December 12, 2011

Weekend Recap - Holiday Preparations

This past weekend was one for the record books folks!
Friday, I received a special care package from my Padre...
The gift package was my Christmas present from the Fresh Lobster Company.

Meet Lucky (with the yellow rubberbands) & Ricky (in the green).
These beauties arrived at work roughly around 1pm on Friday along with their buddies, the clams. I named them Lucy & Ricky because Ricky kept trying to push Lucy off the table... 'He's got some 'splainin' to do....'
BF came over and we made a fabulous meal. This place sent the whole kit & kaboodle except the wine... literally!
They sent clam chowder, lobster, corn, and clams.
They were extremely tasty, even if they fought back a bit while I tried to eat them (I got some scratches on my hands from the shells)
Saturday morning, BF & I got up early and used my awesome gym. I've been meaning to be better about my work out schedule, but with the holidays, traveling, and work things have just been insane... but that could be me making excuses for not wanting to work out. It's always the same. I hate running and working out. When I was cheering and would do summer boot camps with Paul & Brian at All Star, they'd make us run around the complex and follow in their cars... I hated it, but it made me better, and made me feel better. The only work out I've ever really enjoyed is when I was tumbling. I worked at the gym to pay for my private lessons after our 2-3 hour practices. I miss tumbling... 
Anywho, got side tracked on memory lane.
But after an awesome workout, BF & I geared up for holiday shopping. We had some party gifts and family gifts to get before the holiday rush.
We also went grocery shopping as I needed to stock up to prepare for my little shindig on Wednesday. I'm having some friends over for a little cocktail party and secret Santa. I'll be sure to share a re-cap with recipes!
Saturday afternoon/evening I baked chocolate chip cookies (recipe below) to take into work and to share with my neighbors. I had already made my bourbon balls (recipe below). I just got all sorts of productive and made both a meat & veggie version of J.M.'s lasagna. I guiltily confess, I forgot the mozzarella cheese and was forced to use the sharp cheddar I had. To make the recipe veggie, I just split the sauce and put in artichoke hearts and mushrooms. BF is trying really hard to be 'healthier'. I also managed to get all my cards done for work (as I'm giving my presents out today as most people start their holidays next week).
Sunday, BF and I got up again to work out; it just feels so good to be healthy! After coming home to do laundry, he headed off to deliver his 'Christmas Girdinara' while I made the dough for my candy cane cookies (recipe below) and cleaned. I still need to do some more before my party, but things are shaping up.
Yesterday afternoon, we had BF's dad's family Christmas in Lombard. It was really nice and we watched the Bears game (even though, I don't really care about the sports aspect of spectating and the Bears failed in overtime... sorry BF, I prefer the social aspects :) ). Overall it was a great weekend!

I hope y'all had a great weekend as well! After all this baking, I think I've inspired myself to make Mexican wedding cakes as well.... I'll include that in a later post!

Cookie Recipes
Bourbon Balls
1 cup finely chopped vanilla wafers
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup confections' sugar
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 1/2 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa-optional

Combine all, optional roll dough in 1 tablespoon balls through additional confectioners' sugar. Store in air-tight tin.

Candy Cane Cookies
1 cup shortening
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoon almond
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon red food coloring (keep till end)

Divide dough in 1/2; put red coloring in 1/2; Blend well; place in two pieces of waxed paper; then, chill; after several hours, shape & bake at 350 degrees.

Nestle's Chocolate-Chip Cookies
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) butter (softened)
2 large eggs
2 cups (12 oz.) semi-sweet chips
1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Using tablespoon sizes, put on cookie sheet and back for 9-11 mins. Cool 2 mins

Jamie's Lasagna
1 lb. hamburger
1 tablespoon basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
16 oz. Tomato Sauce
2 6 oz. cans of Tomato Paste

Brown & drain beef. Add rest of ingredients. Simmer uncovered for 30 mins. Cook & drain 10 lasagna noodles.

You'll need roughly 2 cups mozzarella cheese.

Wet Mix:
2 eggs
1 cup parma cheese
1/2 tablespoon pepper
3 cups cottage cheese
2 tablespoon parsley flakes

Mix above in bowl separately. Then take 4 noodles in 13 x 9 x 2" pan & 1/2 meat mix & 1/2 other mix with 2 cups mozzarella cheese and repeat. Bake for 30-40 mins or until cheese is melted. let stand 10-15 mins before serving.

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