Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Crafting (with Kids)

The last two weeks I've been trying to fit in lots of Christmas crafting with Orson. We made this candycane and wreath by stringing Fruit Loops on pipecleaners, which turned out pretty cute! But before I could get a picture of them, Panda rolled over to the tree and stole the wreath, ripping it apart. I was going to fix it, but then Orson ripped apart the candy cane and asked if he could eat the cereal so I gave him the wreath too. Oh well!

We are in the process of making about 7 presents for grandma's and aunts, but those need to stay secret for now! I wanted to make something for a couple of our friends too, so I put together some cards for him to color. I had planned on cutting out some random things from his Christmas coloring book, but then I noticed the Star Wars coloring book and decided to do a mash-up. I had a little too much fun with these!

Here are the cards before he colored them. It kind of looks like the clones are sneaking up on the elves, but I was go for more of a 'slave driver' thing ~

Star Wars Xmas Cards, uncolored

And here they are colored ~

Star Wars Xmas Cards, colored

Good use of the reds and greens! Orson's not much into coloring lately so I was happy he did this much.

And I just realized there is one more friend that really needs a card, so I better pull my scissors back out!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Meatball Pie

I have a feeling you aren't going to see much of me around here this month! I normally like to start Christmas shopping a few months early, but this year we had to wait until December for a bonus, and so we've been cramming everything in since then. 2 more weeks... I think we can do it!

I pulled out some old photos of a "Meatball Pie" that I never shared because the recipe still needs some work and I'll be cooking it very differently next time. Years ago I bookmarked a simpler 'spaghetti pie' that used noodles, egg, and cheese, and then was cut into wedges to serve. When I saw this version topped with caramelized onions, ricotta, tomato sauce, and frozen meatballs (and other yumminess), I had to try it right away!

Meatball Pie, 1

The first time I followed the recipe pretty closely, but there was too much pasta (which was also really dry), and a lot of unnecessary steps that made things overly complex. So this time I simplified things a bit and added a little sauce to the pasta, but as you can see below it did not hold it's shape very well!

Meatball Pie, 2

Next time around I'm thinking of just baking the crust in the oven and heating up everything else on the stove to pour over the 'pie' wedges. Hopefully it will be easier to serve up this way, and it will lower the cooking time dramatically! We do have another spaghetti casserole that we love (cream cheese and french fried onions), but both of these are definitely worth keeping around.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Hectic Holidays

December has arrived and I feel like my to-do list is a mile long & constantly growing! I don't know how anyone has time for one of those daily activity advent calendars ~ maybe when the kids are older? Orders have been dead the last few months & of course they suddenly decided to pick up now, but I'm not going to complain about that one!

We managed to get out of cooking for Thanksgiving this year and it was great! While I do love cooking for people, I am not a fan of traveling around to multiple houses and trying to transport food to each. Do you bring something lukewarm, try to heat it there, or bring a cold desert (even though you usually leave before desert is served)? No good options. This year the first family ate at Cracker Barrel (which is as crazy on Thanksgiving day as you'd assume), so we just tacked a couple of pies for the 2nd family on our bill and called it a day!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies - "33"

This year Justin's birthday actually fell on Thanksgiving and mine was a few days earlier. We had to go very low-key this year and pretty much just went out to eat, but I did get up a little early on his bday and made some of his favorite No Bake Chocolate, Peanut Butter, & Oatmeal Cookies. I spooned them out into a large "33", and when it cooled down a little bit it was easy to smooth and reshape as needed with my fingers. There was a little bit leftover so I just rolled that into balls, then I started cooking some yummy breakfast sandwiches. He was quite pleased!