December 31, 2011

New Year Nibbles...and The Family Dinner

Darling and I went to dinner last night at our favorite Friday night spot, DiMillo's. We talked to Steve DiMillo, the owner, who always stops and talks a bit and thanks us for coming in to dinner. Now, is that not the sweetest thing ever? We talked about Stephen King's home up in Bangor and did I mention Miss Judy has the biggest crush on Mr. Steve? Yep, I believe he made quite an impression on that Florida gal!!

DiMillo's on a Warmer Day

As we were talking about the past year and thinking of our 2012 move home with happy anticipation, we also discussed current events and the state of "things." I said, "I was listening to a daily talk show today, and they were giving a review of Laurie David's book about the family dinner. I found it surprising that the "family dinner hour" is now considered am "oldie but goodie!" WHAT? Here is the small tidbit review of her book.......

Producer and Author of "The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time"

Laurie wants to help America’s overwhelmed families sit down to dinner in her newest book The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time. The Family Dinner is an inspirational, practical - and, of course, green - guide to the most important hour in your family’s day, dinnertime. With input from more than 50 experts in everything from parenting to poetry to pasta, this book is chock full of fantastic family-approved recipes, dinner conversation starters, ways to express gratitude, green values for the kitchen, and a whole lot more. The Family Dinner will help families cut through the fog of computers, television, texting and busy schedules and will help overwhelmed parents re-discover the joy of this time honored ritual.

Well, perhaps this is now the "norm" for America's society. I agree with the last sentence regarding the fog of computers, texting (did I mention I detest texting?) and not fit for viewing television. Hmmm.....we actually need to rediscover the joy of the family dinner ritual? Hope and pray for America, dear ones. It is so simple really. No need to make the yearly resolutions on the last day of the year. Let us all just simply promise to leave the world a better place, be kind to one another, be polite to all of those you meet, show love to God's helpless creatures, hug and kiss your children and love your family. Thank the good lord for all of your blessings and enjoy your family at dinner time.....this time honored ritual. Blessings for 2012 from The Maine House.

What's the great thing about New Year's celebrations?
Everyone's ready to take it easy!

After a month of parties with elaborate buffets, plus the burgeoning family holiday tables, enough is enough! For the last festive fling of the season, these are a few simple appetizers that have been requested by our family for the past few years. They can be whipped up in no time! I'll bet these will satisfy those party palates all the way to the horn-blowing, confetti-throwing time!

Warm Turnip Green Dip
5 bacon slices, chopped
1/2 medium-size sweet onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 (16-oz.) package frozen chopped turnip greens, thawed
12 ounces cream cheese, cut into pieces
1 (8-oz.) container sour cream
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Garnish: dried crushed red pepper
Assorted crackers, flatbread, and gourmet wafers

Preheat oven to broil. Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat 5 to 6 minutes or until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 1 Tbsp. drippings in Dutch oven. Sauté onion and garlic in hot drippings 3 to 4 minutes. Add wine, and cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of Dutch oven. Stir in turnip greens, next 4 ingredients, and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Cook, stirring often, 6 to 8 minutes or until cream cheese is melted and mixture is thoroughly heated. Transfer to a lightly greased 1 1/2-qt. baking dish. (Make certain that you use a broiler-safe baking dish.) Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Broil 6 inches from heat 4 to 5 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned. Sprinkle with bacon. Garnish, if desired. Serve with assorted crackers, flatbread, and wafers.

Lucky Black-eyed Pea Salad
1 (16-oz.) package frozen black-eyed peas
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup red pepper jelly
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1/3 cup diced red onion
2 large fresh peaches, peeled and diced
2 cups torn watercress

Prepare peas according to package directions, simmering only until al dente; drain and let cool 1 hour. Whisk together cilantro and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add cooked black-eyed peas, bell pepper, and onion, tossing to coat; cover and chill 8 hours. Stir peaches and watercress into pea mixture just before serving.

May the new year bring
The warmth of home and hearth to you.
The cheer and goodwill of friends to you,
The hope of a childlike heart to you.
The joy of a thousand angels to you,
The love of the Son and God's peace to you.

1 comment:

  1. Amen, we need family time and the dinner hour should be sacred. I took advantage of times when I had my girls "trapped" i.e. trips to and from school, events to have that one on one time that's so important. Txting...that's what it is, shortened sentences with little substance- a poor substitute for a real conversation. Blessings on "Estelle's Kitchen" and all of those she loves...


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