November 24, 2013

The Advent of Advent!

I am being so good and not decorating for Christmas before Advent begins! But Advent festivities take a lot of prep for me, so I am starting to get myself in gear. I have my projects lined up!

-- We are making clay ornaments for our Jesse tree (starting these today, since they have to dry!). I use this baking soda & cornstarch clay recipe:

-- I want to try making these Christmas Baubles (and perhaps stringing them in a garland?):

-- I'm learning to make wreaths! Our big fir tree lost a limb so a friend of mine showed me how to wrastle the branches into wreaths with floral wire. Maybe I'll put up a picture, but the ones I have made so far are definitely a bit...oval.

-- And of course we want to make paper snowflakes and stick them up everywhere.

Have you started your Christmas decorating, or your decorating prep? What is your project list?

<3 courtney="" p="">

November 8, 2013

Another Day, Another Dinner

This week my planned dinners were:

 Monday: Pasta With Two Twists (Recipe Follows)
 Tuesday: Onion Chopped Steak with gravy, roasted potatoes, and green beans
 Wednesday: Braised Moroccan Chicken with corn and peas
 Thursday: Broiled Pork Chops with roasted Butternut Squash and peas
 Friday: Homemade Mac'N'Cheese (with leftover pork chops and peas)
 Saturday: Leftovers!

 And now, the recipe.

Pasta With Two Twists
Serves 6

1 lb short pasta
1 lb bacon, chopped into bite size pieces (You can use less, I just knew I was going to be feeding *four* hungry men (plus me and Addie) with this dinner so we'd need that much.)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 can (14.5 oz) chopped tomatoes with onion and herbs (Or, you can make your own*)
1 cup broth
1 cup smooth-style spaghetti sauce
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup regular sour cream
(Cheese, if desired)

1. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, brown the bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat. When it's cooked to your desired level of crispy-ness remove from pan with slotted spoon, and set aside. Drain most of the bacon fat (save it for cooking some veggies in later on in the week!), leaving about 1-2 TBSP in the pan.
3. Add the garlic to skillet, and saute until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add the onion and cook until the onion is tender, about 3 minutes.
4. And the basil, tomatoes with their juice, spaghetti sauce, broth, and stir. Cook until the sauce comes to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until ready to serve. Add the green peas to the skillet about five minutes before serving.
5. When the pasta is done, drain it well and return to it's cooking pot. Toss the sour cream with the hot pasta until the noodles are well coated. Serve the pasta topped with sauce and cheese.

*To make your own just chop up a can of plain whole tomatoes and season with dried basil, oregano, and parsley, onion powder, and just a pinch of celery salt.

Ta da! Dinner. :)

(Also, can you tell that I'm enjoying the bacon I got on sale? It's made regular appearances since I bought it. Whoo!)

This is actually an adaptation of a recipe from my "Cheap, Fast, Good" cookbook which, I think, was one of the very first cookbooks I ever purchased after Noel and I got married. I got it from the library at one point and liked it so much that I went out and bought it. And today I discovered that the gals who wrote it now have a website! I'm excited to see their new recipes.

Have a great almost-the-weekend-day, y'all.