Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Welcome back! I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas :) Ours was fantastic. We are so blessed and truly thankful for having everything we could possibly need. This Christmas was special for me - I have a brother in the Air Force who is stationed at Osan AFB in South Korea. He's 26 and attended college away from home but this was the first Christmas he hasn't been able to make it home and our first Christmas where we weren't all together.

My dad ended up making the journey to Korea to be with him (which is special in and of itself!) so my mom came to celebrate Christmas (her first without my dad since they were married) with us at our house. We had a great evening on Christmas Eve with dinner, presents and a surprise Skype session with my dad and brother :) compliment our traditional Christmas Eve dinner of shrimp, I made roasted garlic mashed potatoes and orange glazed carrots. Since I know some people are intimidated by roasting garlic, I thought I would share the process. ( I don't know why anyone would be intmidated by this - maybe because it sounds yummy?)

I started with three whole bulbs garlic.

and sliced the top off (leaving the root end intact to keep the garlic together)

I rubbed some olive oil into the cut end making sure it was totally covered.

I wrapped each bulb loosely in foil. One easy way to do this is by putting them in muffin tins and looosely covering but I guess my husband threw away all of our muffin tins. Hmm. I wonder why.


Bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes, remove from oven, unwrap and allow to cool enough to handle.

I don't know how it happend but a few of these warm, yummy cloves ended up in my mouth before they even hit the bowl...

There are so many things you can do with these - mash into some softened butter to use on garlic toast, add them to a salad or pasta, mash them directly on crusty bread...oh, the possibilites are endless!

I mashed mine in with a brick of softened cream cheese to add to my mashed potatoes.

I added a little fresh ground black pepper...this mixture by itself was so good and would have made a fantastic dip.

Oh yeah. This post was about mashed potatoes...I got kind of carried away with my garlic :)  I washed, peeled and diced about three pounds of potatoes. I know that Yukon Gold or Russet make the best mashed but this is ND. We're serious about our red potatoes.

Put your diced potatoes (about one inch pieces) in a large pot and add enough cold, salted water just to cover. Simmer until fork-tender, about 15 minutes.

Put drained, hot potatoes in a big bowl with cheese/garlic mixture, about 1 cup warm milk and 1/2 stick butter, softened.  Mix well.

I don't have any pictures of the finished product, mostly because they looked and smelled so good that we couldn't wait to eat them :)

I hope you all had a great Christmas. Do you have any traditional meals for Christmas Eve? 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Home Tour

I told you here about my feeble attempts at Christmas decor after taking a long break from holiday decor of any type.  Well, I'm happy to say that my house is now fully Christmafied! Take a look at what I've done - starting with adding some beautiful silver ornaments to my tree (above). I started with just red ornaments but man, the silver really makes it shine! I picked up a package that had three of the same finishes as my red ones - satin, mirror and GLITTER! (Oh, I love my glitter ornaments!)

I've got these jelly clings for my sidelite next to my front door (yes, my neighbors really are that close). What you can't tell from the pictures is that the clings are all glittery. These were the first decorations I put up - even before Thanksgiving - and they were the first thing my daughter noticed. She stood in the entryway for a long time just staring at them, she loves them so much!

This is a vintage paper mache Santa that my mom picked up for me at a thrift shop. I've dubbed it the "creepy Santa" because it just gives me the heebies. Once again though, my daughter loves him! I've got him on the wall at the foot of my stairs to our lower level and she will sit in the stairs and have full-on two-way conversations with  him. It really freaks me out!

We don't have a chimney or fireplace so we are going to leave out this "special key" for Santa on Christmas eve. My own little elf reminds me on almost a daily basis to leave it for Santa ;)

This is the vignette I mentioned in this post that needed something else. I remembered this topiary that I got on clearance a few years ago and although this spot is still far from perfect, for this year it will do!

If you couldn't tell, the vines spell J-O-Y :)

Here is my entryway from my kitchen/living areas and the three projects I wrote about here (snowflake art), here (NOEL sign) and here (ornament wreath).

This is another view of my entry I told you about here.

I love that amaryllis garland!

I love all the red and how it makes everything tie together!

I'm so happy with all the projects I've done and how my home looks this year. I see the happiness it brings to my little girl and even my Grinchy husband has been bitten by the bug (he turns on the Christmas lights because he likes them!).

What is your favorite part of decorating for the holidays? Do you do the same thing every year or do you try to change it up? Comment away - I can't wait to hear what you have to say!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Christmas Wreath

Well, it started out as a wreath anyway :) 

I saw this wreath in the Avon catalog a while back and loved it - but I'm more of a silver person and thought it would be so easy to make my own version. Besides, I wouldn't pay $20 bucks for it.

Using a lampshade and some glitter snowflake ornaments I got right to work.

I got two of these packages from Big Lots. They're so pretty but oh, the glitter...this is why I set out the big sheet of plastic before I started my project. It helped. A little.

I tore apart an old lampshade to get the metal ring from the bottom. I know, this was a perfectly good lampshade but I've never been a fan of that shape and it was a giveaway from my mother in-law so I figured what the heck. The ring was the right size for me.

I peeled the fabric off the ring...

...and started hot gluing the ornaments to it.

I just kept going.

I considered gluing them in circles going out but decided to go the other way.

This was so easy - from start to finish it took about 15 minutes. Cleaning up the glitter was the worst part and I'm still finding it in random places. 

It is so beautiful. I wish the pictures would really show how sparkly it is. What's the most simple Christmas project you've done this year? Leave a comment with a link if you've got a blog post - I would love to see!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Pottery Barn Inspired Noel

When I got the Pottery Barn Fall/Winter catalog a few months ago, I fell in love with this Noel wall art. I did not, however, love the price tag.

This was inspired by the Robert Indiana sculpture that is best known for the stamp that was issued by the USPS in 1973.

I was more inspired by the sculpture with its bold color and wanted that BIG graphic pop so I bought some 1.5 foot tall paper mache letters at Joann. (I had to wait until I had 50% off coupons - there was no way I could justify spending $10 each on them!)

I sprayed them a high-gloss red. (Cherry Red by Krylon)

Hot glued them together...

Got some help from my usual helper :)

They now live in my entry way. I love this so much and smile every time I walk past. I think I'm going to have to figure out something similar but more permanent for this spot. I love it!

This has been making the rounds in the blogosphere lately. I love seeing everyone's personal take on them!

DIY Ornament Wreath

Last year one of my favorite bloggers, Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick, made an ornament wreath. I loved it so much that I wanted to try it for myself. The instructions are pretty basic - string ornaments on to a wire hanger, shape and twist your ends together to hold. They biggest two pieces of advice Sarah had to offer were 1) hot glue the caps on to your ornaments and 2) use a thin wire because it will be easier to twist together when you're done.

I did glue the caps on the ornaments and I'm glad I did. I did miss one and when I started bending the hanger to form it into a wreath shape, it popped right off.

Here it is! This was super easy and I think I'll be picking up some more clearance ornaments at the end of this season to make lots of these next year!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Pasta Night - Part Two

A while back I shared my process for making awesome marinara. Today I'll show you how I switched up the recipe a bit to make a tasty non-chunky (pretty sure I just made that up!) tomato sauce.

Here are your basic ingredients. Hunt's Diced Tomatoes With Basil, Garlic and Oregano, an onion, garlic, olive oil, tomato paste and crushed red pepper. The only two items I've added to this recipe are sugar and a food processor.

Rough chop your onion and peel as much garlic as you like (not shown). Add to food processor.

Add red pepper to taste. In this batch I used about a half a teaspoon but it got to be a little spicy. I think a pinch to 1/8 teaspoon would probably be a little better

Add two cans of tomatoes.

Take picture of your adorable two year old helper :)

Add a drizzle of olive oil (maybe 2 tablespoons?) for richness and some sugar (maybe 1/4 cup?).

I like to add a whole can of tomato paste to really help this sauce thicken.

Run food processor until this mixture is smooth.

Transfer to a saucepan, simmer on medium-low for at least 10 minutes.


Add any noodles, some shredded parmesean and garlic toast and you've got a simple, tasty dinner!
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