Friday Favorites! New Years Eve edition…

Happy Friday!

Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve, which means it’s time to gather with friends and celebrate the ending of one year and the beginning of another. Usually the mister and I stay home and make a nice dinner with a good bottle of wine and watch some movies. This year we’re going to a party at our friend’s parents house. They’re the same people we spend Fourth of July with so it’s practically guarantied to be a great time.

We’re doing our traditional New Year’s Eve together tonight, and we’re watching the last two Harry Potter movies. I still haven’t seen the final one, I got extra Kleenex at the store today just to be safe.  But I digress.

Even though this party is definitely something that I could wear my regular t-shirt and jeans to, I think it’s important to get a little fancy for New Year’s Eve. What better way to celebrate a fresh year but in a pretty dress with your hair done properly? It is a celebration after all. Even when we stay home we at least put our nicest comfy clothes on.

So for today’s favorites I thought I would share some pretty dresses that I think would be perfect for a little party.

Mod Cloth

Mod Cloth

Top Shop

Ruche

Ruche

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love every one of these beauties, but I think my favorite one is the bottom right berry colored one. It has a cape! I’m thinking of ordering it for my birthday, I think I’ll feel like a super hero in it. Bonus!

I really think these cute dresses would look great with some super trendy brightly colored or lacy tights. Kind of like these:

Polyvore

So bright and festive!

Whatever your plans are for New Year’s Eve are I hope you have a wonderful time and enjoy yourselves to the fullest!

By the way, here are the links going clockwise:

1. Mod Cloth 2. Mod Cloth 3. Top Shop 4. Ruche 5. Ruche

And for the tights: Polyvore

Green Bean Casserole, the good kind.

There’s this thing that I make, it’s pretty awesome. I’m fairly certain it’s the main reason I’m invited to holiday dinners. For Christmas this year I was specifically told that I would be bringing my Green Bean Casserole. At Thanksgiving, my vegetarian friend ate some, realized there was bacon in it, and ate the rest in silence. Afterwards, he begrudgingly admitted to enjoying it after it was confirmed that there is indeed bacon included in this casserole. Yep, it’s that good.

I shouldn’t take so much credit. I got this recipe from The Pioneer Woman, and I have adapted it somewhat. But after trying it last year for the first time I knew that this was the recipe I’d be using for-evah. No bigs.

Your ingredients are simple, which I think is important around the holiday season. We don’t want to make something fussy if we don’t need to. This is also really easy to make ahead. You can put the entire casserole together the day before, sans french fried onions, cover and refrigerate. When you’re ready cover with onions and cook for 30 minutes. Amazingness, simplified. You’re welcome.

Just remember that if you’re trying to share this with someone, and you want to take a picture you’ll need to snap one fast. This doesn’t stay around for very long.

Enjoy!

Green Bean Casserole

by Jessica Scott

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Keywords: side Christmas Thanksgiving American

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Ingredients (Serves 8)

  • 2 Pounds fresh Green Beans, ends trimmed
  • 6 slices of Bacon cut into 1/4 in pieces
  • 3 cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 large Onion, chopped
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 4 Tablespoons Flour
  • 2 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1/2 cup Half & Half
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar Cheese
  • French Fried Onions

Instructions

Cut green beans in half and start a large pot of lightly salted boiling water.

Blanch the green beans: drop them in boiling water and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes. Drain green beans in colander and run very cold water over them until they cool down and stop cooking. Allow them to drain, when they are done spread into bottom of 9×13 casserole dish or baking pan.

Add bacon to medium skillet and cook over medium heat. Cook for two minutes and then add onion and garlic and continue to cook 4-5 minutes. Until bacon is done and onions are golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.

In saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Sprinkle flour into pan and whisk to combine with butter evenly. Continue whisking while it cooks for a minute or two more. Add half and half and milk. Continue cooking, and whisking, while the sauce thickens, this should take 2-3 minutes. Add salt, pepper and cayenne before adding the grated cheese. Stir while cheese melts. Once that has happened, remove from heat and celebrate that you just made your very own white sauce! It’s a totally important thing to know.

Add bacon and onion mixture to sauce, stir to combine. Pour over green beans and top with french fried onions.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until sauce is bubbly and onions are golden.

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2011…I want to break up.

2011, you and I need to have a talk.
You’ve been kind of an ass for the last few months and I don’t appreciate your attitude any longer.
I think it’s time we broke up.

It’s not just me that you’ve been mean to this year. I have a few friends that you’ve terrorized as well. And while they may be more forgiving and understanding, I think you’ve been pretty crappy all around. I’m not going to ask you for an apology because what’s done is done. All we can do now is go our separate ways and learn from our time together.

I learned a lot from you 2011, and there are moments that will stay in my thoughts forever.
There was my great birthday party:

Fun times with Misters family:

Getting my Kitchen Aid mixer:

Judging the Eugene Celebration parade with my bestie:

My first day at UO:

I didn't have a picture of that, just my favorite study spot

Beach Bocce during Occupy Beach House:

Seeing this girl who I love so much:

My summer vacay with my mom and aunties:

Celebrating my Gram Jam’s birthday in Arizona:

Yes, we had some good times. But this is over between you and me. Thank you for the lessons you taught me, I am smarter and stronger for them. But it’s time for you to go now.
Goodbye 2011. It was nice knowing you.

Dinner Rolls

My best friend is pretty amazing. She’s funny and pretty and smart. We have nicknames, we can communicate with only our minds (sometimes), and she gives pretty awesome advice. We like a lot of the same things: cocktails, Gilmore Girls, Ryan Gosling and Leslie Knope.

Unfortunately she’s allergic to soy. Do you know how much stuff has soy in it?!?! Everything. As her best friend I have accepted this soy-free challenge. Dinner rolls for Christmas? Sure! She’s really helped me expand my baking knowledge. It’s good to have a best friend who challenges you.

These rolls are great, super simple and easy to make. I tried to make them look a little fancy by easily twisting them into knots. You don’t have to do that, you could just make them plain jane rolls. I bet they’ll still taste awesome.

Enjoy!

Dinner Rolls

by Jessica Scott

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 12-15 minutes

Keywords: bake bread

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Inspired by Craftinomicon

Ingredients (serves 12)

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 package)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (I suggest melting it first and then letting it cool down)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Instructions

Warm your milk in a saucepan or microwave. It should be about 108-110 degrees, don’t get it to hot or you will kill the yeast which is a very bad thing.

Put milk, yeast, sugar and salt into mixing bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook, stir together then let stand for 5 minutes. Next add butter, one egg and one cup of flour. Mix together until butter is no longer lumpy.

Gradually add the rest of the flour and mix until it comes together and forms a ball.

Move onto floured surface and kneed by hand for a few minutes. This dough is very soft, you can add up to 1/2 cup of flour if your dough is to wet.

Place dough in greased bowl and cover with a tea towel. Let rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size.

Once doubled in size punch dough down and re-cover. Let rise another 30-45 minutes or until it has doubled again.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.

I weighed my dough into 2 1/2 ounce balls which gave me thirteen rolls.

After weighing balls, you can either shape them in your hand to form a round roll or you can get fancy and twist them.

To twist, roll them out into long cylindrical shape. Just go back to preschool when you made Play-Doh snakes and such. Tie the dough into a knot and pinch ends in.

Give your rolls a little room on the baking sheet and then beat the other egg and use it as an egg wash to brush on top.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until tops are golden brown.

Remove and cool on wire racks.

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Merry Christmas Weekend!

Merry Christmas!
Happy Hanukkah!
Happy Festivus for the rest of us!

What ever it is you celebrate I hope you had a great day full of laughter and food and memories.

Yesterday it was sunny and warm here so we took advantage and took the Gypsy to the park.

After we got home I did some baking, we made dinner and then settled in to watch White Christmas which is our Christmas Eve tradition.

This morning we woke up and opened our present from Gypsy. She got us new flannel  sheets, isn’t that sweet? Afterwards I hit the kitchen and made my contributions for dinner this evening. We went to our friends Sean & Colleen where we ate way to much food and then mister took a nap for a minute.

I wanted to share some of my favorite decorations around the house. I love our tree this year, it’s the first one that mister and I decorated together. I think it looks lovely at night.

Besides family snow is the thing we miss most during Christmas. And even though I’ve gotten used to having rain and not snow during winter, this December has been unusually dry. I thought some snowflakes in the kitchen window would be a good substitute.

My Mom gave me this candy-cane holder the last time I saw her. It was my Grandmother’s, and I have always loved it. Isn’t he just the cutest?

So Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Friday Favorites! A Christmas Edition…

Happy Friday!

Is everybody ready for Christmas on Sunday? I am not, but some years that’s just how it is. I feel like I get to take a year off since last year we hosted Mister’s family and I went into Christmas overdrive trying to give them a great family holiday, since it only happens every other odd year or something. So this Christmas we’re taking it easy.

Don’t get me wrong, I still decorated my house, but I didn’t go crazy. I haven’t baked, bought presents or constantly listened to Christmas music all day. Nope. After our plans to go home for Christmas fell through we decided to be minimal in the Christmas craziness.

I did send Christmas cards, but most of them came back. Improper postage because the envelope is small and couldn’t be run through the sorter. I took it as a sign that the universe understands my Christmas non-spirit this year and is okay with it. We’ve talked it out, we’re okay now.

Anyway, it’s Friday so that means Friday Favorites!

The mister and I didn’t do presents this year so I didn’t make a list, but this is what would have been on it if I did.

Moccasins, Jacket, Food Processor, Kindle Fire, Measuring Cups

Merry Christmas Eve-Eve!

Baked Potato and Jalapeno Soup

Hi! I’ve been gone for awhile, you see I did this little thing called school and it kind of consumed my life for three months. I apologize for my absence, but not the school thing. That bit’s pretty important, but more on that later.

I also changed my blog home, It’s basically the same except it’s rainydayswithgypsy(dot)wordpress(dot)com instead of blogspot(dot)com.No bigs. We’re all adjusting.

So we’re good? Should we hug?

Because I have made something to make up for my absence and changing addresses on you. Trust me, you’ll love it!

I had this soup for lunch last month and I haven’t been the same since. I found it at the deli next to campus and have spent the last three weeks trying to figure out the recipe. Well friends, I have done it. And now I’m sharing it with you, because I love you and it’s Christmas.

One more apology? There are no process photos, and the only picture I have is from my phone so it’s not great. Next time I make it I’ll fix this post. It’ll be like a 2-for-1 or something.

This soup is perfect for a cold winter day, and is so good you’ll want seconds. Serve it up with some crusty bread just in case you need more carbs in your meal. Just do it, you deserve it.

Baked Potato and Jalapeno Soup

by Jessica Scott

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 30-45 minutes

Keywords: soup/stew entree

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Ingredients (Serves 8)

  • 2 1/2 pounds (about 4 bakers) potatoes
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 6 cups milk (I used 2%)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (plus some for garnish)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 10-12 strips of bacon
  • 1 jalapeno
  • Paprika
  • Salt & Pepper

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash potatoes and pierce with a fork.

Bake potatoes for one hour. Let sit until cool enough to handle and peel skins.

Place in bowl and roughly mash. Set aside.

Remove seeds from jalapeno and dice. Don’t touch your eyes for the rest of the night.

While potatoes are cooling place bacon in dutch oven over medium-high heat.

*Bacon is such a personal thing. Who am I to tell you how to cook your bacon? Just do you. It will be great, it’s bacon.*

Remove bacon and place on paper towels to cool. Drain grease from dutch oven and return to stove.

Once cooled, crumble bacon and set aside enough for garnishment.

Melt butter in dutch oven, use a spoon to get the left over bacon bits incorporated into the melting butter. Once butter is melted gradually add flour, whisking to combine.

Once combined, gradually add milk, whisking to combine. Cook over medium heat until it gets thick and bubbly, it should take about 8 minutes.

Add mashed potatoes, cheese, diced jalapeno, and bacon. Add salt & pepper and Paprika to taste. Stir until cheese melts. Once cheese is melted reduce heat to low and add sour cream. Cook on low for 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated but do not boil.

Garnish with cheese and bacon.

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Hey! I’m over here!

HEY! I’m over here now!

Same me, just a new address. I figured after my long break (3 months! EEP!) I needed a whole new start. So I cleared out the cobwebs and am ready to start brand spankin’ new!

Please bear with me while I work out the kinks and learn the new system. If you want to receive email notifications when I write a new post you can subscribe by clicking the follow button in the right corner. Then you’ll never be out of the loop.

And if your still mad about the move or the break, I’ll make it up to you tomorrow with an amazing recipe that will make you love me again.
Promise.