November 22, 2010

Christmas Card Etiquette...Seriously?

I read somewhere the other day that it is proper etiquette to mail Christmas cards the Saturday immediately following Thanksgiving.  Who made this up and why is this the first time I've heard about it?  Apparently, it ensures that everyone gets their card on time and no one feels like they were a last minute addition or some such junk (just Google Christmas card etiquette for more information than you really need).  Who are we kidding?  I can hardly get the cards done after Thanksgiving; much less get them done in time to be ready to mail on the 27th.   The last few years I've been making our own cards.  I distinctly remember doing last year's cards on our anniversary trip to the coast.  It's always hard for me to know who to send them to as well.  With Andrew's side of the family being so large, it can get out of hand.  A stamp is up to what, 42 cents or something like that.  Sending just 50 cards by mail can cost $21.  

That's why I'm excited about trying out Shutterfly.  They are offering bloggers 50 free cards this year.  Maybe I won't be staying up into the middle of the night on vacation trying to decide just what I want to say and what color the font should be.  

In checking out Shutterfly's site, I see a lot of great gift ideas especially for grandparents!  They also have some great deals going on right now.  I'm most interested in checking out the ability to join their Annual Print Plan.  From what I can see, I can join, get discounted prints and for the price of joining get a 8 x 11 photo book.  As I accumulate more photos of Dylan, that sounds like a great deal.  

As to Christmas cards this year, I think I'm going to go with something a little more professional than in the past.  Maybe something like this or this.  Okay, who are we kidding...I don't get cards done early because I can never decide!

Disclaimer: This post will net me 50 free cards at Shutterfly.  So, yeah, it's promotional!

November 21, 2010

Potato-Greens Frittata

I probably shouldn't be the one to write this recipe since Andrew makes this dish but I'll take a stab (I am bugging him for input).  I would share more recipes but so much of the cooking we do is pretty loose...doesn't follow the recipe or anything too closely.  We started out with the recipe from and have adapted it to our tastes and whatever is in the house.  Maybe between the two, you can figure out a dish that your family loves!

Potato-Greens Frittata

2 T olive oil
4-6 yellow potatoes, sliced thin
2 -4 c. torn swiss chard, or spinach, or kale - they are all good!
2-4 cloves garlic (smoked garlic is good too)
6-10 eggs
1/3 to 1/2 c. milk, enough to be about the same as for scrambled eggs
2-3 cubes pesto (I freeze my pesto in ice cube trays so probably about 1 T. each)
mushrooms (optional, we used chantrelles we froze this Fall)
1/2-1 c. shredded cheddar

Heat oil in oven-proof pan and saute potatoes until they are cooked through and golden.  Stir in the garlic and greens.  Cook the greens down for 3-4 minutes.  Then add the pesto stirring well and cook about 1 minute.  Meanwhile, scramble the eggs and milk together.  Pour into pan with potatoes and greens and cook on medium-low until the eggs are pretty much set (just a little runny on top).  Then, put in the oven and broil to finish cooking.  Once the eggs are cooked through, sprinkle mushrooms and cheese on top.  Return to oven to melt cheese. 

This dish is really adaptable which you quickly figure out if you do a Google search for frittata recipes.  If you don't have pesto, go ahead and used dried basil or Italian seasoning.  We've added sausage too but it's a great meal without the meat.  I like it with a nice salad and perhaps a bread.  It's also a great meal to serve when you have friends over! 

The recipe is fudgy on the amounts because it kind of depends on the size of your pan and how thick you want the frittata.  Pretty much you can't screw it up as long as you don't cook it at too high a heat.  Remember, you don't want to burn the bottom!  

See more yummies at Pennywise Platter Thursday and Vegetarian Foodie Fridays!

November 19, 2010

Easy Recipes: Sneaky or Frugal

We had leftover butternut squash fries from the other night and I don't really care for them as leftovers. We also had some white beans from our produce box I cooked up last week and an open can of re-fried beans. Smoky bean soup to the rescue!  Used chicken stock that I made to puree the squash and added it to the bean soup.  I also added a can of tomatoes and left the corn out.  Put everything in the crock-pot and let it cook all day.  Made for a tasty, quick dinner after we got home from our evening walk. So was it sneaky or frugal...or maybe both :)

Check out more yummies at Vegetarian Foodie Fridays #27!

November 18, 2010

Lasagna Soup

I adapted this recipe from $5 Dinners.  It can be as fancy or simple as you like.

Lasagna Soup

2 tsp olive oil
2 c chopped mushrooms (optional)
4 cloves garlic finely minced 
choice of meat (ground beef, Italian sausage, meatballs…) (I used 1 lb ground pork and a package of Italian sausage)
4 tsp dried oregano
4 teaspoons dried basil or 2-4 cubes frozen pesto (I freeze my pesto in ice cube trays and then pop them out and store in the freezer in a ziploc)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp red pepper flakes
4 c jarred spaghetti sauce (I used some from in the freezer that I made this summer)
8 c chicken broth
8 oz pasta (use quinoa/corn pasta for gluten-free)
shredded Mozzarella cheese

In a large stockpot, heat oil to medium heat and saute mushrooms.  Add garlic and continue cooking approximately 1 minute. Add your choice of meat and brown. Add spices, salt, pepper flakes, spaghetti sauce and chicken broth. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Add pasta and increase heat to bring to a boil and cook for recommended time on pasta box for “al dente”. Serve with a sprinkling of shredded Mozzarella cheese.

Love Letters to My Sons..