I’m Always Looking for an Excuse to Not Really Write

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Happy New Year’s Eve!

I’m probably at home throwing things in boxes like a crazy lady. So here’s a fun recap of what’s happened at Vanderbilt Wife in 2009. Jo-Lynne is having this carnival, where you post the first sentence of your first post of every month for the last year.

January
I’ve enjoyed keeping a list of the books I’ve read the last 2 1/2 years (since I joined PaperbackSwap).
A list of everything I read in 2008. The 2009 count is significantly lower, but high quality, and I will share it soon!

February
Here’s what we’ll be grubbing on this week!
A Menu Plan Monday post. A little boring, but a link to our delicious meatloaf recipe!

March
Monday: Crab Cakes, Roasted Broccoli, Brown Rice (didn’t get to last week)
I’m sorry. Another menu plan. Maybe this is not as interesting as I thought it would be! But it does have a really yummy recipe for Chicken Pasta Alfredo.

April
Publix’s ad this week claims it runs until 4/11, next Saturday.
Another great recipe–Rachael Ray’s Chili Sweet Potato Hash. Yes, it sounds totally bizarre, but try it!

May
Here’s the menu plan for this week.
Dude, apparently I NEVER write anything interesting at the beginning of the month! I’m sorry! On a fun note, the title of that post was “Triple Coupons, How I Love Thee.” Because I am not melodramatic AT ALL.

June
Do you think God still speaks?
A book review on Nine Ways God Always Speaks, and some musings along the way.

July
Is it Quick Takes Friday, or Write Your Random Thoughts in a List Day?
I complain/rave/spout about seven unrelated topics.

August
I don’t like to “post over” my Family Recipe Fridays posts, so this is one day late.
I extol the virtues of my dear husband of five years.

September
But pretty soon you’ll be seeing a brand-new look here on this very site.
Grand Reveal of my beautiful site design by DCR Design!

October
I’ve posted this recipe before, but since most of you probably haven’t found it out there in the VW archives, I thought it needed a second take here for Family Recipe Fridays.
Ohhh, one of my very favorite recipes EVER. (Honestly, if I make something more than three times a year, it counts as a favorite. I cook like that.) Plus 20 yummy recipe links from other bloggers!

November
Well, this is it. I’ve reached the breaking point.
Wow. So much has changed in two short months. I still feel the uncertainty, but some things have glided into place. (Some haven’t.) Appreciate the commenters just as much now as I did on November 1st!

December
I had to go to the grocery store today on my way home from work–for bananas.
What I promise will certainly not be my last mental-breakdown post. But having Mr. V at home for a few weeks has certainly cured my sanity some!

Leave me a link in the comments if you decide to do this carnival at your site–I’d love to see it. And if you’d actually like to read some GOOD stuff I’ve written, here are my Top Ten Posts Ever.

The 12 Days of Libbie

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Dear friends,

On this Friday, the 16th, I am going to start a 12-day series called “The 12 Days of Libbie.” Each day, I will share a moment, a picture, a memory from one of the months of her little life, leading up to her first birthday on the 27th.

While this is mostly self-gratifying (and will make my mom happy), I want it to be about you, too. I want you to spend a few minutes reflecting on the lives of your children and your precious moments together.

So, for each of those 12 days, I will host a MckLinky list for you to link to a post loving on your kid(s). You can link one day, four days, every day. You can use an old post or a new post. I just believe it’s so important to step back from the mundane and really reflect on those sweet moments. The important times.

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You can copy the button to your post or your sidebar using the HTML provided under the button in my sidebar. Please link back to Vanderbilt Wife in your posts, either by text or with the button, so we can all read about each other’s kids and be encouraged.

I hope you’ll participate with me during these last days of Libbie‘s first year. Oh my. I can feel the tears coming already!

Love,
Jessie

Holiday Cookin’

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Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving and all (and not just Libbie’s 1-month “birthday”!) I thought I’d take five minutes to type in two of my favorite holiday recipes for you. I know it might be a little late for Thanksgiving prep … but you could save them for Christmas. Or anytime!

I think if I show up for our big family Thanksgiving without the cheesecake pie ever again, I will be thrown out of the family. It always gets scarfed down. I am kind of sad to be missing the family Thanksgiving this year, but we were not about to travel with a newborn. My parents and sister are on their way here, and we will see the extended families at Christmas this year.

SNV31275


Cranberry, Cherry, and Walnut Chutney

from Cooking Light, November 2005

Ingredients

  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/2 c. port, sweet red wine, or dark grape juice
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/2 c. dried tart cherries
  • 1 pkg. fresh cranberries
  • 2/3 c. chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1/2 tsp. grated orange rind
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • orange rind strips, optional

Instructions

Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Add cherries and cook 1 minute. Stir in cranberries; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until cranberries pop. Remove from heat. Stir in walnuts, rind, and extract. Garnish with orange rind strips if desired. Cover and chill.

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SNV30115


Cherry Cheesecake Pie

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Serving Size: 1 slice

from Woman’s Day Magazine

Ingredients

  • 1 box refrigerated pie crusts (2 crusts)
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • 2 (8 oz.) bricks Neufchatel cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 can cherry pie filling
  • 1 egg white, beaten

Instructions

Heat oven to 350.

Fit 1 crust in a 9-inch pie plate. Cut other crust into 1-inch strips.

Mix sugar and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Add cream cheese; beat with mixer until smooth. On low speed, beat in egg and extract.

Spread batter evenly in crust; spoon pie filling on top.

Brush crust strips with egg white. Place strips over top in lattice pattern.

Bake 50-60 minutes, until crust is golden brown.

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This delicious pie recipe submitted to Hoosier Homemade’s Holiday Food Fest 2009!

Lightened-Up Broccoli and Cheese Soup

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I have become a blogaholic in my old age. OK, maybe I am just catching on with the rest of humanity. But I saw this fun little thing today on boomama‘s blog and thought it would be fun to share one my favorite recipes. This one makes me all warm and tingly inside and my tummy extremely happy!

My sweet friend Laurie from 3FC posted this awesome broccoli and cheese soup recipe, which she found in Cooking Light and modified for the South Beach Diet. Laurie is a queen and has lost almost 100 lbs. She is my hero. Anyway, I’ve also changed the recipe slightly, mostly because it calls for pureeing part of it and I smashed my blender to pieces on the pantry floor and don’t have a food processor. I like it chunky anyway.

Broccoli and Cheese Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Serving Size: 1 1/3 cup

Calories per serving: 203

Fat per serving: 6.3

This lightened-up soup is from a 2002 issue of Cooking Light

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 c. chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 c. fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (16-ounce) package broccoli florets (Or two heads, chopped fine)
  • 2 1/2 c. skim milk
  • 1/3 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 6 oz. Velveeta shreds (or regular block Velveeta, cubed)
  • 2 oz. lowfat sharp cheddar cheese

Instructions

Heat a large nonstick saucepan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; saute 3 minutes or until tender. Add broth and broccoli. Bring broccoli mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; cook 10 minutes.

Combine milk and flour, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Add milk mixture to broccoli mixture. Cook 5-10 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Stir in pepper. Remove from heat; add cheese, stirring until cheese melts.

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Added to Ingredient Spotlight: Broccoli