Monday, June 25, 2007

6 months til Christmas & Christmas Notebook

Christmas countdown banner

Well, it's official!!! Only 6 more months until Christmas. If you've got a lot of stuff to do in preparation for the holiday season, it's time to get kicking!!! For less stress, and organization in planning your preparations, I suggest this webgroup, Christmas Notebook:
Rhonda, the group mom, has an absolutely brilliant way of organizing the holidays. She takes one month of pre-notebook prep (in August) and then 19 weeks of Holiday Prep (Sept. 1- Jan. 6). She hosts (and/or co-hosts) several events each year, has over 100 boxes of decorations, sends out about 200 Christmas cards and makes crafts/ornaments, etc. Even if you only have a few things you do each year, this group can help you out. Basically it maps out your Christmas/Thanksgiving, etc. plans & helps you organize everything with less stress. You adapt it to fit your family's holidays. It's a really great help. I urge you to try it out. If you find it's not for you, you can go no-mail or leave the group. They also have great craft/ornament/decorating, etc. ideas.

I haven't posted in 8 days, I think. Sorry for that, I was getting some things done. I did buy a dinner table. The ones with 6 chairs that I found were out of my price range. The ones in muy price range (or only slightly above it) were 4 seaters, with no room to add extra chairs. So, I bought a card table & 6 folding chairs. It will do for now. After I save some money, I will go get a "real" table & chairs. Then, we could save the table/chairs we have now in the shed for holidays.

The table is working out great with the family. We are sitting down together, no more sitting on the floor and beds, no more dh eating in the bedroom in front of the tv, we sit down and hold hands and pray, we talk about our days. God is good!!! He provided a place for my family to sit down and be a family. We have eaten 3 meals a day at it since I bought it.

Here is what we'll be eating today:
Breakfast: Bacon, eggs, cheesy grits & bagels
Lunch: Hot Dogs, potato salad and coleslaw
Dinner: Homestyle Pot Roast, salad and fresh sourdough bread (This recipe will be in Ready, Set, Eat by Gooseberry Patch in July. They renamed it Farmhouse Pot Roast. I expect it in the mail anyday now. It's a really easy recipe.)
Dessert: Fudge Upside Down Cake

Homestyle Pot Roast
Recipe By :Cherylann T. Smith
Serving Size : 6
5 pounds roast, trimmed
8 large red potatoes -- cut into chunks
1/2 pound baby carrots
3 stalks celery -- chopped
1 can mushroom pieces 2
6 ounces cream of mushroom soup
14 1/2 ounces beef broth
2 cups water
Put roast in bottom of 5-6 quart crockpot. Top with potatoes, carrots, celery and mushrooms.
Pour in soup, broth and water.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until beef is done and falling apart.

Sourdough Bread - North Carolina Style
Sourdough Starter:
3 packages yeast
1 cup warm water
Starter Feed:
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons instant potatoes
1 cup warm water
Sourdough Bread:
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup starter
1 1/2 cups warm water
6 cups bread flour
SOURDOUGH STARTER: Combine and refrigerate, covered, for 3 to 5 days. Take out and feed with the starter feed.
STARTER FEED: Mix well and add to starter. Let stand out of refrigerator all day (5 to 12 hours). Mixture will be bubbly. Take out 1 cup to make bread and return starter to refrigerator. Keep in refrigerator 3 to 5 days and feed again. If not making bread after feeding starter, throw away 1 cup to avoid depleting your starter.
SOURDOUGH BREAD: Combine above ingredients and make a stiff batter. grease another bowl. Put dough in and turn over oily side on top. Cover with foil and let stand overnight. (Do not refrigerate.) The next morning, punch dough down. Divide into thirds. Knead each part on floured surface 8 to 10 times. Grease 3 loaf pans and turn each loaf over in pan so it has oil on both sides. Let rise in pans 4 or 5 hours. (All day is all right.) Cover with waxed paper. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove and brush with butter. Cool on rack. Wrap well and store. Refrigerate. Bread may be frozen.

Fudge Upside Down Cake
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup walnuts -- chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cups boiling water
Preheat oven to 350°.
Cream together 3/4 cup sugar and butter. Stir in milk.
Sift flour, baking powder, salt and 2 Tablespoons cocoa together. Add to creamed mixture and beat until smooth.
Stir in walnuts. Spread batter into a 9" square pan.
In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/3 cup cocoa. Sprinkle over batter. Pour boiling water over top.
Bake for 35-40 minutes.
The cake will rise to the top and the boiling water will combine with the sugar/cocoa mixture to make a rich chocolate syrup underneath.

Have a blessed day!!


Heart4MyHome said...

I am so glad you posted the recipe for the sourdough bread and starter. Since I have packed up most of my cookbooks and recipe journals, I didn't have a tried and true sourdough recipe handy and I have been thinking about making some. Now I just have to remember what box my bread loaf pans are boxed up in. *grin*

Cherylann said...

LOL...well, if you can't find them, bread pans aren't too expensive.