Monday, January 30, 2023

Winter Dinner Party

 Winter Dinner Party





No winter blues here....except on the dining table!
We love to entertain and before the month of January ended and the February Valentine decorations came out we thought it would be fun to host some of our neighbors for dinner.  
For our traditional Christmas Eve Holy Supper we made homemade pierogi.  You know, those little stuffed dumplings that are a staple in Easter European cuisine.  Well, if you ever made them, you know that when you do you make a LOT!  We had a few dozen in the freezer so we decided on a traditional Slovak/Ukrainian dinner.
First course was Mushroom Soup....and I found the recipe on this wonderful blog - 



The recipe calls for 2 cups of chopped onions, which seemed like a lot, but the finished soup was not too strong in onions.


You can follow the recipe on the link above...but you sauté the onions... 

then a pound of chopped mushrooms.  I bought a package of a mixture of mushrooms and then just chopped them up a little more.
I used vegetable broth....

Dill and paprika...

You also add salt, pepper, some soy sauce...

Mix some flour and milk to thicken it up...


Let it simmer for a bit, then add some sour cream and heat through.  Then you serve with a dollop of sour cream and chopped parsley....and it looked as good as it tasted, but I was so busy getting everything ready and making sure everyone had a drink that I forgot to take a photo of the finished product!  Luckily, you can see one on the recipe link !
Earlier in the day I made the stuffed cabbage, or as we call them - Halupki.  I really don't follow a recipe, though there are a lot of them out there on blogs and recipe sites.  I kind of use what I remember my mom doing and then add some of the things I read in cookbooks or online.
Start by boiling a large pot of water and when it comes to a boil add a head of cabbage....

Let the cabbage boil until the leaves begin to soften and you can pull them off, one by one, with tongs.

Let the leaves cool for a few minutes...

then thin out the rib of the leaf with a paring knife, but don't cut it all out.

My mom's recipe called for 2 pounds of ground beef, but I know she always added a little pork - especially when she made them for New Year's Day.  We try to eat turkey instead of beef...so I used one pound of turkey, 

and one pound of ground pork.  In the past I used all turkey, but since these were going to be for guests I wanted to make sure they were more traditional.

Mix the meats with 1 cup of cooked rice ( I used brown rice), salt, pepper, dried minced onion, and one can of tomato SOUP, and about a quarter cup of ketchup.


Put a spoonful of the meat mixture on the cabbage leaf...

Can't tell you the exact amount...there is a lot of meat mixture and some of the cabbage pieces are bigger than others, so just put in the amount you can see looks like you can fold in the sides of the leaf.

Fold in, roll up...

And place seam side down in a baking dish.
And this is where I forgot to take any more photos....trying to get everything ready for our guests.  But...once you fill the pan with the rolls, pour 2 more cans of tomato soup and about 1/2 can of water over the entire pan. ( Note - be careful here....I usually make this in one of those old fashioned blue speckled roaster pans that are several inches deep.  Because company was coming and I wanted to serve from this dish I used this one, and good thing I had a pan underneath it in the oven because the sauce leaked over just a bit!)  Before putting in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 and 1/2 hours squirt some ketchup over the entire pan.  Not a lot, just enough to give it some more tang!
While I did not take photos of the finished product, they were a huge hit!  I served them with the pierogi, peas, applesauce, and whole grain bread and butter.   For dessert - a PURCHASED Lemon Meringue Pie.  A nice lemony touch for dessert!
Here was the dessert set up...I put the pie on the cake stand, had chocolate covered cashews and some other chocolates.  One friend brought chocolate covered strawberries that were wonderful!

I like to set up a bar area...we had wine and also some martinis.

I used our wedding china ( after 46 years I guess it is considered antique!) and these neat winter napkins I found a few years ago at Kohls.

Simple snowball centerpiece.

And this little snowman spreader for the butter.  I bought a tub of Irish butter and used my melon baller to make a plate of little butter snowballs....which I also forgot to photograph!!!  I need to remember to take more photos !!!
But, the important thing was that it was a wonderful evening...we ate way too much and sat at the table talking for hours.  That is the best part of having guests in your home...the memories you make.  And the food!
Do you like to entertain?  Do you forget to take photos of what you are making for your blog ?  Please leave a comment below...I love hearing from you!  Thanks ever so much for stopping by 
Our New Vista !







Monday, January 23, 2023

January Jumble



January Jumble

It is finally snowing here in my neck of the woods and I realize January is more than halfway over.   Here is a jumble of things that have been happening here at Our New Vista.

We drove a friend to the Philadelphia earlier in the month and stopped by The Container Store at King of Prussia.   I always enjoy finding something new at this store...and I think if I lived any closer I would be there all the time.
Here are some of the items I found on this trip...
These cable ties are useful all around the house.

I picked up some new travel containers since I always seem to lose ours!

I loved the look of this clear sink cushion, but when I got it home it did not line up with the drain in my double sink.   But, it does look great in the laundry room sink.

And this Vlogging Tripod was on the 75% off rack....so maybe I will try a vlog in the future !!!
We did not buy much else in the King of Prussia Mall...we usually just walk around and look.  But, this candle was 50% off and it is the perfect January scent...fresh and clean.
The next day was our 46th wedding anniversary !

After church we went to a restaurant in downtown Lancaster called The Imperial.   We had a lovely brunch...
and I had a great Bloody Mary!
A larger purchase I made was this Bissell steamer.  I had a steamer that was about 10 years old and it was not really working well.  Saw this one on HSN on a special and decided to try it out.

When my neighbors saw me bringing it in they wanted to know if I was getting a pet, too? NO!   

I like that this model lets you refill the tank while it is running...and it has two levels of steam...so I used the higher steam on the tile in bathroom on the floor and in the walk in shower.  Not shown here, but the mop part comes off with a tug and there are bristles and a steamer end, so you can really get into the grout.  It did an amazing job in the bathroom...the tile is so clean and there is no sticky residue.  I used the lower steam on the hardwood floors and ....

UGH !!!   I sweep every night after dinner and had cleaned the floor the week before with a damp mop, but this really got the floor clean...and looking wonderful!  The steamer came with two pads...one with more bristles that I used in the bathroom, and this one that is softer on the hardwood.  It also comes with an attachment to clean and refresh your carpets....and a little compartment where you can insert a "scent disk"...which made the whole place not only look clean, but smell wonderful.   Glad I bought this !
Do you have a steamer ?  Do you use it often ?  Let me know in the comments below. 
Thank you so much for stopping by Our New Vista...I love hearing from you!  Enjoy your day !

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Happy New Year !

 

Happy New Year - 2023 !!!

The holidays are over and it's time to reset for a new year.  We had a great time visiting family, hosting friends, and joining friends to ring in the New Year.
As much as I love the holidays and will admit I "decorate heavy" for Christmas, I really love putting everything away and embracing a clean and pared down look for January.  
I was really tired after putting away Christmas this year...our tree that we have had for years had all the lights that were pre-wired not working.  I kept adding lights...and finally decided to take ALL of the pre-wired lights off of the tree and next time we put it up do all new lights.  Well, easier said than done....those lights were on the tree and knotted and wound around every branch.  I did not take a photo, but it took me over 3 hours with a wire cutter and filled two plastic grocery bags with wire and burned out lights.  I have plenty of time to decide what kind of lights I want...we won't be putting up the tree next year as we plan on being away for Christmas.  Yes, I could have just junked the entire tree and purchased a new one - but this tree is the perfect size and shape for our home. So, it was worth the effort.   It also took a bit longer to put away the decorations because I labeled one storage bin "BASIC CHRISTMAS".  Into this bin I put the things that I intend to use next year or any year we are away.  Just some greenery, a small ceramic tree, basic Nativity set, and a wreath.  That way I can just pull that out next year...and any year we travel.  I can't NOT decorate at all because we will be home for the first weeks of December.  Where are we going ?  Planning a big trip for my husband's big birthday next Christmas Eve!
Not put away was this great little book.  We bought it and met the author in 2013 when we visited Seneca Falls, NY for the It's A Wonderful Life weekend - where the whole town turns into Bedford Falls.  We met the author, Karolyn Grimes - who plays Zuzu, Donna Reed's daughter, ate a a restaurant that transformed into Martini's...and had a great time.

One of our goals for this year is to read on chapter of this each week this year  - 52 little lessons in the book!
Life is full of books around here...I am the librarian for our apartment building.  We have a lovely library on the first floor.  Most of the books are donated and I use a great little app called Libib to catalog everything.   You can find the free app here
Libib  and use it for your own books at home to keep track of what you own.
This is a photo of our library....so cozy and inviting.
I spent most of yesterday morning going through donations and getting books ready for the shelves...and packing up duplicates and older books to be donated to the local public library book sale.
We now have lots of great new books to keep everyone reading during the winter months.
Spending the rest of my days cleaning out closets and organizing for the New Year.  What is it about the New Year that makes us want to do that ?  A great, collective re-start!
And, taking the time to relax and read and enjoy the winter decorations.

Eagles snowman and football are on display to bring our team good luck.

Snowflake pillow I found at At Home a few years ago in the after holiday sales.

Found this little snowman plate at a thrift shop near where I do grocery shopping...50 cents !

This was a little ornament gift from a friend but I think it is perfect for January.



Dining room centerpiece is made of snowball ornaments I found at Lowe's in the after holiday sales...they look like snowballs.   I need a blue or silver candle....that would look better. I need to go shopping!


Little snowman plate is from Yankee Candle...and our wedding cake topper is on display - along with our champagne glasses from our wedding - because we will celebrate 46 years this week !!!

Foyer is simple...a snowman, candle, and a great print from Ann at On Sutton Place from her printable collection.  Here's a close up of the great sentiment...

Such a cozy thought!

And, when the Christmas wreath comes down, the snowman goes up.  Usually putting this on the front door brings snow, but it has been unseasonably warm here in Lancaster, PA....in the low 60's today.  But, cold and snow is on the way!
Do you make New Year's Resolutions?  I try to make ones I have a chance of sticking with   - this year, as always, I would like to eat better and exercise more.  Also want to get back to journaling each day.  And, made a goal to write one handwritten note to someone each week - family, friend, a thank you to a community member...just one note that may brighten someone's day.
Looking forward to a great year of reading, decorating, cooking, baking, travel, and blogging.  Thanks so much for visiting Our New Vista today.  Please leave a comment and let me know if you have your Christmas decorations put away yet, do you make resolutions, and what are you reading.   I hope to do a post about some of my favorite books from last year in the future.
Happy, Healthy New Year to everyone....may 2023 be filled with the richest of blessings for you and your family!

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