This and that: November 2013

Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday Giveaway

Black Friday Giveaway
Are you a Black Friday Shopper?  Do you go out in the crowds or do you stay at home and shop via the internet?   Here is a great way to do some Black Friday shopping without spending a dime and you can do it all from the comfort of your home. 

I am so excited to be a part of this, with all these great bloggers, to bring you this wonderful giveaway.  I hope that this can make your Christmas so much brighter.
Good Luck

42 blogs are bringing you an amazing giveaway to get your holiday season underway! We're hoping to make the holiday season easier for one of our lucky readers, $500.00 worth of easier that is! 

The winner will be able to choose from an XBOX 360 Kinect Nike+ Bundle, a Kindle Fire HD 8.9", or a KitchenAid 5 Quart Stand Mixer in the color of your choice! Oh and to top it all off, we're going to give you the difference in an Amazon gift card to make your grand prize total $500.00

For example, if you choose the Kindle Fire HD 8.9" as your prize, it's $229.00. 
$500.00-$229.00=$271 Amazon gift card. 
Amounts based on price at time of shipment.

Sounds like something you'd like to win, right? Well, without further rambling, on to the giveaway! Good luck!

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Foodie Friends Friday ~ Anything Goes Party

This week we are having an....
Anything Goes Party on Foodie Friends Friday
Bring anything... Recipes, Crafts, DIY, whatever you wants as Anything Goes..

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Fluster's Creative Muster Linky Party

I am so excited to be co-hosting with Robyn from Fluster Buster.  I can't wait to see what you will be bringing to the party this week.  I am also so excited that my Sheet Music Ornament got the most views.  I love making them and still have a couple more designs that I want to try before Christmas comes.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Glazed Carrots and Cranberries

I am not one for cooked carrots, fresh ~~ yes but not cooked.  I finally found a recipe that I can use for cooked carrots and they are so good and taste so fresh.. not mushy.  This is a perfect recipe to eat with Cornish Hen with Apricot Glaze and Wild Rice Dressing.  It gives your plate that pop of colour.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Hot Chocolate Ornaments

I saw these ornaments on Pinterest and thought that they would be a great way to give homemade hot chocolate mix to friends and family or even to drop off over at the neighbors...  I think it would be great to find a hot chocolate ornament hanging on my door or you can add it to the outside of your gift.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Let's Do Brunch with Foodie Friends Friday #foodiefriendsfriday

Last week on Foodie Friends Friday we did Thankgivin' Fixings ~ I hope that you got some wonderful ideas that will help you make your Thanksgiving great.
This week we are going to do Brunch.
I personally think this go right along with Thanksgiving Fixings as when you have company you need to make brunch too... So hope you stop by and get some great ideas and drop off one or two yourself.  I love brunch and can't wait to see what you will bring.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Crazy Ingredient Challenge ~ Gingerbread Spice and Onions

It is that time of the month... Crazy Ingredient Challenge.  If you haven't heard about this challenge we are given two ingredients to work with from Jutta of Hungry Little Girl and then on the 20th of the month we then show the world what recipe we made with these two ingredients.  Some of the past challenges were Broccoli and Pumpkin and Avocado and Caramel.  This is the fifth month and I have had so much fun with this challenge.  It makes me think outside of the box and cook or bake with ingredients I may have never thought of putting together.  If you would like to join our group there is a button at the bottom of this post that will take you to the page with the instructions and how to join.  Come and have fun with us... Bring on your creativity.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Sheet Music Ornaments Part Deux

eLast week I made some Sheet Music Ornaments that were shapes.  I took those ones over to Robyn's View to show off.   This week I made another design and I am bringing them to you.  The design that I have made this week would also make great Christmas cards too.. Instead of putting them on foam board you can use card stock.  I  think I may make some as cards as well as ornaments.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Baked Beans

I make baked beans often and then we eat them for days as it does make a big batch but they just get better.   The longer they sit, the better they taste.   These are easy to make as all you do is open cans and fry the bacon... One of these days I am going to make the beans first, instead of opening the cans.  I will let you know how that turns out.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Foodie Friends Friday ~ Thanksgiving Fixin's #foodiefriendsfriday

I am late today getting my post ready for our Foodie Friends Friday Party... This week we are having a Thanksgiving Fixin' Party.  I can't wait to see what you bring... Do you do traditional or untraditional Thanksgiving Dinners?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Sheet Music Ornaments

Christmas is coming and it is time to start making some tree ornaments.   Do you make your own ornaments?  I used to make an ornament for each of my nieces and nephews but have not made any for many years. I love Sheet Music Ornaments and last year I made a couple of them.....

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Good Nutrition Party at Foodie Friends Friday

I can 't believe that it is Thursday already... Where has the time gone? I know I haven't got anything accomplished so what have I been doing... Well I know what I am doing tonight.....

Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party
Novemeber is Good Nutrition Food month so bring over you best recipes that are good for you... 

Last Week's Highlights
Host Favorite...
Head over to the Daily Dish Magazine where you will see who's recipes where each of our favorite.  It is hard to pick only one... To be feature you must have a link back to Foodie Friends Friday or the host blog that you link up with... Just think next week your recipe just might be here....

My Host Favorite
I am a big pasta fan, although I don't eat it very much anymore as hubby doesn't like it.  So when I saw this 
recipe from Isabelle at Home for Lemon Pasta with Chicken and Pine Nuts, I feel in love.  Coming from Isabelle I know that this recipe is wonderful... I have made many of her recipes and I hope that I will be able to make it soon.. maybe for a potluck or when we have company as I know hubby won't say anything then.. is that bad of me :).
photo credit: Isabelle at home

Recipes that got the Most Clicks

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Pumpkin Chai Biscotti ~ #fillthecookiejar

It is time to Fill the Cookie Jar again.  Mine is getting down to the bottom, so it worked out perfect.  This  month's theme is Thanksgiving.  When I think of Thanksgiving, it is a time of being thankful... Can I be thankful that we don't have snow yet... Well I am, there is snow all around us but thankfully we have only received a small dusting but I do know that there is more to come.  Even though I am thankful that we don't have any snow, I am thankful of the season and the nature that is given to us.. the splendid colours of the fall with the dusting of snow.. Beautiful.

But .... I am getting a bit sidetracked as the snow and the seasons have nothing to do with cookies and I need to Fill the Cookie Jar.  This group was started by Cynthia from Feeding Big .  Each month we are given a theme and we can decide to accept this challenge or not.  As I said before this month theme is Thanksgiving.  When I think of Thanksgiving I think of turkey, dressing and all the fixing ~ Well I didn't think that would make a great cookie but pumpkin pie is a part of Thanksgiving and you need cranberries when you eat your turkey and that is something that I can work with.

I have always wanted to make biscotti and my BBF Marlene from Nosh My Way made some Cracked Pepper Chocolate Chunk Biscotti for one of the Fill the Cookie Jar months and it just made me want to make them even more.  I love biscotti and it is a cookie that is great for dipping either in tea, coffee or hot chocolate.  So, I decided this month I was going to make some with Pumpkin, Chai and Dried Cranberries... They turned out wonderful and every day they even taste better as they get crunchier and the flavours mesh together.  This recipe was adapted from a basic biscotti recipe that I found on

Pumpkin Chai Biscotti
adapted from 

1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 cup sugar ( I use Morena Pure Cane Sugar)
1 cup pumpkin
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour ( I used 1 1/4 cup white whole wheat and 2 cups white flour)
1 tbsp baking powder
1/8 cup spiced chai instant powder ( I used Dove Chocolate Discover Spiced Chai)
3/4 cup dried cranberries
coarse sugar (optional)

Salted Caramel Icing (optional)
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
In mixing bowl, mix together vegetable oil, eggs and sugar.  Add pumpkin and mix well.
In separate bowl mix flour, baking powder and chai powder.
Mix flour mixture into egg mixture until it makes a heavy dough.
Mix in cranberries
Divide dough into two piece and roll out on greased cookie sheet * to the length of the cookie sheet and about 5 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick
Sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown.
Once baked cool off slightly until you are able to cut.  Cut crosswise into 1/2 inch slices.  Places slices back on cookie sheet cut side up.
Place bake in oven and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes each side, until lightly toasted.
Once toasted, cool.
While cookies are cooling make Salted Caramel Icing:
In sauce pan melt butter, add milk and brown sugar and bring to boil.  Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat
Add vanilla and icing sugar and mix well.
Drizzle over top of cookies.

Enjoy with a cup of Chai Tea
Writer's Notes:
* I used my baking mats and the cookies stuck slightly to it... I just needed to use a spatula.  Next time I will try parchment paper or a greased cookie sheet to see if it makes any difference.
~ my cookies weren't that hard.  I am thinking after the initial baking it would be better to lower the temperature and leave them in the oven longer or let them dry slightly in the oven when turned off.  Anyone have any suggestions?  They still tasted good but weren't as crunchy as the biscotti I have bought. Everyone that tried them at work said they were good.

Last month I Filled the Cookie Jar with Cobweb Cookies (AKA Lace Cookies).

If you would like to join our group, head over to Feeding Big and fill out  this form.

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LINKS: In and Out of the KitchenFoodies & Crafties Soirée

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Cornish Hen with Apricot Glaze and Wild Rice Dressing

Thanksgiving is coming soon and I am not sure if you are like me but a turkey sometimes seems like to much to cook, especially if there is only two for dinner like at our house.  My husband isn't a big fan of roast turkey as he thinks it is too dry.  So often I will make Cornish Hens, you can make as many as you want or as few as you want.  I have made half of this recipe and only had 2 hens and I have double the recipe when I have company.  Cornish hens arranged on a platter always looks nice.

Cornish Hen with Apricot Glaze and Wild Rice Dressing

Recipe adapted slightly from Taste of Home 2007
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped onions (I usually use a little bit more and use red onions)
6 tbsp butter, divided
1 cup cooked wild rice
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1 tbsp minced fresh parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper ( I don't always put this in)
4 Cornish hens
1/2 cup apricot preserves (I have used peach jelly for this too)
1 tbsp white vinegar

In a large skillet, saute mushrooms, pecans and onions in 4 tbsp butter until tender over medium heat.  Stir in rice, apricots, parsley, salt ,pepper and cayenne pepper.  Remove from heat.
Spoon about 3/4 cup of rice mixture into each hen, tie legs together with string.  Place hens on cooking rack, breast side up in baking dish or roasting pan.  Melt remaining butter and brush over top of each hen.
Bake at 350 degrees uncovered for 1-3/4 to 2 hours or until meat thermometer reads 180 for hens and 165 degrees for dressing.
While hens are cooking place apricot preserve and vinegar in small saucepan, cooking on medium heat until you can mix them together.  When hens are done, brush apricot mixture over the top and sides of hens and bake 15 minutes longer. 

Thanksgiving Dinner
Cornish Hen with Wild Rice Dressing
Pretzel Salad
Glazed Carrots with Dried Cranberries
Finished Hen

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LINKED: Tuesday Tasting, Foodie & Crafts Soiree, Thanksgiving Meal Planning ~ entrees
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