December 31, 2009

Soup Heaven

Here's a suggestion for your next party or family get-together: A soup and sandwich bar.....

This was a HUGE hit last Sunday, 2 days after Christmas. We had an extended-family-after-Christmas-party at Daughters house. We always potluck our family get-togethers in some way or another and this time the menu was " bring a pot of your favorite soup to share and any sandwich fixings you have on hand for our sandwich grills"....oh, and dessert, too: "bring any leftover Christmas goodies you want to get rid of"....
We had 8 different pots of soup!

Each person filled out a name card label as they brought in their pots of yummy goodness!

We used styrofoam cups for serving so that everyone could taste each one without getting too full of any one kind. As you can guess, this was SOUP HEAVEN for me since I'd be happy to eat soup every single day! I just started on the left and worked my way down the row....and then started over again! I think the Sausage Chard Potato was my favorite (great recipe Aunt Paula!)

We had 4 sandwich grills set up for a make-your-own-creation sandwich bar.

There were a good variety of breads and cheeses.

There was leftover Christmas ham, tuna salad, rotiserrie chicken, and deli meats.

I made a fabulous grilled cheese out of pesto sauce, fresh tomato slices, and mozzarella on crusty sourdough.

The handsdown favorite soup was Son's Prime Rib Dinner about making good use of Christmas Dinner leftovers! He pureed roasted vegetables and scalloped potatoes, added beef broth to thin it down, and then cubed up the last few slices of prime rib and simmered it for a little while...WOW! Who would have thought that would make one of the best soups we'd all ever tasted!

We had lots of dessert to choose from, too: leftover Christmas cookies, candies, and cake.

What a great way to use up all your Holiday leftovers by potlucking it all together with those you love!
(note to Rissers: we sure missed you guys.....we're doing this Soup Party again for sure the next time you come down for a visit, even if it's the middle of summer!)

December 19, 2009


I know that all kids love to spend time in the kitchen and my Grandkids are no exception. Grandson (4 1/2) has told me on several occasions that he wants to be a "Chef guy" just like his Uncle Jordy. AND he wants to be just like Chef Julian. Do you know Chef Julian? I don't know who this kid or his parents are, or how we happen to come accross his videos, but
go here and take a look at this kid in the kitchen.

Recently Grandson and I were home alone and he was helping me make 3 batches of Sugar-free quick bread for 3 of my friends, all diabetics.

We had earlier watched some of Chef Julian's videos so it was fresh on his mind. As he measured and stirred, it was "Chef Julian" this, and "Chef Julian" that, and "Chef Julian cracks eggs just like this".......

When we started on batch #3, he suddenly sighed, looked me in the eye and said "Mimi....this is just too much cooking...." and wandered off to watch SpongeBob.... Too much cooking? One hour and three batches of quick bread?

I didn't have the heart to tell him about Uncle Jordy's 14 hour days, all spent entirely on his feet in a hot kitchen. I figured I could at least wait until he's in Kindergarten to break his little wanna-be Chef's heart.

And speaking of Chef Kids.....a co-worker asked me to make a "real" chef's apron (personalized) and chef's hat for her grandson's birthday. It turned out so well that I made a pair for the two youngest Grandkids and took orders at a Holiday craft fair.

I only got one order, which was fine with me only 8 days before Christmas! I'll be posting these on Etsy after the first of the year.


personalized chef apron and chef hat


oh, I almost is Grandson's favorite recipe to cook, mostly by himself:

Ethan's Italian Eggs

Get basil from the garden and wash it really good. Stack up the leaves, roll them up and slice them with a knife and then chop them up.

Crack 3 eggs in a bowl. Put in the basil, some parmesan cheese, garlic powder and salt. Then add a spoonful of cottage cheese and stir it up.

Get a little frying pan and get it hot. Put a little bit of butter in it and let it get melty. Pour in the egg stuff. Stir it around until it's all cooked. (be careful because the pan is really hot!). Put it on 2 plates, one for you and one for someone else. Make toast.

December 17, 2009

Christmas Candy 2009

It's that time of year already.....time for my 29th annual candy-making-marathon (last years post is here)


Peanut Butter Bonbons

Black & White Coconut Bonbons

White Apricot Fudge

English Toffee

Sweet & Spicy Pecans

Peppermint Chip Meringues

Butter Toffee Pretzel Nuggets

Butterscotch Tumbleweeds

15 plates of Christmas goodies ready to deliver to Friends, Family, Neighbors, and Co-workers

Merry Christmas everyone!

December 11, 2009

a Double Soup du Jour Day

Soup du Jour #7: Split Pea with Ham
Split peas, chicken broth, carrot/celery/onion/garlic in the processor, herbs from the garden, and a piece of leftover ham from the freezer.

Cooked until soft and pureed with a stick blender.

served with fabulous Potato Rosemary bread from Costco (still warm when I bought it!)

This tasted extra good this time, for some reason. Even the 6 yr. old loved it and she is not an adventurous eater! She says it should be called "Swamp Soup" because it looks like something Shrek would like to eat.

"Soup" du Jour #8

Also got some Turkey Chili ready for the crock-pot, with 5 kinds of beans. Not exactly soup but close enough!

2 kinds of soup ready for several dinners during the week.

We'll be having a holiday family get-together on the 27th where everyone brings a pot of soup to share....I can't wait to see how many kinds of soup we'll be having!

In case I haven't mentioned it before....I LOVE SOUP!

December 10, 2009



I've mentioned my intense fear of them here before.

SOOO...... look at the new ornament I just got from Daughter's family!

Isn't he great?

(and he only scares me a little bit.....)


Leave it to a 4 and 6 yr old to point out things you hadn't noticed....

As we were decorating the house for the Holidays last week with our combined decorations (Daughter-in-Law's and mine) the two little ones are at that age where every single thing, down to the last minute detail is just so interesting. They want to hear every story behind every ornament, especially if they belonged to their Dad "when he was little"....."who made this one?"... "is that made out of a real nut?"...."why is this reindeer made out of pretzels?" Since about 3/4 of my stuff is handmade, either by someone in the family or from a craft fair, I have a lot to tell about most of these things.

As we were arranging everything, Grandson said" Mimi, you sure have a lot of Nativities!"

Do I? I hadn't we took a little inventory and and sure enough, without even realizing it, I have a nice little collection:

I've never had a traditional set, but my Mother gave me this the first Christmas I was married, 35 years ago

Mary and Joseph lost their halos to small toddler fingers years ago, but this tiny wooden set is still my favorite. It's so small, I can't believe it wasn't lost long ago!

And this was my very "first married Christmas" ornament

Bought at a craft fair, I love this wooden Nativity Family

(9" tall)

I made this family myself many years ago from felt, fabric, and embroidery thread.
I always intended to make the rest of the set, but, well, you know how that goes.....


And this is my all time favorite, sculpted by My Sister out of clay. Each Christmas she would give me the next piece to add to the set. (I think there was an angel, too, until my wiener dog got hold of it one year....)

(2" tall)

The same Sister quilted this 12x12 wall hanging that I carefully iron and hang every year.

Somewhere around here I have a complete set, including animals and a stable, in felt soft sculpture that I can't seem to find this year. I'm pretty sure it was so popular last year that I left it out after the holidays and it got absorbed into the everyday toys.

And of course we have the wonderful Fisher Price Little People Nativity that plays "Away in a Manager". Who doesn't love this set?

Last year Fisher Price came out with a matching ornament which I had to have, of course...too cute!

Here's a Nativity-themed post I wrote last year

Now that I realize I have a collection, I'm going to see what I can find to add to it. I think I even have time to MAYBE make something handmade for this season. ...

I wonder if I could convince My Sister to make me a new angel after all these years...

December 6, 2009

A Legacy

When my kids were growing up in the late 70's/early 80's,they spent a lot of time with my parents, who lived only 5 miles away. My kids were the first grandchildren for Gram and Grandfather.....yes, I said "Grandfather". I don't recall how that title came about 35 years ago, but everyone in the family, and even friends of grandchildren just know him as Grandfather.

One of my Dad's biggest hobbies has alway been woodworking. Starting with me, the oldest, he has made hope chests for all his Daughters & Grandaughters. Over the years he has made me countless pieces of furniture and hung shelves in every apartment and home I've ever lived in.

a bookshelf for a Grandson going off to college

He and my Mom have made hundreds of decorative wood items over the years for church fairs: he cuts the wood, she paints.

My two sons spent a HUGE amount of time with Grandfather in his garage workshop over those early years, starting with small, age appropriate projects and working up to bigger and better things. Not all of these items have survived the last 25 years, but look at all this I pulled out of storage yesterday to show MY Grandkids. They were very impressed! And Son enjoyed reliving all the memories, too.

Lots of vehicles, of every variety

and look at this customized Star Wars case, all wood and decoupauge (remember decoupauge?)

Over the years, our family has become heavily populated by females: 15/6

Grandfather's family head count:
3 Daughters, 1 Son
8 Granddaughters, 4 Grandsons
4 Great-Grandaughters, 1 Great-Grandson

The time span between the last Grandson (19 yrs.) and Great-Grandson (4 1/2 yrs) is 15 years, so it was time for Grandfather to remember what it's like to have a small boy in the workshop once again!

A few days ago, Grandson & I drove 90 miles to spent the morning in Grandfather's Garage.

There were safety instructions first

and then he got to use the drill press.

There was painting to do

and hammering

and when the morning was over, a very happy boy had made several Christmas gifts. For Sister, a desktop holder for new markers

For his Dad and his Pop-Pop in Ohio, dinosaur key holders (the pattern for that dino was drawn by his own Dad 25 years ago at age 8 for one of his own projects)

What a good day!

and Grandfather's Legacy will live on in yet another generation.....