Dec 31, 2015
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Today is the last day of 2015.  This year, I am laying low with the boys and dogs and staying home.

 

But that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to get a little funky with tasty food and fabulous attire.

 

For the last-minute people out there (ME), I have two NYE ideas to share.  One is a delicious Seafood Salad recipe and the other is a simple, but oh, so sparkly, star headband.

 

My Seafood Salad recipe is fairly new, but really delicious.  I made it for Christmas Eve on a whim and it couldn’t have turned out more perfect.  It’s a yummy mix of crab, shrimp, and spices.  I only have one photo of it to share (It was Christmas Eve and I had family on their way over and I was cooking in pajamas, gimme a break!) but I want to stress how flippin’ fabulous this is on club crackers.  I honestly almost ate the whole bowl.

 

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Super Seafood Salad

1 package small cooked salad shrimp, usually in frozen section, thawed

8oz (or more) of imitation crab, flake style, shredded

salt and pepper, to taste

3 tbsp of lemon juice

2 stalks of celery, finely chopped

1/4 green onion, finely chopped

1/2 tsp of fresh dill, finely chopped

mayo, about 1/2 cup, add a little more if too dry

 

Mix everything in a medium glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it sit in the fridge for about an hour for flavors to mix.  Serve chilled with crackers.

 

 

 

Cardboard Star Headband

Thin piece of cardboard, I got mine from the packaging of new pajamas

star shape, I used a cookie cutter and traced it

ModPodge & paintbrush

different golds/oranges colors of glitter

hole punch

bakers twine

 

First, I traced 7 large stars on the thin cardboard and cut them out.  I made 4 smaller stars to add to the layout.

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Then, I arranged them how I wanted the headband to look and glued them in place.  After they were dry, I glued the 4 smaller stars on to the crown.

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After everything was dry, I punched out 2 holes at either end of the headband.

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Then it was time to glitter.  This will be messy, so lay down some paper to catch the loose glitter and glue.  I painted a coat of glue on to the entire front of the headband.  While the glue was still wet, I got to business with the glitter application.  I used gold and copper on the large stars and orange on the smaller stars.  I had to do the glue/glitter process a few time to make sure all of the cardboard was covered.

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After I was done sprinkling glitter and the glue was dry, I painted another coat of glue OVER the glitter to lock it down.  Since I am going to wear it on my head, I don’t want all of that sparkly stuff to end up in my hair, eyes and mouth.  This step seals the glitter in.  Let dry completely.

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Tie 2 long pieces of bakers twine to the holes punched in at the ends of the headband and tie in a bow at the back of your head.

 

Sparkly star headband is complete!  Now get out there, eat some Seafood Salad, be sparkly, and be safe out there tonight, friends!!

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Dec 01, 2015
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Winter is coming.  In Minnesota, it usually starts a little earlier and lasts a little longer than a “normal” winter.  This year, it has been warm and not-so-snowy, which for a snow lover like myself, I am finding a little disappointing.  I want massive snowstorms every weekend!  I want skiing and snow forts!  I want to go outside, freeze my ass off and then go sit on the couch and warm up with a little hot beverage.  I want Vanilla Brandy Cider!

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The warm beverage season keeps my insides toasty and happy.  Yes, yes, there are pumpkin spice lattes, hot chocolates and my yummy Tom & Jerry, but my Vanilla Brandy Cider keeps me smiling all fall long.  And you want to know why?  Because: brandy.

 

Good enough reason, right?  Brandy pairs with apple cider so perfectly, like peanut butter and jelly, but in the liquid sense.  It just works.  Here is a quick history lesson on brandy if the thought of it doesn’t exactly get your mouth watering.  Brandy, if you don’t know, is grape based and the name is the Dutch word for “burnt wine.”  It can be made from the juice of not only grapes, but apple, blackberry, or any fruit that, when mashed, makes juice.   Basically, if you like wine, you will like this.  And if you don’t like wine, you will still love adding brandy to apple cider.  This concludes your random alcoholic beverage facts for the day.

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Back to my go-to fall cocktail.

Yes, it’s as flavorful and tasty as the name suggests. Would you believe it warms your bones when the air gets nippy?  Fact.  That is why I love it and why I buy a couple of gallons (yes, GALLONS) of apple cider from my favorite local apple orchard.  Apple cider keeps its freshness for a few months and if you buy a great cider late in the season, it can last well into winter.  Simmering a vanilla bean into the cider just ups the flavor to an insane level.  The hot cider mixed with the vanilla, plus cinnamon and the brandy is a fiesta for your nose.  The scent is heavenly, followed by the taste which is off-the-charts-fall-goodness.

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Have I sold you on the idea yet?  Yes?  Fabulous.  Here is how you make your own Vanilla Brandy Cider.

Ingredients:

3 cups apple cider

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 of a vanilla bean, split & scraped

4 oz of brandy

 

Combine 3 cups of apple cider, cinnamon stick, and vanilla bean in a small saucepan and bring to a low boil.  Simmer for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Strain cider to remove cinnamon and vanilla bean contents.  Fill a mug 3/4 of the way with cider.  Then, add 2 ounces of brandy to mug, stir and enjoy.  Makes enough for 2 servings.  Feel free to double the recipe for a group, but 1 cinnamon stick should suffice for a larger batch.

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Now only if the weather would cooperate.  Come on, El Niño, you’re cramping my winter style, my insides haven’t frozen solid yet.  Let’s get below freezing already so I can thaw out my internal organs with warm, boozy drinks.