Thursday, December 31, 2009

18th Century Spoon Bread

My parents drove from North Carolina to our house in a Ford Expedition. Packed in the back were literally hundreds of pounds of food! They brought food presents for us, food presents for them to share, cookies from relatives, food my mom brought back from her recent trip to Italy, and food to eat while they were here.

Among all of these boxes were some containers of "Spoon Bread Mix" from Byrd Mill, established in 1740! The ingredient list was short and sweet, so Johnny whipped one up the first night they got here for us to eat the next few days for breakfast.

Made with white cornmeal, it was a creamy, fluffy texture - almost like grits or polenta! It made for a really hearty breakfast, sweetened by the fact that Johnny added raisins and pecans to the mix before baking. He also substituted butter instead of using margarine for obvious reasons.

I reheated mine with a little bit of real maple syrup drizzled over the top! We still have two boxes left to make, and we're already brainstorming about future variations, like cheesy!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Here's our Christmas picture from this year, if you didn't receive one in the mail! (The one from last year is here.)

And here's a holiday meme I stole from Swistle!

Eggnog or hot chocolate? I like both, depends on the mood.

Does Santa wrap the presents or leave them open under the tree? Wraps! I've never heard of an open present under the tree!

Colored lights on a tree or white? White lights inside, colored lights outside. (Don't ask me why, I just feel strongly that's how it should be!)

Do you hang mistletoe? No, but I want to get nice looking fake stuff!

When do you put your decorations up? Usually by the first week in December.

What is your favorite holiday dish? You're asking a food blogger to pick a favorite dish?! I like the traditional Italian dishes we serve on Christmas Eve. If I had to pick, I'd say baked ziti.

Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? In my family we open ALL presents on Christmas Day! Johnny's family celebrates on Christmas Eve, so all presents are opened then.

How do you decorate your Christmas tree? White lights, solid colored bulbs, and an LED color-switching star on top. There's a few hand-made ornaments on there, too, courtesy of my crafty talents.

Snow: love it or hate it? I guess growing up always dreaming for snow makes you love it. Unless I have to drive and it's actively super blizzardly, I really have no problem with snow!! Chicagoland is really good about plowing and salting, so the roads are always safe, taking away that factor. Otherwise, it looks beautiful and in the Spring when it starts to melt I really miss it because our town has never looked so ugly. The world just looks prettier covered in snow!

Can you ice skate? Yes I can! We go to a little rink our town has set up and rent $2 ice skates!

What is your favorite holiday dessert? Again, you're asking me to choose a favorite food!? I love an assortment of traditional cookies I grew up with both sides of my family making.

What is your favorite holiday tradition? I really like turning all of the radios (shower, cars, alarms) to the Christmas station so I can listen to Christmas music where ever I am. Also, the Christmas movies that play on TV like Rudolph, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and A Christmas Story.

Candy canes: yum or yuck? To be honest I haven't eaten a candy cane in forever. They started to get out of hand a few years ago with crazy flavors and candies and colors and I think I lost interest. I like traditional stuff, so that just seemed un-Christmassy to me.

Favorite Christmas show? show!? I'm going to assume you meant "movie" and I'll answer Holiday Inn!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cans for Comments: Delivered!

As you know, you guys helped me reach 41 cans to give to a food pantry. Yesterday we shopped and dropped them off!

I live in Cook County, south of Chicago. In the map above, Cook County is divided into four sections. I'm in the orange section, so I searched in that area for food pantries. There were 55 results, just in my orange section alone - 1/4th of the county! Wow, 41 cans felt tiny all of a sudden!

With a heavy heart, I set out reading up on ones closest to our house until I settled on one I really liked. They offer a whole slew of services, not just a food pantry, so I know their staff is probably over-worked and under-appreciated.

I called to see if they needed anything specifically and the woman told me they were completely out of any proteins and the supplier that sometimes donates to them informed them it will be quite awhile until they receive anymore.

So, Johnny and I, with my visiting parents set out to Aldi (awesome canned prices!). We didn't stop at 41, though! It just seemed so small in the cart, we wanted to help more!

We ended up getting 48 cans of tuna, 12 cans of chicken breast, 12 cans of pork and beans, 16 boxes of stuffing mix, and 24 packs of ramen noodles! That's a grand total of 112 items and it felt great to drop it off, especially knowing that more than half were proteins, which they really needed!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Green White Elephant Gift Exchange!

A few weeks ago, Laura at Hey What's for Dinner, Mom? proposed a blogger gift exchange. But this just wasn't any blogger gift exchange. This was a green white elephant gift exchange!

White elephant gifts are those that you were given and cannot use yourself. Why hang onto something that isn't your style, when somebody else might love it!? Green because we're re-using something and giving it a new, appreciative home instead of letting it go to waste!

I loved the idea and emailed Laura the answers to the 5 questions she asked of all participants so we'd know each other a little better. In a few days I was given my recipient, Cole of All the Small Stuff! A new blogger I'd never heard of, so I was excited. Off I tip-toed to her blog and spent a few days reading and getting to know her better. She's a really sweet girl with adorable puppies, amusing, endearing stories, and friendly recipes! I packaged up a box for her and her puppies and sent it on its way! You'll have to head on over to her blog to see what I gave her!

Now, lucky me, somehow scored Laura as MY exchange benefactor! I got my box the same day as my giveaway win, but had to keep quiet about it until now! Boy, was that tough!

Loaded in the box for me was a pie tin with holes for a crispy crust, apricot preserves, a mini funnel, VIA instant coffee packets, mints and a silicone baster, brush, injector all-in-one guy! Again, Laura showed eerie mind-reader abilities in her gift giving!! I was secretly browsing Bed Bath and Beyond and Amazon for silicone brushes and tools!

Corky received two bags of Newman's Own doggie treats from Laura's dog, Cami! I tried desperately to capture a picture of him as I opened these and brought them in the kitchen to no avail. He kept turning out as a little blur of energy as he jumped, sat and pawed wildly, and did his signature "spin" for a trick. He knew there was something in it for him, clearly!

Now, let's focus on this for a minute! When I first opened the box, I saw a wrapped present that said "To: Johnny, From: Laura" I tossed it to him to open and after getting over the excited confusion that he got something out of it, too, he opened to find this! The knork! I instantly knew what it was. In case you don't know, here's the explanation:

Get it!? Like a knife built into a fork = knork! Fantastic! I knew what it was because I was contemplating getting it for him! I'm telling you - MIND-READING ABILITIES! I even had it bookmarked, I'm not pulling your legs!

(Yes, I know I have odd categorizing for my bookmarks, but hey, it works for me! ie: "shopping" is the folder where I put cool sites for future reference, or specific items I have in mind for people's gifts.)

Thank you so much, Laura! Not only for hosting this fun exchange, but also for being my gift giver! It was such a blast to participate in, and I got to swap a box of not-so-me goodies for a box of eerily-perfect goodies!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Butter Beans

Lima bean? Butter bean? What's the difference?

Well I'll tell you... Nothing!

There are two types of lima beans. The larger ones are called lima beans or Fordhooks, I saw both names at my local grocery store. The smaller ones are also called lima beans, or sometimes baby lima beans or green lima beans.

A butter bean is a lima bean that has been prepared a certain way. In the South, though, a lot of people refer to lima beans as butter beans, hence the wide-spread confusion and debate.

For this particular recipe I bought dried Fordhooks to use, but also picked up a frozen bag of baby lima beans just in case.

I'm going to post this recipe as-is (for now), but keep in mind that this was both mine and Johnny's least favorite part of the big Southern meal (chicken fried steak, buttermilk biscuits, sausage gravy). They weren't bad, just need some tweaking, which I plan on trying in the future with the frozen beans to see if that makes a difference.

1 lb. bag of dried beans (or frozen)
2 tsp Kosher salt
3 Tbsp butter
1 cup cream

If using dried beans, rinse under cold water and then put in a bowl full of water to soak for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.

Don't be like me - put your beans in a big enough bowl from the beginning! They will absorb a lot of water and double in size. (Luckily I came down for a midnight snack and changed to a bigger bowl in time!)

Drain the beans in a colander and rinse well with cold water. Put in a large pot, cover with water, add the salt, and boil for about an hour. Keep a close watch on this! I had to play with the temperature a lot at the beginning because it boiled over and kept creeping up the pot to do it again!

After an hour I had an odd mixture of really mushy ones and some pretty firm ones, despite stirring frequently. This is where I think it might be better to go with frozen (or fresh if you're lucky enough to find!) Put in a medium pot with the butter and cream. Bring to a simmer and let them cook another 10-15 minutes until the butter is melted and the cream reduces some to coat the beans.

Serve with a slotted spoon and sprinkle with black pepper!

I'll let you guys know what I think when I try them with the frozen baby limas. Of course, it could just be Sophia's reasoning - that everything else on the plate was TOO darn good, the beans didn't stand a chance!

Head back here tomorrow for the unveiling of my Green White Elephant Blogger Gift Exchange recipient, benefactor, and what my box contained!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Southern Sausage Gravy

If it were possible, I'd love to have this flowing through my veins! Mmm it was so good ladled over the chicken fried steak and buttermilk biscuits!

Now I'm not gonna lie, this is chocked full of calories and fat, so if that sorta stuff bothers you then you're at the wrong recipe! I was on a mission to cook a 100% authentic, made from scratch Southern meal - plus, everything in moderation, right? Amen!

1 lb. bulk pork sausage (*see note below)
2 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
1 cup cream (*see note below)
2 cups milk (I used 1%)
1/4 tsp ea. salt, onion powder, garlic powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper

To start, brown the sausage in a high-sided skillet. (I found this Jimmy Dean Naturals with no preservatives and it was really tasty!)

Once the sausage is cooked, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving the drippings in the skillet. Surprisingly, there were barely any drippings, maybe 1 tsp, so I added the 2 Tbsp of butter to melt. Next, add the flour and stir to form a roux and let it tan for a little bit.

Add your cream and milk. (To be honest, you could make this with just milk, but I wanted it to be indulgent and I also had cream from the butterbeans on hand.) Whisk until the roux is dissolved and add the spices. Let simmer for a few minutes until it begins to thicken and then add the sausage back in.

You can eat it right out of the pan with a spoon (my vote!), or be civilized and spoon it over some good Southern food!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Cans for Comments Results

Wow, guys! I'm shocked at the final number of my cans for comments drive! I have some awesome readers!

In less than 5 days your comments helped me reach a total of 41 cans I'll be donating to a local food bank!!

I want to thank all of you, your comments made this happen!

Also, thank you to the many who helped spread the word by blogging, Twittering, and Facebooking about it. I couldn't have done it without you! Thank you so much! This was truly an awesome way to celebrate the season and remind me to be thankful for the things I am blessed to have and remember those who are less fortunate in my actions.

In the spirit of the holidays and helping the many people in our communities who are struggling to feed their families, I challenge any of the other bloggers, friends and family who supported my cans for comments mission to consider matching my donation with a donation of their own.

If you will be making a donation (of 41 cans, or any number you're comfortable with!) to your local food bank, please share with us in a comment, below! Together we can give families the gift of a full pantry this Christmas season. Every little bit helps, and all of our little bits together equal full tummies.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Buttermilk Biscuits

Tomorrow is the last day to leave a comment on this post for my Cans 4 Comments charity food drive!

Each comment left = 1 can of food donated to charity! Help me help others this holiday season!

After composing my authentic Southern meal in my head, I was all set to use Bisquick to make some easy biscuits for dinner. Then I told myself - nope! 100% from scratch!

I found this recipe online, attributed to Paula Deen's The Lady and Sons cookbook. I halved it (shown below) and it still made 12. Woo boy does that woman like to overdo things or what!!?

1 1/8 tsp yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup buttermilk (*see note below)

Preheat oven to 400°. Dissolve yeast in the warm water and set aside.

Mix the dry ingredients together and then cut in the shortening. Add the yeast and buttermilk, mixing well. If you do not have buttermilk on hand, just make your own by adding about 1 Tbsp of white vinegar or lemon juice to the cup of milk and let sit for a few minutes, it'll thicken up.

Turn dough onto a lightly flowered surface and using the palms of your hands, press out to about 3/8" - 1/2" thick - no need to roll! Using a biscuit cutter (or a floured glass if you don't own one) cut out the biscuits. I've heard to not "spin" your cutter, you'll "seal" the edges of the biscuit and it won't rise as well. Instead, make a smooth down-up motion while cutting the biscuits.

Place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes, or until golden brown.

If you're going to be enjoying biscuits 'n gravy, like we did with the chicken fried steak, grab a biscuit or two and split it in half.

Ladle over some sausage gravy and thank your lucky stars for Southern cooks everywhere!

Don't forget to leave a comment here so I can donate a can on your behalf to a needy organization!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Chicken Fried Steak

Please head on over to this post and leave a comment, to benefit my Comments 4 Cans food drive!

Each comment left = 1 can of food donated to charity! Also check out Hey What's for Dinner, Mom? and The Diva on a Diet, who are also participating in Comments 4 Cans! Help us help others this holiday season!

Ok, well remember my food slump?! Christo from ChezWhat shared some fabulous advice with me: cook something I'd never make!

At first my mind started wandering to these crazy baking ideas. Something that requires 800 bowls and techniques and processes. But let's not kid ourselves, I'm not much of a baker and I'm a pretty Type B person - lazy and I'd hate to clean that up! (I'm just being honest...)

Then it hit me! No turning back. A 100% made from scratch, authentic Southern meal. Sure, I've eaten Southern food, you can't live in NC for 18 years and avoid it - but cooked it myself? Never!

On the menu:

Chicken fried steak
Buttermilk biscuits
Southern sausage gravy
Butter beans

Tonight I'll show you the chicken fried steak because that's the star, afterall!

You'll need:

cube steak (or grab a steak you like and ask the butcher to run it through the cubing machine/tenderizer)
flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
buttermilk (*see note below)
breadcrumbs of choice (I used panko)

To start, dredge the cube steak through the flour and knock off any excess. Next, wet the steak in buttermilk. If you do not have any buttermilk on hand, it is easily made by adding about 1 Tbsp of white vinegar or lemon juice to about 1 cup of milk and letting it sit for a few minutes. Last, coat lightly with the breadcrumbs and knock off any extra.

Make sure your oil is hot, then lay them right in, making sure not to crowd the pan. Ordinarily I would fry these in vegetable oil. But I was seriously channeling Paula Deen so ladies and gentlemen I fried them in shortening. Oh, yes I did!

I only used about 1/4 of a cup because I had three steaks. They cooked for 3 or 4 minutes each side until they were a deliciously crunchy brown!

Let drain on a paper towel and then put on your plate. Hmmm, this seems a little naked, though, don't you think??

There! Much better! Mmm guys this was heavenly! The steak was tender and so juicy and crunchy. The delicious sausage gravy over top was like... well, gravy on top!

Ya'll come back now ya hear?? The next few days I'll be showing you buttermilk biscuits, sausage gravy, and butter beans!

And don't forget to leave a comment on my last post!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas came early!

Ok guys, good news-- I have some upcoming cooking planned - I know you're excited!

But, in the meantime, my package from winning Hey What's for Dinner, Mom's giveaway arrived today!!

Laura must seriously have mind-reader abilities because even though I'm not a major fan of chocolate, I love dark chocolate, and chocolate with nuts and fruit in them! This box was loaded with all of the above! And see the little lollipop thing?! It's a chocolate moose, how cute is that!???

And I seriously had the chocolate orange on my shopping list for Trader Joe's!! Now I get to cross it off! Thanks Laura! Johnny and I will be happy little people for awhile and can share the wealth with my visiting parents!

In the spirit of Christmas, giving, and goodies, I'd like to make this post an official Cans 4 Comments donation post! Any comments received on THIS post through Friday, December 18th will equal one can of food donated to a local food bank. I first read about this over on Mara's blog, in a guest post from To be the Whole Package and thought it was a great idea! To find other participants, search #cans4comments on Twitter!

I recently read an article written by David Green, the founder and owner of Hobby Lobby. He talked about growing up so poor they would create fake "leftovers" by putting foil overtop of empty bowls in the refrigerator and on the counter to fool visitors that they had enough to eat. Despite this, his mother told him and his siblings "we're not poor." Her reasoning? "You're never poor when you have something to give." She would crochet items to donate to charities for them to sell, hoping to help somebody that might be worse off than they were themselves. What a great lesson to teach her children and such a great philosophy to live by! So, even though Johnny and I don't have much to give, we still have more than others and that's a lot to be thankful for!

Edited to add:

Laura at Hey What's for Dinner, Mom? and Diva on a Diet at Beach Eats have started their own Cans 4 Comments posts, too! Go read their beautiful words, say hello, and help send another can to a needy organization!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

One Whole Week!

Sorry guys, I kept thinking I'd have a post for you, but alas, nothing. Today I realized it'd been a whole week!

I haven't been in the mood to cook much and what I have been in the mood to cook I've already blogged about! Repeat posts aren't very interesting, now are they?

In the past week we've had some take-out meals (don't judge!), plus these favorites:

Maybe it's the shorter days or the negative temperatures, but I just haven't felt up to cooking much. I twittered about it and Laura (I won her giveaway by the way!) suggested getting a new cookbook or ingredient. I've looked through my cooking magazines and went grocery shopping, which was a start!

In a few weeks my parents will be visiting for Christmas and I can guarantee there'll be an overload of foodie goodies to share with you. I've already started filling my freezer with a few awesome meat deals and know that my parents are packing a cooler of food to bring, too!

In the meantime, here's a quasi-recipe! Remember I told you that I don't really like white potatoes? Well, *whispers* I like the white potatoes in the can. Growing up my mom would put them around the meatloaf and sprinkle on some garlic powder. They'd bake alongside and the outsides would get a little crunchy, while the insides stayed soft and tender. But not gross, dried-out tender like a baked potato - a good tender - a moist tender.

1 29 oz. can of New Potatoes
olive oil
garlic and/or onion powder
black pepper

Drizzle the olive oil over the new potatoes and coat with a light sprinkling of garlic or onion powder and black pepper. Any larger ones can be cut in halves or thirds for uniform size.

Place in the oven alongside a baking dinner, or for about 20 minutes in a 400° oven. Potatoes should be warmed through and some look a little tanned on the outside.

I also reviewed (not officially or anything, I just had a coupon!) Terra Exotic Vegetable Chips. Remember I tried to make my own, back in January? Well, turns out buying them is much easier!

The ingredient list was pretty cool - taro, yuca, sweet potato, ruby root vegetable (veggies "kissed" with beet juice), batata, and parsnip. I absolutely loved that they gave a description of what each chip looked like. It's like that handy little map inside the lid of chocolates to let you know what you're eating!

Verdict!? I really, really liked them. In fact, there's only about 1/3 of the bag left after 3 days! My least favorite of all of them were the parsnips. Their texture was very smooth, which seemed to cling to a lot of salt. My favorite were the taro chips, which were really "meaty" and had a hearty flavor I liked. Each of the flavors were a lot bolder than a regular potato chip and you really felt like you were eating a bunch of different vegetable chips, rather than a crunchy vehicle for salt.

However - each time I ate these chips, the reason I stopped was because my lips were having that "too much salt" pruning up feeling. Out of a 10, I'd give them an 8, but if they offered a lightly salted version I'd give them a 9! Not too bad, although a little pricey. I'd recommend them if you want a healthier alternative for a munchie snack, or if you happen to find a coupon!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Honey Mustard Chicken Nuggets

I really have no idea where I got this recipe, but it was an instant favorite and my mom always put me in charge of making it. At the time my cousin lived with us, and her and my brother would gobble this up. I'd make it in 2 lb. batches!

It's been years since I made it, too. But when Alisa asked for holiday recommendations in the categories of: kid-friendly, vegan, dips, and a token German recipe I had to think for a minute and this was jogged from deep within my memory! I already had chicken breasts thawed, so Johnny made it for us that night-- I couldn't wait to relive it!

The original recipe was one of those that had unnecessary details and steps. After many times making it, it evolved into this simple, 3 ingredient, no-fuss dish.

1 lb. chicken breasts
equal parts honey and mustard of your choice
bread crumbs of your choice

Set oven to 400° and spray a baking pan. Cut chicken into thin strips, or small squares, whichever is your preference.

Mix together the honey and mustard, I usually do about 1/4 cup of each and stir until well combined.

Coat the chicken pieces in the honey mustard mixture, then in the bread crumbs (we used panko because it's whey-free) and place on the pan.

Bake for about 10 minutes, flip, and bake another 5-10 minutes, depending on how thick the chicken pieces are.

Viola! Tender, juicy, moist chicken that is full of flavor and doesn't even need dip because it's already on it! (This also helps in the messy kid department!) However, if you're like me and can never get enough dip, you can always whip up a separate batch of the honey mustard mixture that was not used to coat the raw chicken in!

Served alongside (first time ingredient alert) polenta, which I picked up in a small, awesome grocery in DC (yes, I souvenior shopped at a grocery store, are you surprised?) and steamed broccoli.

To reheat, simply warm the tenders in a toaster oven until heated through and the coating is crispy.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Low-Fat Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake

This is Johnny's signature Thanksgiving dish. He found it on Yahoo's main page in 2007 and has made it the three Thanksgivings since. It is the only dish I've ever seen him make 100% by himself from beginning to end.

It's gooood. And, to make you feel a little bit better about your thighs, it's low-fat!

2 (8 oz.) pkgs fat free cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
dash ground nutmeg (the real stuff makes all the difference, listen to Alton Brown!)
1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
whipped topping/cream (optional)

Mix cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until blended. Add eggs and mix until blended, taking care not to overbeat. Remove 1 cup of batter to a small bowl and stir in pumpkin and spices.

Spray 9" pie plate with cooking spray and sprinkle the bottom with the graham cracker crumbs. Pour plain batter onto crumbs, then top with the pumpkin batter.

Bake at 325° for 40 minutes, or until center is almost set. Cool and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight. If desired, top each slice with whipped topping/cream.

Because it is layered with plain and pumpkin, the taste is not overpowering at all, instead very subtle. Johnny's sister swears she doesn't usually like pumpkin desserts, but had two small slices of this.

Makes 8 servings, each with 137 calories, 19 g carbohydrates, 2 g fat, 9 g protein, and 16 g sugar.

Blogger Secret Ingredient (BSI) this week is season-appropriate cinnamon chosen Emily at homecookedem!

It's also the last day to enter Hey, What's for Dinner, Mom's? Blogger Gift Exchange. I'm already signed up and can't wait to receive my secret blogger!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Maple Syrup

I know! That's exactly my reaction when I came across this recipe, too!

I'd already bought brussel sprouts, I just had no idea what I was going to do with them. The consensus in recipes seemed to be in roasting them, but that just seemed so ho-hum. Then I ran across this little baby and it was SETTLED.

~20 brussel sprouts
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp maple syrup
3 slices bacon, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400°. Discard outer leaves of brussel sprouts and give them a rinse.

Trim the bottoms and halve them.

In a medium bowl, toss the brussel sprout halves with olive oil, maple syrup (the real stuff, please!), bacon, salt, and pepper.

Spread the mixture on a baking sheet.

Roast for about 30 minutes, turning a few times, until the brussel sprouts are tender and caramelized and the bacon is crisp.

Johnny and I ate this entire dish between the two of us because nobody else would give it a try at Thanksgiving. More for us and it was still gone within 24 hours. It was such a terrific medley of flavors, you just need to trust me and try it for yourself! This will forever be on my Thanksgiving and Christmas menu, it was that good!

Are you already in the Christmas spirit, or do you need some help getting it jump started!? How about joining Laura's blogger gift exchange she's organizing over at Hey What's for Dinner, Mom? Hurry though, the deadline is December 1st! I already signed up, so maybe you'd get me!!