Christmas Dinner…

31 Dec

On Wednesday night Tony and I hosted his family for our Christmas dinner.  I really like to host dinners.  They give us a chance to spend quality time with our guests as well as a chance to use our fancy china!

Dinner and dessert were delicious.  Presents were exchanged and champagne was toasted!

On The Menu:

  • Cheese & Cracker Sampler
  • Pecan & Bleu Salad topped with Cranberry Vinaigrette
  • Mushroom & Asparagus Risotto
  • Roasted Brussel Sprouts
  • Pomegranate Roast
  • Pecan Pie
  • Christmas Cookies

Tony & I both worked on Wednesday but I was able to do lots of prep work on Tuesday night.

The table was set…

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with our Kate Spade Lenox China!

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Appetizers were served:

34 degrees Crispbread and Stonewall Kitchen Roasted Garlic Crackers

Havarti, Gouda, Cheddar, Soft White, & Goat Cheese Platter

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Salads were served:

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And then we finally enjoyed dinner.

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Pecan & Bleu Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette

Dressing:

  • 1 Cup Bourbon Pecans
  • 3 Tbs Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/3 Cup Fresh Cranberries
  • 1 Tbs Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 tsp Minced Garlic
  • 1/2 Tbs Splenda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbs Water

Salad:

  • 1/2 Red Onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz. Crumbled Blue Cheese
  • 1 bag Mixed Spring Greens
  1. In a blender, combine the vinegar, oil, cranberries, mustard, garlic, Splenda, salt, pepper, and water. Blend until smooth.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the pecans, onion, blue cheese, and greens.
  3. Serve dressing with salad.

 

Pomegranate Roast

From A Year of Slow Cooking

  • 1 Tbs. Olive Oil
  • 1 Yellow Onion, sliced
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Herbes de Provence
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 3 lbs. Sirloin Tip Roast
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 (14 oz.) can Fire-Roasted Crushed Tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 Cup Pom Pomegranate Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 Tbs Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 Cup Golden Raisins
  1. Coat the bottom of a 5-quart crockpot with the olive oil.  Add the onion.
  2. Combine the spices and rub on all sides of the roast.
  3. Place the roast on top of the onions.
  4. Add the garlic, tomatoes, pomegranate juice, balsamic vinegar, and syrup.
  5. Sprinkle the raisins on top.
  6. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours.
  7. Serve with sauce on top.
  8. Enjoy!

I will be posting the side dish recipes next week.

Time to figure out our New Years Eve plans!  Happy New Year!  Have a great night celebrating!

You Know You’re A Food Blogger When….

28 Dec

Santa spoils you and brings you many new kitchen tools such as….

a fancy rice cooker….

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that looks like a robot….

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multiple cookbooks to use with the robot….

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a fancy glass bowl for your stand mixer….

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multiple coated beaters to use in previous stated bowl…..

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mini tasting dishes for future parties…….

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a cordless warmer to use for said parties……

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more tools to fill up the cooking drawer……

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an immersion blender because I broke my first one…..

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and a fancy wood cutting board to cut veggies on (or use as a picture background, shhh don’t tell my husband who bought this fancy piece of wood for me!).

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Thank you Santa for spoiling me!

I can’t wait to share so many new recipes with you using all of my new gadgets!

Did Santa treat you well this year?

I must have been extra good because he brought me too many gifts!

I started a Facebook page.  Make sure you become a fan of theSheenBean.

Grandma’s Apricot and Nut Rolls….

24 Dec

I spent Tuesday learning how to make my Grandma’s Apricot and Nut Rolls.  I enjoy eating them every Christmas but never helped with making them.  They took a lot more work than I had anticipated.  But they are well worth the work put into them!  I can’t imagine a holiday at Grandma’s house without them.

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The recipe is in our church cook book under French Pastry.  Of course Grandma goes by the recipe but she has many tips along the way.

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You start out by making your dough.  Cut the Crisco into the dry ingredients.

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Beat eggs with a little bit of the milk.  Just enough to thin out the eggs.  Add to the dough and mix with your hands.

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Add all BUT the last 1/3 cup of milk.  Refrigerate dough until ready to use.

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Make your nut filling using the remaining milk, a jar of nut filling, and diced walnuts.

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Once you have your dough and filling made, clean off a table and get everything ready to make your rolls.

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Prep you surface with sugar, not flour!

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Roll out a small portion of the dough.

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Cut into 3-4 inch wide sections.

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Spread your filling using the back of a spoon.  Leave a 1/2 inch empty on the longest side.

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Roll up the dough starting on the shorter side.  Use a butter knife to help pick up the dough from the table.  Be careful, the dough is fragile!  Seal the edge of the dough to the roll.

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Once rolled, cut into 1-2 inch slices.

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Place the rolls seam side down on an ungreased cookie sheet.

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Bake for 10-12 minutes.

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Sprinkle with powder sugar and let cool.

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Enjoy!

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Grandma’s Apricot & Nut Rolls

  • 6 Cups Flour
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 4 Eggs
  • 3 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 lb. Crisco
  • 1 can Evaporated Milk
  • Powdered Sugar
  1. Mix flour, salt & baking powder with Crisco.  Cut the Crisco into the flour until it resembles small crumbles.
  2. Beat eggs with 1/4 cup of evaporated milk.  Put 1/3 cup of milk to the side.
  3. Slowly add egg mixture to dough.  Continue to add the remaining milk to the dough and mix with your hands.  You will have a nice firm dough when finished.  Refrigerate until ready.
  4. Roll out in sugar.  Roll as thin as possible.  The dough will be thin enough that you will be able to see through it.
  5. Cut into 3-4 inch wide strips.
  6. Cover with filling.  Leave 1/2 inch uncovered on long seam side.
  7. Roll up gently.
  8. Cut into 1-2 inch rolls.
  9. Place seam side down on cookie sheet.
  10. Bake at 375 degF for 10-12 minutes or until slightly hard to the touch.
  11. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and let cool.

Nut Filling

  • 3 Cups Ground Walnuts
  • 10 oz. Nut Filling Mixture
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 Tbs. Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Evaporated Milk.
  1. Mix all ingredients together.  If mixture seems too thick you can add additional milk to thin it.
  2. Spread thin layer on dough.

The apricot filling that we used was premade from the grocery store.

What is your favorite Christmas cookie?

Christmas Sugar Cookies…

22 Dec

Everyone needs cookies to set out for Santa even if you are in your mid-twenties.  Monday night, Mom and I made her famous sugar cookies.  She has been making this recipe since I was in Kindergarten.  The cookies don’t need icing, just some festive sprinkles!

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Mom’s Sugar Cookies

Mix your wet ingredients.

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Add the dry ingredients and mix again.

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Flour your surface.

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Roll out and cut out different Christmas shapes.

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Put cookies on ungreased cookie sheet and decorate with sprinkles.

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Be creative with the sprinkles!  The more sprinkles, the better!

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Let cool on a wire rack or fiber free towel.

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Take your mom’s finest Christmas china outside and take pictures of the cookies in the snow!

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Don’t leave them on the ground too long or your dog will steal one!

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Mom’s Sugar Cookies

  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • 2 Eggs Beaten
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 2 1/4 Cups Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degF.
  2. Mix butter and sugar together.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Mix thoroughly.
  3. Add flour, baking powder, and salt to wet mixture.  Mix until uniform.
  4. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. Roll out on floured surface to desired thickness.
  6. Cut out cookies using Christmas cookie cutters.
  7. Decorate with your favorite sprinkles.  Gently press the sprinkles into the cookies so that they will not roll off.
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes on ungreased cookie sheet.  Cookies will not be brown but will be firm.
  9. Cool.
  10. Store in air-tight container.
  11. Enjoy!

What type of cookies do you leave out for Santa?

Just like Chick-Fil-A Nuggets

20 Dec

This recipe could save you a few trips to Chick-Fil-A.  Although they would be better with a side of waffle fries and lemonade.  Yesterday when making the Chicken Noodle Soup, we saved some of the boiled chicken.  My Mom wanted to make Pancake Chicken Nuggets to serve with the soup.  This is a recipe that my mom learned from her mother-in-law, my grandma or DoDo as we all call her.  This is a dish that mom remembers DoDo making and she loved it.  We decided that the chicken tastes like Chick-Fil-A nuggets.

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DoDo’s Pancake Chicken Nuggets

Boil your chicken and tear into nugget size pieces.

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Beat eggs and milk together.

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Prepare you pancake mix.

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Coat the chicken in the egg mixture.

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Then toss in the pancake mix.

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Make sure the chicken has a good coating of egg and pancake mix.

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Coat all of the chicken before you start frying.  Your fingers can get quite messy from the batter!

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Slowly add the chicken to the hot oil and fry for a few minutes until brown.

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Flip the chicken so both sides brown evenly.

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Let the chicken cool on a paper towel lined plate.

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DoDo’s Pancake Chicken Nuggets

  • 4-5 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
  • 3 Cups Complete Pancake Mix (We used Hungry Jack Light & Fluffy)
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 Cups Milk
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Salt
  1. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil.  Season the water with a little salt and pepper.  Add chicken and boil for 30 minutes or until cooked fully.
  2. Once cooked, remove the chicken and let cool.  Cut the chicken into small nugget size pieces.
  3. Beat 3 eggs with the milk in a bowl.
  4. Add your pancake mix in a separate bowl.
  5. Coat your chicken in the egg/milk mixture and then the pancake batter.  Coat all chicken pieces before frying.
  6. In a skillet, add 1 inch of oil and heat it.
  7. Once the oil is hot, slowly add the pieces of chicken in.  Be careful!
  8. After about 3 minutes, turn the chicken so that it can brown the other side.
  9. Remove the chicken once both sides are brown.  It doesn’t need much time in the oil because the chicken is already cooked.
  10. Cool the chicken on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
  11. Sprinkle the chicken with salt while it is cooling.
  12. Store the chicken nuggets in a warm oven until serving.
  13. Enjoy!

A Snowy Sunday….

19 Dec

It looks like this outside:

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No, this is not South Carolina snow.  Tony and I left Greenville yesterday and headed to West Virginia with my family.  We are spending the weekend with them at their cabin in Canaan Valley, WV.  It looked like a winter wonderland here today.  My brothers and Dad went skiing this morning while Tony, Mom & I relaxed in the house.  Crosby enjoys the snow too but doesn’t last too long in the cold!

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There were flurries coming down all day!  It is so beautiful outside.

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I had fun trying to figure out how to take good pictures of the snow!

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Yes, those are rain boots and not snow boots.  They worked fine to just take a short walk.

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While the guys were out skiing we stayed nice and warm inside.

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And then we started cooking.  My mom always makes Chicken Noodle Soup when we are here.  I helped her get a pot started to let cook all afternoon.  It was the perfect dinner for a cold, snowy Sunday.

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This soup is light on the chicken and heavy on the noodles.

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Canaan Chicken Noodle Soup

Boil your chicken and save the broth.

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Cook your noodles.

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This is what the Chicken Base looks like.  If you can’t find it, you can use extra bouillon cubes but don’t add as much salt to the soup.

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Add everything else to the broth and simmer on low.

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Canaan Chicken Noodle Soup

  1. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil.  Season the water with a little salt and pepper.  Add chicken and boil for 30 minutes or until cooked fully.
  2. Once cooked, remove the chicken and let cool.  Strain the remaining water and put it back in the original pot.  Cook on low.
  3. Shred the chicken.
  4. Add the shredded chicken, carrots, bouillon and chicken base to the remaining broth.  Keep the burner on low.
  5. While you are preparing the chicken, in a separate pot bring 8 quarts of water to a boil.  Add the frozen noodles and bring back to a boil for 10 minutes.
  6. Once the noodles are done, strain them and add to the chicken broth pot.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. If it seems like there isn’t enough broth, add some water to the broth.  If you want more flavor you can add bouillon or chicken base.
  9. Simmer on low for 30 minutes or until ready to serve.
  10. Enjoy!

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I had my soup over a bed of spinach and it was great.  You can always add more chicken base, bouillon and water to make the soup less noodle-y because the noodles soak up the broth.

We didn’t add all of the chicken and saved it to make my grandma’s version of Chick-Fil-A Chicken Nuggets.  I will be posting that recipe tomorrow.

What is your favorite cold weather soup?

A Clemson MBA…

19 Dec

For the last 2 years I have been taking MBA classes at night through Clemson’s Greenville campus, Clemson at the Falls.  On Thursday this adventure came to an end and I finally graduated!

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Graduation was held in Littlejohn Coliseum on the Clemson campus.

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The ceremony seemed like it was never going to end.  They gave out over 900 diplomas.

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After getting there 2 hours early, the processional finally started.

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President Barker talked a few times and then stood on the stage to shake every graduates hand.

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Finally my turn!

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Celebrating my graduation with my husband, a Clemson Alumni himself.

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My family came all the way from Pennsylvania to see me graduate!

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All together.

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We went to dinner on Thursday at Taco Parrilla in Greer, SC.  Tony’s mom, dad and brother joined us for dinner.

Taco Parrilla has a fantastic a la carte menu with many different types of tacos.  I ordered 2 different Asian Tacos, a Tuna and a Chili Shrimp.  They come 2 in an order with a wonton taco shell and Asian slaw inside.

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After a long and exhausting day, we headed home to bed.  I am so happy to finally be finished with school and having the chance to celebrate it with the ones I love!

Less than a week until Christmas!  Do you have your shopping done?

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