Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve Menu

We're having some friends over tonight for snacks and games, and hopefully to stay up late enough to watch the ball fall in NYC. They're bring something dessert-y to add to the table.

I've made the sparkling cranberries that have been a hit so far when I've made them. I also made the margarita fruit dip that I really enjoyed at bible study a few months ago. I cheated on the veggie/chip dip and bought a French onion dip from the store. I still need to cut up the fruit and veggies and put out all the food, including the chips and the bean dip. To drink, we've got lemonade or apple cider. Should be a fun evening!

Happy New Year to all!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Doing Some Meal Planning

I'm working on some meal planning for Christmas and New Year's. The biggest thing right now is finding time to get to the grocery store before Christmas Eve! We decided, well, I decided a few years ago that I wanted to enjoy Christmas with everyone and didn't want to be stuck in the kitchen. So now we have our big, fancy Christmas meal on Christmas Eve before we go to church at 8:00. Christmas day is something easy that can be eaten whenever anyone gets hungry for lunch. For the past several years we've had chili, but I'm changing things up this year and everyone seems to be on board (helps that it's one of their favorite meals).

So Christmas Eve will be roast beef, scalloped or au gratin potatoes (a Pioneer Woman recipe) and green beans with wine or apple cider to drink and buche de Noel for dessert. Christmas morning breakfast will be some sort of egg casserole, probably not my favorite one, but one I've made recently that everyone seems to like. Food later will be mac and cheese and a new recipe for bacon and Brussels sprout salad. Hopefully I can make both ahead of time on either Sunday or Tuesday morning.

I was also thinking a bit today about New Year's Eve and day. I like my recipe for hoppin' John so we'll have that on the first, probably with a pork roast and maybe broccoli or a salad. For New Year's Eve, I was thinking of making burgers and baked potato casserole. I'm going to take a look at my apps & snacks board over on pinterest and see what I can find that looks good to make for the evening. Not sure what our plans are yet, but we might have a game night with snacks until midnight. After the ball falls, we'll all be heading to bed!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Sparkling Cranberries

My sister made this recipe from Southern Living over Thanksgiving. Oh, my gosh! These are so addictive! The sweet syrup and sugar against the sour cranberries is perfect. The note on the recipe says they can be served with baked Brie or as a garnish on cakes or pies, but they're also super good just eating them out of hand.

Sparkling Cranberries
makes 2 cups

1 c pure maple syrup
2 c fresh cranberries
1 c sugar
parchment paper

Cook maple syrup in a saucepan over medium-low heat 1 to 2 minutes (don't let the syrup get too hot or the cranberries will pop). Remove from heat and stir in cranberries. Cover and chill 8 to 12 hours. Place sugar in a baking dish. Drain cranberries in a colander then add a few cranberries at a time to the sugar; gently toss to coat. Place cranberries in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet; repeat with remaining cranberries. Let stand until completely dry.

Note: I used a full bag of cranberries instead of just 2 cups, kept the rest of the ingredients the same.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Char Siu Pork

This is one of the recipes that inspired me to start my blog. I got it from someone on the Sonlight Forums (a homeschool curriculum company that I use), emailed it to myself and printed it out. It sits in the stack of other printed out recipes, recipes torn out of magazines, and ones I scribbled on scrap paper. Which makes finding it when I want it a challenge. I can't believe that I mentioned it in my opening post and still haven't shared it. Just found the recipe again since we're going to be making it tonight (very modified though) and it needs to be here!

Char Siu Pork
(or more commonly known in our house as Chinese pulled pork)

1/4 c low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 c hoisin sauce
3 Tbsp Ketchup
3 Tbsp honey
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp dark sesame oil
1/2 tsp five-spice powder
2 lbs boneless Boston butt pork roast, trimmed
1/2 c fat-free, less sodium chicken broth

Combine first 8 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well. Place in a large ziplock bag. Add pork to bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator at least 2 hours, turning occasionally.

Place pork and marinade in a crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Remove pork from crockpot using a slotted spoon; place on a cutting board or work surface. Cover with aluminum foil; keep warm.

Add broth to sauce in slow cooker. cover and cook on high for 30 minutes or until sauce thickens. Shred pork with 2 forks; serve with sauce.

Notes: I tend to forget to start this early enough to marinate it but it still turns out really good. I serve it with a side of rice and a veggie.