Tamales

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DSC04713tamale is a traditional Mesoamerican dish made of masa, which is steamed or boiled in a leaf wrapper. It can be filled with meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables or chilies.

I’m a huge tamale lover. It’s traditional for me to pick up a dozen or two before Christmas. I get them either from some of the hispanic ladies at my work or from Aunt Chilada’s. Every year before Christmas, Food City puts on this Tamale Festival. My mother wanted to go and we hung out and ate some good tamales while soaking in the hispanic culture.

Swedish Christmas Julbord

DSC04701Smörgåsbord is a type of Scandinavian meal served buffet-style with multiple cold dishes of various foods on a table, originating in Sweden. A julbord is a standard Christmas dinner in Sweden. I’m half Swedish and tonight I tried my first Christmas julbord at IKEA. We tried herring, poached salmon, hard-boiled eggs with shrimp, meatballs, lingonberries, ham potatoes with dill, rice pudding and assorted cheeses and desserts. It was all very interesting and I’m glad I had a chance to try something new.

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Restaurant at Ikea on Urbanspoon

Christmas Tree Nurseries

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Ok.. I have this thing for Christmas tree nurseries (or farms). I just love to walk through them and smell the trees around the holidays. The funny thing is that I have never actually bought a live Christmas tree. I still pull out my cheap little artificial tree every year. But someday I know I will invest in one. For now.. it is just a stroll through the nursery.

Turkey Sliders

_MG_9003Every year after Thanksgiving I have all this turkey left over. This year was no different. So I always try and come up with something creative to make with it. Last year it was turkey pot pie. This year – turkey sliders. I stacked turkey, stuffing, cranberry and gravy on some dinner rolls to make these awesome little goodies. It made for lunch at work every night this week.

Christmas

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Our family Christmas card this year

It’s that time of year again. Turkey Day is over and December is upon us. The decorations are up and I’m excited for advent season this year. The boys and I have tons of fun things planned as well as some great serving opportunities out in the community. I’m thankful to have family and great friends here to spend time with and enjoy the holidays with. I’m also looking forward to eating some yummy food!

Thanksgiving

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I love cooking on Thanksgiving. I’ll have the Macy’s parade on in the background followed by some football games while I cook. It’s fun to plan and organize all the ingredients and what to cook first so that everything comes out hot. I just love how cheap all the food is at this time of year. Best advice I heard is to take your list of sides and cut it in half (I have a tendency to make too much). This year I had the honor to cook for several people without family, so I bought an almost 25 lbs turkey. This year I brined my turkey with a killer blend from World Market. Some of the sides I made were a green bean casserole, sausage stuffing, deviled eggs and pumpkin pie. I’m thankful my turkey came out great!

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We had over fifty people show up for our Thanksgiving dinner. It was a blessing to serve them and eat and fellowship with them. I saddens me that Thanksgiving gets overlooked because it is such a wonderful holiday. I love spending time with friends and family in community over food.

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Still a classic….

DSC04663I like to Black Friday shop just as much as anyone, but it belongs on Friday…

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Schnepf Farms

Some of us from my church took our families to Schnepf Farms for Fall Break. It’s been a tradition of mine to take my kids here for years. We had a fun time riding rides and being in community.

Labor Day

For me Labor Day is my prelude to Fall. I know in a few weeks, the weather starts to cool (if you call below 100 degrees cool in AZ), Pumpkin spice lattes start rolling out and the leaves sort of change. But most of all, I get to bust out my hoodie and beanie. I got to go to a few fun Labor Day parties and eat some great food to start off the count down to Fall.

 

New Year’s Day Lab Party

At my job, you have to sometimes work the holidays. It can suck or it you can make it fun (the time and a half-pay always gives a nice few hundred extra dollars to the paycheck..). All of us in the lab got together and decided to bring some food and have a little party to start the New Year. Someone brought a tortellini pasta and some brownies. I kept with the tradition of New Years and made a chili with black-eyed peas. Eating black-eyed peas on New Years day brings good luck is thought to bring prosperity. It was really good and I posted the recipe below.

Black Eyed Pea Chili with Avocado topping
BLACK-EYED PEA CHILI

1 can (about 15 ounces) black-eyed peas
2 cups halved grape tomatoes
8 ounces 90 percent lean beef
1 cup diced onions
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/2 cup water
1 avocado
Juice of 1 lime, divided use
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Rinse and drain peas. Combine half the peas and half the tomatoes in a food processor; blend until smooth. Heat a wide-bottom pot over medium-high. Add beef; cook and crumble until browned. Move beef to a bowl. Add half the onions and remaining tomatoes to the pot. Saute until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Return beef to pot. Stir in bean-tomato puree, chili powder, ketchup and water. Simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes. Meanwhile, mash avocado with half the lime juice and half the cilantro; set aside. Stir remaining lime juice and cilantro into the chili. Dish chili into bowls and top with the avocado mash.

Active time: 20 minutes.
Total time: 35 minutes.
Serves: 4

Per serving: 331 calories, 15 g fat, 48 mg cholesterol, 22 g protein, 27 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber, 78 mg sodium, 41 percent calories from fat.