Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Seven Swans a Swimming...

So, originally when I thought I might craft up the seven swimming swans, I thought this might be a cute kids craft...  I remembered making these with a babysitter when I was young and my parents were at a work holiday party. Then I started making them, and let me just say... I think my babysitter was on crack. Oh well, it was more than twenty years ago, and maybe it would be OK for older kids. My five year old son was not interested. Little kids could wind up the pipe cleaners, and paint the pine cones.

So, gather up your supplies and your glue gun.. and your heat resistant fingers.

Then you begin by curling up about half of the pipe cleaner...

Then you curl the rest into an oval to fit on a pine cone.... 
But don't glue it on yet! First you will want to select the feathers for the tail, two to three will be lots. You can cut the longer ones down if you like. Then you glue those on.... Oh, and hot glue and feathers? This is why this is not a craft for children. Ones you actually like, anyhow. Ouch.

Then you attach the pipe cleaner... more hot glue and feathers... yay! *cry*

Then you are done!

Unless you want him to have a face... then you take a toothpick, color the end orange, cut it off and dip it in sticky lava hot glue and attach to the pipe cleaner. Cute!

That's it!

 Unless you want 6 more...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Last weekend in November...

This is the weekend of exitement for me. The holidays are looming up and getting ready to bite me in the keister. This is when the fire gets lit under my butt and the shopping list unfurls. I vow to get it done before it gets too miserable and snowy... and gross. I promise myself to make it all happen while I can still get away with a warm sweater and leave the parka and boots at home... after all - it's just from the car to the mall.

Here's hoping!

To my American friends - Happy Thanksgiving. Here's hoping there is more than "toast and maybe cold cereal" on your table this weekend.

Via Wikipedia

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Six Geese a Laying

What do geese lay? Eggs. Biiiiiig stretch on this one people, I know.

So since goose eggs are not something most of us are familiar with eating, or buying I went with the standard chicken egg.
By the way.... I hate eggs. I hate cracking them. I hate the smell of them. I hate cooking them. I really hate eating them. The thought actually makes me gag... so does the idea of cracking them, because even though I try really hard to avoid it, I always get eggs on my hands. *gag* OK.  My husband makes the breakfast in this house. I have no idea how to make a fried, scrambled or poached egg.

What in the heck do you make with eggs when you HAAAAATE eggs? Good question. Not quiche. Not custard. Breakfast casserole? Yes.

Now this is a recipe that is all over the Internet. I got it from a friend, but I've seen a pretty close recipe on the Bob Evans site too. 

What's the difference between all those recipes and mine? I HATE eggs. So mine doesn't taste like eggs.... and it's not mushy gooey awfulness. It's fluffy in the middle, crisp on top and if you come to my house to eat it, it's probably stuck to the pan... I never remember to grease it.  Ever.

So the players today? Milk, eggs, bread, cheese, breakfast sausage, dry mustard.

OH!  And some kind of non-stick spray! (not pictured, because, well.... I forgot it. heh)

8 slices toasted bread - cut into cubes
4-5 eggs
1/3 cup of milk
dash of dry mustard
package of sausage crumbled and fried
1 cup old cheddar cheese grated (I just use a mini food processor thing... it's magical!)

SO toast the bread a little to dry it out, fry and crumble up the breakfast sausage (don't use the maple, apple what the heck over, just get the original - and if you can only find the ones in the casing,  just remove the casing!) and drain it.
Chop the bread into cubes. Lay out half the bread in the dish.... realize you forgot to spray it, dump out the bread and SPRAY the dish.  Sprinkle in 1/3 of the cheese and sprinkle in the dry mustard ( I use maybe 1/4 tsp... I take two pinches and sprinkle it over). Spread in the cooked sausage next and top with the remaining bread and cheese.  Whisk the milk and eggs together and pour over everything. (If you are making this for Christmas morning, or the next morning for any other reason do not pour in the eggs and milk until right before you cook it it makes it mushy and gross if it sits in there all night.... in my opinion).

Put into a preheated oven on 350 and cook for about 30 minutes. If you have refrigerated it overnight make it more like 45-60 minutes.  When the cheese is all melted and its not slimy eggy in the middle it's good to go. It's going to be moist... but not eggy.  

 Serve it up with some fruit.... and for special occasions you could toss in some cinnamon rolls.

It smells great and tastes really good. Even if you HATE eggs... and it kind of looks like dog food... hmm.  In my house daddy goes to check for Santa and preheats the oven. When we get through the stockings the casserole goes in the oven and by the time we are done with gifts it's time to eat. Fuss free. Looks really good now, doesn't it?  ;)

(When did this become a cooking site? Tomorrow is seven swans a swimming... and it's a craft! No... not another sewn bird... but something you could possibly do with kids!)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Five Golden Rings!

SO.... On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me Fiiiiiive Golden Riiiiings!

More or less.

ooooh yeah baby. Home made onion rings. Are they worth the hassle? Yes. Surprisingly though, not really a hassle.


aaand.... in the spirit of being perfect, I left out the baking powder. Oops.  One day I'll have it together.

1.5 - 2 Cups of milk
1/2 - 3/4 cup of flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
sprinkle of salt and pepper.

1.5 cups of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1.5 cups of flour

1 Vidalia Onion sliced into 1/2 inch rings

So to make the batter you mix about 1.5 cups of milk with 1/2 cup of flour and add the baking powder. Seriously people, make a batter that looks like pancake batter, or a milkshake. It's not brain surgery. Promise. Add a little salt and pepper. Whisk it up.
Slice the onion about 1/2 inch thick. It's preference.

Heat about an inch of oil in a heavy bottom pan and set up your assembly line.
Bread crumbs, batter, flour.  (So you want enough of each to coat the onion ring... again, not rocket science. Promise!)

 When the oil heats up (you know... when it sizzles if you drop a bit of batter in it, but doesn't catch the batter on fire... go with it) you put some rings in the flour and tap of the excess. The idea here is that the flour dries the rings so the batter sticks to it. Then you plop the ring into the batter - shake off the excess, a deep bowl is key here - less messy.  Take the battered ring and toss it around in the breadcrumbs. Plop it in the oil... *sizzle* yay!

Flip them over a couple times....  oh! check me out. I use a fancy onion ring turner...

It's a wooden skewer. You don't need one. But it was handy! I used one for the dipping too, because, UGH, my fingers were getting all battery and crumby... not a fan of messy hands.  At all.  So anyhow *sizzle* until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes and then you can let them drain on paper towels or put on a rack in a cookie pan in an oven on about 220ish to keep them warm.  You will take out the first ones and be all ooooh aaaaah... but by the time you take out the second ones you will realize that the first ones kind of suck... put them back in!

Rave reviews in this house. Not a single one left.
Let's look at them again....

Mmmmmm. Crisp and yum. Yum and crisp. It takes like 20 minutes start to finish with a small person asking you to "come here!" multiple times. 

(pssst - I linked up on Recipes of a Cheapskate for Saturdays Party)

Recipes Of A Cheapskate

Monday, November 22, 2010

Busy Weekend!

This weekend a few of us banded together, braved the cold, and stood outside for 4 hours... some of us even carried an additional, wiggling 40lbs PLUS snowsuit on their shoulders.


Free Coloring Pages!

That's right. Santa. We went to the Santa Claus parade in Cambridge, which is at night and all the floats are lit up. It's fantastic!!

My issue is, why bother showing up early to get a good spot when some rude family with 3 strollers is going to wedge themselves between you and curb anyhow? For real. That happened! What can you say? Maybe I am too polite (I mentioned this observation to my sister, and she laughed at the thought, FYI), maybe I just am too chicken to say something. Maybe I would rather mutter loudly about the rude people than to make a big stink at the freaking Santa Parade.

Weirder than weird though, the next day after we got home from soccer there was a box with an elf living in it. We're pretty sure it's just a doll though.... but we looked nervous about it. Ha!

Check out these free coloring pages for your kids if you are looking for something to keep the holiday crazy-pants excitement high in your house. I don't know about you, but we only need to mouth the word Santa and we are in for a walking in circles while trying to list the things he wants frenzy.

I love it.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Four Calling Birds...

Do you remember that pattern I showed you guys for the crow I did at Halloween?

Well if you take that pattern and reduce it down with a copier you get cute little ornaments for Christmas.

I think they are the sweetest little things. You could tag them for place settings, or tie them to a present, even hang them from cupboards or drawers. Love them.

Yes, I realize that is three calling birds, but hey... I will have way more than 5 golden rings, so it all evens out!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Three French Hens

This one came to me quickly. I'm  feeling pretty clever about it, I have to admit.  Admittedly I also have to admit that I am pleasantly surprised at how well it came out!

Are you ready?

Chicken Cordon Bleu... casserole. Did anyone else hear Julia Child rolling in her grave? ;o) Poor woman taught us all about french cuisine and we turn it into trash casserole. tsk tsk. Oh well - it's delicious.

So here is how that went:

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into pieces
1 egg
3/4 cup of breadcrumbs (more or less... and I used italian seasoned)
1/2 can of cream of whatever (I'm starting to think  all tastes the same anyhow... but I used cream of broccoli... )
1/4 cup of Gruyere (or Swiss - and really the amount is to your preference, I find Gruyere quite strong so I played it safe)
4 slices of deli ham.
3/4 cup milk

So chop the chicken, whisk the egg - dip the chopped chicken in the egg and then into the breadcrumbs and right into a frying pan with a little oil until it is browned.

Drain the cooked chicken on paper towels and then dump into a lightly greased casserole dish.
Slice the ham into roughly 1/2 inch strips and throw them in the dish and top with the cheese.
Mix the cream of whatever with the milk and pour over top. Then (if you like) you can top with more breadcrumbs or even stuffing.

Into the oven for about 30minutes. Take it out when it's all bubbly casserole fabulousness.

We had it with carrots and snow peas - it's not the healthiest meal, but it's fast... and it's made in your kitchen, that's a win-win for my house.

Enjoy the three french hens casserole!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Two turtle doves...

So! This is a fun one, totally doable with little kids and works into the attention span of most non-bakers. I'm not much of a baker. Generally speaking my cookies are pre-formed by little a dough man with a ticklish tummy... know what I mean? I make muffin tops because the butts don't come out of the pan. True story.

But this is the easiest thing ever.  Lots of people probably make it in some form or other.

Just, use your imagination on how it fits into the 12 Days of Christmas theme, please.

The ingredients are little pretzels, pecan halves and dove caramels.

What's that? Rolo's? Oh... this is where your imagination comes in. Pretend they are Dove Chocolate Caramel Promises. From here on out when I say "Rolo" you think "Dove" - otherwise this entire post makes no freaking sense. (I couldn't find the dove chocolates anywhere, I hobbled to 3 stores... no dove. Sadness!)

So to recap... Rolo -

Via Amazon

Moving on.

Lay out as many pretzels as you have Dove... or Rolo on a cookie sheet covered with a silicone mat. Preheat the oven to 240 and start unwrapping the chocolate caramels. Place a Dove Rolo on each pretzel and pop into the oven for about 4ish minutes.  When the chocolate caramel is still warm and a tiny bit melty you pull them out and place a pecan on top and squish it down.

Like so (woo! action shot!)

The you just let them cool until you don't burn your mouth off.  (Also you thank me for suggesting the silicone mat... you're welcome!) 

And they look like blobs turtles! Turtle DOVE.... get it? (Remember... imagination... heh heh)

Recipes Of A Cheapskate

Monday, November 15, 2010

A partridge in a pear tree...

I am so excited to start my "12 Days of Christmas" holiday themed blog posts with you!  I am back up on my feet (mostly!) and getting things done around here.

I thought long and hard over ALL 12 days of posts I would share with you and this was by far the easiest one. As you probably know a partridge is a bird... like a grouse or maybe a pheasant that people eat... but I am not into that so I thought that maybe it would be fun to do something with pears and partridge berries!

Via Wikipedia
Do you know what partridge berries are? Most people don't, but it's a berry found growing wild in places like Newfoundland... or Sweden. I bet you have likely seen something called lingonberry jam at Ikea. They have it with their meatballs? It's partridge berry jam! 
Via Ikea
But.... partridge berries are also hard to come by where I live, so I went for the next best thing and got some fresh cranberries. It's the same tart taste, but they are quite a bit bigger than a partridge berry.
I got a recipe for my first go from the maven of making stuff.... Martha Stewart.  Her Cranberry-Pear Crisp is super yummy, the cranberries sing "happy holidays" right into your heart... via your mouth.

Then I think I did it one better, I omitted 2 pears and subbed in two empire apples... Plus I forgot the lemon... oops... but really I think it's just to keep the fruit from browning.

So this is the point where you make the crumbly but crisp topping.... but don't forget to add that little bit of sugar over top of the fruit before you add the topping. Like I did.  Or you will find your self carefully moving the topping aside and adding sugar bit by bit.... like I did. Nothings perfect people.

Weird! I took it out of the oven and the dish was square! No. OK. So what happened was, after looking at the top dish we all decided that the crumb topping would never ever fit on top... so it got transferred. Cooking at my parents house is a democratic event, folks. I bet this is when I forgot the sugar! Anyhow, doesn't it look amazing?

What's that on top? Oh... that is a post for another day... trust me, it's worth waiting for!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I couldn't do it.

After dragging my rear end all over the place yesterday I was all done by 5pm. So no uploads. I'm sad too.

BUT - can you knit? Do you have or know of a little girl? If so this article from Canadian Living is for you.
Knit Fairy Wings. How adorable is this?

Via Canadian Living

I would really like to learn how to knit, but I just don't think I was born with the patience required for such a thing. I love it - I love the tradition of knitting and crocheting, I love the feel of knit mittens and socks, I love the beauty of a cabled sweater. I just don't love the time I presume all of that loveliness takes.  Which is why it's highly likely you will only ever see me post the ideas and patterns and creations of talented knitters - which I am not.

Monday, November 8, 2010


I promised the big splashy "Favourite Things" kick off today.  I had planned to finish up the presentation of what I had made for "Raindrops on roses..." on Sunday and get the pictures all uploaded.

Then I ended up spending quite a few hours at the clinic... to find out I have a sprained ankle. Ugh. Super.

So be patient my lovelies - I am a little hurty and a lot annoyed with myself but I will get that post up for you tonight.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Favourite things and the 12 Days of Christmas...

Over the next 8 weeks I am going to feature a post (or two!) each week that sings a line from the song "Favourite Things". I can't wait to show you what I have come up with for cream colored ponies!
Yesterday was just a tease, and then the idea came to me that I could continue on this trend and have some fun with it all. As you can probably tell by now I haven't really stored up lots of posts, so if it's a busy night - the craft doesn't get made and we end up with take-out... I have nothing to share! Hopefully this plan will help me make my self set deadlines. I am planning to share the Favourite Things posts on Monday. Why Monday? Well the thought of The Sound of Music makes me smile, and who couldn't use a smile on a Monday morning?! Right?! Exactly.

Further to all of this exciting news, when I shared my super fantastic Favourite Things idea with my sister she replied "OH and The 12 Days of Christmas too! That would be awesome!" I've still got to work out the details of this one, but I could craft out a partridge in a pear tree standing on my head.... 12 maids a milking - not so much. So... my mind is in overdrive on this one. Love it!

I hate posts with no pictures....  so continuing on the theme of favourite things, here is a picture of my favourite thing: My lamp.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bright copper kettles, and warm woolen mittens...

These are a few of my favourite things...

It's a cool crisp sunny day here. The windshield was frosted up... we could see our breath in the air. Love it.
(Well, love it for the first few days... then I am kind of over it... the romance of it all is over... you know?)

I do love tea kettles though, love my tea... all kinds. I also love pretty little tea kettles - I really want one of these glass ones, that way you can see when the tea is brewed!

Via The Tea Emporium

Via Red Umbrella Tea

Oh and check this out, the Red Umbrella Tea is offering %15 off until December 31st with every order over $25. Score! 

The great thing about a hot beverage on a cool day is that it keeps your hands warm when you are out watching the kids at the park, or hitting the farmers market for fall goodies.

But, when the cup is empty these are beautiful hand-warmers by Fuzzy Knits in New Hampshire on Etsy.

Via Etsy - Fuzzy Knits

Via Etsy - Fuzzy Knits

Happy November folks!