Tuesday, December 15, 2009

In the true tradition of holiday spirit...

I will likely be taking the next couple of weeks off from my blogging duties (not to say that I've been so great about attending to them the past couple of months!) I have two little kids who want to see movies, want to make gingerbread cookies, want to decorate the house inside and out, and want to revel in the general festive-ness that is the holiday season! So while I would love to regale you with tales of my winter veggie garden or the slime we made yesterday or the stalactites we are growing in the kitchen, I will have to refrain until after the holidays when I will hopefully be able to focus my attentions on my writing and my photography again. Right now, all I want to do is build fires in the fireplace, read books with the kids, watch old Christmas movies on TV, wrap presents, snuggle with warm doggies and drink hot cocoa with my family! So I wish you all a wonderful holiday season! May you all be well-fed and in the presence of family and good friends no matter how you celebrate! Cheers!

Mimmie's Cornbread Dressing

I've had several requests as of late for this recipe, so here you go, just in time for Christmas dinner! Cornbread dressing, from what I understand, became a tradition in my family because of my great-aunt who was allergic to wheat. They made the cornbread with cornmeal only and used Post Toasties or Corn Flakes as a filler. It is personally my FAVORITE dressing and my finicky Big Daddy who is not at all a fan of dressing or stuffing even likes it! So it's sure to please even the pickiest palate!

Now as a side note, I use cornbread made with cornmeal AND flour in my version of this recipe. I like the texture better with a softer cornbread. But the recipe is perfectly good whether you use flour or not in your cornbread. This recipe will make a 9 X 13" pan of dressing.

1 pan of Cornbread*
Celery and onion
Corn Flakes or Post Toasties
Chicken or turkey broth
Salt and pepper
2 Eggs

*Cornbread recipe: (And you can do this the day before, get one more thing done ahead of time! This a great recipe whether you're wanting it for dressing or just to eat!)

1 c. cornmeal
1 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 c. sugar (I actually cut this in half for the dressing though, it's too sweet otherwise)
3 tsp. baking powder
1 c. milk
2 eggs
1/4 c. oil

Mix dry ingredients well then add milk, eggs and oil, stirring after each one. Make sure ingredients are well mixed, bake either in greased muffin pans, a pie pan or 8X8 pan at 400*F for about 25 min.

For the dressing:
Preheat oven to 375*F.
Break up the cornbread into a LARGE bowl (dressing expands exponentially when your mixing it!).
Take a small-med. onion and about 2-3 stalks of celery (make sure you utilize the leaves, they make the dish look so fresh and lovely), cut them fine or give them a quick spin in the food processor. You don't want them to be mush, but very finely chopped with all the yummy juices. I know some recipes call for them to be sauteed, but I put them in fresh and it's wonderful! Mix them with the cornbread. Add some broth to begin softening the mixture. Add Corn Flakes and mash everything together. I alternate broth and Corn Flakes until I have the consistency that I want. This consistency should be SMOOTH and MOIST. It needs to be slightly thick, almost like a porridge, but not so thick that it will cook up dry and lumpy. It needs to be moist but not wet or drippy. Once you have a consistency that you like, add salt and pepper to taste. When you have it seasoned to your satisfaction, add two beaten eggs, stir well then pour into a greased 9 X 13 pan. Bake for about 30-45 minutes. It should be golden brown and you should be able to stab it with a toothpick and have it come out clean. Then serve with your turkey and a lovely gravy and your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner will be AWESOME! I hope you enjoy one of my favorite family traditions! Cheers!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Good vs. Evil

Every year Big Daddy and I attend a monumental White Elephant Extravaganza put on by friends. It is without a doubt one of the biggest highlights of the holiday season. The gifts are clever, thoughtful and truly tasteless! I am amazed every year! Last year, I received an awesome gift at another White Elephant Party. It was a pair of hideous goat-head sconce things made out of heavy plastic and finished in a faux bronze and of course... "Made in China".

They were truly heinous so they were destined for re-gifting! However, when I pulled them out, they just weren't quite up to par. So I brooded for a couple of days, trying to think of how I could "enhance" these lovely items. Should I paint them neon rainbow colors, fitting to use under a black light? No, not quite. Then it hit me... Good vs. Evil! It was perfect. I broke out the paints and started on my little masterpieces. Here is the finished product...

They were a hit and hopefully went to a good home where they will be displayed in all of their glory! And I would like to formally thank my Big Daddy for convincing me to adorn "Good Goat" with a halo. It made it just that much more special! I almost miss them and wish I had kept them for myself!

Old Faithful

I always know it's getting close to Christmas thanks to "Old Faithful". I have owned Christmas cacti before, most of them were blooming when I got them but were destined to never bloom again! This one is special. It has begun to bloom on Dec. 1st for the last 4 years now, just like clockwork! So I always feel the need to take a good photo of it, after all, I practically ignore the little thing for the rest of the year! It just sits in my window, totally non-descript, minding it's own business, then on December 1st it takes center stage! It just wouldn't be the holidays without it!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

And the stockings were hung...

We are getting a cold front in tonight. So it's a good night for a fire, a hot meal, and a basketball game on the tube. Although I'll be heading into the living room momentarily to snuggle up on the couch with Big Daddy, the kiddos and the pups, I just wanted to post a single picture. The warmth, comfort and dreaminess of the holiday season. Mmmmm.