Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wrapping it up!

I have been busy the last couple of days, trying to get everything ready for Christmas.  Gifts are purchased, wrapping has begun.  I have 5 more presents to wrap and then I'm DONE!  Several years ago, much to the kids dismay, I started using brown wrapping paper and putting beautiful ribbon on the packages.  Now the kids are used to it and I think it really makes the tree look so pretty!

However, my wrapping station doesn't look quite so pretty!!

I actually think I am feeling a little Christmas spirit today!  I'm getting excited!  My family is coming!!!!!

The Christmas meal has been planned and today I am going to brave the crowds and get the last few items I need.  The thought of the grocery store today is almost more than I can stand.  But stand it I will!  I'm going to go with a good attitude and plenty of time!  A HUGE smile on my face.  I may even take a video LOL!!! 

Yesterday was a great day.  I got some things done in the morning, my favorite girl went to lunch with me (we took her mom too!), met Grumpy and a friend and then I had a little girlfriend time while Brian was working.  We then went shopping and ran a few errands and ended up at the Mexican place for some guacamole and a margarita! 

We both feel like we are fighting a cold or something, so we called it a night and came home to veg out a little.  Top Chef anyone?  I love that show.  I also loved that the vegetarian dish was the winner! 

It sounds sooo good!
African Groundnut Soup

by Carla Hall


Spice Mixture
3 tablespoons cumin (ground)
1 1/4 tablespoons coriander (ground)
5 tablespoons chermoula spice blend
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper


1. In a small bowl, combine the cumin, coriander, cayenne and chermoula. Set

Broth & Potatoes
3 tablespoons cold-pressed peanut oil
3 large onions, roughly chopped
1 bulb garlic, peeled and smashed
6” ginger, peeled and sliced 1/4”
1 28-ounce can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes (can)
4 quarts vegetable stock
2 fresh bay leaves
3 pounds sweet potatoes
Cold-pressed peanut oil, to toss
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup peanut butter, fresh and unsalted
1 pound Adzuki beans, cooked in water with 2 bay leaves until tender
2 poblano peppers, roasted peeled and diced
3 red peppers, roasted peeled and diced
10 plum tomatoes, roasted peeled and diced
1 bunch parsley
1 bunch mint
Lime zest, to taste
1 cup peanuts (salted & roasted), roughly chopped
1/4 cup sea salt
1 lime wedge per serving, juiced per serving


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Heat large pot on high heat. Pour in peanut oil, and then add onions. Sauté for 4-
5 minutes, then add garlic and ginger. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook
until soft and translucent, another 10 minutes.

3. Sprinkle in half of spice mixture, salt to taste and stir until mixed well. Pour in
crushed fire-roasted tomatoes, stock and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then simmer
for at least 1 hour. Strain broth, then puree solids with 2-3 cups of broth until very
smooth. Strain through fine strainer.

4. While broth is simmering, reserve 2 sweet potatoes for garnish and dice
remaining potatoes into 1/4” pieces. Toss in peanut oil, salt and pepper, and roast
in 425 degree oven until just tender. Set aside to cool.

5. Place peanut butter into medium bowl and slowly whisk in 1-2 cups of broth until
mixture is smooth. Pour mixture back into pot with broth.

6. Toss together cooked beans, sweet potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, parsley and
mint. Season with salt, spice mixture and lime zest to taste.


1. In shallow bowl, pour broth, then spoon vegetable mixture into the center.
Garnish with chopped peanuts, lime juice, lime salt (zest of 2 limes mixed with ¼
cup Malden sea salt), and sweet potato chips. (Cut whole sweet potatoes into ½“
thick pieces. Use peeler to make thin ribbons. Fry in 300 degree canola oil. Salt to

Discussion:  What is your favorite family Christmas tradition?