Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas already!

I have a head-start on Christmas. My husband surprised me on Saturday evening by cooking dinner for me. When I got home, this was waiting for me on the table.

He also decided I needed some pampering (I've been asking for a while now - hint hint) and gave me a gift card to Jeffrey Lamorte Salon for a pedicure. Wow, what a salon. I haven't had a pedicure in a couple years and this was sure a welcome sight:

I walked in, gave my name, and Lindsay was waiting to take me back to the throne. The chair was awesome. You could recline the seat if you wanted and have the massage and heat going at the same time. I selected my polish color and soaked my feet for about 10 minutes before the pampering began. It was an awesome gift and I'm glad my DH let me have the treat before Christmas!

Friday night was a get-together with some stitching friends. I do exchange gifts with a couple friends. Here's what I got from Debbie:

It's a pretty bookmark with an initial charm. It's very beautiful and I hate to hide it away in a book. For now, it's hanging on the tree. Speaking of trees, isn't mine pitiful?

We don't have a "real" tree. This was one I picked up a couple years ago. I lived in a two-story townhouse and there was a ledge at the top of the landing going up to the second floor. I used to put this tree on top of the ledge since the ceiling was so high and the living room area was open to the second floor. But now, this poor tree is so skinny and sad looking in the living room. I do love it though. There are little bird nests and birds and berries tucked in the branches. Maybe some day I'll have a larger tree. My favorite is a real one; the smell is wonderful and makes the house more "Christmas-y". Another gift from Debbie is a Starbuck's gift card. Some people may not appreciate a gift card but for me to buy a coffee at Starbuck's is a real splurge. I just won't spend the money on myself. But a gift card is a great present because I can enjoy the coffee without the guilt! Thanks, Deb!!!

Pam surprised me with a gift. Isn't this the cutest bag?

Inside the bag was a Bath & Body hand soap in one of my favorite Christmas scents, "Winter Candy Apple". The other part of my gift was a Pandora charm! I recently bought a Pandora-style bracelet with two beads. I am also known to travel everywhere with my coffee mug so Pam has added some fun to the bracelet!. Another great gift!

I am blessed beyond belief by my husband and friends. I pray you will be blessed also by your loved ones. Encourage the blessings by spreading your own Christmas cheer! Merry Christmas to all!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Turkey, Cranberries and Yum!

A few more weeks have come and gone and wow, it's December already! I love the fall and I think Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It's too bad that in this country we seem to go from Halloween to Christmas without much fanfare regarding Thanksgiving. Well, I did not succumb to the decorating rush and my Autumn decorations were left up until December 3rd in the shop. Yesterday I put new lights in the front window, added the greenery to the top of the shelves and today KathyM put up the Christmas tree. It still needs lights (might be able to do without them) but it has lots of ornaments and a cute, wintry tree skirt.

I want to extend a HUGE thank you to all of you that came out to the shop during November to help me celebrate the First Anniversary of Inspired Needle. What a fun month! I wish I could give prizes away every month....it is so much fun to see the surprised looks on your faces when you win. I did send out emails to my last two winners and I have a few more prizes to put in the mail. I got a bit behind when we went to PA last week but I am catching up!

It's too late now for you to use the following recipe, but save it for next year or maybe Christmas, if you have turkey for dinner. This is a recipe I got from a friend. I've made it several times and it is fabulous! It sounds a bit weird, but trust me, you'll make it again and again.

Turkey Wild Rice Pumpkin Soup

2 T butter
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 cups chicken or turkey broth
1 can (16 oz) solid pack pumpkin
2 cups (10 oz) cubed, cooked turkey
2 cups cooked wild rice
1 cup half and half
1 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Cook and stir butter, onions and celery in Dutch oven over medium heat until vegetables are crisp tender, about 5 minutes. Add broth and pumpkin. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in turkey, rice, half and half, salt and cinnamon. Heat to serving temperature; do not boil. Garnish with crumbled bacon, green onion and cheddar cheese. Makes 8 servings.

Now here's a recipe you can use from Thanksgiving all the way through Christmas! It's perfect for a pot luck; everyone will ask you for the recipe!

Apple Cranberry Dessert
(courtesy of KathyM)

3 cups sliced apples
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp lemon juice

Mix and put the above ingredients in a greased, oven-proof casserole dish.

1-1/2 cups oatmeal
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 to 1-1/2 cups chopped walnuts (quantity is your preference)

Combine topping ingredients and gently spoon on top of apple-cranberry mixture. Pour 1 stick melted butter on top of it all in the casserole dish.

Bake uncovered at 325 degrees for 1 hour until topping is browned and fruit is tender.

I don't have a picture of the above recipe, but I'm making it for a Holiday Party on the 18th. I'll try to snap a pic and add it later.

Have a great day!