Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cranberry Apple Pecan Marshmallow Yogurt Salad

Cranberry apple pecan marshmallow yogurt salad is a long name for a recipe, but I just listed everything that's in the salad, so you don't have to ask, "What's in this salad?" Like many of the guests at Thanksgiving did. I never had this salad before, but when I saw the recipe on one of my favorite blogs, I thought it would be great for Thanksgiving and I had to try it. Thank you Darby. According to my nephew it was a hit. He gave me the greatest compliment a cook can receive, "Everything Aunt Sarah makes is good." Melt. My. Heart. What was that you wanted for Christmas? Aunt Sarah will get it for you. It's an ongoing joke between my sister and I, that when her kids come over, they like whatever food I make, then go home and ask, "Mom, why don't you make [insert food item]?" Which is absurd, because my sister is a great cook and makes many of the same dishes I do! It does make me feel good when they like my cooking :-)

Back to the recipe...

This salad uses fresh cranberries, so it is TART. Hence the need to coat the cranberries in sugar the night before. DO IT.

1 bag of cranberries cut in 1/2 or roughly chopped
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup sugar (or more if desired)
4 apples peeled and diced (I used Galas)
1/2 bag of mini marshmallows
1 1/2 cup chopped pecans
16 ounces of vanilla yogurt

Night Before: Wash and cut fresh cranberries in half. You can use a food processor to coarsely chop them. I don't have a food processor so I cut them all in half. Every. Last. One. It was tedious, but it did allow me to pick out any smooshed cranberries or pick off the occasional stem. Coat the cranberries with 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup sugar (I would use 3/4 cup or more the next time I make it), and refrigerate overnight or for several hours.

When you're ready to make the salad, get a large mixing bowl. Peel and slice your apples. I splashed a little lemon juice on the apples to keep them from browning. Give the pecans a rough chop. Then mix everything together. The cranberries, apples, pecans and marshmallows get coated with the yogurt. That's it! Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Isn't that easy?

I like this recipe because it's easy, it makes a lot, and it uses fresh cranberries and apples. The marshmallows and pecans add a little sweetness. And the yogurt is what keeps it all together. Like one big happy family. If you're not crazy about cranberries or tartness, then this recipe might not be your favorite. But if you like being adventurous, give it a try! 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Burke-Ohl Thanksgiving

We celebrated Thanksgiving day at my sister Lisa's house with the Burke family, who are some of the nicest people you'll ever meet. It's hard to believe that I have known them for over 20 years now! That just doesn't seem possible. Lisa and Chris celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary earlier this month. Time sure flies!

Catherine and Mary (sisters) are two of the sweetest ladies I know.

Mike and my brother-in-law Chris (brothers) are two of Mary's sons. Blonde hair and light eyes sure run in the Burke family.

Uncle James, relaxing in the basement. Also known as the man cave for TV, sports and video games.

My niece Emma and her cousin Catelynn. There were a couple rounds of Boggle. Emma is usually the Boggle champion and I usually loose.

Here's the three of us that don't have blonde hair, and resemble the Colosi side of our family. Can you tell? Elijah is getting so tall, he looks like he could be our little brother!

My love and I.

Everyone enjoyed a delicious Thanksgiving meal and of course ate too much. Including a table full of desserts. I made my Mom's apple pie and a pumpkin pie.

I have so much to be thankful for, every single day. The love of my Savior, a wonderful husband, family, more friends than I can keep up with, health and freedom. I need to be reminded how truly blessed I am. It's so easy to take the good stuff for granted. And even the not-so-good stuff. Because God is good. All the time.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Leaf Clean Up 2010

For the past few weeks, this is what we see when look out our windows. Our yard has been increasingly covered with leaves. Those big beautiful trees become our nemesis every fall. In the summer, those tall trees, laden with green leaves, offer shade and create a park-like setting.

But once fall rolls around, those leaves start to drop, which means serious leaf clean up in inevitable. The big back yard we love so much is both a blessing and a curse. Why trees? Why?

For a few (many) hours each weekend, we have been working to save our lawn and rid ourselves of, what I like to call, the Red Sea of Leaves.

Here are some photos so you can pity our hard work and be thankful that you don't have as many trees as we do. Or maybe you do? If so, please share your pain.

We use a three step process, in no particular order.

1. Mow

2. Blow

3. Row. As in, rake rows and rows of leaves, then pick them up with your hands or a bucket.

Progress. It really is like the parting of the Red Sea. There's our long lost lawn.   

We filled 25 paper bags and 8 plastic bags. And still didn't finish. Mercy!

These two were no help at all. Just watching us work our tails off.

At the end of the day, you can only do so much. And at least once, you have to fall into the giant pile of leaves you just raked, like a kid.

Every year we say we're going to hire someone to clean up our yard. And every year we stock up on bags and try to tackle it ourselves. There are moments of, "This isn't so bad." Followed by moments of, "This is the worst!" and "Why are there still so many leaves on the trees?!" and "We're never going to get all these cleaned up!" I think we made a valiant effort.

Pretty soon the ground will be covered with snow, and it will be too late. Until the snow melts and reveals the leaves that were left behind. Then it will be time for spring cleanup! The vicious cycle of home ownership.

Anyone want to share your leaf clean up dilemma? Misery loves company.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ohl Thanksgiving, 2010

27 people, 14 pounds of turkey, 10 hours of driving, 8 pounds of mashed potatoes, countless cups of coffee, one golf cart, lots of eggs and bacon, a shopping trip, one four-wheeler, and one weekend. Phew! We usually try to pack as much fun and family time into our trips to Pennsylvania as we can, and this weekend was no exception. I did take some photos, but not as many as I would have liked. I didn't feel like getting in everyone's face while they were eating turkey dinner, but we got some good ones.

We (as in everyone pictured above) stayed at my gracious in-laws house, where my husband grew up. See that hill (more like a ledge) leading down to the front of the house? My husband took me on the four-wheeler his Dad got, and actually went up this hill. At full speed. I was sure we were going to flip off the back. But we didn't. Much to my amazement. My husband, the daredevil.

Saturday was sunny and mild, minus the strong winds. Sydney asked if I would "chalk" with her outside. I used to LOVE drawing with chalk. Still do. We made a welcome sign together and drew portraits. Stick figures, from left to right: Sydney, Gigi (Marilyn), Poppie (Denny), Andrew, Sarah (Me), Alex, David, Laura, Morgan and Aaron. We wish Aaron could have been there, but he was with us via chalk drawing.


The artist admiring her work. 

We all headed to Nana and Pop-Pop's house for the Thanksgiving meal. It was my first time in the drivers seat going over the river and through the woods, winding around twisting roads and up and down hills. What a ride!

Can you believe they built this house themselves? I love all the signs they have with their names on them. When you have a name as little as OHL, it's easy to work with.

We feasted and caught up with one another.

Now, I have to mention, yes, that is a fox skin on the wall in the background. The Ohl's love to hunt. I would be remiss if I didn't also show you what's on the other wall. These guys. A bit startling, I know. But they won't bite or peck you. Anymore.

No hayride this year, but Uncle Don brought his golf cart instead. Next best thing, right?

Morgan and her beautiful green eyes.

Great-Grandma (Mammy) and her Great-Granddaughter, Jessica. Mammy is actually a Great-Great-Grandma. Which is simply amazing to me. Five generations.

I made sure we got some group photos before we left on Sunday. Here some outtakes and our attempt to use leaves as props. These just make me laugh! Why on earth did I throw my arms so high in the air? I love the laughter and smiles.

I was determined to get Sydney to smile...

 And Alex was trying to get Morgan to smile...

Three generations of beautiful ladies.

My adorable husband, sporting his glasses. (Mom and Dad, I'm wearing the earrings you sent me. I love them!)

David and Alex. So cute.  

And last but not least, Casey and Morgan having a barking contest. I'm not sure who won.

Did I mention that I drove there and back? 5 HOURS each way? First time ever. It wasn't as bad as I thought. It helps when you have a car full of people to keep you occupied. Andrew usually drives. I now have a much greater appreciation for the many times he has driven us. It's a different trip when you're the one behind the wheel. I was pretty proud of myself. But that doesn't mean that I'm volunteering to drive next time...