Sunday

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer "Holly Jolly Christmas"



Recommended: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Tuesday

How To Make Felt Christmas Stockings




The Christmas stocking is a holiday staple for families with children. Kids love to get up on Christmas morning and see what kinds of goodies Santa has left them! Small stockings are also great for decoration, and they're ideal for holding small gifts to give to your friends and family.

Making felt stockings is very easy, and it's a great family project.

Here's how to do it:

What You Need

* Felt
* Cardboard or card stock
* Marker
* Scissors
* Straight pins
* Needle and thread
* White faux fur and other embellishments

Instructions

  1. Draw a stocking shape of the desired size on a piece of cardboard or card stock. Cut out.
  2. Place the cardboard shape on the felt, trace around it, and cut out. Make two pieces for each stocking.
  3. If you want to sew buttons, fabric or other embellishments on the stocking, it will be much easier to do so before you sew it together. Just make sure to sew them onto the side that will be facing outward.
  4. Pin the pieces of felt together, wrong sides facing out, and sew around the edges with a sewing machine or by hand. Be sure not to sew the top closed.
  5. Turn the stocking inside out so that the seams are now on the inside. Decorate the outside using fabric paint, glitter, beads, or anything else you like. Sew a strip of faux fur to the top if desired.
  6. Cut a strip of felt an inch or so wide and 3 or 4 inches long. Fold it in half to make a loop and sew it to the top left corner of the stocking.
Letting the kids decorate their own stockings gives them an opportunity to express themselves. They could add charms that reflect their interests and hobbies, make pictures with beads, or use finger paint to add handprints. Tubes of fabric paint or glitter glue make it easy for them to write messages to Santa and add their names.

Scraps of holiday fabric are great for adding a decorative touch to stockings. You could cut out shapes such as Christmas trees, angels, or reindeer and sew or glue them to the front of the stocking. If you want a different look, you could even use a sturdy fabric such as canvas instead of felt to make the body of the stocking.

Making and decorating your own Christmas stockings is lots of fun, and it's very inexpensive. Whether you're making them to hang on the tree, fill with gifts for friends, or place on the mantle for Santa to stuff, it's a wonderful way to get the family creative together during the holidays.

Recommended products:

Wednesday

Creating "To Die For" Christmas Sweets



What is the one thing everyone enjoys at Christmas time? Arguably it could be sweets. There is nothing like a cookie, slice of cake or gum drop around the holidays. Here are some tips to make sure that those delectable morsels are just as tasty as their sugarplum visions.



Working with Chocolate
  • When you create a recipe that calls for chocolate, it is so easy to go wrong here. Instead of using the store-bought chocolate syrup, make your own. Buy the chocolate bricks and melt them yourself. Keep the heat under the saucepan low so that the chocolate doesn’t burn while it melts.
  • Dark chocolate is the new healthy chocolate for the 21st century. It is full of antioxidants and great taste. Use it for decorating cakes, cookies, breads and pies. Use some of that melted chocolate in a plastic bag to pipe out all sorts of cool designs onto wax paper. Once they cool, you can carefully place them on any dessert that you wish.
Butter
  • The rest of the year, this word gets sneer and jeers, but at Christmas, it is spot on. There is no substitute for using regular butter in your dessert recipes. Well, there is but it won’t give you the same taste or texture in your sweets. To compensate, eat a little less of each dessert, but by all means taste them all.
  • When working with margarine, part of it is water. It says that on the box. Water evaporates when baking and can partially dry out your recipes. Butter is also creamier when softened and whipped. It keeps your cakes, breads, cupcakes and cookies moist like they need to be. Unless the recipe calls for stiff butter, let it come to room temperature on the counter before using.
Fruit
  • Apple pies, peach cobblers and blueberry blintzes are all great during the holidays. Fruit can be expensive since most of your choices are out of season. If you can’t find fresh at a reasonable price, opt for frozen choices. It’s as close to fresh as you can get.
  • If you keep your fruit in the fridge to prolong freshness, make sure that you allow them to come to room temperature before using them in delicious dessert recipes. Fruit will juice better when warm. Scalding fruits with removable skins helps the skin to peel off easier so you don’t have to ruin the look of the fruit doing it the hard way.
Here are just a few tips for creating those desserts your family will love all holiday long. Christmas is the one time of year that they don’t want you to skimp on flavor or presentation.

Monday

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Sunday

It's Beginning to Look A Lot like Christmas sung by Johnny Mathis

Thursday

Create a Fun, Festive and Inexpensive 4th of July Party


Independence Day is probably the easiest Holiday to decorate for, especially if you’re on a tight budget. Who wouldn’t mind saving a bit of moola right now?

Decorating Ideas:

• You can usually find red, white or blue paper table clothes this time of year at fairly reasonable prices. Using blue for the table cloth, add white napkins and red paper plates for a festive red, white and blue table. Blue plastic wear on the white napkins and red plastic cups add a nice touch.

• Make a centerpiece using a blue vase of red and white carnations, then add some flags. Give the flags to your guests after your meal is served.


Food Ideas:

1. White corn on the cob served in a red or blue glass bowl.
2. Blue tortilla chips served with red salsa and sour cream.
3. Sliced red tomatoes served with slices of mozzarella.
4. Red pepper slices served with a blue cheese dip on the side.
5. Blue Jell-O with raspberries and topped with whipped cream.
6. Star shaped sugar cookies with white frosting and red and blue sprinkles.
7. A large clear, glass bowl of mixed blueberries and strawberries accompanied by a bowl of whipped cream.

Beverages:

Sweet Summer Tea (I know it’s not red, white and blue, but it’s so American)

Red, White and Blue Freezee:

Mix together in a blender

1 cup whipping cream
½ cup frozen blueberries
1 tsp. lemon juice
sugar to taste
Top with a few strawberries.


4th of July Punch:

Blend together:

6 cups of orange juice
20 oz. frozen strawberries in syrup
2 cups cranberry juice cocktail

Add 3 cups ginger ale at serving time. Makes 18 servings



Now for some other ways to make your 4th of July party sparkle (pun intended).

Stick some lit sparklers in a dish when serving it.
• Watch a movie like the National Treasure or some other movie that portrays the beginning of our nation.
• Have patriotic songs playing in the background, like the National Anthem, America the Beautiful and so on.
• Dress in red, white and blue.
• Wear some of those funny star shaped sunglasses.
• Decorate a door or window with Uncle Sam.
• Be sure to hang an American flag if you have one.

Saturday

Fun, Festive Food Ideas for the 4th of July

Looking for some great food ideas for the 4th of July? You’ve come to the right spot! Below are some ideas you can use to make your 4th of July celebration fun and festive with food!

Flag Cake

1. Make a 13x9 cake using your favorite cake recipe (can be from a box mix too, any flavor)
2. Frost with white frosting (cream cheese or vanilla)
3. Use blueberries to make the stars of the flag in the upper left corner
4. Use strawberries to make the red stripes on the flag
5. For added spark (pun intended) add a few sparklers!

Red, White and Blue Cupcakes

1. Make your favorite flavor cupcakes
2. Divide white frosting into thirds. Color 1/3 with red food coloring and 1/3 with blue food coloring.
3. Frost each cupcake, alternating colors.
4. You can make little flags on each cupcake using the red, white and blue frosting.
5. Get little flags or sparklers to stick in the center of each cupcake


Need some ideas for lunch or dinner? Try these easy to make, yet fun food ideas!

Red, White and Blue Potato Salad – Use new red potatoes, white baby potatoes and blue or purple potatoes in your favorite potato salad recipe. (Leave the skins on the red and blue potatoes.)

Grilled Hamburgers with Bacon – Mix hamburger with chopped onion and Worcetershire sauce, form 1 inch thick patties and wrap each patty with a slice of bacon, securing it with a toothpick. Grill on each side about 5 to 7 minutes. Top with your favorite burger toppings.

Festive Steak Fajitas – Using grilled skirt steak, red and yellow bell peppers, onions and your favorite toppings like shredded cheese, lettuce and tomatoes, fold together in a warmed tortilla. A colorful main course that can be served with guacamole, refried beans and Spanish rice!

Faux Fried Chicken – It looks like fried chicken, but it’s baked-healthy and delicious! Dip pat-dried chicken drumsticks in a mixture of buttermilk and your favorite seasonings and roll each of them in a crushed Cornflakes cereal mixed with Parmesan cheese. Bake in the oven at 425 degrees for 40 minutes, or until the chicken is done. Serve with your favorite side dishes like corn on the cob and mashed potatoes! Great summertime meal, perfect for a Fourth of July celebration!


Here are a couple of festive, cool desserts or treats you can serve on the fourth. These are sure to please family and guests of all ages!

Frosted Fireworks – Using red and blue flavored beverages, such as Kool-aid or Gatorade, pour into ice cube trays and freeze. Place some red, blue and clear cubes in a festive dessert glass and pour seltzer (flavored if you prefer) over the colored ice cubes. Toss in a little flag for added festiveness.

Red, White and Blue Fruit Salad – Toss diced apples, strawberries and blueberries into a mixture of honey, lime juice and fresh, chopped mint. Serve as a side dish with any entrĂ©e or use as a topping over vanilla ice cream.

These ideas will make for a festive, fun and colorful addition to any 4th of July Celebration.


Red, White and Blue Food Ideas

Are you planning a smashing 4th of July party, but don’t want to serve the traditional burgers or chicken? Here are some simple, yet very festive food ideas using red, white and blue. Use a combination of the following food ideas to create a red, white and blue 4th of July Feast.

Red Foods

Main Course: New Mexico Style Red Enchiladas

Brown some ground beef, drain. In a large skillet, combine a large can of red enchilada sauce and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. In a separate skillet warm tortillas until just flexible. Then dip each tortilla in the enchilada sauce. Next, make layers starting with a dipped tortilla then add a couple of spoonfuls of meat, a couple of spoonfuls of the enchilada sauce. Top with shredded cheese. Repeat, making as many layers as you‘d like, but a good amount is usually 3. Top it all off with a fried egg and serve with a dinner roll. (Trust me!)

Salad: Summer Tomato Salad

Using not-too-ripe, coarsely chopped tomatoes and cherry tomatoes combine with chopped basil and parsley leaves. Drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil and toss.

Appetizer: 4th of July Apples

Combine an 8 oz. pkg. of cream cheese, 3 tbs. butter-softened, ½ cup of crumbled blue cheese, ½ cup chopped walnuts. Refrigerate for 3 hours. Core and cut apples into eighths and sprinkle with lemon juice. Use a butter knife to apply spread to apples.

Blue Foods

Main Course: Blue Catfish Fillets

Dip catfish fillets (patted almost dry) in ¾ cup blue cornmeal with finely chopped jalapeno pepper, 2 cloves of garlic and ½ tsp. salt. Heat one inch of oil in large skillet and fry the fillets until brown on each side and the fish begins to flake inside. Serve salsa, or lemon or lime wedges.

Salad: Blue Potato Salad

Using ½ lb. Peruvian fingerlings (blue potatoes), boil until soft, but not mushy. Gently mix in 2 tbsp. grainy mustard, ¼ cup white wine vinegar, 3 thinly sliced celery stalks, 2 tbsp. minced flat leaf parsley and 2 sliced green onions. Makes 8 servings.

Appetizer: Blue Cheese Ball

Using 3 (3-oz each) pkgs. cream cheese, 1 (4-oz) pkg. blue cheese, crumbled,1 jar Kraft Old English cheese spread, 1 small onion, grated finely, 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce, Mix all together. Form into two balls, medium size then wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight. Roll in chopped nuts. Serve with Blue Corn Tortilla Chips

Dessert: Blue Ice Cream

Scoop vanilla ice cream into a parfait bowl or other clear dessert cup. Add some blueberry syrup, fresh blueberries, another scoop of ice cream, some more blueberry syrup and top with whipped cream.

White Foods

Main course: Pork Steak in Mushroom Sauce

You can make this in the oven or in a crock pot. I prefer the crock pot because the pork comes out so tender! Place 6 to 8 boneless pork steak in crock pot; let cook for 2 hours on high. Add 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup, 2 cans of cream of celery soup and cook for 2 more hours on high. To bake in the oven, place the pork steak in a 13x9 glass baking dish, top with the cans of soup and cover with aluminum foil. Bake on 350F for an hour to an hour ½. Top with shredded cheese, if desired.

Salad: White Pineapple Salad

Drain 1 large can pineapple and reserve juice; add enough water to the juice to make 2 cups. Heat to a boil and add Jello, mix until dissolved. Chill until thick as syrup. Mash 2-8 oz. pkgs. cream cheese and add to Jello mixture. Mix well with mixer. Add ½ pt. whipped cream and 1 cup crushed nuts, mix well. Pour into a 9x 12 dish and chill well.

Appetizer: White Pizza Bagel Bites

Using 1 pkg. frozen bagel bites, place on cookie sheet, cut side up. Sprinkle with garlic powder and bake until lightly toasted. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese, sliced olives and chopped green pepper. Bake for 5 more minutes, until cheese is melted.

Dessert: All American Cup Cakes

Make cupcakes using your favorite recipe, top with white frosting. Make a flag on each one using blueberries for the stars and red licorice pieces for the stripes.

Sunday

A Mother's Love Is A Blessing

...for all mother's... A Happy Mother's Day!

Monday

5 Mother’s Day Gift Box Ideas!

What mother doesn’t love to get presents? How about making that special mom a Mother’s Day Gift Box this year? The gift can be anything and if you’re at a loss for ideas, here are five you may want to consider.

They’re not difficult to make when you use an old shoe box or a similar size box as the base. You can wrap each part of the box separately
in beautifully paper so the lid can still be taken off. Then fill it with things you know your mom will love.

1. Coffee Lovers Gift Box
A coffee lover’s box might include various gourmet coffees along with a new, pretty coffee cup. You may also want to include chocolate-covered spoons or another special treat for her to enjoy while she’s sipping her coffee. Her favorite cookies might be appropriate.

2. Movie Lovers Gift Box
What if your mom is a movie buff? Perhaps there’s movie she’s always wanted to watch but hasn’t done so. She may also have a favorite classic movie that she watches each time it plays. Buying a DVD of that movie is a great idea. You can include some microwavable popcorn for her to enjoy while watching the movie. If it’s a tear-jerker, don’t forget to include a small package of tissues.

3. "Love You Mom" Coupon Gift Box
Self-created vouchers or coupons are another idea. Maybe your mom has been bothering you to wash the car, mow the lawn, or something else she can’t manage. Create some coupons for you to do those activities she’s been asking you about. You can make the vouchers by finding examples online that have pretty borders.

4. Spa Gift Box
A spa box would be thoroughly enjoyed. Since every mother is a working mother, whether she leaves the home or not, you can include items such as scented candles, a CD with soothing music, an eye mask, and body lotion. Or, if you really want to surprise her, why not put a certificate for a day spa in with these items. Then she’ll be able to be pampered by someone else.

5. Book Lovers Gift Box
Is your mom a bookworm? Find her favorite author’s latest book and place it in the box along with a couple of nice bookmarks. If her favorite author’s newest book isn’t out yet, give her a gift card or certificate to her favorite bookstore so she can get the book when it is published.

Of course, not all ideas can be put into a box. One of the most common gifts for Mother’s Day is a bouquet of flowers. To make it a surprise, why not give her a rose bush of her favorite variety. She’ll be able to enjoy roses for years to come and think of you each time she sees or smells them. You can also include a certificate for a day of working in her flower garden with her as an added surprise.


Whichever Mother’s Day gift box you choose to give, remember to think about what your mom would like and then do your best to fill your box with things she’ll love. She’ll be surprised at the thought that you put into her gift and will love you for taking the time to put it together.

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Why Do They Celebrate Mother’s Day?

Many people think that Mother’s Day is traditionally a holiday for moms in the United States. What may not be realized is that Mother’s Day has been around for millennium but not always in the same form as it is celebrated today. Mothers are also honored in nearly every country and culture around the world.

The earliest written record of honoring mothers comes from the ancient Egyptians. In fact, their practice of paying homage to their goddess Isis may be the very beginnings of our current Mother’s Day celebrations as Isis was considered to be the mother of the Pharaohs.


In more recent years, motherhood was honored on the fourth Sunday of the Lenten season. This was more of a celebration to honor the church, or Mother church, where the mothers were baptized. The practice included decorating the place of worship with flowers and other symbols such as jewels to beautify the buildings.

By the 1600s there was a decree that established Mothering Day, the forerunner of our current Mother’s Day.
Mother’s Day actually began in the United States in 1870 by Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation. This was a call to mothers who had lost sons during the Civil War to come together and celebrate peace and motherhood. This holiday, however, was never embraced nationally. It wasn’t until Anna M. Jarvis began the process in 1908 that the holiday took off and was eventually declared a national holiday in 1914 by President Woodrow Wilson.

Mother’s Day celebrations take place all around the world. In Argentina, mothers are given dinners, poems, and gifts of appreciation. France began Mother’s Day in 1945 and uses this day to give cakes shaped like flower bouquets, cards, and perfume. Mothers in India have special dinners prepared for them and receive telephone calls from their children. The Japanese celebrate Mother’s Day by giving their mothers red carnations, scarves, and handbags.

Mexico celebrates Mother’s Day on May 10 rather than the fourth Sunday of May. Traditionally they prepare a family brunch for mothers and celebrate with songs sung by family members. In the United Kingdom, moms are given flowers, cards and taken out for a special Mother’s Day lunch.

Mothers in the United States are honored by children giving cards and presents. They may be taken out for a special meal, be given flowers, or receive telephone calls from children who are far from home. Chocolate is another common Mother’s Day gift and with the increase of day spas across the country, many mothers are being given certificates for a spa visit.

Let’s face it, if it weren’t for mothers, none of us would be here. (Of course, dads had a part in our birth, too, but they have their own holiday.) It’s nice to remember our moms once a year in a special way. And since people around the world honor their moms, isn’t it a good idea to do the same for your own?


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Friday

Decorating the Perfect Easter Egg


The perfectly decorated
Easter egg begins with the egg. Two of the most popular ways to decorate eggs begins with either a boiled egg or a blown (or hollowed egg).

Boiled Eggs

To avoid rubbery eggs do not cook eggs in boiling water. Instead, boil the water and remove the pan from the stove. Submerge the eggs in the hot, boiled water for 15-17 minutes.

Blown or Hollowed Easter Eggs

To hollow out an egg simply wash and dry your eggs. Then taking a thin needle, carefully poke a hole in each end of your egg. Cover the holes and shake the egg. Place your egg over a bowl or other container and gently blow into one of the holes in your egg. The egg white and yolk should make its way out of the other hole. Once the insides have been blown out wash and dry your egg again. Some eggs are easier to hollow than others. It will take patience and although more fragile, a hollowed out egg can be decorated and kept for many years to come depending upon how it is stored.

Decorating Ideas

Decorating your egg can be as simple or elaborate as you would like it to be. You can make beautifully designed Easter eggs with items you probably currently have in your home. Some of these ideas work egg-ceptionally well on the hollowed eggs.

• Ribbons – take leftover ribbons and glue them to your egg in the desired colors and patterns (blown eggs)

• Glitter – spread your egg with a thin layer of glue and then roll the egg around in glitter (superfine glitter will give your egg a sugared look (blown eggs)

• Lace – using the same principle as the ribbons decorate your egg (blown eggs)

• Sponge Paint – dig out your sponges and craft paint to create an original design

• Stickers – let the kids decorate using their favorite stickers

• Crayons – with a parent’s help color on a warm egg

• Mosaic – be creative and glue pieces of tissue paper, small pasta pieces or shells to your egg.

These recipes will come in handy if you have decided to stick with the tried and true dyed Easter egg

Simple Egg Dye

Combine 1/2 cup boiling water, 1 tsp. vinegar and the food color together adding drops of food coloring to achieve desired colors. Dip hard cooked eggs in dye for about 5 minutes or until desired color.

Natural Egg Dye

Dye your eggs in boiling water, with vinegar and the item used to create the desired color, boiling both eggs and dye items together. Don’t forget to compost your dye items when you are finished dyeing your eggs.

Color ideas:

Lavender
Small Quantity of Purple Grape Juice
Violet Blossoms plus 2 tsp Lemon Juice

Violet Blue
Violet Blossoms
Small Quantity of Red Onions Skins

Blue
Canned Blueberries
Red Cabbage Leaves

Purple
Grape Juice

Green
Spinach Leaves
Liquid Chlorophyll

Greenish Yellow
Yellow Delicious Apple Peels

Yellow
Orange or Lemon Peels
Carrot Tops
Celery Seed
Ground Cumin
Ground Turmeric
Saffron

Brown
Strong Coffee
Instant Coffee
Black Walnut Shells

Orange
Yellow Onion Skins

Pink
Beets
Cranberries or Juice
Raspberries
Red Grape Juice
Juice from Pickled Beets

Red
Lots of Red Onions Skins

Hard boiled, hollowed out, color dyed or fancier designs, anything goes when decorating your eggs for this Easter season. The only rule is to have fun.

Easter Egg Cocktail Spread Recipe

This is a great way to use up some of those Easter eggs. Serve with crackers or rye bread rounds for an appetizer before dinner. Finely chopped black olives can also be added to this spread as well as chopped pimento.

Ingredients:

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened

2 hard boiled eggs, peeled, rinsed and chopped fine
2 t butter, softened

1/2 C green onions, diced fine

Directions:

Place the cream cheese into a mixing bowl. Add the chopped eggs and butter. Sprinkle the green onions into the mixture.


Use a rubber spatula and blend the ingredients together until well combined being sure the mixture has a spreadable consistency.


Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or until completely chilled through.


Serves: 8

History of Easter Eggs

It never fails. Year after year the stores pack their shelves with various items mean to “decorate” an egg. All dressed up for Easter, the plain, white egg you normally have for breakfast or use in your baking becomes a multi-colored, glittery, or tie-dyed work of art.

If you celebrate Easter then you, too, probably purchase dozens of eggs to decorate but do you know why you do it? Is it simply because that’s what your mother did each year because that’s what her mother did? And why does a bunny deliver them?

Though-out history, eggs have been a part of many spring celebrations. Eggs are generally thought of as a symbol of life and Easter is in Spring when new life abounds in the world. The Romans, who believe that “All life comes from an egg” used eggs in their spring festivals and feasts and salted hardboiled eggs were part of Jewish traditions as well.

Pagan beliefs viewed the egg as a sacred symbol and an old fable told of an egg that fell from heaven and hatched the goddess of Fertility, Astarte (Easter). Since then eggs have been found as symbols of new life and fertility in Rome, Northern Europe, China and Japan.

Christians later adopted the use of eggs into their Easter celebrations as the “seed of life” symbolizing Christ’s resurrection. Many different beliefs have been held about the actual use of eggs. It was once believed that eggs laid on Good Friday and cooked on Easter would promote fertility of the trees and crops will protecting against sudden deaths.

Today Easter Eggs have become a central part of Christian Easter celebrations in North America with chocolate Easter eggs, Easter egg hunts and decorating Easter eggs. It is unclear as to the specific reason for decorating eggs, but painted eggs have been part of spring celebrations in many cultures for centuries, each with their own styles and color traditions. Red and version of red have been the most common color in many cultures, symbolizing the blood of Christ.

The most famous Easter egg to date is the first Faberge egg. This small gold egg encased in platinum and enamel was created by Peter Carl Faberge in 1883 as an Easter gift for the Empress Marie of Russia from her husband Tsar Alexander. The egg was gorgeous, and a tradition began with a new egg being designed each Easter. Nicholas II, Alexander’s son, continued this tradition with a total of 57 eggs designed in total.

Today, Easter eggs are generally connected with the Easter Bunny and Easter egg hunts. The Easter bunny came to be part of Easter tradition because rabbits and hares are known for their ability to produce multiple births and that made them a natural choice for the celebration of spring and new life.

For many decades, young children have taken part in Easter egg hunts, searching for colorful eggs laid by the Easter bunny in the grass. Easter egg hunts have become a traditional part of American Easter celebrations, with the Whitehouse and many community churches hosting annual Easter egg hunts each year.


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Tuesday

An Irish Blessing

Monday

Luck of the Irish Kettle Soup Recipe


Ingredients:

2 T butter

1 1/2 C white onion, chopped

1 C celery, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

8 C chicken broth

1 1/2 C carrots, chopped

4 C cabbage, coarsely chopped

1 bay leaf

1 t parsley flakes

1/2 t thyme

1/4 t pepper

2 1/2 C cooked corned beef, chopped

1 (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with juice

1/4 t salt

Directions:

Melt the butter in a kettle placed over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and stir to coat with the butter. Cook 8 minutes or until the vegetables are fork tender, stiring often. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Pour the chicken broth into the kettle. Carefully stir in the carrots and cabbage. Add in the bay leaf, parsley, thyme and pepper and stir to incorporate. Bring the soup to a steady boil.

Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium low and cover the kettle. Allow the soup to simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Up the heat to medium then stir in the corned beef. As the soup begins to boil carefully add in the tomatoes. When the soup has returned to a steady boil reduce the heat again to medium low.

Cook uncovered for 15 minutes.

Sprinkle in the salt and stir to combine.

Serves: 8

Corned beef was originally substituted by the Irish Americans for bacon in the late 1800's. Many believe that eating corned beef with cabbage on St. Patrick's Day brings good luck throughout the year.

Friday

Chocolate Love Me Hearts - Valentine's Day Recipe

Supplies You Need:

8 (1 oz) squares milk chocolate

How to Make Them:

Place the chocolate squares in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high 1 minute remove the bowl and stir. Continue at 30 second intervals until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth being sure to stir after each 30 seconds.

Allow the mixture to cool about 5 minutes.

Lay wax paper on a flat surface and spread the chocolate mixture on the wax paper to desired thickness.

Place the chocolate on the wax paper in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or until the chocolate is firm but still pliable. Remove and place on the flat surface.

Use heart shaped cookie cutters of different sizes to cut out the solid chocolate hearts.

Serving Size: 24 to 32 hearts

Use these chocolate hearts for Valentine's Day, in Easter baskets, at place settings or just hand them out throughout the day. You can add a little flavoring such as orange, lemon or raspberry to the melted chocolate for a special treat.

Thursday

Valentine’s Day Dinner for Kids

With all the special events taking place on Valentine’s Day it is only right to end the day with a dinner befitting the occasion. Kids can give you some ideas for what they want to have for dinner. If you trust their tastes, let them choose the meal. Here are some kid friendly Valentine’s Day dinner ideas.

1. Make your own pizza.
The kids can choose the toppings and fix them up into little bowls so that they are easier to put on the pizza. Parents can shape the dough into a heart when it is ready for toppings. To get the entire family involved, each person can create a personal pizza for themselves with their favorite toppings. Add a salad and you have a perfect Valentine’s Day meal.


2. Heart Shaped Meatloaf
. Anything that you can shape can become a Valentine’s Day meal centerpiece. Instead of a loaf pan, put that meatloaf into a heart shaped pan. Let the kids use ketchup to write a loving message on the meatloaf before you bake it.

3. Casseroles for dinner are typical but on Valentine’s Day, we can take some time to give it a unique touch. Parents can use kitchen shears to cut raw chicken breasts into heart like shapes for the casserole. Veggie casseroles are easier to shape and kids can do it with a butter knife.

4. For Valentine’s Day, the drinks are on the kids. Red Kool-Aid is a great choice. Let the kids mix it up. You can also make a Valentine’s Day punch. You can find many punch recipes online and in cookbooks at your local library. If your kids are really creative, they can use heart-shaped ice molds to fashion festive ice cubes to keep their drinks cool and refreshing.

This special dinner takes planning. You and your kids can grocery shop together the week before to find all the necessary ingredients and utensils to make Valentine’s Day a success. You may have to visit a few stores to find the ice molds or non-stick pans for the meals. While you’re at it, you may find some other things that could make your meal more festive on Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day takes on new meaning when you have kids. They see each event with new eyes and Valentine’s Day is no different. Take the opportunity to get them interested in cooking and begin new family traditions that they look forward to participating in together each year.

Saturday

January's Top 10 Entrecard Droppers

Today is the "First Official Entrecard Top Dropper Day".

In honor of that, here is some link love for my Top 10 Entrecard Droppers for January.






















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Friday

Groundhog Day Party Menu Ideas for a Fun Groundhog Day Celebration

The groundhog (Marmota monax) is a rodent of t...Image via WikipediaBy Gail Leino

Will winter last or is spring around the corner? Groundhog day is often a mass media day with everyone waiting to see if the groundhog will see his shadow. If you are looking for a few menu ideas or snacks for your children to celebrate the holiday, you might like to use some of the following ideas:

Groundhogs tend to eat green items such as grass so you could create an all green menu for the day. Green punch (lemonade with green food coloring, green grapes and small pieces of green apple or kiwifruit), baked good with green food coloring and green fruit salad (green grapes, green apple, kiwifruit, honeydew melon and star fruit) all work well.

A great snack for children is creating a salad with a couple of types of lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, and gonzo beans. Of course you can choose your child’s favorite vegetables and salad dressing.

Another great snack for you children is Groundhog Day Dirt Pie. All you do is take their favorite pudding or chocolate to represent dirt. Once you have made the pudding you crumble up graham crackers into the dish. To make the dessert complete you can take a Popsicle stick with a picture of a groundhog to make it look like a groundhog on his mound. You may even have children color their own groundhog.

There are many different ideas you can have for Groundhogs Day for a complete menu. If you need to create snacks for school or just to have fun around the house you will want to find different types of menu items like potatoes, vegetables, desserts with the life of the groundhog in mind. Typically groundhogs spend their days on their mounds so even cupcakes with a frosting “groundhog” on top make a fun snack.

They say that simple menus often work the best. This is definitely the case with Groundhog day. You can use these ideas or throw in a few of your own – either way your young guests are likely to be happy.

Mrs. Party... Gail Leino takes a common sense approach to planning and organizing events, celebrations and holiday parties with unique ideas for Groundhog Day party supplies and fun party games. She explains proper etiquette and living a healthy life while also teaching organizational skills and fun facts. The Party Supplies Hut has lots of party ideas with hundreds of free holiday printable games and free birthday party activities. Over 100 adorable Themes including Party Supplies to fit your birthday celebration, holiday event, or "just because" parties. Party themes include cartoon characters, sports, movie, TV shows, luau, western, holidays, and unique crazy fun theme ideas.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Gail_Leino http://EzineArticles.com/?Groundhog-Day-Party-Menu-Ideas-for-a-Fun-Groundhog-Day-Celebration&id=685818

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