Well, I know I can let out a sigh because Christmas is over. It is a lot of work and a lot of running, but we had one of the best Christmas celebrations ever. I was wrapping until Christmas Eve, but made it by deadline and all the gifts made it under the tree looking beautiful and ready for their recipients. Kellen and I also made Oreo truffles to bring to our family gathering. On Christmas Eve, I headed to my parents house to get a head start on cooking. I made Blue Cheese and Spinach Stuffed Tenderloin w/ Thyme Merlot Sauce, Julia Child's Potatoes Dauphinois (heavenly cousin to scalloped potatoes with cream and gruyere cheese) and Roasted Brussel Sprouts. Unfortunately, I do not have a photo to share! I get everything ready and we usually sit down immediately to feast, and breaking away to set up my lights and to photograph never appeals to me. I was going to make a dessert, but opted to enjoy cookies and Oreo truffles prepared earlier in the day. The true magic of the evening was watching Kellen and his cousin enjoy the evening together. After dinner, we have always had the tradition of singing Christmas carols from my Grandmother's singing books. The kids don't know the songs yet, but seemed amused by the adults belting out Jingle Bells. After carols, Santa's Elves sent a gift to the boys to help them get ready for Santa's arrival. In side a package they found a matching pair of pjs and a new Charlies Brown Christmas DVD. Shortly after, a strange knock came at the door and, upon opening, the boys found Santa had dropped off an early Christmas gift! Kellen received a digger he could ride on and exclaimed to his Gratherfather as he sat down, "I like this!". After Santa's visit we opened gifts together, the boys took a bath and changed into new pjs and watched Charlie Brown and the Grinch. We had to leave shortly after checking the Santa tracker to make sure we got home in time for the big guy!
On Christmas morning, Kellen let us sleep till around 8 am before coming downstairs to see that Santa had arrived at his house. I popped a breakfast casserole in the oven and we opened a few gifts before we ate and got ready to go to Ron's parents house. At Ron's parents, the kids watched a bit of the Polar Express before sitting down for lunch. Kellen was a little excited during lunch, and did not eat much, but saved room for cheesecake....of course. My sister-in-law made a delicious english toffee no bake cheesecake (it even had caramel sauce!). I normally make a cheesecake for Christmas, but was so happy to take to holiday off and have one less thing to do. After lunch, we opened gifts and watched the kids run around with their new toys. Kellen got a Radio Flyer tricycle from his grandparents and promptly fell off and cut his cheek. As I said yesterday, "what is the first thing every little kid does when he gets a new bike? Fall off.". We headed home after a wonderful day and Kellen requested mac and cheese for his Christmas meal. I fixed him and Ron a bit before heading out to see The Hobbit with my parents. The theater was packed, but I really enjoyed the movie (and the company)!
We had an amazing holiday, and are so blessed.
This is a fantastic meal that I found on Pinterest from Katie Dietrich. The tagline was best crockpot meal I ever had! Well, that was reason enough for me to try it out! I love my slow cooker, but I opted to cook this on the stove top because the 4 hour cook time did not work for our schedules. I used a low heat to still allow for an hour of cook time and I opted for a bit of tomato sauce and diced tomatoes over using two cans of diced tomatoes. This recipe used creamy cheese for the creamy element (the flavor is not strong which we liked a lot), but I think you could use cream or milk in place if you do not like cream cheese. If you are using cream cheese I would caution if you are using a reduced fat because it make separate.
Ron, Kellen and I loved this meal. The soup is very flavorful and nice and thick with hearty ingredients. The soup makes a pretty large amount, but I really enjoyed the leftovers for lunch!
This weekend we are on relaxation mode and excited to see the Packer game on Sunday!
1 (19oz) bag of cheese tortellini (I use the brand that is not frozen and by the cheese)
4 oz baby spinach
1 (14.5 oz) cans of Italian style diced tomatoes
1 cup tomato sauce
8 oz cream cheese, cut in 1 oz chunks
1 lb of ground mild sausage
4 cups of chicken broth
In a soup pot, brown the sausage, breaking it a part with a wooden spoon. Add, tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth, spinach, tortellini and cream cheese to the pot.
Set heat to low and cook 40-60 minutes depending on when the pasta s done. Serve with crusty bread.