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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

WYMNKW Round 2

Well it's Wednesday again!  And you know what that means-it's time for round 2 of "What you may not know Wednesday!"  Try to contain your excitement :)  Last weeks edition focused on Christmas, and with it being the last Wednesday before Christmas it's all I really have on my mind.  So here goes....

1. One of the best gifts I've ever gotten (for Christmas) is the jewelry armoire William made me a few years ago.  I mentioned I needed something to organize all of my jewelry in and sent him a photo of something really neat I had found on etsy.  It was really the only mention I made of it.  He and his grandfather managed to craft something much more beautiful that I had expected.  It meant so much that he took the time to build something just for me.  He's the best :)

2.  My next most treasured gift is one that my sister, Rachel, made for me in 2011.  She put together a book of pictures (and captions) of my oldest nephew, Ryan.  It is something I will treasure forever.  I wouldn't mind another one of those for Adam (hint, hint)! 

3.  My favorite Christmas song is O Holy Night.  I just love it and it gives me chills every time I listen to it.  With that said, I get completely pumped when any N'Sync, Stevie Wonder or Mariah Carey Christmas song comes on the radio.  I'm a big fan of Christmas music. Big.

4.  We are having a Christmas Party on Friday night and I am SO excited.  I am making probably way too much food and thinking about it WAY too much but I just look so forward to getting friends and family all together-especially around the holidays.

5.  I became a godmother this week!  I know-it's not technically Christmas related, but I felt so honored and special and I just love all of the Rogers family and I'm so humbled that they thought of me.  I am lucky to have so many friends that feel like family.  Thank you for loving me as much as I love you all!

If I don't get a chance to blog again before Christmas, I hope you all have a wonderful and safe holiday.  With everything going on in the world today, I hope we can all find it in our hearts to remember the reason for this special time of year and tell the ones we love the most how much they mean to us.  I am truly blessed and thankful.  

Merry Christmas!  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What You May Not Know Wednesday

In an effort to get some comments going on this blog, I thought I would open up the floor for some sharing.  Now don't get too excited just yet-it's really pretty simple.   I thought that, perhaps, I would designate Wednesdays as a time to share a list of five things you may or may not know about me.  Bonus for me, I like making lists :) Sometimes there will be a theme, and sometimes not.    So here goes the first edition of "What You May Not Know Wednesday"-Christmas style.....

1.   When I was young (maybe 3rd or 4th grade) my Dad wrote initials on the bottom of all of our Christmas gifts.  Rachel and I had them all figured out pretty fast days before Christmas.  For instance, HA2= Home Alone 2.  It was kind of a bummer at the time, but now I think it is pretty darn hilarious.  Who can guess what FW was??  Gosh, we got a lot of movies that year....

2.  Speaking of Home Alone, it's my favorite Christmas movie.  I mean the one-liners in this one are just classic.  "Buzz, your girlfriend-woof!"  "Keep the change ya filthy animal!"  "You're such a disease!"  "You guys give up, or ya thirsty for more??"I mean I could go on and on...It's silly and funny, but still manages to capture the Christmas spirit.  Kevin McAllister, you're the man.  Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer-you are also the man. And a close second.  Thanks for figuring out the Abominable Snowman just needed a dentist, he was super scary up until then.

3.  Sausage balls remind me of Christmas.  My mom used to make them for our annual family gathering  each year, and it was the only time they really came around.  We went crazy over them (and still do).  Whenever I make them I think of her and all of our family gatherings around the holidays.

4.  We used to do caroling and "toasting of the trees" at each neighbors house in our cul-de-sac growing up.  I think it was more like a traveling cocktail party for the adults but it was fun for the kids too.  One year, one of the parents had made jello shots.  Of course, being maybe 10, I had no idea what those were and I gobbled up quite a few...and then felt pretty funny.  When I told the neighbor "mom" I liked her jello, she warned me those were for the adults and to stay away.  Oops.  Guess that was my first "buzz." 

5.  This Christmas will be the first one I have been able to spend with my hubby and I am very excited.  We are both very close with our families so we have always been separate, until now!  We are going to Tennessee this year and I am so excited to see how the Walker/Rose clans do Christmas.  From the sounds of all of our emails, I know there is going to be lots of yummy food, and lots of family fun.  And that is what the holidays should be!

What a wonderful time of year!  What are some of your favorite Christmas movies or memories?  

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Yummy fall recipes

Preparing a meal for others or creating a new dinner for me and the hubs is one of my favorite things to do.  I look forward to getting in the kitchen, turning on the food network and going to town. I know-NERD ALERT!  There are a few "stand-by" recipes that we repeat from time-to-time, but I often like to mix things up and make something unique.  This year, for Thanksgiving, I was assigned the sweet potatoes.  Now, they have never really been my favorite.  I think it's because the majority of the time I have them they're covered with marshmallows or brown sugar and pecans, and it's just too much for my taste.  So (while I was a little bummed with my assignment) I decided to change things up and make a savory sweet potato dish and the search began.  I found a recipe for sweet potato and andouille soup and it was a HIT! Here is the recipe and link for this recipe. 


  • 3 tbsps vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds sweet potatoes (this ended up being 2 medium/large sweet potatoes)
  • 1/2 pound andouilee sausage (I removed the casings and browned/crumbled)
  • 1 cup julienned onions
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Coat the sweet potatoes with 1 tablespoon of the oil and place in a small baking dish. Place the baking dish in the oven and roast the sweet potatoes for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until the potatoes are fully roasted and fork tender. Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin from the potatoes. Reserve the sweet potato flesh until ready to use.

Heat a 1 gallon stockpot over medium-high heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the andouille to the pot and saute until most of the fat has rendered and the meat is well caramelized, stirring constantly, 5 to 6 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the andouille and drain on a paper-lined plate. Set aside until ready to use. Add the onions and saute until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the minced garlic to the pot and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the cayenne pepper and chicken stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer.

Add the roasted sweet potatoes to the soup and stir to blend. Simmer for 10 minutes, then blend with an immersion blender or in batches in a bar blender until smooth. Return the soup to the pot, if necessary, and stir in the heavy cream. Season with the salt and if necessary more pepper. Garnish with the cooked andouille, chopped chives and serve.

Everyone loved it and I think I am now a fan of sweet potatoes!  The only changes I made to the recipe was that I added some chopped celery (just because I had some in the fridge) and a bay leaf (removed before blending). BONUS-I got to use my immersion blender that I got from my friend Seantel as a wedding gift-love it!  If you don't have one, get one.  It's a wonderful tool to have, especially if you like making soups and sauces. It was delicious and definitely one that we will repeat.  I just served it in small ramekins garnished with andouille and chives for the Thanksgiving meal, but a whole bowl would be filling enough for a meal for sure. 

Another new creation that you might enjoy for the fall is pork and green chile stew.  It is a hearty meal that will warm you up on a cold night-and it is SUPER easy.  The crockpot definitely starts making a lot of appearances when the temperature starts to drop so I was excited to try this one out.  I used this recipe but (as usual) made a few changes. We like spicy around our house so I added quite a bit of hot sauce, a can of black beans, a diced green pepper and added some emerils essence, thyme, bay leaves and oregano as well. We topped ours with some avocado, jalepenos and tortilla chips-YUM!  I'm sure if you weren't a pork eater, chicken or beef would work well here too.  Give it a try and let me know though :)  Here's the recipe and link to the website where I found it!
2 lbs* boneless pork loin roast, lean, all fat trimmed off
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cooking spray
  • 2 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 cans (4.25 oz each) whole green chiles, sliced into thick rounds
  • 2 tbsp chopped jalapeƱo, or more to taste
  • 10 oz can diced tomatoes and green chilies (Ro*Tel Mild)
  • 1/2 cup fat-free low-sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste


Cut pork into 2-inch pieces. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat a large non-stick skillet on high heat; when hot lightly spray the pan with oil and brown the pork over medium heat on all sides, about 3 - 4 minutes total. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of flour over pork and stir to cook 30 seconds, sprinkle remaining flour over pork and cook an additional 30 seconds. (I just coated the pork with seasoned flour before browning).

Add browned pork to the crock pot, along with the remaining ingredients (I sauteed the onion and bell pepper in the pork drippings before adding to the crock pot-why not?). Cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours (if using a Dutch oven, cook on low heat for 3-4 hours). When done, adjust seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste if needed.

I didn't remember to take a picture of that one-but here's one of us from Thanksgiving!

I just had my last work event of the season this year, so hopefully I will have a little more time to blog!  Sorry I've been slack (Kelly :))

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and is looking forward to Christmas!  I know we are!