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12 Days of Christmas Day 1

Day 1- The Nutcracker- You will receive a Nutcracker coloring book for each child.

The -Mikhail Baryshnikov version from our childhood- full length on Youtube

Questions to ask while viewing if you so choose.


Just because you are at home doesn’t mean you can’t dress up! I just remember how exciting it was to see Holly as an Angel.  Me all pretty in a little dress in Mom’s arms. I think I am going to make Matt dress up as we watch too!  He will want to kill me! 

#1 Toy Soldier Popsicle Stick Ornament

Jumbo and also Mini Craft Sticks make a Cute Soldier

The body is made from a jumbo craft stick, the arms are mini sticks and the hat is a 3/4″ long end piece from a jumbo craft stick.

At the last minute, I added a thin lighter blue stripe between the bottom of the pants legs and the black boot. The colors were both dark and needed some sort of separation.

2. Draw a Nutcracker

3.  Nutcracker Printable puppets.  If you choose to make the puppets and have a little tree in the house, use it for a prop! If not try this one!



(Large and uncolored)

4. Nutcracker printable small and colored

(can be used at cupcake/ muffin toppers or food picks),r:3,s:0,i:83

5. Mouse snack


4. Nutcracker Printable Small and colored- could go on toothpick in food or cupcake.,r:3,s:0,i:83




  • 24 maraschino cherries with stems
  • Waxed paper
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 24 milk chocolate Hershey’s Kisses, unwrapped
  • 48 almond slices
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Black paste food coloring
  • Red food coloring
  • 3 plastic sandwich bags


  1. Drain the cherries and pat them dry with paper towels. Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper.
  2. Place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and heat them until smooth, working in 15-second intervals, stirring between each.
  3. Holding a cherry by its stem, dip it into the chocolate and swirl it around to completely cover the fruit. Set it on its side on the waxed paper and immediately press a Hershey’s Kiss onto the cherry for the head. For the ears, gently wedge two almond slices between the Kiss and the cherry. Repeat to make 24 mice.
  4. Make a thick icing by mixing 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar with a teaspoon of water. If the mixture is too dry, stir in more water, a few drops at a time, until you have a thick, smooth icing. Divide the icing among three small bowls.

Tint one bowl of icing black and one pink. Spoon each of the three icings into a plastic bag and snip a tiny corner from each. Pipe white eye dots on the mice, then refrigerate them until set, about 10 minutes. Add black pupils and pink noses. Keep the mice in the fridge until you’re ready to serve them or give them away.

6. Online game where the nutcracker kicks the dancers- I so laughed out loud when I played!

  1. 5.  Audio version for children- can mp3 download free/ or on computer while reading the words.

Primary Story

Longer Version

8. Printable nutcracker puppet that uses brads to hinge.

9. Mouse Cheese Snack

Use a laughing cow cheese.

Ears can be made of hotdogs, carrots, almond slices etc.

The eyes are sesame seed, but using a bit of black olive like the nose will help too.

The tail in a chive.

10. Ballet lessons online


Quince Butter and Rhubarb Chutney

I swear since Valentines day I have not been cooking as much as normal.  As we make friends we have more dinner dates!  Not a bad thing!  If I was cooking, it wasn’t anything fantastic.   Many times it was a repeat of my “go to” recipes.  As we leave the summer that never was because of too much rain, and enter fall, the farmer’s market has some new yummy veggies to play with.


I decided to spend the afternoon in the kitchen trying my hand using Martha’s recipes for quince butter and rhubarb chutney.  I have no experience cooking either.  I have had quince past you buy to go with a cheese platter, but I have never seen a quince.  Apparently it is kin to an apple.  It has mighty hard to cut.  The flesh was white.  As it cooked it turned into the pink color you see with quince paste you buy in the store.  Straining it was the hardest part.  It also takes multiple quince to create a real batch.  It was tasty and I will make it again!


The only time I have had rhubarb was in a strawberry pie.  Making the chutney took less than 15 minutes cooking time.  I used it to make yogurt parfaits.  It was tasty… but next time I will cut it into smaller pieces to keep the stringiness at bay.


I have a full menu planned this week.  I hope to post several times this week!

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Corn, Tomato, Basil Dip

Last time I wrote I told you I would try out a brown rice risotto.  I prepped my beautiful wood ear mushrooms from the asian market that were the size of my hand.  I wish I had thought to take a photo of the freaking size of theses monsters!  I will say the were touch as shoe leather.  Smaller is better.  I am missing my Whole Foods!  I had leeks chopped, the broth simmering and everything ready to go. (Side note, take a look at my veggie broth.  It looks like Bridget Jone’s Diary soup.  I had a little purple cabbage left and threw it in the stock pot!)  Two hours later, I had brown rice with mushrooms and leeks.  I will admit it was a little creamer…. but only a little.  I don’t make risotto on a weekly basis, so I know if I spend the time, it will from now on be all white rice for me!

While stirring the brown rice, my stomach was killing me with hunger, and  I came up with a great little veggie or bread dip.  Take some greek yogurt, some citrus flavored olive oil (mine was orange) and add some red pepper flakes.  Three ingredients.  Very tasty.  That is what I ended up eating for dinner.  Between the shoe leather mushrooms and the so so brown rice, this was the highlight of my night.  This is really saying something because I had been drinking quite a bit of the wine in that two hours!

I did have a super yummy easy dinner that tastes much better than it photoed.  It was based off of this recipe from Martha.  I once again didn’t have something so I played it by ear and subbed greek yogurt from my handy dandy yogurt maker for the silken tofu and ate it on bread for a light dinner after yoga! I made sure not to blend the yogurt, but tojust blend the corn and stir the yogurt in.  I have to say it was great the next day too!  It would be fab for a picnic!


Tonight I will try my hand a a broccoli pesto!  

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bok choy tastic

I know I have not written in forever!  Some of it was because of running out of internet, switching internet providers, the holidays, lack of produce because of the holidays, and plain old out of the habit!  I am back!  I would not say on a roll yet,  but pinintrest is helping me get me groove back.  I am not sure it is in the same way Stella got here groove back, but it is at least keeping things interesting.  I am still getting tons of broccoli but the asparagus is tapering off.  The one meal I was with it enough to take photos of was super simple.  It was inspired by the following post:  I am lazy and on a budget so I was attracted to this because I had prosciutto and bok choy on hand, but did not have sherry, so I changed it to sake so I didn’t have to go to the store.  I also did not have broth, so I cooked the prosciutto  with the garlic to add some complexity  to the dish.  I have to admit, this turned out fantastic.  I served it with a side of quinoa.  I literally licked my plate.  I did.  No one but Matt saw so it was okay!  Tonight I am going to try to do a risotto with brown rice….. let you know if it turns out.

Question…. Yesterday I made a potato soup.  Normally  I use chicken stock I make and about a cup milk.  I had neither and not wanting to venture into the rain on my b day I choose to use water from the potatoes and a little cream….. it was fantastic.  I wonder if there is any difference in the calorie count?!



On the 2nd Day of Christmas- “It’s a Wonderful Life”

On the second day of our 12 days of Christmas movie fun we watched It’s a Wonderful Life. This is such a great holiday film.  Matt and I watched it on our first Christmas married in Cloudcroft in my first white Christmas ever—- ahhhhh I know!

I found a cute article from Oprah suggesting how to throw a It’s Wonderful Life Party.   I should have read more carefully, because I should have made mulled wine instead of cider.  Oh well.  Cider is so tasty!  I used Jaime Oliver’s  as a guide – but did not have star anise or pomegranates.    It was still super tasty.  It was also sweet because we had cider that first year too.

To go along with the angel getting its wings when a bell rings I thought I would use bell peppers.  This was quite funny to explain to my personal trainer.  First of all the play on word was lost since in New Zealand call them capsicums.  I ftold her thought I might stuff them, and she said that the loved them stuffed with mint.  I said mint?!  really?  What she really said was mince (whoops!).    I had forgotten that is ground meat.  Who knew it would take 10 minutes to explain a simple dish in english to each other.  I ended up making a bell pepper, caramelized onion, mushroom, and emmental cheese focaccia bread for dinner.  I used the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day  Soft Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread mix I made earlier in the week.  I made a beautiful focaccia, but not a normal pizza crust.

The big experiment of the night was the “healthy sugar cookies“.  I recently bought The Real Food Diet by Dr Josh Axe due to its high review on Amazon.  He kept sing the high praises of coconut  oil.  All I remember about coconut oil was how  I shouldn’t eat movie popcorn because of how many calories it had if I remember correctly.    He says that the “fatty acids are useful in combatting antibiotic-resistant   bacteria and viruses.” As sickly as I am that has to be a good thing, so I though what the hell when I saw a vegan blog for healthy sugar cookies.  Chocolate-Covered Katie is a girl we all should hate.  She works at keeping weight on, but, I can’t hate this recipe for sugar cookies.  I did use the coconut oil for the vegan butter sub. and I used real milk as I am not a vegan, but HELL they were good.  I will try more of here recipes when I need to bake.  They were sweet with out a ton of sugar.  They felt a bit like play-dough, but they tasted like real sugar cookies.



Tonight is Die hard.  I am trying my hand at making twinkies with strawberry jam filling, hot dog buns, and zucchini chips!

On the 1st day of Christmas

Well things turned out pretty okay for my Christmas ” Friends” night.  I am still using the amazing Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day book, but tried the soft whole wheat sandwich bread recipe.  It is basically the master bread recipe with 5 eggs added.     It makes a bread that is tasty for sandwiches.  The potato salad was the “veggie” of the night.  Matt said that there were more veggies that there were potatoes.  That was my point!  Coming from Texas, I am a mustard potato salad girl myself so I was able to eliminate the need fo mayo.   I also used a black bean chili sauce from the asian grocer to give it some kick.  To keep the 5 a day rule, I added an entire carrot, a cup of stir-fried lentil sprouts ( Matt still said that tasted a little like iron, so maybe cook them a little longer) and an entire broccoli stem.     The sandwich was pilled high with fresh lettuce and tomato.  I was unable to make the zucchini chips due to the timing of the oven :(.  Another day.

It was a fun night because we broke the evening up with some of the episodes before a visit to the gym, and eating the ham sandwich durring the last episode when Chandler’s co worker steals the ham.  My favorite episode is still when Ross dresses up as the “Holiday Armadillo.  “

Tonight we will watch “It’s a Wonderful Life”.  I am making a pizza with bell peppers ( get it bells), caramelized onions, and mushrooms, mulled cider, and try my hand at some healthier sugar cookies shaped like bells.  Let you know how it goes!

Lima Bean Soup

I haven’t posted in over a week due to horrible migraine pain!  What a bummer!  I have tried to keep up with healthy eating…. but it mostly has been what ever I can throw into a pot and call soup!  My last veggie box had two veggies that between Matt and myself, we identified as green beens and cabbage.  Funny how two things that are so normal can look so different here!  The cabbage was so green it was the color of Kale!

Two weeks ago our stuff arrived from the US and with it my cookbooks!  I was inspired by one of Gordan Ramsay’s Fast Food recipes.  The original recipe was for a lima bean, chorizo, and red onion soup.  It starts out simple enough with cooking chorizo, onion,  garlic, and thyme in olive oil… at this point I upped the veggie content by adding the beautiful cabbage.  You top off with water…. season with salt and pepper.   Let simmer.  Finish off with lemon and fresh parsley.

It came out well, but I am a bit embarrassed to say that  I ended up picking up cured chorizo and it did make a difference.  I am going to have to find sausage in the grocers that are not just frankfurters!

Matt and I do not do Christmas gifts.  This year we are doing the 12 days of Christmas movies.  Tonight we begin officially.  I am trying to pair the movie with fun holiday food… and keep it reasonably healthy.  stain tuned to see how well it goes.  Tonight we watch all the Christmas friends.  I am attempting to warm a ham, make a honey wheat bread, make a veggie heavy potato salad, and if I can time the oven just right, zucchini chips.  I will document it all and post tomorrow.