Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014 at The Caracciolos

One turkey. One ham. 
Three pies. Twelve side items. Three tables. Eighteen linen napkins.
Is this starting to sound like a song yet? 
Seven bottles of wine. One begging puppy. 
And One BIG happy family. 
Bryan & I hosted our families at Thanksgiving once again this year and we were SO happy to do it! 
Yes - I may have been practically pulling all Fall decor off the table as everyone was
still eating but sister is tryin' to gear up for the Christmas okay?!

 A little sneak peek action at our new bar set up!
Hope everyone's day was as beautiful as ours was! 
We have SO much to be thankful for!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Chicken and Dumplings in your Deep Covered Baker

Remember that time when I got my first crock pot? 
I went onnnn and on about it and wondered, Had I been living under a frickin rock?
Well, something similar has happened. Again. 
As most of you know I'm part of a Pampered Chef cooking class.
Yes, it is ACTUALLY called a cooking "club," but for me it's a "class." I am learning. No judging.
See Also: That time I YouTubed how to use a can opener.
We use all PC products which kinda sucked in the beginning because I had NONE.
...Until I recently invested in several that we had been using.

[Enter the Game Changer.]

TA - DA! The Deep Covered Baker:

(Click Image for Link)

Make a DELICIOUS pot roast or a 10 minute oven-to-table casserole, heck, it could
probably even dress your kids and get them to school if it had to.
I've come across tons of DCB (see what I did there?) recipes including
appetizers, soups, entrees, desserts, etc but I was excited to whip
up one of my favorites- Chicken and Dumplings! 
Or Chicken 'n Dumplins as Bryan calls it. 
Click here for original recipe. 
You Will Need:
Your Deep Covered Baker
3-4 Chicken Breasts
2 Cans of Cream of Chicken Soup
Frozen Peas & Carrots
Jenny and me was like peas and carrots. Name that movie... 
1 Can Homestyle Biscuits

1. Place chicken breasts in Deep Covered Baker and add cans of soup.
2. Microwave on High for 22 minutes. 
(Do NOT be scared to put this thing in the microwave - I was a little hesitant
at first also but its a form of stoneware that enable the cooking process. 
The chicken is perfectly safe and tastes good too!) 
3. Stir and add in frozen peas and carrots.
4. Chop each biscuit into quarters and top the chicken/veggie mixture.
5. Microwave on High for another 10 minutes.
6. Done anddd done! 
I PROMISE you it tastes as good as it looks. And sooo so quick.
I have basically brought myself to the point where if it requires more than 30 minutes
to cook, it ain't happenin. Once Bryan and I got engaged, I promised I would learn to cook.
I did not say that he would be coming home to Rachel Ray-esque meals. 


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Handing Down the Family Dishes

Ask me what my favorite holiday is.
I guarantee your answer to be Thanksgiving.
Yes, the eight-year-old in me wants to jump up and down and scream,
I mean who doesn't love Christmas? 
However, this now twenty-six year old has over the years slowly allowed
her once favorite holiday, which was filled with stockings, hot chocolate,
ornaments and presents, to scoot on down the list.
Being back home and closer to family has truly given me a new appreciation
of sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner with my family.
Remember THIS POST?
Last year Bryan and I hosted our first "engaged" Thanksgiving.
Actually, let's back up a minute there.
Bryan's Dad cooked the turkeys.
Mom was on champagne duty.
Bryan's Mom, Grandma and Aunt all brought sides.
I guess I should rephrase that:
This year Bryan and I set the table and made two casseroles. 
And man did I set that frickin' table.
Thanksgiving last year was particularly exciting for two reasons:
One. My amazing then-fiance made us the most beautiful 
farm house table. It was a project I literally could not wait for him to 
start on once we moved into our new home and holy cow did the guy deliver.
Two. One day in early November, while Bryan had begun the farm house-table-making
process, Mom and I were over at Grandma's. You see Grandma is starting to go through the 
"I need to get rid of everything in my house" phase in her life and between Mom,
Aunt Sherry and myself, we're all terrified that she is going to throw something
important away. Mom was going through her cabinets and reached up and 
grabbed one of the familiar, beautiful, off-white dishes trimmed with autumn reds 
and browns, "Want to use these on your new table this year for Thanksgiving?" she asked.
YES. What a GREAT idea! 
In our family we don't have a set game plan of who hosts what holiday and where.
It's usually decided on only a few weeks prior but whenever Grandma's turn to host was up,  you could bet those dishes were spread across her big dining room table beautifully.
Grandma agreed to let me use them this year and I could. not. wait.
I may or may not have played with them for hours after Mom dropped them off at my house later that week. And by "play with them" I mean I literally set the entire table with them
and started playing with runner ideas, what napkins I would use and other fun details.

If you're wondering what Bryan is doing during all of this, let's be honest,
he's used to it at this point and kind of just shakes his head and walks by.

Thanksgiving came and went and the dishes were put away.
It was decided that Grandma would split up the set of 12 and hand down 6 to Aunt Sherry
and 6 to Mom. Sometime in early December Mom informed me that she was giving
her portion of the dishes to me because she knew how much I loved them.  
They're not just my Grandmother's dishes, they're my Grandmother's MOTHER'S dishes.
To have such a beautiful family heirloom passed down to me- and they're something that I
will use and truly appreciate- made my heart just feel so full.
Quite a few are chipped, some are faded..  but I could care less. 
I have a little piece of tradition that I get to set my Thanksgiving table with every year.
Every year I'll think of past Thanksgivings at Grandma's when there would be almost 20 of us.
The cousins would have the smaller "kid chairs" at the table. Regardless of our age
or size, we were kids. And we sat in the smaller chairs. 
Uncle Jim would be sleeping on the living room floor after dinner. 
Dad and Grandpa would drink canned Budweiser while watching football.
Does this ring a bell to any of you?
The point is I'm starting to get older and I value even the most simple of things so much more.
Grandma, Aunt Sherry and Mara obviously took note of my special appreciation
for those dishes because I received some new additions as a Bridal Shower gift recently.
They actually FOUND some matching pieces in thrift stores all around our hometown.
Yes, I know. Clearly feeling a little nostalgic over here but the Fall months
always do that to me! Mid-October and I'm already ready to break these babies back out.
Happy Fall Y'all!
47 days til Thanksgiving, folks!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Baby L Gender Reveal

Three parties.
One week.
Yes, yes that did happen. 

Remember THIS post ? If not, just know that I LOVE throwing parties.
If you give me a reason to celebrate, I will give you a party. It's just that simple, folks.
Well it just so happened that we had THREE reasons to celebrate within one week, 
so party we must! Times three. It started with Bryan's Mom's surprise 50th (HERE),
and then my sweet Pampered Chef's mini Baby Shower and theeeennn, two other
girls and myself decided to host Kyle and Lyndsey's gender reveal party.
Lyndsey was my college roommate and one of my best girlfriends. 
A few months ago she shared the big news with me and
we immediately started talking about gender reveal options. 
Knowing that I had done reveal cakes in the past, she asked that I do the honors
for Baby Landmann. SO. EXCITED. 
SO... if you have ever seen a gender reveal cake done (or braved doing one yourself!) 
you know the drill, the unknowing parents go in for their gender ultrasound and 
one of the nurses will let you know BOY or GIRL.. or Pistols or Pearls in Baby L's case.
 Just plain ol Pink Lemonade for Momma!
Should anyone ever need a gift idea for me - THIS.
This beverage boat from Pottery Barn is everything. I need one.
 Lyndsey and her hostesses (tall and small)
It's a....

So excited to meet this sweet little boy in 4 short months!