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Share a Spoon - Out with the Old and In with the New

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Think Tank Momma



Share a Spoon

New Year's Edition

Out with the old and In with the New

Every little girl from the South knows that on New Year's day you have to have black-eyed peas, greens and cornbread.  They may not be able to tell you why, just that, that's what you eat.  If you ask someone over the age of 40 they probably can tell you the superstition that goes with it.

Remember I told you that my Granny is superstitious.  I mean she says things like if her nose is itching someone must be coming.  If her palms are itchy she must be gonna come inta some money.  Silly stuff like that.  When it comes to New Year's there's of course, the black-eyed peas and greens.  However, there is much more than that.  We were never allowed to do laundry on New Year's either.  Why?  Well I asked that question too.

You'll love this one.  If you do laundry on New Year's?  It means you'll be buried in laundry for the coming year.  Um....hello?  That's called motherhood. Just sayin'!  Most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.  It's right up there with the black-eyed peas and ham being for luck and the cabbage or greens being a sign for money in the coming year. 

Yeah???  I ate that meal last year, and every other effin' year of my life.  Let me just say this.  The shit don't work.  However, be it a superstition or not, and as ridiculous as it is, that is what I'll be eating come Saturday.

However, first, first comes the party the night before.  Now that I am all settled and old grown up, going out on New Year's just doesn't have the same appeal it once did.  Staying off the road with the crazies and drunks is my idea of good luck for the New Year, but hey...to-mA-to, to-Mah-to. 

So super duper at home Snack Mix for the PARTY, you know with the kiddos and friends and family.

Crispix n' Pecans Mix

8 cups Crispix cereal
2 cups pecans
3 cups pretzels
1 stick butter 
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 Tablespoons Worchestershire sauce
2 teaspoons hot sauce (can be adjusted to suit your taste)
1 Tablespoon Seasoning Salt
1 Tablespoon Garlic powder
1 Tablespoon Onion powder
1 teaspoon Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
In a large bowl combine the pretzels, cereal and nuts.
In a medium bowl add stick of butter.  
Top the stick of butter with lemon juice, Worchestershire sauce, hot sauce, garlic powder, onion powder and Seasoning salt.  Heat on high for 90 seconds (or until butter is completely melted).
Whisk all ingredients together until emulsified.
Drizzle into the cereal mix a little at a time.  Stirring until all the mix is well coated.
Spread coated mix out on two sheet pans.
Sprinkle with kosher salt.
Bake at 275 for 1 hour.  Turn mix at the 30 minute mark.
Allow to cool and then store in an airtight container.

I end up having to make several batches of this through the holidays.  The combination of the nuts and cereal is just perfect.  You can certainly use Chex cereal if you like.  I prefer Crispix.  Feel free to use the nuts you like as well.



Now, onward to the black-eyed peas.  Remember I cook a ham overnight on Christmas Eve?  It serves two purposes.  One, I don't have to worry about breakfast on Christmas morning.  The second?  I have a nice big yummy bone to flavor my black-eyed peas!  Score for me!

New Year's Black-Eyed Peas

1 small onion
1 large ham bone 
1 bag dried black eyed peas
1 box chicken stock
water

In a small saute pan with a little olive oil or butter saute the chopped onion until just translucent.
Add the onion to the crock pot.
Wash the peas and add to the crock pot.
Add ham bone.
Add the box of chicken stock.
Add water until the bone and peas are completely covered.
After the party winds down and you are ready for bed, turn the crock pot on low and cook peas for 8 hours.

Tah Dah!  No fuss, no muss.

I boil a head of cabbage the next day with a stick of butter, a little salt, pepper and about 1/2 cup of water on medium heat until the cabbage is just tender.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

Now, link your New Year's meal, favorite party drink or appetizers for the big she-bang and have yourself a safe and happy holiday!




 




Share a Spoon Theme - Ringing in the New Year

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Think Tank Momma



SHARE A SPOON THEME TIME


This week's theme is posting late.  Holidays and family have taken priority over the blog this week, plus let's face it....Saturday was Christmas and no one was reading anyway.

Share a Spoon this week is a bit of a catch all.  Share one of the following:  your favorite appetizers or finger food for New Year's Eve, your favorite libation recipe for ringing in the New Year, or what is it you eat every single New Year's Day?

Remember when I said my Granny was superstitious to the nth degree?  Yeah, well, I have eaten the same thing on New Year's Day every single New Year of my life so I'll be sharing those recipes with you Thursday!

So link up and Share your traditional New Years meal, or your favorite libations for ringing it in.  Party food is good too.  Perhaps I'll share the perfect Crispix Mix with you too!  It's a great snack for the party people in the house!!

Hope everyone is enjoying the wind down of the holiday madness.

Share a Spoon - Christmas Traditions

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Think Tank Momma



Merry Christmas Smackers!

Share a Spoon - Holiday Traditions

There are so many things that make the holidays seem like the holidays.  The lights.  The smells.  The trees.  The spirit of giving.  Then of course, there is the FOOD.

We have so many traditions.  We go as a family, the day after Thanksgiving (aka Black Friday) and pick out our Christmas Tree.  We refer to it as our Chrissel Tree, compliments of my Dad.  I'm certain that probably came from one of us kids and just stuck, nevvertheless, Chrissle Tree it is.  We leave the tree up until after New Years Day because it's bad luck to take it down before that.  <----I don't know people, it's just the way we've always done things.  My Granny is very superstitious.  Seriously, I could do a whole post.  Making mental note to do just that.  (Better write it down, Momma isn't really staying on task these days.)

For the last fifteen years or so, it's tacos for Christmas Eve.  I'm not really sure how this became a tradition, but we tried to change it one year and BDC almost lost his mind.  So....Christmas Eve we do tacos.  Period.

So...for Christmas morning.  We have ham rolls.  I bake a whole ham, overnight and that is Christmas breakfast.  I'm almost embarrassed to post this as a recipe cause honestly, it's not a recipe.


What you need:

1 smoked 14-18lb whole ham
1 12oz can Coca-Cola
1 cup water

Score the ham crosswise 1/4 in down both ways.  In a large roasting pan place ham and pour in the water.  Pour the can of Coke over the ham making sure to get it into the scores.

Bake on 275 degrees overnight.

Voila!  Beautiful baked ham for rolls and no fuss and muss on Christmas morning in the middle of presents and Santa's treasures.

This tradition has been going as long as I can remember.  My mother-in-law has even adopted this tradition too.  It really is easy and tasty!  Thanks for giving me this treasure Mom!

For my Daddy...nothing says Christmas like fruit cake.  I know what you're thinking.  Blech!  But this fruit is actually pretty good!  It's a dark fruit cake and it has some....um...different than normal ingredients!

Mom's Fruit Cake

Ingredients:

4 cups raisins
1 ½ cups  water
¼ cup butter
½ tsp salt
1 ½ cup sugar

In a medium sauce pan add all the above ingredients and bring to a boil.  Boil for five minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.

2  beaten eggs
2 ½ c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ cup walnuts
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cloves
½ tsp allspice
½ cup citrus fruit (classic fruit cake fruit filling)
1 ½ cup gum drops (chopped)

Mix the flour, baking soda and powder, cinnamon, allspice, cloves.  Add the fruit, and nuts.  Cut the gum drops with kitchen scissors.  Spray the scissors with cooking spray so they don't stick.  Add them to the dry ingredients.  Stir in eggs and cooled raisin mixture.

Grease or spray with cooking spray two large loaf pans.

Bake for 1 1/2 hours at 275 degrees.


For my kids it's all about the baking.  Cookies.  Candies.  Cookies.  Candies.  But most of all??  Pumpkin Bread.  I know.  Weird right?  I make it all through the holidays, but I have been baking for a few weeks now, and I had neglected the pumpkin bread.  Kamden said..."um...Mom, we can't have Christmas without pumpkin bread!"

So I know most of you have seen enough pumpkin bread recipes already, heck, several of them have appeared here on Share a Spoon.  But for good measure...here's mine.  I have tweaked this one to perfection, in my opinion, it's perfect!

Brandee's Perfect Pumpkin Bread

3 cups sugar
1 15 oz can of pumpkin puree
1 cup canola oil
4 eggs
3 ½ cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup water

Cream together sugar and canola oil.  
Add pumpkin and vanilla.  
Beat in eggs one at a time.
In a separate bowl combine all the dry ingredients.  Mix well.
Add dry ingredients to the wet a little at a time.
Add the 1/2 cup of water and mix until just combined.
Spray two large loaf pans, or four mini loaf pans with cooking spray.
Sprinkle sides and bottom with cinnamon sugar.
Pour equal amounts into the prepared pans.
Bake on 350 for 50 - 65 minutes.  Cooking times vary depending on mini or large loaf pans.




So there you have it.  My family holiday traditions compliments of The Best Family and Casa di Romano.

Merry Christmas Smackers!

From my table to yours I wish you a very Merry and SAFE holiday!

Now link up and SHARE your must haves for your holiday tables!










Share a Spoon Theme - Holiday Favorites

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Think Tank Momma



Share a Spoon Theme

HOLIDAY FAVORITES



I love the holidays.  Truly I do.  There are so many reasons why.  I get sentimental this time of year.  I become more of a sap than I am the rest of the year.  Shhhhh!  Don't tell anyone I am sappy the rest of the year!

The holidays for me are about incorporating my spins and twists on tradition.  There are things that you don't mess with though.  Recipes that are ALL HOLIDAY and sacred...so to speak.

Everyone has their own traditions.  Their own thing that makes or breaks the holiday.  It's just not the same without that one recipe.  For some it's a sweet treat, for others it's eggnog.  For some it's the Christmas Salad.  Others have a favorite chocolate or handmade candy.  Something special that we only get that one time a year.

I don't care if it's the appetizers for Christmas eve, or the English toffee Grandma used to make.  The standing rib roast for Christmas dinner or the gingerbread cookies from your childhood.  Everyone has that one thing that they have to have in order for the holidays to be complete.

That's what this week is all about.  Come share YOUR favorite holiday recipe with me this week!  Savory, sweet.  Entree or side.  Salad or candy.  Cookie or pie.  Trifle, drink or anything in between.

We're dusting off the traditions this week and having a Happy or Merry Christmas!


Share a Spoon - Holiday Cookies

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Think Tank Momma



Share a Spoon

Cookies for Santa!

We love cookies here at Casa di Romano!  Kamden is my Cookie Monster.  The child is all about sweet treats and his favorite sweets are cookies.  Give him a Snickerdoodle and you own his heart.  If you make chocolate chip cookies you better make a double batch!

I always make lots of cookies this time of year for baskets and plates for gifts.    I try to find a new recipe to try each year and I just keep adding to the list of what I make!  Everyone has a request.  I make Ina Garten's Jam Thumbprints for my dad.  He loves them, and when I don't make them, I get in trouble!  *wink*  If you have never tried them, I highly recommend them, they're one of my favorites.

This cookie I originally had with different fillings and I took some creative liberties to make it suit my tastes.  I made these last night for a cookie social for my sister to take to work.

Cream Cheese Strudel Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour
4 oz cold cream cheese 
1 stick cold butter
4 heaping tablespoons apricot preserves
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 dried pomegranate or cranberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a food processor mix flour, cold cream cheese cubed, and cold butter cubed.

Pulse until the butter and cream cheese are little bits distributed through the flour.  Pour onto a floured surface and press dough into a ball.  

Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 15 minutes.



Cut the disc of dough in half.  Roll out to a thin rectangle.



Spread two heaping tablespoons of the apricot preserves over the dough leaving just a bit of the dough exposed around the edges.

Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of pecans and dried pomegranates.


Roll from the long side over to create a log.  Pinch the ends closed and the seam.


Cut into twelve even slices with a very sharp knife.



Bake for 16-18 minutes in your 375 degree preheated oven.

Allow to cool on the pan for a bit.

Remove and serve!



These cookies are great with substitutions like orange marmalade, cranberry and pistachio.  Substitute out the nuts for some sweetened coconut (the way I originally had them).  The dough is light and flaky, and not too sweet so the sweetness of the preserves compliments it nicely!

Now it's your turn!  Share your favorite festive cookies!

PINT - Christmas Shopping Can Be Dangerous

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Only Parent Chronicles


It's Sticky Love Day

with 

That One Mom








Share a Spoon Theme - For Santa

Saturday, December 11, 2010




Share a Spoon Theme!


Need I say more?

Everyone has their favorite holiday cookies!  I want to know what you make.  What does your family expect for the holidays?  And of course, what do you make for Santa?


Cookies everywhere this time of year.  


Gingerbread cookies, sugar cookies, decorative cookies.  Classic cookies.  Chocolate chip.  White Chocolate Macadamia Nut with Cherries!  Fruit Cookies.
Every kind of cookies!

My family waits for these....


So link up this week and SHARE your favorite holiday cookies!

Don't forget to enter my Ganz Holiday Measuring Spoons Giveaway.
Get on over and enter for the Tassimo Brewbot Giveaway!

See you Thursday!

Merry Christmas to me and you: Brewbot Review and Giveaway

Friday, December 10, 2010



I love coffee houses.  LOVE THEM.  I spent quite a bit of time there when I was working as a technology sales rep.  In between calls it was a quick place to cop a squat, grab some liquid energy and utilize some WiFi.  Spending that much time there though can break the bank!  Not kidding...five bucks or so, several times a day??  Maybe that was just me.

Anyway, being at home I really miss having a nice drink made by a barista specially for me.  I mean, I really miss it.  I live way out in nowheresville so there is no coffee house for MILES.

I have been researching coffee machines, drink makers for the house for quite some time.  I've hemmed and hawed and driven my husband stark raving mad about it.  He doesn't drink coffee, so he doesn't care.  He just said BUY ONE ALREADY.  But, I am not just a coffee drinker.  I like lattes and cappacinos.  I like foo-foo frilly coffee.  So I wanted something affordable that would make foo-foo frilly drinks not just flavored coffee.

ENTER TASSIMO BREWBOT!  When I was given the opportunity to review this machine I literally jumped up and down on the couch.  Seriously, it was a match made in heaven!

Coffee check!
Lattes check!
Cappacinos check!
Tea check!
Hot Cocoa check!

It makes everything a girl could ask for.  Not only that, it makes them perfect with no guess work and even my kids could work this machine.  It has a barcode at the top of each drink disc.  


You insert the disc, press the button and voila!  60 seconds or less later perfection in a cup!







(Look at the frothy goodness!)

I have no patience and I absolutely detest my coffee pot because it's slow and a pain to clean.  The brewbot is easy to clean and fast.  He's actually my new best friend.  (Shhh!  No one tell Ducky she's been replaced by a machine!) 



If you watch the video above you'll see just how cool he is!  Don't be jealous, I have a chance for you to get your very own new BFF in time for Christmas!  


You'll be over the moon when you see all the brands and varieties of drink products as well!  You can purchase them at Walmart, Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and more.  


You can buy your very own BREWBOT for a Special Price plus 2 Tdisc Packages by clicking http://bit.ly/Tassimo25

Or you can win one here!


Mandatory Entry:

Tell me why you want this for Christmas and who it's for.

Additional Entries:

1 - Follow me through Google Friend Connect
1 - Follow me on Twitter @adrienzgirl
1 - Follow Tassimo on Twitter
1 - Like Tassimo on Facebook

2 entries - Tweet your favorite barista-style drink and include #brewbot or #tassimo in your tweet.

3 entries - Go to the Tassimo site, pick your favorite (or what you'd like to try) T-disc flavor.  Post it on the Tassimo FB page and then come tell me.

All entries will be verified by yours truly.
If your email is not viewable in your profile leave it in the comments.
Contest ends midnight EST 12/14/10.  
I will notify the winner via email.  You have 24 hours to respond or I will pick another winner.  

GOOD LUCK!

(Disclaimer:  I received a Tassimo T20 Brewbot and coffee samples for this review.  I was not monetarily compensated for this review.  All opinions are mine and mine alone based on my experience with Tassimo.)



Share a Straw - Holiday Cheers!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

”Think






Cheers!

Share a Spoon Straw:  Holiday Edition

My ever faithful #ShareaSpoon buddy Kim over at Mo' Betta asked for holiday drink recipes and I was thrilled!  There are so many specialty drinks for the holidays.  Everything from hot cocoa to Champagne Punch to EGG NOG.  So when @kimslittlelife suggested this theme I went to work on a special button for the festivities!

This is only the second time we've done specialty drinks but you lushes Smackers seem to get excited about it!  *wink*

I'm not a big EGG NOG fan.  But then, I am more of a clear liquids kind of gal. I do however, make a mean cup of cocoa and some fierce mulled apple cider.  Both can be dressed up for the adults with the addition of a bit of alcohol, or served nekked for the kiddos!

We decorated our Christmas Tree Sunday evening and we all enjoyed a nice cup of Peppermint Hot Cocoa while adorning the tree with lights and ornaments.  Now, you can certainly make that stuff in a packet if you want to, but for special occasions, you have got to bust out the good stuff.  It's really worth it, and when your loved ones faces light up and they have a big whipped cream mustache??  That's a memory worth making!

Momma B's Peppermint Hot Cocoa

1/2 cup Unsweetened Cocoa
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 cup boiling hot water
4 cups 2% milk
1/2 cup (roughly) half-n-half
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

Garnish
Whipped Cream
marshmallows
Crushed soft peppermints

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat combine sugar, cocoa and salt.  Pour in boiling water and stir until mixture looks like liquid chocolate.  Continue stirring until the mixture starts to just barely bubble.  Do not allow to scorch.



Add the milk.  Continue to cook over medium heat until the milk is scalded and hot.  Do not boil or allow the cocoa to burn.  Stir regularly to avoid scorching.

Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and peppermint extracts.

This makes four large mugs of cocoa.  In the bottom of your mugs pour equal amounts of the 1/2 cup of half-n-half.  This will add a creaminess to the cocoa and help cool the cocoa to drinkable temperature. 

For adults:  You can skip the half-n-half and add 1-2 oz. of Creme de Menthe or Creme de Cacao.

This hot cocoa also makes a fabulous Peppermint Mocha when you add a shot or two of espresso.  Or add to a cup of freshly brewed coffee for those of you who drink copious amounts of hot caffeine!

Garnish with fresh whipped cream, marshmallows and crushed soft peppermints.



Hot Mulled Apple Cider

4 cups apple cider
2 cinnamon sticks
5-6 whole cloves
1-2 peels of orange

Peel off a few pieces of orange rind.  Do not include the pith (whites).  This is bitter.  If you want you can zest the orange and just strain the cider through cheesecloth before serving.

Over medium heat, warm the cider with orange peel, cinnamon sticks and cloves for 20 minutes.  I use a mesh strainer when pouring the cider into mugs.

For adults:  Pour a good dark spiced rum, or regular dark rum about 2oz. in the bottom of the mug before adding cider.

Garnish with a fresh slice of orange and a cinnamon stick.


For those of you looking for something a bit cooler and a bit more "cocktail" beverage I have an Italian Festive drink for you as well. 

Sgroppino

3 Tablespoons lemon sorbet
1 oz Vodka
1/2 cup Prosecco (Italian Sparkling wine)

In a champagne flute, add lemon sorbet and top with vodka.  Stir.  Pour Prosecco over the sorbet mixture.  Garnish with lemon twist or fresh mint.


Remember that this time of year is about making memories and making memories that count!  Going that little bit extra to make a meal, a drink, or a treat special makes a difference and goes a long way towards making memories!

Enjoy!

Don't forget to go here and get your extra entry for my giveaway for Sharing your Straw today!

I have a huge review and giveaway to announce tomorrow that you definitely won't want to miss!  I'm SUPER excited about this and you will be too!  Swearsies!





PINT - Stalkers make the Naughty List

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Only Parent Chronicles


It's Tuesday Smackers!

Sticky Love Day!

Stick 'Em Up!