Friday, December 31, 2010

Italian Wedding Soup

It is so cold out that I had a hankering to make homemade soup.

This is an easy recipe, although the prep work is a little labor intensive.


1 pound extra lean ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 quarts of chicken stock (buy organic and low sodium)
2 cups of fresh spinach - rinsed and finely chopped (buy organic - if possible)
1 cup of mini bow tie pasta (Barilla makes a great line of mini pastas)
3/4 cup diced baby carrots (buy organic - if possible)

In a medium bowl combine the beef, eggs, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and dried basil. Season with a little salt and pepper.

Roll this mixture into mini meat balls and set aside.

In a large stockpot heat the chicken broth until it boils. While you are waiting for the broth to boil chop the spinach and baby carrots.

Once the broth has started to boil - add the meatballs.

Then add the two cups of fresh spinach - finely chopped.

Now add the mini bow tie pasta.

Lastly add the chopped fresh carrots.

Reduce to a medium heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes. I tried to take a picture of the soup in the stock pot as it was cooking - but the picture came out too steamy and you really couldn't see anything (although I got an awesome steam facial).

Here is the bowl of Italian Wedding Soup! Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Black Eyed Peas Signs

Okay - I said I was going to do another project with black eyed peas (for good luck in 2011).

When Todd saw my black eyed peas signs he said he wanted to send me to art school - I think he thought he was super funny - because then he laughed for ten minutes.

I wrote on the black paper with pencil and filled in the lines with hot glue and black eyed peas. I shall put these photos in my art school application portfolio!
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Happy New Year

Happy New Year's Eve! According to Southern folklore dating back to the civil war black eyed peas should be the first food eaten on New Year's day for luck and prosperity throughout the year ahead.

No one in my family wants anything to do with eating back eyed peas! So I have been using them for decorations!

Here are some votives:

Hopefully these votives will also bring our family good luck!

If you are having a New Year's Eve party - this would be a fun and inexpensive decoration.

I bought two bags of black eyed peas yesterday at Ralph's. They were .99 a bag. You can't beat that!

Later today we are making another (non-cooking) project with black eyed peas! Check back!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wedge Salad

Warning: This is a high calorie salad!

Get a nice fresh head of Iceburg lettuce. Take off the outer layers. Then rinse and dry the inner layers.

Then cut some grape tomatoes in half and sprinkle over the Iceburg lettuce.

Now sprinkle with finely chopped red onion.

Cook some bacon and crumble over the lettuce.

Sprinkle with some crumbled blue cheese.

For the final step - drizzle with blue cheese dressing.

Tiffany Blue Cake Balls

I made Tiffany blue cakeballs for Noelle's birthday.

To get the Tiffany blue color - we tinted melted white chocolate with a combination of royal blue and teal food coloring - swirling in a little bit of color at a time.

Then I put them in mini pink cupcake liners and placed them tightly in a box. I think they should sell these at Tiffany!

Or they could send them to all of their top customers as a thank you!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

I hope that everyone has a wonderful holiday and that you enjoyed the December posts. Keep checking back-  I have some great ideas for January and February. Lots of organizing, cleaning, decorating and Valentine ideas. Even some homemade soup recipes.

Thank you for reading my blog! xoxo!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Chocolate Covered Gingerbread Men

I know- we covered everything with chocolate yesterday. I couldn't stop!

I bought these cute Mini Gingerbread Men cookies at Trader Joe's because I have gingerbread man ribbon. Logical? I know!

This is what they looked like before we dipped them in chocolate.

If there is a cookie at my house it will be dipped in chocolate.

I love my Wilton chocolate melter! It melts the chocolate then has a warming button and keeps the chocolate at the perfect dipping temperature.

Note: I am a Target shopper. However, there comes a time when you need something and have to go into a Walmart - I saw a chocolate melter there for $20. Trust me it is worth the investment.

Do I even need to add what we did next? Put them in treat bags and tied them with ribbon.

Run, run as fast as you can you can't catch me I'm the Gingerbread Man!

More Chocolate Covered Oreos

Noelle made chocolate covered Oreos for her basketball team.

She dipped the Oeros in white chocolate and added the gingerbread men.

Once they were dry I packaged them in little bags and tied them with gingerbread man ribbon.

After the basketball game last night - Noelle passed these out to her teammates.

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Chocolate Dipped Pirouette's

Christian wanted to get in on the chocolate dipped cookie assembly line that Noelle and I set up! So his choice was to dip the Pepperidge Farm Pirouette's. He also took the pictures for his project.

He carefully (not) laid out the cookies on parchment paper.

Then we dipped them in chocolate and Christian chose the rainbow sprinkles.

Then Christian had to taste test his project! He gave it two thumbs up!

Once they were completely dry - I packaged them (he was bored by now!) and they will go in our treat bags that we give to our neighbors.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dining Room

Here are some pictures of my dinning room. Note: I am a room mom!

I started setting up the dinning room, I collect Spode Christmas china and add new pieces every year.

Okay - you probably didn't notice but I recovered my dinning room chairs in polka dots. Then I found polka dot placemats and napkins at Pottery Barn.

I love the Spode Christmas tree - it is so beautiful. Plus nothing says Christmas to me like the Spode Christmas tree china.

Christmas Chocolate Covered Pretzel's

Today in the pouring rain I was in my kitchen creating treats. I made some chocolate covered Christmas pretzels.

After I dipped the pretzels in chocolate I sprinkled them with Christmas tree sprinkles.

Then I dipped some more pretzels in chocolate and sprinkled them with crushed candy canes.

Once they were dry, I packaged them in a pretzel bag and tied them with a gingham ribbon.

This is a cute neighbor, coach, teacher gift. It would also be nice taped onto a wrapped gift.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cranberry Votives

I love making cranberry votives during the holidays - they look so festive.

I just found some little clear bowls that I use to put nuts or dip in - and I placed a layer of cranberries on the bottom. Then wedged the votive in the middle and placed cranberries all around the votive.

These would look great lined up down the middle of the table.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Wrapping Tips

Whenever I wrap a package - I always like to use at least two types of ribbon and add a little tie-on.

I did not wrap these beautiful notebooks. Instead I tied them with two types of ribbon and added a brooch in the middle of each ribbon.

I think that notebooks are a fun January gift so that people can write their resolutions and do"to do" lists.

Guess where I bought these notebooks and brooches? Michael's in the dollar section! I always have to look in the dollar section at Michael's and Target. You never know what you will find!

Holiday Kettle Korn

I made this delicious holiday kettle korn for Christian's class.

Pop a bunch of microwave Kettle Korn. I made six bags of microwave Kettle Korn and spread them out in a single layer on parchment paper.

Now melt some red chocolate and drizzle it over the popcorn.

Wait for the red chocolate drizzle to dry. Then melt the green chocolate and drizzle with the green chocolate.

While the green chocolate is still warm - sprinkle with red sugar.

Now package the completely cooled popcorn into individual bags.

These would look great on a cookie plate and be a yummy treat on holiday movie night.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Chocolate Covered Oreo's

I dipped Oreo's in chocolate and decorated them with gingerbread men.

First lay your Oreo's out on parchment paper. Then melt your chocolate.

Now dip your Oero in the melted chocolate - tap off the excess chocolate.

Before the chocolate hardens - add your decoration. I thought these gingerbread men were so cute!

After the gingerbread men have hardened on the Oero. I used a toothpick to put a little melted chocolate on the hand of each gingerbread man and added a little candy cane.

Once everything was dry, I placed the cookie in a small bag and tied with a gingerbread man ribbon.

These would look really cute on a cookie platter or in a basket by the front door to give to anyone who pops by!

Run, run as fast as you can you can't catch me - I 'm the gingerbread man.........
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