Archive for December, 2011
Each year our Switch Creative Christmas party is hosted by the boss lady (Kimi) and her husband (Matt) and appropriately titled “Switchmas”. This was the 3rd annual Switchmas at their house. This year things were a bit different though. More people attended since we’ve grown a tad bit this year, there was a bar in Jones’ nursery/bedroom, and we feasted on Pei Wei in Chinese to go food boxes (my fav!) We’re usually stuffed with Kimi and Matt’s mouth watering home made lasagna and truffled mac’n'cheese, but Pei Wei was just as fun and filling!
We kicked off the party with a White Elephant gift exchange, which usually consists of a couple inappropriate or hilarious “gifts”. Jamie usually wins at bringing the weirdest/funniest/most controversial gifts. This year’s was pretty good. He framed some very awkward photos of some employees from a Switch photography project several years ago. They were golden.
After the White Elephant gift exchange, Kimi, Glen, and Matt usually hand out gifts to each employee. These aren’t just any generic gifts. They are very personalized and thoughtful gifts. I am always amazed by their gift-giving abilities. I wish I was that good at giving gifts. One year I received a gift certificate to a Spa (massage). Last year I got to choose a cooking class at Sur la Table (which then resulted in me making dozens and dozens of macaroons for the hoffice). This year I got this awesome camera with some film! I can’t wait to play with it! If anyone knows me they know I LOVE massages, cooking, and photography. See, told you they were good!
Thanksgiving has been a whirlwind the past couple years since being married. Last year we drove to Kansas and spent Thanksgiving with Brian’s grandma, grandpa, aunts & cousins. Brian’s sweet grandma passed away in February. So, this year things were a bit different for the holiday. It was the first time in 28 years my husband didn’t travel to Kansas for the holiday which, it was a bit surreal to him. My brother in law and his puppy, Troy stayed with us the night before Thanksgiving. Troy is also a Golden Retriever, but is way darker, leaner and much more “active” than George. Also, he jumps straight up in the air like a deer, which is pretty funny.
We gathered at my father in law’s house here in Dallas, along with 20 other family and friends from all over the country and DFW metroplex. It was sorta a potluck Thanksgiving. I brought as much as I could cook the days leading up to Thanksgiving, which consisted of: my aunt’s famous bacon wrapped green beans recipe, homemade cranberry sauce (first time making this and loved it!), honey butter (which I am now addicted to) & rolls, spinach salad with candied pecans & strawberries, and of course my go-to hors d’oeuvre of cream cheese drizzled with raspberry chipotle sauce & crackers. The honey butter was a huge hit. The Dallas Cowboys game was on as we filled our bellies and visited with family before returning home so we could get up at 3 am Friday morning to drive to Del Rio. That’s right…. not shop on Black Friday (which you’ll never find me doing) but driving.
It was dark and cold outside and we were loading the car by 3:30 am on Friday morning to head down to Del Rio (Texas border town) to my dad and uncle’s deer camp. It’s an 8 hour drive ONE-WAY. You better believe I stocked up on good books, magazines, and a few DVDs for the drive. We spent a few days down there “roughing” it and Brian hunted almost every chance he got. I’ll have a later post with photos from Deer Camp.
Here are some favorites from Thanksgiving in Dallas.
It was chilly enough outside to permit a fire. The Christmas tree was lit and candles were flickering around the house and also along the center of the dining room table in mason jars left over from our wedding almost 2 years ago. The homemade flower arrangements were set in their places on the table. It was the first time we’d gotten our wedding china out for our guests to enjoy on my great grandmother’s antique dining table set (it’s quite beautiful!). My mothers King Ranch and spinach casserole recipes were baking in the oven (both favorite recipes from my childhood.) *Recipes below!*
My friends slowly started arriving with warm smiles and bottles of wine tucked under their arms to enjoy with dinner. As the air filled with the aroma of dinner we stood around the kitchen snacking on hors d’ oeuvres (my grandmother’s famous corn dip recipe) and cream cheese drizzled with raspberry chipotle marinade. We ate a lot cheese that night.
As the hot casseroles came out of the oven, we formed an assembly line and passed dishes as we each loaded a heap of food from our designated station. We sat down for dinner and grabbed hands as Brian prayed for us before we dug in. It was then I realized the Lord had answered a prayer of mine. I’ve desired so much lately to host close friends in our home over a homemade meal followed by long conversation. The night was just that. We filled our bellies with good food, a four layer strawberry cake for Beth’s birthday, and sat around the table for another 3.5 hours laughing and sharing stories. I’m so grateful for our friendships. We’ve all been friends for almost 9 years! What a blessing. I hope to do this again soon.
KING RANCH CASSEROLE
Serves 6-8 in a (9×13) casserole dish
2 chicken breasts grilled and shredded
1 medium onion chopped
2 TB butter
1 can chopped green chilies
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
Approx. 1 cup (or soup can) chicken broth
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 package large flour tortillas (10 count)
1. Melt butter and soften the chopped onion in large pot.
2. Add the soups, add the broth in portions (make sure the mixture is not too thin), and green chilies.
3. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, ground cumin, and the shredded chicken to the soup mixture in the pot.
4. Grease a 9×13 dish. Layer with the bottom with tortillas (tear them to cover the surface completely).
5. Add a layer of half of the chicken mixture, then 1 cup of cheese. Repeat the layers again. (tortillas, soup mixture, and cheese).
6. Bake covered at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes until it bubbles.
7. Remove the foil the last 10 minutes.
8. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before cutting portions with a knife or pizza cutter.
You can serve with Charro Beans and a Salad. I made these charro beans 1.5 days prior and let them just simmer in the Crock Pot and they were ah-maz-ing.
SPINACH CASSEROLE (good with anything)
Serves about 6-7
2 pckg. frozen Chopped spinach
1 large pckg. Philadelphia cream cheese
1 stick butter (I use a little less than this)
½ small onion minced (I sauté them a little)
Pepperidge Farm Cornbread Stuffing
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder to taste.
1. Cook spinach as directed.
2. Melt butter with cream cheese.
3. Blend all ingredients and seasonings.
4. Place in casserole dish (or any oven safe dish) I use an oven safe pyrex glass bowl.
5. Top with the stuffing.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.