Everyday Mom's Meals: December 2020
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Sunday, December 27, 2020

Happy (Almost) 2021

 How was your Christmas? I hope it was a day surrounded by those you love most in the world, with magic, joy and peace. (Even if some had to join virtually!)

We had a wonderful holiday, with celebrations over a couple days. According to the mound of presents under our tree Christmas morning, our boys were VERY good this year. (But Mommy could have told Santa that!) 

Now that my most favorite time of year is behind us, I tend to get a little depressed. I won't even lie. December 26th is my least favorite day of the year. But I do have something to look forward to! Our annual New Year's Eve Buffet! 

If you've been following me for a good amount of time, you know our tradition. Every NYE, I make a huge appetizer buffet filled with yummy things. We stay in, my parents come over, we eat, we watch movies, we play games, we eat, we stay up for the ball drop, we eat....you get the picture. 

So while many will be doing an "at home New Year's Eve" for the first time this year, we are experts and it's one of our most fun traditions!

If you're planning some tasty food to welcome 2021, this slow cooker beer braised sausage could definitely be added to the menu! This is a versatile recipe that you can serve as an appetizer (just cut it into smaller pieces) or for a simple weeknight supper. It's delicious right out of the Crock Pot, but we also love putting it on some hoagie buns for a sandwich dripping in yum factor. 

I know many like to serve pork for good luck in the New Year, so this could be a fun twist on that tradition too! 

Without a doubt, 2020 will go down in history as one of the worst years ever, at least in most of our lifetimes. But I think there is a lot to be thankful for as we look back too. Sure, it might not always be the easiest to see, or focus on, but even in the darkest days this year, our family has been so incredibly lucky. So I am trying to focus on that as we say goodbye to another year, but am also ready to welcome 2021 with open arms. I wish you a happy, healthy and delicious New Year...only good things ahead!

 Slow Cooker Beer Braised Sausage

3 (9 oz.) packages smoked sausage

1 large white onion, thinly sliced

1/2 c. brown sugar

2/3 c. light beer

1/4 c. spicy brown mustard

1/4 c. apple cider vinegar

1 TBS water

2 tsp. cornstarch

Slice sausage into 1-2 inch pieces. Spray the slow cooker with nonstick spray. Lay sliced onions in bottom. Lay sausage on top of onions. In a medium bowl, whisk brown sugar, beer, mustard and vinegar. Pour over sausage. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours. About 15 minutes before serving, mix water and cornstarch. Add to slow cooker. Stir and cook on HIGH about 10 minutes until thickened. Serve as is or on hoagie buns with sauce drizzled over top.

 Shared at Weekend Potluck


Sunday, December 20, 2020

Post Christmas Soup

While I kind of dropped the ball on a festive holiday recipe for you this week, I do have one that is perfect post Christmas. If you're cooking a big, glazed ham, you will definitely appreciate this on day 3 or 4 of leftovers sitting in the fridge!

This is a recipe I've been making since we were newlyweds almost 18 years ago. It is actually a dish the hubby brought with him, based on one he ate as a kid. He first made it for me before we were married and while I've tweaked it a little over the years, the foundation is still the same. 

Many people see this dish and they instantly want to write it off. They have thoughts of eating pureed peas a baby and are convinced it won't be good. But I plead with you, don't judge a soup by it's cover! I've had so many tell me they have never liked split pea soup in the past, but this one, they can't get enough of. 

A couple things to keep in mind. If you don't have leftover ham, you can easily use store bought, pre-diced. That's what I use year round, and it works great. Also, this soup gets VERY thick, to the point of no longer being soup consistency. So, keep some extra broth on hand to thin it back out before serving if need be, and if you like eating it the next day, be prepared to definitely add some liquid before reheating. 


On a personal note, I want to thank each and every one of you who continue to log on weekly to see what's cooking in my kitchen. To all of my followers on Facebook and Instagram who always send their love to my food, and my family pics, I feel so incredibly blessed to have such a great community to share my life with. 

This year as been rough. In SO many ways. But I am so grateful to be spending another Christmas with those I love most in the world, doing a job I love, and living this beautiful life God has given me. 

I hope your Christmas is filled with the joy, love and peace that came down to Earth on that glorious night so many years ago. May the light that shone from that tiny manger, shine through us all in the coming year. 

From our family to yours, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

1 1/2 lbs. dried split peas

4 c. chicken broth

2 c. water

5 medium carrots, diced

1 medium yellow onion, diced

2 c. cooked ham, diced

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

Salt and Pepper

 Add all ingredients to slow cooker. Stir well. Cook on low 5-7 hours. After about 4 hours, use potato masher to mash some of the peas. When finished, if too thick, thin out with some extra broth if needed. 


 

 

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Christmas Planning

 Less than 2 weeks, people! I don't know if anyone else feels like December is flying by and Christmas is going to be here before we know it, but it's so hard me to accept in less than 14 days the presents will be unwrapped, the cookies will have all been eaten (okay, probably not but you get my point) the trash will be overflowing with toy boxes and the anticipation will all be over. 

I tend to get very depressed on December 26th, so let's not think about that. Let's focus on what's coming. There is still plenty of time to enjoy all the joy and magic this season has to offer, and let's not forget about that delicious meal that is on the way too. 

When I planning my holiday 2020 recipes, I knew I wanted to offer a side dish that would pair well with ham (I think it's one of the most popular Christmas meals) and would make it extra easy on the cook with help from the slow cooker. 

Our family has loved glazed carrots forever. I can remember my dad making them when I was little and it's the only way I do it now for my boys. But I will admit, if it's a weeknight meal, I am lazy. Some canned sliced carrots, diced butter, sprinkled with brown sugar, salt and pepper. I cook them in a pan, or sometimes even the microwave and done. 

However, with a little extra time, not prep though, we can have some glazed carrots that are a holiday show stopper! These come out glistening from the amazing glaze and taste soooooo good. A little note about the ceylon cinnamon. It's not a deal breaker. Normal, every day cinnamon will work just fine. I was gifted some of the ceylon variety and love using it in special dishes. Ceylon cinnamon has a stronger flavor and seems a little "hotter" than regular. A little goes a long way, so it's perfect for this dish. If you happen to see some at the store, it's a great thing to have on hand for festive occasions and recipes. 

I hope your Christmas season is shaping up to be magical and filled with joy. These last couple weeks will fly by, and may we all squeeze every last morsel of magic out of them.  

 

Slow Cooker Glazed Carrots

2 lbs. carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

4 TBS butter, melted

1/3 c. packed brown sugar

1/2 tsp. ceylon cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. dried parsley

1 TBS corn starch

1 TBS water 

Salt and pepper

Place carrots in slow cooker. In a small bowl whisk together butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Pour over carrots and stir. Cook on HIGH for 3 hours. Remove lid. Whisk together corn starch and water. Push carrots to side of slow cooker. Add corn starch slurry to sauce. Stir well. Cook for 5-10 minutes until thick. Stir carrots back into sauce. Sprinkle with dried parsley and serve. 

 

Inspired by Dinner At The Zoo

Shared at Weekend Potluck


 

 

Sunday, December 6, 2020

A Ham Of A Tradition

 Every family has dishes and recipes that have been passed down between generations. Some of them are easily understood by others, and some don't make sense outside the family. But that's okay because if you love them, and they conjure up happy memories, that's all that matters. 

This is one of those things that I couldn't truly appreciate until I was an adult. I wasn't a picky eater as a kid, so I can't explain why I didn't enjoy it, but as I've gotten older, it's definitely something I can't imagine not serving with every ham I make. 

This comes to you via me of course, but like so many of my treasured recipes, it originated from my Gammy, my dad's mom. And when I say my daddy can NOT eat a beautiful holiday ham without it, I mean it. It's truly one of his favorite combinations in the world. 

If you try it, it won't take long before you realize well. The citrus flavor pairs so well with ham, the raisins turn into plump little bursts of flavor and the hint of cloves give it a true holiday essence. 

I don't mind making this any time I have a big glazed ham on the menu because one of the best things about it is you can make it ahead and simply rewarm it! I have made it up to 2 days before and it's still perfect. It does thicken as it sits, so sometimes it needs thinned back out, but see the note below on how I handle that.

The last time I made this for my dad he said we probably use way more on each piece of ham than what was intended. Oops. We slather our ham in it. I am pretty sure you're supposed to slightly dip, but oh well. We want ton enjoy it! 

If you're planning a Christmas ham, I would love if you included a family tradition of mine with your holiday meal. I would be honored, in fact!

Orange Raisin Sauce

1 c. water

1 c. orange juice

1 c. raisins

1/4 c. sugar

2 TBS flour

1/4 tsp. salt

Dash of cloves

In a small sauce pan, bring 1/2 cup water, juice and raisins to boil. Dissolve flour in other 1/2 cup water. Whisk into juice mixture. Add sugar, salt and cloves. Bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook until thick, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately or allow to cool and refrigerate. *NOTE* This is a great make ahead. It can be refrigerated up to 2 days before serving and reheated in microwave. It will become thicker as it sits, so simply add some water or juice to thin it back out.