Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas 2011

Look what Santa brought!


















Beef tenderloin stuffed with spinach, red pepper and goat cheese

We serve beef tenderloin every year for Christmas dinner. I've made it stuffed different ways, with mustard and peppercorns and wrapped in bacon, but this year we tried a different stuffing. With my nephew Steve as my assistant chef, we sauteed several tablespoons of chopped "jarlic" in olive oil, added a chopped red pepper and ~ 6 chopped green onions, then seasoned with sea salt and pepper. Then we added a bag of fresh spinach, a little at a time. When wilted we removed it from the heat. I butterflied the meat, a 7.5 lb beef tenderloin,  and spread 4 oz of goat cheese on each side, then we covered the lower side with the spinach mixture and tied the beef together with kitchen twine. I preheated the oven to 425 degrees and roasted the beef for 45 minutes. We took it out and let it set for another 15 minutes uncovered, and it came out medium rare and perfect!
Here's a link to a similar recipe with a few more ingredients Beef Tenderloin Stuffed with Peppers, Spinach, and Goat Cheese.
We also had a wonderful wilted spinach salad, fresh grilled asparagus and twice baked potatoes. Thinking about it makes me hungry!

You can view the complete recipe online at: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Wilted-Spinach-Salad-with-Warm-Apple-Cider-and-Bacon-Dressing-10731?mbid=ipapp

Wilted Spinach Salad with Warm Apple Cider and Bacon Dressing
5 slices of lean bacon, chopped fine
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1/2 cup finely chopped apple
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups unpasteurized apple cider
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound fresh spinach, coarse stems discarded and the leaves washed well and spun dry

In a large skillet cook the bacon over moderate heat, turning it, until it is crisp, transfer it to paper towels to drain, and discard all but 2 tablespoons of the fat. In the fat remaining in the skillet cook the shallot and the apple over moderate heat, stirring, for 1 minute, add the vinegar, the cider, and salt and pepper to taste, and boil the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until it is reduced to about 1/2 cup. Whisk in the mustard, the oil, and salt and pepper to taste. In a large bowl toss the spinach with the warm dressing until it is just wilted and sprinkle the salad with the bacon.


It complimented the beef and was delicious!!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

'twas the night before Christmas 2011

 my favorite photos from this Christmas Eve's celebration...
 playing with "Bobis" the train

 Nathan's first Christmas!

Carter and Nathan all dressed up in their Christmas best!

Cooking the traditional Christmas Eve Shrimp and Pesto pasta



posing for family pics

playing and reading before bed

lights and bows

and gifts as tall as you can reach!



It was so wonderful to all be together! We went to 5:00 Church services at JCUMC. As I looked down the row, I felt such pride for my beautiful family. The boys were so well behaved in Church, Carter even took a little nap. We came home and cooked a delicious meal and exchanged a few gifts before heading off to bed. Next post... Christmas day!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

cards from Christmas's past

 2009
photos taken at my niece's Halloween wedding

2010
photos taken on the beach in Hilton Head

an alternative version of 2010 that I didn't order

2011
This is the version I didn't send out,
I chose one that was a bit more simple, but I love this one too!
You'll be getting our 2011 card any day now in the mail...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Day 1 of chemo... wham!

Wow, didn't know a drug could work so fast. I took my first dose of Temodar last night before bed at 10:30 and by 2:00 was up sick. Now I know, so tonight I'll take the anti nausea med first and hopefully fight off the nausea and sickness. It's making for a rather yucky morning. I think I'll be off coffee until this drug is all done with. One of my indulgences I'll have to do without. Oh, and no wine either. Besides not needing or wanting the acid taste, you're supposed to stay away from alcohol. It will be easy. Somehow you lose your appetite and taste for the things that are bad for you. So I had a bottle of "Ensure Immune Health" instead this morning, creamy milk chocolate shake, yum! 
Today will be day 3 of radiation to the chest. There's an X on my chest, right above my cleavage (or lack there of) and slightly to the right side where they are targeting. So far so good. Everyday at 10:30am I'll be there. 
I'm hoping to run one last bit of Christmas errands today afterward. I think this may turn out to be a long week with the start of chemo... so I better get it done!

Monday, December 5, 2011

I admit it... I tweak

At times I'm just not 100% satisfied with something I've done, and if so... I have to tweak it. I think I inherited this trait from my Father. It's a bit like being a perfectionist, which can sometimes drive you crazy, but... back to Christmas. I changed out the green snowflakes on the wreath for white, because really, are snowflakes green? I also moved the white trees to inside of the green ones, more balanced and more pleasing to my eye. 

I made more bows and added them to the banister.
The banister lit up. I love these metal snowflakes!
I found the purple hydrangeas and stuck them in the tree, 
I knew we had more than just 2! I'm done tweaking now and content with my work! 
Bring on the holiday company!
And the best for last! We have the Playmobil train from when the girls were little. I ran-sacked our storage unit until I found it, and tonight we set it up around the tree.
 Choo choo... the Christmas Express is now ready for grandbabies to come visit!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

all decked out!

I wanted a change this year for my mantle... I found the 2 shabby chic iron trees and stands at Home Goods early in the season, and that became my inspiration. I found the "Believe" blocks at Target and the green and red ribbon at Hobby Lobby. It all came together and I love it!

It's good to believe!

Here's my new ribbon on a boxwood wreath on the upper railing.

Moving outside to my Flexible Flyer from when I was a young girl and used to sleigh ride, an antique for sure! It's part of our front porch decoration.
The porch at night
the front lights

the keeping room banister strung with snowflake lights


This year we added a new stocking to our family collection... one for little Nathan Morgan. A light blue snowman stocking, perfect for my sweet grandson!
 His parents both have snowman stockings too!
 My talented Mother-in-law started the girls off with these handmade needle-worked stockings when they were each born.
 Kelly and Kristin's are embroidered crewel and Alex's is counted cross stitch.
 We added needlepoint to the mix when the guys joined the family.

My Beyer Caroler collection

Our white porcelain Nativity that my Mother gave us when we were first married.

My hand painted ceramic tree that my college roommate made for me, thanks Pat! We still put it out every year!

so... the house is all decked out! Complete with skinny tree and 9 stockings!
to see the skinny tree tweaked with a few more hydrangeas look here 
oh, and our special handmade Santa Claus's

  The house is festive and ready for company. Merry Christmas to all! It's been a busy weekend and now it's time to say good night...