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Posts from — November 2012

Seventh Day of Christmas Gift

On the seventh day of Christmas
My true love gave to me:
Spicy Guinness Mustard
Two Jars of Mustard
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Homemade Kahlua Liqueur
Lemon-Sugar Hand Scrub
Cranberry Citrus Vodka
and a bottle of Tomato Dust

Yep, the seventh day is kinda like the sixth day, more mustard. I can’t help myself! I actually had five different styles of mustard I wanted to share with you, but I’ll save the other two for next year.

This style uses whole mustard seeds and makes a fabulous grainy mustard that is just as at home on a sandwich as it is coating a pork tenderloin that is about to be grilled to perfection.

You’ll be using a mix of yellow and brown mustard seeds. The yellow seeds are easily found in any grocery spice aisle. The brown seeds take a little more effort to acquire. I’ve found them at Cost Plus World Market and you can always find them at Penzey’s Spices, either online HERE or in a  store near you. If you are local, there is a Penzey’s on the NW corner of Tatum and Shea and another at Tempe Marketplace on the Rio Salado Parkway. If you’re not local, don’t fret, there are Penzy’s in 29 states, maybe there is one near you. Check HERE to see.

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November 29, 2012   1 Comment

Sixth Day of Christmas Gift

Out of all the gifts from the kitchen I’ve made so far, if someone gave me today’s gift, homemade mustard, it is the one that I would be over the moon about.

I love mustard, especially gourmet flavored mustard and especially if someone makes it for me. This isn’t meant as a hint, but to let you know that mustard is a great gift!

On the sixth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me:
Two Jars of Mustard
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Homemade Kahlua Liqueur
Lemon-Sugar Hand Scrub
Cranberry Citrus Vodka
and a bottle of Tomato Dust

The first mustard takes a couple weeks for the flavors to soften and meld. The second only takes a couple of days to do the same.

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November 28, 2012   2 Comments

Fifth Day of Christmas Gift

Today I am reluctantly tossing out my pumpkins from Halloween and Thanksgiving, all two dozen dozen plus, to make room for Christmas decorations.

Before I do, I’m going to cut them open and take out some of the seeds to try and save them for planting next year. Then I’ll roast the pulp of those that are still fresh enough and use it in my holiday baking. It’s going to be a busy day!

Before I destroyed the beauties, I used them as photo props for my homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice. It will make a sweet addition for any baking themed basket gift or the perfect little stocking stuffer for the chef in your life.

On the fifth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me:
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Homemade Kahlua Liqueur
Lemon-Sugar Hand Scrub
Cranberry Citrus Vodka
and a bottle of Tomato Dust

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November 27, 2012   1 Comment

Fourth Day of Christmas Gift

Homemade Kahlua Liqueur used to be one of my go-to gifts from the kitchen. For some reason it’s been years, maybe even a decade, since I’ve made it. I don’t know why, because it is good stuff!

On the fourth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me:
Homemade Kahlua Liqueur
Lemon-Sugar Hand Scrub
Cranberry Citrus Vodka
and a bottle of Tomato Dust

If you want to make this gift to give for Christmas, you need to get on the stick, as in make it today or tomorrow! Sorry for not giving you more notice, but it should sit for 4 weeks before drinking and Christmas is exactly four weeks from tomorrow.

If you can’t get to it until the weekend, just be sure to write on your gift tag something along the lines of, “Homemade Kahlua Liqueur. Wait to enjoy until New Year’s Eve or after.”

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November 26, 2012   1 Comment

Third Day of Christmas Gift

Thanksgiving is over. It is time to get serious about my Twelve Days of Christmas Gifts from the Kitchen!

With only 29 days till Christmas, I’m going to have double or triple my efforts to get you all the “days” in time for you to make them. So be prepared for an onslaught in the next couple weeks! Here is the third installment.

On the third day of Christmas
My true love gave to me:
Lemon-Sugar Hand Scrub
Cranberry Citrus Vodka
and a bottle of Tomato Dust

I love lemon! The aroma, the color, and above all, the flavor. So it’s no surprise that the dish soap, the hand soap, and the counter spray that I use in my kitchen is the Williams-Sonoma Meyer Lemon Collection. The large refill bottles are the annual gift I ask for every Christmas from my family.

Another favorite is this lemon scented sugar hand scrub. I use Queen Creek Meyer Lemon Olive Oil to make it.

If you don’t have lemon olive oil on hand or don’t want to go to the trouble or expense to purchase it – regular olive oil is fine and dandy.

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November 25, 2012   3 Comments

a burlap & silver tablescape

Since Marissa and Dave’s mom fly back home today and Connor heads back to school, Thanksgiving is officially over at the Hopkins’ home. Let’s take one last glance back before the Christmas holiday crush begins.

My 2012 Thanksgiving tablescape and buffets were a lovely mix of pumpkins, silver and burlap, vintage and new.

To begin, I laid my burlap runner diagonally down the center of the table and placed a burlap placemat at seat.

I hollowed out one of the blue-green Jarrahdale pumpkins and used it as the container for the central floral part of the centerpiece. Originally I planned to set it atop a Bordallo Pinheiro Cabbage Leaf pedestal plate, but it was too high and would have prevented guests from seeing each other.

It was the perfect height on an oval maroon Bordallo Pinheiro grape leaf platter.

A silver charger was set down at each place and then every other placesetting received either this vintage Johnson Brothers Native American Wild Turkey dinner plate or…

… this Johnson Brothers “Wild Turkeys” dinner plate.

More Johnson Brothers plates were added next – a Friendly Village bowl went atop the dinner plate and the Johnson Brothers Friendly Village square salad plate was placed at the top left as a bread plate. Mixed pattern flatware and a stag horn steak knife were set in their proper places.

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November 24, 2012   5 Comments

lovely day

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We upheld all our traditions and had a new guest at our table. It was the first Thanksgiving Dave’s mom has ever spent with us and it was a joy having her here!

Just a few of our many Thanksgiving day traditions: Dave and the kids hike Pinnacle Peak while I get the turkeys into the oven and onto the grill. I always make two turkeys, not that we ever feed more than six people, it is just what we do! My dad arrives to cut up the giblets for the gravy. I make two pans of gravy, one with giblets for my dad, Dave, and this year, for his mom too. And another pan without giblets (Yuck!) for me and the kids.

We play games outside in the warm Arizona sunshine.

Dad brings the Beaujolais Nouveau, our traditional Thanksgiving wine. Connor and Marissa help me serve, get everything onto the table, and clear the plates between courses. Then they cheerfully help clean up until the last dish is dried and put away. And I’m not being sarcastic when I say cheerfully, they are the best!  To finish it all off it, at the end of the meal, my dad always says, “You done good.”

Yes, there is a lot to be thankful and grateful for!

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November 23, 2012   2 Comments

Happy Thanksgiving

November 22, 2012   No Comments

crafty ladies

Hey, Crafty Ladies (sung to the tune of Gangam Style)

I had not planned on posting today… you know, kinda busy cooking up a storm for the big feast tomorrow. But after doing this quick paint job yesterday, I could not resist.

So…

How do you go about turning something like this…

…. into something like this?

Pretty fantastic, right?!

Here is all it takes. Well these three things, little tap water, and about 5 minutes of your precious time.

The Krylon Looking Glass spray paint is supposedly discontinued. At least according to the sales people at Hobby Lobby, Micheal’s, and Ace Hardware.  I snapped up the last four cans at Ace. It’s not cheap either. I paid $15 a can, but I did find it for you on Amazon for $11 a can. You’re Welcome!

My advice – if you want to do this project. Either call around to the hardware and craft stores near you or place your order on Amazon, pronto!

I’ve had the glass pumpkin for years. As a matter of fact, I have three of them. I was contemplating putting them in the Goodwill pile but then I spotted this technique on Pinterest and decided to “mercury glass” or “mercury-ize” them instead.

I love how they turned out!

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November 21, 2012   No Comments

Second Day of Christmas Gift

The second installment of Twelve Days of Christmas Gifts from the Kitchen.

On the second day of Christmas
My true love gave to me:
Cranberry Citrus Vodka
and a bottle of Tomato Dust

This crimson cranberry vodka is easy to make, just a little time consuming because you must poke each cranberry to open it up so it will impart its goodness into the vodka. But it is time easily spent.  I used a wooden skewer and did the chore while I watched television. I was done in no time.

Make whatever quantity you want, but I can share with you that 3-pounds of fresh cranberries, 2 lemons, 2 limes, 3 tablespoons sugar, and a 1.75 liter bottle of vodka will make three 1-liter bottles of Cranberry Citrus Vodka.

You need to put this together at least 2 weeks before you plan to use it or give it away. When giving as a gift, it would be ever so thoughtful to include a Crantini recipe card with your gift. The recipe for the Crantini is at the end of the post.

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November 20, 2012   5 Comments