Monday, January 31, 2011

Blueberry Macadamia Crumble

Hitting the organic blueberry jackpot at Costco the other day was cause for a blueberry celebration!  Arriving home with no less than 8 packages (the big ones... 5+ cups each!) of the plump, indigo berries my husband's eyes lit up.  His request for a blueberry pie has been duly noted and on file for at least 2 months, but the organic berries have either been too expensive to not available at all.

Berries are one of the fruits that we do nearly 100% organic.  Article after article has described the numerous pesticides and fungicides used on to control disease and pest issues on the tender fruits and we have decided to follow the advice of "organic or not at all" in the berry arena.  Unfortunately, the organic berries tend to be extraordinarily expensive and only available on occasion.  Luckily, the blueberries freeze beautifully and work well for stocking up so our Costco jackpot was a winning day indeed!

With both sets of grandparents coming for dinner and another family game night on the agenda, I set to preparing our blueberry dessert.  Dealing with the two diabetics, 1 quadruple bypass, numerous clogged arteries and one small stroke (not to mention the various replaced bionic "parts"!) we decided to do a healthier crumble in place of the pie.  Still high in sugar, but small portion worthy, we love the blueberry healthy benefits.  Blueberries are known to have one of the highest antioxidant capacities of all fresh fruits.  In addition these little guys can help to preserve vision, promote brain health and promote heart health.  A healthy dose of oatmeal adds to the heart health punch along with the monounsaturated fat rich macadamia nuts (which also adds a much welcomed slight tropical flair to our winter crumble).

The girls once again proved to be the winners with Liv avoiding the Queen of Spades during this round of Hearts and also winning a very extended game of Aggravation, which did indeed aggravate a person or two along the way.  Laughter was heard throughout the house providing another memorable evening of fun.

To ease the aggravation and the egos of the "non-winners" we served up our nutrient rich Blueberry Macadamia Crumble with a small dollop of sweetened whipped cream and settled back in our seats with coffee in hand.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Pasta e Fagioli.... sort of!

Perusing the fridge for last minute dinner ideas I stumbled across a package of pancetta with the "use by" date fast approaching.  Out of my memory popped a Pasta e Fagioli recipe that had recently caught my eye calling for bacon.  Hmmm... I could sub the pancetta for the bacon!  Pulling out the rest of the ingredients had me nearly ready to begin chopping when I realized that this heart-warming soup didn't really have a protein other than the garbanzo beans and I knew immediately that my "I must have meat for dinner" husband would probably turn his nose up at this soup for a meal.  Not really wanting to search for a main meat I turned to my friendly freezer and found the perfect ingredient in a package of Chicken Tortellini!

Within minutes the pancetta was on the stove sauteing, closely followed by fragrant onions, garlic and Herbs de Provence.  The addition of carrots, mushrooms and a can of garbanzo beans beefed up the nutrient content and my chicken tortellini provided our "main dish meat" making this soup an easy and healthy weeknight meal.

With the combo of the fragrant soup and fresh Cheddar Scallion Biscuits in the oven my husband wandered into the kitchen with a grumbling stomach asking what smelled so good.  I ladled the soup into a bowl and tossed a fresh biscuit on the side slathered with a bit of butter.  Placing the steaming bowl in front of him I waited, and he didn't disappoint!  His spoon poked the soup and he said, "Well... it smells good, but where's the meat?"  Smiling I pointed the the tortellini and poured a glass of wine.  Life is good!

Pasta e Fagioli... sort of

1/4 cup diced pancetta
1 1/2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 tsp dried Herbs de Provence
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas) drained and rinsed
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
3/4 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup tortellini (more if desired!)
1 Tsp red-wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Grated Parmigiano Cheese

Heat a large sauce pan over medium high heat and saute the diced pancetta, stirring occasionally for about 3 minutes.  Add the onions and continue sauteing for another few minutes.  Add the garlic and rosemary, cooking about a minute longer.

Add the chicken broth, garbanzo beans, tomatoes, carrots, mushrooms, Herbs de Provence and enough water to cover by about 1/2 of an inch.  Simmer over medium heat for about 1/2 of an hour, stirring occasionally.  Add tortellini about 6 minutes (or according to package directions) before serving soup.  Add more water if the soup is too thick.

Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary.  Add the red wine vinegar and stir to combine.  Taste and adjust salt, pepper and vinegar if desired.

Ladle into bowls and top with grated Parmigiano Cheese.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cheddar Scallion Biscuits

It was one of those days... everything started out so nicely with a tasty breakfast, an early morning ride in the car and then a leash-free run at the baseball field!  Running free we dug our paws into the soft outfield grass kicking up blades behind us as we tore from one side to the other.  Dashing across the infield the red dust was flying like a herd of buffalo on the horizon.  People on the outside of the field stopped and pointed at us, cute little white fluffs bouncing after one another, literally having the time of our lives!

With this exceptionally warm, chamber of commerce, San Diego day the two of us were soon panting, our little pink tongues hanging to one side and we plopped into a nice, cool, wet spot in the shade.  After a quick drink of water we popped back into the car and headed home for what we thought was going to be a much needed nap on the cool tile floor.

Then it happened... they took our collars off.  Never a good sign.  They carried us up to the bathroom and before we even had a chance to run the other direction we found ourselves knee deep in luke-warm water.  We were doused, soaped and then rinsed.  How could such a wonderful day go so bad so quickly??  

Persevering, we made it through suds, and actually the bath didn't last all that long.  We soon found ourselves free again, and in the back yard we ran circles around the patio furniture with renewed energy, shaking the water out of our hair along the way.  Tired out once again, we settled our tired, wet bodies on the patio in the warm sun and that long awaited nap was upon us.  While we slept and dried, she was in the kitchen, baking again...


As the "guys" took their much awaited nap I headed into the kitchen  getting a head start on dinner.  With a hearty bean soup on the stove, a nice biscuit on the side seemed to be the perfect complement.  Filled with sharp, grated cheddar cheese and a handful of chopped scallions these savory, tender and airy biscuits had me quickly reaching for seconds!  Patting myself on the back for my productive day along with some of the best biscuits I've ever made, I looked at my feet to find 4 big brown eyes and two little black noses staring up at me.  Scooping the fluffy pups into my arms we settled in for a snuggle filled with happy puppy kisses.  Life is Good!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Perusing my new Twitter account I noticed a comment that today, January 24th, is National Peanut Butter Day!  I have to admit I did not research any further to find truth to the statement, however, even a claim for National Peanut Butter Day is good enough for me.  We must celebrate!

With encouragement from Foodbuzz, Frigidaire and Jennifer Garner who are working together on Frigidaire's new Kid's Cooking Academy  to inspire families to cook together while making healthy choices, we decided to direct our National Peanut Butter Day Celebration in a kid friendly direction.  You can help too by visiting the Kid's Cooking Academy.  Each day you visit, Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save the Children.  In addition, with every Foodbuzz Featured Publisher post submitted for the cause, Foodbuzz and Frigidaire will donate an additional $50! 

While Peanut Butter Cupcakes are extraordinarily kid friendly they are also popular with any peanut butter loving adult, and have been joyfully served at Liv Life birthday parties in years past.  A simple recipe brings the opportunity for kids to participate in the creation of this low-fat treat provided by Cooking Light (See Liv's smile - about 2001!).  We took the liberty of adding a touch of spelt flour to the ingredients to bump up the nutritional value (slightly, but better than nothing!) and due to our lactose intolerant teenager, low fat organic soy milk has been substituted without any loss of flavor or texture.

Originally printed in Cooking Light Magazine in 2000, Liv has participated in whipping up these cupcakes since she was a tot.  Now she makes the entire batch by herself, but we are in agreement that the ever popular Buzz Lightyear cupcake liners are a must!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Living in San Diego I have the luxury of grilling outdoors nearly all year around.  With the exception of rainy and really cold days (read: wind chill below 55!) the grill is usually fired up 3 - 4 times a week.  From the garlic bread to the veggies and meats, I love the ease of putting the whole meal on the grill.  Saving time on cleanup is a bonus.

Over the holidays, Amazon had The Sunset Grill Cookbook on one of their "Deal of the Day" specials and I tossed one in the cart for as a gift for my friend Becky (of Becky's Famous Football Stromboli!).  Not wanting to give her something that I couldn't vouch for, I figured I'd better add one of those books for myself as well and I'm thrilled I did!!  Last night was the first time I ventured into the book, and if the rest of the recipes are half as good as the Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce, the book is a winner.

Simple marinated chicken is threaded onto skewers and served alongside a Spicy Peanut Sauce.  Perfectly complementing the Asian flavors of the chicken skewers, the sauce quickly became my favorite part of the meal... part peanut butter, part coconut with a ginger essence and a bright squeeze of lime to finish it off.  A bed of coconut rice rounded out our meal and everyone including the dishwasher (me!) was happy!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Nancy Baggett's Classic Peanut Butter Crisscross Cookies

I shouldn't have made these cookies... these perfectly shaped, tender, melt in your mouth, highly coveted, classic irresistible Peanut Butter cookies.  A request from a neighbor had me flipping to the well used page in Nancy Baggett's All American Cookie Book with the book actually falling open to the correct peanut butter smudged page due to the worn crack in the binding.

Seeking the classic crisscross Peanut Butter Cookie for as long as I can remember, the treat is obviously a favorite.  Growing up, my German grandmother made them every time I visited her in Minnesota and I actually argued with my cousin over who she had made them.  He swore that she made them special for him as he was the favored male grandchild, but I had a feeling that she really made them for me as they were always there when I was, and she would smile as she handed me a plate while saying, "I know you like these."  Therefore, I know they were for me! (Grandma is on the far right in the photo here from 1969, my dad is holding me and mom is standing in the middle) I wish I had asked for her recipe, but Nancy has come to the rescue with her version (which is so similar to Grandma's that it could be the same!).

Even puppies love the cookies!  Tavo, our 1 year old Maltese, lends a "hand" with my photo shoot.
I did pass half to the neighbors, but the healthy-sized batch makes enough that half left us with over 20 cookies!  And... they just keep looking at me every time I walk by.  I only have one.  But alas, one cookie 5 times a day is not working with my renewed gym workout.  I do find solace in the fact that I adapted them to be ever so slightly healthier by leaving out the 3 Tbs. of oil and in addition, my guilt is lessened even more by the realization that Peanut Butter is indeed a healthy source of protein as well as a source of potassium, vitamin E and other minerals.  So... I guess that while they are not really "health food", they are certainly giving me a few important minerals as they improve my day.  Thanks Nancy!!

Edited 1/21/11:  Just received an email from my Dad saying that he thinks that Grandma (his mom) made the cookies for him and my cousin and I just happened to be there!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Sometimes schedules are meant to be thrown out the window and ignored, and with an unexpected visit from my mom and dad a couple of days ago, tossing our schedule is exactly what we did.  What a perfect choice we made!  A boring afternoon of errands was turned into a much more enjoyable afternoon of catching up, card games and Chicken Tortilla Soup.

Almost one of those "Norman Rockwell" moments, our family sat around the table playing Hearts and laughing at Liv's very sad face as she received the Queen of Spades for no less than the third time in a row.  Luckily, a special weekend soda returned her smile and we were off for a game of Sequence.  Liv and mom my proved that girls are most definitely winners as they beat my husband and dad time and again.  Contrary to the male popular opinion, no... they did not cheat!

Chopping onions and sautéing chicken I enjoyed the banter and laughter of my family.  Filled with aromatic spices, black beans and a hearty broth the soup is thickened perfectly with corn tortillas and then topped with my favorite goodies - sour cream, avocado, cilantro and a bright squeeze of lime.  Our bodies warmed by the soup and our hearts warmed with an afternoon of simply being together, we decided that soup is indeed good food.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Coconut Mango Chicken Cups

Super Bowl is right around the corner, and after the popularity of my good friend Becky's Famous Football Stromboli we would like to share another favorite appetizer perfect for any game day.  Actually, with the cute little wonton cups and tantalizing tropical ingredients this appealing appetizer works equally as well on your Oscar Party table as it does on your tailgate!

Making their first appearance at a playoff game between our Chargers and Pittsburgh in 2009 (the Chargers fared as they always do and lost...) these little cups have since been seen at Halloween parties, New Year's Eves and simple summer gatherings.  Healthy ingredients come together to bring a taste of the tropics in easy to serve cups.  Essences of coconut, mango and a touch of curry have these sweet yet spicy little guys bursting with flavor!  Personally, I love the crunch of the toasted wonton cups and the slightly sweet mango chutney laced with lime.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ellie Krieger's Honey Harvest Quinoa

After a few month sabbatical from my gym routine, yesterday marked my return with a morning of treadmills and lifting.  The light "getting back into it" workout felt great and today I have that wonderful "I did something good" feeling in my arms and abs.  Definitely not wanting to "over do it", though (insert husband eye roll here!), I decided to take today off instead choosing to walk the pups along the beach.  With a nice breakfast of chicken and scrambled egg along with the usual dog kibble providing a good dose of protein for the pups I turned to Ellie Krieger to keep myself on track.

Quinoa made its appearance in our home a number of years ago with our family enjoying the somewhat distinctive delicate flavors and slightly grainy texture.  Frequently described as a grain, quinoa is actually the seed to a leafy plant distantly related to spinach.  With a protein quality equivalent to that of milk and a good dose of manganese, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus, the seed packs a healthy punch in addition to providing a pleasing delicate, nutty flavor.  Easily substitutable for most any other grain, this seed has earned a high place in my kitchen and has made its way to our table in the form of fresh summer salads, casseroles and soups.  However, before this morning I had not thought of it for breakfast.

Ellie's Honey Harvest Quinoa brings some of our favorite breakfast ingredients to the table providing a somewhat sweet yet protein rich start to your day.  Filled with nuts and fruits, honey and a touch of cinnamon this ancient seed fills my protein requirement in a very pleasing way.  Versatility is the key to this breakfast dish with nearly any variation of the fruits, nuts and honey making it a new dish each time you serve it!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Chocolate Truffle Ice Cream

Sometimes the title says it all... this being the case with the only ice cream I really find worth eating - luscious, silky, rich, and oh so chocolaty, Chocolate Truffle Ice Cream

Not being an ice cream fan, a "No, thank you" was frequently uttered when an ice cream offer came my way.  Hard and often excessively sweet scoops had been placed in front of me on one too many occasions and as a pre-teen I simply stopped eating it.  An occasional milk shake would sometimes make it past my defenses, but it had to be chocolate, bittersweet even better!  Growing up, Swenson's Ice Cream Shop in Marin County was one of the only places that met my criteria and as yet I've not found a match in my travels.

Admittedly, the words "ice cream snob" would aptly describe my feelings about the frozen indulgence and I frequently forget to stock the freezer for the others in the family.  However, well into my 30's, I was given an Ice Cream Maker by my ice cream loving husband and kids.  A little internet research brought the The Ultimate Ice Cream Book and a sample recipe to my attention.  Not only did the sample Chocolate Truffle Ice Cream recipe lead me to buy the book, but it had me eating ice cream again!

Still particular about the frozen custard treats, I find a scoop to be  calorie-worthy the day it is made, soft and fresh from the freezer bowl.  Unadorned is preferable for me, but Cherry Tea Cakes Chocolate Raspberry Sauce had me returning time and again to view the recipe.  A simple sauce of raspberries, chocolate and sugar, a cinch to put together yet bringing another dimension of flavor to my luscious frozen chocolate cream. This delightful sauce is making me think twice.

Alone or adorned, Chocolate Truffle Ice Cream is "to infinity and beyond" good.  The splattered page in the book has been used time and again, and remains my all time favorite!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Becky’s Famous Football Party Stromboli

Here to kick off Super Bowl Season I would like to introduce our Guest Poster and my good friend, Dan.  Dan and his wife Becky live down the street from us and have been family friends for so long that we now actually consider them part of our family.  Together we have traveled to the islands of Hawaii, skied the slopes of Mammoth, brought in numerous New Year's Eves and shared special weekends simply sipping wine by the outside fire.
Being a talented cook, Becky has a few specialties that Dan will be bringing to us over the next few months.  So without further ado, I give you Dan, and Becky's Famous Football Party Stromboli!
Move over food internet divas with your stylish recipes … we’re talking about MAN-FOOD now! Not everyone has a palate as refined as you foodies and sometimes we (men) just want some tasty and healthy grub to line our stomachs while we’re watching sports, screaming at the TV, and drinking beer. So, now that it’s peak football season, Kim, I think your food-blog-thing needs a little testosterone infusion via this serious party food.
No one can seem to recall the origin of the Stromboli recipe or for which party Becky first made it, but it is now her signature party dish. In most everyone’s opinion, it’s the perfect party food. Its compact shape allows you to eat it with one hand so that you don’t have to put your drink down, its crisp dough outer lining keeps your hands from getting greasy, and you can eat a lot of it without needing a nap by the end of 3rd quarter. The first few times she made one, it was gobbled up while still on the cutting board before it even left the kitchen. Since its somewhat low-fat and low-sodium, wives, kids, and even grandparents started asking for it, and she eventually realized it’s necessary to make 3 or 4 of them. There is hardly ever any left over, although it tastes just as good when reheated the next day. We (Becky, that is) have now started making Stromboli for kid’s parties instead of ordering pizza.

Overall, it scores a 4 of 5 on the MAN-FOOD-ometer scale. (Note that only food containing some form of alcohol can ever receive a score of 5.) It’s quick and easy to prepare and will surely get you invited back to the next party, so long as you bring more Stromboli of course. And, ladies, it will likely become your man's most requested favor -- other than maybe some special lovin’ at night and less talk afterwards during SportsCenter -- so the next time you need something heavy moved or want that new outfit, try cooking up some Stromboli and watching a football game.
Unfortunately, our beloved Chargers had a horrific year and aren't in the playoffs, but getting together with good friends, eating some Stromboli, and having a cocktail or two will no doubt help ease the pain.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Oatmeal Soufflé

Weekends are meant for something other than the quick weekday cold cereal or plain 'ole oatmeal.  With the extra hours we have before Liv heads off to dance rehearsals I try to put together something hot, fairly healthy and tasty to boot.

Borrowing Marrion Cunningham's, The Breakfast Book, to post our recent Custard-Filled Corbread, I thumbed through the pages and the Oatmeal Souflé caught my eye.  Our experiences last year with Ellie Krieger's Vanilla Spice Oatmeal along with a couple of Pumpkin Oatmeal versions have us eager for alternative oatmeal recipes!

Ms. Cunningham's version, however, was a bit too rich for our tastes with a 1/2 cup of sugar, 3 eggs and butter, but by simply reducing the sugar and butter and replacing an egg with egg whites we produced a healthier yet tasty soufflé, perfect for our weekend morning!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Beef Chili with Poblanos and Beer

With our scarves tightened and Ugg boots layered with socks we faced the bone-chilling wind chill of 46º a few nights ago to take the pups for a little walk after dinner.  Not going too far so as not to chill our fingers we returned to warm ourselves by the fire and got to clearing the dishes from our undeniably appropriate cold winter night's chili.

46º may not sound so cold, but for us in San Diego, it's life changing!  Socks have come out of hiding, ugg boots have replaced sandals at the high school, and we've switched the coffee from iced to hot.

Newspaper showing the "drastic" dress difference in San Diego from season to season!
In all seriousness... when I moved here after spending 3 winters in Louisville, KY I laughed at how everyone was so cold all the time.  I even sounded a bit like my parents saying, "Well, if you'd dress properly, you wouldn't be so cold!".  We enjoy sunny days on the empty beaches in January, and gardening and planting roses in February.  Over the years though, my winter "gear" has worn out and I find myself heading out on chilly mornings with just a light sweater and floppies, and yes... improperly dressed, I too am complaining about the cold.  

Thinking chili is the perfect winter meal in any region I set out to sautee my poblanos, onions and garlic in the early afternoon.   Adding spices to the vegies and then combining them with the browned beef along with a bottle of dark beer to simmer had the aromas wafting through the house for hours before we topped our steaming bowls with my favorite part of chili, the "goodies".  Chopped, fresh cilantro and green onions were sprinkled over grated cheeses along with a dollop of sour cream.  Some of us added a scoop of rice, but we all enjoyed a side of Buttermilk Cornbread Biscuits fresh from the oven.

With our bodies warmed and satiated we leaned back in our chairs, sighed and decided that Life is Good.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Cornmeal Buttermilk Biscuits

I like to think of myself as fairly tech savvy.  I can work my way around most computer programs (though I do struggle a bit with Photoshop), setting up this blog was not all that difficult, heck... I can even write a bit of HTML!  Yesterday, however, I signed up for Twitter and I feel like I've lost my savviness.

Making it through the registration process was easy enough and formatting my page worked like a charm.  I added my picture and I even signed up to follow a few friends.  Carolyn, All Day I Dream About Food, promptly sent me a welcome message which I not only responded to, but did it on my phone!  Later in the evening while perusing the Blackberry Twitter Ap though, I discovered a message with the @ sign from Kimberly, Kimba's Kitchen, and still have not totally figured out how she did that.  I think I did manage to respond, but will have to take a little time to explore that area.

I'm curious... do you Twitter?  What do you tweet about?  I'm afraid that I could find Twitter somewhat addicting, so I'm going to move slowly.  But I would love to know what you like about it.  And of course... if you have any Twitter Tips I'd love to hear those too!

With the unexpected popularity of our recent Custard-Filled Cornbread, I thought I'd share another of my favorite corn meal recipes - Cornmeal Buttermilk Biscuits are basically the anti-Custard Filled Cornbread.  Being a Cooking Light Recipe I feel less guilty reaching for seconds of these tender biscuits and the ease of assembly is a plus for busy weeknights.  I like to bake mine just a little extra, giving the outside a bit more of a crunch, while keeping the inside soft and flaky.

Perfect along side a steamy bowl of chili, these biscuits are sure to make your day.  Now... if I could only figure out how to Tweet about it...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Nutella Fudge Brownies

I really wasn't going to bake for a few weeks.  Well, maybe just bread for breakfast or a biscuit for dinner.  But not desserts.  However... today I was perusing my inundated Foodbuzz inbox and came across Lynn's, I'll Have What She's Having, blog post and I simply couldn't help myself.  One bowl, no mixer, 4 ingredients and the main ingredient being Nutella.  Wow!

A little research on this recipe led me to Abby Dodge's website and her new book Desserts 4 Today: Flavorful Desserts with Just Four Ingredients.  While I haven't actually put my hands on this book (yet!), I'm thinking it would be an undeniable treat.  With only 4 ingredients completing each recipe listed, this book has been described as ideal for novice bakers looking for less complex recipes or for the seasoned baker looking to take a bit of a break while still serving an excellent treat.  If this recipe is any indication, the above sentiments are right on.

My husband laughed as I gushed about Abby's covers on Bon Appetite, and he commented that it wasn't like she was "on the cover of the Sports Illustrated's Swim Suit Edition, or anything".  In mock shock I informed him that her cover was far better!

With our new found love for Nutella, these little treats were a must try.  With the total assembling, mixing and baking time under 20 minutes in combination with smiles all around, they are a must keep.  Thanks, Abby!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Custard-Filled Cornbread

Though we are into 2011 and the holidays are past, I want to share one more recipe from our Christmas Dinner.  Our friends Ron and Andrea brought this magical corn bread to our celebration garnering plenty of "Ooooohs" and "Aaaahs" as first bites were taken and finding most of us reaching for seconds soon after.

Taken from Marion Cunningham's The Breakfast Book, the commentary describes the bread with a "creamy, barely set custard" that will have formed just below the browned top.  Rich, decadent and oh so good, this cornbread is a wonderful weekend treat.

Knowing that I would want to blog much of the food we had that evening, I had no less than 4 photographic helpers in the kitchen!  Ron, food stylist extraordinaire, Devon and Charlotte photo and styling assistants and myself.  The scene was somewhat comical as we set the Prime Rib Roast on the side counter clearing away the area with the most space to photo this bread.  My husband was attempting to carve the roast, my friend Becky scooping roasted vegetables into the proper bowls, Mom and the kids setting water glasses on the table and the 4 of us, tripod between us with a light held overhead, styling our cornbread shot.  I have to admit that these are not my work, but that of my wonderful Holiday Photo Team!  My kitchen is not that big, and to say that it was a bit chaotic is an understatement.  But they got the shot!