Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Back in Texas

Christmas was so nice this year. Everyone got together and spent the day together. Lauren had fun, I think it was much more interesting this year for her to open presents. She got a bunch of cool stuff and she's been having fun playing with all of it.

Christmas Eve day I was sick and spent most of it sleeping or throwing up. Christmas Day Skipper was sick, and the day after Jon was sick. Lissa had it a day before I did, but not nearly as bad as any of the rest of us did. Then Abby got it, then Sarah, and now Evan. Lauren did well, though, she only had a mild fever that would come and go, and although she was a little cranky, it wasn't horrible.

New Year's Eve was uneventful, really. Skipper, Lissa, Lauren and I went to Abby's house and had some Chinese food and played the Wii. We ended up leaving around 11:15 and sat in front of the TV at their house until midnight. I think we were all in bed about 5 seconds later.

We took the advice of a couple different sources and went to Santa Fe to eat at the Bobcat Bite. It is rumored to have one of the best hamburgers in the country, and I have to agree! It was delicious. The place is super tiny and the wait is long, but it was worth it. Then because of something I read in Rachael Ray's magazine, we went and tried the Kakawa chocolate house, also. They were listed as some of the best hot chocolate in the country. And they lied!! It wasn't really good, and their selection of chocolates was not as good as I would have liked. I did get a chili chocolate piece for everyone, and the overall consensus was that it wasn't good. It was like following up a bite of chocolate with a shot of chili powder. Yuck.

But we also tried some great recipes this year. I made my Finnish Christmas stars again. The new recipes we tried were for a Broccoli Corn Bread (that was so delicious!!!), honey nut weiners (I know, it sounds horrible, but it's actually good), and a chocolate and peanut butter swirl candy, which, how can that go wrong?! (it can't!).

Here's the recipe for the Broccoli Corn Bread:

2 sticks of butter, melted
1 10 oz. packages frozen chopped broccoli, cooked and drained
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
6 eggs
1 small white onion, chopped
2 boxes Jiffy Corn Muffin mix
2 teaspoons salt
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
- Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, adding the broccoli and corn last.
- Pour into greased baking dish (9x13)
- Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
- During last few minutes, sprinkle top with a little extra shredded cheddar.

Here's the recipe for the Honey Nut Weiners:
1 package small cocktail wieners
2 packages crescent rolls
1 stick butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 cup chopped pecans
PREPARATION:Melt the butter in a saucepan.
Add the honey and brown sugar, stir until melted and smooth.
Add the pecans and stir.
Pour the mixture into a 9x13 baking dish.
Unroll crescent rolls.
Cut each crescent roll into thirds, making 3 small, long triangle strips.
Starting at one end, roll hot dogs in crescent.
Place in baking dish, in honey nut mixture
Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

And here's the recipe for the chocolate peanut butter swirl:
What you need:
360 g white chocolate chopped coarsely
½ cup (140g) smooth peanut butter
400 g dark chocolate chopped coarsely
Tip for coarsely chopping chocolate - bash chocolate with a meat mallet while still in its wrapping Melt white chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water.
Cool for 5 minutes then add peanut butter, stir until smooth.
Melt the dark chocolate the same way. Cool slightly
Drop alternate spoonfuls of the white chocolate mixture and dark chocolate mixture into a small pan you greased and lined with parchment paper earlier.
Gently shake pan to level mixture.
Then drag a skewer back and forth through the mixture several times for a marbled effect.
Let stand at room temperature for 2 hours or until set, or you can stick it in the fridge.
When it has set, cut into small squares.
Here's what ours looked like still in the pan:

And it was delicious!

On Sunday, Lissa and I loaded up in the car with Lauren and both cats and set out to drive back here to Texas. It was about 11 hours of travel time. I took the first leg, the 3 hour drive to Clovis, she took the second leg - 4 hours to Sweetwater, and I took the last 4 hour leg that got us home. We did have a nice little dinner in the diner at the Sweetwater truck stop. I'd imagine we were there for almost an hour. But it was good, Lauren got to get out of her seat and walk around and stretch for a little while, and then she slept a good portion of the rest of the way home. We got in just before 11 pm. We even got most everything out of the car before we fell in our beds asleep.

I dropped Lissa off at the Killeen airport this morning. It was a really short trip on this side, but a good visit with everyone, and I'm glad we got the chance to do it. Now ther's a little over two weeks before Lauren and I fly off to California to see everyone there.

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