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Posts from — December 2010

brrrrr

I know, you are used to me complaining about it being so HOT in Arizona. But today, I am not so much complaining as just telling you, it is COLD in Arizona! So cold that we had actual snow flurries yesterday here in our desert.  And so cold that this morning, a little polar bear ornament is awaiting birds with ice skates to join him on the frozen-solid bird bath.

It has happened before, but not for a long time. I have two cute desert snow pictures of Marissa, when she was a toddler. Those are a little extra treat at the bottom of this post, but first a couple of photos showing our current winter cold spell…

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December 31, 2010   7 Comments

red & green

We all know how important incorporating more color into our diets is for good health. I love focusing on the specific colors red and green during the holidays and this recipe fits the bill perfectly.

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December 30, 2010   No Comments

special occasion beef

For Christmas dinner I made everyone’s favorite cut of beef – tenderloin. Although filet mignons are always a treat, preparing a whole tenderloin feels wonderfully decadent. And when you throw in a creamy brandy sauce, well that puts it above and beyond. Unfortunately, while in the rush to make all the plates perfect and get them to the table hot on Christmas night, I didn’t get a picture snapped before all the sauce was gone… so the picture above is with the remaining beef, sans sauce. Be sure you run out today to buy your tenderloin if you want to serve this on New Year’s Eve. I picked up mine at Costco, of course!

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December 29, 2010   No Comments

Christmas or anytime

Just because I’ve named these Christmas custards, don’t think that they wouldn’t be good anytime of the year… in fact – it has been requested that I make them again for New Years Eve, and I just may!

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December 28, 2010   No Comments

iLove!

I hope your Christmas was merry and bright! It was at the Hopkins’ house and I have a very good reason for not posting a recipe yesterday… it is pictured above. Santa brought be an iPad for Christmas and I’m having a blast with it! Thankfully it wasn’t opened until AFTER I had gotten Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas morning breakfast on the table, otherwise people may have gone hungry! Somehow, I did manage to make Christmas dinner, but the day after Christmas… it was all iPad, all day long! And I’m feeling the itch to get back to it right now. Before that happens, here is the potato dish I made for Christmas Eve to accompany pomegranate molasses lamb chops -yummers!

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December 27, 2010   2 Comments

to you and yours!

A Blessed and Very Merry Christmas!

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December 25, 2010   No Comments

He’s on his way!

I hope you’re ready with the milk and cookies. And please don’t forget the oats with sparkles and the carrots for Rudolph and the gang!

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December 24, 2010   No Comments

gingerbread houses!

Connor's 2008

We are going from gingerbread martinis straight to gingerbread houses. It is a Hopkins’ family tradition for Marissa and Connor (and sometimes Dave and I) to decorate a gingerbread house for Christmas.

Marissa's 2008

The kids bemoan it each year, but I believe they have fun doing it, through their protests.

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December 23, 2010   4 Comments

girlfriend Christmas time

Peggy, Anne, and I had our annual Christmas cocktail time last night. Since it was to be held at my house, I wanted to make a new holiday martini for the occasion. While creating other gingerbread recipes this year, I spotted something I didn’t know existed, gingerbread syrup.  I have about a dozen different flavors of Torani syrups in my second refrigerator. I use those to make Italian Creme Sodas for kid’s cooking classes, but gingerbread is a flavor I have never found. I let my “fingers do the walking” as I called Smart & Final, Cost Plus World Market, BevMo, and Total Wine (all the places I know carry the Torani line of syrups) searching for gingerbread. Sadly, not a single one of them had it in stock.  What’s a determined girl to do? Make her own gingerbread syrup, of course! As a result, today you get two recipes for the price of one. Enjoy!

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December 22, 2010   No Comments

Christmas poem and pasta

Although I didn’t feel like making dinner on Monday, I ran into Trader Joe’s with only, “Make pasta for dinner.” on my brain. I was instantly inspired upon sight of a bag of sliced crimini mushrooms. From there the recipe developed in my head as I put heirloom tomatoes, arugula, two linguini flavors, and Fontina cheese in my cart.

But I have to admit that I find it immensely difficult to make dinner on the nights leading up to big holidays. All my focus and attention is currently pinpointed on Christmas Eve mass and dinner. Next, on Christmas day breakfast, gift opening, and dinner. All that makes it feels nearly impossible to care about the “now’.  I am well aware that that is not the way to live life, but making the holidays special is just what I, and most of you, do.

So, for you – and for me, I post a little poem and this pasta recipe, both of which I created just for the holiday hustle and bustle. I’m far to frazzled and scatter brained to finish the last 10 stanzas. Here is a LINK to the original poem, please feel free to add some stanzas of your own. And if no one steps forward, maybe I shall get back to it later!

“Twas the Monday before Christmas, and all through the house
Not a creature was focused, not even the mouse.
The “to do” lists were sitting on the counter with a nasty glare
In my hopes that someone else would please do them with care.

The husband and children were kick’n back in their Keds
While visions of the perfect Christmas danced in their heads.
And mama in her panic, bustling here and there with her map
Wondering how everything would happen without ever getting a nap!

When out in the kitchen there arose such a bang and a clatter,
Mama continued getting dinner on the table as if nothing else mattered.
Away to the shops and markets she went in such a dash.
Doing her best to get it all done in time for each camera flash.

The family was ever confident as they watched her go, go go,
That this Christmas, like all the rest, would be everything and mo’
When what to all wondering eyes should appear,
But another “perfect” Christmas- full of joy, love, and cheer!”

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December 21, 2010   5 Comments