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Help Save Christmas!

27 Sep

CHRISTMAS!!!

ralphiegif

Yeah.  I said it.  Yes, I know it’s September.

BUT!!

BUT.  But…there is a really good reason for me bringing up Christmas so prematurely.  A fellow Pittsburgh blogger, Cassie, has something amazing brewing for Christmas this year!!  She is playing Santa for 3 families in need by raising money from a super awesome spinathon.  Yes, spinathon!  On November 10th.  How cool is that?  And also, by having people like me and you and us purchase items off of the Amazon Wishlist she’s compiled.  She is going to have everything shipped to her house until it’s time to make the big drop!

Who are we helping?

3 different families, from some of the poorest neighborhoods in Pittsburgh:

1.  A cancer patient with no family to speak of, no support system and no money.

2.  A single mom, working  hard but struggling in her minimum wage job to provide a good life for her daughter.

3.  A single mom with 3 kids – 2 of which have special needs.

How can YOU help give the gift of Christmas this season?

Just hop on over the Amazon Wishlist Cassie set up, it’s full of toys and essentials like cleaning supplies and paper products.  For less than $20, you can make someone else believe in miracles this year.  OR  Spin!  This is Cassie’s 2nd “spinathon” to raise money for an important cause.  Again, Joy To The Spinathon will be held on November 10th, 2013 in Harmar, PA.  Get your spin on for a cause or sponsor a spinner!

If you’ve never read Cassie’s blog before, I strongly suggest you pop over and say hello to her!

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Albuquerque In Our ♥

28 Dec

One of the benefits of having Spanish in-laws:  the food!

For Christmas Eve, the MIL came over and I attempted a little heritage-themed dinner.

She brought over her famous Spanish tortilla, which is primarily made from eggs & potatoes:

SpanishTortilla

My dish, however, ended up more Tex-Mex than Spanish.  So we had an Albuquerque themed Christmas Eve dinner. ♥

ChiliColoradoBurrito3

I’m thinking that they name this recipe “Smother Chili Colorado” because its got a cowboy feel to it.  Heavy, smoky flavors and not a lot of spice.

I started by throwing a pound and a half of dry-rubbed (ancho chili powder, salt, & garlic) beef tips into a crockpot.

Then, I added a full can of red enchilada sauce and let them cook on low for 7 hours.

They literally fell apart.

ColoradoBeef

About an hour before the meat timer was scheduled to go off, I made some cilantro-lime rice (recipe below):

CilantroLimeRice

And black beans cooked in cumin, coriander, salt and pepper:

SpicedBlackBeans

Once everything was finished, I just had to assemble the burritos,

RolledBurritos

smother them with the remaining enchilada sauce and shredded cheddar cheese.

BurritosTopped

Then, I set them to broil for around 7 minutes.

We served them with a side of our favorite red beans and rice.

¡Feliz navidad!

ChiliColoradoBurrito2

Christmas Cookie Exchange

27 Dec

I hope this blog post finds you still euphoric off of Christmas spirit!  I know I am!!

As I get older, I am becoming strangely fond of Christmas.

ChristmasTree

This year, I did something unprecedented.  I baked with a friend!

I know, what a silly thing to get excited about.  But, my kitchen is small and under construction most of the time, so it was nice to take my favorite hobby to a place where it could spread its holiday wings.

I decided to bring supplies for three recipes to the ♥butcher’s house.  Armed with six of our favorite Christmas cookie recipes, we toiled late into the night!

It paid off.

MacaroonsDone

SugarCookiesFinished

GingerbreadDone

ChocolateCrinklesFinished

EverythingCookiesFinished

The macaroons turned out great, considering I hadn’t tested the recipe before jumping in.  At the ♥butcher’s suggestion, we included the yolks in subsequent batches and found them much improved!  The sugar cookies were wonderful and so was his gingerbread.  I ended up icing mine with a cream cheese icing one I got home.  He also made chocolate crinkles (my favorite cookie of the night) and “everything cookies” with oats, currants, apricot and raisins just to name a few ingredients.

Not pictured are my snickerdoodles, which were a hit.  So much so that I hit the delete button on their pic by accident.

The night was a success, with both of us taking home giant boxes of cookies to share with our loved ones:

CookieBoxes1

I brought cookies with my everywhere for days!

A few that I took to open presents Christmas morning with her♥ family:

MyCookieTray

And some I mixed in with my mom’s assortment:

MyCookieTray2

Her peppermint candy cane cookies are seriously amazing.

 

What Christmas cookie traditions do you have?

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