Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving. Take a moment today to reflect on all that you have to be thankful for! 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


see what I did there? November has been Biiizzzzzyyy...(with a capital B and alternate you know I'm serious). I'm ketching (ha) my breath only to hit the road again in two days for the greatest food holiday that ever was.

Here are the finished princess peg dolls for the birthday girl. The younger birthday boy now has an urgent need for his own set, so an Elsa, Anna, Spider-man, and firefighter are on the docket. I mentioned in a previous post the Etsy shop that inspired my creations. I bought a little wooden box at Michaels, and that is where the peg gals live.

the girls from the front, and a hair detail shot
I went to my first-ever grown-up Friendsgiving potluck yesterday. Gosh, do I love friends (good friends, really good friends) and food (good food, really good food). I'd never had legit green bean casserole, so I adapted this recipe, slightly. I used organic condensed cream of mushroom soup and used milk to thin it out, no water chestnuts, and no bacon bits. I crushed the fried onion to a state slightly larger than a breadcrumb. Still crunchy, but no big chunks. Also made a slightly adapted version of this Parmesan Garlic monkey bread. I cooked them in two (disposable) pie plates and lowered the cook temp to 350. And I made these pumpkin cookies with maple cream cheese frosting. I used milk instead of the greek yogurt called for in the frosting, because I didn't have greek yogurt, but I did have milk. Gross story, I actually did have greek yogurt...I checked the expiration date and it expired in July. I looked on the inside, because sometimes yogurt is really resilient. This time, it was not, and I will not go into more detail than that. It was my first time making the casserole and the cookies, which always make me nervous, but both turned out well! As for some of the other potlucks - a kale salad (which I actually enjoyed, don't tell California), a shredded Brussels sprouts salad with cranberries and goat cheese, crock pot mac and cheese, and a deeeelicious creamy, yet crunchy, chocolate pie. If I were thoughtful and on top of things, I would have these recipes for you, but I don't. I have a plan to email for the recipes, but that plan has not yet been put into action.

For actual Thanksgiving, I bring pie. Not pumpkin pie, not apple pie, not pecan pie. Chocolate chip pies. Two of them, because if I only made one, there would be no leftovers, and that is a crime punishable by law. I found the recipe, oh probably 7 years ago, long before Pinterest, and long before I was into reading blogs, so I do not have a digital version. Here is a photo of my well-used, spilled upon recipe card. Please notice the "2 eggs, beaten" smushed onto the end of the first line of ingredients (must've been before spell check too). Obviously, I've adapted this recipe in several different ways, and through those adaptations, I've taken away its credential as a Kentucky Derby Pie. Though I added a copyright symbol back when I typed it, so it must not have been before copyright concerns (gosh, I'm a nerd). I like to do the half white sugar/half brown sugar bit. Brown sugar is just meant to go with chocolate chips. I omit the walnuts, because well, I don't really like walnuts, and I don't want them messing up a perfectly delicious gooey, melty chocolate chip pie. I make this recipe parve by subbing in Earth Balance for the butter.

Do you keep a holiday memory book? I got the idea from my mom. I'm terrible at journaling (that's a word, right?) but I do make an effort to write down each holiday. What was cooked, who was there, any activities, etc. And even when we did our big family vacation this year, the last morning during breakfast, I made quick notes of each day. Oh how I wish I had something that chronicled our time in DC. I do have pictures that tell a pretty good story, but sometimes words are worth a thousand pictures.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and get to spend some QT with the people that you love.

til the drum sticks,

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thanksgiving Planning Part 2

As promised, I said I would be back this week to share some recipes. 

Here are some of my favorite appetizers for Thanksgiving or any other occasion. 

Spinach dip - this is a crowd pleaser! This is right off the package of the Knorrs Vegetable Soup Mix.  
  • I substitute the water chestnuts with sliced almonds and I do not add the chopped green onions. 
  • A fun way to serve this is in the middle of a round black bread, which you can pick up in the bakery section of your super market. It's also good with pita chips! 

Another go-to appetizer recipe is buffalo chicken dip

  • I start by boiling a package of chicken tenders. Once they have cooked (about 15 minutes) I shred them with two forks and put into a bowl. 
  • Next add a block of cream cheese and 1 cup of blue cheese dressing into a sauce pan and begin to let it cook and soften. 
  • Once the cream cheese and blue cheese are combined together add 1 cup of Franks Hot Sauce, then add the shredded chicken. 
  • Serve this with tostito scoops.  

One of my favorite Thanksgiving deserts are these Pumpkin cookies - I don't make mine with the icing, they are delicious without it!

What's on your Thanksgiving menu? I can't wait for some good eats!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thanksgiving Planning Part 1

With Thanksgiving now two weeks away, there's a lot of planning and prepping going on in my house. Let me start by explaining, I'm not hosting Thanksgiving on Thursday at my house, that's reserved for my Aunt & Uncle in NYC, but I am hosting family at my house on Friday.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and I do have to say, my family does it right! My Aunt & Uncle's apartment overlooks Central Park. Once we all get there it's drinks and appetizers as we finish watching the parade on TV. After we've all settled in and watched a bit of the first football game, we all gear up for our own football game in Central Park. We usually get in a solid hour or so before we get the phone call that dinner is ready. In my eyes Thanksgiving is perfect.

So back to what I'm planning for. We spend Thanksgiving with my Dad's side of the family, therefore on Friday we always get together with my Mom's side of the family. This year it's my turn to play host. We'll be about 20 people (kiddos included). Turkey is not the centerpiece of this day, it's very much the opposite, we stay away from all the traditional Thanksgiving foods that we just stuffed our faces with the day before.

I've already made and froze my chicken cacciatore, more on the appetizers, main course and desert next week. 

Today I'm here to talk about the fun stuff - the drinks and decorations!

Below are the three drink choices I'm deliberating. 

The first, an apple cider (white) sangria.

The second a honeycrisp (red) apple sangria 

And the third option is a spiked spiced apple cider (say that 5 times fast). 

I'm also busy thinking of simple centerpiece ideas for the dining room table and the two bridge tables I'll set up in my living room. Which of these do you like? 


Be sure to check back next week for some delicious recipes for Thanksgiving or any other party you host. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

nap time today

This is what I worked on during the calm and silence that nap time bestows upon me. November brings with it a never-ending cycle of DIY projects. Kicking off the month with homemade Halloween (I talked more about this over in Merry-land) followed quickly by Graham's birthday, then our wedding anniversary then Sally's birthday then Thanksgiving and Justin's birthday. Food and banners and cakes and decorations and invitations and more food and more cakes.

These princess peg dolls will be my handmade birthday gift to Sally (Belle and Rapunzel will be later). I was inspired by this Etsy listing found on Pinterest. Each year I try to give the kids a handmade gift. Last year, Sally got a canopy for her bed, and Graham got a big poster with all of his first-year milestones.

Like Loni did last week, I feel like I'm due for a big ol' game of catch-up. (side note, Sally calls ketchup "check up" and it makes me giggle.). Stay tuned for the meantime,

til the wind chills.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Follow Up Post

We'll call this the follow up blog. The follow up to things I've discussed in the past and decisions I've made since those posts.

We'll start first with my dining room. I already shared the awesome farmhouse table I selected, now I'm happy to show you the chandelier I found to complete the look.

What do you think?

To follow up about my Halloween costumer, my co-workers and I decided to be Thing 1 and Thing 2 and the Cat in the Hat ... our awesome costumes won us Group Costume of the year!

How was your Halloween? 

Now looking ahead, I'm getting super excited for Thanksgiving it's one of my favorite holidays. More to come on this in the upcoming weeks with decoration ideas, recipes and more as we get ready to celebrate all we have to be thankful for!