Thursday, November 19, 2009

To much to do and another recipe!

Do you ever get that feeling that you are running around like a chicken with your head cut off and constantly on the go but still not getting anything accomplished? I am feeling like that. I really need to manage my time better. I really just gotta get crap done!!! So I made a list! I also have the last of my Thanksgiving recipes to post.
Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole

Its not the traditional with Velveeta, Velveeta has been banned in our house once we figured out that real cheese tastes so much better.. so this is what you need.


1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese divided
2 Tbls butter melted
1 1/2 tsp Italian herb seasoning
1 pkg frozen broccoli
1 pkg frozen cauliflower
2 Tbls butter
1 large yellow onion chopped
2 Tbls flour
1 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/4 cup milk
6 oz cream cheese


Mix Topping... bread crumbs, 1/8 cup of the Parmesan, the melted butter.

For the Casserole.. Mix butter in skillet, add onion and cook until soft. Stir in the flour and Italian seasoning. Add milk and cream cheese and the rest of the Parmesan. Mix. Add the Veggies and coat. Put in a baking pan, put on the topping and bake for 40 min.

I'm pretty liberal with the Parmesan, and also sometimes like to add a bit of Gouda in there to. But It depends if I'm in a cheesy kind of mood.

This was the last of the recipes for Thanksgiving. I hope you enjoy them all as much as my family does.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The True Meaning of Thanksgiving

Ready for some Thanksgiving quotes?

I don't mean the "I'm thankful for my Xbox Live" or the "I'm thankful that I got 200 bucks for my birthday!" quotes that we hear all too often lately. I mean some real Thanksgiving quotes that remind us of what we really have to be thankful for.

Here are 10 Thanksgiving quotes to celebrate and ponder.

1. "The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving." ~ H.U. Westermayer

2. "Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow." ~ Edward Sandford Martin

3. "There is one day that is ours. There is one day when all we Americans who are not self-made go back to the old home to eat saleratus biscuits and marvel how much nearer to the porch the old pump looks than it used to. Thanksgiving Day is the one day that is purely American." ~ O. Henry

4. "You say, 'If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.' You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled." ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon

5. "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." ~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy

6. "We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction." ~ Harry A. Ironside

7. "It must be an odd feeling to be thankful to nobody in particular. Christians in public institutions often see this odd thing happening on Thanksgiving Day. Everyone in the institution seems to be thankful 'in general.' It's very strange. It's a little like being married in general." ~ Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.

8. "It is literally true, as the thankless say, that they have nothing to be thankful for. He who sits by the fire, thankless for the fire, is just as if he had no fire. Nothing is possessed save in appreciation, of which thankfulness is the indispensable ingredient. But a thankful heart hath a continual feast." ~ W. J. Cameron

9. "Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others." ~ Cicero

10. "Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men, but be careful that you do not take the day and leave out the gratitude." ~ E.P. Powell

This Thanksgiving Day, let's remember what we truly have to be thankful for. Let's take a good, hard look around us and realize that while we may not have everything we want, what we want is not always what we need. Let these ten Thanksgiving quotes remind you of the true meaning of this great American holiday as you celebrate with friends and family.

Ohhhh and if you have already sipped the KoolAide and started putting your Christmas lights outside.. you know who you are... Just hold off.. just 1 more week before you turn them on.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Stuffing anyone?

Over the years I have toyed with stuffing, and come close to omitting it completely! My family really doesn't like it, but seriously.. I LOVE stuffing. So It seems every year I am trying a different one. Every year I love it, and well .. lets just say they don't. It doesn't keep me from trying though.

I don't stuff my bird, I like my stuffing to stand alone. In the beginning I would make my stuffing like my granny. I would use beer and bread crumbs, half a bottle of poultry seasoning, some celery and whatnot and walla! Granny's stuffing.

I toyed with Nigella Lawsons gingerbread stuffing which I love, but execution in my kitchen was lacking, I tried the oyster and rice dressing, cornbread dressing.. Paula Deen's stuffing. Nothing, nothing was changing my family into converts.

Until last year. Last year was the year that I figured it out! After a week of trial I think I have come up with the perfect Stuffing recipe.

Sausage Cranberry and Apple Stuffing


1lb breakfast sausage
4 Tbls butter
3 cups sliced leeks
2 Granny Smith Apples (peeled and chopped)
1 cup celery chopped
2 Tbls poultry seasoning
1 cup dried cranberries
6 cups bread crumbs
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2-3 cups chicken stock
1 dark beer (optional)
1 Tbls salt
2 tsp black pepper

*What makes this recipe awesome is for the breadcrumbs, I use 2 loaves of Garlic Loaf from Kroger. Its not garlic bread, but an actual garlic loaf from the bakery. I have used a Sourdough loaf, I have used real french bread. Its yummy. The Preperage Farms bread crumbs are great, but you get more UMF if you make your own bread crumbs.*

Preheat oven to 375 Degrees

Cook Sausage in a heavy skillet over medium, making sure to break it all up. With a large slotted spoon, Transfer to large bowl with drippings. In same skillet cook butter, add leeks, apples and celery and poultry seasoning. Cook until leeks are soft. Mix in cranberries. Add to sausage. Then mix in bread and parsley. Add the beer and chicken stock until moist, not smooshy! Cook for 30 min.
It really is just that easy!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Love the Pie

Today at Tidy Mom of 2, She is hosting a Love the Pie! I have been waiting all week for this! I have had my two favorites sitting next to the computer waiting for me to type this blog post! So lets get started!

Crunchy Carmel Apple Crisp

I know this isn't a pie, but It started out as a pie, but its so gooey and oozy that I omitted the pie shell, but you can definitely put it back!

1 pastry crust for a deep dish pie (9 inch)
1/2 cup of sugar
3 Tbsp all purpose flour
1tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
6 cups thinly sliced peeled apples.
1 recipe for crumb topping (see below)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup Carmel topping

For Crumb Topping:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup Quaker oats (or other quick cooking oats)
1/2 cup butter

Direction for the Crumb Topping:
Stir together brown sugar, flour, oats. Cut in 1/2 cup butter until topping is like course crumbs. Set aside.

Directions for Pie:
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Add apple slices and gently toss until coated. Transfer apple mixture to the pie shell. (Tip: Remove the store bought pie shell from the aluminum pie plate, and transfer it to a pie plate of your own :) Sprinkle crumb topping over apple mixture. Place pie on a cookie sheet so the drippings don't drop into your oven. Cover the edges of the pie with aluminum foil. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 25 min. Then remove foil and put back in for another 25 min. Remove from oven, sprinkle with chopped pecans and liberally drizzle with caramel on top. Cool..

I make this the day before, and pop it back in a warm oven, and put a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the top .. Its supper yummy!

Second is a family favorite!

Chocolate Whiskey Pecan Pie

1 9inch pie shell
1 cup white sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup butter
4 eggs beaten
1/4 cup of whiskey (we prefer Jameson's)
1 teaspoon salt
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 325. In a small saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup and butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Cool slightly.

In a large bowl combine eggs, whiskey, vanilla and salt. Mix well. Slowly pour sugar mixture into the egg mixture. Whisking constantly. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans. Pour mixture into pie shell. Bake in preheated oven for 50-55 min or until set and golden.

This can also be made the day before and just pop it back in the oven to warm it up!

I hope you enjoy these as much as my family does!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thanksgiving getting a raw deal?

I'm a big Thanksgiving person, seriously. It is my favorite holiday.. I think I have stated that before. It is really one of the few holidays that is not religious, and truly American. It celebrates all diversities, and the generosity of one human to another. Its a time to give thanks, love your neighbor. You open your doors to everyone at Thanksgiving. Its a time of tradition, joy, and open hearts, even the presidential turkey gets a pardon.

When I lived in England, I would have a big Thanksgiving there, invite all of my neighbors. I would have my Frenchies onions, and make my homemade pumpkin pies. Ya they thought I was a bit crazy for putting out a spread like that, but after the first year I would start getting calls at the end of October to make sure that there would be room at the Thanksgiving table for them. They secretly love the tradition.

So as I go about my days getting ready for this Holiday that I love, I find myself not experiencing the joy the way I used to. Its almost a feeling of disappointment. Thanksgiving is getting taken over by Christmas!!!

I go to the grocery store and see fruitcakes and Christmas wrap, wreaths and lights up in the town square, my neighbors are already getting their lights up on the roof tops, and I am feeling very disappointed.

I'm a firm believer that The Christmas Season DOES NOT START until you see Santa Clause in the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. Yes I still watch that! You don't hang lights until the weekend after Thanksgiving, and take small breaks to sneak inside and eat turkey leftovers. Gifts and wrap should remain tucked away in the garage or closets, and town decorations should remain a surprise until Friday when you line up outside of your favorite store to get to the sales.

I love to spend November exchanging recipes, scouring online looking for new and creative ways to do Thanksgiving table scape's or a new dressing recipe. I love to bake pumpkin bread all month long, and have a reason to serve my kids squash. I definitely don't want to think about Christmas!

So today I have another favorite Thanksgiving recipe for you. Growing up, I hated sweet potatoes. My mother bought them from the can, dumped them in a casserole dish, took a whole bag of brown sugar and bag of marshmallows and baked it. They were nasty, to sweet, an awful texture, and for years I just refused to eat them. So when I came across this recipe about 10 years ago, my mind was changed and now these are served with honor on my Thanksgiving table.

Candied Sweet Potatoes


6 sweet potatoes
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
generous dash of vanilla
juice from 1 med orange
generous dash of orange liqueur (optional)
some marshmallows


Boil the unpeeled sweet potatoes in a pot for about 20 min. Once cooked and soft to the touch, peel and slice (or cube) into an oven proof dish.

Heat oven to 375 deg.

Put the butter, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, orange juice and orange liqueur in a sauce pan and bring to a gentle boil. Pour the sauce over the potatoes and bake for 15 min. Remove and place the marshmallows on top. Return to the oven and bake until melted and browned.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tutorial Burp Cloth Baby Gift

As promised I put together a little tutorial for the burp clothes I made last week. They were dead simple, and seriously.. I think It took me longer to buy the flannel. If I was smarter and better prepared I would have bought it online. There is a much larger selection online then in any of the stores I went to.

The mom to be, her baby colors were pink and green, so I really wanted to stick to those colors.
What you need:
1/2 yard of each color (which ever colors you choose) I bought 1/2 yard of the solids, and 1 1/2 yards of the Prints, and 3 yards of the white and hot pink. Remember I also made a blanket so you only need about a half of yard
Free online pattern that you can find Here
Cutting Mat
Rotary Cutter
Fabric Scissors
Fabric Pen
Sewing stick pins.
Print out your pattern, tape it together, and measure it. This one is a little bit more than 8 inches wide. I also noticed that I could fit two of these patterns on the fabric if I measured salvage edge to salvage edge
Carefully measure out your 9inches.

Make your cut.

Place your pattern on the Flannel with the wrong sides facing out. If you left your fabric in half like I did you will have the right sides already facing each other in the middle.
With your fabric marker trace your pattern.
With Scissors cut out the shape. As you are working with your fabric doubled up, take care to cut them carefully keeping the fabric together. It doesn't have to be perfect, but It also shouldn't be way off
See .. you have cut 2 at the same time!
Here is a better look at what it looks like after tracing.
At that point I then traced all my fabric to get it out of the way.
See? All cut out. Now comes the fun..

If you are using a mix of fabrics, start matching them up. Right Sides together.

Pin around your edges

Then start to sew. I used a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Sew 90 % around making sure to leave an opening about 2 inches.
*TIP* After several of these were finished, I found it was much easier to leave the opening in the center where it curves in. Instead of at the bottom.
Find your opening and push it right side out. Shape it out.
Iron it flat to set your seams.
Careful to push the fabric all the way out to maintain the shape. Carefully finger tuck the opening following the earlier seam allowance then Iron down to set. Top stitch around the whole thing. I used a 1/4 inch seam allowance, to make sure I was sewing over the salvage on the inside. It gives it stability on the edges to help maintain its shape after multiple washings.

All Finished!!!

This was really one of those projects that the crowed goes wild for at the Shower. Its unique, and handmade. You can also dress these up a bit more and add some Ric rack around the edging..If you have an embroidery machine you can monogram them. You can make them square, or design your own shape. Its all up to you!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Drunkin Turkey anyone?

During the holidays I cook with lots of butter and alcohol. Well seriously why not? Its one of the few times I can eat eat and eat with no guilt. So If I'm going to pinch those calories for the rest of the year, I might as well go ahead and splurge on the holidays.

So today I'm going to share my TOP SECRET Drunkin Turkey recipe. Seriously.. Its the best Turkey I have ever had, and once I started making this, my Turkey fryer has sat neglected in the garage.

In my house we like to have a Drunkin Turkey Party while we are putting it together. It makes it all the more better.

Ready?.. get some pen and paper.. ill wait.. its a pretty long list.. but so worth it..

Turkey Brine
2 quarts apple cider
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
2 cups kosher salt
1/4 cup black peppercorns
1 tablespoon juniper berries
4 bay leaves
two 3 inch cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon whole cloves
4 quarts of dark beer
8 - 10 lb turkey
10 quart cooler
heavy duty CLEAN trash bag

While roasting

3 cups chopped yellow onions
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
6 garlic cloves peeled and smashed
1 stick of butter
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
4 cups chicken stock

Now this is where the fun begins....

Ok.. make sure your cooler is clean, and also your trash bag. I use white, as heavy duty as I can find.. and triple them up.

Put your bag in the cooler.. Inside.. combine the apple cider, beer, brown sugar, salt, peppercorns, juniper berries, bay leaves, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir it up to dissolve the sugar and salt. Place the turkey in the brine in the bag.

*tip* I treat the wings so they are not pointy and puncture my bags.

take your bag.. (it should already be in the cooler) and squeeze the air out of it, that allows the brine to cover your turkey, seal off. Cover it with Ice, close the lid, and let it sit for 36 to 48 hours.

Our cooler sits in the kitchen, and we talk to him, name him and just have fun. The kids decorate the cooler.. It really is a good time.

Getting ready for the big event!!!

Spread the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic in the bottom of a large roasting pan, Add the turkey neck to the bottom of the pan. Preheat the oven to 400 F

Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse. Your going to need some help with this.. Its a bit tricky to coordinate with just one set of hands. Pat dry with paper towels and place on top of the vegetables.

Combine 1 stick of butter and Cajun seasoning in a pan and melt over medium heat. remove it from the heat. With a pastry brush, baste the top and sides of the turkey with half of the butter. Roast for 30 Min

** Please don't cover your turkey, this turkey gets cooked uncovered**

Baste the turkey with the remaining seasoned butter, reduce the oven temp to 300 and roast for 30 min

Baste the turkey with 1/2 cup of chicken stock. Return to the oven and roast until golden and thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 160F

If your turkey starts to get "Dark" spots. take a tiny bit of foil and place over that spot.

Once its reached the temperature, remove from the oven and transfer to a platter or cutting board. Now you tent with foil and let rest for 15-20 min before carving.

I hope you enjoy this Drunkin Turkey as much as my family does.

Monday, November 9, 2009

How to not be friends with the neighbors

Sing with me... Nobody likes me .. everybody hates me .. I think Ill go eat some worms....

Seriously that is how I'm feeling today.

My neighbor had a baby shower this weekend, and to be honest It was one of the most uncomfortable experiences that I have had in a long time. I didn't know anyone there. Do you think that anyone introduced me? nope... The host ... didn't even say hello... So this post is going to be all about how you don't become friends with your neighbors A lesson I should have learned.

Don't let your neighbors see that you have tools. They will always want to borrow them, and then your expertise along with it.

Bring your 9ft ladder into the garage under the cloak of darkness, otherwise they will all want to have a shot of it to hang their Christmas lights. As you spend the whole weekend assisting them hanging lights, you get left on your roof at 10pm with no assistance as all the neighbors are sitting around drinking boasting about their imaginative displays.

Do not find a neighbor that you have so many things in common with.. they look at it as they might have to have small talk.

Do not let your neighbors know you have glue and paper and other crafty bits.. they see this as a reason to send their children over to get homework assistance.

Don't answer your door with a neighbor panicked on the front step. You will end up giving up your Saturday plans to sit on a floor fixing a zipper for a prom dress, without a thank you.

Don't help your neighbor plan a birthday part, even if you do the invitation and the cake and such, it doesn't mean your going to get invited.

Don't let your neighbors know you can sew, It means they expect you to make handmade one of a kind items. The 5 dollar pack of burp clothes from Walmart just won't do..

You know, I usually don't get to upset.. I guess I'm just really in a mood today. I'm just fed up, feeling used and feeling like I'm the last one picked for a game of kickball. Thank goodness my sister will be here in two weeks. I need a friend.

I will be putting a tutorial up this week for those burp clothes.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Free Stuff!

I love to do giveaways, but I don't like to do a lot of them. If I give the whole store away, well then how do I expect to make any money? Giveaways are good also in a way. Its a marketing strategy, It gets new people to your site, exposure and free publicity.

Recently I signed on for some advertising at The Creative Junkie. Can I just say how much I love this site? Andy is so funny, OCD, and goodness knows I wish I could write and be as clever as her. So when she opened up to advertising I was right there screaming PICK ME PICK ME!!!

So we got together for a giveaway. Now working with Andy is challenging, I don't think I have ever worked with a blog owner that sent that many emails, was that thorough, and that committed to hosting a successful giveaway. For the last week Andy has plagued me with questions, double, triple checked my store, looked at my feedback, and even critiqued my site!!! Although she did tell me I could tell her to mind her own business!!! So today when I opened her blog post, I almost fell out of my chair, she is such an awesome writer she even made me Quirky! Hey anyone who can make me cooler than I really am.. I am so on board with!

So today Is the start of the giveaway for 2 .. yes 2 $25 gift certificates to my store. This giveaway is so painless.. You don't have to blog about it.. you can if you want.. you don't have to tweet.. although it would be much appreciated.. you don't have to spam your friends on facebook, although I would forever be in your debt.. All you have to do is tell Andy one thing.... Its just that easy. So pop on over to The Creative Junkie and enter.. There is also a little surprise in her post (maybe a money off coupon?)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Its November

And anyone who actually knows me knows that November is my Favorite month, and Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I am so anal about it.

I don't like to travel, I don't want to go to anyone else's house for fear I won't like their food. I make the same thing every single year and I LOVE IT! Its my only holiday I will NOT compromise on. It is what it is...

This Thanksgiving I'm really looking forward to, My sister and her kids are coming, and also some friends that we know. I love a crowd at Thanksgiving, Christmas stay away don't call, don't stop by, but Thanksgiving, come on by!
So this month I am going to talk alot about Thanksgiving. I will give out some tips and tricks, Some time savers, how to get all your food out at the same time.. HOT.. and of course share my Super Top Secret recipes! Not so top secret, but I refuse to give them to my family.. lol.. thank goodness they don't read my blog.
Thanksgiving Shopping

If your like me, Thanksgiving costs alot of money, It will easily be a 200 dollar dinner, I like to spread that love around. There is nothing like being in the grocery store and shopping for 1 meal and my husband flipping out. So many years ago I learned.. spread the love during my regular shopping.
So make your list now. Make the MASTER list... Everything you need to purchase for your feast. Copy that bad boy out and put it in your purse, wallet, on your refridgerator.. I put mine in my car so I have it when I'm at the store.

There are some things that you can start buying now. Green Beans, frenchies onions maybe? Salt and pepper.. chicken stock.. wine.. beer.. sugar.. etc.. you get the point.

Make your shopping easier on your pocketbook and plan ahead!


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A week of confessions

I guess I should confess this. I AM A TV JUNKIE.. I really am. I'm not sure if it was just those few years of living abroad and being denied the TV shows that I loved, or seeing some of my favorite actors come back to the small screen. Thank good for DVR's is all I have to say.
Tuesday nights are the best night. Not only has Christian Slater come back, seriously how can you forget him in Heathers and Bed of Roses.. but now we have him in the Forgotten. Last year he was in another show.. cant remember the name of it, but it seemed pretty good.
And of course last night was the Premier of V. Am I so old that I remember the mini series? I'm very excited that this has come back. I have been looking forward to it since the buzz started. Ahhh and My all time favorite Tuesday night show is the Biggest Loser. I love the show, love the intensity, It really does motivate me to get off my behind. The only thing I'm not liking about it this year is Jillian. Now don't get me wrong, I LOVE Jillian.. but some people are just fat because they are fat. There doesn't always have to be drama. They didn't always have to be neglected, picked on, beaten. Lets face it.. I'm fat.. I'm that way because I LOVE FOOD! Especially real food, good wine, and a cold beer on a hot day. There doesn't always have to be drama Jillian.

Last on my Tuesday night round up is The Good Wife. How can you forget her in ER? I'm so happy to see my favorite ER heroine and Mr Big come together.

So not only do I watch all of that on Tuesday night but also Chopped, The little couple, 18 Kids and counting.. Its an action packed Tuesday night. Not sure how I would function without the DVR. Don't even get me going about Thursdays..