November 28, 2015

My Kitchen Christmas List

Although I know some people love to get a 'list' from their loved ones in order to know what to buy them for Christmas... I do not. I don't ask for them and I don't make them.  I never have.  Even as a child.

Yes, even has a 7 year old child I didn't want to give or get a list.  The closest I came, was excitedly finding the Sears Christmas Catalog (and later, the JC Penney catalog too) came in the mail.  I would try to grab it before my siblings saw it, and would lay down on my stomach on the carpet with a pen or marker in hand and gleefully go through every page, circling or x-ing all the amazing gifts featured.  Often times at least one or two of my siblings would be laying as close as possible to me, our heads touching, each with a pen or marker and we would all be excitedly chattering about the wonderful toys and gifts on each page!  We usually put our first initial or name next to an item we were afraid our Mom wouldn't know for sure who marked it.  Just in case.  And when our little brother was a baby and toddler, we would mark things 'for him' - so proud of ourselves for helping Mom know what we were yearning for in our little hearts and minds.

And of course, with about 30 items circled, I would have NO idea what 3 or 4 gifts I might actually receive under the tree, so it was always a wonderful surprise.

I believed (and still do) that I should pay attention to what we've talked about over the past few months or year.  Notice what you've mentioned, wished for, looked at, or said you wished you had.  And I take note of that... and at Christmas I'm so happy to buy a gift for someone that I know they secretly (or not so secretly) yearned for but couldn't or wouldn't buy for themselves.

But not everyone is that conscientious.  Including my husband. So every year he asks for a list.  Every year I don't make one.  And every year for the past 20 years, he's turned to one of our children to ask them "what Mom wants".   As a six year old, my daughter was helping him buy my gifts as she knew better than he did what I wanted or needed!  Ha ha.  Of course, this is how I got bedroom slippers with a high heel too... so maybe I should start making lists.

Well, this year, he mentioned it again...  and this morning, with coffee in hand... I'm trying to come up with a list. We only have one child still 'at home' to help him... and she is only here part time as she attends University about 5 hours away.  With no one to help him, and judging from the bizarre or not really wanted/needed items in the past, I've been trying (trying!) to come up with list.  And that is where this post comes from.

If you decide to click through any of these items for yourself, I'm linking to Amazon.  If you decide to buy it, I may get a small commission from it (and when I say small, I'm talking like, anything from eleven cents to a buck) but it doesn't cost you anything extra at all.

My Own Personal Wish List from Amazon....

I bought a Victorio Manual (hand) Grain Mill to see if grinding my own wheat is something I would be interested in doing full time.  I don't like the digestive issues store bought breads and flour bring and although we eat low-carb often... not all the time.  And I have found I have almost NO ISSUES eating homemade breads!  So I invested in a small mill (This one actually - VICTORIO Hand Operated Grain Mill) and now that I know it's something I would absolutely use almost daily, I'd love an electric version!  It took me about an hour to grind enough wheatberries to make 2 loaves of bread.  This would go much faster! Ha.

WonderMill Grain Mill

Although I love any homemade bread, my husband is picky about it.  He will eat it with meals, but when it comes to making sandwiches, his bread needs to be 'square'.  It's a mental thing.  But I was thinking if I AM going to start grinding my own wheat all the time and making our own bread, I need some good quality loaf pans to bake them in.  And with this style, he would actually use them to make his sandwiches!

USA Pans Pullman Loaf Pan with Cover, Aluminized Steel

This is the wheat I bought and used with my hand mill.  I bought 3 of them; the hard red berries, hard white and soft white.  Hard red makes 'wheat' bread products.  Hard white is for white breads.  Soft white is good for baking and pastries.  I LOVE THIS STUFF!  It's non-GMO!  Non-Irradiated!  And they even tell you which field it's grown in.  I have 15 lbs. on hand right now but anticipate I'm going to be buying it regularly (once I get a faster grain mill!)

Non-GMO Project Verified Hard White Wheat Berries | 100% Non-Irradiated | Certified Kosher Parve | USA Grown |Identity Preserved (We tell you which field we grew it in)

My husband will see this one and say, "But, you already have a mixer."  Yes.  I do. And I love it and use it!  But it's about 8 years old and it's not a very powerful one.  With all the baking and cooking I do, I'd love to upgrade to a more powerful series.  I think mine is a 300 or 350.  This is a 600 series.  With all the bread making I plan to do, this would come in handy for that kneading!

KitchenAid 6 Qt. Professional 600 Series

Here is what is #1 on my list this year... even though I'm not sure of the exact brand or style I want or need.  Maybe my readers could help???

I want a steam mop!  It doesn't have to be an expensive model with all the bells and whistles, but I'm looking for a good quality, trustworthy model that won't break or leak with in 2-3 months.  I'd like it to have rotating brushes for the ceramic stone like tile in our kitchen and although I may use it on the hardwood floors, it's not my primary focus.  I already have a carpet cleaner so I don't need it to do carpets AND hard floors.  Just the hard tile floors in the kitchen, dining room and bathrooms. 

Hoover FloorMate SpinScrub

Hoover FloorMate Deluxe Hard Floor Cleaner

I'm also adding a few other items to my 'list' that aren't kitchen or house related so I am not going to list them here.  (Comfy flannel pajamas, socks, candles and an electric blanket!). 

If you have any advice regarding the items on my list above, I'd love to hear it!  Personal reviews are so very helpful when having to buy items like these!

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November 22, 2015

Reposting because it makes me smile every year: THAT Thanksgiving letter - Instructions from Marney

A few years ago this Thanksgiving 'funny' spread to many emails, Facebooks, sites and blogs.  It's one of those humorous compilations that no one knows the actual person, but swears it's the sister of someone in their office, or their friends' sister-in-law or their Aunt or their boyfriends cousin's family... yada yada.

It brings a smile to my face when I read it and since it's time to plan for the big Thanksgiving Family Dinner...  I thought it would be fun to dig it back out for 2014 and again in 2015.   But this time, with a twist.  I actually looked up some of the product's Marney demands and linked to them.  Let's hope your sister-in-law, cousin or friend isn't quite as persnickety as the fabled Marney is in your Thanksgiving planning!

Happy Thanksgiving!

From: Marney

As you all know a fabulous Thanksgiving Dinner does not make itself. I need to ask each of you to help by bringing something to complete the meal. I truly appreciate your offers to assist with the meal preparation.

Now, while I do have quite a sense of humor and joke around all the time, I COULD NOT BE MORE SERIOUS when I am providing you with your Thanksgiving instructions and orders. I am very particular, so please perform your task EXACTLY as I have requested and read your portion very carefully. If I ask you to bring your offering in a container that has a lid, bring your offering in a container WITH A LID, NOT ALUMINUM FOIL! If I ask you to bring a serving spoon for your dish, BRING A SERVING SPOON, NOT A SOUP SPOON! And please do not forget anything.

All food that is to be cooked should already be prepared, bring it hot and ready to serve, warm or room temp. These are your ONLY THREE options. Anything meant to be served cold should, of course, already be cold.

HJB—Dinner wine

The Mike Byron Family
1. Turnips in a casserole with a lid and a serving spoon. Please do not fill the casserole all the way up to the top, it gets too messy. I know this may come as a bit of a surprise to you, but most of us hate turnips so don't feel like you a have to feed an army.
2. Two half gallons of ice cream, one must be VANILLA, I don't care what the other one is. No store brands please. I did see an ad this morning for Hagan Daz Peppermint Bark Ice Cream, yum!! (no pressure here, though).
3. Toppings for the ice cream.
4. A case of bottled water, NOT gallons, any brand is ok.

The Bob Byron Family
1. Green beans or asparagus (not both) in a casserole with a lid and a serving spoon. If you are making the green beans, please prepare FOUR pounds, if you are making asparagus please prepare FIVE pounds. It is up to you how you wish to prepare them, no soupy sauces, no cheese (you know how Mike is), a light sprinkling of toasted nuts, or pancetta, or some EVOO would be a nice way to jazz them up.
2. A case of beer of your choice (I have Coors Light and Corona) or a bottle of clos du bois chardonnay (you will have to let me know which you will bring prior to 11/22).

The Lisa Byron Chesterford Family
1. Lisa as a married woman you are now required to contribute at the adult level. You can bring an hors d’ouvres. A few helpful hints/suggestions. Keep it very light, and non-filling, NO COCKTAIL SAUCE, no beans of any kind. I think your best bet would be a platter of fresh veggies and dip. Not a huge platter mind you (i.e., not the plastic platter from the supermarket).

The Michelle Bobble Family
1. Stuffing in a casserole with a serving spoon. Please make the stuffing sans meat.
2. 2.5-3 qts. of mashed squash in a casserole with a lid and serving spoon
3. Proscuitto pin wheel - please stick to the recipe, no need to bring a plate.
4. A pie knife

The June Davis Family
1. 15 LBS of mashed potatoes in a casserole with a serving spoon. Please do not use the over-size blue serving dish you used last year. Because you are making such a large batch you can do one of two things: put half the mash in a regulation size casserole with lid and put the other half in a plastic container and we can just replenish with that or use two regulation size casserole dishes with lids. Only one serving spoon is needed.
2. A bottle of clos du bois chardonnay

The Amy Misto Family (why do I even bother she will never read this)
1. A pumpkin pie in a pie dish (please use my silver palate recipe) no knife needed.
2. An apple pie in a pie dish, you can use your own recipe, no knife needed.

Looking forward to the 28th!!


 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

While most of us have seen this Thanksgiving Letter floating around the internet on one site or another since 2009-ish, I thought I would help out poor Marney's family by providing them with some links to dishes and spoons (and pie plates) I found on Amazon that should be "Marney Approved"!    All in good fun.  :)

The Mike Byron Family
2-Quart Casserole Dish with Lid
Serving Spoon (not Soup Spoon!)
Ice Cream Toppings:  Mega Sprinkle Set

The Bob Byron Family
CorningWare  Casserole Dish with Lid
Good Grips Stainless Steel Spoon
Pancetta by Beretta (14 ounce)

The Lisa Byron Chesterford Family
Clear 2pc Appetizer Server with Ice Tray (Vegetable Platter)

The Michelle Bobble Family
 3-Quart Casserole with Cover
Del Duca Sliced Prosciutto
Stainless Steel Pie Server

The June Davis Family
Please see the links above under Mike and Bob's names for the regulation size casserole with lid- for the large plastic container to hold the 'back up' mashed potatoes, try this one; Rubbermaid Rectangle 24-Cup Food Storage Container

The Amy Misto Family
Deep Dish Stoneware Pumpkin Pie Dish
9 Inch Ceramic Pie Plate, Red
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November 15, 2015

Unexpected - Back Soon I Hope (updated)

I'm going to be slow posting for a bit.

Life has thrown a few curve balls this week.

Thursday, my Mother had what should have been a minor surgery. 

Friday I was unfortunately in a store as it was robbed - that shook me up a bit for the rest of the day.

This morning, Sunday, my Mother was up and fine early this morning to have breakfast but after her morning dose of medications, she never woke up.  Currently is unresponsive - eyes are open but not responsive.  Brain scans and blood work being done now.

Sitting next to the phone with nervous energy... (I'm 1000 miles away) - and I guess needing to keep my fingers busy so I'm typing here... and obviously, food and recipes are the least of my thoughts.

Updated:  Possibly mini stroke. More tests. She is talking now - and responsive so there is that.
Updated:  We still believe it was a reaction to the pain medication but they are running brain scans, MR's, and test after test.
Updated:  My Mother is doing well and was released from the hospital.  The admitted that due to "miscommunication" among staff, she was overly sedated with pain medications. She has no memory of the situation other than saying "Well, that was an easy and peaceful way to die"  as she simply went to sleep - but her eyes never closed. She is home now. 


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November 14, 2015

Guacamole Stuffed Chicken Breasts Wrapped In Bacon

I've been meaning to get this one onto my personal recipe blog so I don't forget it - but life has just been incredibly hectic and busy.  However, my blog is my 'recipe file' and I'm afraid this dish will be forgotten (out of sight, out of mind) if I don't post it here to remind myself to make again... soon.

My last post was about a bacon, guacamole and chicken 'dip' and you can see now where I got that idea... from leftovers!  Yep, this is what I made up for dinner one night - which led to my yummy appetizer idea. 

There isn't really a recipe other than if you make your guacamole from scratch (I do).

My Homemade Guacamole

2-3 avocados (2 large, use 3 if they are on the smaller side)
1/2 onion, quartered
1/4 c diced chilies
1 heaping teaspoon minced jalapeno's
1 T cilantro or parsley (half that if you use dried)
1 T lime juice
1 large clove minced garlic (or use about 1  teaspoon pre-minced jarred style)
1/4 t salt
1 medium tomato, peeled, seeded and diced
*options;  a little chili powder or cumin if you wish!)

Slice and remove the seed from the avocados.  Scoop the flesh into a food processor bowl.  Add the onion, chilies, jalapeno, cilantro, lime and garlic and salt.  While on pulse a few times, just a few seconds each time.  Don't over process, but be sure the onion is all incorporated.  Stir in half the tomatoes, put into a serving dish, top with the remaining diced tomatoes.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Pound as many boneless, skinless chicken breasts as you wish.
Spread a layer of guacamole on each
Roll up and secure with a strip of bacon - or use two and wrap them like a gift
Bake in a preheated oven at 375 for approximately 30 minutes or until the chicken is done
If you need your bacon more golden brown and crisp, place under the broiler and broil for 2-3 minutes
If you make extra bundles, you can chop them up and add extra guacamole to make an appetizer to serve with tortilla chips.

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November 09, 2015

Incredible - Chicken, Guacamole & Bacon Dip Appetizer for Tortilla Chips

This recipe can be as easy or as difficult as you want to make it.

Want the super-crazy-fast version? 
Use store bought guacamole, mix it with some diced pre-cooked or pre-grilled chicken from the frozen food department and add some store bought, packaged real bacon pieces!

A 'middle of the road' easy version?
Maybe use store bought chicken, whip up your own favorite guacamole, and use packaged bacon.

Or switch those around if you already have some leftover baked or grilled chicken from the night before, just buy a container of guacamole and cook some bacon - let it cool a bit and crumble it on top.

This 'dip' or appetizer is amazing.  The blend of chicken, guacamole and bacon is a favorite in our house and we have it in many different and various ways. This was actually my "dinner" the other night when no one else was home and I didn't have to cook for anyone but me! 

If you need a recipe for the guacamole, this is one I've posted before; My Homemade Guacamole

2-3 avocados (2 large, use 3 if they are on the smaller side)
1/2 onion, quartered
1/4 c diced chilies
1 heaping teaspoon minced jalapeno's
1 T cilantro or parsley (half that if you use dried)
1 T lime juice
1 large clove minced garlic (or use about 1  teaspoon pre-minced jarred style)
1/4 t salt
1 medium tomato, peeled, seeded and diced

Slice and remove the seed from the avocados.  Scoop the flesh into a food processor bowl.  Add the onion, chilies, jalapeno, cilantro, lime and garlic and salt.  While on pulse a few times, just a few seconds each time.  Don't over process, but be sure the onion is all incorporated.  Stir in half the tomatoes, put into a serving dish, top with the remaining diced tomatoes.  Serve with tortilla chips.

You might also be interested in these serving dishes available through Amazon;
Football Stadium Chip And Dip Sports Serving Set
Stoneware Round Chip 'N' Dip Server 12 inches
Chip Dip Set | Dipping Bowls | Set of 3 Silicone Chip Dip Bowls that Hang on the Edge of Most Chip Bowls for Salsa, Guacamole, Cheese
Chip and Dip Bowl with 2 Clip-On Side Dip Dishes
Original Cucina Italiana Ceramic 4 Section Square Serving Platter Dish Sunflower Decor


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