Thursday, November 28, 2013


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We had a feast for Thanksgiving just like I like it.  Although it was just the 4 of us, I had enough food for 10 or more leaving us very enjoyable leftovers lasting through the weekend.

We bought our turkey this year, and last, from Rainbow Meadow Farms.  I ordered a 15lb turkey, but we ended up with a 19lb. turkey.  They said that we had so much rain and cool temps this summer that the birds were all running big.  I'll never turn down a larger bird!

Here's a picture from me picking up the turkey.

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The day before, Donnie helped me get the turkey soaking in a brine solution.  We used the recipe from The Pioneer Woman.  It was quite a comedy of errors trying to come up with the right 'bucket' to hold the turkey and brine, but we finally settled on a 5 gallon bucket which worked well.  I can't say that we noticed a big difference between a brined bird and not, but maybe the gravy tasted even better than usual.  This was my first experience trying a brine, and I'll probably try it again.  There is a white wine recipe I'd like to try.  Maybe I'll use it on my next chicken.

The night before, Johnny helped me with a lot of prep work.  We made cauliflower mash, green bean casserole with sausage, pumpkin pie, a sweet potato brown sugar topped casserole, and a cheesecake.

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Joey was a big help Thanksgiving morning with the rest of the prep work.  He loves to do the stuffing and has gotten really good at it.  I tried an organic mix from Whole Foods this year instead of Pepperidge Farm. I didn't notice much of a difference; both were yummy.  We also made cranberry sauce and a broccoli rice casserole.  Joey loves to stand at the stove and brown and saute things for me.

Donnie helped out with lifting and carving which I really appreciated.

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The bird cooked for about 3 1/2 hours.  I let it sit int he bag for 30 minutes while I warmed up all the casseroles in the oven and made the gravy.  We sat down around 3:15PM and very quickly, much more quickly than it took to prepare it, we were done.

There's just no day like Thanksgiving, and as much work as it is, I can't wait to do it again next year as long as I have all my helpers in the kitchen with me.

Monday, November 25, 2013


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Johnny helped me make meatballs for dinner.  It's one of his favorite meals, and he loves smushing the ingredients together and making the balls.  He's such a ham.  The wide open smile was his idea:-)

I'll be cooking and taking a lot more pictures like this over the Thanksgiving holiday.  The kids are so excited about what we'll cook!  Me too!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

T is for Tree and Train

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We spent a good part of the weekend putting up Christmas decorations.  The boys are away next weekend, Thanksgiving is late, and we had good weather on Saturday to do a few of the outside tasks.  On Saturday, we  hung stars across the whole front porch.  3 strands with green, red, and blue looks very pretty twinkling out there.  Donnie put up new white hooks for me, and hanging the stars went smoothly.  Then, the boys and I got out the nutcracker and snowglobe collections.  I laid a thin piece of wood on the hearth and then some green fabric and multicolor LED icicle lights as a foundation for the nutcrackers.  We used a snowflake tablecloth and some LED snowflakes for the snowglobe base.  Today, Donnie put up our new LED multicolor or clear artificial tree.  We got a good deal on it from Home Depot and are pleased.  I felt very lucky that he set it up and fluffed out all the branches while the boys and I put out my snowman collection.  We had Christmas music playing and had a good time putting ornaments on the tree.  Donnie and I prefer the multicolor but Joey is liking the transition back and forth between multicolor and white.  We put some of our Hallmark ornaments on but not so many that I will be spending hours reboxing.  We also put on some glitterly white ornaments and an assortment of red and blue bulbs long with some fun plastic shapes.  Watching Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas by treelight as I type this:-)

Next weekend we'll mow the yard and swap Tom the Turkey for the Christmas inflatables.

I also intend to get a family photo in front of the tree for our Christmas card this week.

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