Archives for category: holiday

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One-Pot Beef and Guinness Stew Recipe

Easy freezer-friendly beef stew. Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day or anytime you crave warm comfort food. Just start everything in a dutch oven or heavy pot on the stove, and transfer the whole thing to the oven.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 4 lbs. beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 12 oz. tomato paste
  • 2 1/2 lbs. small potatoes (I used a mixture of red and yellow), cut into chunks
  • 2 white onions, diced
  • 32 oz. beef broth
  • Irish stout beer – I used one 11-oz. bottle of Guinness Extra Stout
  • 10 garlic cloves, minced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper, for seasoning
  • 16 oz. frozen baby peas, thawed

WHAT YOU DO:

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

In a heavy pot or dutch oven (5-quart size or so) on the stovetop, toss beef with flour and stir in tomato paste. Add potatoes, onions, broth, beer, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cover, and bring to a boil over medium heat, occasionally.

Cover with lid and place pot in oven. Cook until meat is fork-tender, approximately 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Stir in peas, then season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

TO FREEZE: Prepare according to recipe. Cool, then divide into a few containers, label, and freeze up to 3 months. Thaw, reheat, and serve.

adapted from marthastewart.com

 

Chili and oyster stew are a Christmas tradition on my side of the family. When I was younger I only liked the chili but now that I have grown wiser in my ways and my tastes have matured (ha!) I looooovvvve oyster stew too.

Here is a link to my “no recipe” recipe chili.

And here’s how our Christmas 2015 oyster stew turned out…

Oyster Stew Recipe adapted from Paula Deen- a Christmas tradition - we always have oyster stew and chili

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 12 oz fresh raw oysters, undrained
  • 1 quart (32 oz.) whole milk
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • optional toppings: oyster crackers, sliced green onions

WHAT YOU DO:

Saute onion in butter until tender.

Add oysters, milk, and seasoning.

Cook over low heat until edges of oysters begin to curl, and the stew is hot but not boiling.

Top with crackers after serving and garnish with sliced green onions.

recipe adapted from PaulaDeen.com

I am pretty excited about Thanksgiving, you guys. The past few years when we have hosted I cheated and ordered pre-made meals from our local grocery store (gasp!). LOL. This year I am going all homemade. Well, except for the pumpkin pies. I plan on making frozen ones and throwing Cool Whip on top. Baby steps, right?!?

Here’s what I came up with.

The menu…

Thanksgiving 2015 Menu

My shopping list…

grocery list THANKSGIVING 2015

Here are the recipes:

Stuffed Turkey Breast wrapped with bacon. Because, well, bacon.

Stuffed Turkey Breast Wrapped in Bacon - baked on top of harvest vegetables

Herbed Mashed Potatoes. You can start these ahead of time on the day before Thanksgiving. Herbed Mashed Potatoes Recipe - Yukon gold potatoes with half and half and butter - So easy and super delicious

Homemade Gravy. I used some of the homemade chicken stock I stashed in the freezer.

Simple Gravy - perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any comfort food recipe

Simple Stuffing with white wine. You can dry the bread cubes and cook the veggies a day in advance.

Simple Stuffing Recipe - so easy but so delicious

Green Bean Casserole. A Thanksgiving tradition. I am going with old school canned soup and canned green beans. Don’t judge. 🙂

Pumpkin pie and whipped topping. Straight out of the freezer section. After all of the other recipes I don’t want to think about baking pies. Did you know you can order pumpkin pies online from Amazon? For the low low price of $55 or so. Um, yikes.

Schott Zwiesel Tritan Crystal Glass Stemware Forte Collection

personalized napkins

Lenox French Perle Tidbit

Buffalo Feta Deviled Eggs - no mayo but Greek yogurt, feta, and buffalo sauce - just 1 WW+ point each!Buffalo Feta Deviled Eggs Recipe – Now that Easter is over what do we do with all of these eggs?!? Ha. This year I tried a recipe with a twist on the usual deviled egg. This variation has feta cheese, buffalo sauce, and instead of mayo: Greek yogurt. There are just 44 calories per piece, or 1 WW+ point!

WHAT YOU NEED:

WHAT YOU DO:

Peel eggs, and slice lengthwise. Remove yolks and place in a bowl. Set egg whites aside.

With a fork, mash together yolks, feta cheese, yogurt, half of the parsley, onion powder, Buffalo sauce, and celery salt. Place mixture in a zipper sandwich bag and seal. Cut off a tiny piece of a bottom corner and pipe filling into
reserved egg whites.

Garnish with remainder of parsley. Refrigerate until serving.

recipe inspired by sheknows.com

Buffalo Feta Deviled Eggs - made with Greek yogurt instead of mayo - just 44 calories a piece!

Estimated Nutrition Information (Recipe Makes 12 Pieces) Per 2 Pieces:

  • 88 calories
  • 6.1 grams fat
  • 0.4 grams carbohydrates
  • 0 fiber
  • 7.5 grams protein

Here’s a craft the kids and I worked on for Valentine’s Day: glass jar candle holders. You can customize these with any colors or patterns of tissue paper to match any holiday or décor. They would make perfect gifts for holidays or teacher appreciation. Many of the supplies can also be found at the dollar store – woo hoo!

DIY Upcycled Jar Candle Holders - just tissue paper and Mod Podge - customize for any theme, colors, or decor.

WHAT YOU NEED:

WHAT YOU DO:

Tear pieces of tissue paper to use as your first layer, and stick to the outside of the jar using Mod Podge.

Add a second layer with shapes (trace shapes onto tissue paper using cookie cutters then cut out – or freehand cut out your shapes).

After your candle holder has its final design, coat all tissue paper with a layer of Mod Podge and let dry.

Place a flameless tea light inside the jar, and enjoy!

DIY Jar Candle Holders - tissue paper and ModPodge - easy kids craft!

DIY Jar Candle Holders - tissue paper and ModPodge - easy kids craft - use different colors and patterns of tissue paper for your theme.

 

 

DIY Jar Candle Holders - tissue paper and ModPodge -  use different colors and patterns of tissue paper for your theme.

 

Turn plain old jars into candle holders with just tissue paper and Mod Podge - DIY Tutorial

Turn old jars into candle holders with just tissue paper and Mod Podge - DIY Tutorial

flameless tea lights

Our little guy used the tissue paper shapes to make his own Valentine’s Day artwork by gluing hearts on paper…

Tissue Paper Valentines Day Craft - Toddler Art

 

 

Here’s an easy tip to de-clutter holiday cards and photos: you need only a paper hole punch and book rings! 

If you’re like me, by the time Christmas arrives your fridge is covered in cards, photos, and holiday letters. Last year I started punching a hole in the corner of them, putting them on a book ring, and hanging the ring on the fridge. When I put away our holiday decorations, I stored the cards, and this year when I decorated for Christmas it was fun to flip through them again. So, an annual tradition has started, I suppose.

I plan on keeping each year on a smaller ring, and looping all the smaller rings on to one big ring. Everything will be together, but separated by year. OCD much?!? 🙂

WHAT YOU NEED:

WHAT YOU DO:

Punch a hole in the corner of each card/photo/letter, and loop on to a book ring. Hang, then add to it as the cards roll in.

use looseleaf book rings to store cards and photos DIY greeting card organization with a hole punch and looseleaf binder book rings

gift tag - book rings and holiday cards

 

Of course, you could also use this method to store birthday cards, trip mementos, wedding cards, photographs, gift cards, or coupons.

slow cooker hot chocolate - just put everything in the crock pot and voila

Here’s a decadent, rich, chocolatey cocoa that you can make in your slow cooker. Throw the ingredients in, take a drive to look at Christmas lights, and come home and enjoy a mug of THE BEST hot chocolate ever. Don’t forget to leave some out for Santa on Christmas Eve! 😉

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 12 oz. heavy whipping cream
  • 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 c. milk chocolate chips
  • 6 c. milk
  • optional toppings: whipped cream, sprinkles, cocoa powder, marshmallows, etc.

WHAT YOU DO:

Combine the whipping cream, condensed milk, chocolate chips, and milk in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for approximately 2 hours, or until the chocolate has melted. Serve warm, ladling into mugs, and add optional toppings.

recipe adapted from mandysrecipeboxblog.com

slow cooker hot chocolate - just throw everything in and in a couple of hours you will have awesome rich chocolatey goodness

Here are some gift jars I put together over Christmas, to give as teacher gifts. The kids and I filled them with trail mix and attached a gift card to the twine. Of course, you could switch up the fabric and string for an anytime of the year gift.

DIY Jar Gifts. Switch up the fabric and twine for anytime of the year. Teacher gifts, etc!

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • Jars with lids
  • Jar labels
  • Fabric
  • Coordinating twine or string
  • Contents for the jar (trail mix, baking mixes, little trinkets, office supplies, school supplies, etc).

WHAT YOU DO:

Place a lid/ring on the fabric and cut a circle around it so that enough sticks out over the jar.

Fill jar and label.

Attach fabric between the lid and the ring then put the lid on the jar.

Add string or twine.

Canning jars + fabric tied up with string. This is just one of my favorite things. For teacher gifts, holidays, etc. Fill with trail mix, office supplies, etc, and switch up the fabric/string.

Canning jars + fabric tied up with string. This is just one of my favorite things. For teacher gifts, holidays, etc. Fill with trail mix, office supplies, etc, and switch up the fabric/string.

Canning jars + fabric tied up with string. This is just one of my favorite things. For teacher gifts, holidays, etc. Fill with trail mix, office supplies, etc, and switch up the fabric/string.

Canning jars + fabric tied up with string. This is just one of my favorite things. For teacher gifts, holidays, etc. Fill with trail mix, office supplies, etc, and switch up the fabric/string.

It’s Christmas in July! Ha 🙂 I just found some pics of a flock of felt birds I made as Christmas tree ornaments. I used patterns from downeastthunderfarm.com, and different colors of wool felt and embroidery floss.

They looked pretty “special” since I am not really a sewer. I watched some YouTube videos before I started because I needed to learn even the most basic stitches. But here they are, in all their holiday glory…

DIY Felt Bird Ornaments - use nice wool felt and customize with your own colors.

DIY Felt Bird Ornaments - use nice wool felt and customize with your own colors.

UPDATE: I used the leftover materials from the bird ornaments this year, and ended up with felt dog ornaments!

DIY Felt Dog Ornaments - free pattern and tutorial