Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year! And Happy Reflecting on all the Years Past.

The excitement of Christmas is past, to me it's always so funny how even the lights on the trees and houses seem to lose that magical glow. Oh they still look pretty, but it's like the spirit of Santa has returned back to the North Pole, leaving us in the afterglow. But a bit of spark is left to get us through the week, just enough to rally for the last fling, The New Year Celebration! Mom and Dad always had a great New Years Eve party, fabulous food, fun guests, Dad tending bar, making me my favorite White Russians! The neighbor down the street , Mr Luke, would always bring a big bag of fireworks to set off in the front yard at the stroke of Midnight. Bottle Rockets galore, Lady Fingers going off like machine guns, Huge Fountains shooting a mountain of sparks that would make a loud whistle, small Tanks that would run in the street that shot little sparks out of their canons.But my fave was the Roman Candles. Oh man getting to hold that wand, shooting out bright balls of sparkling fire in the night, seeing the colors shoot out, winging their way down the street in a high arch, now that's what I'm talk'n about!! Makes my heart leap just thinking about it! Thanks Mom and Dad, that is a memory that will never be repeated.

It has been some years since we went out to celebrate New Years, usually it's a quiet evening, grilling in the back yard, now Wayne makes my White Russians, he'll put a fire in the fire pit.  I love to watch the ball drop in Times Square on the telly and we toast at Midnight, usually with Evan Williams Eggnog, another favorite! I don't see any change this year, but maybe we'll use our gift card from Carrabba's for dinner that we got LAST YEAR!! it still even good?? Well anyhoo.
I usually don't make any resolutions, I always hope things will be better, that we will have good health, that I will be more productive, that some fun will enter my life everyday, that I'll find something to really laugh about, that I will watch my diet, prosperity will come our way, maybe I'll get a new kitten, maybe not, that I will clean the garage, pressure wash the driveway, reline the kitchen drawers..hey! hey! what in the hell am I talking about?? Wow I must of had a moment! whew..
Happy New Year! Holy Cow it's 2014!!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I Hate Change! But I do Love Me some Christmas!

I hate when things in life forces change on you, but this has been the year that has probably changed mine forever. Families grow up, move on, grow not apart, but away from each other. It's like the saying
"Life Gets In The Way". Each one has their own agenda, their own needs. Oh yeah we all try and make time for each other, but there seems to be less and less to talk about, all are so out of each others loop, that the conversation comes basically down to the weather, what you made for dinner or what they are all planning to do, and it has nothing to do with You. Now I am not crying in my soup here, I am just stating a fact that is true, in all of our growing families.They say if you Love Them Let Them Go, but.... This is the same with Friends, even ones that have been in your life for more years than you can put a number on. It can only take one thing to change the whole dynamics of your relationships. So you start to wonder about the meaning of it all. Families grow up and out, Friends let you drift away, it just seems to be a fate we just can't get a grip on.

It was with the Saddest, did I say Saddest? thing to do, but we had to call off our (My) Christmas Party. This would have been the 13th Annual. Such a wonderful gathering of Friends and Family, so much fun, all the food, laughter, the beautiful decorations I put up in my home for all to enjoy, right down to the 99 Bananas Shooters, right before I gave all the women bags of Christmas or Hanukkah Ornaments. This was always my gift to all that mattered to me in my life, I would forgo everything just to have this party, this was My Christmas.

Well at first I thought that I wouldn't put up any decorations this year, but as the days got closer to Christmas, I knew I would have to feed my Heart. I got a skinny little tree at KMart, just big enough to fit in a small space in my family room. I didn't even have to bring out any of my collection of ornaments that always went on the big tree in the living room, I just used what was in the basket from last years party. All would bring me an ornament, so I used those. I missed going through all my own old ones that have  been with me since I was 22 years old, the ones that my  Daughter would pick out every year, from the age of one, then the ones the Grandkids would make, the ones from my Mom, and ones that I just couldn't resist buying. That is 45 years of collecting!! Acckk! Wow time does fly! I've done only about a third of the usual decorating, but things have remained festive, and I am glad I made the attempt.

As usual I started with my Mantel, you do know I have a Mantel Fetish! You can see all my Mantels on Pinterest under Rena Designs. But it is a scaled back version, but I did not sacrifice beauty! LOL

Went to Lowes and Home Depot to get all the free tree trimmings and used them on the Mantel with Deco Mesh, Glitter Poinsettias, Red and Gold Ornaments, Beaded Garland, Lighted Topiary I got a Goodwill last year, and a Red Glitter Reindeer as the finishing touch. Not as Deluxe, but nice.

Top of Kitchen Cabinets got a change up too, just enough to satisfy my judgmental eye.

Kitchen is painted Terracotta so all my decor is Glitter Copper! I'm covered in it!!

Added the Christmas Tree in the Family Room.

Loaded up the tree with the Red Berry branches I usually put on my Mantel, added a Deco Mesh topper, Red Ribbon Garland and all the ornaments from friends. I love how you can see the Mantel in the Mirror. Oh my goodness that Mirror! When we lived at the condo I saw that Mirror at an Antique store for $350! I wanted it for my Kitchen, but was not going to pay that amount!! Just weeks later I went to a garage sale and yep there is was, side keys and all for...wait for it...$3.00! OMG MINE MINE MINE! lol

I decorated the Large Mirror in my Living room, added the Glitter Peacock with feathers, long glass ornaments, and the Mask I got in Venice 5 years ago. Ahhh Venice...ok ok I'm back!

 I am Truly Wishing You All from My Heart, a Beautiful Christmas Filled with Love..

Thought I would include a Recipe that I would make every year for the Christmas party. It's a good one, so hope you enjoy!

                                                  Beef and Broccoli Wellington 

1 lb. ground beef
9 oz. cut broccoli thawed /drained/ cut in to small pieces
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup med chopped onion
1 jar of sliced mushrooms
1 8oz. sour cream (plus extra container to be used when serving)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 8oz cans Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
(or now that they have out the solid sheets
you could probably use those.)
1 egg beaten

preheat oven 375 degrees

In large skillet brown meat and onion/ drain off fat
Add broccoli, mushrooms,cheese, sour cream, salt
 and pepper. turn down heat and mix all well, let simmer
for about 10 min.
While skillet is cooling off, separate dough into 4 long
rectangles. On an ungreased cookie sheet place 2 rectangles,
overlap the long edges by about 1/2 inch. press perforations
to seal into one large sheet. about 13 x 7 inches. spoon meat mixture
in about a 3 inch strip down the center of the dough. bring long
sides up to the top and pinch to seal all along the long length.
Repeat with second tube of dough, same thing. Take the beaten
egg and brush, using as a wash all over both Wellingtons.
Bake for 18-22 minutes till deep golden brown.
Serve slices with a dollop of Sour Cream on top.

This makes two Wellingtons.