Saturday, January 1, 2011

Changin' it up for New Year's Eve

I caught a segment of the Early Show the other day and saw for the first time, lifestyle contributor, Katie Lee as she served up delicious recipes that she suggested just might bring  good luck in the new year.  I don't buy much into luck but these dishes sure did look tempting even to this Northern girl.  The question was... could I get this one by my non-Southern husband.
I quickly texted him with my idea to have Jamie and her family over for New Year's Eve for some games and then after getting the little ones tucked into bed, a special dinner for the adults and more games until we watched the ball in NY Times Square drop, welcoming in 2011.  Jamie and Josh could spend the night (even though they live only 20 minutes from our home) and in the morning we could have breakfast together.

He texted right back with,  'Sounds like fun!'

Later, when I told him the menu of
Hoppin' John
Collard Greens
Prune Cake
Pomegranate Champagne
(post to follow)
he twisted his face and said,
"I think I'd rather use my gift card from Jill & Brad to Outback for a big juicy steak and a baked potato."

His non-sympathetic, undeterred wife immediately dismissed his comment and went right ahead and began a grocery store list. (actually, most of the items I already had in).
For good measure, I added cranberry chicken and sweet potato fries, just in case the new dishes didn't please)
Here are Katie's recipes:

Hoppin' John (we all like this a lot served over rice)

Some people put bacon in their Hoppin' John, but we never did when I was a child. This recipe really enables the beans to shine. Don't overcook the beans; I use canned black-eyed peas, which don't require a lot of cooking time. You can also add spices: Curry or Italian blends work well.

Serves 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 15-ounce cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, minced
Cooked rice
Shredded white cheddar
Hot sauce (optional)

1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add onion, red bell pepper, and garlic. Sauté until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.

2. Stir in black-eyed peas, broth, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to low; cook 10 more minutes. Stir in green onions and parsley.

3. Serve on top of cooked rice and garnish with cheese. Add hot sauce, if desired.
Simmered Collard Greens (all but John liked these)

3 bunches collard greens
1 tablespoon olive oil
1∕2 onion, thinly sliced
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1∕4 teaspoon garlic powder
1∕2 teaspoon kosher salt
1∕2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Hot pepper vinegar, optional

Remove the white rib from center of the collards leaves. Stack the leaves on top of each other and slice into 1-inch pieces. Thoroughly wash the greens. (I soak them and continue to change water until no dirt or sand remains.) Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Pour in the chicken broth and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits. Stir in the soy sauce, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Bring to a low boil. Add the greens and reduce the heat to very a low simmer. Cover and let cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Stir in the vinegar and simmer an additional 15 minutes. Serve with hot pepper vinegar, if desired.
Larry's Favorite Prune Cake
We loved this! I really wanted to make this exactly as the recipe was written but could not find canned prunes. I substituted dried dates that might have made the cake the tiniest bit dry. The glaze is so good drizzled on. We thought it made a great breakfast bread, warmed in the toaster and topped with cream cheese!
For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1∕2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1∕2 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
3 extra large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped cooked prunes (canned prunes are fine, drained and rinsed)
1 cup chopped walnuts

For the glaze:
1∕2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 tablespoons (1∕4 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1∕2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a Bundt pan. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. In a large bowl, beat the oil, sugar, and eggs until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Add the flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, stirring until combined. Stir in the prunes and walnuts. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake 60 to 65 minutes. Invert the cake onto a cooling rack placed over a baking sheet.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine all the ingredients and bring to a low boil, stirring constantly. Cook until the sugar is dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Gently spoon the hot glaze over the cake to coat. If necessary, collect the drippings and spoon over the cake again.
Fun For the Little Ones
 Personalized PB&J sandwiches made with cookie cutters.
And for baby bird with the longest name and smallest appetite (and because Mom-Mom didn't want to use another loaf of bread, she got what we throw to the other birds...   the bread scraps  :)
She didn't mind a bit and eagerly began sharing with Raider.
Baby Cambrie taking her first steps!
 Caleb was delighted that Pop-Pop was able to make his toy bus work again by inserting new batteries.
He smiled and chanted "bat-a-we, Pop-Pop, bat-a-we," the entire time he was here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Looking Back on 2010 With a Grateful Prayer and a Thankful Heart

January began the end of a very long and difficult time in our lives that included an unbelievably extended unemployment.  Holding on to hope and the promises of God was being tried to the utmost and it was the most stretching time in our walk of faith.
The prayers of many carried us through when it felt like we had no more words to pray.
 God's promises are trustworthy and His timing is perfect. In His amazing way, He provided our needs and in February, John began a new job that he loves.
We cherish our grandchildren and pray they will grow to lead God-honoring lives and come to know Him personally.
In April, we said good-bye to our good friend and brother-in-law, George.
We loved every second of every visit with our kids living in up-state New York.
 In June, our oldest grandson, Jared, became a teenager.
Our youngest daughter, Abbey, attended her senior prom in May and then in June, accepted her high school diploma.
We had a blast in Ocean City, in July with Erin, AJ and Jared.
 One very hot, humid summer evening, my sweetie took us out to the ballgame and we watched the winning Phillies play.
We loved having family and friends celebrate with us, Abbey's school achievements.
We went to the playground and ran, climbed, played on the swings and monkey bars and threw some balls to eager batters and catchers.
 We shared birthday cake celebrating all of our August birthdays.
We enjoyed the boardwalk anew through the eyes of the little ones
and shared the largest pizza we ever saw.
 A Paris themed birthday and some handsome Maitre d attended a party.
September included a great time visiting cousins in Lewes, Delaware.
Beautiful autumn, October days were spent sightseeing in nearby Philadelphia to celebrate our
35th wedding anniversary.
A keepsake from my Beloved.
A frightening bee-sting incident involving our grandson and dog with a happy ending.
A perfect day spent with my sister after a book signing by Ina Garten  :)
A few too many leaf-raking days in the fall.
A boy and a dog ~ happily recovered.
A boy and his Pop-Pop just messin' around.
A special day in November, our twin daughters celebrated a bench-mark birthday.
Thanksgiving and gratitude.
Our New York family and meeting their playful puppy.
Enjoying our sweet, Spanish friend was also a November highlight.
 A very cold but very fun day in Philly with Jill and family & Jamie and family.
Christmas with three of our four daughters.
A year of blessings from the hands of a Gracious and Loving
Heavenly Father.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7 

Never will I leave you;

never will I forsake you.
Hebrews 13:5 

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
  “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” 

Matthew 14:22-33

Monday, December 27, 2010


outside last night...
Advice is like snow - the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into the mind.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:10-11  
"Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
Isaiah 1:18
 He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth'
Job 37:6
inside... someone stays warm and comfortable moving from one cozy spot...
to another.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Highlights

today snow has arrived... expecting 16 inches... winds gusting to 50 mph... staying warm and snug by the fireplace  :)


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