Merry Christmas!

“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.”

  — Andy Rooney

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The Kitchn Cure: Cure My Kitchen| Days 9 & 10

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

The Kitchn Cure | Days Nine & Ten:

Cook yourself a meal/Plan a dinner party

Halle-flippin-luja!

This is my last post for The Kitchn Cure! Yup. It took me almost 3 months to finish a week-long project, but hey, hey — I did it! I’m actually not planning a party for the day 10 part, but I am throwing myself a little party for not bailing out after two months. Hehe.

The project itself really wasn’t hard, it’s just that it took me a long time to get things done because of the baby and a lack of motivation.

Anyway — On to day nine: cook yourself a meal!

I cook a lot in this here kitchen, but to wrap up this series of posts, I wanted to cook something extra special and share the recipe with you. This is one of my all time favorite recipes and a favorite in our home. Are you ready?

It’s meatballs!

Not just any old meatballs though, these are absolutely delicious! They are melt in your mouth-are there any more meatballs left, because I’ve been dreaming of them all night long-meatballs.

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

They are a bit pricy to shop for, so they are good for special occasions, but be warned — you’ll be making up special occasions just to have an excuse to make these tasty things. These meatballs don’t get served with pasta. There’s no law that says you couldn’t make pasta with them, but really it isn’t necessary, so why waste your time. Throw together a simple salad, buy a fresh baguette, or make some garlic bread, but really, the meatballs are the prize.

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce – Makes Four Servings (about 32 meatballs)
adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Slow Cooking

Ingredients

For the meatballs:
2 pounds mixed ground beef, pork and veal
1 egg
1 small yellow onion (finely chopped)
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs or panko
1/4 cup pine nuts (toasted)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (or Romano) cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

For the sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Method

Meatballs — Add all ingredients to a large bowl and use your hands to gently, but thoroughly, blend together. Form the mixture into meatballs 2 inches in diameter and set aside.

Sauce — Add the oil to a Dutch oven set over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds longer. Stir in the diced tomatoes and wine then bring to a boil.

Marry them together — Carefully drop the meatballs into the sauce and gently spoon the sauce over them. Bring the sauce to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and cook until meatballs are firm and cooked through, 20-30 minutes. Remove the Dutch oven from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes before stirring in the basil. Transfer to a serving platter or divide meatballs among plates.

manga!

As for the party planning.. Tonight I will be having a glass of wine, admiring my now functioning kitchen, and wondering just how long it will actually take me to tackle the January Cure that Apartment Therapy announced today. That’s right folks, I’ll be attempting another cure to start the New Year 🙂

Weekend Start Off

The forecast is calling for more snow today and so far I’ve been proven absolutely wrong in my “there will be no snow this year” prediction. I enjoy the snow when there isn’t anything that needs to be done outside of the house. Today though, we have plans of doing some Christmas shopping, so hopefully it won’t be too messy out.Do you have any plans today that could be ruined by the weather?

I also need to do a mega-sized food shop but I think waiting til tomorrow will have to do. People act crazy when it is supposed to snow and I know the market will be packed with people. I can still remember a few years back when there was a snow storm and the news was broadcasting from the market when they said “People have cleared the shelves out buying essentials such as milk, bread, and chips.” Chips. That still makes me laugh. Personally, my go-to junk food is Entemann’s, but chips are good, too! Do you stock up for storms and is there a go-to snack you like to have on hand when you are trapped inside?

I’m almost done decorating for Christmas. The outside of our house hasn’t been done yet, but we will probably get it done this weekend. I know the lights will look pretty in the snow, so we should probably get to work on it today. I think I’m about halfway done my gift shopping, too. So, I’m feeling pretty good about the holiday. How about you, if you celebrate Christmas, are you all done your shopping? Did you decorate this year?

Snowy Day Rambling

snow storm

It looks like we are going to have another snow storm here today on the east coast. Our first snowfall was this past Sunday, and it was a lot more than just the dusting to an inch the weather people predicted. Some parts of our area ended up with 11 inches. That’s a big difference. For today they are estimating up to six inches, but because it is so cold here and because they think ice will come at the end of this storm people are taking this warning a little more seriously. The schools closed even though the snow hasn’t started to fall yet. Are they overreacting this time? Probably not, but who knows. Only time will tell how bad it really gets. I’m happy for the people who have been told not to report to work or school, but I am kind of dreading being stuck in the house with bored teens and BF who needs to get a lot of work done from home.

snow storm

I suppose I can bake cookies with Natalie and encourage Isaac to go shovel sidewalks and driveways. He usually makes out very well making money in these situations. He shoveled two houses on Sunday and made $35. We can also decorate for Christmas and watch some holiday movies. I hope they don’t bicker. BF brought home a tree on Saturday and it’s nice. It’s the kind with long soft needles, I’m sorry I don’t know the name. The only types of trees I know by name are Blue Spruce and Douglas Fir, which I don’t believe either is the type we have. It’s not a huge tree, like the one I had a few years ago, but it fits in the house perfectly. It’s about seven feet tall and maybe three feet wide at the bottom. A nice size, with nice needles, though it isn’t very fragrant.

snow storm

This past weekend I had great luck making chicken noodle soup. I have struggled with making a good batch of it for years now and while my attempts have gotten better over the years, none have been impressive. This time it was. Oh my, it is good! I referenced two recipes and then winged it. It really was good, everyone else agreed and I just hope I will remember what I did the next time I want to make it. I suppose I should write it down.

snow storm

I’m a bit upset about one thing that happened this weekend. We recently ordered six place settings of Fiesta dishes because they were on sale for $23.99 at Macy’s. Usually they are $54.99 a setting and I have been longing for these colorful dishes for years and years so BF was a sweetheart and ordered them. We received one shipment of five sets and were waiting for the last setting to come in for a week. It was the setting in my favorite color, turquoise and it was supposed to arrive on Saturday via Fed-Ex. When BF asked if the plates came I said no and that I was disappointed. He went on-line to check the status and it said that they were delivered at 6:30 pm the day before!! They weren’t delivered here, so who has my plates and why would they be such jerks to keep them?! I’m so sad. I would never keep someone else’s package! Of course I called Fed-Ex straight away but they said they would call me back yesterday or today but I haven’t heard anything yet. BF said we won’t get them, Fed-Ex will just say they were delivered and we have to take a loss. How is that okay? It just isn’t fair, but I suppose life often isn’t. At least it wasn’t the shipment of five right? Sigh. Now the dishes aren’t on sale any more either and I’m not paying $55 for something I’ve already paid $24 for.

snow storm

Elliot turned six months old yesterday and as I suspected it flew by. I never knew just how fast time moved until I had kids. Now that I know this time around I am enjoying every moment as best as I can but it still goes by too fast. I suppose I have it in my mind that he will be my last baby, even though we’ve talked about trying for one more when El is two, but nothing is certain. I had an IUD inserted a few months ago so there won’t be any accidents and I have to say it sure puts my mind at ease. Not that I don’t want another, I’m not sure how I feel about that for certain yet, but I definitely don’t want another right now! Natalie and Isaac are only 15 months apart and for the life of me I don’t know how I did it. I also feel bad that Natalie didn’t get much time to be an only child. Isaac has always hogged most of the attention and it would have been nice for her to have me all to herself for a longer amount of time. It was nice that they were so close in age and were best friends for so many years, but then they constantly bickered for many years after that. At this point they are somewhere in the middle. They don’t fight too often anymore and treat each other pretty decently, but I think that has a lot to do with the changes to our lives, more than them growing up or what have you.

snow storm

Fibromyalgia
I haven’t written about Fibromyalgia since I started blogging again and I suppose that was because I just want it to go away. If I don’t pay it much mind it doesn’t bother me as much as if it does when I focus on the pain. Ah, but the pain is sill here, every day, some days worse than others. My pregnancy was horrible. My OBGYN told me that it shouldn’t be effected either way, good or bad, and I had read about a few people who actually went into remission during pregnancy. I was so hopeful, but alas, that wasn’t the case for me. I was in a 9 month flair and because I was pregnant I stopped taking all medications, except for Tylenol when I absolutely couldn’t stand it anymore. After I had Elliot though I had about three weeks of remission. I can’t even begin to tell you what it felt like to feel normal again. I foolishly thought I was cured and cried so hard when I flared again for the first time, not so much because of pain, but more because it was back. Suck it up buttercup. It is what it is. I am grateful for the three weeks I had of absolutely no pain and it gives me hope that my future holds more times like that. I’m still not on any medications but I take a plethora of vitamins when I remember. BF did a lot of research and ordered me Omega 3,6,9, Magnesium, Vitamin D, Seaweed extract. I also take prenatals and have been given iron because I have anemia. I think if I actually took everything everyday it would be beneficial, but there is something about swallowing a whole meals worth of pills that irks me, so I avoid it unless I am really feeling horrible.

snow storm

Insomnia
My insomnia has come back and I wake up multiple times a night. This used to really bother me but now I just roll with it. When I wake up at three now I give myself an hour and if I am not able to fall back asleep I just get up. When I was pregnant I really suffered the worst. I had to stop taking my Kolonzipan immediately and it took a few months to find something that worked and was okay per my OBGYN. Believe it or not Unisom helped the best, but I can’t take it now because I’m afraid I’ll sleep through the baby waking up to nurse.

snow storm

Depression
My depression never went away and because I stopped my antidepressants when I found out I was pregnant, it was pretty rough for a while. I knew it would be a challenging time though, and I reminded myself on a daily basis that I would get through it. There was great concern about postpartum depression becoming an issue, so I worked closely with doctors and nurses regarding after care. I am still not on medication, and some days are worse than others, but overall I’m doing well. Once I am finished breastfeeding I will decide if I need to go back on medication. I think I will because it was helping a lot, but I also have been doing alright without it. I guess I’ll have to see what my therapist says. Speaking of which, I need to go back to therapy, I haven’t gone in quite some time and feel I’ll benefit from regular meetings again. The trouble is finding one that I like. The woman I used to meet with isn’t where she used to be and I didn’t feel the same way about the lady that took over for her. She was nice enough, I think I just wanted my other therapist back and couldn’t open up to someone new all over again. I suppose I’ll have to do that at some point, and hopefully it won’t be so hard this time around.

Well, it’s snowing hard and our house is hustling and bustling with activity so, I will wrap this up. There was no real point to this post, just a lot of things on my mind that I wanted to write about. I hope everyone will enjoy your day, whether it’s a snow day for you or not.

Unique Gifts for the Special People in Your Lives – Part Two

It can get confusing this time of the year deciding on who you should buy gifts for. Does the mailman really deserve a tip? How about the babysitter who not only loves your kids but also frees up your Friday nights? I’ve pulled together a few more unique gift ideas and this time we’ll talk about some of the important, but possibly overlooked, people in your lives.

Your hairstylist — You give her monthly updates of your on-going family drama and she knows your secrets like only a good friend would. She also knows how you like you hair colored, cut, and styled. Why not show her some appreciation with this one of a kind wig hat? It’s perfect for those bad hair days that no stylist should ever have. Not digging the bright orange color? Don’t worry, Uncommon Goods also offers it in black.

wig hat uncommon goods

Your postal carrier — Let’s face it, your postal carrier is Santa. He (or she) lugs around that heavy ass bag bringing you packages year round. There should be a few weeks out of the year when they get some recognition for all the hard work they do. Giving your postman this cozy and festive hat from tipsy elves will show him that you recognize his labor intensive job.. It will also help keep his face warm.

Your boss — You’re hoping for a promotion next year and have decided to get your supervisor a holiday gift to seal the deal. What do you get the man in charge who already has everything? Forget an engraved pen or fancy paper weight! This wooden bow tie from Uncommon Goods is sure to put you on his radar. Not only is it practical but it also goes with all of his shirts. He will be thinking of you each time he puts it on — from staff meetings to Sunday brunches.

wooden bowtie uncommon goods

Your babysitter — Finding someone you could trust with your precious little ones with was hard to do. Luckily, you have someone who is there in a flash to put your offspring to bed while you go out drinking with your spouse. Show a little gratitude! Let your babysitter know they truly are a super-hero with these Batman hoodie and footsie pajamas from Spencer’s. Bonus: These jammies come with a cape for the times they’re flying by the seat of their pants trying to entertain your little angels.

Your assistant — Some of the hardest workers in your office are the assistants. Show them how cool you are and encourage them to keep working hard for the money with this blinged out sweater from Target. All of their friends and family will be envious when they see how loved they are by their boss! The dozens of compliments they’ll receive while wearing this festive holiday sweater will surely make them feel special; it’s destined to become a seasonal favorite.

ugly sweater target

Your questionable neighbor — It’s hard to know for sure, but judging by the smell and sounds that come from your neighbor’s house, you suspect she may be a cat hoarder. Avoid an awkward conversation and hold off calling the SPCA by doing a little investigating first. This extra special book from Barnes and Noble offers the perfect excuse to be a nosy neighbor without being glaringly obvious. Knocking on the door to drop of this thoughtful gift will be just the kind gesture you need to find out exactly what is going on behind those walls.

Your neighborhood strays — You feel bad for the stray cats that roam the streets but don’t want to take them in. Once the cold weather comes around for the winter you know you’ll be feeling horrible if you don’t do something to help them out. Why not give them a little love and a taste of home with this toilet bowl water dish from Spencer’s? It will look great on your front porch and make you feel good for helping out the homeless little critters.

Disclaimer! Give these gifts at your own risk. I’m not held liable for horrific hair cuts, damaged packages, loss of wages, missed sexy time, shortage of staff, pissed off neighbors or fines from the HOA.

December Photo a Day Challenge

I’ve decided to take part in the December Photo a Day Challenge. I’ve had a good time with these challenges in the past. I’ve added an Instagram widget to my side board and will be displaying the photos there for the month. I’ve also been trying to set up an image widget above my photos showing the topics for each day, but it isn’t working correctly. I believe this has to do with a bug in the upgrades WordPress made active yesterday, but I’m not certain. I’ll give it a day or two and then ask the forums for help if it isn’t resolved.

Anyway, here is the month’s challenges, in case you want to join in! Thanks to one of my best blogging pals, naughteebits, for posting this!

december-photo-a-day