Monday, December 29, 2008

Liquid Diet Day One: White Cheddar Creams with Crispy Bacon Soup

I made this soup tonight for my injured husband. Once again, this recipe came from Sunday Soup. Another winner.

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine
12 ounces grated sharp white cheddar cheese
kosher salt
6 bacon slices, cut into 1 inch pieces and cooked until crisp
6 green onions, including 2 inches of green tops, coarsely chopped

1. Heat butter in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and saute until softened, for 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute more. Sprinkle flour over the mixture and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add the stock and half-and-half and bring mixture to a simmer.

2. Add the cayenne pepper and wine. Add the cheese, a little at a time, stirring until smooth after each addition. Taste soup and season with salt,as needed. Soup can be prepared 1 day ahead; cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat over medium heat.

3. To serve, ladle soup into 6 bowls and garnish each serving with bacon pieces and green onions.

Tomorrow, I am making Eggplant Parmesan Soup. This could be a LONG week in the soup department. Any suggestions? Please leave a comment!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Why You Shouldn't Play in a Family Basketball Game

Every Christmas, we spend a day at Tony's dad's house. All of the siblings' families get together and there is always a family basketball game. Those of us who are smart, no longer play. Today, there was one such game. It was my Meaghers (Tony, Tristan, Tyler and Kellen) against the other Meaghers (Granddad, Mike, Chris and Matt) Lets just say they all have the same competitive nature...
I believe that Granddad is getting ready to push Tony, but he would never admit it.

Luckily, no one ended up on the ground in this play.
Then out of nowhere, the injury happened. Chris ran into Tony and he took an elbow to the face. Turns out the mouth bleeds like crazy as does the punctured lip. Off to the emergency room we went. Two hours and 3 sets of stitches later we returned to the party. Tony got stitches in two places inside of his mouth and seven stitches on his lip. The worst part of everything is that he is on an all liquid diet until Friday. The New Year's diet has officially begun.
Please note that the orange on his face is iodine, not chicken wing sauce!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Eve Traditions

Every Christmas Eve, we attend the family service at church at 4 p.m. It was raining and the kids were thrilled to have their pictures taken.

When the service ends, we go through the Starbucks drive-thru. Gotta love not having to get out of the car.
I always get a Strawberry and Cream drink. I've never been one to drink coffee...that's probably a good thing!
After the Starbucks run, we go to my best friend's house (and my twins' godparents' house) They always have a huge party with family and close friends. It's always a good time and it's great for the kids to run around together. We track Santa...
And we open presents....
This year (and every year) the Godparents gave the twins the greatest gifts.
Suitcases with every thing that they need to spend the night at their Godparents' house...

A note to leave for mom and dad
A sleeping bag.
underwear and pajamas
and a toothbrush, a blockbuster gift card and candy. The twins LOVE the presents. I keep hearing the wheels of the suitcase as they travel back and forth throughout the house!
Then we leave the party and go home to get ready for bed. We write Santa a note.
Then all of the kids sign the note.
Then we gather in the living room to read the Christmas Story in the Bible. This is the second year that the twins have been able to read so everyone takes part in the reading of the story.
Then it's bedtime and time for Santa to get to work. Thankfully, Santa was ahead of the game this year and everything was wrapped and put together before Christmas Eve.
Six hours later, the craziness begins! More on that soon.
We hope everyone has a
P.S. Santa brought a monkey!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Annual Visit to Santa and the Train Garden

We took the twins to see Santa at Kenilworth Mall this afternoon. I think this is the worst Santa we have come across in 16 years. He barely spoke to the kids and when Ammy asked for a monkey, he didn't try to steer her towards a better present. Thanks Santa. You are really going to disappoint her this year!
Across from Santa's money pit, there is a beautiful train garden. We've been taking the twins to see the trains since they were first born.
There's the tornado from the Wizard of Oz.

Skiers flying down hill.
Planes and a landing strip.
A farm and a scene from a rodeo.
A baseball game.
Flying reindeer.

A burning house complete with firefighters.
And a harsh dose of reality. A funeral complete with a hearse.
We live in Baltimore after all.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's So Hard To Be The Little Sister

Allie had her 13th birthday party last night and she wouldn't let Ammy hang out with her and her friends. Ammy wrote this letter and gave it to Allie during the party. I grabbed it out of the trash can...I particularly like the picture of Allie with the "deval" horns.

We've got the holiday spirit working here.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Guess Who Came to Visit

Maggie went to the Dr. yesterday and she is doing well! Her x-rays looked good, but she has to remain off the broken leg for 4-6 weeks. Notice all the stickers on her walker. Since she owns it now, her mom let Maggie decorate it any way she wanted.

States Update: She has not received any mail from Oregon, Utah, South Dakota, North Dakota, Louisiana, Missouri, Alabama, Kentucky, Nebraska, Iowa, or New Hampshire.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Best Tomato Soup EVER!

Roasted Tomato Soup with Garlic Croutons
3 pounds plum tomatoes (about 18 medium tomatoes)
2 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 1/8 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more if needed
3/4 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup olive oil, plus extra for oiling the baking sheet
3 1/2 cups chicken stock, divided
Garlic Croutons
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil or flat-leaf parsley

1. Arrange an oven rack at center position and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Oil a heavy, rimmed baking sheet very generously with olive oil.

2. Halve tomatoes lengthwise and remove membranes, seeds, and stems. As you are preparing the tomatoes, place them cut-side down on a large plate or platter to drain.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the pepper, 1 1/8 teaspoons salt, and the rosemary. Add the garlic and 1/2 cup olive oil and whisk well to blend. Add the tomatoes to the bowl and toss well to coat. Marinate tomatoes for 15 minutes.

4. Arrange the tomatoes, cut sides up, on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle any remaining oil in the bowl over them.

5. Roast until tomatoes are softened and are browned on the bottoms and around the edges, for 50 to 60 minutes, watching carefully to prevent overcooking. Remove baking sheet from oven.

6. Place half of the tomatoes in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pour in 1 cup of the stock and pulse until pureed for about 1 minute.

7. Coarsely chop the remaining half of the tomatoes. In a medium, deep-sided saucepan, combine the chopped tomatoes, pureed tomato mixture, and remaining 2 1/2 cups chicken stock and bring just to a simmer over medium heat. (Don't worry about little bits of charred tomato pieces floating to the top-they add great flavor.) Taste soup and season with salt, as needed. (soup can be prepared 1 day ahead; cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat over medium heat.)

8. To serve, ladle soup into 4 bowls. Garnish each serving with some croutons and a sprinkle of basil or parsley.

Garlic Croutons
1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups bread crumbs (1/2-inch dice), made from good quality French baguette or country bread, crusts included
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic

1. In a medium, heavy skillet set over medium-high heat, heat the oil and butter until hot. Add the bread cubes and cook, stirring until light golden, for about 3 minutes. Add garlic, stir and cook for another 2 minutes until the bread is golden and crisp. Take care not to let the garlic bits burn. Remove from heat and set aside. Croutons can be prepared 4 hours ahead; cover loosely with foil and leave at room temperature.

Thought for the day: I saw these napkins and they made me laugh...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Maggie's Home

Maggie's surgery was successful and she is no longer in a full body cast!
Here she is with her new Baby Alive doll that she got after she had her surgery. Baby Alive is a lot cuter than she used to be!

Maggie leaving the hospital in a wheelchair--notice she's sitting up!

Maggie is getting around her house with a walker now and she gets her stitches out later this week. Please keep the letters coming. She's loving getting all the mail! She received a letter from Santa yesterday along with a card from Martinique. I will find out what states she still needs the next time I speak with her mom.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holiday Traditions

One of the traditions that we have as a family is to go to Valley View Farms in December. Every year, each person picks out an ornament for the tree, we go to dinner and then we find the "perfect" Christmas tree. Last Saturday night we headed out to Valley View--appropriately, it started to snow as we left the house.

The lights used to totally amaze the kids. Kellen and Ammy would wander around in awe. Now they touch every ornament that they can and try to drive us crazy by dropping a few. Miraculously, this year we made it home without a single broken ornament!

They have straw animals outside.

And almost 13 year olds next to the animals.
And a wishing well for the poor in Baltimore. Of course, Kellen was trying to figure out how to get to the cash inside.
Ammy's choice this year, a Boston Terrier.

Allie chose a field hockey player as she just finished her fall season.

Tristan chose a crab cage with a Maryland Blue Crab inside.

Kellen finally decided on Stan from South Park. We tried to change his mind, but he was having none of that.

Tyler chose another golf ornament this year.

Tony chose the Abominable Snowman.

The kids helped me pick out this dragonfly. It reminded them of my friend, Sienna, who passed away earlier this year. She loved dragonflies.

After dinner, we went looking for the "perfect" tree. Always a joy! It's always stinking cold and it takes forever to find the one we all agree on.
Finally, the perfect tree.

They tie it onto our car and off we go. Let the decorating begin.
Back soon with the tree decorating pictures...I've been a little busy. Check out what I've been working on non-stop for the past two weeks. Feel free to bid if you see something you like!
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