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Sunday, November 29, 2009

My Christmas Wreath

Isn't it cute? I got the idea from Food Network magazine. They have a lot of cute wreaths in the latest issue, all made of food. I loved them all! I figured this one would be pretty inexpensive to make, so I thought I'd try it. Disclaimer: I am NOT crafty! This is why I wanted to do something cheap. I wasn't confident it would turn out right, but it was easy! To make it, you need a styrofoam ring, toothpicks and marshmallows. I used 3 bags of big marshmallows and about 1/4 of a bag of small marshmallows. I did have some fall off, so I glued those, but mostly the marshmallows are secured by the toothpicks. The syrofoam ring was about $5, and the marshmallows were on sale for $1/bag, so that was $9, plus another $2 for the ribbon and red berries. That makes the grand total $11. Not bad-and it's original. My neighbor, Keith, liked it so much, he ate one of the marshmallows...

So, my Thanksgiving was really nice. We went to my mother-in-law's house, like usual. She does the turkey, potatoes, and dressing and everyone else brings a side/sides to pass. I make a chocolate chip cheesecake, roasted maple squash, broccoli salad and bread. Everything turned out great, but I don't have a single picture. (forgot my camera) Besides, none of them are original recipes. The broccoli salad I've made for years, the cheesecake came from a Nestle cookbook. It is an old standby-always turns out perfectly. The roasted maple squash is from Ina Garten and the bread is from the book: Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. It was the rosemary flax baguette recipe. Anyway, the food was great as well as the company. We all had a lot of laughs.

This time of year is filled with parties for me. I may not have very many recipes for the whole month of December! I always host Christmas and always make pulled pork. I asked for requests for a new main course this year, but was asked to do the pulled pork that everyone looks forward to. I guess it's about tradition. So, we'll have pulled pork sandwiches, apple upside-down french toast casserole for breakfast, put out reindeer food, open new jammies on Christmas Eve, exchange dirty Santa gifts, play American Idol on the Wii, drink Jagermeister and Baileys, play board games and sing karaoke. This is what we always do, and I wouldn't change a thing! We have such a great time. Everyone looks forward to it. I really have the best family. Ever. What are your favorite family traditions?

xoxo

Melissa

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Who Can it Be, Now??

It's time to announce the winner of my giveaway. I wish I could give an apron to each and every one of you, but I can't. I know this is something that many of my friends and readers would LOVE to win, because, I assume that, those of you who read this, like to cook. Anyway, here's my old school way of choosing a winner. Everyone who left a comment and is either a follower or became one, got their name on a slip of paper. Even my mother, who is not ACTUALLY a follower, but I cut her a break because she gave birth to me and all, and she did leave a comment. ;o) If you signed up or already follow me on Twitter, I gave you another slip of paper. Lisa D., can you see your name in the bowl? I think I can see Mrs. G in the front, too.

I was trying to decide who would actually pick the name, since D. said I shouldn't do it myself, and at midnight, the only people awake in the house, are me and the dog. I was considering lining them up on the floor to see which one the dog would go to first, but, I worried about her eating the papers. I was stirring up the papers trying to make sure they were thoroughly mixed and one popped out. I stopped for a second and thought, maybe I should just choose the one that jumped out. Maybe the little guy jumped out on purpose! I figured that would be a fair thing to do. Now, that I've put all this thought and energy into the one who jumped out, I had to see who it was.

It says, "Karen Twitter", if you can't read my chicken scratch. Karen jumped out! Karen is a very special friend of mine, even though we've never met in real life. We met through ivillage on a message board. We both have four year old sons with birthdays in May. So, Karen, you are the winner!! You win the Dorothy apron in yellow from Carolyn's Kitchen! Karen has a yellow kitchen and her favorite color is yellow. I know about her kitchen because she is an amazing photographer and takes tons of pictures! Karen, when you get your apron, I expect to see lots of pics of you wearing it! Maybe you'll let me post one here? Thanks to everyone who entered, and I'm really sorry you couldn't all win. I will have another giveaway in December, though, so please try again! xoxo Melissa

Sunday, November 15, 2009

How to Follow Me

Part of the contest is to become one of my followers. That sounds rather cult-ish, doesn't it? I promise I'll be nice. :op To follow me, click on the button on the lower right that says, "Follow". Underneath that, it says, "with Google friend connect". Under that, it says, "Followers", with pictures of the people who follow my blog. Extra XOXO

Melissa

My Carolyn's Kitchen Apron <3

Just so you guys know what I actually look like when I'm cooking, here's a pic. I'm not sexy. The apron might be sexy, but me - I am unshowered, wearing sweats and no makeup. The apron does spruce up the outfit, though, don't you think? I did get a whistle when D saw me... (-: See the post below for a chance to win your own apron from Carolyn's Kitchen!! Men can enter too. This apron makes a GREAT gift for any woman in your life. Or you can wear it yourself, no judgement here! ;o)

xoxo

Melissa

Giveaway!!!

Giveaway From Carolyn's Kitchen!

I'm so excited! I've been waiting to announce this giveaway for months. I discovered these vintage inspired aprons when I was visiting the blog, At home with Vicki Bensinger and fell in love. I entered Vicki's contest, but didn't win, so I put one of the aprons on my birthday list. My mother-in-law bought me one! (Rock-n-Roll in hot pink to be specific) I loved it so much, I contacted Carolyn, of Carolyn's Kitchen, about doing a giveaway on my blog. She was so nice and emailed me back immediately. She is generously offering her Dorothy apron in yellow to the winner of my little contest.

To enter the contest, you must first be a follower of my blog. Second, go check out Carolyn's Kitchen's aprons, and leave me a comment telling me which apron you like best, and what you will do with it if you win. Will you keep it for yourself? Give it as a holiday gift? Give the apron as a hostess gift? If you follow me on Twitter, you will get another entry in the contest. Be sure to leave me a comment telling me that you are now following me on Twitter, though. Good luck! I will announce the winner, chosen randomly, next Sunday morning. That will be November 22nd.

xoxo Melissa

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The First Annual Foodbuzz Festival in Photos

I had an amazing time in San Francisco! Spectacular food, too much wine and really great people. I can't wait until next year's festival. We were given so many gifts, my suitcase would barely close and I had to carry on a bag containing a set of wine glasses and a set of beer glasses. I was a little intimidated at first, being in a strange city, not knowing my way around, but, the people of San Francisco were very kind and helpful. I stayed at the Marriott in Union Square. The staff there was amazing. They made me feel right at home and helped me with whatever I needed, including weighing my suitcase for me! Ha! I was worried I would be over the weight limit. I actually was by two pounds, but Delta let me slide.
I have much more to say, but being gone for four days has put me way behind in my work and my other responsibilities. I wanted to post something, though. Especially since I was mentioned in the Foodbuzz Festival program, for inspiring a cocktail. Actually, they misprinted the name of my blog as, "Cheese, Wine and Cheddar". Today Foodbuzz sent out an email with the correct name, (Cheese, Wine and Chocolate), and a link , so I wanted to have something from the festival up to share.

See? Melissa York of Cheese, Wine and Cheddar. I appreciate the recognition, but Cheese, Wine and Cheddar? Isn't that a bit redundant? Oh well, I forgive the people at Foodbuzz. They did a fantastic job organizing everything all weekend, and they did, make the correction. :o)
xoxo
Melissa

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Catch Up Post

I know it's been a while, (again) since I've posted. I've just been so busy! I could have done a post here or there about what's been going on in my life, but this is a food blog, and I figure nobody really cares about the day-to-day things that go on in my life. So, feel free to skip this post. It may end up pretty boring. Let's see.... The last time I posted was on the 18th of October, the day after my husband's birthday. Here is a picture of him:

No, I'm really serious. If they were to make a blow-up doll of my husband in his uniform, this is what it would look like. I wish I could have this guy in my house! He's so cool. I even tried to get one, but as far as I know, this is the only one and they use him for recruiting purposes. Like seeing this giant blow up doll will make you want to apply for a job.

And, just because I was so amused by this, here is a picture of Lola with her bone. She looks like she's smoking a cigar. I thought it was hilarious! We gave her this bone before we were going somewhere and this was how she looked as we were leaving the house. She didn't want to eat it, because she didn't earn it. I was feeling bad because we were leaving, so I gave it to her, but she usually finds the bone herself. Every night, we play a game with her that she absolutely LOVES! She waits in her kennel while we hide the bone. Then, we tell her to come and to find her bone and she just goes crazy running all over looking for it. Sometimes, she'll catch the scent and stop dead in her tracks. She's so good at it now, I've run out of places to hide it! She gets disappointed if we just give it to her. She's a really good dog. We really got a good fit for our family when we picked her.

Ok, so what's next? Well, my daughter turned 12 on the 23rd of October. She got an ipod Nano. Originally, to celebrate, she wanted to wait and take some friends to see the new Twilight movie coming out in November, but she ended up deciding to have a sleepover on Halloween. It was fun. We stayed up and watched the movie Orphan. Notice I said, "we", like I was party of the party! Ha! Anyway, the movie was ok. It had a different ending than I would've guessed.

Here she is:

Isn't she cute? Poor thing just got braces put on today. I know her mouth is sore. It will be worth it to have perfect teeth, though.

The day after my daughter's birthday, was my birthday, October 24th. I had a very nice day. It was a Saturday, so we had 2 soccer games. It was my youngest's last game. (4 years old) The coach gave them all a medal, then individual awards. My baby got the award for scoring the most goals! He was so proud. We all were!
We went to one of my favorite Mexican restaurants for dinner. It was delicious! I just love chile rellenos. I always get a combination plate of some sort, but chile rellenos has to be a part of it. I also had one shot of Patron. I love tequila, too. I want to make a basement bar decorated in a Mexican theme with lots of colors, maracas, sombreros and lots of different bottles of tequila. How fun would that be?! You would totally want to come hang out. Wouldn't you?
And, so I don't exclude my older son, his soccer team ended their season tied for first place! Not bad, not bad at all. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures. I planned on taking some that day, but it started to rain, so I put my beloved camera back in the car. I'd hate for anything to happen to it. Also, I don't have one single picture of him in his Halloween costume. He went out with a friend, and I didn't know it until he was gone! (Dad said he could go)
And now, for the small food portion of the post: For the Halloween parties at school, I made pumpkin muffins with cream cheese icing. I actually made some Halloween cut-out cookies with sprinkles the Wednesday before Halloween, for my youngest to take to school. I didn't take any pics, though. The muffin recipe can be found here. The cream cheese icing was NOT a hit for some of the fourth graders, I heard. They said it tasted weird. I think they're too used to the king of frosting that comes out of a can!! I know I've said it before, but I heart cream cheese icing. I thought the muffins were GREAT! I'd totally recommend the recipe. With or without the icing. Aren't the little skull and cross bones cute? I got them at Target.

Now, I'm getting ready for my trip to San Francisco. I leave Friday morning and come home Monday morning. I will have a lot to blog about, so stay tuned! Also, I have a really fun giveaway coming up! Don't miss it!

xoxo

Melissa