I’m a bit late with my New Year’s Greetings, but that’s nothing new! 🙂 (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.We 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…..They didn’t stay on too long when my nephew finally noticed them….! I just love gingerbread!! YUM! I usually end up making some in February, too, not just for Christmas! Anyways, have a great New Year!
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).
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! 😉
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.
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)…. All of a sudden we could see a rainbow!!! (and it wasn’t snowing or raining!) 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!