Monday, December 31, 2012

a healthy chicken tortilla soup

There's something about winter time that makes me want to eat a lot of soup. I could probably eat a different kind of soup each day and never grow tired of it.  So recently I wanted to make a chicken tortilla soup, however, I noticed that a lot of the ingredients were full of salt and fat, so I tweaked it a little to make it a little healthier, but it still taste great and had a lot of flavor to it.  This is sure to delight your taste buds on these cold, snowy days.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

All Day Salsa Chicken in the crock pot

Sometimes the easiest meals taste the best and that is definitely the case with this simple Mexican recipe made in the crock pot with just a couple of ingredients..... 4 to be exact.  Simply throw three of these items in the crock pot, plug it in, turn it on and you'll come home to a warm and tasty meal.  Break out the chips and guacamole because here's my recipe for All Day Salsa Chicken.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Come on in, we're all ready for Christmas

It's MacchiOTTo's first Christmas so I've pulled out all the stops in my decorating this year.  I've hung up lOTTs of lights, baked up lOTTs of cookies, wrapped up lOTTs of gifts, and mailed out lOTTs of Christmas cards.  We are ready to celebrate and eat and enjoy the company of family and friends this holiday season.  So come on in, I've got a pot of coffee on, take your time and look around at our house all lite up and ready for the big day.  

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Because Bourbon makes Cookies even Better

I pulled my first tray of Christmas cookies for the year out of the oven at 8 am on December 1st.  It is now 8 am on December 19th and my last batch is headed into the oven.  Needless to say I bake a lot of cookies around Christmas.  I take them to get-togethers, church and always have some on hand when company stops by this time of year.  I have recipes I make every year and I always try a new recipe each year too.  This years new recipe has a Bourbon Maple flavor twist, because as I like to say.... Bourbon makes everything better.

Now I have to admit I made this recipe with a Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup, that I got at the National Maple Syrup Festival in Medora, Indiana in early March at Burton's Maplewood Farm.  They place their syrup in a Bourbon Barrel and it absorbs the flavors and combination of maple and peppery bourbon taste amazing.  But don't fear if you don't have to have this fancy syrup on hand you can get by with regular Maple Syrup and Bourbon. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Baby's 1st Christmas Homemade Hand Print Ornament

MacchiOTTo's first Christmas is almost here, and to help commemorate the event I have made ornaments to give to family.  I used her hand print on the ornament so future Christmas's they can reflect on when she was small.  These ornaments were easy to make and one's I'm sure they all will cherish.
On the back side of the ornament I wrote:
"This is to remind you, when I have grown so tall, that for Christmas 2012 my hands were oh so small."

Monday, December 17, 2012

my baby shoe obsession

I've discussed my shoe obsession before on this blog, but now our little MacchiOTTo is reaching that age where she wears shoes and I have to tell you how much fun it is finding her cute shoes now.  (Keeping those shoes on her feet sometimes is a different story)  But I may have found her a shoe that grows with her, stays on her foot, and comes in cute colors and designs. 

Shupeas are a very versatile baby shoe that offers a customized fit for your baby's foot that can grow and change with your baby as their feet grow.  And they never leave elastic marks around your baby's ankles.  Shupeas can fit your baby from around 3 months to 20 months.  During that time period you could buy as many as 4 different pairs of shoes, but with Shupeas... one is all you need.
Soft Pink Cupcake Moccasin
You may be wondering how a shoe can grow with your baby?  Well underneath the cuff of the shoe there are Velcro straps that adjust the length of your shoe.  Simply tighten the strap to your baby's current foot length.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How to make snowy tea lights from wine glasses

I've been going all out on my Christmas decorating this year for MacchiOTTo's first Christmas.  I've been pulling everything out of my Christmas storage boxes and finding places around my home to display lights, garland, candles, you name it, we got it setting out somewhere.  And, while I will share pictures of it all with you later, today I'm showing off these homemade tea lights I made from wine glasses (with a little glitter and salt) to give a soft snowy feel to my mantle.
When I started to think about this idea, I wanted to use what I had to make this.  We have several wine glasses from different food and wine events we attend that have maybe a logo etched into the wine glass.  So to help hide the logo I started by spraying the glasses with gold glitter paint.  I used a spray glitter I found at the craft store.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Tree Meringues

I have started some of my holiday baking and I was thinking about what determines if a cookies is or isn't a "Christmas Cookie." Is it the flavor? The shape? The sprinkles? Or the tradition? Some cookies you would only think of eating around the holidays, while others you maybe decorate a different way and eat them throughout the year. Well this lead me to thinking about Meringue Cookies, which are one of my fathers favorites, and how I could make them more "Christmas" like, so I died them green and piped them to look like Christmas trees and then put little star shaped sprinkles on top.
The other thing about Meringues, is they are a little finicky to make.  You have to do it just right or they won't turn out.  Please be sure to read my tips at the bottom of this blog post.  

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sweet Potato Souffle'

As Ott, E would say; "Sweet Potatoes taste good just by themselves."  And I would have to agree, as I do enjoy the taste, but then again, I also have a tendency to not leave well enough alone..... so here is a recipe for a Sweet Potato Souffle'.  This is a rich tasting dish and could almost serve as a dessert, but then again maybe Souffle's just "taste good by themselves."

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Decorate with Memories

I like to hang things on my wall that remind me of special places or events. We use a lot of Ott, E's framed photographs on our walls from vacation spots or just images of agriculture that inspire us.  Another item I like to hang on my walls are shadow boxes for those items that can't be easily framed. I now have three of these shadowboxes hanging throughout my house to show off those small mementos that I hold so dear.  Each has a theme and I use other things around it on the wall to tie the shadow box in with my decor.   And everynow and then I like to look at those items inside and reflect.
In our bedroom, I have what I jokingly refer to as the wedding wall, which has our wedding photo, verse from our wedding, a poem about marriage and a shadow box.   In this shadow box I have an invitation, program, party favor, napkin, confetti, welcome gift, Ott, E's boutonniere and even one of the candles we used to light our unity candle.  I also have a piece of latte' colored scrap fabric from the bridesmaid dresses, and a truffle ribbon the same color as the one on my dress.  While some of these items I could try to put in a scrapbook not all fit, but this shadow box is a perfect way to display and keep those items.