Category: Lunch & Dinner

Soup for Days

So I’m not sure if you’ve gathered this about me based on some of my more recent posts (like White Chicken Chili, Loaded Baked Potato Soup, and My Favorite Chili Recipe Ever…buuuuuut I really like soup.

Like, I reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaly like soup.

Like I could eat soup every day and be totally happy with my life.

Although there are many soups I am quite fond of, for as long as I can remember, Matzo Ball Soup has always been one of my most favorites!. If you’re not familiar with Matzo Ball Soup, it’s essentially like a delicious chicken noodle soup, minus the noodles, plus matzo balls. Matzo, if you’re not familiar with it (which ,if you’re a child of the Rugrats generation, I find hard to believe – but ya never know) is an unleavened bread traditionally eaten by Jews during the week of Passover among other holidays, like Hanukkah!

Now, I don’t talk much about religion or faith – particularly on my blog. It’s  just one of those things, ya know? But, in sum, although some of my family is Jewish and actively practices the religion, I wasn’t raised to follow any particular religion. I was just raised with faith. We celebrated Christmas… and sometimes I lit a menorah. I participated in a few Passover Sedars in my time, I learned to write my name in Hebrew, and I know what L’shanah tovah means.

My husband is Catholic, our wedding was Catholic, our children will be Catholic, and I’m confident when I say that there will come a day where I will be Catholic. Regardless of my choice of religion, I’m proud of my Jewish heritage. (Some people have a hard time separating those two and understand the difference. That’s pretty much why I don’t talk about it.) Ultimately, though, the extent of my Judaism is my constant use of Oy Vey in everyday conversation, letting my friends know if they’ve got a schmutz on their face, and my ability to make a perfect pot of Matzoh Ball Soup.

Every good Jewish girl (or lover of Matzo Ball Soup) knows the key…is schmaltz. Schmaltz is chicken fat. Yuppers! Chicken fat. You cannot make a perfect pot of Matzo Ball Soup in a day. You make the stock ahead of time, chill it, and remove the fat from the top of the chilled stock. That fat is what makes Matzo Ball perfection. Here is my recipe for Matzo Ball Soup.

Matzo Ball Soup

For The Stock

  • 1 whole chicken, about 5 lbs, giblets removed
  • 4 cups of low sodium chicken broth (I always use part chicken broth and part water when I make my stock for soups. I think it gives it a much richer quality. If you’re ambitious and confident in your stock making abilities, you can use all water)
  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 yellow onions, quartered
  • 6 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 4 carrots, quartered
  • 4 stalks of celery, quartered
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • A big handful of fresh parsely
  • 2 tablespoons of salt, or to taste
  • 10-12 black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves

Put everything in a large stock pot and bring it up to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer gently for about an hour and a half to two hours – until the chicken is cooked through and shreds easily with a fork.

CAREFULLY remove the chicken from the pot and place it on a large cutting board (or something like it) to cool. Once cool, remove and discard the skin. Shred the meat with two forks and place in a container.

Strain the stock into a separate large stock pot. Let your stock cool to room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator to chill completely overnight. TIP: To cool your stock as quickly as possible to avoid the risk of any food born illnesses, one of my favorite tricks is to take an  empty 2 liter bottle and fill it 3/4 with water and freeze it. Use the frozen bottle to stir the stock to cool it faster from the inside, out!  

For the Soup

  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 5 carrots, sliced into coins
  • 5 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 cups of cooked chicken, shredded

Add all of the ingredients except the chicken to a large stock pot. Bring the heat up to a boil and reduce it to a simmer. Let simmer for 30 to 40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add the chicken during the last ten minutes of cook time to heat through.

For The Matzo Balls

  • 1 box Manischewitz® Reduced Sodium Matzo Ball mix (both packets) (yes, I use mix and not just Matzo Meal – it’s pretty much the same the mix just already has salt and baking soda added it it)
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons schmaltz (skimmed from the top of the chilled stock. it’s solid when chilled, so heat  it in the microwave for about 15 seconds to liquify)
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced parsley
  • 1 tablespoon of onion, grated fine on a microplane

Whisk the eggs, schmaltz, parsley, and onion together until combined. Add both packets of matzo ball mix and mix until just combined. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 minutes, but up to an hour is kosher (heh…get it…nevermind).

To cook the matzoh balls, bring a pot a chicken stock up to a boil. Reduce the heat to a slight simmer.

Moisten your hands with a bit of cold water (I like to keep a little bowl of it handy to keep the matzo mixture from sticking to me) and gently form the matzo balls in your hand.  They are deceiving and get much bigger once they start to soak up all of the liquid they are cooked in, so only make them about the size of a golf ball.

As you complete them, gently place the formed matzo balls into the simmering stock. Once all of the matzo balls are added cover the pot and let simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until they are cooked through.

To Serve

To serve, ladle the soup into soup bowl and top with matzo balls. I like to start with 3. Sprinkle with a little fresh parsley.

Eat with friends and family and enjoy.

mbs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday Sorta Spaghetti Carbonara

IT’S SATURDAY!!!!!!

Saturday is the best day of the week if you ask me! I know that during Football season many folks may disagree… buuuut I don’t care… because I love Saturday!! You can use it to do whatever you want. You can sleep as long (or as little) as you like. You can stay up however late you want (ya know…eleven…if you’re me) You can use the whole day to do whatever you please knowing that if you don’t get everything done you want to, there’s always Sunday!

Take today for example. Today was a particularly wonderful Saturday (and it’s not over yet!) After an evening of snuggling with the hubs and watching some season four of Archer I woke up fabulously rested right at 8:00am. I peeped out the window and I saw that it snowed last night. It was just a tiny dusting, but it was perfectly untouched and still flurrying a bit when I looked outside and it was a beautiful morning. I made myself one of my favorite  weekend breakfasts – a big bowl of banana oats with peanut butter and chocolate chips! While my oats cooked away on the stove top I woke up the hubs with a cup of coffee and made him his weekend scrambled eggs and toast. We enjoyed breakfast together before heading out to conquer the day! What is your favorite weekend breakfast?

We hit the gym at 10:30 and I enjoyed the launch of the newest BodyFlow class. We haven’t been members at this new gym for very long, but the I’m really loving this class! The two BodyFlow instructors are both fabulous!! I let them know I was pregnant and I just love that they both remembered and happily present me with the few modifications I need during class. (Mostly the stuff where you’re flat on your belly. I pretty much officially cannot do any of those poses any more. If I lift my arms and legs I feel like a weeble wobble!)

Johnny and I just ran a bunch of errands after the gym. We grabbed some lunch at Chipotle (RANDOM ASIDE: I really enjoy the food at Chipotle, and I love that’s it convenient and fairly healthy as well, but I really hate how it’s almost never hot!! Today I got a brown rice bowl with black beans, pinto beans, grilled veggies, and corn salsa and it was hardly warm at all! Does anyone else have this problem?), I finallllllllllly changed my name over on our bank account (1 year and 4 months after we got married), Johnny got a haircut and a new pair of glasses, we snagged a few things at Target (Like Divergent!! For only $8.00! I finished reading Orange is the New Black and decided it was about time I hopped onto the next big book train) and scoped out some baby gear before we start our registry, I bought some Turbie Twists at Bed Beth and Beyond because I love them and haven’t had them in forever, and finally we came home. (P.S. If you actually read all of that…HIGH FIVE! You rock!! I hadn’t intended for this to be such a marathon post. I hope the prospect of bacon kept you chugging along!) Time for dinner!!!

spaghetti carbonara

Now I’m not sure about you, but I’ve always been pretty iffy about Spaghetti Carbonara. Not iffy in the way most people are. I’ve never doubted that it would be delicious. Bacon, eggs, pasta, cheese. What is there NOT to like about it, right?? It’s not the technique that’s kept me away, though I know it’s  intimidating to some. I love a good kitchen challenge.

Restaurants are what make this dish iffy for me. I can honestly say that I have never ordered it off of a restaurant menu and I probably never will. So often it’s described as spaghetti in a “Parmesan cream sauce” with bacon or pancetta and either peas or tomatoes or…well…you get the idea.

Ex-squeeze me? Baking Powder? Parmesan cream sauce…isn’t that Alfredo sauce?? You are not serving me Spaghetti Carbonara. You are serving me Spaghetti Alfredo with bacon. If you like Alfredo sauce then, by all means, dig in and enjoy. Me? I’ll pass thank you. I decided it was time to make myself a delicious plate of Spaghetti Carbonara. One that I can trust and one that I can devour!

My version of Spaghetti Carbonara…is it “traditional” Spaghetti Carbonara.

Nope.

Purists believe that true, authentic Spaghetti Carbonara is just spaghetti with guanciale, eggs, and Parmesan or Pecorino cheese.

Most folks aren’t able to get their hands on cured pork jowls. Bacon – that’s realistic. Pancetta is delicious and perfectly acceptable, too. Authentic Carbonara wouldn’t have any veggies in it (mine does) because it was a peasant dish and they used what little they had to prepare it. I had bell peppers and spinach and I deem it necessary to never not have veggies with my dinner.

So no, this is NOT authentic Spaghetti Carbonara. But it’s certainly closer to traditional than any Carbonara with cream sauce you’ll ever come across!! And it’s effing delicious. So please, enjoy. 😀

Sorta Spaghetti Carbonara

  • 1/2 box spaghetti
  • 4 strips of bacon, diced
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese + more to taste
  • 1/2 of a small red onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • Black pepper to taste

Start by bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta to package directions until just shy of al dente. (While the pasta is cooking, scoop out about 1 cup of the pasta water and reserve it for later.)

Meanwhile, cook the diced bacon in a large skillet over medium high heat. When the bacon is crisp, remove it from the pan and allow it to drain on some paper towels.

Remove all but about 1/2 tablespoon of the bacon fat from the pan. Add the onions, garlic, and red bell pepper and let saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and the spinach to the pan and cook until the spinach is wilted. Add the cooked spaghetti to the pan, adding some reserved pasta water if it seems dry, and remove the pan from the heat. (This is the most important part!! This is the difference between creamy delicious spaghetti and scrambled eggs!!)

In a small bowl, whisk together the 2 eggs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and black pepper until very well combined. Add the egg mixture to the pan, tossing the pasta together constantly with a pair of tongs, until a sauce begins to form, adding more pasta water as necessary if it seems too thick.

Add the reserved bacon to the pan. Serve immediately topped with more Parmesan cheese and black pepper if you so desire…which you should… because they’re delicious.

extremmmmeee close up

 

 

Get Loaded

Howdy ya’ll!

Happy Tuesday!

Is it frrrrrrreeeeeeezing by you?? I can’t tell you how many screenshots of thermometer apps I’ve seen on Facebook today. We all know it’s 2 degrees out. I found it hard to believe that so many schools and businesses shut down today. So…. it’s a cold day instead of a snow day? Meh, whatevs! It’s probably only 7 degrees in my office (but that’s every day). Gosh, do I sound kind like a grump or what?! I guess I’m just jelly because I would have enjoyed a cold day, too. *sigh* In honor of these sub-zero (well…almost) temperatures today, I decided the best solution is to get loaded (baked potato soup)!!

Whhhatttt?!

Gosh. I know, I’m hilarious.

But seriously.

This Loaded Baked Potato Soup is awesome and pretttttttty foolproof. It’s even more foolproof if you have an immersion blender (thanks, Mom) but is still quite simple with a potato masher or regular blender. This soup is so think and rich that you’d never guess it’s actually quite lite!! I leave the skins on my potatoes, because that’s where all of the good stuff (ya know, nutrients and the like) are! If you don’t care for them, feel free to peel your potatoes. The topppings are what make this soup extra fun (if you read my recent chili post you know how I feel about toppings!) – I use bacon, cheddar, and green onions. If you dig sour cream – throw some of that on here, too. I’ve added steamed broccoli on top before, but I was fresh out when I made this last night. I’ve also added some frozen sweet potato chunks to the mix in the past, too. It makes the soup look extra cheddar cheesy without adding the extra cheese!. I didn’t have any of those last night either. But this soup is delicious no matter how you make it! Stay warm!

 

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

  • 5 russet potatoes, scrubbed clean, chopped into bit sized pieces
  • 1 28oz containter of low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 8oz block of nefchatel or reduced fat cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup nonfat milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Toppings: Cooked Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Green Onion, Sour Cream, Steamed Broccoli, or Whatever Else You Fancy!

Add the potatoes and the chicken broth to a large pot. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let cook for 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and mashable.

Remove the soup from the heat. Add the cream cheese, cheddar, garlic, salt, and pepper. With your weapon of choice (mine was my immersion blender) carefully puree your soup until all of the ingredients are combined to your desired consistency. I prefer this soup to be creamy, but if you want to leave in some chunks go ahead!

Return the soup to medium heat. Add the milk and stir well to incorporate.

Serve immediately with whatever toppings you like!
baked potato soup

Quincy was like “Daaaaad, is there any bacon left?!” He’s too cute sometimes! Quincy smells bacon

This Snow Sure is Chili

So how many of you East Coasters out there had a snow day today?!?

Lucky. You. 

I wish I could say the same. I was up extraaaaa early to make sure Johnny and I had enough time to scrape all of the ice and snow off the car and get to work on time. The roads weren’t too shabby this morning, though. Especially compared to last night! Yikes! Our usual 40 minutes commute took an additional hour. It was insane. I’ve been living in Central PA for almost four years now and they just never seem prepared for snow.

Oh well, ya know what I do when it snows?

Make cozy foods.

Like chili! And oatmeal!!

I don’t know how you feel about chili, but I effing love it.

Beef Chili. Chicken Chili. Turkey Chili. Green Chili. White Chili. Bean Chili. On a train. In the rain. You name it, I love it. It’s definitely up there as one of my most favorite foods of all time. One of the many delicious reasons I love chili so much is all of the fun ways you can serve it!! You can top it with cheese, cilantro, red onions, green onions, tortilla chips, sour cream (if you’re into that sort of thing), with cornbread, over rice, over spaghetti (Cincinnati style), on a baked potato, on french fries – the options are endless!! I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that I just love any food that I can customize and play with! On any given day I can mix up whatever pot of chili I’m feeling like and I can top it with whatever I have on hand and it’s like a party! But ya know…with just me…and chili….which sounds kind of lame but I swear is actually really exciting!

Johnny enjoys chili…but not the same way I do.  He thinks that I make too many “southwestern” inspired dishes. Boooooooo!! Chili powder, garlic, cumin, cayenne, chipotle. I go through these spices faster than anything else in my pantry. I can’t help myself. I’m so drawn to the smokey/spicy/sweet combination that so many southwestern dishes offer and chili is no exception and the best by far! I have tried many-a-different version of chili. This, of all my recipes, is my favorite. It’s not too complicated to make and the it’s the perfect combination of lean ground beef and beans with a hearty portion of peppers and onions, too. It’s even more appropriate for me these days (meaning “being pregnant” days) since it’s super important to make sure I’m getting enough iron and fiber – which this recipe is chock full of thanks to the beef and bean combo!! Johnny describes my chili as “weird – it’s spicy and sweet all at the same time!” Well, my love, that’s exactly what I was going for!  Here is the recipe!!

My Favorite Chili Recipe Ever

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 chipotle in adobo, minced (plus 1 tablespoon of the adobo the chipotles come in)
  • 3 heaping tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional Garnishes: Cilantro, Scallions, Avocado, Lime, Cheese, Sour Cream, Red Onion, Tortilla Chips

Begin by heating 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large pot over high heat. Add the peppers and onion and let them cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. They will start to char in some places from the high heat and this is exactly what you want!! Add the beef and garlic and continue to cook until the beef is brown. (If your using a less lean beef, you may want to stop and drain off some of the fat).

When the beef is brown,  lower the heat and add the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste to the pot. Make sure you scrape the bottom of the pan with your spoon or spatula to get up all of the good stuff from the bottom! Fill the crushed tomato can halfway with water, swirl it around to get out any extra tomato hanging out on the sides of the can, and add it to the pot. Add all off the spices and stir well to combine. Add the beans, stir, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour (or as long as you can patiently wait before digging in!).

Serve with whatever topping you like!

This time around I had cheese, avocado, red onion, and some tortilla chips for scooping….and it was perfection.

chili!Now did I mention something about oatmeal up there before? I seem to have gotten particularly excited about chili. Oh well! I love to enjoy a cozy bowl of oatmeal from time to time. Sometimes, though, I just don’t feel like standing over a pot in the morning to make myself a cozy bowl. The instant stuff just doesn’t do it for me anymore these days. I had some suuuuper ripe (like I had to use them up before the turned to mush) pears on hand this week and I whipped up a quick, healthy, and easy baked pear oatmeal for breakfast! If your New Year’s resolution is to watch you waistline this is a hearty recipe that will definitely tide you over until lunch (unless, maybe, you’re pregnant and find you’re eating everything in site…then you may want to have some clementines on hand to munch on the side…or maybe that’s just me…) Here is the recipe!

Baked Pear Oatmeal

  • 2 1/4 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cup reduced fat vanilla soy milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 4 ripe pears, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the soy milk, eggs, extracts, brown sugar, and maple syrup. When the mixture is combined, add the pears and whisk gently to combine.

Add the soy milk mixture to the oat mixture and mix well until everything is combined.

Pour the mixture into a baking dish sprayed with a little nonstick spray. Bake at 375 for thirty minutes or until golden.

Serve immediately! (Or, let cool completely before slicing and placing the squares into individual baggies and freeze! Reheat in the microwave for 2 minutes or until warm through!)

bakedoatmeal

Ridiculous, Cheesy, Perfection

I can’t believe tomorrow is Christmas Eve!!!

I had a fabulous Pre-Christmas weekend with my family (I’ll recap it after today’s recipes!!) But  good heavens, I can’t wait to get home tomorrow, hunker down with some Wonton Soup and Sesame Chicken from our favorite Chinese take-out place, snuggle up on the couch, and watch Santa Claus is Coming to Town!! We will also be exchanging gifts with my husband’s family – which they do on Christmas Eve. I will also shamelessly prepare a big pan of break-and-bake chocolate chip cookies to enjoy.  This is the way I’ve spent every Christmas Even for quite some time now and it’s traditions like these that I love and I think make the holidays so special?? What do you and your family do on Christmas Eve? What is your FAVORITE holiday tradition?  

Now last week I promised I would share a recipe with you that, I’m telling you, is the epitome of ridiculous, cheesy, perfection.  To cut through the richness of this AMAZING mac & cheese, I served it with a light kale and pomegranate salad. This salad is pretty fabulous, too, I can’t lie to you. It’d be great as a meal all on it’s on with a nice piece of bread to go with it. It’d also be great with a little crumbled feta or goat cheese in the mix. However, I didn’t think 6 cheeses were necessary on the evening I prepared this! I will share that recipe below, too!!

macandsalad

 

5 Cheese Pancetta Mac & Cheese

  • 2 lbs cavatappi pasta, or pasta of your choice
  • 1 lb white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz parmesan cheese, grated
  • 8 oz reduced fat cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 8 oz diced pancetta
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 cups fat free milk
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons nutmeg

Begin by bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta to package directions.

Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium high  heat in a large pot or sauce pan. Add the pancetta and onion and saute until the pancetta is crisp and the onions begin to soften and caramelize, about 15 minutes. Add the remaining butter and flour and stir well to combine. Let the flour mixture cook for about 3 minutes, until the flour begins to brown. Slowly whisk in the 2 cups of milk and reduce the heat to medium low. Add the cream cheese cubes and continue to whisk until the cream cheese melts into the mixture.

Combine the remaining cheeses in a large bowl, and reserve 1/2 cup for topping.

Add the remaining cheeses to the cream cheese mixture and whisk very well until all of the cheese is melted. This sauce will be on the thicker side.  Keep whisking.  Add the black pepper and nutmeg. Whisk a bit more.

Drain the pasta just shy of al dente and add it directly to the cheese sauce. Fold the pasta into the cheese sauce and transfer it to a large baking dish sprayed with a little nonstick spray. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese and place in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes, or until the top is bubbly and brown.

Let sit for about 5 minutes before digging in!!

macandcheese

 

Kale and Pomegranate Salad

For the Pomegranate Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1/8 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, grated or minced fine
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in a mason jar or a container with a tight fitting lid. Make sure the lid is secure and shake, shake, shake until everything is combined! Taste and add more salt and pepper to your liking.

For the Salad

  • 2 cups kale leaves, cleaned and chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 3/4 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1 large pear, sliced thin
  • 1 small red onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Combine all of the ingredients in  a large salad bowl. Toss well to combine and add as much dressing as you like! This salad is safe to make an hour or two ahead of time, as kale is sturdy enough to hold up to the dressing!!

kalesalad

 

If you make either of these recipes, please let me know how the come out for you!!!

Now onto my weekend recap!!! We spent Friday night in NYC with Bill and Susan and had a fabulous Italian Dinner at Daniela on 8th Avenue. The muscles were amazing and I ate my fill of them and sopped up the ridiculous creamy tomato broth with the hot, fresh bread they provided. Susan and I went splitsies on Penne al la Vodka, which was perfect – and a linguine dish in a garlic white wine sauce with calamari, muscles, and clams. You couldn’t pick a favorite!!

Of course we stopped by the tree in Rockefeller Center!! The weather was a bit warmer than we anticipated, so there was no snow on the ground. It was lovely to walk around and not freeze, though!!

Here is my obligatory photo with the hubs by the tree!! It’s so pretty. I love it so much.

1502473_10100858637969682_495313551_n

Saturday, we met up with some of my extended family for dinner at the Palisades Mall and had a fabulous time!! Here are some photos of the action!

Me & My Papa Bear
I always have the worst eyes in pictures!!! But here I am with my Dad!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here's Susan and I being pretty and wearing adorable scarves!!
Here’s Susan and I being pretty and wearing adorable scarves!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I photo bomed their picture with Uncle Santa!
I photo bombed Bill and Susan’s picture with Uncle Santa…muhuhaha!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me, Chris, Johnny, Uncle Bob, & Sarah
Here I am with my little brother Chris, Johnny, my little sister Sarah, and my Uncle Bob (Santa!!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

A wonderful time was had by all!!! We exchanges cookies and wine (among other gifts) and enjoyed our holiday time together!!

Sunday morning Susan and I met up with our great friend Desirae for breakfast at my most favorite diner. I finally met Desirae’s boyfriend and we discussed our little buns in the oven! I’m afraid I have no photos of that to share, but it’s all good.

Johnny and I ended our weekend meeting up with Melinda and Kyle and our friend Sue, her husband Matt, and their little man Juddah, who is probably the cutest little thing I’ve ever seen!!

Finally, woo this has been a marathon post, I’d like to wish my mother and her best friend Debbie BOTH a very happy birthday!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOMMA & DEBBIE!! 

That’s all for now, folks!!

Have a very Merry Christmas!!!

XX/OO