Saturday, January 02, 2016

Happy New Year!

It has been a great end to 2015 and beginning to 2016 for us. We had a fun time on New Year's Eve at the home of some friends. There was a lot of good conversation and good food!!! My contribution was a smoked salmon spread from an Ina Garten recipe and a yummy prosecco that the lady at Gateway helped me find. It had a nautilus shell on the label and was labeled extra dry though it was much fruitier than most champagne and prosecco I have had. Sadly, beyond that information, I have no idea what it was that a purchased. I can provide the recipe I used for the salmon spread though!

Smoked Salmon Spread

8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 c. sour cream
1T freshly squeezed lemon juice
1T minced fresh dill
1 tsp. prepared horseradish
4 oz. smoked salmon

-Cream the cheese with an electric mixer until smooth, add sour cream, lemon juice, dill, and horseradish and mix. Mix in salmon and chill. Serve with crackers. (I also serve with baguette slices. Also, I  mixed this all by hand without using a mixer and it was no problem.)


For New Year's Day, I grew up having black eyed peas for luck and greens for fortune (because it's the color of money I think?) I am not a fan of the long cooked greens I was given as a kid, mostly because of the smell. I am learning that collards don't have to be cooked that way, but in recent years, I have had sautéed kale instead. Tonight, my friend Carrie, who knew about the greens tradition, brought a delicious kale salad. She also brought homemade rolls and roasted root vegetables! Delicious! My friend Sarah brought the rum cake that her husband's grandmother made on New Years. It too was delicious! All I had to do was roast a couple of chickens, open some wine, and make my friend Annie's fantastic black eyed pea dip. We had such a nice time with our friends and good food and the kids played so well together. Without even realizing it we partied until midnight again!

Now, here's what I'm going to say about this dip- it's not enough. Next time I will go ahead and get two cans of peas and double everything else if I'm having friends over. I have a small oval casserole dish that is great for serving dips in. It holds a full recipe of spinach artichoke dip nicely and could have easily held this recipe doubled.

Black-Eyed Pea Bake

1 can black-eyed peas
1/4 c. choppped onion
1/4 c. sour cream
1c. shredded cheese (Annie never said what kind so I use sharp cheddar)
8+ jarred jalapeño slices
1/4 c. salsa
hot sauce to taste

- pulse peas and jalapeños in food processor a few times. imagine whirled peas. (Hahaha!) add onions and pulse a few times more. add all remaining ingredients and pulse a little more. then put your mixture in a small casserole dish or pie plate and bake at 350 for twenty minutes or until bubbly. serve with tortilla chips.



I was almost able to finish my 2015 reading list but the library never got my last two books in for me. And then there's the Julia Child book. I just can't get myself excited about it. It was number one on my list last year and I did get it in time to finish it, but I just didn't ever want to read it... I still have it checked out from the library so we'll see. I am not putting it on next year's list though. If I read it, okay, but if I don't, that's okay too.  So, for 2015, 85 books! I'm kinda proud of myself! I don't know if I could do it again though. But I do have a list started for this year. I'm starting with a list of 25, two of which are the leftovers from last year's list. In this list, instead of putting an asterisk by it until I finish, I'll put one by it when I do finish- which is confusing, but oh well.

*1) A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith -- this is one of those that kept popping up on lists I looked at during the year.

*2) Adam Bede by George Eliot -- George really enjoyed this book in college and wanted me to read it way back then, but I was sick of classic literature at the time.

3) Middlemarch by George Eliot -- Middlemarch is one I started a long time ago when my friend Rebekah told me about an online book club for it. I didn't make it very far, but what I read, I liked.

*4) Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton -- I read this in high school and remember really liking it. But other than that, I remember nothing about it. It appears I'm on a classic literature kick...

*5) Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell -- I have never read anything by Elizabeth Gaskell. I don't really want to read Wives and Daughters because she never finished it! But if I love this one, I may decide to read that one anyway. I loved the BBC Wives and Daughters so I am interested in reading one of her novels.

*6) Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen -- speaking of loving books...

*7) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

*8) Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

*9) Emma by Jane Austen

*10) Persuasion by Jane Austen

*11) Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

*12) Jane Austen by Peter Leithart -- George gave me this book a little while back and I haven't ever read it. I wanted to reread all of her books when I did so I think I'm ready.

*13) Jane Austen's First Love by Syrie James -- I don't remember who recommended this to me or when but I am willing to try a little Jane Austen fan fiction from time to time.

*14) Stonewall by John Dwyer -- I don't really know who recommended these books to me either, but I actually ordered them and own them. I think maybe I got them about five years ago? Finally time to read them!

15) Robert E. Lee by John Dwyer

16) Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy -- at one point, I really loved Thomas Hardy. I hope I still do...

17) Tess of the d'urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

18) Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy

*19) Life in Motion by Misty Copeland -- I ordered this in hopes it would be an inspiration for Miss Amabel. I don't think she's interested in being inspired, but I am hoping if I read it first, she will give it a try.

*20) Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole -- I have also given this one a try in the past and didn't really  get into it. I think this could be one of those that you either love or you hate. But I want to try to love it just one more time.

*21) Uncle Fred in Springtime by P.G. Wodehouse -- I got these three for Christmas from George after loving Uncle Dynamite this summer. It turns out Wodehouse wrote four books with Uncle Fred and his shenanigans.

*22) Cocktail Time by P.G. Wodehouse

*23) Service With a Smile by P.G. Wodehouse

*24) After You by Jojo Moyes --  the library emailed me yesterday to let me know it was ready, but when I got over there, I remembered the library is closed on Thursdays! It was a double downer too because of course the library was also closed today for New Years Day.

*25) The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay -- this one has been "on order" at the library for months


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