This was our first Thanksgiving as a married couple so I wanted to go all out and show Steve my domestic skills. It was just him and I for dinner, but I didn't want to skimp. I wanted to make a feast with all of our favorites.
Instead of an entire turkey, I made a turkey breast. I bought one of those freezer-to-oven bagged breasts which turned out delicious, tender, and juicy. The bagged turkeys have NEVER let me down. The turkey came with a gravy packet too which was equally delectable.
We looove mashed potatoes but I came across a recipe for turnip mashed potatoes. I don't think I've ever eaten a turnip and Steve wasn't too sure he had either. But the description said it tastes like a really mild radish. We love radishes so I decided to make two batches of mash - one regular and one turnip style. The turnip potatoes were AMAZING. The difference between the two were subtle, but the turnip mash had a slight bite to it and if you didn't know there was turnip in there, you'd be licking your lips trying to figure out why your mashed potatoes tasted kind of spicy.
I made my own stuffing, using a simple recipe that my mom gave me. But, instead of white bread I used whole wheat bread just because it was what I already had on hand. I sauteed a yellow onion and three stalks of celery in a cube of butter and poured it over stale bread cubes. I added 2 tablespoons of poultry seasoning and a can of chicken broth. Since I didn't have a whole turkey to stuff, I baked the stuffing in the oven for about 40 minutes. YUM. Sometimes I add apples to the stuffing but we had some home-made applesauce frozen from a stash Steve's mom gave us earlier this year and I figured that would satisfy our appletite (ha!).
Instead of a traditional Thanksgiving veggie dish like green bean casserole or carrots or broccoli, or cauliflower, or ANY OTHER VEGETABLE, I had to come up with something creative so that Steve would get his vitamins. So, I made a tomato, red bell pepper, and radish salad. I cut the veggies up in big pieces and tossed them in a home-made vinagrette (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, walnuts, thyme, salt, pepper, and a weird herb Steve planted for me outside) and added some crumbled feta cheese on top. This was a hit. Steve couldn't get enough!
I usually make the Pilsbury croissant rolls for Thanksgiving, but this year since I was on a domestic binge, I decided to make some semi-homemade biscuits. I used my go-to Bisquick recipe that I posted about before.
Last, but certainly not least. The pumpkin pie. I really wanted to try out a recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Tirimisu. Steve wasn't really into the idea, and requested pumpkin pie instead. So, I attempted my very first pumpkin pie of all time and found a Paula Dean recipe for pumpkin pie using cream cheese. It came out so good that pretty much all I could think about all day today was getting my paws on another piece of that pie!!!
Now, we have so many leftovers we'll have lunch and dinner for the rest of the weekend and I am planning on making a turkey and mushroom soup next week.
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and gorged yourselves like we did. Cheers to good food, family, and friends!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! Some things I am thankful for:
I have a good job that I enjoy.
My wonderful husband treats me like gold.
I have a warm, cozy house where I am able to cook Thanksgiving dinner.
My mom is the best mom in the world and even though she isn't physically here on T-day, she is here in spirit. My kitchen smells like my mom's cooking and I love that I always resort to the way she does things.
While taking a shower tonight, I looked down and saw 9 various bottles of shampoo and conditioner. For TWO people. Why do I keep so many bottles of shampoo around? Well, at that moment in the shower, I realized I am a shampoo hoarder. I buy a certain shampoos because of their lovely smell, color-protective qualities, special feature like Volume! or Shine! or based on a recommendation from my hair stylist. I usually use about 3/4 of these bottles, and then I decide to buy a new shampoo. I make up some reason why I don't like the shampoo anymore, like the smell has gone bad, or I found one that smells better. Or, that last bottle reaaally made my hair color fade. Really, I think I just enjoy breaking up with my shampoo only to replace it with something newer, better, and yummier. But, no, I never throw those mostly-finished bottles away. I keep them in the shower, just in case I change my mind later. And look in my bathroom cabinets...you'll see more old shampoos. What's with me?! Does anyone else do this too?
Recipe from my new favorite cookbook magazine, Everyday Food, a Martha Stewart magazine. This recipe is perfect for appetizers at a party or a fun night with kids. You can add different toppings to each "muffin" for a variety of pizzas! Here's how it works:
Olive oil for muffin pan
all-purpose flour, for rolling
1/2 pound homemade or store-bought pizza dough in 12 pieces (I made my own dough with my breadmaker!! and it worked!!)
coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
pizza sauce (I made my own)
desired toppings (I used pineapple, artichoke hearts, red bell pepper, tomatoes, and mushrooms)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly brush muffin pan with oil. On a lightly floured workspace, roll out dough pieces to rounds that fit the muffin cups. Fill each cup with 1 round, gently pressing dough into bottom and sides of cup. Season with salt and pepper.
Add about a tablespoon of sauce to bottom of each dough cup. Add cheese, and then toppings. Bake until dough is golden brown and crisp, 12 minutes. Let cool 2 minutes before removing from cups. Serve and enjoy!
Ryan is probably one of the nicest people I know. He is always positive, smiling, and just enjoying life and it was fun being part of his 30th birthday and just spending time together since we don't get to often. I love being around my family even though there are soo many sides to it! Somehow we all manage to get along and have a good time no matter where we are. Ryan was king for a weekend and was spoiled rotten just like he deserves :)
We celebrated for two nights with LOTS of really good food, yummy tangerine beer, red wine, chocolate cake, good company, and lots of love! Saturday night we went to the Improv at Harvey's and laughed until our belly's hurt. It was a memorable weekend in Lake Tahoe. Here's to another happy and healthy year to my big broham. Cheers!
Thanks to my dear friend Marissa for giving me this recipe. I tried it out last week and these muffins were incredible! Super moist and yummy.
Recipe Source: Nut Tree Remembered: The Cookbook Vacaville Museum and Nut Tree, Vacaville, California
Makes 12 muffins 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (I used 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin spice instead) 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 1/2 cup vegetable oil 2 eggs 1 cup canned pumpkin 1/3 cup water 12 California walnut halves (I used chopped pecans)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Mix in oil, eggs and pumpkin. On low speed, gradually mix in water until well blended. Pour batter into greased muffin pans. If desired, top each muffin with a walnut half. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
My favorite boots are Steve Madden's Gammbble. I got them last year and have been anxiously awaiting fall so I have an excuse to wear them again! They go perfectly over jeans and leggings and are wide enough for my poor bunions. The heel isn't too high so they are comfortable all day long. They are the perfect boot, and I hope to get another pair in brown!!!
Happy birthday to my big brother Ryan, who turns 30 today!!
Happy birthday to my loving grandma Ladonna! I will always think of her on this day.
Happy veterans day to all of those who have served or do serve our country! Especially thanks to Steve who joined the army in 1991 which allowed him to go to college for free, get a job, meet me, and buy a house with a great VA loan! YAY Army!
Not surprisingly, pizza is one of our favorite foods. We order out from a local pizza parlor, Paisanos regularly, and Dominos is our staple pizza place for a quick and inexpensive dinner. But every now and then I make pizza at home!
Dough: I use either Pilsbury pizza crust or Trader Joe's pizza crust. And for my next pizza, I am going to try making pizza dough from scratch with my bread maker.
Sauce: I make my own sauce using a small can of tomato paste, canned tomato sauce (with no seasoning) and petite diced tomatoes (either fresh or canned, whatever you have on hand). I mix the sauces together in a small bowl, and add oregano, ground pepper, garlic salt, basil, and some crushed red pepper.
Cheese: I use shredded mozzarella either from an already shredded bag or fresh mozzarella that I shred myself. I also sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Toppings: My favorite toppings are artichoke heart, mushrooms, and pineapple chunks. But you can add whatever you want. Pepperoni, bell pepper, tomatoes, already cooked chicken, sausage, whatever you can imagine!
I prepare the dough on a non-stick baking sheet sprinkled with corn meal so that the pizza doesn't stick to it. I also sprinkle the cornmeal on top of the dough to give it a little crunch! Meanwhile, I prepare my pizza stone in the oven at 450 for about 15 minutes. I add the sauce, cheese, and toppings to the dough and then transfer the pizza to the pizza stone from the baking sheet. This can be tricky but if you used enough corn meal on the baking sheet, it should slide off pretty easy.
Cook the pizza for about 15 minutes or whatever the dough instructions say.
One of my favorite dinners is Pork Tenderloin. My mom used to make this meal all the time and I would call it "round meats" and I would always request this for my birthday or any other special occasion. It's probably my favorite cut of pork and it is really easy to cook.
1 pork tenderloin
1/2 yellow onion sliced
sliced brown mushrooms
sliced bell pepper of your choice
salt and pepper
Heat oven to 325. In a 9 x 11 glass baking dish, drizzle olive oil into the bottom of the dish. Add some white wine, balsamic vinegar, and a little bit of water to bottom of pan. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Add to the pan. Slice veggies and arrange around the pork in the pan. Bake for 30 minutes covered with foil. Bake 10 more minutes uncovered until pork is only slightly pink in the middle. (Or use a thermometer to test internal temperature) Let rest for 5 minutes. Slice and serve with veggies. I usually make mashed potatoes or rice with this dish.
Steve caught two of these baby gophers today. It was the tiniest little thing and for one single moment I thought gopher's were cute and innocent. It could barely move on Steve's glove and gave little yelps and squeals every few seconds. You don't want to know what he did with it...
Our screen door is my favorite DIY project so far. We bought this from Habitat for Humanity's Re-Store in SLO as an old, dilapidated screen door. Originally, it was a natural wood color, the screen was falling off, the latch was broken, and it wasn't square. Steve sanded it, squared it up, painted it, put in a brand new screen, adjusted the latch, installed it into the door jam, and added weather proof foam around the edges. Now it's a lovely way to be welcomed home each day. And it really helps with air circulation through our house.
Last weekend, we sold our giant oak media unit that came with our house, on Craigslist. A woman and her husband came to pick up the unit and Steve offered to help load the unit and also suggested that we follow them back to their house to help unload it. So, I drove with the woman in her truck and Steve and the husband followed. The woman asked if we had any pets and I told her that we're looking into getting some goats. She burst out, "we have 11 goats!!!! I love goats!" and the rest of the drive was all goat-talk. Which was great! So we get to their house and the woman tells me I can go ahead and check out their barn and goats (and llama and dogs, and cats, and chickens, and rabbits, and horses!!) while they unload the unit.
I frollicked over to the barn and went to the stall where the llama and goats were. I wanted go inside the goat pen to play with the goats but to do that, I had to open the stall gate, and get by the llama. So I tried opening the gate and the llama came right up to my face. This startled me so I shut the gate and went around the barn looking for another entrance to the goat pen. While I was looking around the barn, the stall gate opens and out run two large goats!!!! I ran over and shut the gate so that no other animals could escape. Apparently, I hadn't locked the gate completely! Not only have the goats ran out of their stall, now they run out of the barn and start munching on a tree!! I was panicking now. What do I do? How do I get these goats back in the barn, and in their stall? What if the woman comes in here and finds her goats loose?! What if they escape the yard and run away?? How do I get them to stop chomping on this tree!? So I pulled at their collars and tried to get them back in the barn and surprisingly it worked! I closed the barn door this time so they couldn't get out again. I tried luring them back to the stall door and opened it up to get them to run back through. They wanted nothing to do with that goat pen, and all of the other goats wanted nothing more than to come out of the goat pen! So of course, just my luck, another little goat squeezes by me and now I am dealing with three loose goats!
Now that I know I cannot open the stall door or else the other goats will escape, I try the stall next door, thinking they all connect outside. I open the stall, and all of the goats run in! YAY! I did it! They're safe! So as I'm calming down, the goats start freaking out and jumping up on the stall door that I just put them in. Finally, I realize that the stall areas don't connect outside, so they still can't get back to the goat pen. I think I put them into the horses pen!! So, I let them back out into the barn and try to figure out another approach to getting them back into their stall. These goats are TOUGH! I cannot move them, I cannot drag them, I cannot push them. They are like 500 pound solid bricks! And while I'm pushing and nudging and yanking, they're in heaven running all around the barn eating everything in site.
I decide to focus on the little goat. I get him to come close to the stall gate and open it up a crack and stand inside the opening. I grab his collar and with all of my might, nudge him through the opening, while at the same time trying to stand in the way of the other goats wanting to come out!! But, the little goat wiggled through and I shut the gate quickly behind me and no other goats escaped!!
The other two goats were still looking for food and trying to find a way out of the barn. I noticed they were eating hay out of a bucket, so I grabbed the bucket and brought it near the stall. They followed! Then, I cracked open the stall door, and with their noses completely inside the bucket they started coming through the gate, but as soon as they touched one foot into the stall, they ignored the food and ran back into the barn. GRR!!! I tried this several times, and it never worked. Just as I was looking for another lure, Steve and the woman come walking into the barn! I shriek, "the goats got out!!!!" By this time I am completely sweaty, panicked, and horrified that I have been caught in this stranger's barn, letting her goats out!!
The woman laughed when she saw the goats wandering around the barn but she said it was OK. Thank God! I asked her, "how on earth do you get these goats to go anywhere?" She said, "its quite a challenge!! I have to hook a rope up to them and pull them in!"
After that fiasco, we managed to get into the goat pen and play with the goats. They were so cute and loved to be pet! They had a little black pygmy goat that was my favorite. And apparently the llama is their keeper! How cool!
We left the barn and thanked her for showing us her animals. I never thought a Craigslist sale would turn into such an adventure!