Friday, December 14, 2018

Annual Holiday Dinner

Every year since 2000 around this time of year, I invite everyone we know to join us for a meal. When Phil and I married, we changed the format from joining for a meal to open house style. It is for sure one of my favorite days of the year! It's A LOT of work but so fun! This year, we raised a few turkeys with one to be used at our Annual Holiday Dinner. The most stress I had of the entire day involved this:

Not before adding the majority of this stuffing being added to the turkey! Homestead Phil prefers the stuffing to be baked outside of the turkey which is why not all of it went IN to the turkey! :)

After 4 hours and 45 minutes, I decided to peel the foil off of the turkey above only to find that the turkey was PERFECT! It was so moist and delicious! Currently the frame is soaking in boiling water so we can make some broth to be used through the year. After about 50 friends and family members, lots of great food, many hugs, we ended our 6 hour party with only this much stuffing! It was ranked as one of the favorites of the day! That and Becky's spicy corn dip!

We asked as many friends and family to snag a photo with these create signs that Homestead Phil made like he did last year. The previous few years, we had a photo booth section. Although we really enjoy the photo booth photos, the selfie photos are great too! Here's a photo with me, the sign, and my friend Val.

Givi Kitty enjoys a good party just like I do! She hung out most of the time under the tree or in her cat tree. After everyone we left, snagged a few selfies with our lovely Givi to finish off the evening.

And just like that, our 19th Annual Holiday Dinner is complete. We're already talking about next year! Until then, I need to can the broth that's on the stove and freeze some of the turkey that is leftover in the fridge! Amazingly, of the 25+ pound turkey, we only had less than 5 pounds left!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Creamy Garlic Tomato Soup!

I LOVE making soup in the winter! I make so much at one time that we eat it for days! Or I give some away :) This week, I made Creamy Garlic Tomato Soup based on The Prairie Homestead's Recipe.

Creamy Tomato Garlic Soup
  • 2 large cans puree tomatoes (you can use crushed or diced but I like a smoother soup)
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion (again due to texture, I chop these in the food processor)
  • 4 tsp minced garlic
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 6 cups whole milk OR half and half or combination of the two or 2% (really whatever milk I have on hand but the whole milk / half & half helps to thicken the soup)
  • 4 tsp brown sugar (6 tsp sucanat is what the original recipe calls for but I don't have that on hand)
  • 4 tablespoons dried basil
  • 2.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese (for garnish)

Melt butter in a large stock pot (I use 6 qt) then add the onion and garlic until tender. Stir in the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes until it starts to brown some.

In another pot, heat the tomatoes to simmer.

In the flour mixture, add the brown sugar, salt, pepper, and basil. Pour in milk semi-quickly but slow enough to not have clumps of flour. Cook and stir constantly over medium heat until it simmers and begins to thicken. Add heated tomatoes and gently stir. Continue to heat for 5-10 minutes stirring occasionally.

Puree the tomatoes in a blender or food processor. (If you have a hand/immersion blender, you can skip this step. Read on for details.) Place them in a separate saucepan, and bring them to a simmer.

I always top with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and often also make homemade garlic croutons. I didn't make the time for the croutons this time so I used crackers instead. I did; however, make the time to deliver some to my friend Carrie as I'm being purposeful with my time AND it's her favorite!

The Plague!


On Thanksgiving, two of our nieces came over for slime making, nail painting, baking, and Christmas decorating. In the midst of that, we took Homestead Phil to the airport to enjoy some warmth in Arizona with good friends and his dad & step-mom. The girls and I went to glow in the dark mini-golf on our way back from the airport! Not a great photo because ... well dark area and forward facing camera without a flash!

On Black Friday, I went to bed feeling like I had a scratchy throat coming on. By morning, it was legit a very sore throat on the way to a sinus infection. I was holding down the fort with the outside animals, giving Givi Kitty an oral antibiotic twice a day, and maintaining the businesses. I powered through for 5 days of a lot of time on the couch until it was time to pick up Homestead Phil from the airport again! Even after that, I would get small bursts of energy but was still pretty dedicated to the couch for another 3.5-4 days. During that time, Homestead Phil made an appointment for me and took me to the doctor. It was clear that this was not going away on its own! Two weeks later, the cough is minimal. I have a few days left of the antibiotic. This time of year is my favorite! Business is a bit slow as expected which means I take some time for myself! Being sick though, I missed out on more than a week of being purposeful with my time to bake, visit with friends, and prepare for our Annual Holiday Dinner! (More on that next week!)

So while I was doing this:

Homestead Phil was doing this:

So I'm back in full swing and ready to be purposeful!