Sunday, November 21, 2010

Holiday Cookware! ;)

One of the best places to go to for the best cookware and easy recipes, is my all time favorite Williams & Sonoma. Every time I go into that store, it is almost as if it is Christmas once again. I always wish that one day I miraculously had mass amounts of money handed to me just to spend in that store. I am very interested in cooking and the atmosphere that tags along with it. Not only do they sell the most amazing, beautiful cookware, but they also sell original butters, jams, jellies, and any other dip, topping, or ingredient that could give a whole meal have its own extra pizzaz. I went there recently, and noticed that they were selling many Holiday themed specials such as cookie cutters, easy pumpkin bread making mixes, and special plates and cuttlery designed for the holidays.
Another notable holiday event going on is at Albertson's. They are advertising this seasonal special that for every $10 spent, you receive a sticker. After collecting a certain number of stickers, you may turn these in for one expensive cook pan or pot for the price of 1 cent. For example, one pan may cost 70 stickers. This offer continues until the first week of January (the 11th) so start saving up! I mentioned this because it is something that my dad and older brother are determined to take advantage of... and are succeeding tremendously! They have already achieved enough stickers for two pans and are working on the third. (Out of about 7 or 8 to choose from). This is such a great offer and is highly recommended, especially with all of the holiday shopping ahead of you. This is such a rewarding offer to take care of because finally, after spending hundreds of dollars on groceries for the holidays, you will actually be getting a reward back after all that hard work! And it is something that you will probably use anyways. I thought this was an especially good idea to market because when people are tight on money, the last thing that they want to be spending their extra cash on is new cook ware. However, this is a problem because cooking with damaged or old cookware can pose as a health risk to a certain degree. I recommend that you check this out and start collecting for the next two months!

On another note, I cannot stop thinking about Thanksgiving next week. I hope that everyone has an enjoyable turkey day, no matter what you end up doing. I know that a lot of people are not big on cooking,  but there are so many options out there that can provide the easiest, most cook-free thanksgiving ever. There are places that will cook your turkey/ham, and there are easy bread making mixes, that only require adding milk and eggs. Don't let this year's Thanksgiving go uncelebrated! :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Quick & VERY Easy Holiday Appetizers!

For my famly, Thanksgiving is one of the most exciting parts of the year, along with Christmas Eve. This is because those are the two holidays that our whole family gathers at our house for dinner. I am especially excited for Thanksgiving this year because my brother and I are going to be cooking for everybody. I am not sure as to what we are cooking yet but previous years (ever since I was very young) I have been in charge of making appetizers (and most likely will be again!). So, I'll post a few quick, easy recipes for you to share with your families this holiday season!

Homemade Mac and Cheese

This is not the recipe I use when I make it, but it is pretty close to it.This one that I have posted takes about 50 minutes to make, including preparation and cooking time. In this recipe, it asks for Parmesan cheese and sharp cheddar cheese-- I usually use extra sharp cheddar cheese and sharp cheddar cheese. I highly recommend this recipe because it is extremely simple to make and is enjoyable for everyone! Another suggestion I have is to double the recipe; Everyone usually loves it so much that it's gone before the blink of an eye. I have tried making this with pepper jack cheese-- not so tasty.. Sharp and extra sharp cheddar is exquisite and the bread crumbs on the top make it all the more tastier.

Deviled Eggs 

I make these every year simply because they are SO SIMPLE! They are great, delicious snacks to eat before the big meal when your stomach cannot possibly wait any longer to put something in it. They are healthy, as well, if you are looking to steer away from those store-bought vegetable trays. When I make these, I do not use a recipe, but I have posted one for guidance. This recipe has listed two mustards to add: I do not use those, I use pure ground mustard. When making the filling, it is usually easiest, after crushing up the yoke, to just keep adding the mayonnaise (or Miracle Whip salad dressing, light) until it tastes right to you-- some prefer more or less creamy than the recipe may request. After I create the consistency I want, I add the ground mustard, salt, and pepper until I get the taste I want. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin bread has always been a holiday favorite for me. Another suggestion is pumpkin soup, but that it a little bit more difficult to make. Pumpkin bread only takes 15 minutes to prepare, and the rest of the magic is all done in the oven! I love cooking this because it can be shared by a lot of people, and is seasonal. Try this recipe out.

Mom's Dip
I'll call this one mom's dip because it's something that my mom always makes on any occasion we have at our house. It's good for nice dinners, but is also very delicious at BBQ's or just for sitting out by the pool. This one is guaranteed gone by the end of the night! This one is the EASIEST one to make. All you need is block cream cheese, cilantro, and Harry & David's Pepper & Onion Relish (,r:0,s:0 )

Step 1: Unwrap the block of cream cheese and lay it in the middle of the plate.
Step 2: Dump the bottle of Pepper & Onion Relish on top of the cream cheese, letting gravity do the work.
Step 3: Cut the stems off the cilantro. Dice the cilantro. Sprinkle the leaves on top of the cream cheese and relish creation from Step 2.
Step 4: Enjoy with tostitos or restaurant chips! :)

I promise, it's SO delicious! I usually use a different "relish" or sauce to put on top, but this one is another alternative-- a little bit sweeter though. If you would to try like the kind that I typically use, it is called Chili Sauce and is sold at Ralphs or Albertsons. It will not be in the salsa or sauce isle, but in the ketchup isle. It is a round, clear, glass bottle with a white lid!!

I hope that these simple recipes will make your holidays more enjoyable :)