Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Food

I've somewhat redeemed myself from last year's food.  This year, the sweet potato casserole was my favorite dish with the stuffing coming in as a close second.  Next year, I'll skip the green beans.  I only make them, so there's something reasonably healthy on the plate.

We had a quiet relaxing day.  Watched some football in the morning, snacked on appetizers at lunchtime and ate the big meal at 3:30.  Then, we had a Mexican Dominoes competition.

Moist turkey breast!  Gotta brine it!

The best Sweet Potato Casserole

Sausage, Artichoke, and Parmesan Cheese Stuffing

Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots and Shrooms
We didn't hit the sales early, but we did make a mid-morning run to Fred Meyer for some goodies.  Emil bought me a stick blender as an early Christmas gift since I've been making so many soups lately.  It will be super easy to puree soups now.  Pumpkin Black Bean Soup is on the menu for next week.

Time to work on my mittens and address Christmas cards!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Menu

Here's the menu for tomorrow:

Honey-Brined Roasted Turkey Breast with Fresh Herbs
Gravy - Trader Joe's.  I cheated.  I admit it.  Move on.
Rhodes Rolls with Butter and Homemade Grape Jelly
Cranberry Sauce
Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots
Artichoke, Sausage, and Parmesan Cheese Stuffing
Sweet Potato Casserole

Apple Pie with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Graeter's Black Raspberry Chip Ice Cream

Appetizers:  Asparagus Herb Goat Cheese Crostini, Fruit, and Cheese
Drinks:  Spiked Eggnog

Most of the recipes are new!  I'll post the successful ones.  Happy cooking to everyone!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

White Christmas

So, I'm one of the only people out there who hasn't seen "White Christmas."  *Gasp*  A couple of girlfriends came over last night, and we dined on tapas and watched the movie.  What a lovely movie!  Bing Crosby is quite dashing.  Vera-Ellen plays Judy, and she has the smallest waist and such a delicate face.  I looked her up on and read some interesting facts.

- She's from Norwood, Ohio.  Just a little suburb of Cincinnati....most of my family still lives in the area.
- She used to carpool to the Cincinnati Ballroom Dance Studio with Doris Day.
- Her waist measures 21 inches, and she had the smallest waist from the mid 1940's through 1960.

Are you ready for Thanksgiving?  I'm ready to redeem myself this year as I didn't like the side dishes I made last year.  This year, I'm trying three new recipes along with brining the turkey breast again.

Speaking of new recipes, I love reading cookbooks, and "The Art of Simple Food" by Alice Waters is fantastic!  She talks about experimenting with salt and the difference it makes in properly seasoning food.  And, she's a big believer in buying local foods, preparing them with minimal work, and coaxing out the best flavors.  I'm trying out a soup recipe from her tonight.  Will let you know how it turns out!  Onions, cheese, bread, stock, and fresh herbs.  How can you go wrong??

Monday, November 14, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

So, I've been trying out new soup recipes over the last few weeks.  Perfect for several meals and then portioned out for the freezer.  I cheated for this soup and bought frozen squash, roasted it with onions, garlic and carrots before adding it to the broth.  It was pretty good, and I think it will be even tastier today for lunch...this time garnished with freshly grated parmesan cheese and of course, bacon.  Bacon makes everything better.

I did a little Christmas shopping yesterday on-line, plus I'm making some of the gifts this year.  Opened up my "Christmas stash" drawer and there were 15 knitted dishcloths.  Thank goodness, a friend is teaching me to knit mittens.  Let's hope I can catch on quick enough.

Some of my favorite sites are below:
This website is particularly good viewed via smart phone.  It's much better organized.  There are some great coupons on there for Barnes & Noble, Michael's, and many more.  Definitely work checking each day for the deals.
Love homemade items!  These vendors are wonderful, and I love the bags from Guten Tag.  She is located here in Oregon. 

And, of course, my super talented sister-in-law is an amazing artist.  She does silhouettes, pencil sketches, and more.  You don't need to be in Greenville for any of these items...she can do them from a picture.  Check it out at  Perfect gift for grandparents and parents!

Happy Shopping!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day Parade

I spent today volunteering at United Way of Deschutes County.  It's always fun to see my friends there.  We took a small break from envelope stuffing and walked to downtown for the Veterans Day parade.   It lasted over an hour, and two planes flew over at the beginning of the parade.  Sunny, blue, and 50 degrees.  Perfect.  A few photo highlights:

Note the gold chain

Dad - this pic is for you!
No big plans this weekend other than a little Christmas shopping and getting organized for the holiday.  I've been on this baking kick (surprised?), and I'm trying out some new recipes.  Hope the weather stays warm so I can walk at the Dry Canyon!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011


You all know I'm very family-oriented and super engaged with my nephews and nieces.  Emil and I are thankful for the time we spent over the summer with everyone.  It's hard being so far away from everyone.  Yes, Mother...I know you want us to move to Boone, NC.  Too hot!

My Uncle passed away last Thursday.  I know...if you're keeping track, it's been a rough winter so far for our family.  He was the oldest of my Mother's many siblings.  Many of my cousins traveled to the services, and I'm sad I couldn't make the trip.  Luckily, I talked with my oldest brother yesterday, and he filled me in on the weekend.  Sounds like a HUGE turnout 350 + at the memorial service...even the youth group leader from their church when they were kids attended.  She's in her 90's.

I'm fortunate because I saw Uncle Bill three weeks ago at my Grandma's memorial service.  We exchanged several hugs.  Sending many warm thoughts and prayers to my family! 

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Vegetarian Cassoulet

Well, almost vegetarian.  I'm experimenting with some vegetarian recipes over the next few weeks since I have some free time.

The recipe link is below.  As usual, I punted a bit with it.  Threw in some extra carrots, celery, subbed chicken stock for the water, added half of an onion, skipped the cloves, and used browned seasoned bread crumbs on top instead of what it calls for...

Very tasty!  More like a soup, but very good!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

RIP Palmetto

I truly love the chickens.  They are fun to watch, and I chat to them when I'm outside.  Unfortunately, some kind of critter scooped up Palmetto yesterday afternoon while Lori and I were hiking in Bend.  At dusk, I went to tuck in the chickens, and she was missing.  And, she didn't miraculously appear this morning.  So sad.  Now, we're down to nine chickens.  Several of the spring chickens are laying, and they fight over the same box to lay in.  This morning, two of the chickens were crammed in the same box, squawking at each other.

Never a dull moment here.

Lori helped me process the 29 pound pumpkin yesterday.  We made a spectacular Southwestern Black Bean and Pumpkin Soup.  The rest of the roasted pumpkin is in the freezer, ready to make baked goods all winter.  I have to process the 20 pound pumpkin, but I may wait a bit.  The food processor needs a vacation from working hard.

Time to finish up my Christmas shopping and buy Christmas cards.  Tis the season!