Tag Archives: Navidad

Happy New Year with a Gingerbread Snoopy’s Doghouse


I’m a bit late with my New Year’s Greetings, but that’s nothing new! ūüôā ¬†(At least it’s still January) ¬†Here’s Snoopy, apparently fast asleep atop his doghouse, but in reality he’s thinking deep thoughts about the new year, and wishing the best for you and yours in 2014.Gingerbread Snoopy's Doghouse_dennasideas.com - Happy New Year 2014We did a gingerbread decorating day with my sister and all of our kids, and after the frosting stopped flying, and the kids rumbled off to their next activity, I assembled this gingerbread doghouse for cookie Snoopy. ¬†I used the birdhouse pattern that I printed from the instructions¬†here, and just trimmed in the roof sections a bit and cut out the doorway. ¬†Then decorated with royal icing and nonpareil snowflakes. ¬†Snoopy is such a comforting image from my childhood! ¬† Here’s Snoopy’s doghouse with some Christmas lights that I swiped from my nephew…..Gingerbread Snoopy Doghouse_dennasideas.com They didn’t stay on too long when my nephew finally noticed them….!Gingerbread Snoopy House_dennasideas.com - Page 001 Gingerbread Snoopy House_dennasideas.com - Page 002I just love gingerbread!! ¬†YUM! ¬†I usually end up making some in February, too, not just for Christmas! ¬†Anyways, have a great New Year!

Christmas and New Year’s Cranberry Meatballs


Ok, this might be a little late, but I figure it’s still the season to eat cranberries!!¬† If you like cranberries and if you like meatballs….I’m pretty sure you will like this tasty meal!¬† I have kids who happen to love both (oh, wait, someone inexplicably doesn’t like cranberries, so we just scraped the sauce off for her, one out of 6 isn’t bad) so it was¬†a recipe that got rave reviews!¬† I haven’t made it for years, but every Christmas, I think about it.¬† Finally, for our (late) New Year’s celebration, I decided that I was going to make these¬†festive meatballs, then realized that I don’t even have the recipe….so I had to call Mom.¬† I’m not sure where the recipe comes from, but years ago our church served these meatballs several times and we both asked for the¬†recipe (I just didn’t realize that I had lost mine).denna's ideas: Christmas and New Year's Cranberry Meatballs

Here’s the recipe followed by my observations,

Christmas Cranberry Meatballs


1 1/2 lbs. ground beef

1 envelope of onion soup mix

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsely

Mix all ingredients together and shape into meatballs and place on a foil-lined tray.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake the meatballs for about 20 minutes.   Meanwhile, mix up the sauce.


1 can whole berry cranberry sauce (the kind with some sauce/jelly and the whole berries, not just the jelly)

1/4 cup ketchup

1/2 cup tomato sauce

1/2 cup beef broth

3 Tbsp. brown sugar

3 tsp. finely chopped onions

Mix sauce ingredients together, heat and pour over meatballs before serving.

That’s the recipe as-is.¬† I always end up doing some substitutions, because I rarely have the exact ingredients on hand.¬† I didn’t have the envelope of onion soup mix, so I looked it up online and the home-made version is mostly just dried onion flakes and beef bouillon and some seasoned salt, so I did that instead….lots of flaked onion!¬†¬†And for some reason, I had it in my mind that the sauce included Russian dressing,¬†and I did have that on hand so¬†just had to use it, so I substituted it for the tomato sauce.¬† I’m sure that in the end I used more ground beef than the recipe says, so I just kind of eye-balled everything else.¬† The meatball mixture didn’t seem to need an egg, but I’m sure that if you did add one it should be fine (I didn’t).¬† It’s probably a good idea to really mince the parsely¬†super fine, (I didn’t and the large leaves of parsely were very obvious in the meatballs, but we didn’t mind).¬† The meatballs are slightly chunky-looking, but you don’t notice it that much with the sauce on.¬† The recipe says to just heat the sauce, but I actually simmered¬†it a bit and put the meatballs from the oven into the sauce for¬†a little simmer.¬† Obviously this recipe made enough to feed 6 people here, but I can’t say exactly how many it would feed at your house, I guess it depends on the size of¬†the meatballs and the hunger of your group! ūüėČ

It’s a very sweet, slightly tangy sauce, and the cranberries in the meatballs give them a unique flavor.¬† They make very tasty leftovers (which we ate cold as snacks, all 8 of them!)denna's ideas: Christmas and New Year's Cranberry Meatballsdenna's ideas: Christmas and New Year's Cranberry Meatballsdenna's ideas: Christmas and New Year's Cranberry Meatballs

Every time we eat meatballs I get quizzed “did you make these yourself or are they from the store?”¬† haha!!¬† The funny part is that it doesn’t seem to matter what the answer is, they always gobble them all up.¬† My answer’s¬†about half the time¬†home-made and half the time store-bought.¬† I find that I don’t like those “italian style” frozen meatballs, but everyone else does.¬† I need to make an effort to make them from scratch more often!¬† Then you know exactly what’s in them!¬† I haven’t tried making meatballs with rice in them, should try that….¬† Have you tried making meatballs in¬†Italian wedding soup?¬† That’s another almost-favorite around here.

A Prairie Winter Wonderland


Before I get into all the other ‘January’ posting stuff, I just wanted to¬†show you¬†a few photos from our holiday.¬† I guess that you could say this is one of my hobbies, it’s something that I’m driven to do, just can’t stop doing:¬†it’s taking photos through the windshield of a moving vehicle.¬† Seriously, I can’t help myself.¬† It’s a super-frustrating hobby, the windows are dirty, I have no zoom, and all the cool scenery is flashing past, and I usually see something fabulous then notice the camera is off and¬†in 2 seconds it’s gone!!¬† But I always do it.¬† Over and Over again.¬† (this is starting to sound more like an addiction and less like a hobby).

I’ve decided to post these photos as a slideshow.¬† I was going through them and narrowed down the ones to post here on the blog, and when I was uploading them was surprised to notice that there were 45!!¬† Forty-five photos of scenery from our minivan window!!¬† (I’m feeling slightly¬†insane as I type this).¬† And those are only the ‘bestest’ ones. (I shouldn’t have told you that, now you won’t want to see them all!¬† It only takes 2 minutes to watch them though, really!)

Just a few more comments, then¬†on to¬†the slideshow!!¬†¬† These were taken on Christmas Eve morning, as we left Edmonton, Alberta¬†and started on the 8 hour drive to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.¬† (We actually made it in seven and a half hours this time with only 2 potty breaks! ha!)¬† It was an amazingly beautiful drive as we¬†watched the sun come up over the prairies.¬† I just love love love the prairies.¬† Maybe because I was born there, or maybe just the huge sense of openess and freedom.¬† You can see the whole sky at once!¬† And watching a sunrise is a very very rare event for me.¬† I also want to mention that¬†Christmas Eve¬†morning the temperature was -25 degrees Celsius, plus windchill made it 30 degrees below zero!¬† (that’s minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit).¬† It was a frosty morning.¬† We were well prepared with our emergency kit (candles, matches, radio, stuff like that) snow pants, sleeping bags and food.¬† My window was so frosted up that I scratched some hearts in it and¬†just had to take a few photos (even my fingerprints crystallized)…. denna's ideas: praire winter wonderland snow All of a sudden we could see a rainbow!!!¬† (and it wasn’t snowing or raining!)¬† denna's ideas: praire winter wonderland snow It was such a gorgeous morning, watching the prairie winter wonderland flash by as we listened to glorious Christmas music.¬† I don’t even feel bad anymore about the crazy amount of photos I took….I’m happy to look at them and remember that special morning!

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