Posts Tagged With: Thanksgiving

Turkey 2.0

As it is the week after Thanksgiving and thus, the time for leftover turkey recipes, I wanted to post our turkey adventure from tonight’s dinner for you guys.

Just to brief you:

1. It was delicious.

2. Wyatt and I had some quality kitchen time together.

3. We have plenty of leftovers for another great meal.

4. Giada De Laurentiis is my current foodie crush.

Picture from giadadelaurentiis.com

Even though we didn’t make our own turkey for Thanksgiving dinner (we made it the previous week), we brought home leftovers from the in-laws. It was great that day, and hopefully my mother-in-law won’t take offense, but I think it was even better tonight!

We started with this recipe from Giada, and per me, we mixed it up, as usual.

(of course, part of the reason we had to mix it up is because we didn’t have the bowls it called for)

We ended up making it like this:

First, we cooked up 4 slices of bacon in a skillet, you can chop it before or after. I chopped it before. When it’s done, set it aside to drain.

Why did we use bacon instead of pancetta? Because I don't know where to find pancetta and we already had bacon in our fridge.

Then, I cooked half of an onion, about a cup of chopped carrots, and 2 tbsp of butter for about ten minutes until it’s tender. I added 1/4 tsp dried chopped thyme, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper. Note: by this time, your kitchen will smell delicious. Try not to eat everything before it’s done cooking.

While that was cooking, Hubs got home from work and asked if he could help. Yes! This was turning out to be a pretty big job and I hadn’t even started on the crust yet.

So, Wyatt followed this part of the directions pretty much exactly, but here’s what we ended up doing.

  • 3/4 cup flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

We don’t have a food processor, so Wyatt mixed this up in our mixer (the beautiful yellow one I love so much). Mix the dry ingredients together first and then add the butter and cheese, stirring it until the mixture is combined and crumbly. With the machine running, he added 1/2 cup buttermilk and the oil, letting it mix until it formed a ball.

I think it worked just fine in our mixer.

He rolled out the dough into a 12-inch diameter circle, about 1/2-inch thick.

It's like a really thick cornbread dough.

In the meantime, I was busy adding 2 tbsp flour and 2 1/2 cups low salt chicken broth to my skillet. Basically, it makes a roux, so you want to cook the flour in the carrot and onion and butter for a minute or two before adding the chicken stock. Then we added the bacon, 1 cup of peas, 1 cup of corn, and 3 cups of turkey (cut in small pieces or shredded) to the filling mixture.

It will look something like this. Yum.

Then I poured the filling into my baking dish.

I only spilled a little. Don't worry though, Wyatt put it back in the dish.

Then he put the crust on top of the baking dish, like this.

He's thrilled I was taking pictures instead of helping.

And it was ready to bake, in a pre-heated 400 degree oven.

Almost ready to eat!

 

By this time, Wyatt was super hungry and didn’t want to wait. But it doesn’t take that long, and it gives you time to clean up, considering this recipe made a huge mess in our kitchen.

Wyatt accused me of being a messy cook, which offended me at first. I’m not that bad. But then I looked around and realized that instead of being upset, I should just admit, agree, and start cleaning. It was a mess, and I might as well give in to it. I’ll chalk avoiding that fight up to simply being realistic and not wanting to make a fight out of an innocent comment. That’s a choice we all have so often. I only wish I had the self control to always choose sanity. I guess that’s something that comes with more marriage experience…

…So we cleaned and Wyatt did dishes. (I didn’t even ask him to, he’s so good about that. I hope that’s not a “newlywed thing” he outgrows some year down the road.)

And pretty soon (after about 20 minutes), this happened:

Golden brown goodness.

And then it was time for this.

As Giada would say, "Buon Appetito!"

(Keep in mind, since we didn’t have individual ramekins, we had to scoop it out and serve it in bowls, which resulted in having to spoon out the filling around the crust layer in our bowl. But it’s still yummy, so don’t worry about that.

And if we make it again, we’re going to add potatoes, which we’d boil first and then add into the filling mixture I’d also use less peas and maybe add other veggies. Be creative, you can do whatever veggies you like best!

Either way, it was a fabulous way to use up our turkey (not all of it, we saved some for sandwiches!) and had fun in the kitchen. There’s nothing like a meal prepared with kisses and flirting in the kitchen. It makes it taste better, trust me.

How great is it to be a newlywed and not only be “allowed” but also “encouraged” to make out while cooking?

I think we’ll be like that forever. I just made an executive decision. I better go tell Hubs.

Categories: Food Fun | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

And for this, I give thanks…

After a long weekend (4 nights, 5 days) away from home, Hubs and I are back in our little apartment and tucked in away from the cold.

I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We certainly did. And because so much has happened I’ve decided to do a quick recap of our Thanksgiving weekend, newlywed wife style. (In case you don’t know what that means, I’ll be throwing in my thoughts, insights, questions, ideas, opinions, etc. while sharing the stories of our trip home. Hope you don’t mind my sometimes random, sometimes wandering thoughts!)

1. We spent Thanksgiving day away from my family this year, which is hard. But that means we spent Thanksgiving with Wyatt’s family, which is great. We have so many wonderful family members that we want to spend time and that want to spend time with us. It really is a blessing we don’t take for granted.

(The holidays are both wonderful and hard because sharing our time is so important. More on this later.) However, since we were home for so many days this weekend, we were able to spend time at both parents’ houses. We headed to Sedalia on Wednesday after Hubs got home from work and spend that night and Thursday night at the in-laws. Then, we re-packed our suitcase and moved into my parents’ house for Friday and Saturday nights. It sucks moving around and living out of a suitcase, but it’s great to see both groups of people in one weekend, especially when we have no real plans and can just hang out, talk, and relax…and cook. And bake. Which brings me to my next point…

2. I love holiday baking. This year, Hubs and I made the pies for Thanksgiving dinner. Using our prize-winning recipe from my Grandma Lois. They turned out super yummy.

We're proud of our pies. Who wouldn't be?

We made pumpkin and two pecans. He’s saving one to take to work tomorrow. His coworkers are about to get super lucky. Or at least their taste buds are.

It's goodness and beauty and blessing all in one pie pan. Yum.

Baking or cooking with Wyatt is one of my favorite things to do. He’s great at so many things and I’m thankful he’s willing to spend time with me doing something I love, even if he’d rather do something else. He doesn’t love to bake as much as I do, and honestly, he’d rather eat more meat than dessert any day but he knows I consider dessert an important part of any meal and I love that he appreciates that about me.

I also made this pumpkin beauty the day after Thanksgiving at my parents’ house. It was divine.

Candied pecans, pumpkin, and cheesecake. Yup, I'm serious.

Oh my. I feel the holiday pounds packing on already. And you know what, I don’t care. Not one bit.

In fact, I wish no one did. People are supposed to eat delicious things for the next 2 months. (Not that you aren’t supposed to eat delicious things all year long…) I know that people try to watch their weight and stay healthy. I’m all for that. I try to eat as many healthy things as I can. I run, I do kick-boxing, and pilates as many days a week as I can, usually every day, but I also don’t ever make my mouth suffer for my stomach’s sake. It’s all about moderation, people. Eat the cheesecake if you want. Just not the whole one.

Or in my case, eat both slices of cheesecake, since Hubs decided he didn’t want it.

Yum. (The second slice was yummy, too.)

3. We got a jump start on our holiday spirit by “shopping” in my parents’ basement for old Christmas decorations they no longer use or want. We found this.

It's an old Christmas tree in need of some love!

We also found a bunch of stuff Hubs says we can’t have. I understand. Everything we bring into our apartment is something we’re going to have to carry out when we buy a house. And while I agree with that argument, I still want it to be our home, and feel like a home should feel.

Maybe this is the sentimental side of me, but I don’t want to live only thinking about how inconvenient something will be in the future. I’m all for planning, and thinking ahead to the future, but I’m also for making today the best it can be. It’s a point of discussion and contention for us every time I want to bring stuff home. And it isn’t that he doesn’t want or appreciate the stuff, he just knows how heavy it will be going back down those three flights of stairs…. (But this is a discussion for another whole blog post…)

4. We did a little black Friday shopping for the first time ever. And by little, I mean, we waited until noon, and went to look at what all was left, and what all had been cleared out. It was fun. We got in no fights, saw no cops, and were shoved or pushed or stolen from zero times. We bought 2 little things for Christmas gifts for family members. We stand by our decision to stay in and in bed the morning after Thanksgiving. Kudos to those who enjoy it. We just do not.

5. We made granola. It’s like my Christmas drug addiction. It’s a secret family recipe, and it’s the most addicting thing I’ve ever eaten. I’ll show you.

We sometimes give this stuff as gifts to friends for Christmas. Those people are lucky, let me tell you.

The picture doesn’t do it justice. At all. Wyatt doesn’t like it as much as I do, but that’s because his love affair with pecans hasn’t really begun yet. He’ll come around. Someday.

6. I realized I need to get moving on my gift for Hubs’s birthday. I have less than one week until we celebrate. He doesn’t even want to celebrate. He’s not very festive or excited about birthdays. We’re EXACT opposites there. I love celebrating birthdays.

7. I also realized we need to find a good compromise for Christmas festivities. He doesn’t like decorations as much as me. I love them. He doesn’t love giving or getting presents. I love them. He doesn’t like Christmas music. I love it. He’s not Mr. Scrooge, but I might start calling him that if he doesn’t perk up on the festivities after his birthday. I knew this long before I married him though, so it’s not a surprise. More on this later.

8. We reflected on our blessings. As is appropriate for every day, especially Thanksgiving. And we are truly blessed. Check out this page for my list!

9. I got a whole bunch of new craft supplies and ideas. I also made a couple more trees. I’m taking pictures and notes, and can’t wait to share all my adventures soon! I also went bridesmaid dress shopping for my best friend’s wedding (it will be way better than the movie by that name!). I can’t believe it’s getting so close to time. I can’t wait to celebrate and watch you begin your life with your husband! We have so much planning and showering and bachelorette-ing to do!

10. We’re now home, after this long, fantastic weekend of giving thanks and having fun. And you know what? I think I’m somehow even happier when I’m able to wrap up my weekend doing just this. Having a quick, quiet dinner with just the two of us after a weekend full of family and friends.

At home, eating frozen pizza and snuggling on the couch.

This is us, this is home, and this is our little family. Blessed? I think so.

Categories: Everyday Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

To Turkey or Not to Turkey

Hubs loves Thanksgiving food. He’d eat it for every holiday, special occasion, or random meal he could get it. And I’ve been holding off on making anything like it because he has such high expectations and I don’t want to compete with his memories of the perfect turkey.

Let’s face it, there’s nothing worse than hearing, “It’s not like Mom used to make.” Not fun.

Plus, I’ve heard lots of horror stories of what a pain it is to cook a turkey, and just how easy it is to mess it up, dry it out, or get it just plain wrong. I wouldn’t say I was scared, but I certainly wasn’t eager to try it out.

But Friday night was the annual potluck-style Thanksgiving meal for our friends and it was mentioned that a turkey would be missing from the table. I didn’t want to take it on, but after much encouraging from Wyatt, and talk of having ham (which since Wyatt doesn’t like at all, really got him trying to convince me), I gave in and headed to the grocery store.

I came home with this:

It's as big as my head. And do I look scared? Nope!

Since there was going to be so many other dishes there, and probably another meat, whether ham or chicken, or whatever, I just got a turkey breast. It was basically a small turkey with the legs and wings cut off, about 5.5 pounds.

I had no idea what I was doing so I just set out trying to copy and combine several ideas and recipes I’d seen. Here’s what I learned in the process.

I used an apple, carrots, and onion on the inside cavities, and a butter and herb mixture on the outside to help with flavor and getting that great golden brown skin. (In my family, the skin is what most of us fought over before dinner. Yum!)

In the oven, fingers crossed!

I had read that roasting the turkey breast side down (instead of the usual way with that side on the top) keeps the white meat more moist and juicy since all the juices run down. So I tried it, and flipped it over halfway through the cooking process so the skin could get nice and brown as well. And I brushed it with the melted butter mixture (butter, thyme, rosemary, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, and apple juice) every fifteen to thirty minutes.

Mmmm....melted herb butter.

Pretty soon,  (well, not “soon,” so much, considering it took like 2 and a half hours) it looked like this:

Ready to carve!

In the meantime though, I had fun watching these:

(Not homemade, frozen, but I didn't have enough notice for homemade, and they were still delicious)

Turn into this:

Ready to bake!

And by this time, Wyatt was home from work so he could help me carve. He’d never done that before, either, but I told him about Alton Brown’s tips, and he dug in.

He was excited since he got to use a big knife.

(P.S. Notice the wedding ring on the counter…I moved it to the shelf, and told him that, but he still forgot it that night. He blames me. I say, “how can you not notice it’s not on your hand? It drives me crazy when I don’t have mine!”)

And we ended up with this:

It tasted even better than it looks, so we were both pretty happy with our first turkey efforts.

And we got the wishbone!

Success!

And yes, my night didn’t end up so well, considering the way I spent all Saturday morning. (Maybe I should have wished to not get super sick!) But we had a great time Friday night with friends, laughing and hearing old stories, and eating good food, despite whatever got me…

So, even though I’m not sure if I’m ready to eat Thanksgiving dinner again (hopefully tomorrow!) I’m happy to report that the turkey adventure wasn’t so scary. Hubs pretty much only ate that, so I think it’s safe to say he liked it.

In fact, I think I wouldn’t be scared to try it again sometime!

What about you? Are you scared to cook a turkey or are you a pro? Either way, I’d love to hear about it!

Categories: Food Fun | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Confessions of a Bad Housewife…or rather, a happy one

I try to be pretty positive overall, but sometimes, I just need to get my complaints out in the open so I can move on.

So, in order to satisfy both my need to whine a little and my desire to be happy and joyful in all circumstances, I’m going to list pairs of both bad AND good stuff for you guys this Monday morning. We’ll consider it an exercise in finding the silver lining of any situation.

1. I do so much laundry! I’m unsure how a household of only two people can make this much dirty laundry! What will it be like when we have kids? It’s a good thing we (and by that I mean, “I”) have so many clothes because it means I don’t have to wash everything as often. Wyatt runs out of stuff so fast I have to keep washing and washing and washing…

That's a mountain of laundry for me to fold. Good grief!

The good part of this complaint? Well, I actually like to do laundry. I mean, I wouldn’t pick that over fun stuff like playing games or date nights or sleeping in, but as far as household chores go, it’s not a bad deal. I like things that show immediate progress, and I like how fast I can empty our hamper with just a few loads. Folding is the worst part because I don’t like turning clothes right-side out. I’m working on having Wyatt turn his before they go in the hamper, but even I sometimes don’t mess with turning sweaty workout clothes right side out. Anyway, I also like laundry because it smells nice (when it’s done) and it’s warm. I wish I could curl up in laundry fresh from the dryer and take a nap.

2. Cleaning the kitchen is a never-ending job. I don’t know how it gets so messy so fast.

Actually, I do. It’s because I cook a lot and our kitchen is tiny. And yes, we have a dishwasher, which is great, but it doesn’t really work that well. We end up having to pre-wash everything anyway, and still not everything comes clean, especially silverware…and plates…and cups.

Yes, apparently today I am baring all to show you my messy kitchen.

But the good part of a messy kitchen? It means we ate well, we have good food, and a place to cook. I love to cook and bake and cleaning the kitchen is sort of calming (when I’m not in a hurry to make the next meal or wash a dish so I can keep working on whatever meal I’m currently fixing) and I actually don’t mind washing dishes. I wish we had better scrubbing brushes (we are using cheap sponges that we wash all the time in our washing machine so they are starting to fall apart).

3. It’s too early (Wyatt says) to decorate our apartment for Christmas. And he’s right. But I’m impatient. I wish I had money to go buy a lot of new beautiful things or even supplies to make things, but I think it’s more important that we save right now, especially with the holidays coming up.

But the blessing of this? I decorated for Thanksgiving. Sort of, as much as I can for relatively free.

Fruit in our cool bowl from the in-laws and pumpkins, free from my grandma's garden.

Not super creative, but I don’t have anything else, and these were free (except the apples…)

What I did spend my money on, decor-wise.

It’s a free design from eighteen25, a cool blog I found on Pinterest. Speaking of that? Do you follow me?

I just bought a cheap wood frame from Walmart for $4 and painted it white with leftover paint from our wedding DIY projects. And the candlestick? It was a prop for my Miss Scarlet costume that Hubs spray painted white for me.

And the bird? He’s our (my) love bird. I found him at a local garage sale one day when I was running in the neighborhood by our apartment. He’s exactly what I wanted. I know he isn’t fall-themed, but I still like him and didn’t want to remove him from his roost.

4. Wyatt forgot his lunch. Again.

Dangit.

Not only do I feel bad for not noticing until after he left, but it means he has to buy his lunch today when we have this perfectly good one here at home.

But the hidden silver lining? I will have this one ready tomorrow morning already. And he doesn’t mind buying lunch, he actually likes that better I think.

5. I had to put the spider traps back down today since I forgot to have Wyatt do it. Touching those things gives me the creeps? Why? Because they both have like 5 dead poisonous spiders in them!

There's 5 or so dead spiders "living" under our hamper...but don't worry, when we have guests, we hide them away.

But the good part is that I haven’t seen any new spiders in there or anywhere for months. Though I did kill a wasp in our bathtub the other day. Ick.

6. This is my coffee table at it’s current state.

See that stack of bills and other mail to take care of? Oh joy.

But that’s okay, because my Husband is off at work today to earn the money to pay those bills, and you know what? I opened my first check from freelancing today. So, yes, I am blessed today to pay these bills, because for the first time in a long time, I have income.

(“But my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19)

And while we’re talking money, you know what else? I fed Mr. Giraffe E. Pig seventeen cents a couple of days ago. And a twenty-five cents the day after that.

 

This is Mr. Giraffe E. Pig. I like to feed him pennies, but he prefers quarters, of course.

Saving cents is one of my favorite pastimes.

So there’s my list for the day. I’m feeling better all ready. Because yes, I got out my Monday morning grumps, but I also took the time to look past the problems and see some good stuff, because let’s face it, there’s always more good stuff if you choose to find it, right?

And what’s even better? As I was sitting at home this morning, I realized what a blessing it is that I can stay here and take care of our home. I have the blessing of not doing laundry on the weekends if I don’t want to, because I can do it on Monday. And I don’t have to do dishes on Sunday nights if I don’t want to, because they’ll be there in the morning and I’d rather spend Sunday nights on the couch cuddling with my Hubs.

Yes, it’s been hard to figure out how to redefine my place in the world with no job, but I’m getting there, and every day brings new possibilities, whether it’s volunteer work, or a freelancing job. And I’m trusting in the sovereignty of the Master’s plan.

What about you? What are you seeing the silver lining in today? Any housekeeping confessions you’d like to share to make me feel better about my mess this morning?

Categories: Everyday Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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