Monday, December 20, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: 12/20 - 12/26

The final countdown to CHRISTmas is on! I'm so excited. The stretch between Thanksgiving and New Year is my favorite time of the year with CHRISTmas being my absolute favorite part. My shopping is finished and my kitchen table has become wrapping central. I'm trying to slow down, soak it all in and keep the reason for the season present in the front of my mind.

We're trying to keep our menu pretty simple this week. We want to keep the fridge as cleared out as possible to make room for holiday groceries.

Monday: Date Day with my husband, dining at The Montgomery Inn

Tuesday: turkey or roast beef paninis, soup

Wednesday: homemade pizza

Thursday: crockpot taco soup (carryover since I didn't make it last week; freezing the leftovers)

Friday: tradition of Christmas Eve dinner with my grandma (meatloaf a la my dad, baked potatoes, salad, cheesecake)

We're hosting Christmas at our house for the first time this year. Our daughter is the only grandchild on both sides of the family. Since she's pretty much the center of the universe, it's easier for everyone to come here than for us to try to pack her around to multiple houses in multiple cities, all in one day. I'm grateful that everyone is willing to make the day easier for us, but I'm also a bit nervous about playing hostess to people who are awesome hosts themselves. My in-laws are local, but my parents are out of town. They'll be coming over Christmas Eve night and staying in our "guesthouse" (the camper) so that they'll be here for the festivities without having an early morning commute.

Christmas Breakfast: breakfast before casserole (courtesy of my mother-in-law), breakfast pizza (courtesy of my mom), coffee cake (courtesy of my sister-in-law)

Christmas Lunch: pinwheels, coctail weiners (totally giggled typing that), deviled eggs, veggie tray, fruit salad and whatever other finger foods I decide on between now and then

Christmas Evening: cheeseburges, grilled chicken breasts, all the sandwich fixing, chips, pretzels, steamed broccoli

Our CHRISTmas evening meal may sound meager, but that's because we'll break out the big guns on Sunday. We're having our daughter dedicated at church the day after CHRISTmas so my parents are staying another night to be here for that. We're hosting a little luncheon afterwards for family and some church friends. I haven't completely finalized the menu for this one. Feel free to make suggestions!

Dedication Lunch Menu: Honeybaked ham, roasted redskin potatoes, green beans, salad, cheese board, some sort of dessert

What are your holiday food traditions? What's your go-to dish to take to holiday gatherings?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Reading List

The BBC says most people have only read 6 books from this list of 100.

The 17 books in bold are what I have read. I consider myself an avid reader and fairly well-read, but maybe I'm just reading the wrong things. I'm a bit embarassed by how many of the classics I haven't read.  Probably about half of the these books are on my shelves at home. I don't do New Years' resolutions, but I do set a reading goal every year. Maybe my 2011 goal will be to read at least X number of books from this list.

The Reading List

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible (some, but not cover to cover)
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma -Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood 
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno - Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Monday, December 13, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: 12/13 - 12/19

We have quite the week ahead! Christmas festivities are in full swing as are preparations to lead my very first Weight Watchers meeting on Wednesday. I'm extremely excited about both! I love having a menu plan in place, especially during busy weeks. I can focus my time and attention on other things rather than racking my brain all day about what to make for dinner.

Monday: cheeseburgers (My husband volunteered to cook!), homemade steak fries, lima beans or carrots

Tuesday: chicken sausages, macaroni & cheese, steamed veggies

Wednesday: marinated pork loin, baked sweet potato (for my husband), baked potato (for me), mixed veggies

Thursday: crockpot taco soup (Thanks Kristan!)

Friday: tuna salad pitas, chips and salsa

Saturday: family Christmas party on my husband's side

Sunday: homemade pizza

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Breakfast with Santa

Peanut had her second Santa encounter this morning at the local fire station. She wasn't afraid, but she couldn't figure out why this strange man was dressed so funny or why she had to sit on his lap. We did manage to get a great big "Ho! Ho! Ho!" out of her. We've been practicing for a couple of weeks. Well, hers sounds more like "Ack! Ack! Ack!" but you get the point.


 What a difference a year makes! I was just checking out last year's photos from this same event and I can't believe how much she's grown.