End of the Year Reflections

Today’s blog will be a little different then the usual recipe.

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Today I just want to chat with you about life. As this year comes to an end and we are all thinking back over our year it is easy to dwell on the bad things that have happened.
When I think back over my year I am struck by all that has happened, not much went to my plans. I would have never expected to have an arm injury that would change my life forever. Those three months changed my life, though not in the way one would think. Yes my life did change in that I could no longer do simple things such as holding a drinking glass or cutting my own food. It changed the way I looked at my life. I had planned for life to go a certain way, I expected to blog, make food, and continue on with life. I learned that no matter how much you plan your life it is still in Gods hands.
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It is such a hard lesson for me to learn, which I still am. I love to plan, I hate being spontaneous but slowly I am trying to let go and let God. When I was in the midst of the battle with my arms I had to face that everything I had planned for my life might not happen, blogging, driving, cooking food, leading children’s theatre, being able to have a social life. You might think that I would wish none of that ever happened but I don’t. I am thankful for God’s plan and provision. I am so thankful for my year, even if it didn’t go to plan. If you would have asked me when I was 16 what my life would look like when I was 20 I would have said  I would be a school teacher  or owned a successful home business. Instead I am blogging as well as figuring out what I want to do with my life. I would have never guessed cooking would become so important to me.  
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I would love for you to check out this blog post that has gone viral Click Here. After you read it hop back over to my blog and let me know what you think.

I still have dirt under my nails, I held on and persevered. I am still here, I am smarter, stronger and thankful for my experience. As we come into the new year don’t dwell on the bad, dwell on the fact that you still have dirt under your nails! You survived, you are here and God is with you! My personality type is to set everything to high expectations and try to hit those expectations. When life does not go the way I planned it’s easy to feel like I have failed, but I am here to say that I haven’t failed. Gods plan is so superior to mine, my plans will never be able to measure up to His! I hope and pray that your lives this coming year are filled with Blessings! I look forward to continuing to blog in 2015 and seeing what God has planned for my life!

End of the Year in Retroview

As 2013 comes to a end I thought I would tell you about a new tradition we started this year. At the beginning of 2013 we started the Thank You Jesus Bowl, in this bowl we have wrote down on pieces of paper the good things that have happened whether they were small or large. Some of the things we wrote down were: Vacations/Work Trips, How we spent School Breaks, and things we were thankful for.
Before we read the things out of the Thank You Jesus Bowl we wrote down the things that disappointed us through out the year, once the three of us had each wrote down the “Bad Things” we threw the lists into the fire and let all of the troubles go. We told each other what was on the list but if it was personal you didn’t have to share. It really gives a great perspective on the year, first letting go of the bad and reminding yourself of all of the good things that have happened and what God has done in your life, awesome way to start a New Year!

Burning the Bad

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Thank You Jesus Bowl

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Everything may have not gone to our plans this year but it did go to Gods plan for our lives! So thankful for this year and looking forward to what 2014 will bring! Happy New Years to You and Yours!

Cranberry Salad

Cranberry Salad via LashesandDashesCranberry Salad has been in our family archives for many years.  My mom received the recipe from an Old Tea Room in Medina, Oh.  when they were closing. She was absolutely thrilled that they gave the “secret” recipe to her.  She has made this for many years now at Thanksgiving and Christmas , we all look forward to it! This year my Mom gave me the honors of making it for Christmas dinner. Whenever we take this Salad to a gathering it is gone within minutes! The Cranberry Salad is the perfect pairing with Turkey or really any meat of your choice.  If your looking for a light refreshing dessert this would be perfect! If you have a sweet tooth be sure to make the topping for the Salad, we did not use the topping this year since we were having the salad with dinner. The Salad also freezes wonderfully, but if you do decide to make the topping be sure to make it fresh when you serve the salad.  The recipe serves 10-12 people.  Enjoy!!

Cranberry Salad via LashesandDashes

Cranberry Salad via LashesandDashes

Cranberry Salad via LashesandDashes

Cranberry Salad via LashesandDashes

Cranberry Salad via LashesandDashes

Ingredients
2 bags fresh cranberries
3 oz package Cherry Jello, blended with 1 cup boiling water, cooled to room temp
5 Granny Smith apples, peeled
Finely grated peel of 1 orange
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
20 oz can crushed pineapple, well drained
1 cup mandarin orange sections well drained

Directions
Wash the cranberries, using a food processor coarsely chop the cranberries. Once you have chopped all of the cranberries place them in a large fridge safe container. Coarsely chop the peeled apples, the place in the container. Pour the pineapple and mandarin oranges into the container. Mix together all of the ingredients. Refrigerate the Salad overnight. Serve chilled.

Topping Ingredients
1 package cream cheese softened
Small jar marshmallow cream
2 TBS orange juice

Mix together the above ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Place dollop of topping upon each serving of Cranberry Salad.

Christmas Place Settings

Christmas Place Setting via LashesandDashesAt our House my Mom always makes Christmas so special with every detail covered. One of the things she likes to do is make beautiful place settings for our table. This year she asked for my help with some new ideas. Below are three ideas for the Place Settings, I have included two variations for each Setting. When my Mom sets the table for a special occasion she includes a favor for our Guests, just a little extra something special.

Christmas Place Settings via LashesandDashes

For this place setting you will need 1 Dinner Plate, 1 Bread Plate, 1 Cloth Napkin folded into a Square, Gold Silverware, 2 Hershey Kisses still wrapped, 1 Baby Carrot, 5 Chocolate Chips in Christmas Colors, 1 Piece of Red Fabric for Scarf.

I saw a Place Setting Similar to this on Pinterest and decided to do my own take on it.

Christmas Place Setting via LashesandDashes

This Place setting is the same as above but with one small adjustment. For this place setting you will need 1 Dinner Plate, 1 Bread Plate, 1 Cloth Napkin folded into a Square, Gold Silverware, 2 Hershey Kisses unwrapped, 1 Baby Carrot, 6 Chocolate Chips in Christmas Colors, 1 Piece of Red Fabric for Scarf.

The variation for this setting is a very simple one, just unwrap the Hershey Kisses.

Christmas Place Setting via LashesandDashes

For this Place Setting you will need: 1 Bread Plate, 1 Dinner Plate, 1 Christmas Glass, 1 Place Mat in Shape of Christmas Ornament, 1 Cloth Napkin in Shape of Christmas Tree, Silverware

Before this year I had never seen a napkin folded into a tree, it is the hottest trend for Place Settings this year. I will post the how to video below.

Christmas Place Setting via LashesandDashes

Same as above except we put Hershey Kisses in the Folds of the Napkin

The Hershey Kisses would be our Favor on this Place Setting.

Christmas Place Setting via LashesandDashes

For this Setting you will need: 1 Charger Plate, 1 Dinner Plate, 1 Bread Plate, 1 Petit Four, Gold Silverware, 1 Christmas Goblet, 1 Napkin folded into a Fan.

My mom taught me how to fold the napkin into a fan, I will post the tutorial below.

Christmas Place Settings via LashesandDashes

For this Setting you will need: 1 Charger Plate, 1 Dinner Plate, 1 Bread Plate, 1 Petit Four, Gold Silverware, 1 Christmas Goblet, 1 Napkin folded into a Fan 1 Christmas Place Mat.

The Petit Four is from our favorite Bakery in Louisville Heitzman Traditional Bakery and Deli, before we headed back home we picked up several Petit Fours for Christmas and froze them so they would be fresh.  You could also use a favorite cookie or other yummy goody of your choice.

From Our Table to Your Table we wish you the Merrist of Christmas!

Merry Christmas from LashesandDashes

Gaylord Opryland Hotel

Gaylord Opryland Hotel via LashesandDashesOn our way home from Louisville we decided to stop by the Gaylord Opryland Hotel to view their “A Country Christmas”, I have posted the Video Promo below.

We had not been to the Gaylord Opryland Hotel for over 12 years, the last time we went it was absolutely wonderful! We had not been there at Christmas time, and it exceeded our expectations! If you will be traveling through the Nashville area this Christmas I highly recommend taking a pit stop here. No matter what your budget may be, or your interest you will find something to do here. We arrived around 9:30 central time, and decided to walk around inside the Hotel as it was drizzling outside. If you look close enough you can find free parking if not you will have to pay $20 to self park. We made our way downstairs first to see the Holly Jolly Town Square, if you have young children this is a must stop for you! At the Holly Jolly Town Square they have a store where children can buy gifts for family and friends. After this we walked up to the first level to see the Atrium, in the Atrium there is a river flowing through the middle of it that you can ride a River Boat. As we were walking around viewing the live flowers we enjoyed the waterfalls and also the Water Fountain Show. Another feature that is great for families is the Christmassy DreamWorks Experience, when we where walking around the Atrium we saw the ShrekFeast Interactive Character Meal. Before we went to get lunch we walked through the Treasures for the Holidays Craft Show and picked up a few last minute Christmas gifts. We were still on Louisville time and were quite hungry by 11am, we decided to eat at the Jack Daniel’s restaurant, the food was BBQ and was quite good! After lunch the rain had subsided so we went out to the front lawn of the hotel to see the Outdoor Nativity Display, it was beautiful and was a wonderful reminder of the True Reason for the Season!

With out any further adieu the pictures from our visit are below.

Gaylord Opryland Hotel via LashesandDashes

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Gaylord Opryland Hotel via LashesandDashes

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Rich Man, Poor Man Steak

Rich Man Poor Man Steak via LashesandDashesOne day last week I found a pack of ground meat in the freezer, I was tired of Spaghetti, Tacos, and Chili, so I came up with Rich Man, Poor Man Steak. The thought behind the name is you can use any grade of meat in this dish and it will turn out wonderful! We used ground round but you could use ground chuck or ground beef, also you could mix half turkey into the beef to make this dish healthier. Have fun experimenting with any type of meat, I think you will fall in love with this easy meal!

Rich Man, Poor Man Steak via LashesandDashes

Rich Man, Poor Man Steak via LashesandDashes

Rich Man, Poor Man Steak via LashesandDashes

Rich Man, Poor Man Steak via LashesandDashes

Rich Man, Poor Man Steak via LashesandDashes

Rich Man, Poor Man Steak via LashesandDashes

Rich Man, Poor Man Steak via LashesandDashes

Rich Man, Poor Man Steak via LashesandDashes

Rich Man, Poor Man Steak via LashesandDashes

Rich Man, Poor Man Steak via LashesandDashes

Rich Man, Poor Man Steak via LashesandDashes

Rich Man, Poor Man Steak via LashesandDashes

Rich Man, Poor Man Steak via LashesandDashes

Rich Man, Poor Man Steak via LashesandDashes

Ingredients

8 ounces fresh mushrooms washed and sliced

1 1/2 lb ground round

1 cup dry breadcrumbs

1 egg mixed with a teaspoon of water

2 teaspoons of Steak sauce

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 TBS Olive Oil

1 Packet of Brown gravy or Mushroom gravy

1 1/2 cups water

Directions

Place ground round in a mixing bowl, break apart with a fork. Pour the Worcestershire sauce, Steak sauce, bread crumbs and the egg mixture into the meat, mix the meat together with your hands. Form into four large patties. Brown cut mushrooms in a large pan with 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil until tender, remove from pan into a bowl. Place 1 tablespoon of oil in hot pan carefully place patties in oil, cook until brown on both sides. While the patties are browning whisk together gravy packet with 1 1/2 water. When the patties are brown on both sides pour the gravy on top and around the patties in the pan, scoop mushrooms into pan and on top of patties. Set timer for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes flip the patties, after you have flipped them make sure to spoon some of the gravy and mushrooms on top of the patties. You can add a couple tablespoons of water at that point if to much water has evaporated. Set timer for another 10 minutes. We served it with white rice but you could also serve it with noodles or mashed potatoes. Enjoy 🙂

Peppermint Roll

Peppermint Roll via LashesandDashesJust like the Pumpkin Roll at Thanksgiving it is a tradition in my family to make Peppermint Roll for the Christmas Season. Peppermint Roll is super easy to whip up for a Christmas party or Family get together. I hope your family loves this dish just as much as mine! This recipe makes one large Peppermint Roll and one small Peppermint Roll.

As a side note “Santa” has come early in my house, and delivered a brand new 6 Qt Kitchen Aid Mixer. Today was the first day I have used it. I am so Thankful “Santa” brought it early, I absolutely love it and it makes baking much easier!

Peppermint Roll via LashesandDashes

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Peppermint Roll via LashesandDashes

Peppermint Roll via LashesandDashes Peppermint Roll via LashesandDashes

Make sure to bake on the middle rack

Peppermint Roll

Ingredients

1 box of Angel Food Cake Mix

Directions

Line jelly roll pan with wax paper. Prepare angel food cake mix as directed on back of box. Pour 3/4 of batter onto lined jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, make sure to keep your eye on the cake while in the oven as it can burn quite easy. After the 15 minutes pull the wax paper up to reveal the bottom of the cake, check to see if it is brown. Remove cake from oven. Turn the cake onto another piece of wax paper sprinkled with powdered sugar, quickly pull the wax paper off of the cake, if the cake starts to stick to the wax paper it was baked on use a serrated knife to help peel the cake off.  Roll the cake on the wax paper sprinkled with powdered sugar unto its self. Let the cake cool. When the cake is cool mix up your whipped cream.

Homemade Whipped Cream Topping

Ingredients

1 Pint Whipping Cream

1 cup Mini Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

2/3 cup Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips

1 tsp Peppermint Extract

1/2 cup powdered sugar

Put Mixing bowl and whisk into freezer. Pour the whipping cream into the chilled bowl. Using either a stand mixer or hand held mixer with whisk attached start at lowest speed and slowly increase speed to med-high or speed 8 on Kitchen Aid Mixer. Continue mixing until the whipping cream holds stiff peaks. Pour in the peppermint extract. Using a spatula incorporate the peppermint baking chips and the chocolate chips, incorporate carefully as to not deflate the whipped cream. Once all of the ingredients are incorporated spread the whipped cream mixture onto the cooled cake, re-roll the cake in wax paper and refrigerate until ready to serve.  To garnish the top spread whipping cream on top and sprinkle with the peppermint chips.  Enjoy and may this become a tradition in your home!