Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The First Thanksgiving.

Megan and I were really sick over the weekend. In fact, we're both just now feeling better. It's amazing how much tissue+napkins+ TP two girls can blow through. Goodness.
Anyway, so what are we supposed to do when we feel cruddy? Well, I spent the entire weekend watching Food Network Thanksgiving specials on the internet. Yes I curled up with my laptop and Bobby Flay and Alton Brown all weekend long. That's comfort. HA! Seriously, I could watch Food Network and HGTV all day. Those are the only 2 reasons I ever miss having cable. The funny thing about internet TV is that usually they only post a few episodes of this or that. And being that Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, Comcast online or Xfinity as it's now called is only listing a bunch of Thanksgiving related Food Network shows right now. Fine by me.
So all weekend I was flooded with images of juicy turkey, all variations of stuffing/dressing, sweet potatoes made this way and that, and green bean casseroles aplenty, all while Giada and Bobby and Tyler and Alton explained just how delicious + easy each and every recipe was and how I MUST add this dish to my Thanksgiving menu.
I'm very easily influenced.
So Monday morning, when I was feeling just a bit better, I headed out to the store. I filled my cart with all things Thanksgiving. Sweet potatoes, fresh green beans, Trader Joe's corn bread stuffing and....even a turkey. As previously mentioned, I've never cooked a turkey before. Food Network told me I could do it, told me not to be afraid, so I believed them, so I bought one. Though, I decided to only go with the bone-in breast only though. I really didn't need a whole giant turkey a week before Thanksgiving. I also didn't want to wait for it to defrost. I have no patience. And I wanted Thanksgiving now. Food Network told me to do it. I'm very easily influenced.
Tuesday I spent all day preparing our feast.
"Is today Thanksgiving??", Megan asked.
"No", I said. "I just thought it would be fun to make our own Thanksgiving since we've never done it before and next week on real Thanksgiving we're going to Auntie Kim's".
"Ok, Momma".
"It is NOT Thanksgiving, Mommy. I do not want to eat all this stuff today," declared Jake.
"Too bad." I replied. "You will eat it and you will like it."
"I have the best wife ever." said Pete.
Our menu:
Mayo roasted Turkey (breast): said to make the turkey really moist without brinning. (again--no patience to wait for the brine)
Sweet potatoes: courtesy The Pioneer Woman. I am not a sweet potato fan. But these were really good.
Green bean casserole: also courtesy PW. This was really, really good! We didn't even miss the canned fried onions.
Stuffing: I used Trader Joe's cornbread stuffing mix. I just wanted to try it. It was pretty good. I added my own onions, carrots and celery to it. I think next time I'll go for straight up from scratch and see how it compares.
Gravy: from scratch made with butter, flour, turkey juices and broth. No Wondra.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie: Our Best Bites. I've blogged about this one before I think. Very, very good and super easy.
All in all, I'd call this first Thanksgiving very successful! Everything was really good. The only thing was I think the turkey could have cooked just a little longer. It tasted great and was definitely moist, but a little pink towards the bone. The Food Network told me to pull it out of the oven when it reached an internal temp of 160*. I do what the Food Network tells me to. I'm very easily influenced. But some episodes went all the way up to 180*. That's a pretty big difference in temp. I took mine out at 160*. Maybe next time 170* would be better.
I've got no pictures, but you can click on the links and look at other peoples food, if you want :)

Monday, November 07, 2011


* I know people tend to really like this whole time changy/fall back thingy. At least they all SAY that on Sunday. Yay! We get to sleep in! But you all know it sucks when it's dark at 5PM. Admit it. I much prefer springing forward.
* Because of said time change, I've been wide awake since 4AM. I am now in a punchy mood. Don't mess with me.
* I don't like to plan things more than a few weeks to a month out. Except you know, like a big vacation or something. But day to day things I don't plan meticulously. I do not plan my entire homeschool year out in July. Or August. Or ever. I look over our materials and I know what's coming up and what to expect. But nothing is planned more than a few weeks out.
* My friend and neighbor/fellow homeschool parent is already planning school for NEXT year. It's driving me nuts. I'm sure I'm driving her equally nuts with my non planning.
Story: a few months ago my friend and neighbor was asking me: how many days of school are you planning this year? And I was all: HUH? what do you mean? School is over May 18th?? And she goes: so you're planning a full 180 days? And I'm like: I guess?? I don't know, people! I know school started on August 15, I know it ends on May 18th. I know there are 'scheduled' breaks somewhere in between, but honestly...what does it matter? As long as the work gets done, learning is happening and progression is being made..who cares if we only have school 2 days a week or if we don't take time off at Christmas? I mean, that's NOT how we do it, but there's not really any rules to this gig.
* I've never cooked a turkey. For some reason I'm completely intimidated by this task. I guess maybe because I've never had to do it. Either my Grandma, or mom or Mike or Pete's mom has always just done it. I'm not afraid of baking bread or a pot roast or grilling or really anything else in the kitchen. But I'm totally afraid of making a turkey.
* I have visions of the perfect Martha Stewart-esque Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner table complete with a white linen table cloth, home made gorgeous center piece,fresh herbs surrounding the perfectly golden crisp turkey,  cloth napkins and stylish place cards at each setting. It's just a vision. It would never happen! I think the closest we've ever gotten is paper napkins with a cartoon turkey printed on them.
* I love how my landlord sends us our garbage bill a week AFTER it's due. {insert eye roll here}
* I started using "anti-aging" make-up. Oh how that makes me feel old. But guess what? Fat fills in wrinkles. YEP. And I don't have all that much fat any more. Well, at least not on my face, apparently.
*That last one was a tough one to type. Maybe that's all I can really confess to today.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Halloween Camping, round 3!

We went camping for Halloween again! It is still just as much fun as it was the first time we went. Pete was actually gone hunting in Idaho the week before we were supposed to go. I begged and begged him the entire time he was gone to come home in time so we could take our own trailer this time. He actually got home around 3:30 AM on Friday and we pulled out with the trailer hitched to the truck around 11:30 AM the same day. He must really love me, or I'm really good at nagging. Let's go with both. ;-)
Oh, but it was so nice to have our own trailer this time. Honestly, I can not wait to take it out more. I'm bummed the weather is changing and we won't be going camping for a few months, I'm sure.
Anyway, here are some pics of our weekend. I tried to take a few more of how people decorated their sites and a few of the crowds as we tricked and treated.
First, here are the kids. They both decided to be pirates. This is Jake's 3rd time being a pirate! I made Megan's tu-tu all by myself! Seriously this is the easiest costume ever, and CHEAP. I think I'll make her some kind of tu-tu every year if she'll let me. :)

Megan, of course, was sick. Because you know, we can not take her anywhere without her blowing chunks.  I'm not kidding, I'm sure you could look back in my archives and find that 9 times out of 10, the girl gets sick when we go out of town. In all seriousness, she was really sick. Fever, chills, barf, the works. :( Her costume and trick or treating only lasted about 15 minutes.

Campsite displays:

 We saw this one right before the Texas Chainsaw Massacre Guy scared the sh*t out of me with his chainsaw. I screamed and spilled my adult beverage (that another campsite was kindly handing out) all over myself. And if you've ever been around me when I get scared, you know that no matter what, I start crying. I can not help it. That's what I get for saying, "I'm not scared of you, or your chainsaw!". I know, easy target. I've decided next year I will get my own scary mask and walk around with it scaring people in order to combat the people trying to scare me.

 This one below looked better in person, the fog machine kinda ruined what it really looked like. Very cool graveyard scene.

 The crowds: the picture really doesn't do it justice.

 This was cool....skeletons made out of PVC pipe. They were sittin' on lawn chairs having drinks. Too cute!

That's about it. There were so many more, but that covers the good ones. There was also a 'fun house' haunted house. They did the same thing last year, but this time it was much bigger. Not as scary, I thought though.
We can't wait till next year! Already made our reservations.