Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Appetizers to Ring in the New Year!

Jenny again - I thought it might be fun to share some easy and appealing appetizers that I've discovered this season, in case you're hosting a holiday party in the near future (or attending a holiday potluck). They're easy to make ahead of time and store in the fridge or pantry without taking up too much room.

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This dip tastes great with whole grain crackers, and looks really festive with multi-colored tortilla chips...You might prefer to use frozen bagged spinach with this recipe (Hint: it will turn out greener that way).

Spinach Dip

1 pint of sour cream
2 tbsp. of mayo
1 can of spinach (drained)
1 packet of vegetable soup seasoning (I like Lipton's Onion Soup Mix)

Directions: Combine all and chill in the fridge. (P.S. If you're careful, you can mix it in the sour cream container and stick it in the fridge until you're ready to transfer it to a more party-worthy bowl.)

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This tangy sauce works well for meatballs, too. Add pineapple tidbits for an extra zing.

Mini Party Sausages

1 can of whole-cranberry cranberry sauce
1 bottle of barbecue sauce
2 packages of mini party sausages (Little Smokies)

Directions: Combine all in a slow cooker or fondue pot. I like to store it in the "pot" part of my mini crock pot and stick it in the fridge until I'm ready to heat it up for the party.

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Believe it or not, this dip contains roughly half the fat and calories of ranch dressing. And it tastes better, too! The best part is, it's super quick and easy - If you're on your way to a New Year's potluck, just swing by the grocery store and pick up the ingredients along with a bag of baby carrots. You can mix it up in a jiff when you get there (If you're all about the presentation, bring a bowl and platter to set out the dip and veggies on).

Veggie Dip

1 half-pint of sour cream
1 packet of powdered Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix (NOT the Dip Mix...Yuck)

Directions: Add the packet of ranch dressing mix to the half-pint of sour cream. (You can mix it up in the container, just watch the powdered dressing mix!) Store it in the fridge until you're ready to use it, or spoon it right into your party platter.

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So good, you'll find out your hands can't move fast enough from the bowl to your mouth. (The powdered sugar gives it a nice "frosted" look, too.)

Chocolate Chex

1 cup of chocolate chips
1/2 cup of peanut butter
1/4 cup of butter
1 box of corn Chex cereal
1 cup of powdered sugar

Directions: Put about 2/3 of the corn Chex in a large bowl with a lid. Melt the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter together in the microwave (for about 1 minute) and stir with a spatula until smooth. Pour the melted mixture over the corn Chex, using the spatula to coat the cereal evenly. Slowly sprinkle the powdered sugar over the cereal, again using the spatula to coat it evenly. Don't be too aggressive with the spatula, or you'll end up with a bunch of chocolate-coated Chex crumbs. Store at room temperature in the same bowl (covered) or in a ziploc bag.

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I'd love to get your recipes, too! Go ahead and post it via comment. :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cornucopia (Horn of Plenty)

This is Jenny - I decided to change pace with a post about something other than our latest adventures. Plus, I have to tell you about Bountiful Baskets.

For those of you who haven't heard about Bountiful Baskets, it's a weekly produce pick-up - provided by local co-ops - where you get a basket full of fresh fruits and vegetables for $15.00...yes, $15.00!!! I love it!

You can go to www.bountifulbaskets.org to sign up starting at 7:00 p.m. every Monday for the pick-up on Saturday (It's $18.00 for your first pick-up) - But you have to hurry, the pick-ups fill up fast! You just pay online with your debit or credit card, and they have pick-up locations all across the Western United States, so it's ridiculously convenient...Our closest pick-up point is less than 10 minutes away.

I've never enjoyed shopping, and so I prefer this much more than combing grocery store ads for sales, and picking out produce that looks decent and standing in line...Plus, you could never get all of this produce at the store for $15.00. Check out this week's basket!

Amazing!...pineapple, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, cantaloupe, 7 Fuji apples, 4 Asian pears (SO DELICIOUS), 1 carton of blackberries, 3 bunches of bananas, 4 tomatoes, 3 seedless cucumbers, 1 bunch of celery, 1 head of romaine lettuce

Giant organic blackberries from our Bountiful Basket...mmm!

Stuffed spaghetti squash with parmesan...beautiful!

Let's have spaghetti squash instead of turkey for Thanksgiving next year! (Just kidding...)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I guess it's time for another post...

Um, let's see...Work, work, school, work, school, work, work, FUN, work, school, school, work, FUN, work, work, school...THANKSGIVING! That's all.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, here are a few pictures of this fall...Halloween, Luke's wedding, Thanksgiving, and our first real snow of the year! I guess we did have some fun after all. :)

Zorro and his Senorita.

Jenny...caught in the act.

The newlyweds...Luke and Rebecca.

Feast, friends and family.

(Clockwise from the far end of the table:
Jason, Tana and Paul, Lindsay, Spencer, Ammon, Jen, Jenny)

More of friends and family.

(Around the island: Quinn and Lisa, Robbie)

Aaron, just off on his own, reading.

Robbie, Ben and the abominable 9-foot snowman.

Aaron all bundled up.

Ammon, Jenny and Aaron...ready for a "sleigh" ride!

It's a one-man open sleigh! (Ben pulling Lisa, Lisa pulling Ammon, Aaron and Jenny)

Oh, the weather outside is frightful!...But beautiful.