“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”
Omgoodness those Thanksgiving leftovers! They are always so good the way they are but sometimes it’s nice to change it up a bit!!
This is a fun and easy recipe and I even added some healthy ingredients to ease your holiday eating conscience! 🙂
You will need:
-Leftover Turkey (the breast works the best)
-Leftover mashed potatoes
-Spinach or any greens you have
-Ground black pepper
-Sliced cheese (I used Swiss)
-A good thick bread of your choice
*Now you could make this in a sandwich press or in the oven but I made it kind of “manually” lol and it was delicious!!
Warm up turkey, gravy, and mashed potatoes in the microwave (in separate bowls). Toast your bread. Spread a layer of mashed potatoes on each bread slice and then a layer of gravy on top of that. On the bottom slice put a layer of avocado slices. Lay your spinach or greens on top of the avocado, then add the turkey. Now spread a good layer of cranberry sauce over the turkey (in my opinion the cranberry sauce is the key ingredient of this sandwich…just makes the flavor pop!). Grind your preferred amount of pepper onto the sandwich. Add a layer of the sliced cheese. Place the other slice of bread on top, mashed potato side down and give it a little press! Firmly hold the sandwich down on the plate and cut in half. And there it is!!! Yum!!
This is such an easy dessert and so delicious! You will want to make it for every event! It’s also so pretty and a bit fancy! It will look like you spent hours on it!! I was inspired to create this recipe from a delicious peanut butter pie my sister-in-law Angie used to make. Enjoy! 🙂
You will need:
Creamy peanut butter and powdered sugar
2 large boxes instant chocolate pudding (I believe it’s the 5.1 oz)
2 large boxes instant vanilla pudding
Milk (to make pudding) **I have used almond milk but it doesn’t set the pudding as well. But it works!
1 large 16 oz tub of Cool Whip thawed
1 Hershey chocolate bar
A Trifle bowl and a vegetable peeler
In a small bowl put about 1/2 cup of peanut butter and start adding the powdered sugar a little at a time…use a fork or a whisk. The idea here is to create a crumble. The peanut butter will soak up the powdered sugar and it will almost look like granola, (it takes a little while) This is something I have never measured lol. You can add more peanut butter or the powdered sugar. You really can’t mess this up! And if you make too much it’s so yummy by itself! Put to the side.
Prepare both the chocolate and vanilla pudding according to box directions in separate bowls.
Now the fun begins!! 🙂
You can layer this in any order you’d like. I do recommend ending with cool whip.
I like to put a layer of the cool whip, crumble, vanilla pudding, cool whip, crumble, chocolate pudding, cool whip, crumble and in that order until I hit the top. Top off with cool whip and the remaining crumble. Take your Hershey bar and using a vegetable peeler create chocolate curls all over the top. Take the remaining chocolate blocks and arrange them in the center. If you prefer you can also put the chocolate curls throughout the layers. And really you could use any of your favorite candy in this recipe. Reese’s cups would be awesome!
Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight before serving.
When serving it scoops out like pudding so I would recommend serving in little dessert cups or bowls. Eating it straight out of the trifle bowl works too!! HAHA 🙂
I call this Good Grief Guacamole because that’s what you say when you taste it! 🙂
As most of my recipes this is super easy! And there are so many ways you can change it up and substitute ingredients when needed. I like to say there aren’t many rules in cooking or decorating or even entertaining because most of the time when you change things up it works out for the better! But, even if it doesn’t, you probably learned something…and that makes it all worth it! 🙂
You will need:
8-10 ripe Avocados
1 large red onion chopped
The juice of 2 limes and some zest
Approx 12 oz of medium fresh deli salsa (the reason I prefer this type is because it is not as “saucy” as normal salsas. You could also use a pico. It works great too! You can add more or less salsa to this recipe depending on your taste preference. If the salsa is watery you may want to pour off some of the excess liquid first)
Fresh Cilantro chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste (I like a lot of pepper!)
Prepare the avocados (peel and discard seed) and put into a large mixing bowl.
Add onion, lime juice, cilantro, and the zest. The zest of 1 lime is plenty but you can certainly put in more if you prefer.
Gently blend with a pastry blender or potato masher. (I like to leave the avocado a little chunky)
Add the salsa and salt and pepper to taste. I do not add salt but most of you will prefer it.
Gently stir it all together and transfer to a serving bowl.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 min. Serve within 4 hours to prevent discoloring.
Can be served with tortilla chips, pretzels, veggies etc. Awesome on sandwiches or in dips. Use your imagination!! ENJOY!!
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28
Every year it’s the same. I swear that THIS is the year I will start to downsize my Christmas decor. Especially after the 6th day of hauling it up and down the stairs and limping because my back and pretty much every joint in my body aches and I am completely sleep deprived (what’s new lol). After I have finally put up the 8th tree, hung the 100th piece of garland, and found that perfect spot for yet another snowman (I have never actually counted how many I have, probably best that way). I stand around staring at it all in all its glory, with chills running down my spine just marveling at its spectacular sentimental beauty and COMPLETELY forgetting all the misery leading up to this point. Kind of like giving birth…as soon as they hand you that beautiful baby all the pain goes away. 🙂
I realize I am getting older and soon downsizing will be the smart thing to do, but I am in denial. The thought of choosing from this collection what to keep and what to part with makes me so sad! I don’t know if I could choose! Literally every piece has meaning in some way. Either who gave it to me, who made it, where I was when I bought it, or the most meaningful, who handed it down to me.
When you walk around my house there is so much to take in. It takes a while! You almost need a tour guide! I always say…”If you see floor or wall when you decorate for a holiday you have not done your job!” So… when you enter my house you truly don’t know where to look first! If I had to pick a number, I would say it takes me approximately 6-8 full days to get everything decorated. Inside and out. I do get a little help on the outside. My husband just recently over the last couple seasons has taken a bit of an interest in it. **If you look on the reels section of my Instagram page you can watch a reel of my outside decor.
Everyone thinks I’m crazy. Especially my husband. I often feel bad during this time because it turns out to be a lot of work for him and my youngest child. Since she’s the only LUCKY one, lol, to still be at home they get the pleasure of hauling dozens of bins and boxes up and down the basement steps. I am lucky enough to have plenty of storage in my house. In fact, I have an entire room in my basement JUST for my Christmas decor. Then another room for all the other holidays. Fall comes pretty close to Christmas as for the amount of decor, so it takes up most of that room. Then I have another room just for entertaining items. Stoneware. dinnerware, serveware, and tablescape decor. Like I said my house was made for me! It was one of the many reasons I fell in love with it. So much really smart and well planned out storage. Including closets etc. But here’s the kicker…the more storage you have…the more you fill it!!! UGH!
I truly have tried to limit what I buy over the past 5 years or so. I only buy things I feel are just too special to pass up. Like something I’ve never seen or is just really unique. I WILL however still gladly take something someone made for me or wants to hand down. Just too meaningful. 🙂
When I walk around my house looking at it all, it makes me very emotional. All the things all the kids in my life have made for me, family heirlooms, decor I have had over 40 years… it’s all timeless. How do you let that go? I know as a Christian I should not glorify material things. I am quite sure I can’t take it with me! But…I have always said that when I get to Heaven, God will put me in charge of kids, food, and Holidays! 🙂
My hope of course is that I will hand it all down to my children. But ya know, their generation is much different than ours. Most of them struggle to buy their own home so they say…where will I put it? I totally understand that. That is another reason I have held on to it because I just CAN’T go drop it off at goodwill. I have to give it to someone who will love it the way I do.
Now I will admit, a lot of my decor doesn’t measure up to all the modern gorgeous styles you see everywhere you look. Most of what I display is what I describe as, “Sentimental-Whimsical-Vintage-Traditional” There are times when I feel very “out of style” or like I shouldn’t be sharing MY style or MY decor on my page because it doesn’t measure up to all the beautiful and latest out there. But then I will get a comment here and there that will make me realize there are others out there just like me, and they understand the love you can have for your collection, and it makes me feel a bit normal again LOL!
So, in-the-meantime, I will struggle with the hauling, the joint pain, the grumbling, the “Why do I do this?” the “Why do YOU do this?” the “You are crazy!” and the general craziness of it all! Because my heart can’t do it any other way. 🙂
**Stay tuned for my next article with tips on how to decorate for Christmas with very unusual affordable things you would never think of! Check out my Instagram page for the first post of the series on the subject! 🙂
“Enter His gates with Thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.” Psalm 100:4
Every year is the same as the last. I know Thanksgiving is coming but as it gets closer the same panic ensues thru me. It’s accompanied by excitement and just a sheer love of the holiday but the fear of not pulling it all together in time seems to always take over.
Although, I have to admit I have gotten much better over the years and in my “older” age of chilling a little more and just basically learning to suck it up and work around the challenges.. I have also in all my many years of entertaining learned what works and what doesn’t…and those of you who know me, know I LOVE to share my tips and knowledge! LOL!
Honestly, it took a lot of mess-ups and hard embarrassing lessons learned to come to where I am today. Hopefully, by me taking the time to share it all with you, it will save YOU all the blood sweat and tears and mistake making over your years of entertaining (although I will say the best ideas sometimes come out of the worst mistakes). 🙂
Usually, a few weeks before I stand in the middle of my house and say…”How in the WORLD am I going to pull this disaster together?”. My house is VERY lived in, to say the least. I have the usual clutter and scatter everywhere… bills and junk mail on my tables, shoes and coats lying around, toothpaste in every sink, cob webs hanging in the worst places, toys, unorganized drawers and cupboards, laundry piles in every room BUT the laundry room, all the usual suspects… and most definitely not an atmosphere for overnight guests or entertaining!
So, unless you are one of those people who are “super hero” organized you are probably in the same boat as me. I would like to share with you the things I do to prepare, that make it even POSSIBLE for me to pull off any event I host.
First, your planning cannot start far enough ahead of time. My motto is… “If it CAN be done ahead…DO IT!” Look at how much time most of us put into gift buying for Christmas…most start at least a month ahead. Yet when it comes to entertaining we start pulling it all together the week before…BIG mistake. I always envy those people who can pull an event together at the last minute…that’s not me! haha
4-6 weeks before Thanksgiving I like to think about the guest list and extend invitations. Most people have more than one place to visit for this holiday so you want to make it easier for them to schedule it all in. Once I have an idea of how many are coming then I can start really planning. I also become OBSESSED with cookbooks and cooking shows. Gets me motivated, inspired, and even more excited! And sometimes some great recipe ideas!
Lists…lists…lists!!! They are my life’s blood! I use them everyday of my life…and it’s not just because I’m getting older lol I have been using this system since high school. Every night before I go to bed I make a list for the next day of all that I want to accomplish. Now this doesn’t mean I will accomplish it all, but it gives me a “goal” sheet and a reminder of what I need to get done.
Approximately 3-4 weeks before my lists will begin. They get changed quite often, adjusted, and scribbled on throughout this process but it’s all for a great cause!**See? Piles of lists and scribbles lol 🙂 It works! (For me anyway :))
I have different categories I create lists for…
MENU- I list all that I would like to serve then after I have spoken with all my guests to find out what they are bringing I make adjustments and mark what I am responsible for making.
-GUEST LIST- this is very important if you have a larger group. Not only do you not want to forget anyone but when you do your tablesettings and seating you need an accurate number. I also separate this list by who will be attending dinner, who will be visiting later for dessert, and how many children for the children’s table.
-SHOPPING LIST- This is HUGE! There is nothing worse than going to cook the day of and realizing you forgot something at the store! This is not something you want to “wing”. I also like to shop early. No later than the Tuesday before. You need the extra time for getting the house ready and leeway for forgotten items. You also want to do as much food prep as possible. Shopping early allows you to have your refrigerator organized and have all your chopping and slicing etc. done and ready for cooking.
-TO DO- My tried and true favorite. This is my everyday list but I make a separate one when I entertain. I do a weekly “to do” up to the week before then it’s daily. The list you make for the Wednesday before is the most important. Your goal here is to be so organized by Thursday that everything just sails! Remember???…. “IF IT CAN BE DONE AHEAD.. DO IT!” EVERY single thing that CAN be done before Thursday SHOULD be done. It is truly a great way to be any kind of organized.
-TABLESETTING/BUFFET- Another crucial list especially if you have to create seating for more than what you use everyday. When you have a dining room that normally seats 6 and you decide to host 25 guests for Thanksgiving its going to take some planning and rearranging. Most of us don’t have one room that can seat this many so it will take some creativity to make things comfortable for your guests. Every home is different and I have always believed where there is a will there is a way and the more the merrier!!! Also included on this list is your buffet layout. I always feel better taking the time to do this one. It basically helps you day of, to set up your food in an organized quick way because you did all the thinking about it ahead of time. Think about where you will put beverages, desserts, food, etc. I like to keep these items separated. It makes things flow better. I usually have an area maybe in the dining room for adult beverages, and another area maybe in the kitchen for all other beverages, coffee, pop, etc. This will keep the kiddos away from the adult libations lol!
Now, these are the lists I prefer but you can always come up with categories that best fit what you need to accomplish.
A few weeks before when I can find the time I start to clean and organize the areas of the house that can’t be “re-messed” up before our big day. Maybe the guest bathroom cupboards, dusting down all the cobwebs, the frig, these types of tasks. Weekend before is when I do things like wipe down all the dining chairs, start to arrange things, even set all the tables if you have the room and can swing it, dust, put up any remaining decorations, do an inventory of dishes, flatware, glassware, etc. and make sure it’s freshly cleaned.
I personally could not pull this off without taking the Wednesday off before. I worship those who can. Maybe you should give me YOUR tips!! But, seriously that is the day I don’t leave the house! I get all the tables set, all my platters and serving utensils out and organized, bake all my pies, do all my food prep and have it in baggies ready to go, do a last inventory of ingredients and beverages, make sure all my place cards are written out and correct, check ice supply and make sure beverages are in frig and beverage areas are set up, clean the bathrooms, replace linens if I am having overnight guests, vacuum, set up turkey roaster and have all non perishable ingredients out on counter, do just a general straightening up and then threaten my family with bodily harm if they even think of touching ANYTHING! 🙂 No, Really….
Then there is the day of… if all goes well this will be stress free. I get up early and make a big pot of coffee, put on the cooking shows, (for some reason this calms me) and get started. I sometimes make an extra list if I have time of what I am cooking and in what order and I mark them off as I go. Just helps me along so I don’t get off track. Then when I get it all going I go get myself together and “beautified”… fluff up my special Thanksgiving apron, (Which by the way, I wear the same apron every year, stains and all!!) and get ready to get this party started! You will always have guests who come earlier than dinnertime so I like to be pulled together as early as possible.
It truly is the funniest thing… as soon as I get that meal served and everyone is situated and enjoying each other I literally feel the world lifted off my shoulders. It’s like when you give birth and you FINALLY push that baby out you get this huge sense of relief and you feel so relaxed (some of you may think that is a strange comparison!) 🙂 ..THAT’S all of a sudden when I don’t care about my house, cob webs, junk mail, toothpaste filled sinks, laundry piles, dust, dirt, or grime, I only care about looking around at happy faces, full bellies, laughter, love, and family and friends…..well, and the smell of pumpkin spice and turkey… And… all I feel is THANKFUL and it was ALL worth it. 🙂
Happy Thanksgiving to you all and I hope this helps you make YOUR “day of” a special, blessed, success! 🙂
Those who know me, know I am a “theme” crazy person. Whether it be a holiday, an era, or any subject imaginable, I love a good theme!
Now that we are in February and somewhat moving out of the “Winter” theme, it’s time to mix it with all the love and hearts of Valentine’s Day!!
***This is my Winter wreath magically turned into my Valentine’s wreath! So easy and what a beautiful way to repurpose!
I am presented with a large challenge this year. We just moved out of state AGAIN and I am up to my ears with boxes and cannot find half of my décor at the moment… but, I want to share with you, all that I did last year to hopefully inspire you to spread the Valentine Love in your home while I can’t.. for now!!
I always like to include the Winter décor theme with all my other themes in Jan, Feb, and part of March. The Winter tree stays with some new embellishments as well as the Winter mantel. Of course, the tablescape changes to the new theme but I like to leave the pine cones around as long as possible. I don’t know why but I love them 🙂
****Another little “find” at the Dollar store! And… my favorite Yankee Candle scents for February are Cherries on the Snow, Red Raspberry, Sparkling Cinnamon and Home for the Holidays.
Please remember if you are like me and love to redecorate regularly with different themes, that you DO NOT have to spend a lot. I like to shop those garage sales and Goodwill’s and the ever resourceful Dollar Stores! It’s not what something costs, it’s what it can bring to your theme/décor. I have at times added the BEST part of my tablescape or décor with something I found at the Dollar Store or Goodwill. For example… I will often get inspiration from just looking on the shelves at all the trinkets I find and it tends to lead me to some of my greatest creations. One year I found these adorable heart vases at a Dollar Store and I turned them into flatware holders! Then it seemed the whole tablescape just materialized around them. And… it cost a whole $6!!!! 🙂
And I also love to decorate with candy! All the adorable candy out for Valentines day with all the little sayings on them and all the bows and embellishments! Just look at how beautiful all the boxes of candy are for this holiday… easy and cheap décor.. and you can eat it too!!!!
****This is just my normal floral on my buffet that I have embellished for this theme at a whole cost of $1.50! I bought the items after Valentine’s Day at 80% off 🙂
And those of you who follow me know that one of my signatures is to decorate my beverage/wine glasses. And just about anything works!! One of my favorites is Mardi Gras beads…again, cheap and adorable!
Don’t forget the oldie but goodie doilies! Or the many choices of children’s Valentines that are great for many things, including place cards! And take a look at all your Christmas red. For example, I use my red napkins for Christmas AND Valentines Day and my green napkins for Christmas AND St. Patrick’s Day. It always helps when you buy things in solid colors then it makes everything interchangeable.
So c’mon ya’ll! Feel sorry for me and my temporary interruption of themed decorating and have a decorating explosion of Valentines hearts and flowers for ME!! And don’t forget, you can leave up your Valentine’s décor throughout the month of February.
I would love to see all of your creations of ANY theme so please tag me on Facebook or Instagram or send me your photos.. I may feature them on my blog! 🙂
Happy February.. Happy Valentine’s Day.. and Happy Decorating!!!!! XOXO
Here that time comes again, after New Years, that time you look around at all your Christmas décor and just sigh. Not only do you dread taking ALL those decorations down but it’s really kind of sad. At least for people like me it is. 🙂 You put so much work into it and it brings so much joy that you hate to see it go.
One year I looked around and I HATED how my house looked after all the holiday decorations were taken down and put away. It was so bare and empty and actually made me feel depressed. I felt like it lost all the warmth and love we had been enjoying for the last month. So I said…”Mmmmmmmmmmm… I can solve this.” And over the years I came up with a solution for my “Put Away the Christmas” blues.
** My Winter Mantel
I am one of those strange people who decorate for every holiday there is. In fact it always drove me crazy that I had nothing to decorate for from Christmas to Valentines Day. So, I took control of the calendar and created the “Winter” theme for poor neglected January!
It turned out to be one of my favorite themes of the year! It consists of pine, wood, bark, greens and browns, birds, snowflakes, snowmen, burlap, angels, cinnamon sticks, raffia and some pops of red. You can still burn all your pine candles! YEAH!! My Christmas tree turns into a “Winter” tree and then moves on to a Valentines tree in February and a St. Patty’s Day tree in March. Then, sadly gets put away for spring and Easter. (That’s another article 🙂 )
So, if you look out the window at all the snow and it just doesn’t feel natural to put away all that Holiday joy, consider “Winter”. The elves, reindeer, candy canes, mistletoe, stockings, and Santa will have to go, but all else can hang around for another month of warmth and happiness!
I LOVE carrots… any way shape or form. I love them roasted, in soups, and even just fresh. They are the epitome of “earthy”. So I rarely peel them. I buy organic carrots, wash them thoroughly and leave the skin on. I feel it makes them even better. So when we were forced to follow restricted diets in our house, I have had to slowly revamp our favorite holiday dishes… not an easy task. I was pretty happy with the results of changing my glazed carrot recipe and even though they aren’t perfect, they are much improved, and the flavor is still there. This recipe is lower in sugar, sodium, fat and calories than my original. But, don’t despair.. I will be posting my original recipes as well 🙂
You will need:
6-8 large organic carrots washed thoroughly, not peeled, cut into large chunks
1/2-1 cup water
1/4 cup Truvia sugar substitute
2 TBS olive oil
3 TBS unsalted butter
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 TBS organic honey
In a medium saucepan put carrots then all other ingredients, except reserve 1/2 c of water to add during cooking.
Cook covered on low to low/medium heat, stoves vary. You don’t want carrots to boil just simmer. At the 30 min point gently stir the carrots and if it looks like they need more water add some of your reserve. You don’t want them to get dry or they will stick or burn but you also don’t want them swimming lol you want them to get a little syrupy. Cook at same heat another 30 min checking and gently stirring periodically. Add more water when needed. The carrots will take 45-90 min to cook depending on your pan and stoves heat. They are done when you stick a fork in and the carrots are nice and soft. They will stay hot covered in the pan even off the heat while you take time to prepare other dishes for your meal. Stir well before serving and pour entire contents of pan into serving dish. You want all that good syrup in there 🙂**This is a pic of my original recipe. It’s a lot more syrupy but has more sodium, fat, sugar and calories. I will post my original soon 🙂
Serve with an added drizzle of olive oil and honey. Serves 6-8
**If you like more salt either use salted butter or add 1 tsp of salt to the other ingredients.
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If you are looking for a change from green bean casserole for the holidays I invite you to try this delicious and easy recipe. Now this doesn’t fall into my Healthy Selection category (AT ALL) but it IS for the Holidays when you make those little splurges. I have never been a fan of the good ol’ green bean casserole and this is what I have always made, and as far as I know, I haven’t had any complaints 🙂
You will need:
1 pkg. (includes 3 bags) Schwan’s Live Smart Microsteam Green Beans (you can also use fresh washed green beans)
6-8 slices Schwan’s Thick Sliced bacon thawed and cut into 1 inch pieces (you can use the whole package if you like more bacon)
1 c water to start- may need a little more throughout cooking
approx. 1 tsp fresh ground pepper up to 1-1/2 tsp if you like a little more pepper flavor
In a 5-7 quart pot, non-stick works best, on medium heat fry and stir bacon pieces until crispy. Remove from heat. Remove half the cooked bacon and set aside…you will use it for serving. Put all 3 bags of frozen green beans in pot and add the water. Yes, you will leave the bacon and bacon grease in the pot. Cover and cook on very low heat for at least an hour. I prefer 2 hours. Check and stir occasionally because you may need to add a little water at times and you want to mix those flavors around.
Beans should become a lighter green and limp but not mushy… then you will know they are done. Give them a gentle stir and transfer to a serving dish and garnish with remaining bacon. Can’t get easier than that!! 🙂 Makes approx. 10-12 servings
They are also great leftover and can be made ahead for large groups and warmed up to serve.