Archive | November, 2012

Thanksgiving – The Aftermath

24 Nov

In this post I’d love to share some of the recipes that WORKED for our Thanksgiving dinner.  Maybe you can add them to your arsenal next year.  If I made any adjustments, I’ll note them with the link.

For the turkey:

BRINE PEOPLE, BRINE!!!!!! I’ve been doing it since it became trendy about 4 years ago.  I also follow Alton Brown’s cooking instructions in this video.  NOTE: the leave-in thermometer that reads temp as the cooking process continues, it’s a must.  Go out and buy one yesterday! It’s the BOMB DIGGITY! (yes, I just said that.) Here’s one similar, although mine doesn’t talk.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/good-eats-roast-turkey-recipe/index.html

For the cranberry sauce:

Alex Guarnalththuthggh (still not sure how to pronounce her last name)

I quadrupled the recipe, we like our cranberries around here.  I left out one cinnamon stick because I like my sauce with a little bit of tang, to contrast the savory taste of cornbread stuffing.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alexandra-guarnaschelli/cranberry-sauce-recipe/index.html

Pumpkin Pie:

Took this to the fire station my husband works at and the fire fighters LOVED it! Normally, I’d be inclined to think that a group of men would eat anything you’d put in front of them, but fire fighters are different: they can cook.  Except my husband, who’s been banned for life from the kitchen. Anyway, the mascarpone cheese makes all the difference in the world.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pumpkin-Mascarpone-Pie-240423

Cauliflower Gratin

Ina Garten or The Barefoot Contessa, is my “Michael Jordan” of cooking.  Her recipes deliver, every time, no exceptions.  She’s my hero. I want her life. I want that AHMAZZZZZZing house/barn/kitchen thing she has just for cooking and entertaining.  And that herb garden, and all those amazing friends that show up randomly to decorate, speak french, and shower her with compliments.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/cauliflower-gratin-recipe/index.html 

Not that I EVER give up my two kiddos:

that are sometimes booger covered and chant “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy…” relentlessly, or my home that needs walls knocked down and pastel wall paper torn off….

The other things that worked are family recipes, which have no measurements and would frustrate me trying to write them down and you trying to interpret my “pinch of this” and “handful of that” instructions.

Now here’s where we get to my weakness: leftovers.  This morning we made a Quiche (aka “egg pie” – we isn’t too fancy ’round here). But that’s all I got, folks.  Any suggestions?  I’m dying to make something new and exciting out of my leftovers!  Hit me up with a link or two if you have some favorites!

Now, we are off to pick up our Christmas TREE!!!! YAY!!!

Advertisements

The Fairy Tale Thanksgiving.

19 Nov

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I have been daydreaming about the picture perfect day.  Mine goes something like this:

 

All the prep work has been done days in advance, and all I have to do is baste the organic, free range turkey that I have NEVER been able to afford in the past.

 

My children are neat, well-groomed and sit nicely at the table. When they are finished with their meals, they play quietly and kindly in the living room, so the adults can finish their meals in harmony. My three year old eats all his veggies, and my 18 month old doesn’t attempt to re-drywall the ceiling with mashed potatoes.  And if she does, I find the mess THIS year, instead of my insanely clean mother-in-law finding it NEXT year.

 

My step-children show up on time, exclaim that they are sooooo excited to be here and are delighted to try some new veggie side dishes, because suddenly their picky eater mentality has disappeared. Turns out, they shutter at what their lives were like before me, roasted brussels sprouts and green bean casserole (made without the can of heart stopping grey slime) and would never want to go back.

 

My husband, after watching the turkey carving video almost 1000 times, manages to PERFECTLY dismember our beautiful, juicy turkey. He also is actually home for Thanksgiving, instead of working at the fire dept.  I also remembered EVERY ingredient so I don’t have to send him across town for poultry seasoning, milk or a frozen pie crust to replace my botched homemade ones.

 

I am not sweating like a pig from being in the kitchen all day.  My hair isn’t in a frizzy bun on top of my head, but straightened and there is not a single GREY hair to be found. When the table is set with my Versace china, Waterford goblets, and SILVERware, I simply get to untie my vintage apron and sit down with my family. My chic Banana Republic ensemble is stain-free and lacking in soggy armpits because no one needs to know how nervous I am about doing a good job.  Once seated, I don’t have to get up from the table twenty times, to get little things that I have forgotten, and so of course, my meal stays hot and delicious.

 

While I am eating my HOT meal, we go around the table and say what we’re thankful for, suddenly – each of us has an epiphany!!!  We change our lives for the better, serve humanity, and improve our relationships with each other and God.

 

I have managed to make enough gravy this year.  Without lumps.

 

My entire out-of-town family suddenly knocks on the door, surprising me because I am sooooo homesick for them over the holidays.  AND I have enough food, chairs and gravy to accommodate them all.

 

Somewhere a magical “dishes elf” has come while we were peacefully eating and has done Alllllllllllll the dishes,  AND packed up the leftovers in neat rows in my fridge.  The elf however, leaves a note and says that its okay for me to take the credit for the sparkling clean kitchen he left for me.

 

 

My photography skills have instantly become professional grade and our family photo is so good, that I can upload it to tiny prints (for which I downloaded the Groupon, got an insane deal, and remembered to use it BEFORE it expired) and make our Christmas cards EARLY.

 

Coffee and dessert are served later that night without the pressure of having to camp out at stores for Black Friday.  Because for once, I have already done all the Christmas shopping and for twice, we stayed within budget so we don’t have to stand in line for the best deals.

 

My in-laws are so overwhelmingly grateful that they volunteer to come up a couple of days early to help with the cooking and cleaning, next year.

 

And finally,

Everyone feels well-fed, loved and appreciative for all the things they have. 

My Thanksgiving will probably never be this perfect, but hopefully we can achieve this end result all the same.  I hope that everyone who reads this post has a wonderful Thanksgiving with the people they love.  Please, please, please remember the BRAVEST of us, who have forfeited the holidays with their loved ones, to keep us safe.  God Bless the Troops!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

 

How to make FRIENDS – part one.

13 Nov

For some reason, when I was ages 0-19, I was terribly lonely.  As a kid, my parents were constantly trying to find the “better” education (really the problem was me) and so I was in and out of schools all through my childhood.

4 schools in elementary, 3 schools for middle school, and 2 schools for high school.  Needless to say, I was pretty lonely.  Not quite “imaginary friend” lonely, but close. I invented imaginary lives so if anyone did approach me, I would have this cool life to wow them into being my BFF.  I know, I know.  I’ll cover that stuff in therapy as soon as we get closure on my shopping issues.  🙂

Then I joined the military. (GO NAVY!) Something about ACTUALLY getting through boot camp gave me so much confidence, that I ACTUALLY started to believe that people would WANT to be my friend. I became determined to never be lonely again.  I still moved around a bunch, that didn’t change.  The thing I changed the most about being able to make friends, was my actions.

Now, wherever I go, I ACTIVELY seek out groups with similar interests.

Example #1: When I was stationed in Jacksonville, I joined the “Multi-Cultural” committee.  I am not sure WHY we need a committee dedicated to promoting other cultures, the military is a culture in itself, race was hardly an issue. However, I wasn’t in touch with my “culture” and I figured SOMEONE must know what it’s like to be a lonely Mexican-Italian woman in a strange world. NOPE!!! I was wrong.  Turns out, there aren’t that many people out there with my special “cultural blend” that genetically and historically causes me to be addicted to carbs. BUT!!! I made two friends!   Suddenly the challenge of finding a friend in 4000 people – YIKES – became easier when I chose a group of 10.

Example #2: When I was stationed in Norfolk, VA, I joined a command led beach running group.  Again, the command size was about 500, but the running group had 12 members.  I sucked at running, still do, but it was a great way to meet people who cared about being outside, being healthy and having fun!

Example #3: When I was stationed in Oak Harbor, WA, I went religiously to the dog park. Dog park people love the outdoors and taking care of their animals similar to children!  (Caution: Sometimes it can be a teensy bit weird to see people making out with their dogs.) Think “play dates” for pets!  The people I met there turned me on to a local dinning and wine club and poof!  I had friends!!!!!!

See the pattern?  Gosh, I hope so because I am running the risk of losing you at this point…

Narrow your focus wherever you are!  Don’t move to a new city or new job and spend time feeling lonely. Feeling lonely is a WASTE of time!

YOU ARE COOL ENOUGH TO BE SOMEONE’S FRIEND!!!

I currently live in Stuart, FL.  It’s a smallish city,  CHOCK-full of people who have grown up here.  That was REALLY intimidating to me at first.  Doubt started to creep in…… I began to ask myself why in a city full of people who had the same friends since high school, would they want to get to know little ‘ole me?!  But because I had an infant son and became a SAHM, (stay-at-home-mom) I was going to go crazy without some adult interaction!!!!! So I joined a little group known as Stroller Strides, and that lead me to another little group called MOPS and that led to me joining Junior League of Martin County! Before long, I discovered that I had a CORE group of friends that I could trust with the REAL ME!!!

So, think about what you’re into and google a group in your city.  Reading? Search for book clubs. Excercise? Search for groups like Stroller Strides. Food and Wine? Search for a local wine shop and start going to tastings! Volunteering? Seek out a Junior League! Love Jesus? Find a church and join a small group!

BE BRAVE!

BELIEVE THAT GOD MADE YOU AWESOME… JUST AS YOU ARE!! 

THERE IS SOMEONE OUT THERE WAITING TO MEET YOU!

In part two we’ll cover the dreaded, “Saying Hi.” 🙂

Good luck!

Blunders, Obama, beautiful kids

7 Nov

SOooooooo. I have been writing all these blogs on my tablet, thinking that I was posting them. Oooopps. Turns out they were just being heldup in cyberspace until I published them from my desktop. My bad, I know you all were dying to hear my thoughts from the last 4 months. Hey, I am new to this whole thing, please forgive me.

Anyway, let’s just skip to today.

Election day is over. President Obama won, the House and Senate stayed the same and I think we are in for another four years similar to the last. If you are happy about that, then I am happy for you.

MUCH more importantly, my kids were absolutely adorable for Halloween!!!

A dinosaur and a flamingo.

They were really into it this year and we went with a group of friends and had a wonderful time. This year, being different from the others, in that my son discovered CHOCOLATE.

Lucky him. His life will be better for it.

adoptingjames

Read our Mission. Find out how you can help us adopt James.

Optimistic Kid

Be Somebody

Hart Helps

explore ways to win the wars waged within the mind

annkilter

What ships are for...

Hiking Photography

Beautiful photos of hiking and other outdoor adventures.

The Better Man Project ™

a journey into the depths

Sheena Gershom

An Imperfect Life Made Perfect By Grace

Life Out of the Box

Buy a product, help a person in need + see your impact.

Clare Smith

Training Body & Soul

Goop

Getting through life in a beautifully imperfect way

Random Acts of Life

Getting through life in a beautifully imperfect way

%d bloggers like this: