We had a great Christmas here in Houston. Everyone arrived safely (and both Dad and Travis have returned safely to Illinois.) We enjoyed a great lasagna/tamale dinner on Christmas Eve and a wonderful Christmas Day here at Casa de Moore. It's funny how the older you get, the later Christmas "morning" gets underway. I think we were still openning gifts at 1:00, because we didn't really get going until around noon! I remember Christmas's as a child that gift openning was over by 8:00 am! We had a delicious prime rib dinner fixed by mom at my aunt's house. On Christmas night the family watched Christmas Vacation and laughed out loud once again. Yesterday we did NOTHING. Travis, Mom and I took naps, watched movies, and laid around all day....poor Brian had to work! Today I was up and at em again. I had rehab and labs this morning...fun fun! Then I went to a local sb store that had a 40% off everything sale...I made out pretty well. Mom and I had lunch and then ran some errands. Tomorrow and the rest of the weekend will be a whirlwind. My Uncle and his family from Chicago arrive tomorrow morning (which happens to be mom's b-day)...so I am gearing up for another 2 days of festivities before I put mom on a plane ;( Sunday morning and then slowly move back into a normal routine after 2 months of having her here cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, running errands, and just having someone to talk to all day. It will be an adjustment, but it's time for us both to return to our lives as we remember them. I know my dad was sad she wasn't getting on a plane with him yesterday...and Lord only knows what HER dog Harley will do when he sees her....he has been deeply depressed without her there spoiling him rotten.
Ok...enough rambling for now....
Everything has been checked off my list, except for making a few more cookie recipes and the chili sauce for the tamales we will have Christmas Eve. The gifts are wrapped and under the tree, stockings will be stuffed this evening, refigerator and freezer are overflowing with treats and drinks of all kinds, house is cleaned, laundry is caught up, and I am ready to just hang out with the family. My dad is flying down to Houston as I type this and Travis flies in tomorrow night. We're going to Houston's for lunch this afternoon and then to my aunt and uncle's to watch the bowl games tonight. Tomorrow will be my first Sunday back at church since my surgery. I am so excited...to get back to my church family, praise and worship, and to be with my parent's on my first Sunday back is extra special. Here are a few glimpses from around my house. Now that my chores are out of the way I can take up my role as photographer ;)
(nativity bought in Bethlehem by Mom)
(cards and pictures from family and friends)
Somehow I will get everything accomplished in the next week. Some cookies have been made (below is one recipe mom made yesterday....I have been scarfing these bad boys down like nothing!) , some will get made later this week. Christmas packages will be wrapped tonight and mailed tomorrow via priority mail. Menus are planned and grocery list will be made this evening. Tomorrow will be our big grocery/Sam's shopping day. I still have a few gifts to get, but that will be done tomorrow during errands. The cleaning lady is also coming tomorrow, so my house will be sparkling and will hopefully stay that way! Mom has gone to a tamale festival with her sister this evening, but she made Brian and I homemade chicken and dumplings which are simmering on the stove calling my name.
8 weeks ago right now I was in surgery! I've been home 4 weeks today. An amazing 4 weeks...I can hardly believe the progress I've made. From sleeping alot during the day during my first week home to spending the entire day, after rehab, cleaning and reorganizing my scrapbook room. It makes me giddy to feel so good and full of energy. My body gets tired, but I still want to keep going. This morning I began my second "week" of rehab. They increased my time and speed on the treadmill...30 minutes at 2.2 mph with a 1.5% incline. It was too easy last week...I'm feeling the effect of my hard work this morning. It will be a night for a warm bath and some tylenol before bedtime!
Enjoy this recipe...it's really good!
Chunky Chip Cookies
Yield 9 dozen---freezer friendly
1 cup shortening
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 cups regular oats, uncooked
2 cups cornflakes cereal
2 cups (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup flaked coconut
Beat shortening and butter in a large bowl at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugars, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Add vanilla, mixing well.
Combine flour, baking powder and soda; gradually add to creamed mixture, mixing well. Gradually stir in oats and remaining ingredients.
Drop dough by tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
Another good weekend here...very productive for me. I finished all of my C-mas cards and they are ready to mail out. I also worked on organizing my scrapbook room which had turned into the "collect all" room over the past 8 weeks. Our good friends, Lily and Cesar brought us some dinner tonight. It was great to catch up with them. Tomorrow I have rehab and then we'll work at home the rest of the day.
Here's a quick and easy recipe that would be great for lunch or dinner for the kids.
Quick Quesadillas (makes 6 servings)
12 (6 inch) flour tortillas
1 ½ cups shredded Monterey
1 ½ cups shredded Cheddar cheese
2 (4 oz) cans chopped green chilies
Chopped tomatoes, chopped and cooked bacon or chicken, black beans, corn, mushrooms, cooked zucchini or yellow squash
Place 1 flour tortilla in a small non-stick skillet coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with ¼ cup each shredded cheese, 1 tbsp chilies, and 2 tbsp of any optional ingredient. Top with 1 tortilla, and coat with cooking spray. Cook quesadilla over med-low heat 2-3 minutes on each side until golden. Remove from skillet; set into a warm oven to keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining tortillas. Cut quesadillas into fourths and serve with salsa and sour cream for dipping. These are a great accompaniment to tortilla or tomato soup.
Just found this EASY recipe that sounds quite tasty to me. Thought I'd share.
Cream Cheese Muffin Puffs (makes 10-12)
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. almond extract
¼ cup margarine or butter, melted
½ tsp. vanilla extract
10 oz tube refrigerated biscuits
12 oz. cream cheese, cubed into the number of biscuits you have
Combine sugar, cinnamon, and almond extract. In a separate bowl, combine margarine and vanilla. Press biscuits into 3 inch circles. Dip each cream cheese cube in margarine mixture, the sugar mixture. Place cube on center of biscuit, fold dough over cheese; seal well. Dip each filled biscuit into margarine mixture, then sugar mixture. Place seam side down in ungreased muffin pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-18 minutes; serve warm
Today was the first day of rehab. A little orientation of the program and treadmill time. I can't do anything with my arms just yet, due to sternal precautions...which I"m on through Christmas. I managed to do a mile on the treadmill...it took 20 minutes, but I did it. I am SORE tonight....my hamstrings and lower back ache. I have always had lower back pain and for the first time in my life I found out why today. The exercise physioligist said that if you have really tight hamstrings (which I do) that can cause lower back pain....duh! It makes so much sense...so if you suffer from lower back pain then try stretching your hamstrings out slowly every day and see if it helps. I hope it helps me...I think it will. I also had my usual Tuesday blood draw, haven't heard back...no news is good news. Mom and I went to this fabulous Lebanese restaurant for lunch today that Brian had checked out and is now now addicted to. It's called Cafe Lili, it's on Westheimer a few miles west of the Galleria. If you're in that area and want some great falafel or Lebanese food try it out. I had the veggie plate which came with moussaka (eggplant with chick peas and tomatoes, moujadra (lentils and rice), tabouli, and homemade greek yogurt (like sour cream) with fresh cucumbers. Their pita is awesome too! We will be going back, many times! I also managed to check off some more gifts on my list and find a couple of deals at Ann Taylor Loft. Tomorrow we have another busy day of errands...trying to check off that list!
Here are a few sweet treats...if you're not familiar with the bliss of Nutella, you must try it. Actually, I've even seen it at Wal-Mart. It's usually near peanut butter and jelly.
Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti from Giada De Laurentiis
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread (recommended: Nutella)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In another medium bowl combine the butter, chocolate hazelnut spread, sugar, and brown sugar. Using an electric mixer, cream the ingredients together, about 4 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Add the hazelnuts and stir until just combined.
Using a tablespoon measure, spoon out the cookie dough onto a cookie sheet, spacing the mounds about 4 inches apart. Use the tines of a fork to flatten the cookie dough. Bake until lightly golden around the edges, about 10 to 12 minutes. Use a metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool.
Snowman Cupcakes from Martha
Happy times with kids call for cheerful cupcakes. Easier to serve than cake, cupcakes require no slicing, no plates, and no forks -- and every child gets her fair share of icing.
All the designs on these pages start as Chocolate Cupcakes or Vanilla Cupcakes iced with Swiss Meringue Buttercream -- perfect for spreading in thin layers or sculpting into thick mounds (and licking from the bowl).
The cupcakes can be baked a week ahead and frozen, but decorate them no more than a day before serving. Set up an assembly line, and put kids in charge of affixing candy eyes, gumdrop cheeks, and other trimmings. Pack the cupcakes in a shallow plastic container, and stuff crumpled waxed paper in between. Then dole them out and watch kids marvel for a second before opening wide!
Snowman Cupcake How-To
This snowman wears a fine winter hat: a chocolate-covered mint beret. His plump figure is two marshmallows -- cut a slice off the top one and squish to make it smaller. Dabs of icing hold parts together. His eyes are chocolate sprinkles (poke holes first with a wet toothpick), and his nose is cut from a gummy fish.
Christmas card orders and birthday gift mailed or deliverd (check)
Hair Cut and Colored (check)
Thank You cards mailed (check)
4 C-mas gifts bought today (check, check, check, check)
Caught up with two good friends (check, check)
Made my first dinner since being in the hospital (check)
On another note....for everyone to have a good chuckle (it's all you can really do) and say "praise the baby Jesus" for excellent health insurance, thank you Bayer for having incredible health insurance....we got our first (and hopefully largest) hospital "bill" pending insurance (thank God) today $454,547.25.....SERIOUSLY, are they really worried about the 25 cents?! I keep telling myself I'm priceless!!!!!!! Oh, and Kelly, the second largest part of that was pharmacy, following by a close third of organ acquisition! Drugs are worth more than a Lier Jet and Dr. McDreamy (a heart surgeon in my life's tv show) harvesting the organ!
A cute idea from Martha....use some scraps of wrapping paper, old Christmas cards, magazines, whatever! What a fun way to decorate a kid's C-mas tree if they have one in their room!
Recycled Tree: Ornaments and Garland
Two circles fit snugly together to form one ornament. To make, cut two disks identical in size from a card; you can use a circle punch, or trace a round object and cut with scissors. Cut a slit halfway across each disk. In one circle, punch a hole near the edge opposite the cut with a hole punch. Hold the disks so that the slits face each other. Slide the slit of one disk all the way into the other (you should feel the disks "lock"). Thread string through the hole, and tie a knot. Make a garland by using disks popped out of cards with a circle punch (you can also trace a round object and cut out). They're attached to heavy thread with stickers; to make sure they're secure, rub with a craft stick.
This is ALWAYS a favorite at any get together! I love it with wheat thins!
Yumm-o Cheese Dip
1 package of “Cracker Barrel” sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped purple onion
1 (8oz) package of cream cheese (reduced fat is fine)
1 cup of mayonnaise
Optional: 1/4 cup cooked crumbled bacon
1 tomato seeded, and chopped
Mix the first 4 ingredients together (and bacon if you wish.) Place in a shallow baking dish, top with tomato if desired and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Serve with crackers or bread
Cheesy Spinach Pinwheels (from Pampered Chef)
1 (8oz) can refrigerated crescent rolls
½ cup gourmet spreadable cheese with garlic and herbs (such as Alouette or herbed cream cheese)
4 slices thinly sliced deli ham or turkey
½ cup fresh baby spinach leaves
1. Preheat oven to 375. Separate dough into four rectangles. Press seams together to seal.
2. Spread each rectangle with about 1 ½ tbsp cheese to within ¼ inch of edges. Top with 1 slice of ham or turkey and spinach leaves.
3. Starting at short side, roll up each rectangle; pinch edges to seal. Cut each roll into six slices, for a total of 24 slices. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and serve warm.
DOUBLE ingredients for pinwheels. Slice each roll into four slices for a total of 32 slices. Arrange 11 slices in a slightly overlapping circular pattern, leaving a 5 inch diameter in center of round baking stone or pizza pan. Arrange remaining slices outside the first ring, slightly overlapping each other, but not touching the first ring. Bake 18-20 minutes or until golden.
Tradtion: Take an evening or weekend afternoon by yourself, with your family, whoever you live with and watch a Christmas Movie or 2 or 3. Curl up on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and hot cocoa and relax while watching some classics. I have a bunch that I have to watch every year. Charlie Brown Christmas (watched this afternoon and will watch several more times), A Christmas Story (my personal favorite), The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, and It's a Wonderful Life. I also usually watch Elf and how could I forget Frosty the Snowman (another favorite) and good old Christmas Vacation! This is why I'm thankful there's no new tv episodes in December I have time to watch all my old favorite C-mas movies!