Monday, December 28, 2009

Victory is mine!

There are few things in life that thrill me more than peeling an orange (a softball sized orange, not a Cutie) in one peel. (Though I will be honest and say that's part of the charm of Cuties, that I can always get the peel off in one piece.)

Check this out. I love it when I can work off a whole orange peel in one piece. I mean, I LOVE IT!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

My big plans for today...

I'm gonna use this.

(Thank you, Santa.)

To make this.
(Thank you, PW, for the beautiful recipes you put on your website.)

I was cruising through The Pioneer Woman Cooks yesterday, and when I saw she had used her beautiful blue cast iron casserole to make braised short ribs... Well, I thought to myself "It's a sign! I just got a new blue cast iron casserole! ... I wonder, if I make this, if I'll find myself a Marlboro Man carbon copy", and I thought it was worth a shot.

I'll let you know how it all turns out. (Both the recipe, and the MM finding.)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Just in case you've been wondering...

Here's a little recap of what we've been up to here at Casa Evans in the past week.

In addition to Rachel's wedding (the reason I came up Friday morning), and then falling sick (yet again... I'm telling you, my immune system is all kinds of shot) over the weekend, I've been having a good old time, just hanging out and doing a whole bunch of holiday-themed nothing for the last week with my fam.

On Monday (or was it Tuesday? the sugar rush has gotten to me, I'm afraid my brain's officially fried) my mom and I went visiting/caroling to some of our favorite people in the neighborhood. OF COURSE Katy U's house was at the top of our list, and for the first time in my life, people, I found the blessed pickle! Aaahhhh, the glory! I FOUND THE PICKLE!

The pickle, for those of you who are not locals to know of Katy and her pickle ornament, is an ornament that gets hidden in the tree every year. The first person who finds the pickle (that would be me, this year) gets a prize. (My prize? A bag of trail mix AND two of Beth Perkins' popcorn balls. A treat, to be sure.) I was giddy with the excitement of having found the pickle, I'll tell you that.

In addition to pickle finding... we've been caroling, my mom and I, so we could give away some lovely Poinsettias that my sister had inherited from NPC before they died on our kitchen counter. This little plant was not one of the lucky ones that made it to a new/safer/more-eco-friendly home. (Have I ever told you that, growing up, all we had were silk plants in the house? Yeah, there's a reason for that. Obviously.)

And of course (OF COURSE) I've been baking - like a crazy, mad woman. I've taken plates to everyone I can think of, because that's what I do this time of year. It's been super fun, even if it's been COLD getting to and from the car and people's doors. (My toes are ready to go back to Mesa, and that's the bitter truth. They've had it with this 20 degree weather, I'm telling you.)

Of course we've done other fun stuff - like eating tamales and cheese balls until I've been pretty sure I would burst. Also, roast beast sandwiches (I heart roast beast from Ed's) and hot dogs, as well as chips and salsa, at all times of the day and night. Last night, Dad made green chile chicken enchiladas (my dad's enchiladas are TO DIE FOR).

We've watched Christmas movies (my mom, my sister and I) and action movies (my dad, my sister and I). It's been the best of both worlds - salt and sugar foods and holiday vs. action fliks. I can't believe it's Christmas Eve and all the festivities are about to come to an end. I'm telling you, I could go on like this forever... if I thought my blood sugar and wacked-out sleep schedule could take it. Gosh, it's fun to be home for Christmas!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A few of my favorite things...

Well, lookie there... It's a post that's NOT a Christmas song. (I know, weird. But it's true.)

I've been sitting here in my little house for the last 48 hours (something about having a viral infection - and a red/swollen nose that has me resembling Rudolph a bit too much for comfort - that's had me holed up, away from the general public), and while I've been sitting here, I've been looking around me and I've been grateful for all the little things in my home that remind me of the people and this season that I love so much. So... I decided to share - even if it is going to out me to my cousin for having her decorations a full 12 years after she got married and moved out on me.

These would be those very decorations. These shiny "Christmas Balls" that are actually candle holders. I love them! They were Julie's, and we always had them up in our house - for Christmas in July, and Christmas in December. The first Christmas after she got married, I was unpacking and putting up decorations in my house and I ran across them. I knew I needed to tell her that I had them... but I didn't. And when I moved back to Arizona, Christmas of 1999, I thought I should leave them out so I could return them before I left the state of Utah with them... but I didn't. And I've put them out every year since then and I've loved them. (Before any of you judge me too harshly, let me just say she has some of my baby clothes - that she's never returned. So, we're even.)

I love this nativity. Jo gave this to me the first year I was down here - and I love it. Funny, the other nativity I own is also from Jo. ... I guess she's always been one for reminding me of the reason for the season. Bless her.

I love this felt Noel sign. My mom made this .... Oh, I don't even know how long ago. I've had it every Christmas since my first Christmas away from home. (1994) I grew up with felt Noel decorations - this is one version of many that Mom would make and give to friends/family. I love it!

Speaking of things that I love that my mom made... Allow me to introduce you to my Christmas quilt. About five years ago, my mom gave me the fabric for the quilt. The next year, she made the quilt for me. It's a thing of beauty. All hand-quilted, reversible - with a Christmas scene on one scene and wintery scene on the other. I love it!

I love this silly little Rudolph! I bought this .... Oh, a good 10-15 years ago from a co-worker at Central Bank who'd make different seasonal decorations and sell them for $10. He's sat atop my vcr/dvd player for over 10 years. I love him!

Ahhhh... One of my favorite things. Ever. This is one of of the Christmas cards I bought/sent out about 15 years ago. I've always been a sucker for decorations of a Victorian nature. I remember buying these cards - I spent way more on them than I should have. I couldn't help myself, they were perfect. Six years ago, my mom gave me this for Christmas. It's the card I'd sent to my grandparents. She'd had a custom mat cut and had it framed for me for Christmas. I've always loved this card - but that I got the card back that I sent to my Grammy and Grandad? I can't even talk/type about it without tearing up. This is, truly, one of my most loved possessions.

Speaking of how much I love Victorian era Christmas decor... Check out this little beauty. Colette Bright gave me this the first year I was in BYU 3rd Ward. (1995?) It's a box that doubles as an ornament - and in the box, I still have the note that Colette put in there almost 15 years ago. Le Sigh ... I love that I've had this for almost half my life!

And saving the best for last ... I love these snowflakes. For those of you who haven't seen my tree - it's all red and white, heavy on the snowflakes and bells. My friend Jennifer gave me three crystal snowflakes years ago. I keep them in the Santa box she gave them to me in, and every year as I open the box and pull them out, I thrill. Isn't this beautiful? I love it! I love it because it's so lovely, and I love it because it reminds me of Jen.

I love having my holiday things about me. I love my wooden star that my brother Kirk made in High School wood shop, I love the Santa statue and "Believe" sign from Kathy U., I love all the pics with Katie and/or Santa that are strewn throughout my apartment. I love my stacks of books full of Christmas music and stories.
The End.

Friday, December 11, 2009

It really IS the most wonderful time of the year!

Look what they're selling in the frozen food aisle these days.

I heart the holiday season.

And because it wouldn't be right for me to put a post up without including a song for the day... voila! (I thought this was most fitting, as this is the song I was singing in my head as I was eating an ice cream sandwich whilst standing in line at the WalMart, purchasing said box of ice cream sandwiches.) Peppermint ice cream sandwiches - 12 for $3. It really is the most wonderful time of the year!