my go to that I make all the time for cut-outs.  It is the recipe I used when I made my Candy Corn Cookies for Halloween this year.  I hope you will enjoy!


Rolled Sugar Cookies
from Better Homes and Garden's Christmas Cookies Cookbook

2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons butter
1/3 cup shortening
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large mixer bowl beat butter and shortening until butter is softened. Add sugar and beat til fluffy. Add egg, milk, and vanilla and beat well. Add flour mixture and beat til well mixed. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill at least 3 hours or til easy to handle.

Roll dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut with cookie cutters, place on an ungreased cookie sheet (I usually use parchment paper if I have it). Bake at 375 for 7-8 minutes or til done. Remove and cool. 

December 04, 2010

Broccoli Dal - one of my favorite warming dishes!

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I have been craving this Broccoli Dal lately.  The first time I made it, I literally ate it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Seriously!  There is something about Indian spices that not only makes me feel comforted, but makes me feel satisified after eating something made with them.  This dal is perfect for the cooler temps and it is super simple to throw together!

The toughest part of making this dal is literally chopping the broccoli and dicing the onion!  The recipe comes from Lauren Ulm's Vegan Yum Yum cookbook.  One instruction I would give you that isn't in the book is to rinse the lentils.  Red tend to be really cloudy and you want to rinse and stir them in a colander under cold running water until the water runs clear.  Otherwise, your dal may turn mucky. 

What did Grumpy think?  He actually liked it.  Not like it enough to eat for 3 meals a day like me, but he liked it!&nbsp
; I was very surprised because he is usually very anti Mexican and Indian food!  Let me know what you thought!

Broccoli Dal

recipe adapted from Vegan Yum Yum

1-2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon mustard seed (I use black)
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1/2 chopped onion
1/2 cup well rinsed red lentils, drained
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped broccoli (stalks and florets)
2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 cup almond milk
Cayenne pepper (optional) to taste

Saute mustard seed, cumin seed, red lentils and onions until seeds pop and lentils begin to turn color.  Be careful not to burn.  Add water, broccoli and salt and simmer for about 20 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed and broccoli and lentils are tender.

Stir in garam masala, tumeric, lemon juice, soy sauce and milk.  Add cayenne pepper to taste.  Cook until soup begins to steam again but do not boil.  Add more salt as needed, sprinkle with cayenne (optional).  Serve & enjoy!

December 03, 2010

Honeyb's Sliders

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I never order sliders when I go out to eat.  I look at them all the time but then I end up not getting them.  Mainly because I'm not a huge burger person - but when I do want one, I want a small a slider.  One.  Not 4 or 5 like you get with an order. 

I also very rarely buy something for just me.  A few weeks ago though, that is just what I did....and I spent less than $10 to make myself happy.  lol

I'm a smaller more frequent eater.  I eat more often but not that much when I do eat - for the most part.  That is why sliders have such an appeal to me.  So when I saw that Boscov's included the "As seen on TV" slider maker for only 5.99 - well I snatched it up!

What an awesome little gadget it is. I love how I could cook the little burgers right on my stove top and not have to flip them....and still get grill marks like I had grilled them outside. Even Grumpy was game and he had a plate full of them!  I love how perefectly sized they turn out.  This little gadget will get some use in my house!

Honeyb's Sliders

1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 cup milk
1/8 cup finely chopped red onion

Scoop burger out (be generous with the scoop).  If you don't have a slider maker, you can use a large cookie scoop.  Place burgers in pan, place top on pan and press and cook over medium heat.  It only takes a few minutes so stay close by.

Assemble with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

P.S.  I had no ketchup!  I couldn't believe it!!  So, I pulled out Grumpy's 1000 Island dressing and used that to top.  Was yummy.  Made me think of Colleen's Big Mac burger!

***Disclaimer - I am only talking about the slider maker because it is a product I myself bought and love.  I was not compensated in anyway for talking about this product.***

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