Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Merry Little Cowgirl Christmas

Perhaps watch me neigh neigh would be a more appropriate title for this post. Tractor Supply Company, you have done it again and provided me with even more cowgirl inspiration for this holiday season.

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care, and the presents are all dolled up in cowgirl couture. 

Vintage cowgirl, cowhide and running horses patterned wrapping paper adorn our gifts this year.

Lassoed in burlap ribbons, of course, in natural and red tones are the perfect rustic accent on the presents.

And, handmade wooden gift tags with horsey silhouettes round out the finish.

So watch me whip - watch me neigh neigh, and have yourself a very merry little cowgirl Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2015

"Red and Green" Tortilla Pinwheels

These bite sized, flavor packed hors d' oeuvres give me another excuse to break out some of our 30-pound stash of New Mexico green chiles. Carefully preserved in our freezer, our chiles are ready to go when the need arises.

Not to be used in any ole recipe though, they're reserved for only those deemed worthy. And this one from New Mexico Magazine's Culinary Editor, Cheryl Alters Jamison, certainly fills the bill, much like her other creations that I've tried.

I can't think of anyone else's recipes that I would trust more than Cheryl's to use our beloved home-roasted supply in. The "green" in these savory appetizers obviously comes from chiles. And the "red" from tiny bits of pimientos. 

If you are concerned about being an official red-green Christmas combo, you could always add a dusting of red chile powder over the cream cheese before rolling.

Holiday Tortilla Pinwheels
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
4 thin flour tortillas, 9 or 10 inches in diameter
¾ cup chopped green chiles, drained
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
¼ cup pimiento-stuffed olives, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese and garlic powder. Spread cream cheese mixture over tortillas. Sprinkle each tortilla with chiles, cheddar, olives and cilantro. Roll tortillas up snugly. Wrap individually in plastic and chill for at least one hour as long as overnight.

Unwrap each tortilla log, and cut crosswise into ¾-inch slices. Serve with a favorite salsa on the side, if desired.

(Recipe adapted from Cheryl Alters Jamison via New Mexico Magazine, Dec 2015)

Only four more days....

Monday, December 14, 2015

Twelve days and counting

The oddest thing about working in print media is how far ahead of the current calendar day you work on things. Why, before trick-or-treaters were picking out their costumes, we were interviewing businesses about Christmas open houses, holiday wine pairings, seasonal decorating trends, and New Year’s Eve happenings. In this world, January has already flown right on by. In fact, we’re taping a TV segment on Wednesday about Super Bowl party snacks. So that means spring is right around the corner, right?

Wrong! What happened to Christmas? Did I fall into a deep, dreamy sleep and miss it? No way - we still have 12 days to go. Twelve days of shopping, work, wrapping, work, baking, work and preparing for our loved ones’ visit. I am proud to say, though, that I am finally finished with the Christmas decorations.

 Good thing - I’ve only been working on them since September…

Stockings are hung by the chimney with care.

A (new to me) antique sled and maple syrup bucket greet visitors at our door.

My 18-year-old topiary that I revived with new ivy, lights, balls and plaid ribbon.

A rustic urn filled with pine cones and metallic balls adorns the dining room buffet.

A winter scene pillow with birds, holly and poinsettias dresses a side chair.

A wooden bowl with pine cones, fresh  greens and hand-wrapped fabric candy canes fills the
living room with a pine scent.

A stocking dedicated to our four-legged friend.

More fresh greens fill a bowl in the kitchen sitting area.

Wishing you a joyous Christmas season!

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Milagro Tree

This little table-top Christmas tree is adorned with treasures that my husband and I have picked up over the years when traveling to New Mexico. From its Milagros ornaments, chile peppers, prayer cards, turquoise balls and burlap ribbons, the tree represent many of the things we love about the state.

Milagro, also known as an ex-voto, means miracle or surprise in Spanish. These tiny religious folk charms are historically used for healing purposes. You’ll find them all over New Mexico attached to altars, shrines and sacred objects in places of worship.

Chile peppers grow in abundance in New Mexico. Red, green or Christmas (red and green) are key ingredients used in the savory sauces that are ladled over many dishes in New Mexican cuisine – everything from enchiladas and tamales to cheeseburgers and pizza (yes, pizza) can be smothered in chiles and often is. 


Turquoise – who can resist the rich and calming color of turquoise stones which embellish everything from jewelry and cowboy hats to cow skulls and horse saddles.

Our prayer cards were found in an off-the-beaten-path monastery surrounded by desert and mountains.

And of course…burlap, which represents the rustic beauty of the land.