Saturday, November 27, 2010

Deck the Halls!!! Craft Ideas, Traditions and a Recipe

Seasons greetings, fellow bloggers!!! I hope you are having a wonderful beginning to the holiday season. The Good Little Housewife's home is overflowing with excitement and anticipation.

With Thanksgiving barely behind me, I have turned my thoughts to creating the loveliest of Christmases this year. I plan to put my fall decorations away and slowly dot Christmas around my home. I have taken this suggestion from one of my favorite blogs on the web, Brocante Home. If you have not had the opportunity to check out Alison May, then you don't know what you're missing. Anyway, on to my post.

I started yesterday, since it IS the official kickoff to the Christmas season. I added fragrance to my home in the way of Scentsy's Christmas Cottage. I have it warming in the living room and sprayed the room spray throughout my house. It is very Christmasy and adds to the ambiance I plan to create.

The Good Little Husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago and have not had an opportunity to go anywhere to officially celebrate, especially with kids and his work schedule, so we have plans for Tuesday. I live in a historic town that is on the National Historic Registry. There are beautiful buildings in our downtown area chock full of antique shops that speak to my very soul. We plan to scour the shops in search of one particular item, an antique key. We had a commercial version of the Santa key and it disappeared. My children ask how Santa will get into our home. Since the key is missing, this really bothers them, as you can well imagine. So, I am in search for the perfect key that Santa's elf can deliver in the night for the kids to leave on the front door. Oh, how I long for a fireplace so that we can use a traditional story for the Santa invasion, but alas, that is a dream that will not be soon fulfilled.

I have also been working heavily on my crafts trying to complete projects that are going to be used as Christmas gifts for my children. I have made a doll blanket, a security blanket for my three year old and an art bag for the back of a chair. I am going to put a journal in the art bag with subject ideas for each day of the year in a jar. When I get it all done, I will show pics, but in the mean time here is the link for the journal subjects. Adult and Child.

This year is going to go at a slower pace and we have many activities planned around town that we will be able to enjoy without feeling rushed. We are going on a train ride with Santa like we did last year, going to the winery for the tree festival and a few other things. I tire of the rushed feelings of the holiday. It leaves you with such a let down feeling. You wake up the day after and you wonder where it went. I don't want that to happen this year.

Keep an eye on my blog for crafts, decorating ideas and, of course, recipes. I am going to leave you with one today. I just made this fudge and I must praise it, even if it isn't lady like to pat yourself on the back.

White Chocolate Covered Almond Cherry Fudge

3 cups sugar
3/4 cup margarine
2/3 cup evaporated milk
12 oz bag white chocolate chips
1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow creme
10 ounce jar maraschino cherries, drained and chopped
2 tablespoons almond extract

Grease a 10x13 pan.

Place sugar, butter and evaporated milk in large heavy saucepan. Bring to full rolling boil on medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 4 min. or until candy thermometer reaches 234°F, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat.
Add white chocolate chips and marshmallow creme; stir until completely melted. Add cherries and almond extract; mix well.
Pour immediately into prepared pan; spread to form even layer in pan. Let stand at room temperature 4 hours or until completely cooled; cut into 1-inch squares. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature.

You could add 1 cup chopped almonds to the mixture or sprinkled on top. My children do not like nuts, so I can't add them.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Different Kind of Sweet Potato Casserole

Growing up, I had a favorite dish on Thanksgiving. It was a sweet potato casserole like no other. I wanted to share this recipe with everyone as my wish for all to have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

Stacy's Half Cup Sweet Potato Casserole

½c flour
½c brown sugar, packed
½c quick oats
1 tsp cinnamon
½c butter, softened
1 40oz can yams, drained
½c cooked cranberries (buy fresh and cook until they pop)
1c small marshmallows

In a bowl, mix flour, sugar, oats and cinnamon. Cut in butter.
Toss in 1 cup of mixture with yams and berries.
Place in baking dish and top with remaining mix.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Top with marshmallows and bake about 10 minutes more or until marshmallows are browned.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Yummy brunch idea

Since yesterday was Halloween and we did our Trick or Treating the day before, I wanted to mark the holiday with something fun and traditional. I did some research on Samhain and came up with some great things to do with my family and some great recipes to boot. The meal would be excellent for brunch.

I made both things (recipes below) and opened up a couple of jars of fried apples I put up last fall. The meal was delicious and I wanted to share the recipes for the Sausage Egg Bake and Pumpkin Bread.

Sausage Egg Bake

This was a recipe from Ann Burrell of Food Network. I changed it around a bit due to ingredient availability, personal tastes, holiday traditions and expense.

Extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 pound Mild breakfast sausage
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon rosemary, crushed
1/2 cup dry white wine
8 eggs
6 ounces Swiss cheese, grated

Special equipment: 8 (6-ounce) ramekins
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Coat a large saute pan with olive oil, add the garlic cloves and bring to a medium heat. When the garlic has become golden brown and very aromatic, add the sausage and brown. Drain.
Once, nicely browned, season with kosher salt then add in the rosemary and white wine. Cook until the wine has almost been absorbed. Turn off the heat and reserve.
Brush 8 individual ramekins with olive oil. Divide the sausage mixture equally among the ramekins and press gently into the bottom. Top each with an egg. Sprinkle each egg with a couple drops of olive oil and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes. Sprinkle each egg lightly with Swiss cheese and bake until the cheese is brown and bubbly and the egg whites are cooked and the yolks are still runny, about 5 minutes.

Pumpkin Bread

I found this recipe online somewhere and can't remember where. I altered it a bit adding more nutmeg than the original recipe called for. Makes two loaves.

2 cups canned pumpkin
1 cup melted butter
¾ cups water
4 eggs
3 2/3 cups flour
2 ¼ cups sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ c raisins (opt)
1 cup chopped walnuts (opt)

Preheat oven to 350. Blend pumpkin, butter, water and eggs until well-mixed. Add sugar and mix. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and baking soda. Add to pumpkin mixture in small batches, mixing well to combine. With a wooden spoon, stir in raisins and nuts. Pour into two loaf pans that have been greased and floured. Bake at 350 for one hour, or until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean.

Delicious meal and looks so nice served.