Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Very Merry Christmas in Texas

Shortly after returning from our ski trip, it was time to celebrate Christmas in Abilene. My mom had the entire house decorated for Christmas- lots of greenery, snow men, Santa, nativity sets, and of course, the beautiful tree. My Aunt Lisa came to help us celebrate, which made it even better!

In keeping with our family tradition, we always open one present on Christmas Eve. And that one present happens to be pajamas- matching pajamas that is. We opened them up and posed for family pictures.

Even though Sarah couldn’t be with us, she still had her Christmas Eve present to open!

We woke up Christmas morning and opened the rest of our presents! I got a magic bullet, some new tennis shoes, a new camera, and a new recipe book called “Hello Cupcake.” I love the cupcake book!

For Christmas Day, we ate, played games, watched tv, played more games, took naps, and relaxed. It was the perfect way to spend the day.

Ivy got some new bobos and a stocking with a toy candy cane! Santa was very good to her, even though I'm not too sure about how good she was this year . . .

Another family tradition, involves a family recipe- my MaMa’s Buttermilk Pie. When I was younger, she taught me how to make it and it’s been requested at Moore Family Get-Togethers ever since. Sometimes, my brother even requests it for his birthday! If you’ve never had it, it’s worth a try. It’s a little bit like a custard, but still there is really nothing quite like it!

My MaMa’s Buttermilk Pie

1 (9 inch) pie crust, unbaked (MUST be homemade)
½ cup butter, melted
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk
3 rounded tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all ingredients. Pour in pie crust and bake in moderate over (350 degrees) until set, usually 45 minutes- 1 hour.

Ivy had a great time at my parents. Plenty of people to entertain her and lots to do (lots of ways to get in trouble!).

Amy and Rocky stopped by on Thursday night to hang out with the family. We had a great time catching up and talking about Baby McAdams!
Our Christmas was fabulous! And we're hoping that your Christmas was very Merry and filled with celebration, good food, and thoughts about what this special time is really all about!

On Friday, we drove to East Texas to celebrate with the rest of our family. We celebrated the Moore Christmas on Saturday- good food and good company. It was even better because my cousin, Tabitha, was home for the holidays from Ecuador! We had a great time catching up and she showed us all her pictures from the past few months. She has a blog where you can follow her adventures in Ecuador!

On Sunday, we celebrated the Walker Christmas. More delicious food! Then, we decided to try out one of the recipes from the cupcake book! We decided to do the ornaments since it was our first try and we were celebrating Christmas. Everyone participated and I think we did a pretty good job.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Break in Breckenridge

As an early Christmas present, the Moore family headed to Breckenridge for some snow, skiing, and relaxation. The great thing about the trip is that we all got to spend time together, including Ethan’s fiancĂ© Sarah!

We met up in Denver and then, drove together to Breckenridge. Our condo was right on the mountain, so we were super close to the slopes and restaurants!

The first day we hit the slopes, it was pretty nice- good snow and good weather. The next few days were still good snow, but it was ridiculously cold! In the negatives cold! We bundled up and covered up. Most days, we didn’t have a speck of skin showing while we skied. We even had to get toe and hand warmers to put in our boots and gloves! It was COLD!

While we were there, Ethan celebrated his 25th birthday! We had cake and went out for a nice dinner! What a great way to spend a birthday! Happy 2-5, little bro!

Also, while we were in town, we noticed that there was some sort of snow sculpture competition going on amongst all the local stores. Sarah and I decided to commemorate the event by taking a picture together with all the snow sculptures. Which is your favorite?!?!

It was a beautiful mountain and we had a fabulous time! My mom is not much of a skier, but she is one great cook. Everyday, we came back to the condo for lunch and she has some delicious soup or chili and hot chocolate and brownies waiting for us. It was the royal treatment. We came in at lunch warmed up, had a delicious meal, and headed back out into the freezing cold for an afternoon of skiing! It was definitely ideal!

the view from our condo

the mountains

After 4 days of skiing, Jeremy and I were ready to get home and see Ivy. We had such a fabulous time skiing, playing games, cooking, watching movies, and hanging out with our wonderful family.

We couldn't resist taking a pic with this sign (Jeremy's mom's name)

Thanks, Mom and Dad for the perfect Christmas gift! To see the rest of our pics, click here!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Chili Weather

It’s finally starting to get a little cooler. I realize that in most places in the country, the cool, crisp weather starts in fall- maybe late October, early November. But not in OKC. It’s nearing mid- December and the cool weather is just beginning. I don’t mind too much, since the cold can be unpleasant, but I do love to eat chili to warm up! And it can be hard to eat chili when the temperature is hovering near 70! But we're finally headed down into the 40s and I think it's safe to break out the chili pot!

The real question with chili- beans or no beans? I don’t like too many beans in my chili- I’ll put half a can or so in the entire batch or I prefer none at all. This particular recipe is from our DC friend, Sam. He and Ali made this chili for me when we all lived in Nashville and I absolutely loved it. He generously shared the recipe and I have been making it ever since! Sam feels pretty strongly about minimal beans in chili!!!

Sam’s Awesome Chili

One set of instructions applies to one pound of meat, so for two pounds, double it. The only thing is the beans. Since I don’t like them, I only use half a can for the entire recipe of 4 lbs, but however much you use, be sure to use all the juice, for some reason that’s part of the recipe.

1 lb. ground sirloin (or ground turkey)
1 clove crushed garlic (large clove)
1 handful of onion (approx 1 cup)
1 can Campbell’s Tomato Soup (small standard can of condensed)
1 16 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp chili powder
salt and pepper to taste

Brown meant a pound at a time with enough olive oil to fill the bottom of the pan. Once it starts to brown, add the garlic, onion, and salt and pepper. Once the onions start to be translucent, add the chili powder and coat all the meat by mixing it up. Then, put that in a large pot with the Tomato Soup, crushed tomatoes, and beans.

Once you have all the meat cooked and everything is in your large pot, simmer for an hour. At this point, you can add any special ingredients you want. You can add a bottle of beer, preferably something that has some flavor and not Bud Light. Also, I heard that you can add a block of unsweetened dark chocolate and melt that in there. I sometimes like to mix it up and throw this that and the other in there . . . just as it simmers and you’re adding things, try the chili as you go and add whatever it needs . . . I add thing like more garlic, a lot more chili powder, salt, pepper, etc.

E's Notes:
  • I add beer or stock or the chili can be a little too thick.
  • As Sam said, definitely more chili powder, some cumin, and sometimes some chipotle seasoning. I like it a little spicy!
  • Use your favorite toppings- cheese, sour cream, onion, etc.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Cooking Time!

After taking some time to get unpacked and situated, I was really ready to get started in the kitchen. So it was finally time to break out the pots and pans and dust off the spatulas. It was my first night cooking in our new house with all our stuff!

I didn’t want to overdo it, so I went for something simple—one of the many versions of baked ziti (or penne). I used whole wheat penne pasta, turkey sausage, box of frozen spinach (thawed), Italian seasonings, and some tomato sauce product. I topped it off with some mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Baked it at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes. The great thing about this dish is that you can completely make it your own- add ground beef, omit spinach, add mushrooms- any thing goes!

Some garlic bread and a glass of wine- the perfect, easy dinner!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Getting Settled

It's kind of like that saying what goes up, must come down . . . what gets packed in a box must come out! Luckily, the moving company unloaded all of our things, but they don't open boxes, unwrap items, or put items away. It's a pretty big task!

We were very fortunate to have the help of my mom! Both Jeremy and I had important work events on Monday, so we were extremely grateful to her for being present while the movers unloaded and for staying for several days to help us unpack and organize.

Things went pretty well- better than I expected. We got most of the essentials done within the first two days and I can find most things without too much trouble!

At one point during all the unpacking, Ivy thought it would be fun to run out into our garage and hide under my car. She refused to come out. We let her stay out there for a few minutes and she couldn't resist coming back inside to "help" unpack!

The movers wrap everything and I mean everything in several sheets of paper. Here is a look at the stack of papers that we had and that's not even all of it! Can you believe it?!?!

Ivy is so happy to have the couch back! She wasted no time in getting to her favorite little perch on the back of the couch.