New Years Day Dinner and other thoughts

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Well, Happy 2008! 2007 sure seemed to go by in a hurry! I didn’t even manage to stay up til midnight! I fell asleep on the couch somewhere around 11:30 and hubby didn’t want to wake me and let me sleep til he went to bed sometime around 1:00! Oh well!  As a teenager I never went to bed before midnight and then I would sleep late into the morning. As I’ve gotten older I have enjoyed turning in a little earlier and waking earlier as well.  I RARELY sleep past 7:30 on a day when I am “sleeping in”!

2007 was a pretty good year.  We began 2007 in Orlando, Florida watching the Razorbacks play in the Capitol One Bowl.  Most of the winter months were spent driving back and forth to Little Rock where Richie was finishing up some classes he needed to get his School Administration Certification.  He had class every Tuesday and 2 Saturdays on, one Saturday off.  The month of March brought us the birth of our first nephew Silas who is absolutely adorable. The month of June finally afforded us some free time and being teachers, we were able to enjoy staying up late, sleeping in, swimming in the pool and a weekend trip to Branson.  I managed a trip out to my sister’s in Nashville before they moved back to Illinois. July was a very interesting month! It found us back in school again. I was taking my final 2 classes that would add a Gifted and Talented certification as well as a Master’s Degree to my repertoire.  Richie also began taking the last two prerequisite classes he needed before beginning work on his Doctorate of Education degree.  July also brought a film crew from Hollywood, California to our house to film me for an episode of HGTV’s That’s Clever! Which is scheduled to air sometime during the 2008 season!  August came and we found ourselves spending the days in workshops to prepare for the beginning of school in mid August.  We were able to squeeze in another short trip to Branson though before school got back in full swing.  September through December were really pretty uneventful and FLEW by in a flash!  We saw the Broadway production of the Lion King in Memphis with our good friends Dee and Randy in mid September but that was really the excitement of the fall!  We spent a quiet Thanksgiving at home where I cooked for the three of us (Richie, myself and his mother) like I was cooking for 15! We still have leftovers in the freezer!  Christmas was highly anticipated as we were travelling to my sister’s beautiful house in Illinois.  So we battled snow and wind to get there because I was very excited to see my sister whom I hadn’t seen since June.  My mom and Dad were also going to be there and I hadn’t seen Dad since him and mom came down last Christmas.  I hadn’t seen mom since March when our visits to Nashville overlapped by a few days.  However, I was very excited to see my nephew who is now crawling like crazy, getting teeth and even managing a few cute sounds that could be the starting formations of the words “this” and “Cleo”. Yes my 9 1/2 month old nephew is already mastering blends and digraphs.  What can I say he is a genius just like his aunt Julie!  Christmas at my sister’s was wonderful and too short.  I hope to get out to see her again sometime this summer.  The last weekend of 2007 we were able to catch a great TSO concert and then spent a fairly quite New Years at home.

So even though we weren’t able to go on any amazing vacations this year, the trips we did take (to Nashville and Illinois) were much more meaningful.  The year brought us good health, good fortune, a lot of fun, new life, time with family and time with each-other. 2007 was a great year.

Soooo….that brings us to 2008!  Everyone knows I like a good meal and I especially like to cook a really great meal! So the first day of 2008 was celebrated around the table enjoying this:

New Years Day Menu

Orange Balsamic Rock Cornish Game Hens
Jacques Pepin Yukon Gold Potatoes
Winter Carrots
Black Eye Peas with Hog Jowl (I don’t know what Hog Jowl is and I don’t eat it!
Richie’s mom makes these for him and he
can’t have new year’s with out them!)
Hot Rolls
Pumpkin Roll (made by Judy)

And here are the recipes:

Orange Balsamic Rock Cornish Game Hens 

Recipe Courtesy of Rachel Ray on

6 hens, rinsed and pat dry
Coarse salt
Coarse black pepper
1 cup defrosted orange juice concentrate
1 cup aged balsamic vinegar
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
7 to 8 stems rosemary, chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line 2 baking pans with foil for easier cleaning. Set a baking rack in each pan. Split hens and butterfly open and place 3 hens in each baking pan. Season the hens with salt and pepper liberally. Mix the orange concentrate, balsamic vinegar and olive oil and pour evenly over the hens. Sprinkle with rosemary and roast 15 minutes at 425 degrees F and 30 minutes at 375 degrees F.

Yukon Gold Potatoes: Jacques Pepin Style 

Recipe courtesy of Rachel Ray on

3 pounds baby Yukon gold potatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons butter
2 to 3 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves

Place the potatoes in a deep skillet and add salt and pepper, to taste. Cover potatoes halfway with chicken stock, about 3 cups, add the butter and cover skillet with a lid. Cook the potatoes in the stock until almost tender, about 5 to 8 minutes, depending upon the size of the potatoes. Remove the lid and allow the stock to evaporate, about another 5 minutes. Once the stock has evaporated pop each potato using a ladle or large spoon, creating a small crack in each, but do not smash. Allow the potatoes to brown on each side, another 5 minutes, and re-season with salt and pepper, if necessary or desired. Remove the browned potatoes from the skillet and place onto a serving platter, garnished with the parsley.

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