are you ready for new year's eve?

i love having yummy food and playing games on new year's eve. i've never thrown a new year's party, but some day when we're not in a recession, i want to do just that. for now, getting together with family, chowing on some chinese food, and having great food while we compete in the game decathlon my husband made up will have to do.

interested in some recipes?

i don't have the step-by-steps for these (yet) but i thought i'd give you a heads up on what i'm planning to make, so you'll have some ideas for your own get-togethers. and by the way, these are good any time. not just for new year's!

here is what i'll be making tomorrow:
what are you having?


mom's fried rice

this is something i rarely make, probably because i think i have to have it with egg rolls, and egg rolls are just so much work. but today for lunch i felt like fried rice, so you will all reap the rewards of that feeling. this is something my mom just made up (as far as i know) and it's delish and pretty easy. in fact, my senior year of high school i had to do a creative response to the book spring moon for english class. i forgot. so the morning the assignment was due, i called my mom from a pay phone and requested she make this ASAP and bring it by for me and 30 classmates. she kindly obliged, and it was a hit. except for the vegan in the class. i told her she could just pick out the ham and she goes "what about the eggs?" and i said "what about them? they're not meat." i soooo didn't get vegans back then.

odd tangent. sorry. so let's get started.

you'll need two cups of minute rice (or other rice...i just don't know how to cook other rice, but maybe i'll start to learn now that pioneer woman posted about how to do it), 1/4 of a white onion, 1/2 bunch of green onion, two eggs, some deli ham, soy sauce, and frozen peas.
start by cooking your rice.do not add salt to the water. the soy sauce and ham will make this dish salty enough.while your rice is cooking, melt a little butter into a small pan.crack two eggs and mix them together with a fork.then add into your pan. make sure the pan is not too hot or else you'll get egg lace. nobody wants that. except dave, who eats it with tabasco. yuck.
let the eggs cook like this for a minute or so.
when the edges have cooked, gently lift up one side at a time with a spatula and tip the pan so the runniness on top slides toward the edge to cook. do this for all four sides...
'til it looks like this.
then carefully slide your spatula underneath and flip, and continue cooking until there is no more runniness. i don't think that's a word. ah well.

next, dice up your onion and green onion.

if you buy the rectangular package of deli ham, it's the easiest (for me) to slice. cut it in half, and save or freeze the other half for the next time you're doing this on a whim (this was my frozen half. the other half i used at dave's birthday party).
cut it into cubes, like this:

then cut your egg into cubes as well.
like this.
in all honesty, you could probably skip this part. i usually do it because i have to make the eggs for egg rolls anyway so i might as well double it and add it to the rice. but really, do you need eggs in your rice? probably not. so if you're looking for a quick fix, skip the eggs.

now that everything is chopped and ready, put your onions in a pan and saute until opaque on medium-high heat. this part smells so good. noah came running in and said, "mom, what's that smell like?" as he sniffed the air. "soy sauce and onions," i told him.
sometimes i add a little butter at this point, but you don't have to. it might help when you add the rice if there's some butter in the pan, though.
they're lookin' good, eh?
now turn the heat down to low and add in your cooked rice.
and pour on your soy sauce. i would start with about 1/4 cup and continue adding from there, but you honestly don't need much more than that.
pour and mix, pour and mix, until you have the right amount.
the rice should be all light brown. any darker than this and it will be too salty.
perfect. just like me.
now throw in your ham. i'm not sure why my arm is contorted this way, but that's not necessary to the adding of ham.
stir it in.
then do the same with your eggs.
lastly, pour in a fistful of frozen green peas. i like to move the rice completely out of the middle and pour the pile right there where the heat is highest. i let them sit for a minute or two until they thaw out.
then the stirring begins again. make sure it's mixed evenly in and the peas are warm and no longer frozen.
and that's it! tasty, easy, yummy, fun fried rice. enjoy!
carma's fried rice

2 cups minute rice
1/4 white onion, diced
1/2 bunch green onions, sliced
2 eggs
1/2 package deli ham
1/4 package green peas
soy sauce

cook the rice according to package directions. chop the onions and ham. cook the eggs like an omelet and chop. brown the onions in a little butter, then add the cooked rice. add 1/4 cup of soy sauce and taste. add more if needed. add in the ham and eggs, then peas. cook until heated through.

non-alcoholic champagne chocolate mousse

i am making this for new year's eve.
i'll let you know how it turns out,
and post step-by-steps afterwards.

you can get the recipe here
(first seen here).


aunt arlene's no-bake cheesecake

this is an all-time favorite. it's so easy, and really really good.

1 small tub of cool whip
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 graham cracker crust

mix the cool whip, cream cheese, lemon juice and sweetened condensed milk together with a mixer until well blended. pour into the crust and refrigerate at least one hour. serve with cherry pie filling, raspberries, or chocolate sauce on top.


ellen's easy stuffed mushrooms

my sisster ellen guest blogged for me a while back and posted some recipes that have become tried and true favorites. one of which was these easy stuffed mushrooms:

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms
30 large fresh mushrooms (or more or less, whatever)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 pound sausage cooked and crumbled
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese (the recipe calls for swiss but I've never tried it)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 T melted margarine or butter
2 T finely chopped onion
2 T spicy brown mustard
1 t garlic salt
1 t cajun seasoning
1 t Worcestershire sauce

Remove mushroom stems; set caps aside.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Stuff into the mushroom caps. Place in greased 13 in. x 9 in. x 2 in. baking dish(es). Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 16-20 min.


ellen's lemon-berry pitcher punch

this is another of my sister ellen's guest blog recipes. i love drinks like this on holidays because i don't drink alcohol, so it's kind of fun to have a yummy sparkling drink to celebrate with. this is the one i'll be making on new year's eve:

My Favorite EASY Drink:

Lemon-Berry Pitcher Punch
1/2 cup sweetened lemonade drink mix
4 cups cold water
2/3 cup cranberry juice
1 1/2 cups lemon-lime soda

In a pitcher, combine drink mix, water and cranberry juice. Stir in soda. Serve chilled.


sarah cox's baked bean dip

my friend sarah made this for me once and i've never looked at another bean dip. it's just sooo good. i don't normally like sour cream in things, so i add a little less than the recipe calls for.

1 can of refried beans
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
mozzarella cheese
green onion

dice your onion & tomato and layer on the bottom of a 9x13 pan. mix the beans, sour cream, chili powder, lemon juice, and cheddar cheese together well, and spread on top of the tomatoes and onions. sprinkle with mozzarella and bake at 350* for 20 minutes. serve warm with tortilla chips.


toni's caramel nut brownies

sometime last year i was going through my old scriptures from when i was a teenager. i found this recipe folded up inside them, and i have no idea who toni is. i do remember eating these brownies at church when i was about 13 but i specifically remember it was laura imlay who brought them, not somebody named toni. so, toni, whoever you are, thanks for this recipe. it's a doozy.

let's get started.
you'll need a german chocolate cake mix, a small can of evaporated milk, 1/2 cup of butter (recipe calls for margarine but i only had butter on hand, thanks to stacy and this freaky post), 48 kraft caramels, 3 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips, and 1 3/4 cups of chopped walnuts. all my life i never had nuts in things because my brother delos and sister ellen are deathly allergic to them--can't even be in the same room or they get sooo sick--so i don't add nuts to anything. partly because i don't like it, but partly because i would hate to be the cause of somebody getting sick like that because they didn't know nuts were in it/around them. so add them if you want, but i don't.

oh. you'll also need some sweet tunage. especially christmas tunage, as these seem to me to be a christmas treat.
start by slicing up a stick of butter.

put it in a measuring cup, and microwave for 30 seconds. shake a little, then put back in for 15 more seconds, over and over, until it's melted.
pour your cake mix into a mixing bowl.
add 1/3 cup of evaporated milk,
and your melted butter.
stir together with a spoon until combined.
it's kind of thick and sticky, not like a cake mix.
split it in half and put half into a 9x13 pan. do not grease the pan. i made that mistake the first time i made these. the batter won't spread if the pan is greased.

now using your hand, press it flat into the bottom of the pan (make sure your hands are well washed, please).

until it looks like this.now put it in a 350* oven for 8 minutes. notice i cropped this picture. i was so appalled at how dirty my oven was i couldn't bear for you all to see it. it is currently cleaning, thank you very much.
after eight minutes, remove immediately.

pour on 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips.

like this:now here's one with the flash. which one is better? i honestly don't know.
at this stage you should also add 3/4 cup of your walnuts, if you're going to add them.
while the crust is in the oven, i like to unwrap my caramels. all 48 of the buggers.

it takes a while.
once they're unwrapped, pour in 1/3 cup of evaporated milk. a small can should be exactly enough for this recipe.

put it in the microwave and start at one minute.remove and stir, then put it back in for 30 more seconds.

repeat several more times until the caramel is all melted and combined well with the milk. mmm, don't you wanna lick that spoon? don't. it's very very hot and it will burn you. i know from experience.
now pour your caramel on top of the crust and chocolate chips.

like this:

next, take your remaining dough and spread it over the top of the caramel, pressing it slightly into the caramel. i formed little balls and did it, but i don't think i should have done that. i would recommend just scooping out teaspoonfuls and putting them randomly into the caramel.
but this is what i did, and i'm sure it's fine.
next, pour your remaining 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips on top of it all.

add the rest of your chopped walnuts at this point, if you're going to add nuts.then put it in the oven for 18 minutes only. no longer. it will look slightly uncooked when you pull it out. that's fine.

the caramel gets kind of bubbly, like this. mmmm. bubbly caramel. mmmmm.cool completely before serving.

one more tip though, i actually like these better the day after i make them. so if i were you, i'd make them a day in advance and wait. it's really hard to wait, but honestly, the first time i made these, i thought they were disgusting. and i'm not exaggerating. they sat on the counter for a day and i decided to try another bite before throwing them out and they were delicious all of a sudden. weird, but true.


toni's caramel nut brownies

1 german chocolate cake mix
1 small can of evaporated milk
1/2 cup of margarine
3 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips
48 kraft caramels
1 3/4 cups chopped walnuts

mix the cake mix, 1/3 can of evaporated milk, and 1/2 cup melted margarine together in a mixing bowl until combined (should be stiff and sticky). divide the batter in half, pressing one of the halves into the bottom of an un-greased 9x13 pan firmly until flag. bake in a preheated 350* oven for 8 minutes only. while it's baking, unwrap the caramels and place in a microwave safe bowl with the remaining 1/3 cup of evaporated milk. microwave on high for a minute, then stir, then for 30 more seconds, stir, and repeat every 30 seconds until the caramels are melted and well combined. remove the crust from the oven and pour 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips on top. add 3/4 cup walnuts on top of that. pour the melted caramel over all, then spoon the remaining batter by teaspoonsful (is that a word?), gently pressing into the caramel. pour the remaining 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips and 1 cup of walnuts on top. bake for 18 minutes (no longer!) and cool completely before serving.