Sunday, December 16, 2012

Days 26 and 27: In the Holiday Spirit! Wassail PLUS a super-easy Sunday Dinner!

Yesterday our children had a piano recital.  There is always something about doing this at this busy time of year that makes me feel more of the Christmas spirit!  Our teacher has only a few students--our children and our neighbor's children.  We had the recital at our neighbors' beautiful home, which is decorated with lovely things.  We decided to have a brunch afterwards, and then we got to visit for quite a while afterwards.  It was  lovely.  Add that to the fact that my mom arrived Friday from Florida, and I had the opportunity to take her to Michael W. Smith's Christmas concert last night, and I am now officially in the Christmas Spirit!!

For the brunch, I made a yummy Fruity Wassail in the crockpot.  It was very well received.

Fruity Wassail (from Fix it and Forget It: Recipes for Entertaining)
Makes 20 servings

6 cups apple cider
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 cup honey
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon rind
46-oz. can pineapple juice

1. Combine ingredients in slow cooker.
2. Cover. Cook on low 1-2 hours.
3. Serve warm from slow cooker.

Variation: Use 3 cups cranberry juice and reduce the amount of pineapple juice by 3 cups, to add more color and change the flavor of the wassail.

Dinner for this evening has become a regularly appearing meal in our household.  It is simple to prepare and tastes surprisingly good.  The first time I made this, I didn't expect it to taste as good as it does.  I guess the juices flow down over the vegetables and create a very nice flavor.  I can get this one ready in less than 5 minutes.  It cooks all day, so I like making it on a Sunday before church so we can enjoy our afternoon and I don't have to worry at all about dinner.  Serve with a salad and bread, and you have a nice meal.  I've brought this to several potlucks as well.  People seem to really like it.  What is really nice about this recipe is that you can make more or less according to your needs--bigger or smaller.  It's not exact, so it is very flexible.

Grandma's Sausage Crock-Pot Dinner

Your favorite potatoes, skin on (quartered)
Green Beans (canned or ore-steamed)
Hills hire Farm Smoked Sausage (Lil' Smokies--I use store brand turkey smokies)
1 stick butter
Salt and Pepper

Wash as many potatoes as your family will eat. Quarter them and place in the bottom of the crock pot. Add as many quarts of green beans as your family will eat (I usually put in two large cans).  Pour some or all of the juice over the top. Over the beans, place as much of the Hillshire Farm lil' smokies as your family will eat.  (NOTE: this is pre-cooked, not raw or ground--the kind that come in packages and look kind of like little hot dogs.  Typically called "lil' smokies.") Slice one stick of butter over the top and season with salt and pepper.  Slow cook on High for 6 hours or low for 10 or more hours.  It sounds too simple to be good, but you will not believe the taste or the delicious smell.  

Enjoy your family today, and hug your loved ones close.  Remember those who have lost dear ones in the terrible tragedy in Connecticut, and be thankful for every day you have to enjoy the life with which we are blessed.

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