Happy New Year! I hope that you had an enjoyable, peaceful couple days. Once Christmas was over, we've managed to be pretty couch-potato-y. It's been awesome.
We, here, did our usual thing - the kids got their favorite take-out and hubby and I sat down to feast on lobster. This year the take out choice was Five Guys for the boys. My daughter wasn't feeling hungry before heading off to a friend's, but she used her "I wasn't hungry" defense to request Papa Murphy's Mediterranean Chicken pizza last night. Worked for me, I wasn't feeling like cooking.
Hubby and I, after years of over planning, have figured out that less is more with our traditional meal. We've done the surf and turf, we've done one or the other with various sides. We've basically stuffed ourselves silly. I think we've got it now - one choice from the sea (crab, scallops, or lobster), one side - typically a good salad, and a good bottle of wine. Occasionally, we'll add dessert - but it's usually leftovers from some recent gathering; this year it was the Buttermilk Cranberry Breakfast Cake found below.
It's a fresh beginning for a new year. I always wonder what lies out there for us; what changes I don't know are coming. As with any bright and shiny new year, I wonder what goals I should undertake, and how can I stay accountable to them. As I've said in the past, I don't like resolutions, or the word anyway. I looked over my intentions from last year aannnddd. . .yeah, well; some did good, some not so much. I could actually just duplicate the list this year and be good.
The only thing that hasn't changed, that I stayed on top of during the year and the holidays, was menu planning. I tell you, if you don't menu plan you should add that to your list for 2015. It's great to have a plan for dinner, have the ingredients on hand and the ability to shuffle things around if you feel like it. We tend to eat better, and probably a bit healthier, plus save money. I'm not a fussy cook - I like simple, good and easy to pull together.
I made these Apple Kuchen Bars for dessert for In-Law Dinner night. I had a ton of apples to use up and this seemed the quickest way. They were good and would be a good breakfast/brunch addition to eggs.
I'm not sure these are The Best Snickerdoodle Cookies, but they were good. I made them for our Cookie Bake. I probably flattened them a bit much, as they didn't look like the round little puffs in the photos; they spread much more. But they were light and soft and chewy. Plus it's a Snickerdoodle, unless they were burned, how bad could they have been?
You're going to start to see a theme here, starting with this Apple Cranberry Baked Oatmeal. I had cranberries, oranges and apples out my ears from holiday cooking. This baked oatmeal, which I love because you can eat from it for a week, has been on my Pinterest board for a while. This was a moist from the applesauce with tart pops of cranberry. I'm pretty sure I used frozen berries, and they worked just fine.
I went glazeless for these Fresh Cranberry Scones. By the time they were done, I just wanted to eat one. They were light and fluffy and I didn't miss the glaze. Scones can be a bit more step-intensive recipe-wise, but they do come together pretty quickly - plus I love scones, so for me, are worth the extra steps.
We had a big buffet ham for Christmas Eve, that I glazed it with Pioneer Woman's super simple, how-is-this-a-recipe, Raspberry Mustard Glaze. As a result, I have plenty of leftover ham. This BBQ Ham Pineapple Kabobs recipe helped use up more of the ham, plus it was super simple for dinner with the in-laws. I used fresh pineapple instead of canned. The large chunks of ham stayed moist and the sweet pineapple with the spicy BBQ sauce made for a good meal on a really cold night.
I've been doing a lot of soup lately, which my family doesn't consider a meal in itself, so I generally have to have something to go with it. I made tomato soup, Pioneer Woman's is my go-to (I leave out the sherry) so I needed something to go with it. The Food Network's Southern at Heart had this lovely, gooey recipe for Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches. Oh my, they were delicious! My kids ate them; not even a complaint about the roasted red peppers. Use a sturdy bread to get a crispy outside.
This Cranberry Orange Skillet Cake was dessert on Christmas Eve. It was a good make-ahead, like early in the morning make-ahead. It was very festive with oranges and cranberries and white chocolate. The glaze/sauce was just the ticket. I'm becoming very fond of skillet desserts.
And, let's see, how 'bout more cranberries? Buttermilk Cranberry Breakfast Cake almost used up the last of them, plus the last of my buttermilk. I know it says breakfast, but I made it for dessert and it was a nice finish to a lighter dinner.
I made these Orange Ricotta Pancakes to use up some of my zest-less oranges and some left over ricotta. They were good. Light and spongey. Lots of orange flavor. A good-start to one of our last do-nothing days.
I've got plans for today. Things that I hope will get me back into the swing of things.