Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas!

We started celebrating Christmas a couple of weeks ago. My sister and her family came to have Christmas with us. We had the big traditional country Christmas meal then. And it was good! But I knew I didn't want to do that again soon!

Last night, our pastor's family, our youth pastor's family, and our servant leaders/SS teachers came over for barbecue and the fixings. And once again, it was good! (I had every intention of taking pics of both of these events for my blog, but forgot!) After dinner, Frank took the kids for a ride on the mule to look at the neighborhood Christmas lights. We had a wonderful time, and hopefully were able to let these families know how much they mean to us.

Tomorrow night, our best friends are coming for a lasagna dinner. We don't get to see them nearly enough, and I am very excited about spending some time with them...I won't promise pics because we know how that goes.

Our Christmas Eve and Christmas plans are pretty laid back. We will probably go see a movie. We are going to have a nice hearty breakfast Christmas morning, but I'm hoping we can survive on leftovers and Christmas goodies for the most part. (I don't want to cook anymore!)

We will be heading south the day after Christmas to spend some time with Frank's parents and then on to my family in Florida for a few days.

I'm so excited about Christmas morning. My love language is gifts, so I am anxious to see what I get, but most of all, I can't wait to see the kids' faces when they open their gifts (and Frank's!). When I say my love language is gifts, I know people assume it's all about what I get, but it truly is more about giving gifts to me. I love to see everyone else so excited!

And of course, the greatest gift of all is the gift Christians were given...the gift of Jesus. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

SHHHH! It's very, very quiet!

Frank and the kids are in Alabama for the weekend.

School is OUT!

The house is very, very quiet, with only the sound of the dogs snoring.

What is a girl to do?

Well, Friday after work, Sharon and I went to Macon to do a little more shopping.
We had sushi at Taki, and it was Soooooooo Good!
We were yawning as we finally headed 7:30!
Saturday morning I went to the Jewell Box in Jewell, GA for a high tea with the ladies at much church. It sure made me miss Tara's!
Saturday afternoon I went to Walmart for even more shopping.
I came home and wrapped gifts...this year I've been wrapping along the way so that I don't get swapped with wrapping on Christmas Eve like I usually do!
Sunday morning we had a Happy Birthday Jesus party with our 4 and 5 year olds in Sunday School. That was a lot of fun with those sweeties!
I have a little more wrapping to do today, and a lot of cleaning. But right now, I think Food Network needs me to do some watching and I may need to rest my eyes on the couch a little while.

My family will be coming home tomorrow...I have to be rested up and ready to bake cookies!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Taco Soup

Since I had a request, here's my Mama's recipe for Taco Soup. She always made this on Christmas Eve along with ham and cheese poppy seed sandwiches. I was supposed to make this yesterday when my sister was here, but we had so many leftovers from our big Christmas dinner that I saved it for tonight. And since it is soooo cold, that was a good choice.

Original Recipe:
Taco Soup
2lbs ground beef
2 cups chopped onion
2 tbs cooking oil
1 pkg taco seasoning mix
1 pkg ranch dressing mix
4 16oz cans of tomatoes
1 15oz can of kidney beans
1 15oz can of pinto beans
1 16oz can of whole kernel corn
1 4oz can of chopped green chiles
1/2 tsp of salt
Saute onions in oil. Add ground beef and continue stirring until browned. Add seasonings and then all other ingredients (undrained). After mixture begins cooking, simmer for 2 hours stirring occasionally. Serve with doritos, grated cheese, and sour cream. Makes a gallon so use a large pot.
I did a little tweaking to the recipe. I only used 1 lb of lean ground beef to cut calories. I did not use any oil. I just browned my ground beef and onions together. I used 2 big (24oz I think) cans of petite diced tomatoes because I don't like hunks of tomato in my soup. I used more beans than the original recipe to replace the other pound of ground beef. (It's an easy way to make it more healthy without the people in my house realizing what I'm doing.) I also used two packs of ranch and taco seasoning because I like things heavily flavored.
This is one of my very favorite soups. I HATE canned soups, and can be pretty picky about soups in general. As much as I would like to load it up with sour cream, cheese, and doritos, I simply ate my bowl with a little Texas Pete and some non-fat plain yogurt that I try to convince myself tastes just like sour cream. And I lusted after my family's bowls. No, not really, I actually went ahead and packed up a bowl to take to school tomorrow. My students will flip when they see me eat something other than a frozen meal, lol.
I also made the dough for Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls tonight. I'm not so sure of it. I put the yeast in when my liquid was too hot. It was much hotter than I thought it was, and I am very impatient. It didn't rise like I thought it should, so I did a little research online and decided to add another packet of yeast to it. It did finally rise a little. The dough is in the fridge now, and I will attempt to make the cinnamon rolls tomorrow. If they turn out, they will be Christmas presents. If they don't turn out, I will be making a trip to the grocery store for some Pillsbury Grands.