Monday, November 26, 2012

Stuffed Dates

This Thanksgiving it was Heather and Pete's turn to host the family at their home. Being that our mother in law enjoys hosting us all in her home each Christmas, Heather and I rotate the Thanksgiving tradition every other year in our homes. I know she and I equally enjoy spoiling our family with creative touches, and building lasting memories in our homes. We usually start preparations in early October! Our family has so much to be thankful for. I'm a half full girl, always living my life through rose colored glasses, so to list all the things I'm grateful for would be like writing a novel. So, I won't ramble on. Just know that I consider myself blessed everyday, for many reasons.

My favorite recipe this year, came in the way of an appetizer. Heather found it on food Dates wrapped in bacon, stuffed with cream cheese and an almond....delish!

Stuffed Dates Appetizer

18 1 x 4 in pieces cream cheese
18 pitted dates
18 salted and roasted whole almonds
6 slices of bacon cut crosswise into thirds
18 wooden picks

Stuff one piece of cheese and one almond into each date, then wrap one piece of bacon around each date and secure with a toothpick. Arrange dates, bacon seam down and one inch apart in a shallow baking pan lined with parchment. Bake 5 mins then turn with tongs and bake until bacon is crisp, about 6 more mins. Drain on a paper towel and serve immediately.

Cousin Love

I caught Steven in the act. I'm pretty sure he was looking for Nana's homemade yeast rolls.

We had football.....

and dancing, of course. She dances wherever she goes.

And finally, a quick Kountanis family portrait. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pineapple Cranberry Sauce

I've almost done it!!!! (Caught up my blog that is) My next few posts are moving into Christmas, yay!
This year I found one of the best recipes for Cranberry Sauce that my family has ever tried. This recipe is flat easy, and such a yum addition to turkey or ham. I even used it as a spread on sandwiches after the holiday, and had extra to freeze. This recipe makes a boatload, so be prepared to store some for future use.

These pictures are from when we chose our Christmas Tree. This is a tradition we do every year as a family, on Thanksgiving. Either before or after the big feast.

1 fresh pineapple, finely chopped
(or 1 15 oz can crushed pineapple, drained, juice reserved)
1 15 oz can cranberry sauce
1 6 oz box cranberry or cherry gelatin
1 1/2 cup pineapple juice ( you only need this ingredient if using fresh pineapple)

Put cranberry sauce in a bowl and mash. Heat 1 1/2 cups pineapple juice to almost boiling. Dissolve the gelatin in the pineapple juice. Put jello mixture in cranberry sauce and stir well, being sure to get out any lumps. Add pineapple, and chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Freeze any leftovers for up to 6 months.

These next shots are from when we chose the tree. I love the kids happy faces and sweet expressions.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Halloween and Oreo Trifle

I'm going to do this post in pictures. I feel like I've used hours already trying to catch my blog up, and haven't even made it past Halloween. So, here is this year's Halloween in pictures with brief descriptions. Also, a delicious recipe for Oreo Trifle that we took to a friends Halloween party/Hayride. Here goes nothing:

Oreo Trifle
1 pan of brownies (9 x 13)
1 small box of chocolate pudding
1/2 cup water
1 can sweetened condensed milk
8 oz cool whip
12 oz cool whip
18 oreos, crumbled
6 oreos for garnish, crumbled

Bake brownies and cool completely. Chop into bite sized pieces.
Combine pudding mix, water, and sweetened condensed milk. Mix until smooth. Fold in 8 oz of cool whip until there are no streaks. Crumble 18 oreos and set aside. I use my muddle to get the consistency I like.

In a trifle bowl, layer half of the brownies, half of the pudding mixture, half of the oreos, and half of the cool whip. Repeat. Garnish the top with 6 crumbled oreos.

I really wanted to use those seasonal black and orange oreos they stock during October, but when I went to get them, they were all sold out. So, note to self, next year buy them early and put them away!

I also, printed this fun spooky label off line, and tied it around the trifle bowl with bakers twine. I think it's the little things that make homemade treats special!

We took these layers of deliciousness to our school friends Halloween party/Hayride. It was a huge hit, and I came home with an empty trifle bowl.

The kiddos wanted to free hand their pumpkins this year. Steven's was a classic Jack O Lantern, while Amanda Lily's was a kitty cat. G did a Bucs flag, and I spray painted mine gold in my favorite trend....chevron.

Costume day at ballet.

Our Greek Goddess.

Our future Astronaut.

And finally, our not so amused Golden Retriever as a Princess.

Trick or Treat was a hoot this year, lots of treats and a few tricks.

Check out Steven's face as this neighborhood Zombie approaches...LOL

Hope you had as Frightfully Fun a Halloween as we did!

Go Crusaders....

On the ride home from school one fall afternoon, Steven told me he wanted to play on his school's JV Basketball team. Being that his achiles heel injury was healed up, and he was finished with physical therapy, I thought it was a great idea. Problem is, neither hubs or I know anything about basketball. Over the last few weeks, we have learned a lot from going to his games. I have to say, I was so thrilled to see some of the moms in the stands being passionate about the game. They really reminded me of myself and football. I wasn't sure if it would be a different experience because our kids attend a private Christians school. We really get going cheering sometimes, and I love it.

Steven is learning so much, and we welcome the change from football. Honestly, I am hoping he develops a love for basketball even more than football. Not that it's not physical, the kids are just not constantly wanting to take each others heads off. Anyhow, he and his classmates are the 5th graders, so they are the kids who only get to play during the last 2 minutes of the game. The 6th graders are the starters. I remember Steven saying to Uncle Pete how sorry he was that he didn't get to play more when he came to one of his home games. Uncle Pete was so wise in his response. He said, "Steven, buddy you gotta be the bug before you are the windshield." 

Over Christmas break, Steven attended a basketball camp that is run by an ex NBA player. He learned so much at the camp, and dedicated himself to improving his game.

So far, his team is UNDEFEATED! They have a real chance of going to the equivalent of Play Offs next month. Go Crusaders!

Steven and his basketball classmates wear ties to school on home game days. They look like mini salesmen to

So proud of our boy.

Uncle Pete is so smart with his advice.