Love in the Kitchen - making fast, healthy, homegrown meals you'll enjoy

Monday, November 30, 2009

For Today...

November 30, 2009...

Outside my window... my rose garden is still blooming.
I am thinking... about finishing my Christmas decorating.
I am thankful for... The Mr who is beside me in all I do and is the best thing in my life.
From the kitchen... turkey enchiladas... yum!
I am wearing... my new Ann Taylor cardigan with Old Navy khakis.
I am creating... a very long to-do list.
I am going... to work.
I am reading... Stephen King's "Under the Dome" and loving it!
I am hoping... to have a wonderful birthday tomorrow.
I am hearing... my cats running up and down the hallway
Around the house... are the signs of Christmas.
One of my favorite things... my holiday dishes.
A few plans for the rest of the week: finish decorating, start Christmas cookie baking, see Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert.
Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

If you would like to read other daybook entries or join in with your own entry, please visit Peggy who hosts The Simple Woman’s Daybook.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Monday Already?

I'm pretty sure I need another weekend to recover from this weekend! We've worked straight through since Friday to put up Christmas.

Today we finished up the outdoor lights. The Mr always does a spectacular job on the lights, and this year is no exception!

We also finished up inside the house... except the family room with the tree... and the Christmas village... ugh!

Too tired to take pictures, but will give a tour this week.

What did you do this weekend?

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Let it snow??

Why is it, though we haven't had rain since last March, that the day we want to put up our Christmas decorations - including our outdoor lighting - the skies open up and pour all day?!

We even had some of this here in San Diego:

(from - here's a link to the story:

Here's hoping tomorrow will bring us clear skies (and maybe a bit warmer weather)!

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Getting into the Christmas Spirit

I love holiday movies! This year we started with "A Christmas Carol" (in 3-D!) a couple of weeks ago, "The Ghost of Christmas Eve (Trans-Siberian Orchestra) last weekend, and then yesterday we watched "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" and "A Christmas Vacation." A great way to start out the Christmas season!

Santa vs the Snowman

The Family Man

The Ref
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

White Christmas

It's a Wonderful Life


What's your favorite holiday movie?

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Today we...

  • Put away Thanksgiving
  • Took out the Christmas boxes
  • Decorated the car
  • Got our Christmas tree
  • Emptied about 25% of the boxes
  • Put lights on the live tree
  • Set up two artificial trees inside the house
  • Set up two artificial trees in the entryway
  • Had a discussion with the cats regarding their insistence on sleeping underneath the tree
  • Fed my in-laws cats
  • Stayed away from Black Friday shopping (mainly because we finished our Christmas shopping a week ago!)

Now we are sitting amongst boxes and boxes of Christmas stuff. Ornaments, dishes, linens, indoor decorations, lights... We've made a good start today - hopefully tomorrow will see a great deal of progress too. Maybe I'll even get to pictures!

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We got one!

Our beautiful tree!

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Mr and I enjoyed a wonderful and quiet day today. We watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, relaxed, cooked a wonderful dinner for two...

... The Mr carved the turkey..

... we got the chance to wish our families Happy Thanksgiving, and are now kicking off the Christmas season by watching "Christmas Vacation" - couldn't ask for a nicer day!

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Delicious Cookies!

I baked these cookies for my in-laws to take to The Mr's brother for Thanksgiving. I thought they sounded a little bit Thanksgiving-y and they ended up tasting fantastic! Shortbread cookies, with some cornmeal to give it an interesting texture and slightly sweet taste. And the jalapeno jelly gave a little bit of heat. If you like a bit more spice, make larger cookies than the recipes calls for and use more of the jalapeno jelly.

These are definitely worth a try!

Pepper Jelly Cornmeal Cups

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup red and/or green jalapeño jelly

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar and baking powder. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla until combined. Beat in cornmeal. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour.

2. Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls. Place 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Lightly press the tip of your thumb into the center of each ball of dough. Fill each center with about 1/8 teaspoon of the jalapeno jelly.

3. Bake in the preheated oven about 10 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool. Makes about 96 cookies.

To Store: To Store: Layer cookies between waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thaksgiving Memories

Thanksgiving brings so many memories of family and friends and food. I think that is why it is one of my favorite holidays.

When I was a little girl, we always went to my grandma's house for Thanksgiving. Grandma really did live over the river and through the woods too! My dad's side of the family were all there. My dad had two brothers and a sister, they all married and between them had 12 kids. My sister and I were the youngest of the cousins and were always a bit in awe of the big kids.

I grew up in the Midwest, and our Thanksgivings were very traditional. We had turkey and gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes (my Grandpa always made the mashed potatoes - no lumps allowed!), Waldorf salad, green bean casserole and rolls. And canned cranberry sauce of course. And for dessert - pumpkin pie and mincemeat pie.

One of my favorite memories was washing and drying the dishes after dinner, with my two uncles and my dad. After we were done we always made turkey sandwiches - turkey and butter on white bread, with some salt and pepper. This is still one of my favorite ways to eat turkey!

After college, when I moved to California, I was further from family on Thanksgiving and have some really great memories of Thanksgivings with friends.

One year my good friend Lisa came to visit me from Minnesota. We had a 22 pound turkey... for me, Lisa and my roommate Richard. And Lisa didn't really eat turkey. Made for a lot of leftovers! That year we also had one of Richard's favorites - rattlesnake. Actually pretty tasty. Odd having it in the refrigerator before cooking though. Kind of looked like coiled up fish fillets.

While I was in law school I had Thanksgiving for some "orphaned" friends. Michelle, Gregg, Matt and I. In the tiny apartment dining room that I had at the time. We had all the standards, and lots of wine and good conversation.

Just before The Mr and I got engaged, I spent Thanksgiving with some friends of ours. Roger and Kelley hosted a whole bunch of folks who were "family-less" that year. I brought homemade pumpkin ice cream and mashed potatoes. 10 pounds of mashed potatoes. Let's just say, we didn't run out.

Just after we were married, The Mr's brother and sister-in-law were hosting an exchange student from Belgium, and they all came down for Thanksgiving. The Mr and I cooked dinner at his parents' house (they have a huge, gorgeous kitchen, but don't like to cook). We'd read an article about the traditional Thanksgiving dinner being paired with different beers instead of wine, and decided to try that. Wonderful success! We also spent a lot of time putting together Thanksgiving trivia to help Frederik (the foreign exchange student) understand all of the traditions. That was a fun one.

Last year we spent a wonderful Thanksgiving with The Mr's brother and sister-in-law. We were hoping they would be able to make it to San Diego this year, but circumstances didn't allow it. And now The Mr and I get to spend Thanksgiving (or any holiday for that matter) alone for the first time ever. We're really looking forward to it!

I know this year will have wonderful memories as well. I'm thankful to be sharing this special day with my wonderful husband. Life doesn't get much better than this!

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

We don't speak German or Japanese...

We nearly did.

Remembering those who died for our freedom and thanking those who serve today. We owe our very lives to you.

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Friday, November 06, 2009

Maybe it's early...

... but we are getting into the spirit of the (next) season by seeing Jim Carrey's "A Christmas carol" tonight.

Are we jumping the gun much too soon?

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