Thursday, January 17, 2019

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Good Times

When I think of New Year's Eve and Day, I  think of  Dick Clark, the Rose Parade and yummy finger food.
  Growing up, Mom would always prepare a tremendous counter full of food and we would graze all day.
I have done that in the past, with varying degrees of success, but it is still one of my favorites.
This year, LPP had a friend drive down for a visit and we decided to head up the hill a bit for dinner.
Not sure any of us were pleased with our meal, but those of us who had pasta, were introduced to a new "Cheesy Bread". 
Place this under the broiler (cheese placed just so) and use your imagination

Not kidding.
After dinner, we headed to Target to get puzzles.  
Our favorite form of entertainment on Christmas vacation.
I must say that shopping here at 8:40PM on New Year's Eve was like nothing I had encountered in this store before.
While puzzles were considered, we located a half empty Starbuck's drink with floating fruit remnants on the back of one shelf.
We also discovered a banana peel just hanging out next to a rubber chicken on another.
Good times.

While the girls and Hubby stayed up to ring in the New Year with a glass of bubbly, I was snoozing in bed. 
Yup, good times.
I did not go overboard with the food this year and it was all eaten and enjoyed.

Chris even got home in time to enjoy some of the burgundy mushrooms I had simmering on the stove for 6 hours.
Sadly, when I went back to reheat them on the stove for Hubby that evening, I got side tracked.
Beyond recognition.
After 6 hours of bubbling away in butter and wine.
Good Times.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Great Puzzle Race of 2018

Six years ago, my parents gifted my sister's family and my crew each with a puzzle.  
You can read about that saga here.
Seems we did not separate each of our pieces as they came from the box.
Didn't know.
Now we do.
Fast forward to this Christmas.
In a renewed effort to bring back the contest, Mom and Dad gifted two puzzles to us for Christmas.
Specific rules were verbally stated and mutually agreed upon.
Tables were made ready.
Timers were set.

Each family had one member nephew back to the Southland and work and Chris snowboarding in Nevada, but each of the 1000 pieces were separated and turned over as we began.

We introduced our girls to Lawrence Welk while my sister's family puzzled to football.
By the way...did you know Lawrence Welk was born in North Dakota?
I did not.

I went to bed after about 3 hours.
SPF after about 4 hours.
LPP and her Dad stayed up until 12:36AM when they received word, and I am assuming proof that we had been beaten. 
After 6 hours and 6 minutes.
So close.
So, bragging rights for the year go to the Clan in Lemoore.

I will say that this was a fun thing. 
Great puzzle.
Some friendly competition and family togetherness.
Which I think was the original point.
It's a good thing!

Monday, January 14, 2019

My All Time Favorite Dessert for Entertaining

For the past several years, my side of the family has celebrated Christmas Eve night at our home.  Thankfully, this year was no different!

My sister's family, our crew and Mom and Dad 
 My hubby cooked a magnificent  beef tenderloin and we had twice baked taters, a yummy winter fruit salad and some "not my favorite batch of carrots". 
 Oh and dessert.
A dessert that is simply perfection in a bowl.
 Chocolate Souffles/.
Freezer, Chocolate Souffles.
From the The 2001 Southern Living Cookbook 
The best thing about these is the fact that they can be made in advance.
 Way in advance.
 Like weeks in advance to help during mad rush that is the holiday season.
ORRRRR.... you can be like me and make them the day before.
They are wonderful either way.
 A sure sign that a recipe is good, is when the cookbook is warped from wet hands and so many splatters that it opens exactly the right page.
Case in point.

I used to have a large set of cranberry colored Pyrex ramekins with lids that were perfect, but in the past 20+ years, I am down to only one in my possession, so I found some special, square ones that worked wonderfully.
Foil over the top of each and they are fine in the freezer.
I will say lids made them easier to stack.

I have also made this recipe as one large soufflé and while not as  impressive when pouring the cream over top, it is just as tasty.

Mom asked for this recipe and since I couldn't get my printer to capture all of the ingredients properly, I'm typing it out.
That way, you get the recipe too.

Makes 8 -6oz soufflés 
 I double this, use 8 ounce ramekins and get 12 desserts)

1/4 cup butter or margarine
6 ounce dark chocolate bars (the recipe suggests Ghirardelli bars...I use their chips)
3 TBL all purpose flour
1 cup chocolate milk
 (I used to use  the premade Nesquick in the refrigerator section.  I now use chocolate milk from a local creamery.  Nice and thick)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Butter bottom and sides of ramekins, sprinkle with sugar and set aside.
Melt 1/4 cup butter and chocolate in a saucepan over medium-low heat.  
Add flour; stir until smooth.  
Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  
Gradually add chocolate milk; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly.
 Stir in salt and vanilla.  (Tip...have this to the stove...maybe with a big sign reminding you to add it.  I have forgotten. More than once)
Beat egg yolks and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until thick and pale (about 2 minutes). 
Gradually stir about one-fourth of the hot chocolate mixture into the yolk mixture; beat at medium speed until blended.  
Gradually add remaining hot mixture, beating until blended. 
Let cool 5 minutes.
Beat egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed until stiff peaks form.  
Gently fold 1/4 of beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture.  
Gradually fold the remaining egg whites into the chocolate mixture. 
 Carefully spoon mixture into prepared ramekins. 
 Cover and freeze until firm.
 (To bake immediately, simply bake 350* for 30 minutes)
Remove soufflé from freezer and let stand 30 minutes. 
Bake at 350* for 30 minutes or until tops are puffed. (Peek through the window...don't open oven until ready to remove them)
Cut a slit in top of each soufflé and serve immediately with Irish Cream Sauce.

Irish Cream Sauce
3/4 cup French vanilla ice cream ( like vanilla bean)
3 TBL Irish cream liqueur (I use Bailey's)
1/3 cup whipping cream, whipped
Place ice cream in a microwave safe bowl; microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds or just until melted. Stir in Irish cream: fold in whipped cream. 
Store in refrigerator.
(I store this in a Mason jar and shake just before serving in small pitchers on the table to pass.  
It separates and giving it a good shake fixes that.)

Will you let me know if you try this?

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Sunday Truism

The mother's heart is the child's schoolroom.  
~Henry Ward Beecher

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Our Daughter Wrote a Story

A Squirrel's Tale
As photographed and written by SPF

A nice little house...

A nice little corner...

...and a not so nice squirrel.

He tries a tree; 
he approves.

Tries a chimney; 
tastes great!


This wall is pretty good...

Fireplace is HOT!
Where did the corner go?

Anyway, this house looks cozy.

Mrs. Claus is so scared, her wig comes off!

Hmmmm….what if....
...I go through the ROOF!

Santa's socks are knocked off!
Da,da...da, da...dada, dadadada
 (Jaw's theme music)

Well, well, well....

Who will win?
Not Santa!
That was fun!
Ahhhhh….this feels good!

No Santas or Mrs. Clauses were injured in the making of this story.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Just Because

Because ducklings make everything better.
At least for a moment.