Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Holiday Hang-Over

We had a 4 day holiday binge that has finally come to a screeching halt.  And with that, my middle child has been subjected to the throws of "worshipping the porcelain god."  I'm not sure what little bug Jenna managed to pick up, but the poor thing has been throwing up since this morning.  I feel terrible for her.  I am equally fearful the rest of us will get it and toss any other holiday plans we have made into, well...the toilet!

Christmas Eve was a wonderful time.  As is customary, my parents visited our church to see the kids help re-enact the nativity scene.  Jenna sang a solo with the children's choir and played the part of an angel along with Owen.  (For those of you wondering, his halo was actually on straight...believe it or not!!)  Evan graduated to Scripture Reader this year.  No more playing a Wise Guy Man. 

All dressed up for Christmas Eve church services!

We then returned home to a steaming crock pot full of chili and corn bread and a delicious 2-layer chocolate cake that my Mom brought along.  After the kids got ready for bed, we ran outside to leave oats and apple slices for Santa's reindeer.  How beautiful the snow looked as it was coming down that night.  Picture perfect.

Big, fat snowflakes fell all around!
Christmas Day was a nice quiet day here at home.  Just the five of us.  I even found time to get on the treadmill while Kevin took the kids out to play in the snow.  I had to walk off Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls, after all!  Owen was excited to get his much-longed-for pogo stick, Jenna had her wishes come true receiving a video camera and Evan was in Lego and video game heaven, once again.

Pogo a go-go!

Finally!  Kirby's Epic Yarn!
December 26th was spent with my extended family and then December 27th we took off to enjoy the company of Kevin's family.  On this day we enjoyed an extra special treat!  Kevin's Mom has recently rented a home on an elk farm and we got to feed one of the bulls some apple slices.  It was bitterly cold outside, but so much fun to be up close to such a beautiful animal.

He looks just like one of Santa's reindeer!
And now, here we are today on December 28th and I am tackling the joy of laundry that has managed to pile up sky high with all of our running around and coming and going and more going and going.  Our refrigerator runneth over from leftovers and more leftovers.  My Mom just stopped by the house to pick up Evan to take him and his cousin Kayla ice skating.  It was devastating for Jenna to have to miss out on the fun.

I promised to share any new recipes that I might have tried over the holidays, and my plans changed a bit and somethings didn't get made that I had planned on.  I do have one recipe that I want to pass along and sadly, I do not have a photo of it to share.  It's a shame too, because, when it came out of the oven, it was a sight to behold!

Ina Garten (aka The Barefoot Contessa) has a new'ish cookbook out called "How Easy Is That?!"  I have been watching her shows on The Food Network for many, many years.  I love how excited she gets over preparing food for friends and family - how she wants everything to be special for them.  I wish I could be a guest at her table in The Hamptons.

So, I wanted to bring something new to our Christmas table this year.  I wanted a vegetable, something simple without a heavy sauce, something that allowed the vegetable's natural flavors be tasted. 

And it needed to be simple!

I decide to prepare Scalloped Tomatoes from Ina Garten's new book.  It was so delicious and it smelled so good and the red from the tomatoes looked quite festive!

And I brought home an empty dish!

That's saying a lot considering the over-abundance of food my Mom had on the table.  I will make this recipe again this winter and I cannot wait to make it next summer when the tomatoes are ripe from the vine.

Gotta go...I hear my girl in the bathroom again.

Scalloped Tomatoes
Here's What You Need:
5 Tablespoons good olive oil, divided
2 cups (1/2 inch diced) bread from a round rustic bread, crusts removed
3 pounds plum tomatoes (14-16 tomatoes)
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup julienned fresh basil leaves
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Here's What You Do:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat 3 Tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan.  Add the bread cubes and toss to coat evenly.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until they are lightly browned.  Stir often.

Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, garlic, salt, pepper and sugar in a large bowl.  When the bread cubes are toasted, add the tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes at medium-high heat.  This will allow the mixture to cook down a little and thicken slightly.  By the way, I did not include the juice from the tomatoes that were in the can.  The recipe didn't indicate whether to or not, so I didn't and I"m glad I didn't.  It would have turned out very soupy!  After 5 minutes of cooking, take it off of the heat and add the basil. 

Transfer the mixture to a shallow baking dish (6-8 cup size).  Sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan cheese and drizzle with the remaining 2 Tablespoons of olive oil.  Bake for 35-40 minutes until the top is browned and the tomatoes are bubbly.  Serve hot or warm.

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