Archive | November, 2011

Christmas Cookie Decoration

The day after Thanksgiving, my sister and her kids came over and we decorated Christmas cookies.  My kids have so much fun and so do us big girls.  The kids start with about 5 cookies, of which they eat 4 right off the bat.  By then, they are somewhat bored and wander off, leaving my sister and I to finish the remaining 50 cookies.  But it was fun, always a favorite part of our Christmas season!

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Fine Art Cyber Monday Sale

Are you looking for a great gift for someone, but just can’t figure out what to get them?  These are the fine art prints I am selling this holiday season.  There are basically two ways to purchase, one copy has wording and a border, the other copy is the original shot.  These prints will be sold as a 16×24 gallery mount and only one copy of each will be sold.  Each gallery mount is signed and dated on the back.  Gallery mounts come ready to hang, with a beveled edge, instant art for your walls.  Please contact me with any questions you might have.  They can be drop shipped right to your home for no extra charge.  Normal investment cost is $250.  Huge sale starting on Cyber Monday and running through the entire holiday season with 20% off all fine art sales!  Happy shopping!  And I feel I have to state the obvious…my studio logo will NOT be on the purchased product.  This is just put on for copyright sake while online 🙂

Apple Tart Pie

I found this recipe in a recent issue of one of my cooking magazines.  The photo in the magazine made it look so beautiful and I thought I’d bust out my mad cooking skills and try this for Thanksgiving lunch.  Unfortunately, I threw away the recipe yesterday because I did not think this was all that great.  It’s basically just an apple pie.  It also called for a vanilla bean that is scrapped out.  And yikes, these cost $15 for two beans!!  It tasted great, just a fancy apple tart.

Apple Tart Pie:

1 refrigerated pie crust

3 T. apple jelly, melted

2/3 c. brown sugar

1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out

1/2 t. nutmeg

5-7 large granny smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt apple jelly.  Brush half of the mix over the bottom of pie crust.  Mix brown sugar, vanilla bean seeds and nutmeg.  Sprinkle 1-2 T. over jelly in bottom of pie crust.  Take apples and place in a ring around the bottom of the crust.  Sprinkle 1-2 T. sugar mix over this layer of apples.  Continue with apples around again, filling pie crust.  Brush the remaining jelly over top layer of apples.  Sprinkle remaining sugar mix on top.  Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until apples are tender.  Enjoy!

Crusted Chicken and Sweet Potato Fries with Caramelized Onion Sauce

I’ve been wanting to make this sauce for the past couple of weeks, but with the holiday and eating out I just hadn’t found the right meal to make it with.  Tonight I decided to make fried crusted chicken breasts, sweet potato fries with caramelized onion sauce and fresh sweet corn from this fall.  This meal was really easy to throw together and I do admit I did not make everything from scratch.  I grabbed the corn out of my freezer, always great to have fresh corn from the cob.  I used two large chicken breasts for the three of us.  I cut the chicken breasts into strips.  I then crusted them and fried them in olive oil.  The sweet potato fries were a spicy variety that I actually found in the freezer section of Target.  I’m sure there are other varieties at the grocery store or you could be adventurous and make your own.  The dipping sauce is what makes them so good.  This I did make from scratch, but it was very easy to make.  All together, it was a great meal!  Enjoy!

Crusting Mix:

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup plain bread crumbs

salt/pepper to taste

1 t. cayenne pepper

dash of hot pepper flakes

Caramelized Onion Dipping Sauce:

2 T. butter

1 medium sweet onion, sliced

2. T. apple cider vinegar

2 T. honey

2 T. Dijon mustard

1 c. mayonnaise

Melt butter in frying pan over medium heat, add onions.  Cook onions, stirring occasionally until they caramelize, about 25 minutes.  Remove from heat and place onions, vinegar, honey and mustard in food processor and process until fairly smooth.  Mix in the mayonnaise.   Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Setting up the Christmas Tree

I host Thanksgiving at my house every year for family and friends. The past few years I have not had to work the Wednesday before the holiday, so I’ve taken that time to set up my Christmas decor and the trees. The boys are always home from school and love to help in the fun. I have two artificial trees, one larger and one smaller. The smaller tree is for the boys to decorate themselves. They are always so excited to get their ornaments out and put them on the tree. Here are a few pics of our fun day!









Thankfulness

I know I’ve been slacking with my blog. We have had the flu going through the house the past week and we are just starting to all feel better. I should have been doing a month’s worth of thankfulness posts, but I guess I’ll save that for next year. Today I wanted to share two pictures from October that I took of the boys while outside at Papa and Oma’s house one Sunday afternoon. These two shots are my favorite of the fall, and actually the picture of my oldest and his little brother is my very favorite. I only wish all three boys were in it together, but I just happened to capture this one before their brother sat down. I sure am thankful to God for my three beautiful boys, even on the days when they all have the flu! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Fine Art Thanksgiving Weekend Sale

Are you looking for a great gift for someone, but just can’t figure out what to get them?  These are the fine art prints I am selling this holiday season.  There are basically two ways to purchase, one copy has wording and a border, the other copy is the original shot.  These prints will be sold as a 16×24 gallery mount and only one copy of each will be sold.  Each gallery mount is signed and dated on the back.  Gallery mounts come ready to hang, with a beveled edge, instant art for your walls.  Please contact me with any questions you might have.  They can be drop shipped right to your home for no extra charge.  Normal investment cost is $250.  Huge sale during Thanksgiving weekend with 20% off all fine art sales!  Happy shopping!  And I feel I have to state the obvious…my studio logo will NOT be on the purchased product.  This is just put on for copyright sake while online 🙂

Peanut Butter Balls (Buckeyes)

I came across this recipe on Pinterest, thought I would try it out to use on my Christmas Treats Plates.  These taste great and are fairly easy to make.  Just make sure you have time to roll them all.  This recipe makes a huge batch.  I rolled out all the peanut butter balls on one day (with a little help from my wonderful sister) and then I dipped them in the chocolate a day later.  I plan on putting them in the freezer until I make up my Christmas plates.  Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Balls (also known as Buckeyes)

3 lbs powdered sugar

1 lb butter

4 cups smooth peanut butter

3 packages of dark chocolate candy chips

Combine powdered sugar, butter and peanut butter in a large bowl.  Mix with your hands until everything is well blended.  Chill for at least 1/2 hour.  Roll the dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter.  Chill again for another 1/2 hour.   Heat chocolate candy chips according to package directions.  I just did it in the microwave.  Dip the peanut butter balls in the melted chocolate and let them cool on cookie sheet or wax paper.  Store in refrigerator or freezer.  Enjoy!

German Apple Pancakes

This recipe is an old one.  I’ve seen variations of it all over, but this recipe is from my Mom’s cookbook.  She used to make this quite often when we were growing up for dinner.  She’d usually make bacon or sausage to go with it.  I would love to do the same thing, but my hubby is not a fan of fruit in his dinner food.  Whatever…So I like to make this when I can have my friends over for brunch.  Hubby is at work, so it gives me the opportunity to indulge.  Unfortunately, this is not one for the waistline, there’s just a tad bit of butter, milk, eggs and sugar in it.  But this is easy and a great tradition to start for Christmas brunch.  You can also saute the apples the night before and just throw the 9×13 pan in the refrigerator until morning.  Just make sure you have lots of syrup on hand for your final product.  Enjoy!

German Apple Pancakes:

7-8 large apples (i used granny smith and honeycrisp)

1 stick of butter

1 1/3 cups milk

1 1/3 cups flour

2/3 cup sugar

8 eggs

cinnamon/sugar

Saute the apple slices in butter until soft.  Pour into a 9×13 pan.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  I just sprinkle until it looks good.  In a large bowl, beat milk, flour, sugar and eggs until well mixed.  Pour over the apples.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes.  Make sure you have room above your oven rack, this will puff up quite a bit around the edges as it bakes.  When you take it out of the oven and let it sit, the edges will deflate back down.  This is also great leftover.  Just pack the leftovers away and enjoy a piece every morning with your coffee…Yummmmmy!

Senior Guys 2011

As I was looking back over past posts, I realized I had not posted a bunch of my senior guy sessions from this fall.  Here are a few of my favorites from this year, 2011.  It’s funny, because out of all the seniors I photographed, only two sessions were girls…all the rest were guys.  Which is fine, usually means less outfits, less hair issues and less makeup changes.  I also have to laugh, because at every single senior guy session the following dialog would occur:

Mom:  Come on _________ (insert name here)!  Smile.  Smile nice.  Smile your real smile.  That is so not your real smile.

Senior Guy:  I am smiling Mom.  This is my normal smile.

Mom:  __________(name), please.  Just do some good ones for me.  I know you really don’t want to be here, but I want a nice shot for the yearbook and I would like a nice picture for the wall.

Senior Guy:  I know Mom. (grunt, eye roll, loud sigh)

Mom:  _________ (name), now fix your hair.  It’s hanging in your face.  (To me…) He really needed a haircut, I can’t stand it so long and hanging in his eyes.  (She walks up to him and starts fixing his hair) Do you want me to get the hairspray out of the car.

Me:  It really is the style right now, the girls love it.  He looks great.

Senior Guy:  Ugghh…Mom, it’s fine.  Don’t touch it.  No, I don’t want any hairspray.  Just leave it.

And on it goes 🙂  I just smile and try to make the guy as comfortable as I can, and make Mom happy in the process.  Not always easy, but definitely rewarding when I can show them some fun, good looking shots.  Enjoy!