Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ideas To Ring In The New Year!

(Gosh, do you think I need to add window washing to my list of New Year's resolutions?  Eye yi yi.)

New Year's Eve is right around the corner!  Always in search of great treats, I thought I'd share a few fun finds today.  First off is this fantastic, delicious and inexpensive Almond Champagne at Trader Joe's.  At a mere $5.99 a bottle, I cannot say enough about this bubbling cheer!  It is a must have to toast the New Year! 

I've been thinking of doing a post on "my favorite things."  If I were to write such a post, I would have to include my Fostoria champagne glasses.  These antique cut-glass saucer glasses can make champagne look even more elegant than modern flutes.

I cannot take credit for discovering these lovely things.  When I got married sixteen years ago, I picked up a copy of Entertaining by Martha Stewart.

My eyes devoured every page, but the champagne glasses on page 31 especially raised a brow. 

I spent the next several years combing antique stores for something similar and then one day the choir sang!  I walked into Central Antiques in Phoenix, AZ and there sat a lovely set of Fostoria Champagne glasses in all their glory.  Well they, of course, came to live with me.  Since their arrival, I can honestly say that every drink taste better served in these glasses.  Even a diet Coke served up in one of these beauties along side a grilled cheese can brighten my day.
This year I plan to decorate my antique Fostoria champagne glasses with these cute Mylar Spray Cupcake Picks found at any bakery supply.

In order for them to stand at attention mid-glass, I've stabbed them into a few red grapes.  The bottom grape has been cut in half to provide a flat base for the decoration to stand.

You need 2 1/2 grapes to weight these down so they don't float in the bubbles.

Did you hear the news flash? Some fireworks are now legal in the state of Arizona!  Can I get a whoot whoot!!! That means my deprived children finally get a chance to play with SPARKLERS!!!

Growing up on a Midwestern farm, my Dad would place a large piece of plywood in the driveway, give us a bag full of fireworks and a box of strike-anywhere matches and let us go to town.  While I would never suggest that in this day and age, it is amazing what us children of the '70's survived!  Wink.

With our warm Arizona climate, January provides that perfect month for a firework display.  I'm so excited about the addition of fireworks to the celebration festivities this year that I can hardly stand it!
Commence the blackened finger tips and singed eyebrows. Grin.

As for some harmless entertainment ideas for the kids...Do you remember this movie?

My kids love to watch this one every New Years Eve...almost as much as I do.  Grin.
Oh, and don't forget the fun hats and noise makers.  I found these at Hobby Lobby.

I think that pretty much wraps things up for today.  For my next post, I will teach you how to make these adorable marzipan good-luck frog cookies. Served in a happy Chinese take-out container, these are sure to bring 2011 cheer!

Monday, December 27, 2010

My love for food...

I've come to realize that people fall into one of two categories in regards to food.  They either "eat to live" or "live to eat."  I think the day my parents took me strawberry pickin' as a child and I shoved the berries into my mouth dirt and all, I knew that I fell into the later of these two categories.  Stories of my childhood cooking creations have become legendary.  Around age six, I actually collected and fried our pet lovebird's eggs on my MagicChef toy oven and then proceeded to serve them up to my little sister (I think she may still harbor ill will from that incident--forgive me, Shannon).  Food is often on my mind.  I remember vacations by the restaurants we ate at.  I recall wonderful family gatherings by the glorious meal that brought us together.  Relatives live in my memory with each dish I prepare from a recipe card in his/her hand writing.  I've worked many jobs in the food industry, gotten my degree in food service/nutrition, and spent countless hours dreaming up meals.  Yes, food is my medium.  Maybe it's genetics, or perhaps a mental tic, but I have a deep love for "the almighty morsel" that continues to enrich and guide me through this life.

*The photo above was taken summer 2008 at the Dairy Treat in Grand Haven, MI.  I am holding my all-time favorite childhood Turtle Sundaes (made with butterscotch, of course.)  And yes, I ate both.  Snort.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

I Hope Everyone Had A Wonderful Christmas!

Santa made his way to our house and we had such a lovely day!
It all started Christmas Eve with Mike reading the kids my 1972 cherished childhood pop-up book, "The Night Before Christmas."

After the kids hit the sack, "Prep & Landing" prepared for Santa's arrival.

Photos of the family room shortly after ol' Santa finished up:

Lawson's Santa gifts:

Elyse's Santa gifts:

A new table and chairs for both kids.

Santa's magic snow boot prints!

The Kids 5:30am Christmas morning:

Grandma & Grandpa (without the chickens--yes, this is how my kids refer to their paternal grandparents and my parents are Grandma & Grandpa with the chickens..haha), Uncle Mark and Aunt Linda join the party.
Mike and Grandpa with the Civil War photo frame I scored for Mike on ebay!

Uncle Mark & Lawson and Lil' Guy the hamster

Aunt Linda & Elyse & Lil' Guy the hamster

The morning spread:

Cream Cheese Butter Braid

Bavarian Cream Butter Braid

Mini Quiech


Grandpa brought fresh squeezed orange juice made from oranges in his own back yard!  I had out ruby red grapefruit juice, and fresh coffee.

And finally the Lemonista gets a moment to open her gifts (with help, of course.)
A new lemon juicer!

Mackenzie Childs napkin rings & napkins from Cornelia Park

My new ride...

Okay, if you've made it this far, thanks for sticking with me!  I'm off to cook up ideas to ring in the New Year!  Stay Tuned! 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Easy, No-Bake, Nutter Butter Snowman Cookies

The kids and I made these cute snowman cookies yesterday to pass out as treat for our neighbors!
Thank you to Julie for this fun idea!

You will need

Melt chocolate.  (do not overheat or the chocolate will be ruined.)
Dip Nutter Butter Cookie in Chocolate and lay on parchment lined cookie sheet.

While chocolate is wet, add Tic Tac nose

and Mini chocolate chip eyes and buttons

*optional* add edible glitter to look like sparkling snow

Allow chocolate to set.  (I pop them in the frig for a few minutes)

Add your frosting scarf.  I did red and green for Christmas.  However, you could switch the colors to pink, aqua, yellow or whatever and make them for happy New Year treats!  I also bought cookie frosting to make this project quick and easy, but you can make your own frosting or use store bought frosting.  Put it in a zip lock bag and snip off a tiny corner to draw.

Allow frosting to set and then pack in cute containers.  I found these little treat boxes at Cost Plus for 50% off!  I think little Chinese take-out boxes would be cute too!

Now I just need to add our card and a ribbon and these are all ready to deliver to a friend.