Four days people. Four days until the BIG Day. I am no where near ready. I haven’t wrapped a single gift – not one. My house looks like an Amazon sorting facility – there are boxes everywhere. I am still waiting on a few things to arrive and I just pray to God I can remember where I hid everything. It’s the most wonderful time of year, right??? Oh and tonight is our neighborhood Christmas party. We do a progressive dinner every year and it’s so much fun. This year’s theme is “Pemberton Country Club” so the courses are all very sophisticated dishes except for the Duffys. We got the last house in the rotation so we are the “after party” house. Think Caddyshack. I’m pretty stoked as we are serving McDonalds hamburgers, Taco Bell tacos, potato chips, in the bag, with French onion dip, out of the can. Now if I can just find three hours to clean my house…..
Tip of the Week : OK so obviously I’m not meal planning this week. There is no point as we will be here, there and everywhere. Any meal I plan will most definitely go to waste. Instead, I will keep the items I mentioned last week on hand as well as some Boars Head deli meat, good quality bread, pesto and the ingredients for a white chicken lasagna. Random but it works. Trust me – you need something in your house for lunch people. I love white chicken lasagna and for some reason it seems like the perfect after Christmas dish – don’t ask me why. You can make this ahead of time and put it in the freezer. Then when your family or friends pop over, unexpectedly, you can feed them. I just like knowing I have something in my fridge. Just in case. Plus, I know my family will pop over unexpectedly so this is a necessity for me!
That’s a wrap people. Short & sweet this week. Here’s wishing you a Very Merry Christmas. Sit back, relax, eat all the food and drink all the wine. That’s my motto for the next five days! Cheers!!!
For those of you who follow along on Instagram, you know I’m really trying to watch what I’m putting into my mouth for the next two weeks. I have seriously overindulged and my body has started to revolt. The other night I thought I was having chest pains but turns out it was only indigestion. Holy moly indigestion is painful – like ranks up there with childbirth. My husband was worried and that’s saying a lot. A horn could start growing, out of the top of my head, and he would calmly tell me everything’s alright. SO this past Sunday I decided to make some changes. As you know, I am pretty good when it comes to dinner and I’m really good, if not better, for breakfast and lunch. Well, minus my cup of coffee. I prefer cream and sugar – like too much cream and sugar – but coffee by itself is just nasty, y’all. What gets me is the weekly vino and overindulging on the weekends. I have to pat myself on the back because it’s Thursday and not a drop of wine has entered my body! Go ahead, be impressed. I certainly am. But, tomorrow is Friday and there is no way I’m not partaking in the weekend spirits. My hope is my choice to slow down Monday – Thursday will help me to be more mindful of my weekend choices. Oh, and the decision to go back to a “cheat day” and not a “cheat 72 hours.” 72 hours of eating what I crave will wreck havoc on anyone – I’m a serious junk food lover at heart . Let me also say there is absolutely NO WAY this plan will have any chance of surviving from December 20th to Jan. 2nd and that’s OK. Christmas is a time for indulging and I will happily indulge. I will continue to try and exercise daily but be realistic about that expectation. Plus, the requisite “New Year’s Diet” is right around the corner so load up while you can!!! Just don’t leave home without the Tums in tow!!!
Tip of the Week: Be prepared!! During the Holidays, family and friends will most definitely be stopping by so you should always be prepared to entertain. This doesn’t have to be difficult. Just keep a few of the below on hand and you will never be caught off guard!!
Big T Crab Dip – this dip is dynamite. We are super picky about crab dip, living on the coast, and this dip does not disappoint. Try the jalapeno version too – perfect kick!
An Assortment of Cheese – Trader Joe’s has the most delicious cheese on the planet and their prices are unbeatable. You can’t go wrong with any of them, but these are some of my favs – Cranberry Chevre Goat Cheese, St. Illtyd Cheddar with Garlic White Wine & Parsley, Unexpected Cheddar, a Manchego, a Blue and a Gruyere.
Charcuterie – Whatever you like is fine. I happen to like capocollo, prosciutto and salami. You can find these at your local Harris Teeter or, Trader Joes
Nuts, Pretzels, etc. – In my family, we go for cashews and peanut butter filled pretzels but any will do. If you are feeling spunky, grab wasabi peas or Marcona almonds (SO GOOD).
Sweets – Always a good idea to have something sweet. I LOVE the candied walnuts and peppermint pretzels from Trader Joes.
Pimento Cheese – Or a hummus. Here in the south, pimento cheese is king! I LOVE My Three Sons spicy white cheddar!!
Alcohol – Dear Lord, please do not forget to stock your bar at Christmas time. White & Red wine, Prosecco, Vodka and a Whiskey should do. Plus soda, tonic, cranberry and beer.
Let’s get to what will surely be the last full week of cooking for a while! Meal Plan for the week of 12/16!
Wednesday, December 19th – One Pot 30 Minute Zoodles and Meatballs – I thought about just putting down “lean cuisine of your choice” for this day but decided against it when I stumbled across this beauty. Store bought sauce, check. Store bought (frozen) meatballs, check. You can even purchase spiralized zucchini. Hands on prep time for this dish is five minutes. FIVE!!!
How many of you are done with your Xmas shopping? Not me – no where close. Most years I’m pretty good about making a list, with everyone I need to buy for, and then inserting the purchased item next to the name. This way I have a chance at gifting the correct gift. I can’t keep it all straight without a list. Don’t tell my husband but I think I’m over spending!!!! I’m blaming someone other than myself. Not to mention, this year my kids have asked for some random things and it’s throwing me for a loop. For some odd reason the only Christmas magazine that made it into my mailbox was the Hammacher Schlemmer magazine. Now, nothing against this magazine as it has many, many “unexpected” items to choose from but none that I have ever heard of. The Bunyanesque Backpack for example. I was sure Regs had misspelled this item so you can imagine my confusion. And then I finally located this interesting backpack and can’t imagine why one would need such a thing, especially Regan? What in God’s name do you put in there?
What else did she put down? A “speaking Zoltan” toy, a marshmallow blaster and a $145 “Mickey through the Years” rotating watch. We need a Target magazine in our house stat. Then the other child wants every tacky piece of clothing that exists on the market. Short with sequins – she wants it. Any shirt with “You Got This Girl” – she wants it. And then of course make-up, a phone, fuzzy boots, and an Ipad. She is nine. So basically, neither of my girls are getting anything they have written to Santa for. I feel for both of them but there is no way my nine year old is wearing make-up and you couldn’t pay me to purchase that gold body bag pictured above. What are they getting you ask? Well, below are my suggested, appropriate and usable, items to gift a nine to ten year old girl or boy:
Amazon Fire 10 – Kids Edition – I’m big on Amazon products. First of all, if this breaks it’s not the end of the world as it didn’t cost $800 – I got my two bundled for under $300!! Second, it comes pre-loaded with an endless array of APPROPRIATE books, magazines, games, TV shows and movies. Win win as I don’t need them asking me to purchase an app or game every two minutes.
Droid Inventor Kit from @littlebits – I stumbled upon this site this year and I’m in love. Regan is really into coding and building robots so this is perfect. And they have a ton for all age groups.
Slippers – my girls love slippers and Target has the cutest Cat & Jack options online. I even went as far as to purchase Av’s the gold sparkly ones. Between the slippers and the glitter fire case, I hope her tween needs are satiated.
Legos – they don’t always ask for Legos but as soon as they receive they spend hours putting them together. We purchased the Harry Potter set which should be really cool – and require hours of their focus!!!
Floor Chair – This could fall into the “unexpected” category but Ava put this in all caps on her list. I could view this as a warning sign she’s watching too much TV but I’m going to pretend like I didn’t type that and move on….
Fitbit – I struggled with this purchase as I don’t really think it’s necessary and Ava didn’t ask for it. She asked for a telephone watch but the reviews are awful and my current cell phone carrier doesn’t support any of the kids versions. So I’m kind of just hoping this will fly.
Stocking Stuffers – socks, underwear, toothbrush, deodorant, a book…..things they need anyway.
That about does it! Hopefully by the time 12/25 rolls around R & A will have forgotten they asked Santa for the most random gifts of 2018!!
Tip of the Week – To say “thank you.” It’s hard to believe but this month will mark four months since I started down this blogging path. I had no clue what I was doing and quite honestly, still don’t really know what I am doing. I hope my weekly visit to your inbox has encouraged you to meal plan, and home shop, so you have more time to cook, eat and enjoy your “you” time for whatever purpose that may be. There is still much to be done. Over the next four months I hope to find time to organize the linked recipes, so you can search by food type, and not have to scroll down past all of my yackity yacking. I also hope to start sharing some of my own recipes – just need to figure out how to squeeze three more hours into a day. And who knows what else lies ahead. What started as three followers on Instagram has grown to close to 2000 and I am beyond thankful to all of you. You have allowed me to fulfill a passion I didn’t realize I was so in need of filling. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!
Classic Tacos – Monday, December 10th – Today is Ava’s birthday!!! My baby is 9. Bananas. Avs is my foodie child. She will try anything I put in front of her and prefers salads to French fries. She LOVES tacos so tonight, it’s “Taco Tuesday”….except it’s Monday. When we do tacos in the Duffy dome, we go classic taco style all the way – hard shells only. Since I’m trying to be calorie conscience I will make my tacos more of a salad and crunch up some of the hard shell. You can also sub ground turkey for beef, add a can of black beans, use greek yogurt in place of sour cream and half the cheese!!
Roasted Herbed Beef Tips – Wednesday, December 12th – This recipe calls for sirloin which is super inexpensive. I like my beef rare – like rare rare – almost still mooing rare, so I will pull my tips out well before the 30 minute instruction. Thinking I will check at 10 minutes. Serve this with a side salad.
Easy Shredded Harissa Chicken – Thursday, December 13th – Yum, Yum, Yummy Yum. I’m throwing all kinds of flavors at you this week!!! You can cook this in the crocker or the instant pot. I will serve with basmati rice and cucumbers! You can purchase tzatziki if you aren’t in the mood to make your own!!
Grilled Chicken Salad with Strawberries – Friday, December 14th – I think I’ve shared this one with you before? Maybe? I could go back and check but I really want to incorporate this into my meal plan this week. Tonight the kids have a choral performance and a drama performance so zero time. I will cook the chicken on Thursday so it’s ready to go when we finally get home!
I’ve gone on too long this week – apologies!! Happy, healthy eating friends!!