Wednesday, November 30, 2011

holiday favorites: cranberry sauce

We had a quiet little family Thanksgiving with some of the kids and our granddaughter, Madi. It was wonderful.

For Family Night we made another gratitude garland. We took turns choosing a leaf and telling what we were thankful for. Ella sounded out each word and wrote them on the leaves. This year's list:
  • food
  • Jesus
  • family
  • Kate
  • our home
  • Madi
  • Mom
  • Dad
  • Patrick & Ashlee
  • Santa
  • the temple
  • Ella
A simple activity, but always a favorite. I purchased the pre-cut leaves at Pebbles in my Pocket, punched holes at the top of each with a micro circle punch and threaded them onto crochet thread.

A couple of weeks ago, Ella went to her friend David's house to play. I'm pretty sure the entire neighborhood was there. Later, David's mother told me they played house and Ella was the mom and David was the dad. They had family night, and each child had to tell one thing they were thankful for--so sweet.

Then Ella and David kissed. What? (Tawnie was laughing as she was telling me this.) I apologized and told her I'd talk to Ella. She said she told the little love birds they had a "no kissing" rule. Ella explained, "But my mom and dad kiss all the time!" Okay, kinda sweet.

Speaking of sweet things, my favorite thing about Thanksgiving (and Christmas) dinner is the cranberry sauce. I've found either you're a cranberry person or you're not. If you're not, this recipe could possibly change your mind. And if you already are, you'll never purchase a can of it again.

Years and years ago, our Relief Society had a professional chef, Glen Pincock, teach us how to make a complete holiday dinner, fancy schmancy-style. It was inspiring. I remember feeling so "Martha-ish" as I put herbs under the skin of the turkey and added orange slices to the cavity before cooking it. I still use many of the other tips and tricks, and this cranberry sauce recipe:


12 oz. fresh cranberries
11 oz. can  mandarin oranges
1 3/4 c. sugar (I use less, about 1 1/2 c., which makes it a little more tart)
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

Combine cranberries, spices, sugar and liquid from mandarin oranges in a saucepan. Simmer on low. When cranberries begin to break down, add mandarin orange segments. Stir and cook to desired texture. Chill.

So simple to make and an absolute must for turkey sandwiches. It can be made early and kept in the fridge, just in case you decide to go see Breaking Dawn and have lunch with your girlfriends the day before Thanksgiving, instead of preparing food. Just in case. ;)

Splitcoast Sketch and a Sweet Chickadee

Every time that I pull out this sweet chickadee, I walk away with a smile on my face!!

Check out the "frost" on the berries.  And can you see the glossy accent on his eye!

Here's today's Splitcoast Sketch Challenge

  • Stamps: Sweet 'n Sassy God's Purpose
  • Paper: Stampin' Up Creamy Caramel, Real Red, Silver Glimmer, Echo Park Dots and Stripes (the Sweet 'n Sassy online store carries the Dots and Stripes series)
  • Ink: Memento black, copics
  • Accessories: Nestabilities Fleur de Lis Square, Cuttlebug embossing folder (the actual folder is just a sprig of holly but I moved it around on the paper to fully cover), Stampin' Up Red Taffeta, Ranger Glossy Accents.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

the secret...

Its with mixed emotions today that I announce that I have been  chosen as one of the 2012 Scrapbooking Memories Masters. Way back in August when I got the totally unexpected call from Cassie Bellemore I was in complete shock as I didnt even rate my self as a chance after the amazing year I had already had. I think I swore several times and then shakily rang my husband to scream the good news!!!!!!!!
I walked around in a daze for  a couple of days afterwards....
So you may ask why the mixed emotions.....for the last couple of weeks my best friend's daughter has been extremely sick in ICU in hospital, it has been and continues to be a very scary time for her and her family and friends, one of my projects for the application for Masters was about Kate who is in hospital, she plays a very important part in my children's and my life .
So I would like to dedicate my Masters win and opportunity to Kate who continually inspires me and everyone who knows her with her strength,  courage and fighting spirit, she truly is here for a purpose to teach and inspire others....
Till next time...

Sausage Gravy over Cannellini Bean Puree

For awhile now I've been thinking about all the recipes that I make off the cuff.  Staple dishes that I create in my own kitchen that have become favorites and can be relied on again and again.  Often times these are my very best dishes and yet I never think to post them and I have no idea why.

This recipe, which we call Sausage Gravy, is a real family favorite and happens to be one of my favorite things to eat.  Basically is it a version of sausage with peppers and onions, but instead of keeping the peppers and onions visible and firm, I cook them down with some form of liquid (chicken stock, beef stock, tomato juice, etc.) until the peppers and onions melt into a deeply rich and flavorful gravy of sorts.  Sometimes I follow the same guideline while other times I throw in all kinds of things, depending on what I have on hand. 

Sausage Gravy is something we eat at least once a month, if not more.  If I haven't had a chance to plan my menu and I need something quick that I can grab in the store in a jiffy then I'll grab a pack of sausage and be on my way.  Most often we serve our Sausage Gravy with pierogi.  Other times we serve it with potatoes, pasta, or polenta. 

As a bean lover I will tell you that I am quite disappointed in myself that it took me this long to pair beans with my Sausage Gravy.  However, once I chose the Cannellini Bean Puree as my recipe for IHCC I knew there was only one thing that would pair perfectly with it:  My Sausage Gravy.  I actually had a visual in my mind of a decadent and creamy white bean puree with a deeply hued dark and rich Sausage Gravy sitting on top and I was so obsessed I could think of nothing else.  I just imagined it as the perfect plate of food...and it was.  
 Sausage Gravy
Created in the Stirring the Pot Kitchen
Serves 4

1 pack good Italian sausages (Johnsonville has 5 per pack)
1 medium onion, sliced
1 bell peppers, sliced
1 tablespoons olive oil
2-4cloves of garlic, minced
About 4-6 cups chicken stock/beef stock/diced or crushed tomatoes 
Possible Add In's: Tomatoes, Jalapenos, Zucchini, Red Pepper Flakes

In a large skillet (preferably cast iron)  place about 1 tablespoon of oil and sear the sausages over medium heat until they reach a golden brown color, or deep dark color (whichever you prefer).  Remove the browned sausages to a plate (adding more oil to the pan if necessary) and saute the onion and pepper until they begin to soften.  Add in the garlic and place the sausages back in the pan with the onions and peppers and begin adding your liquid about 1/2 cup at a time (beef broth, chicken broth, and/or diced or crushed tomatoes).  As the onions and peppers begin to melt into the liquid a thick sauce will start to form.  When the liquid starts to cook out and the sauce becomes to thicken, add another 1/2 cup of sauce, making sure to scrap all the goodies off the bottom of the pan and incorporate them into the sauce.  Repeat this process over and over, cooking the sausages for about a total of 20 minutes, or until they are cooked through and the sauce has the desired consistency you want (sometimes we enjoy the sauce thin and sometimes we like it thicker, depending on what we are serving it with).  Serve on it's own or over pierogi, potatoes, pasta, polenta, beans or Cannellini Bean Puree.

 Cannellini Bean Puree
Adapted from Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros
Serves 6 - 8 as a side dish

2 cups dried cannellini beans, soaked in cold water overnight
1 small carrot
1 small celery stalk
1 small onion
3 or 4 fresh/dried sage leaves
1/2 cup olive oil (I used a scant 1/4 cup and it was too much)
2-3 garlic cloves, lightly crushed with the flat of a knife
2 small springs of rosemary

Drain the soaked beans and put them in a large saucepan (I used my Dutch oven).  Cover with cold water and bring to a boil.  Remove the scum that rises to the surface with a slotted spoon and decrease the heat slightly.  Add the whole carrot, celery, onion, and sage leaves.  Cook for about 1-1/4 hours, or until the beans are tender.  Remove the beans from the heat and remove as much of the carrot, celery, onion, and sage bits as you can manage.

Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a saucepan with the garlic, rosemary springs, and some ground black pepper.  Heat until the oil is is well-flavored and you can smell the garlic and rosemary, taking care that they don't burn.  Let cool. 

Drain the beans, reserving the water.  Puree the beans and about 1/2 cup to 1 cup of the bean water in a blender or with a handheld mixer directly in the saucepan.  You should have a very smooth, thick, puree that is not too dense.  If it seems to be too liquid, put it back over the heat in a saucepan to thicken a bit, stirring all the time.  Season to taste and serve warm, drizzled with the flavored oil.
(Note: Take care when drizzling the oil over the bean puree.  My hand slipped and I ended up pouring a bit too much over my beans.  Secondly, I don't think you need all of the oil called for in the recipe.)
Theme: Bean There, Done That!

SCS Color Challenge: My Faves

I had sworn that I would not make any cards today - at least until my craft area was clean - which could easily take the hours that I have to create!  But I saw the color challenge at Splitcoast and couldn't help myself: Krafty White Pizzazz.  Kraft is so natural and Pear Pizzazz is so soft and White is so clean!
I combined the colors with this week's Fall to Layout to create this little scene.

  • Stamps: Stampin' Up Pennant Parade, A Muse sentiment
  • Paper: Stampin' Up Crumb Cake, Pear Pizzazz, white, Silver Glimmer
  • Ink: Stampin' Up Pear Pizzazz, ColorBox Frost White
  • Accessories: misc circle, scalloped circle and star punches, oval nestie (to cut the snowy hill), Stampin' Up Embossing Folder, American Craft ribbon, Making Memories bird brad,

Monday, November 28, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This is a book meme hosted by bookjourney ... We simply mention what we read last week, maybe talk about it a little, and then show what we are reading this week...
Last week I read...

By Kent Harrington...This was a real departure for me...I read it because I am to do a review on it...I liked it...It is fast paced and it is definitely a thriller. The seamier side of Mexico is revealed in all of it'a glory...during what is basically a 24 hour period ( Dia De La Muertos to be exact). It is a very dangerous day for a few people! I found myself pulling for the main character which surprised me...

This week I am reading...

By Libby Fischer Hellman, this also is a thriller...I am also to do a review on this one...I am just starting and it already has a grip on me and did so from not too far into the first chapter...I can't say much more because I am not very far into it, but let me just say that after only reading a few chapters, I find myself wanting to go back and double check some facts before I go any farther so that I have things right...she has me already!
Stay tuned...

Baby girl fluffy!!!!!!

I had posted about sewing for girls and here are the fluffy cute and fun bibs that will be heading to NY to be placed around two of the cutest girls ever!

These are my three favorite, the one on the left is so much fun, I made two :o) The middle is Moda Sweet and the right takes my breath away...Alexander Henry Lou Lou...swoon!

There are ten total and that is a difficult number to take one shot of so I broke it up.

Set one...

Set two...

All backed in minky. Squishy goodness that I now need to go get  my backpack leaf blower and blow out my sewing room!!!!

Clean & Simple Up and Away Rudolph!

The sketch for today's Splitcoast CAS challenge is wonderfully flexible.  The sample card is rustic and as I browse the gallery I see teddy bears and snowflakes and cute little dogs!!  I went for Rudolph taking off into the snowy sky!

This is my second post for today so keep reading!!!
  • Stamps: Hero Arts Reindeer Stamp & Die-Cut set, Papertrey Signature Greetings
  • Paper: misc green and white, Stampin' Up Silver Glimmer Paper
  • Ink: Stampin' Up Real Red, Memento Black and Copics
  • Accessories: Nestabilities Scalloped Squares, Cuttlebug border snowflake folder, jingle bells, red rhinestone noses and silver twine

Freshly Made Wildflower and Thanks

Good morning everyone!  I hope that all of you who celebrate Thanksgiving had a wonderful and relaxed holidays!  I found myself within enough time to really think about everyone for whom I was grateful and I made sure that I called and/or made cards for them. 

This card is for a particular friend who has recently gone so far above and beyond for me. I asked her to simply "point me in a direction" and she made phone calls, did research and gathered materials!  Her own cards tend toward vintage collage.  I don't have the talent nor the supplies for that style, so I tried to base the card in my own fairly simple style but by adding a text background and some sponging on the edges, I think it takes on a vintage look.

I added a little golden shimmer on the main image and the red panel and the flower centers use a sticker that is full of glitter!

I used this week's sketch from Freshly Made Sketches

  • Stamps: Sweet 'n Sassy Wildflowers, Stampin' Up Tiny Tags
  • Paper: Stampin' Up Very Vanilla, Black, Cherry Cobbler, First Edition dsp
  • Ink: Stampin' Up Markers in Cherry Cobbler, Always Artichoke
  • Accessories: Sweet 'n Sassy Lacey Eyelet Border die, Stampin' Up Artichoke Grosgrain and Tiny Tags punch, Tattered Angels Gold Glimmer Mist, Mark Richards Candy Bonbon Stickers

Sunday, November 27, 2011

out and about: St. George, UT mini va-cay

Every fall, Lynn and Patrick take a "boys" trip together. They've gone to Yellowstone several times and Zion's National Park. This year, they sort of invited the girls (me, Ashlee and Ella). We all headed to the condo in St. George and on Saturday we went our separate ways.

The boys took off for the day exploring back roads and visiting the site of the Mountain Meadow Massacre. They also visited a ghost town called Grafton.

The girls had some serious shopping to do at my favorite spots. Not before hitting the nail salon though. Ella and I got manicures. Since Ashlee was having her bridal photos the day after we arrived home, she got both a mani and a pedi. Ella asked me, "Hey, why does Ashlee get both?" :)

Our first stop was a consignment shop called Urban Renewal. It's right on St. George Blvd. They have housewares and clothing and other fun stuff. Ashlee bought the most darling vintage dress and a silk blouse. Patrick and Ashlee went back later and bought a coffee table.

I loved this green metal gate and those worn pots. I restrained myself and didn't buy either. Now looking at the photo, I wish I'd purchased some of those pots.

Elles Belles had a little visit with Brigham.

Our next stop was Lazy Daisy Cottage quilt shop. They always have great quilts and projects on display. I love the design of the quilt they had hanging on the porch. I bought a couple of fat quarters for a banner I'm making.

And of course we hit the Home Goods/TJ Maxx near the outlet mall. 

The rest of the time we ate, swam and watched movies. Patrick and Ashlee also went to the St. George temple. (It's one of my absolute favorites because of the history.) They watched Ella so Lynn and I could have a date night. (Thanks tons, you two.)

It was pretty much the perfect little getaway.

Other favorites in St. George:
  •  Dining at the Painted Pony. It's in Ancestor Square and has delicious gourmet food a.k.a "fussy food." Dinner is mucho pricey, but lunch is reasonable.
  • The kids always loved visiting the Thomas Judd store. It's an ice cream/soda shop filled with every vintage candy imaginable. Remember those wax lips? Got 'em. How about all chocolate Neccos? Yep, them too. Lynn found glass bottles of orange Nehi soda and Frosty root beer he loved as a kid. It's a fun little stroll down memory lane.
  • During the summer, the park next to the Tabernacle has the best little man-made river/splash pad. Grab a snack and your sunscreen and head over.


Oh, it is so sad...the end of my Staycation is approaching...and I shall have to return to work tomorrow...and NO, I am absolutely not looking forward to it...I guess that means that I have enjoyed myself here at home...even though we didn't go away...You may recall that we were supposed to go to the beach...then I consoled myself with the fact that I would be able to decorate for Christmas...but we couldn't do that either because Hubby went and scheduled a hernia repair...thoughtless of him wasn't it? I decorated my little pink blog instead...I like it, I hope you do too!

Yesterday was my birthday! I am now 53! I think I like being 53 and a few sizes smaller than I was last year...even if no one noticed...see a theme actually celebrated by joining my family at the wedding of my third eldest nephew. He married a lovely was a lovely wedding...I don't know why, but her family chose not to attend...and it made that part pretty sad...but over all she did very well...and she has quite a catch if I do say so myself:)
It was great to see my sister and her family...Her children were a lot of fun to be with at the wedding, they even danced. I got to dance with my father, even if the bride didn't get to dance with hers...
We had a very nice Thanksgiving. The Ravens won the what more can you ask for?
I was able to spend it with my family...all of them...I was a little sad that none of them thought to ask of us on Friday but...that's life...I know that they were helping to prepare for the wedding...
I suppose I could have offered, but...I felt the need to be if it wasn't my place...
Anyway, enough of that...I have heard from a few authors that sent out a few requests for people to read their books and post reviews...So I am happy to say that I will be able to accommodate them! I've been wanting to get into that on a more regular basis...
So this week it is back to the races...Wish me luck!

Oh, her wedding color was Navy Blue...but I like her was actually very pretty..and my little niece and nephew caught the bouquet and garter!

The most wonderful time of the year or at least the busiest! ( winner announced)

A belated Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!! Very busy days around everyone's homes I am sure!!!! It was a quiet but super busy day here! Cute turkeys to color :o)

I ran my first 5k in 13 years!!!! I finished but my finishing time was listed in the 5yr old section,LOL! I am thinking of a half marathon but we shall see...

SCADS of bib sewing! A sweet mama that I sewed for years ago had TWIN girls and I cannot even imagine how many bibs she goes through a week *headsmack* so I  have lots of lovely Lou Lou, Swell,  Japanese prints and some others (not shown) these will be finished sometime today!!!!!! AND my beautiful and super sweet neighbor asked me to make some bibs for a friend of hers that is having a little bundle of blue, I will show those later...just super CUTE with Heather Ross involved ;o)

Onto the winner... and thank you everyone for joining in on the fun!!!!!

I will be sending you an email :o)

81. supersara20 said...

I am a follower and I love green bean casserole or my grandmother Rose's stuffing! Sad, I won't make it home this year to have the stuffing though.

The travel set....

I was extremely excited when the lovely Melinda emailed me a couple of months ago asking me to  be a Guest Designer for Imaginisce for November. I got sent lots of goodies including an i rock tool and the fabulous Bon Voyage collection of pattern papers and embellishments. I decided to use my goodies to create a Travel set for my sister who is holidaying overseas in  late December.
                                                     Memorabillia bag and face mister.
Bon Voyage card
                                                                     Memory jar

                                                                         Passport holder
Till next time...