I’m making my list and checking it twice

My cookie list, that is! Each year I ask all the kids and grand kids what cookies they would like for this year’s holiday season. Sometimes they choose an old stand-by and sometimes something new. At any rate, that starts my list. Just as I prepare for Thanksgiving dishes, I compile all the cookie and treat recipes and the lists begin. Since cookie recipes have so many common ingredients, that list almost looks like a chart. All I have to do is total the columns, check my pantry, and shop for what’s missing. The hardest part for me is making sure I don’t use up ingredients that should be reserved for any of those recipes ahead of time. I could avoid this by preparing cookie kits of pre-measured flour, sugar, etc., but frankly, sometimes I’m just too lazy to take the time. There are so many other things to do.  It’s just smart to try to make sure I have a little extra of the most used components on hand, just in case.
While many people prepare a ham to go along with their Thanksgiving turkey, we save our ham for the week after when we are turkeyed out. I took advantage of the sale pricing on my favorite semi-boneless hams and baked one this past Sunday. Of course, that made ham the theme of the week, but we don’t mind. Hams are so versatile that I always run out of ham before I run out of recipes, but that’s a good thing because leftovers are only good for a determined length of time.
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While watching a holiday special on the Food Network, a side dish by Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa, caught my eye. Michael and I are both fond of leeks, and I put mushrooms in everything possible, so we just had to try her Mushroom and Leek Bread Pudding. Chick here http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/mushroom-and-leek-bread-pudding.html  for a link to the recipe.
Meatless Monday was a take on Tortellini Primavera. What I really did was clean out the produce drawer.  Mushrooms, red bell peppers, and zucchini were stir-fried and married to store bought tortellini in Homemade Marinara Sauce. I added a House Salad and a couple of Easy Yeast Rolls from the freezer and we dined very well with very little effort.dscn2310 dscn2344-2
Tuesday we were back to ham and Sunday dinner’s leftovers, nothing fancy here.  I did take the opportunity that evening to divide up the leftover ham into designated portions for sandwiches and future meals.  The bone and smaller pieces of meat went into a big pot of Bean and Ham Soup. That soup recipe has been in my family for as long as I can remember and the soup has never changed. In fact, it was never even written down until I documented it for you. My father was a child of the Great Depression and he always made it for us. I do not know who taught it to him, but the soup makes use of every last scrap of that ham and is utterly delicious comfort food.
By Thursday it was time to move on to something else, so I once again turned to the freezer. Grilled Italian Meatloaf with Tangy Sauce was a welcome change from all that ham. I did have to “grill” slices indoors on a grill pan, but who’s complaining?
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We finished out the week with a copycat recipe for Taco Salad Deluxe that I order at one of the Mexican restaurants that we frequently visit. It’s simply strips of chicken sprinkled with fajita style seasonings and grilled stove top with broccoli, yellow squash, and zucchini. All that is served in a baked Flour Tortilla Bowl,  with Michael’s Queso Dip  and Salsa Rice served on the side.
Well, it’s time to get all those cookie recipes together. After I tally all the ingredients I’ll have to set a time line. Some of those cookies can be baked ahead and frozen, for some I can freeze the unbaked dough, and some will have to wait till the last minute all together. We’ll see. No matter what, I’ll be busy!
Be thankful for what life give you.

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