A Chanukah photo booth

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2011 Chanukah bash

The Kamman’s annual Chanukah party has been an important staple of the holiday season for many years now. (2009, 2010) We take an untraditional approach to celebrate Sol’s background and the festival of lights complete with latkes and home-made apple sauce, a Chanukah bush, decorating Macabee cookies and driedel drinking games.

I actually have more Chanukah decorations now than Christmas decorations. This year I was really committed to the decor, so much so that I actually sewed! I cut and sewed the pennants with a little help from my mom and her ancient sewing machine- using FOUR, yes, FOUR awesome Chanukah fabrics from Joann. I also made some table squares (although I used hem tape for those!) (I don’t sew, this is a big deal)

Most of the time Sol and I bust our butts cooking ALL of the food, which is tricky because  the latkes require most of our attention and kitchen space. This year we did a potluck, which was awesome because 1.) we could actually hang out and enjoy the party out of the kitchen and 2.) we got to taste everyone else’s awesome dishes!

Another new edition was the Chanukah “photo booth” I even made some silly props.

And what’s kind of Chanukah party is it until Santa shows up!?!?

 

A new tradition…Friendsgiving

We had a little impromptu celebration the weekend after Thanksgiving…and a tradition was born, Friendsgiving!! We ate turkey tortilla soup out of leftover turkey and homemade soup, and had a festive time playing music.

Lola loves to be involved in their jam sessions!

Pumpkin pie at Friendsgiving looks a little bit different than pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, especially at 9:30 at night after a few libations.

Brendan brought his mom’s homemade pies…mmm.

After a big sleepover, we had a leisurely morning while the boys cooked us breakfast. Then we headed out on a walk around Cameron Park lake on a beautiful day.

Thankful.

Wow, so much to be thankful for! Thanksgiving was much needed time to relax with family and friends.

Aunt Kelley!

Mark came too!

Cranberry margaritas are our family holiday tradition!

Sol enthusiastically demanded to make the turkey, which he brined. It was very fancy, and delicious.

Lola loved all of the Thanksgiving foods. She sampled turkey, mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, cranberry sauce, squash, stuffing, soup, pumpkin pie and a roll.

Also thankful that these were the last few days of the mustache!

It’s soup week, folks.

I love soup. I have an borderline unhealthy obsession with soup. I live on a primarily soup diet throughout the fall and winter months.

And sometimes in summer. And spring.

Yesterday I had 5 different kinds of soup. In one day.

I tend to get into soup ruts, making the same 3 or so kinds week after week. And when I make soup I make A LOT of soup…so we are eating it lunch and dinner for a week straight. Which I don’t mind at all!

Once a year, usually in my vacation-from-work boredom around Thanksgiving, I declare a soup week, and make 1 new soup a night for 5 nights. They were all delicious, nutritious and easy so I thought I’d share the recipes in case you are also soup obsessed, or soup curious at least.

(Here’s another Soup Week)

Artistic soup photos courtesy of my hubby, of course.

Rustic Italian Tortellini Soup

Ingredients:

3 italian turkey sausage links (4 oz. each, casings removed)

1 medium onion, chopped

6 garlic cloves, minced

2 cans (14.5 oz each) chicken broth

1 and 3/4 cups water

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes (undrained)

1 package (9 oz) refrigerated cheese tortellini

1 package (6 oz) of fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped

2 and 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh basil

1/4 teaspoon pepper

dash crushed red pepper flakes

shredded parmesan

1.) Crumble sausage into a Dutch oven, add onion. Cook and stir over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic, cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Add the broth, water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil.

2.) Stir in tortellini, return to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer uncovered for 5-8 minutes or until tortellini are tender, stirring occasionally. Add the spinach, basil, pepper and pepper flakes, cook 2-3 minutes longer or until spinach is wilted. Serve with cheese if desired.

Curried Chicken Corn Chowder

Ingredients:

2 medium onions, chopped

2 celery ribs, chopped

1 tablespoon butter

3 cans (14.5 oz each) chicken broth

5 cups frozen corn

2 teaspoons curry powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

dash cayenne pepper

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup milk

3 cups cubed chicken breast

1/3 cup fresh minced cilantro

1.) In a dutch oven, saute onions and celery in butter until tender. Stir in the broth, corn, curry, salt, pepper and cayenne. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and summer for 15 minutes.

2.) In a small bowl, whisk flour and milk until smooth. Whisk into the pan. Bring to a boil, cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add chicken and cilantro, heat through.

Butternut Squash Soup

I made this one on Thanksgiving and it was the perfect starter for our meal!

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
2 medium potatoes, cubed
1 medium butternut squash – peeled, seeded, and cubed
1 (32 fluid ounce) container Veggie stock
Salt and Pepper

1. Melt the butter in a large pot, and cook the onion, celery, carrot, potatoes, and squash 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Pour in enough of the veggie stock to cover vegetables. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 40 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender.
2. Transfer the soup to a blender, and blend until smooth. Or mash with a potato masher for a chunkier soup. Return to pot, and mix in any remaining stock to attain desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste

Tasty Tortilla (Turkey!) Soup

I made this soup for Friendsgiving, which was the weekend after Thanksgiving. This recipe calls for chicken, but I used leftover turkey and homemade turkey stock (thanks mom!) and it was divine.

Ingredients:

1 large onion, chopped

2 green onions, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons butter

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons of all purpose flour

4.5 cups chicken broth

2 cans (14.5 oz each) diced tomatoes, undrained

1 can tomato sauce

1 can chopped green chilies

1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3 cups cubed chicken breast (or turkey)

2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

1 and 1/3 crushed baked tortilla chip scoops

7 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese

(sour cream if you are into that)

1.) In a dutch oven, saute onion and green onions in butter until tender. Add garlic, saute 2 minutes longer.

2.) Stir in flour until blended, gradually add broth .Stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, chills, oregano, cumin and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add chicken and cilantro. Heat.

3.) For each serving, place 2 tablespoons chips in to a soup bowl. Top with 1 and 1/2 cups soup. Garnish each serving with 1 tablespoon each of cheese and chips.

Roasted Tomato with Pesto Swirl

Ingredients:

3 lbs. tomatoes, cored and halved

4 tbs. olive oil

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

3 cans (14 oz) vegetable or chicken broth

1/2 cup heavy cream

Pesto!!

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange tomatoes cut sit up in jelly-roll pan (or casserole dish), drizzle with 2 tbs olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast 45 min. In bowl or food processor, pulse tomatoes 5 times. In sauce pot, cook onions and garlic in remaining oil 5 min. Add tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer 20 min, adding heavy cream after 15 min. Garnish with pesto, if desired. (YES THIS, LOTS OF PESTO!)

10 on 10

10 pictures from the 10th day of the month.

Document a snapshot of your life and document the ordinary things in your day!

January 10, 2012

My fun job has been especially fun lately. In one day I get to paint….

And work with clay…

And film the video bulletin with the green screen…

Then from working to working out. Resolution #1.

But of course my favorite part of the day is hanging out with these two!

Being mommy is the most fun job I have all day!

I made stuffed bell peppers for dinner, extra stuff.

It was a big hit, especially with Lola.

After dinner it’s bath, snuggle, bed time.