Halloween is over and that means . . . *queue foreboding music* the holidays are upon us.
I know what you are all saying “I can’t stand it! Why does it have to start so early?!? I just won’t do it! Just say NO!” I did go through a phase where I didn’t want to decorate and I didn’t want to succumb to the commercialism.
But, I’m over it now. I love it, I want STUFF! I want to buy stuff! I want to give people stuff. I want to bake stuff!! Yeah!!! Bring it on . . . and the older I get the more I love it.
I think part of the reason I used to dread the season is because it was a chance for me to showcase how crazy and out of control my life can become. And, let’s face it, I never want anyone to know how just how nuts I can get. But, I have a little secret about how to do it. It’s hidden in a little black book.
Unlike some of the other little black books out there that house phone numbers and perhaps a discreet rating scale, this little black book houses my holiday budget, the list of stuff I’ve already bought, wish lists from the kids, and an envelope in the back for receipts. I even keep my standard cookie list on the back cover (it never changes). This has become an invaluable tool for me and my family.
I personally think everyone should a little black book, since it has helped me so much. I don’t miss deadlines or forget that there is a class party next week. I even make notes like this one “Don’t forget to NOT give Aunt Zelda a vase in 2008. She commented I have given her a vase for the last 2 years in a row.” Do you seriously think I’m going to remember that otherwise? Not even. Everyone thinks I’m a whiz at remembering this stuff (‘cept for a certain family member who will remain unnamed, but that’s a different story) thanks to my handy-dandy black book.
I wish I could come help every one of you guys who struggle to get through the holidays. In all seriousness, I know this is a really hard time of the year for lots of folks. And, I’ve been there. It wasn’t that long ago that I couldn’t stand to decorate the tree and when it came to holiday parties at the school the girls were lucky if I even remembered the party – you can forget about sending treat bags to pass out, or a cookie tray to share with the class.
And, I can’t fill out a black book for you, and I can’t bake cookies or help you wrap presents this year. But, I can still help you. I’m here for you, dear readers. Truly.
Over the next couple of months, I’m going to try posting some easy and freezable or make-ahead dinners. Sometimes they will use convenience items. Please know that I try my hardest to avoid using these things in my cooking. But, when you’re trying to crank out hand sewn stockings for 20 cousins – I suppose it’s o.k. to crack open a can of mushroom soup at dinner time.
l’ll also try to adjust my posting routine for you all and focus more on holiday appropriate type snacks and veggies. Perhaps some fresh ideas will help revitalize your holiday mood – whether you’re taking something along to Aunt Betty’s Holiday party (just say NO to green bean casserole, folks) or you’ve got 5 of your closest friends dropping by for holiday card making, you’re going to need some ideas. Hopefully I can help you “wow” them this year.
I’ve also had a request for my “Must Have” kitchen tools. You know, so you can hit up Hubby or the kids for something you “Must Have” on your holiday wish list?
I’ve actually been working on this list for over a year. It’s kind of hard to keep it under about a thousand-million things. Then, a really smart friend suggested I just list the things I take on vacation with me and I realized that she was right. Her suggestion has helped tremendously. I’m hoping to get the list up in time for Black Friday (since I know you’ll all be shopping early this year, right?!)
What’s that you asked?? Hmm?
YES. I take my kitchen tools on vacation with me. I mean. You know. Only the really really can’t-live-without-them things. I do a lot of cooking when I travel, you know? So, what of it??!! Anyhow,
Let’s get started, shall we?
The honest truth about this dip? I don’t really care for it, and neither does Hubby. Now don’t get your unders all in a bunch. I haven’t lost my mind just yet. The truth is, I just don’t care for kielbasa, and Hubby doesn’t really care for cream cheese (I think it’s illegal to dislike cream cheese, btw?!?). Since this dip has both Kielbasa and cream cheese in, it it’s not our favorite. But, it is beautiful on a platter, easy to make, and transports well. It’s always a big hit (for people who like Kielbasa and cream cheese, that is.) Oh! And, it’s great for your diabetic and low-carbing friends – if they watch the bread intake.
First, I want to send you over to The Knead for Bread to make some Pumpernickel bread. I LOVE this blog. The pictures are fantastic, and the step by step directions make sure that everyone feels like they know exactly what they are doing when they go to make the recipes. Well, anyhow, this recipe for Pumpernickel bread is perfect for today’s dip recipe. The bread is easy to make and I adapted it to my bread machine without too much hassle.
If you don’t have time to make this bread, go ahead and buy a round pumpernickel (or other rye variety) loaf. Serve the dip filled round with the pieces of bread removed from the center. You can also purchase one of those great little sliced party loafs to arrange around the outside of the bowl. Looks great, and gives more uniform dip holders.
Lastly, if you’re taking this dip somewhere here’s another handy tip. Put the dip inside a zippered bag. When you get to the party, clip the corner of the bag off and squeeze the dip directly into the bowl. Easy, fast, and no clean up!
Killer Kielbasa Dip
8 oz softened cream cheese
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
8 ounces finely chopped kielbasa (I use turkey, with no casing/skin)
1/2 cup chopped green onion, divided (optional)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Whisk soft cream cheese, sour cream, milk, mayonnaise and Worcestershire sauce. Using a whisk and very soft cream cheese will help get rid of any lumps.
Add kielbasa, half of the green onion (if desired) and Parmesan cheese; stir.
Meanwhile, cut into the top of your bread round, almost to the bottom, taking care not to cut through the bottom.
Carefully pull the cut bread from the round. Use a spoon to scrape out the inside and make it hollow.
Cut the bread from the inside into cubes and arrange them on a platter to use for dipping.
Put dip inside of bread bowl and sprinkle with remaining onion before serving, if desired.
You can also serve this hot, the choice is yours!
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