Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Playing a little catchup

This past two weeks at home has been amazing, but incredibly busy. The busy life is why I haven't been on much lately, but I will try to make up for it. I couldn't even begin to descibe how happy it makes me to be home - not just for the holidays either. I don't dread going to work. I get to come home to Chris every night. I get to spend time with my parents. I wake up to puppy kisses. Life is just pretty amazing here.

Last week work was busy. I love staying busy though. It is nice to feel needed and appreicated too. It makes me so much happier when I leave work here every day.
Last Saturday I went to town with my mother to run a few errands. She had some shopping to finish us. I was mostly along for the ride. We had lunch with a family friend at the new Chinese resturant in town. It was really good. Definitely one I will be going to again. During the afternoon, we went to see my sister and her kids. We headed back to the house later afternoon and the boys (my dad and Chris) had just got done in the woods. They have been working a lot clearing brush. We had lunch and just visited at the house. I worked on my grocery list (I had tons to get to get ready for the week). I turned in early.

Then on Sunday, it was a pretty busy day too. We headed to town mid morning and did a few errands. We had to pick up the bibs for my dad's employees for Christmas and my mom had to pick up a pair of shoes. Then we headed to the dreaded Wal-Mart. It was a mess. I usually go to the store at like 7:00 a.m. so being there at 11 was horrible. We were there for at least 2 hours, but I had a cart full of stuff and spent over $200.00. I got back to the house and made a soup. It was soooo yummy. Once the soup was made up and cooking in the crock pot, I got started doing holiday baking. We were having a dessert exchange Monday at work. I made 2 desserts: Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and chocolate mint wafers.

Here are a few recipes for your enjoyment:

Potato Cheddar Soup

2 pounds red-skin potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3/4 cup coarsely cut carrots
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup half and half
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Place poatoes, carrots, ionion, broth and salt in crock pot. Cover; cook on Low 6-7 hours or on high for 3-3 1/2 hours or until vegetables are tender.

Stir in half and half and peper. Cover; cok on high for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and remove cover. let stand 5 minutes. Stir in cheese until melted.

Soft Baked Pumpkin Cookies 

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1 cup LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Grease baking sheets.

COMBINE flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. Beat sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets.

BAKE for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

The recipe doesn't call for it but I always add chocolate chips before baking. It makes a great combination and so far has been a big hit for me.

Mint Chocolate Wafers

1 c. butter, softened

3/4 c. sugar
2 c. unsifted flour
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
10 oz. chocolate semi sweet pieces, melted
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract

Mix butter and sugar until well blended. Add flour, cocoa and 1/2 teaspoon mint extract; mix well. Shape into a 9 x 3 inch log; wrap in plastic and chill 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut dough crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes. Cool completely.

Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon extract to 10 melted chocolate pieces. Dip cooled cookies halfway. Place on wax paper. Chill until set. Makes 3 1/2 dozen.

The rest of the girls all brought some amazing goodies to work on Monday too. I swear during the holidays I gain 10 pounds becuase of all the sweets tempting me. That is why I didn't make a plan to start shaping up for the wedding until after the holidays were over.
The rest of the week at work was about as normal. Busy. Sometimes I think things are worse around the holidays because we are trying to get custody arrangements set up for the holidays for our clients. We went out to lunch as an office on Tuesday. I love going to Hillbilly Junction. Wednesday, I sat in for depositions and then went to City Court.
Our office closed at noon on Thursday the 23rd. Just in time for me to head out to the quarry for the Christmas lunch and gift exchange. Those boys are onery for sure. You never know what they are going to say.
Friday started family Christmas functions for us. Since I was off on Friday, it was a great relief. I got to spend the day cleaning and cooking. I'll post separately on each Christmas function later.
But for now, you are caught up on my life.

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