Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Years Resolutions Dilemna-Pt 1 & 2

It's getting to be that time of year when alot of us are considering making New Year's Resolutions (or not) , and today I found a couple of perfect ways to deal with this dilemna:

Pt.1 ~ So I was scrolling through all the recent posts on FaceBook and I came across a post from one of my FB friends that asked " Does anyone have the book 'Simple Abundance' by Sarah Ban Breathnach & would you be interested in working thru it together for 2010?" I jumped up and ran to the bookshelf to make sure I still had the book; I bought it nearly 15 years ago, and have never once read it, much less practiced the lessons...see how good I am at procrastinating????

I quickly posted back that I indeed had the book and would love to go through it with her.

Then came Pt. 2 ~ Still scrolling the posts on FB, I came across this post that read: If New Year's Resolutions aren't your thing, try this idea from Aimee of Shake Your Bon Bons-- choose your WORD for the year; and then there was a link to justshakinmybonbons.blogspot.com

It's well worth the read, especially if you're fed up with the New Year's Resolutions that always go by the wayside within a matter of days or weeks. Please click over to her blog and read her post AND the original one that inspired her. She is also offering a random prize for one lucky person just for posting your WORD and your email addy(in case you are the winner)

Needless to say before I even got done reading her post, I had chosen my word for the year as ABUNDANCE. It just seemed to be the perfect word after just committing to a year of Simple Abundance, and surprisingly (and confirming for me) it was on the list of suggested words. I can't tell you how light hearted and happy this started out my day yesterday.

Now I am trying to pass the happiness on. The link on Simple Abundance (above) will take you to Amazon where the book can be had for as little as 1 penny + shipping. You can read the first week's worth of days right there on the Amazon site, as well as many reviews from people who bought the book.
If you have the book, or are ordering it and would be interested in working your way through it this year with myself and Dawn, please leave me a comment. We are hoping to find more interested women to share the experience with.

It's going to be a fantastic year ahead. I can just feel it!

Until next time,

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Boxing Day!

For most people the presents are all unwrapped, the roast beast is now leftovers, and many are hitting the B & M stores today for those after Christmas sales.

All over I keep seeing the term 'Boxing Day'.

Late last night I asked someone online what that meant? She said it was when everyone put on their boxing gloves; which was exactly what I was picturing! Family members wanting to duke it out; shoppers wanting to punch their way to the best bargain; I don't know my imagination went wild! The hubster volunteered his explanantions-He said everyone is boxing up their returns to take back to the store OR it's where everyone is clearing out all the boxes from the house from all the presents. These made total sense to me, BUT because he is hardly EVER right [and what husband is,right ladies? ;) ] I did a quick internet search.

Turns out Boxing day is a public holiday celebrated in Great Britain, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, as well as many British commonwealths. And it has a few different theories:

One version is the holiday developed because servants had to work on Christmas Day but had the following day off. As servants prepared to leave to visit their own families, their employers would present them with gift boxes.
Another is that Boxing Day is when people give gifts, bonuses, donations or items to others less fortunate.
And a slight variation of that one is that a Christmas box was used to collect donations, either as tips at a business or as donations for the poor, or at churches where parishioners donated coins for the poor. These "boxes" were then smashed the day after Christmas and the funds were distributed to the needy.

I really like learning of this tradition/Holiday but what I really want to know is: WHY is it not a tradition here in the USA?
I wonder if we adopted this holiday if more people would be apt to help out another soul in need?

Til next time....

Merry the day after Christmas! I'm going to start my own Boxing Day tradition...how about you?


Monday, December 21, 2009

What a Cheeseball!

As promised, I am here to give the secrets of cheeseballs. If I had known how simple these things were to make, I would have made them ages ago.
I needed to do something simple this year for our friends and neighbors' Christmas gifts, due to our financial situation. Since I have already given all our friends and neighbors wreaths, Gingerbread houses, afghans, paintings, jingle elves and various other handmade items, I wanted to take it a little easier this year. Every year we receive cookies, cakes, and candies, and this year I wanted to give a tastey gift. A couple of weeks ago, when I was doing our grocery shopping, I spied a small gift pack with a salami type sausage and some crackers... and I thought to my self "Self? You could make a homemade cheese ball to go with that gift pack and have a great tastey gift for everyone."
So I did an internet search and read oodles of cheeseball recipes, and found they all had the same basic ingredients:

cream cheese ~ regular, fat reduced or fat free AND
some other kind of cheese-mild and sharp cheddar, parmesan, roquefort, blue cheese, pepper jack, monterey jack ~ finely grated

mayonnaise OR
sour cream OR
Dijon mustard

Worcestershire sauce OR
Lemon juice OR
Lime juice

onions-green OR red OR shallots

Spices-garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, oregano, onion soup mix, taco seasoning mix, cayenne pepper, salt, horseradish, fresh garlic, Tabasco or your favorite hot sauce, or whatever suits your fancy.

Nuts-almonds, walnuts, pecan, sunflower seeds, peanuts~chopped, for rolling your ball in.

Optional ingredients were a variety of meats-bacon, ham, dried beef, bacon bits, shrimp, etc...
And olives, pineapple, peppers~bell and hot, celery, mushrooms, basically anything.

Now which ingredients you choose is pretty much up to your taste buds.

You must have the cream cheese and it must be softened somewhat. I put mine in the microwave for 30 seconds.
I also used smaller portions so that I could make several different flavors.

Basic proportions for the cheeseballs I made were:
1- 8oz. pkg of cream cheese AND approximately 1 cup of some other kind of cheese-I used sharp cheddar.

1-2 Tablespoons of one of these~ sour cream, mayonnaise, dijon- I used sour cream in all mine.

Approximately 1-2 teaspoons of one of these~Worcestershire sauce, lemon or lime juice-I tried all three but only 1 in each ball. In other words it was either lemon or lime or Worcestershire. I did not mix two flavors in one ball.

Onions-approximately 1/4 cup diced very fine- I used green onions sliced thin with scissors in all my balls.

And then the spices:
For my garlic ball, I used 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and 3 medium cloves finely minced.

For my Taco flavored balls, I used 2 teaspoons of taco seasoning mix and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and one of these I spiced up with 1 Tablespoon Green Tabasco.

For my green onion ball, I used 1/4 teaspoon garlic and increased the dice green onions to 1/2 cup.

For my oregano ball I used 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano and 1/4 teaspoon garlic.

For my toasted onion ball I used 2 teaspoons of dried toasted onion soup mix.

After I softened the cream cheese, I put it into a mixing bowl with the other cheese, onions, sour cream, juice, and seasonings and mixed it with my mixer on medium high for a couple of minutes until all ingredients were thorougly combined. I tasted with a cracker to make sure the flavor was pleasing, and then each flavor was submitted for Mr. Clay's approval.
Then I lined a small rounded bowl (2 cup size) with plastic wrap and pressed the cheese mix into the lined bowl and refrigerated for an hour or so. Now I had a neatly formed dome that was easy to lift out of the bowl, pull the plastic wrap off, and roll the top and sides into my chopped nuts. This recipe made a 4 inch diameter dome approximately 3 inches tall; a pretty good size cheese ball. It is recommended refrigerating the balls at least 2 hours or overnight for better flavor before serving, so that the flavors could meld together.
That's all there is to it! Total prep time for each was no more than 10 minutes.
How simple is that?

There are alot of varieties of cheeseballs. For further reference you may want to check out this site: All Recipes and do a search for Cheese Ball. There are pages of recipes with reviews from people who have tried, tested, rated the recipes AND given their own suggestions and variations. I hope I have inspired you to try and make a cheeseball. It is an inexpensive dish for an office party, family get together, or picnic. They are simple, quick, travel well, and can be made ahead of time.

Til my next epiphany :D

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Salsa Anyone???

Salsa??? Did someone say salsa?......Well they did somewhere and I came right over here to tell you my salsa story:

Did I ever tell you that I make salsa by the 5 gallon bucketful? I've had people ask me for the recipe for a bowlful. When I tell them how big my batches of salsa are, they are speechless.

When I first started canning salsa people would ask "how hot is this salsa?"So the first couple of years the labeling was kinda lame - "mild," "med. hot," " hot,"...etc....

Then came the names series:

Wimpy Salsa- you KNOW who you are :D

T.I.T.S.-stood for This Is The Salsa- this produced some laughs when a friend took a couple of jars of it to the bar, then proceeded to call the hubster and tell him everyone at the bar liked my T.I.T.S.

Killer Salsa- that's Mr. Killer to you

And Killer H. Salsa- the H in a salsa name means it has Habanero peppers in it.

Next came the Dragon series- Baby Dragon, Dragon Spit, Dragon Fire...

But I still got the ol "how many peppers are in this?" Like I cared? I mean, come on people, I'm making this stuff by the 5 gallon bucketful!

So the Song series was born- I took songs with numbers in the title and made a batch of salsa with that many peppers in the 5 gallon bucketful. So "Around the World in 80 days" had 80 jalapenos in the 5 gallon batch.

The number in the song was how many peppers I put in tht 5 gallon batch. It eleviated all questions about hotness or how many peppers..blah, blah, blah

50 Ways (to Leave your Lover) was changed to "50 Ways to Eat Your Salsa"

Get your kicks on "Route 66"

"76 Trombones" - which naturally, was followed by "110 Clarinets"

"You're Gonna Cry 96 Tears" - made the hubsters hair cry

And the only exception was 25 or 6 to 4-which was a 4 gallon batch with 25 or 26 peppers-it was for those with 'delicate' tastebuds- you know who you are :D

At the end of the growing season I made one final batch called Mega H. Death with over 200 jalapenos and I don't remember how many habaneros. It is pure fire in a jar!

I ended up canning over 50 cases that year. We still have over 20 cases left!....and BTW, a 5 gallon batch of salsa makes over 3 cases of pint jars ...and I also canned "Peter Piper Picked a Peck of..." you guessed it Pickled Peppers!

Now I'm off to experiment with cheeseballs ...


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Frosty the Snowman

It snowed and snowed and snowed...We got our biggest one time dumping of the white stuff in over 10 years. Mr. Clay cannot remember the last time we got this much snow at one time...I keep saying it must be all the global warming and all :P
Anywho, we ended up getting 10" overnight and adding the few inches that was leftover from earlier storms, we are looking at a white Christmas this year. I wanted to make a snowman, and promised my thread peeps pictures of said snowman. After 4 hours of snow shoveling, my arms felt like shaking noodles, so I begged off for a day. But fear not, Frosty was born yesterday and without further ado, here he is. He has Mr. Clay's magical hat, and that mouth? ..a perfectly formed stick laying in the driveway. I can now cross 'Make a Snowman' off my bucket list. :)
Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 14, 2009

And the winner of the Elf Giveaway is...

Jessica Heitman Rowe! Congratulations Jessica and thank you to all who participated.

BTW, Jessica has an Etsy shop beadbug00. Check her out

Stay tuned I'll be back with more Christmas cheer ;)


Thursday, December 10, 2009

An Elf Giveaway

Christmas is two weeks away. Are you ready???

Well I am ready to send one lucky winner an elf. I originally was using my FaceBook fan page to collect the names. But one of my peeps has informed me that FB does not allow giveaways with out their permission. And then when you try and comply there is no info on how to comply. I don't know what kind of Grinch lives there.
So anywho, we'll do the giveaway here.

All you have to do is follow me, and leave a comment, and contact information (email, etsy shop, or some way for me to get back to you)
Winner will be chosen on Mon. Dec. 13th, and your choice of elf will be sent out in time for you to enjoy for Christmas.

Here's one of them :



ps~I'm thinking my NewYear's Resolution should be to become a more regular blogger. Thanks to all who have hung in here with me ♥