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Posted by on Feb 10, 2013 in Come Together | 0 comments

The Challenge!

Screen Shot 2013-01-26 at 4.26.00 PMI’ve been thinking about throwing down a challenge here for quite a while, and there’s no better time than birthday week (err…now that I haven’t posted for 2 weeks) month. You know “my thing” is store-bought remix so I’m asking YOU to share a time when you made something that you usually buy in a box. Leave a comment or drop off a link to a blog post.

For inspiration, check out the Bite this Book from Simple Bites. I LOVE this sentiment:

I think that the food system itself has taught us that we have no business making this stuff; we should just do the convenient thing and buy the boxes, bags, and containers they’ve prepared for us. … I always advise people to start with one or two foods that feel really exciting to them. If we start with the joy of it, and let our curiosity lead us to a few recipes, than often, those foods themselves will lead you to others, and the process happens on its own.

-Alana Chernila, The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making

We can do it!

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Posted by on Jan 26, 2013 in Come Together | 0 comments

Celebrate!

Screen Shot 2013-01-26 at 4.26.00 PM

This week, I’ll mark the second birthday of this blog. Let’s celebrate!

I missed the first birthday because I didn’t realize and the date passed me by. Blog, would you like a smash cake and some striped paper straws to make up for it?

I also recently racked up another accomplishment over here…200 posts! That doesn’t seem like many since I’ve technically had this ship running for 730 days, but I didn’t post as much when I was cooking the wee one. I just wasn’t that into it, ya’ll. BUT, the fever is back now (the blogging fever, that is!). And I’m ready to put on a party hat!

I’m going to go easy on myself (in new mother fashion) and post about Everyday Celebrations this week. That’s kind of my style anyway (see resolutions: 2011 / 2012). Let’s do this!

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Posted by on Dec 21, 2012 in Come Together | 0 comments

Mmmm…Christmas Breakfast

Christmas breakfast is ever the controversy at my house. Mr. J grew up eating pie for breakfast, and I grew up eating a smorgasbord of all the best of breakfast.

You might say, “Pie for breakfast…that sounds amazing!” Or you might be like me, and say, “Give me my awesome breakfast.” Story of the pie tradition goes…two young boys didn’t want to wait for breakfast on Christmas morning because there were presents to be unwrapped and Santa stuff to go through…duh. So, “Mom, can we please, please, please have something faster…how about pie?!” Ok, so I’m probably butchering the story, but I think that’s close. I’ve been around a long time (12 years), but not quite that long.

My mom puts out the red table cloth, a centerpiece, and the fancy Christmas china, and we dig in. These aren’t efforts to really be fancy-pants; it’s more about making the morning special. The menu isn’t necessarily set in stone from year to year, but it’s always delicious. One of my favorite dishes that usually makes an appearance is garlic cheese grits. We all know grits need a little dressing up. They’re kind of like the tofu of the South. We were inspired by some delicious grits eaten at Union Station hotel on an after-Christmas trip to Nashville when I was a kid (a tradition we used to have). Some minced garlic, shredded Cheddar cheese, and heavy cream are oh so delicious. Or you can take a short cut and get a little log (packaged like bulk sausage) in the refrigerated section at the grocery store…both are good!

So who will win this breakfast battle? Who knows? We’ll probably each do what we grew up and enjoy doing…or maybe we’ll start something new.

If you’re still planning your Christmas morning menu, here are a few links to recipe round-ups that have caught my eye.
Christmas Morning Breakfast Dishes from Farm Flavor
Christmas Breakfast and Brunch Ideas from Ezra Pound Cake
Easy Christmas Morning Breakfast Ideas from Plain Chicken

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Posted by on Dec 9, 2012 in Come Together | 0 comments

Holiday Party Foods Wish List

This week is party central for me. There is something going on every night, it seems. I’ve been trying to decide what dishes to bring. Here are a few of my ideas:

Photo credit

I really want to do a tray of bites: pickles, olives, cheese cubes or slices, slices of pepperoni or summer sausage, grapes, sections of citrus fruits, toasted nuts, fresh herb clippings for garnish…almost like an arrangement. I think it would be really pretty.

These sausage balls (again)

Something with puff pastry, as I have an extra box in my freezer

Stuffed mushrooms, like these or these

Something light, fresh, and beautiful, like Caprese skewers

Of course, it’s great to take sweet treats to parties, too. And wine, duh!

P.S. Don’t leave out the oft-forgotten specialty eaters: vegetarians, non-gluteners, sweet resistents (diabetics), and all of those allergics (like nuts and dairy).

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Posted by on Dec 2, 2012 in Come Together | 0 comments

Marinated Olives

1 large jar pimento-stuffed olives
1 tsp dried tarragon, crumbled
1 tsp dried marjoram, crumbled
2 T red wine vinegar
4 large garlic cloves, minced
olive oil to fill jar

Drain the olives. Return them to the jar and put in the herbs, garlic, and vinegar, and shake to distribute. Fill the jar with olive oil. Make sure no part of the olives are above the surface. Leave at room temperature for 36 hours, then refrigerate until needed. Marinate for a week (up to a month) for best results to let flavors meld before serving. These will store in the fridge for several months. The olive oil will solidify in the refrigerator but will be fine if you remove the jar and allow to come to room temperature before serving.

Add to salads. Serve as an appetizer. Gift as gifts in cute jars. Enjoy!

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Posted by on Nov 20, 2012 in Come Together | 0 comments

Holiday Meal Planning: Tips from My Mom

Two years ago for my birthday (it’s today), my mom gave me a spiral-bound notebook with her meal plan for Thanksgiving. It includes her shopping list, prep timeline, and recipes. She also included some of her favorite Thanksgiving memories It was such a perfect gift for me, and I treasure it!

Here’s one of my favorite excerpts:

“Thoughts: Clean refrigerator out a week ahead of time. Have plenty of space and empty containers [for leftovers]. I like to clean my oven as well! Gather serving platters, cloths, etc.” Here, here!

Now for the confession of the century — I’ve never cooked anything for Thanksgiving. My mom takes care of it all. I usually have to travel around to a few other dinners at my husband’s family so there isn’t a lot of time for me to be around cooking. I really hate this, and I hope I can change it stat! I may just make a mini Thanksgiving meal at my house sometime. The thought of all of the logistics thrills me!

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