Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Eve Dinner

Allison, Rob, Ab, and Matt were all in town for Christmas and it was so fun to have everybody together in Memphis. This year since so many things were changing, we decided to create a new Christmas Eve tradition. We went to a Christmas Eve service with Grammy and then we went back to our house and had appetizers for dinner. I had been thinking about the menu all week because my life is very uneventful in Memphis, so thinking about the menu gave me something to do! So here is what we had...Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Little sausage pizzas, mini ham and cheese calzones, fruit kabobs, bacon and swiss dip, and some sugar cookies.

Rob was a fan of the ham and cheese calzones.
I had really creative intentions with the sugar cookies. Like to decorate them with royal icing and make it look like a decorated Christmas tree or to glaze the stars and sprinkle with glitter...but that didn't happen. The day before Christmas Eve was filled with last minute errands, and Christmas Eve day was busy as well, so the special decorations quickly lost priority. So...We cut the sugar cookie dough into the shapes and then ate them as they were.
I think that the mini chicken salad sandwiches were my favorite item, so that is the recipe I'm going to put up here. I love going to eat at Chicken Salad Chick in Auburn, where all they serve is different kinds of chicken salad. My favorite kind there has apples, grapes, and pecans. So I took the chicken salad recipe that my mom usually makes and just made some slight changes-dropped the celery and added fuji apples.

Chicken Salad
3 cups cubed, cooked chicken
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup grapes, halved
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped fuji apples
1 tsp. mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Juice from 1/2 lemon


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Top Ten Christmas Songs

I currently have a Christmas playlist on my ipod with 156 Christmas songs, and today while driving home from Franklin and listening to the playlist, I tried to think of which songs are my favorite. So these are the songs that I have found myself listening to the most this year...

1. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day-Casting Crowns
2. Baby It's Cold Outside-Drew and Ellie Holcomb
3. Welcome to Our World-Chris Rice
4. Joy to the World-Casting Crowns
5. When Love Came Down-Point of Grace
6. The First Noel-Josh Groban and Faith Hill
7. A Baby Changes Everything-Faith Hill
8. Tennessee Christmas-Amy Grant
9. Last Christmas-Taylor Swift
10. Where are You Christmas-Faith Hill

And there are many many others that I love, but since I limited it to ten, those are the ones at the top of my most played this year.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Morning at the Beach House



This morning we had Christmas morning at the Beach House. Before we left for Thanksgiving we all drew names for who we would give christmas presents to when it came Christmas morning, but we had to keep it secret. And then in addition to getting presents for your secret person, we all got stocking stuffers for everyone.
This year the stockings were filled with exciting things, like target gift cards, McCarty pottery (those first two were clearly contributions from moms), animal bracelets, candy, playing cards, lipgloss, some cute christmas bows, and some cute headbands. Sarah Beth and Lacey ordered the headbands from Bumbaloo, (http://reneehallphotography.wordpress.com/) which makes tons of cute stuff. We took a "Christmas Morning" picture trying to show off our cute headbands.
Then we made a huge breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and bacon! We all felt very sick afterwards but it was fun.

It was sad when this morning ended, knowing that it would be our last Christmas in the Beach House, it is so weird to think next year we will all be in different places.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Happiness is Birthdays

Wednesday was Kristen's birthday, so since it was in the middle of the week we celebrated a little bit on Wednesday and then celebrated some more on Friday night. On Wednesday night we all ate dinner together at home, and then had some cupcakes that were made by Anna and Lacey. Anna and Lacey took on the job of making the cupcakes because they didn't have any exams, and we were all so proud of their work, that we decided it deserved a shout out on the blog.

The birthday girl and the happy cupcake makers.


Then on Friday night we all went to Olive Garden and then came back to the BH and played cards. We wanted to try a new recipe for cider, so we made that and drank it while we played.


The cider turned out so good! And it can be drank hot or cold. We chilled it and drank it cold, but you could also drink it hot if you prefer.

Spiced Cider Punch:
1 cup sugar
2 qt. apple cider or juice, divided
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 can (12 oz.) frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 at. ginger ale, chilled
-In dutch oven, combine the sugar, 1 cup cider, cinnamon, and allspice. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat; add orange juice concentrate and remaining cider. Cool. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. Just before serving, transfer to a punch bowl, stir in ginger ale.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

Lately I've been thinking about how I wanted to make brownie balls with Christmas sprinkles, like cake balls but with brownies instead. So I decided this weekend would be the perfect time to try it because Fletcher was coming in town and it would be something fun for us to try together. However, Fletcher always comes up with ideas of his own that he wants to try, so we ended up doing brownie balls and chocolate covered pretzels. After going to target, world market, and two different krogers we had everything we needed to start...

For the brownie balls we cooked the brownies and then added a little chocolate frosting and formed them in to balls and put them in the freezer to harden...


Then we made the frosting and warmed it so that it would pour over the brownies, and then added Christmas sprinkles...


While the brownies were in process, Fletcher had two double boilers going to melt the chocolate and get everything ready for the pretzels...
Then we started to dip and covered some of them with sprinkles, and some with crushed peppermints.


And of course we had our faithful taste testers at the ready to help...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Icing on the Cake begins...




I feel a little bit funny starting a blog, but I felt like this picture captures what I hope this blog will accomplish, the balance between baking and laughing.
Last year Anna found a recipe for pumpkin cheesecake in real simple that she was determined to bake. The recipe required a springform pan, which we did not have. So she left to get one and spent 3 hours looking all over town for one, until she finally found one at Kohls. So this year, of course, the seasons changed and it was time to make the pumpkin cheesecake again. So then baking the cheesecake became a group event. With kree helping as a taste tester, and lacey and I helping to mix, the cheesecake was completed. After a few hours and lots of laughing, we had a pumpkin cheesecake.