Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

I'm thankful for my family and the fabulous food we'll be eating all day.

I hope you all will have a wonderful and thankful day too.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Final Thanksgiving Prep

Well, it's after 10 and I'm all done. The kitchen is clean and ready for tomorrow and everything that needed to be made in advanced is.

There is one casualty. I'm opting out of fruit salad this year. I know. It's sad, and maybe I'll change my mind tomorrow.

I got all of my pies done and I think they are going to be wonderful. Especially the banana cream pie. My aunt Janice came to the rescue and gave me grandma's tried and true recipe. I got a little taste of it and I can tell you it is DIVINE!!! I strongly urge you all to try it. You'll find it in the comment section in one of the posts below...ya, I'm too lazy and tired to tell you which one, sorry.

So, here are the remaining pictures of my prosperous day. I feel very accomplished.

This is for the stuffing tomorrow.

These are for the vegi platter. I cut up other stuff too, but didn't photograph it.

Ya, it's u-g-l-y. It does have an alibi, it's yummy! Ya ya it's yummy!

I made a cheese ball for tomorrow and it's killer yummy. I didn't have a recipe, maybe I'll put it up if anyone's interested.

Finally, the miracle of it all...the kitchen is clean and ready for tomorrow. {sigh} It was a good day.

Thanksgiving Prep Part 2

I've finished with a bunch of stuff on my list. I don't have the list with me, so you'll just have to take my word for it. : )

Georgia Pudding stuff all done and ready for the oven tomorrow.

Went a different route with the cherry pie this year. I thought it would be fun to use these and make it closer to scratch.

I'm hoping that they look better after they're cooked.

It looks pretty now. :)

Pie shells for the pumpkin pie. They were a pain to get into the pan. Then I remembered my little trick with wax paper...on my last crust of the day.


The natural light is gone, so the pictures aren't going to be as nice looking.

Jell-O ready for the white stuff.

I'm still not done. Man, I'm wishing I'd have skipped the nap. I'm way behind. Jeff couldn't come home yet. He's going to be late because someone called in "sick". I would've made them come in anyway.

Thanksgiving Prep Part 1

OK. I've got items 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 off the list. The nap was longer than I's kind of embarrassing how long I slept so we'll just move on. {sheepish grin}

Starting the yams for the Georgia Pudding

They look and smell great!

Lindsay came home from school ready to help with pie dough

One soon turned into 5. I LOVE my food processor!

Time to start the very traditional Cranberry Raspberry Jell-O salad. The first layer ingredients.

Time to start the Pumpkin Pie. Abbey came home just in time. This is one of her favorite things. Not so sure about the pumpkin. I'm wishing I'd have just bought Libbie's. I'm a sucker for a deal though.

Well that's the first bit. I've got a bunch more to go. Stay tuned. :)

It begins....

Today is baking day. It's been my tradition for the past 10 years to do a marathon prep/baking day, the day before Thanksgiving. I'm soooo excited to start. I have about 18 things on my list to tick off. Yes, I made a list. : )

One thing I still need to do is to find a really good recipe for a banana cream pie. I'm looking for one that uses flour instead of cornstarch, so if you happen to have tell.

I can't lie though, I'm feeling the strongest urge to go take a nap while the kids are in school. I'm really tired. Jeff has a temporary job in Pasco, so he's gone all week and comes home on the weekend. I'll be single parenting it for a while, but it's not so bad, just a little bit more exhausted at the end of the day. I just really miss having him around. I'm SO excited to have him come home this evening though. {SMILE}

I would like to get a little sappy right now. I just want to proclaim my thankfulness. I'm so thankful that I have food. I can't help but think of those that go without everyday. I can't help but be thankful for a kitchen at my disposal, full of food.

I will try to do posts throughout the day showing my progress....but that nap is calling.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

OK, let's try this again! Thanksgiving email

OK, so here are the pictures that I was sent. My favorite is the turkey lamp. Pesky Blogger!

May your stuffing be tasty

May your turkey be plump,

May your potatoes and gravy

Have never a lump.

May your yams be delicious

And your pies take the prize,

And may your Thanksgiving dinner

Stay off your thighs!

Only 2 days left!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Just for David

I've been trying to post my review for the last hour on your blog. Blogger isn't letting me leave any comments. So, here it is. I hope you still count this as an entry.

Meet Me in ST. Louis!

The first thing I have to say about this movie is that I'm sad I hadn't seen it earlier in my life. All those wasted years!!! It is so cleaver and lovely. If movies had relatives, it would be siblings with "It's a Wonderful Life".

The plot is centered around the Smith family. It's just at the turn of the century, picture Disneyland's Main Street, and everyone is abuzz about the World's Fair coming to ST. Louis.

It opens strait away with the tittle song. In the Smith family you have Mom and Dad, Grandpa, the four sisters, the one lone brother, and their housekeeper.

The movie mostly centers on Esther Smith, played by Judy Garland, and her love for the new boy that's moved in next door. It's also mingled with the father's unpopular decision to move the family to New York and how they resolve it.

This movie weaves a rich tapestry of life and family experiences. You get to watch this family for a year. The ups and downs.

This was Judy Garland's breakout roll as an adult. She had her overall look changed as well for this movie. New hair color and new makeup style. Garland was so pleased with the new look, she kept the same stylist for the rest of her career. She was also directed by her first husband, Vincente Minnelli, in this film. You can tell how smitten he was by his star. If you notice solo shots of Garland, he will have her framed as if in a beautiful picture.

Her portrayal of 17 year old Esther Smith was light and effortless. You can't resist her. She is sweet and confident, but there is always an underlying insecurity that Garland can't help but bring with her. It's fascinating to know just what a professional actress she was. Growing up in Vaudeville really conditioned her. In the trolley scene, from start to finish it's one take. ONE. Singing, acting, going through the trolley to find her seat, it is amazing. An interesting fact is she accidentally changed one of the original lyrics to the trolley song. The guy that wrote the song was on set during the filming and noticed the slip in words. He asked that she do it again the right way. The director pulled him aside and let him know that if he were to tell her she made a mistake, they would never get that perfect of a performance out of her again. She would be too self conscious. The director then said, "Sorry, but your lyrics are now changed".

Now, this movie is a musical. Not a traditional one though. The songs they sing in the movie are meant to appear natural and forthcoming. Not staged and produced. They aren't big Hollywood numbers. The songs are very catchy and one has been a Christmas Classic ever since. I'm sure you've heard of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas".

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the second little star of this film. She plays little Tootie, Margaret O'Brien. She has been called the best child actor of all time. She is just amazing. I love that Tootie has a little bit of a dark side to her. All of her dolls eventually come down with something and die. Tootie holds beautiful funerals for them and then buries them in the Doll Cemetery in the back yard. She is precocious without being obnoxious.

That's one thing I love about this movie and this movie family. They aren't squeaky clean and perfect. They are normal and have weird quirks like everyone else, but it's not ever ugly and awkward.

You will laugh and you will cry. You will feel full and happy after you've watched this film.

The film was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Cinematography, Color, Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture, Best Music, Song (Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin for "The Trolley Song") and Best Writing, Screenplay. Margaret O'Brien received an Academy Juvenile Award for her work that year, in which she appeared in several movies along with Meet Me in St. Louis.

The film has been deemed "culturally significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. In 2005, named it one of the 100 best movies of the last 80 years.

I'm sure this isn't a very well written review. I just love this movie so much and want everyone to see it and love it too. I know there are things I probably left sorry about that. Just do yourself a favor and put it at the top of your movie list.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What is sweet potato casserole?

About 12 years ago we were exposed to the best way to eat a sweet potato. My aunt came to Thanksgiving dinner at my mom's house in 97'. She brought with her a casserole dish topped with a crunchy praline streusel topping. What was inside was a total surprise. When we broke into it, it had a bright orange interior, my heart sank. You see, I didn't like sweet potatoes AT ALL. I tried, I really tried! As a kid, how could I resist something covered in toasted marshmallows? But, when I got to the watery, stingy, and odd flavored pulp underneath it I could go no further.

Everyone seemed to be enjoying them however and I was feeling adventurous. I took a small scoop and my perception of the sweet potato had been changed forever. My family has embraced Georgia pudding completely and it's as much a staple as cranberry raspberry jello salad (which has been on the table for as long as I can remember)

I hope some of you try it and love it like we do.

Sweet Potato Casserole

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes or yams

1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 tsp of salt
1/3 cup of butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup of milk
2 tsp vanilla

1 cup of brown sugar
1/3 cup of melted butter
1/3 cup of flour
1 1/4 cup of chopped pecans

Cover and roast the peeled potatoes or yams until completely soft and mashable. When they reach room temperature mix in all of the ingredients. Make sure to whip them with a blender to ensure incorporation of ingredients. Mix the topping in a separate bowl and sprinkle on top of the sweet potato mixture. Bake in the oven at 350* for 35 minutes.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Stuff to do

I'm pulling together my Thanksgiving feast and it's gonna be so awesome. I just need to make a final list for the store and I'll be done.

Thanksgiving Menu:
Roasted Turkey

Herb Stuffing

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Homemade Pan Rolls

Georgia Pudding

Cranberry Raspberry Jello Salad

Fruit Salad


Cranberry Sauce

Sparkling Apple Cider

This of course will be preceded by sticky pull apart rolls for breakfast and appetizers for lunch. We are going to go easy on the pie this year. We're only going to have pumpkin, cherry, and a cream variety.

Everything will be made from scratch and nothing will be diet friendly, but everything will be delicious. I can't wait. I think of Thanksgiving as the cooking Olympics. I love it.

I would like to know what everyone is doing for Thanksgiving this year and what makes your meal so good. :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I forgot to write about this

This summer, Miss Abbey was on the Cheney swim team. She went everyday bright and early in the morning. She loved it and it got her into good shape. Jeff was the one that would take her every morning, with the exception of a few times.

Lindsay even had her first swimming lessons this year. I never put the girls in when they were younger. I just assumed they would have the tenacity to teach themselves the way I did when I was younger. Well, Lindsay just wouldn't do it. She's been like that with quite a few things in her little life. So, Lindsay had swimming lessons with children with the average age of 5. She didn't minds though. I think it's just about impossible to embarrass that kid. At the end of the lessons, Lindsay was able to take the swim test for diving board privileges. Very proud of her. Let's hope she doesn't have to start all over again next summer.

I was only able to get pictures of Abbey on the last day of swim team. When we move I really hope I can find something similar to put her into. I will definitely be prepared for the damage the chlorine does to her hair. Special shampoo won't cut it, the kids going to wear a swim cap.

Monday, November 9, 2009

This is Halloween, This is Halloween! Part 2

I was so busy during the last two weeks of Halloween. I was sewing costumes, keeping the house clean enough to show, and just plain living life. I didn't get a chance to post pictures of the girls getting their pumpkins. We opted for the picturesque venue of the grocery store this year. We could have gone over to the pumpkin patch, but it's at least twice the price and we've done that enough during the girls childhood that I don't feel that bad depriving them of the experience this year.

I remember getting my pumpkins from a grocery store every year. If we ever went to a pumpkin patch, I don't remember. I just remember loading up in the family car with the brimming excitement that comes with "what kind of pumpkin am I going to choose?". They would have a few pumpkins spread out on pallets, mostly they were in those tall cardboard containers, so you would have to dig.

The earliest pumpkin trip I can remember, was picking out a very perfect, round, smooth pumpkin. My mom told me it looked like Bunsen Honeydew from the Muppet Show. That clinched the decision for me. I insisted on keeping it on top of my dresser in my room. I remember giving it baths and brushing it's pretend hair. I couldn't wait to see the real Bunsen Honeydew face carved into it. I only wished I had a tall skinny pumpkin to be Beaker...meep meep meeee. I liked the idea so much I did it the following year. I even have a picture to go along with it. I'm sure you've seen it over at my mom's blog, but for those that haven't here it is.

Anyways, this was about the girls and their trip. I have pictures of that too. I don't, sadly, have pictures of them carving. We did it on Halloween and I was busy all day making treats and food. I'm also throwing in a picture of Mookie in his costume. We found it at the Dollar Store, we couldn't resist. Don't feel too bad for him, he only had to wear it for a couple of minutes.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

This is Halloween, This is Halloween! Part 1

It's taken me this long to recuperate from Halloween. It was crazy busy and super fun! So fun, I didn't get all of the pictures that I wanted. Isn't that usually the way it goes? (Lisa excluded of course tee hee)

We went to our church Halloween party. It was the last one before our ward split. Lindsay won cutest costume and Abbey's costume was misunderstood, as usual. Oh, I haven't said what either of the girls were this year. Lindsay was a genie and Abbey was a demented baby doll. Anyways, I was very happy to have Lindsay win something. I made her costume. If you've ever wondered what a labor of love actually looks like, just look at her costume. I will take close up pictures of it and post later. I don't think I've been this proud of myself in a long time.

The night before Halloween, Abbey's school was having a Halloween Party in the evening. Her first middle school activity. So exciting! She and a few of her friends went and had a blast. They did crafts, ate pizza, played games, and danced.

For Halloween itself, we were having a party before trick or treating. Jeff did the decorations and they looked awesome! I could have left them up for a few days, but they were down the next morning. We had a few families over and it was crazy! The kids couldn't wait to go trick or treating, which means noise level was off the charts. I think Jeff wished for a tranqualiser blow gun after the first 30 minutes. For dinner we had chili, baked potatoes, and hot dogs. The chili was my SIL Lisa's recipe, delicious! Lots of compliments too Lisa. For treats there were caramel apples, scary cupcakes, and cookies. Half the parents took the kids out and half stayed back to help hand out candy. We played Beatles Rock Band and American Idol all night. When everyone was back we enjoyed scones with honey butter and assorted hot beverages. It really was quite lovely.

The one thing that made Halloween really special this year was my friend Melody came over from Kennewick to hang out with us. After everyone left the party we left to get out of the house. We ended up at Applebees. We had grand plans of staying up all hours watching scary movies, but alas, we are old women now and gave up around 12:30. Melody is one of the positives of living in the Tri-Cities. I'm glad that I have her.

So, this ends our Halloween of 09. So busy this year. I made costumes, treats, attended parties, did hair and make up 3 separate times,watched all Halloween TV specials, threw a party, and celebrated Jeffoween. One thing I didn't get to do for the first time in my life? Gut and carve my own pumpkin....well, it might have happened before. Next year I think I'll opt for a more laid back schedule.

Now, here comes a bunch of pictures.