November 30, 2010

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

I put all my ornaments on my Christmas tree today. Though, not without help. :)

Lots of ornaments!

My little radio
One of my favorite ornaments. My Aunt Betty, made this in 1985. On the left is my older sister Natalie, hanging an ornament, standing next to my brother, Kirk. Then on the right, is me peeking from behind the tree, standing next to my little sister, Ashley. :)

This is on the back of the ornament. :)

Some more of my favorite ornaments. This is an ornament from a trip to Tangier Island. :)

My Amazing Grace ornament. :)

This little clown guy I made in 6th grade art class. My first one was actually stolen off the Christmas tree that was on the stage in the auditorium at my middle school. Yeah, the nerve of someone stealing it. My teacher felt bad so she let me make another. I'm not a fan of clowns but I do love my little ornament. :)

I love Christmas Baubles! :) I have little tiny ones (silver, gold and pearl white). I got them many years ago from IKEA.

My barn ornament.
Sheepy ornament. I have several sheepy and gingerbread men ornaments. :)

Our tree. :)

November 29, 2010

New Things Monday

Do you love Cadbury Mini eggs at Easter time??? Are you mad that you have to wait till Easter to get them??? Well guess what??? Cadbury makes Christmas Baubles that tastes just like Mini eggs............................... :) My sister, Ashley told me about them. :)

No more waiting till Easter. Woo-hoo!! Thank you CADBURY! :) I found these at Target!

decorating for the holidays

Nate and I started decorating over the weekend for Christmas. We got our tree up and went to put the lights on it and noticed that some of the strand was out. I figured I would just get some new lights. So, I got some cute LED Christmas lights from Target.

Aren't they cute?? They kinda remind me of old Christmas. :)

The lights are all on the tree. I still have to put on my ornaments. Look under that's a present. :)

Oh no, not a present....just kitty face. :) Love him! :) *squishes him*

I hate my record with tree skirts. I feel every year I go out and buy one just to throw it away b/c it's ruined. (covered in cat hair that won't come off) And of course you can't wash those velvet tree skirts, so Kristen gave me a wonderful good idea. Yep, a DYI Christmas skirt!!!!! You just need 2 yards (on sale for $3 a yard at Joann's) of Christmas fabric and you just wrap it around the tree as messy as you like. No sewing involved. You just tuck it all in. Perfect!! And the best thing is you can wash regular fabric to get out kitty fur. :)

November 26, 2010

Pigs in a blanket

You'll need:

A pkg of Lit'l Smokies
2 pkgs of Pillsbury crescent rolls

Put a Lit'l smokie in a triangle and roll up.

Place on greased cookie sheet.

And put in the oven @ 375 for 10 to 15 min until golden brown.

This makes a great appetizer for the holidays. Serve with Ketchup, BBQ sauce and/ or mustard. I also read that a 1/2 cup mustard and a 1/2 cup of grape jelly melted in a sauce pan tastes good with them too. You can even add cheese to them before you bake if you'd like. :)

Homemade Pumpkin Bread

Yep, I've been a baking full but when you have a lot of pumpkin to use you bake a lot of things.

This will make 1 loaf. If you double the recipe you can make 2 loaves.

1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup mashed pumpkin puree
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Beat together sugar, oil, eggs and water. Combine dry ingredients and add to sugar mixture. Mix well. Add pumpkin and nuts; mix well. Pour into a greased and floured 9x5 loaf pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 6o to 70 min. Check with a toothpick or cake tester. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 10 min. before turning the loaf out. Let the loaf cool on the rack with a tea towel over it until it is cold. Then wrap the cold loaf in saran or aluminum foil. Will keep at room temp for a couple of days, after that store in the fridge. Or you can freeze.

Homemade Pumpkin Roll

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pumpkin mix:

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup nuts (optional)

With a hand or stand mixer, beat the eggs for 3 min until light and frothy. Add in the rest of the ingredients 1 at a time.

Spray a cookie sheet or jelly pan with a non-stick pan. Pour mixture evenly into your pan and bake for 10 to 15 min. Cake is done when it springs back from pressure.

Spread a dish towel flat and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Turn out cake onto dish towel using the parchment paper for leverage. Tuck the end of the towel over the cake and roll it up in the towel. Let cool.

When cake is baking or cooling prepare your filling.

For the Cream Cheese filling:

8 oz cream cheese (softened)
2 tbs butter (softened)
3/4 tsp vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar

Once cake is cooled you cab roll out towel with cake and spread the filling completely covering one side. Roll the cake back up. You can cut off the ends to make it look more pretty. Husbands are great for eating the ends. haha :)

November 25, 2010

Homemade Pumpkin Bars

You will need:

4 eggs
1 2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups mashed pumpkin puree
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

Mix your eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Stir in remaining ingredients. Spread out evenly on a greased pan. I used my square pan. Bake @ 350 degrees for 20 to 25 min. (you'll know when it's done when a cake tester/toothpick comes out clean)

Let it cool and then you can frost with cream cheese frosting.

To make the cream cheese frosting:

8 oz cream cheese (softened)
2 tbs butter (softened)
3/4 tsp vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar

MMMM! It was very moist and cake like. Nate liked it a lot. And I was proud that I made it all from scratch using my real pumpkin. :)

Homemade Cranberry Sauce 2

I made homemade cranberry sauce again yesterday.

2 bags of fresh cranberries (washed in cold water)
2 cups water
2 cups sugar

Boil the sugar and water. Add cranberries and boil for 10 min. Let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate. :)

Happy Thanksgiving!

I turned my pumpkin into a turkey the other day. :)

You might remember my little pumpkin from here. :)

November 24, 2010

A glourious turkey, minus the stuffing

This is a cute story that was in the newspaper last Thanksgiving (2009). I thought it was cute and I wanted to share with you. :) Happy Thanksgiving!! :)

A glorious turkey, minus the stuffing

Turkey struts his way into family's heart--and out of their stomachs

Date published: 11/26/2009


He was supposed to grace today's Thanksgiving table, alongside the stuffing and cranberry sauce.

But Turkey has beaten the odds.

Perhaps he hatched his plan this past summer during the long car ride from the Michigan farm of his birth to the Massaponax property of Amy and Ray Woodruff.

He was only a few weeks old at the time, just a tiny tuft of black-and-gold feathers. A gift from Amy's father, who raises bronze heritage turkeys, Turkey was expected to fatten up in time for the holiday meal.

He peeped the entire car ride--all 13 hours. And after he arrived in Spotsylvania, he continued to make his demands known.

He'd follow Ray around the yard, peeping incessantly until Ray scooped him up and let him ride around on his shoulder. There, Turkey would peck at Ray's earrings or his glasses.

If Ray sat on the porch, Turkey would climb into his lap.

When Ray pulled weeds from his squash garden, Turkey hopped in and helped, using his beak to pull them up.

When the bird started to rip up the vegetables, Ray shooed him away. Offended, Turkey fanned his tail feathers at Ray for the first time.

That's when they knew Turkey was a tom. Only male turkeys do that sort of thing.


When Amy, Ray and Amy's three kids would go in for the night, Turkey would hop onto the porch and keep an eye on them through the sliding-glass door.

"I would wake up to him at the door, peeping for me to come out and play with him," said Ray, a barista at Hyperion in downtown Fredericksburg.

He became the first to admit that Turkey was more friend than feast.

"I knew I couldn't eat him," he said.

It took Amy a few more weeks to come around. After all, the whole point of bringing Turkey home had been to eat him in November.

In the end, even she had to admit that she could no more cook Turkey than the family cat.

"I decided I couldn't eat him either," said Amy, who also nixed giving him away for someone else's meal. "There's too much love there."

That doesn't mean the Woodruffs are opposed to raising their own food. In February, her father sent three dozen chicken eggs, which hatched a few weeks later.

Many of them were roosters. Since the Wood-ruffs needed only one, the rest ended up on the family's dinner table.

"I don't feel bad taking an animal's life knowing I gave it a good life," said Amy, who works at Fredericksburg's Kybecca wine shop. "I expected to feel guilt. I actually felt really OK with it. I felt like I'd taken complete responsibility for my food."


But Turkey was a different matter. He acted like a pet.

When baby chicks were born on the Woodruffs' farm this fall, Turkey let them climb onto his back. He'd chase the bigger chickens away from their food.

When the Woodruffs' rooster, Roo, got aggressive with Amy a few weeks ago, the usually mild-mannered Turkey went after Roo to settle the score.

He wears his moods on his wrinkly face. When Turkey gets excited, the skin around his eyes turns a brilliant blue. When he's angry, his wattle turns red.

Turkey, now about 5 months old, recently stopped peeping and started gobbling. He'll almost always gobble at the sound of a car horn or when Amy shouts for her son, Adam.

He's not crazy about the raccoons and possums that sometimes sneak onto the family porch when he's sleeping there. He pecks at the window until Ray comes out to scare them off.

But he's cuddled regularly with the stray cat that visits the Woodruffs. And he was caught getting fresh with the kids' blue soccer ball.

Lately, he's had his eyes on the family's denim-clad scarecrow, erected the day a hawk went after the chickens.

"The next morning, there's Turkey, just showing and strutting his stuff to that scarecrow," said Amy.


The Woodruffs plan to find a more appropriate mate for Turkey in the spring, perhaps another bronze heritage, a breed on the "watch" list of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy because it's globally endangered. Fewer than 5,000 breeding birds remain in the United States.

Unlike commercial turkeys, which are artificially inseminated and bred specifically for eating, heritage birds mate and reproduce naturally.

Some of Turkey's descendants may end up as pets themselves, said Amy.

"The hope is that we're on the cutting edge. This is the new potbelly pig," she said. "Everyone's gonna want one."

Some of them may also end up on Thanksgiving tables. But Turkey needn't worry about that.

"This turkey's going to be purely ornamental," said Amy. "Not on our plates or on our conscience."

When Turkey gets excited, the skin around his eyes turns a brilliant blue.

How to cook a real pumpkin

Be prepared.....this is going to be the longest blog I've ever posted. LOL :)

Wash your pumpkin with soap and warm water. Be sure to get into all the nook and crannies. My pumpkin is a fairy tale pumpkin which is good for pumpkin breads.

Once washed, rinse with cold water, and towel dry. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and remove all but the bottom rack.

Place your pumpkin on a cutting board. Using your best sharpest knife cut your pumpkin in half.
I found this to be the toughest part. I'm scared of big knives and it probably took me a little longer than most. haha
Once your pumpkin is cut in half you get this.

Here's the pumpkin cut in half. :) Yey....I did it. :)

Put all the guts in a bowl. It's best to use your hands and it's kinda fun.

Nice clean pumpkin. :)
Place your pumpkin on a big cookie sheet. If they both don't fit on the pan then you will have to cook them one at a time. It's okay for them to touch.

Your pumpkins will take 45 min to an hour, depending on size. They are done when a fork can go in and out easily, like a baked potato.

There will be a lot of water on the pan. Be sure to save the water to use later for a broth.

I put the water in a small bowl to see how much I had.

Then I put the water in a tupperware container and put in the freezer.

After the pumpkin cools for an hour it should be just warm enough to peel out the flesh of the pumpkin.

Place some coffee filters in a colander. This will help get out excess water. Put the pumpkin pulp in the colander.
Pumpkin pulp draining. :) I covered and placed in the fridge overnight.

Don't forget to save your pumpkin seeds. After you pick them out, place them in a colander and clean them with cold water.

Let them dry on a paper towel. You can toss in some olive oil, salt and pepper and then roast them in the oven @ 400 degrees until golden.

This morning, I took out the pumpkin pulp to sieve.

Look at all that water! :)

Add the drained pulp a little at a time to your food mill and sieve the pumpkin.

Here is the pulp.
Again, place coffee filters in a colander and place pulp in it. You want it to drain again for 3 to 4 hours. You will get more water. It's very important to get the water out or it will ruin your recipes.

After 3 to 4 hours you can start using your pumpkin pulp. I made pumpkin bread, pumpkin roll and pumpkin bars and still had 4 cups left over.

I put 2 cups each of the pumpkin pulp in a freezer safe ziploc bag. You can freeze them and use them at another time.