Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What's For Dinner? (the post-Thanksgiving version)

I find the post-Thanksgiving menu the most difficult menu to create.

I was a glutton the whole weekend. I'm still full.

I spent hours in the kitchen preparing a feast. The last place I want to be is back in the kitchen.

However, a family has got to eat, right? So here it is, the "I know you are full and sick of the kitchen, but your family has to eat" menu.

And yes. It's Tuesday night and I'm just getting around to posting. The tryptophan in the turkey has delayed my brain-to-blog function.

Sunday: hamburger patties, sautéed mushrooms & onions, oven potatoes, roasted asparagus, fresh tomatoes

Monday: roasted pork loin stuffed with basil and garlic, roasted sweet potato wedges, chard

Tuesday: German sausage with 'kraut, boiled red potatoes, German cabbage, green beans

Wednesday: slow cooker chicken posole, cornbread

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: hamburgers, oven fries

Saturday: out

I'm not baking this week. The seams on my jeans are in need of a break. Plus, this is the one time a year we have open bowls of candy sitting about. I'm not a real big candy eater, but something possessed me to buy Christmas Sour Patch Kids. Darn those addictive, tart, little buggers. I am putty in their sugary hands.

I am in the midst of list making. And I am not feeling overwhelmed.


I'm hoping to keep it that way. I expect a bit of holiday stress, but for reals, this year I want to enjoy it.

The Boy has a gift. He can work lines from the movie Elf seamlessly into *any* conversation. Whenever I lose my temper, he looks at The Girl and says, "She's an angry elf."

I don't want to be an angry elf this year.

Or a cotton-headed ninny muggins.

Or a son of a nutcracker.

So, I'm not.

I've read over this post from last year. I'm so glad I wrote it. It has served as a good reminder of things that worked well, little tweaks to make the holidays easier, and projects I want to work on. I've already marked a couple of these off this year's list. Go me. A few more are on the schedule, and a couple, realistically, will be put off until next year. And I'm OK with that.

How are your preparations going? Big projects in the works? Overwhelmed yet?

I find that putting on Sufjan Stevens' Christmas album can put all things in perspective.

Add some Christmas Sour Patch Kids and I'm a very happy elf.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Tree

When I was growing up, we always cut our own tree.

As a young girl in backwoods Texas, my Papa would cut a mesquite tree.

As a teen in Minnesota, we would brave the cold and snow and head to the tree farm.

They were special. The whole house would smell of the holidays, and I'm convinced the ornaments looked better hanging on those freshly cut trees.

We have never cut a tree. It's Houston. We get our pumpkins at Kroger and our trees at the tree lot...located at Kroger.

You could tell that our trees came from the Kroger parking lot. They never smelled like anything and the needles would drop from day one. By the time Christmas morning rolled around, it was a lethal mix of fire hazard and porcupine.

Well, not this year.

This year we made our way out to the country. Our destination: Dewberry Farm.

We all climbed onto a hay filled wagon and rode out to the trees.

One of these would be ours; That perfect Christmas tree.

After scrutinizing a multitude of firs, pines, and spruces, we found it: The One.

There were very nice people that would cut the tree for you.

But that would be lame. We didn't come out to the country to have someone else do the dirty work.

The fact that a tool with a sharp edge would now be in play increased the interest level for The Boy considerably.

The Offspring watched with eager anticipation as The Mr. sawed away.


It's ours.


Man conquers nature.

The cut trees were loaded up and brought to the front of the farm.

While the tree was being prepared for travel, we tried to keep warm.

By Houston standards, it was a chilly day. The wind was blowing and the air was damp.

The Girl was second guessing our decision to travel to a farm for our tree at this point. Kroger is much warmer than the country.

With the tree safely wrapped and in back, we headed home to give it some bling.

And with that, I say let the Christmas season begin.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Today was full of...

bread baking

sauce making

food mixing

dish washing

pie making

potato peeling

sprout trimming

green bean casserolling

cream whipping

pie cooling

turkey carving

gravy boating

bread buttering

wine drinking,
for some

kid wine drinking,
for others

food serving

face stuffing

pant unbuttoning

game watching

dessert eating

The dishes are now done.

The kitchen is quiet.

I hit the jackpot folks.

My belly is full.

But even more so,
my heart is full.

And that won't make my
jeans fit tighter.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving: The Menu

We don't do gourmet.

We don't step outside the box.

We are traditional.

We stick to what we know.

That's how we roll on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving 2010:

roasted turkey breast
wild rice stuffing
roasted sweet potatoes
green bean casserole
roasted Brussels sprouts
cranberry sauce
pumpkin pie

A few notes:

Our little family of four is not one to eat turkey for weeks on end. A breast is more than enough to give us our fix.

I've been searching for the perfect wild rice stuffing recipe going on three Thanksgivings now. Each year I've used a different recipe. I'm hoping this is "the one". 2010's version includes walnuts, dried cranberries, fresh sage, and a bit of sausage.

We skip the mashed potatoes and opt for roasted sweet potatoes. No brown sugar or marshmallows needed. I simply peel and cube a bunch of sweet potatoes, toss with olive oil, add salt & pepper, and roast at a high temp. They are caramelized on the outside and soft on the inside. They are like candy.

I treat the Brussels sprouts in a similar fashion: Trim, cut in half, toss with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. The key to good sprouts, in my opinion, is adding another layer of flavor. I will toss in a bit of crumbled bacon as they cook or squeeze some fresh lemon on top as they are removed from the oven. And like the sweet potatoes, cook at a high temp. They should be tender inside with a crunchy outer layer.

Green bean casserole is the bomb. I don't care what you say. I've been known to eat the leftovers for breakfast. It just ain't Thanksgiving without it.

The Boy's favorite part of Thanksgiving is the homemade cranberry sauce. I bought a 3 lb bag of berries so we would not run out this year. However, I fear we will all the same.

I was never a pumpkin pie fan until I started making it with a graham cracker crust. Am I the only one that likes it this way?

That's our plan...how about you?

I'm including a linky. But it's really low pressure. If you don't have a whole menu planned, post a favorite Thanksgiving recipe. Maybe it's a post from last Thanksgiving. Or even a non-Thanksgiving post about something really tasty.

It doesn't have to be current. We are all pressed for time these days.

There are no rules here, peeps.

Please know there are panic stricken folk out in Blog Land that need your assistance.

I'm going to wish all of you happy Thanksgiving preparations. If you need me, I'm in the kitchen.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Around here...

I really didn't mean to disappear for a week...

Some weeks sneak up on you.

One of those weeks that seems to never end, yet the days blur together and before you know it...Friday has arrived.

The time change has done a number on me.

I find myself sitting on the couch in a vegetative state.

By the time The Offspring are in bed, it has been dark for four hours already.

That being said, I have been looking for holiday inspiration.

The Thanksgiving menu is set.

Groceries were bought today.

We have been home from HEB for all of four hours, and I've only discovered three things that were left off the list.

My intentions are to get the menu posted and the Thanksgiving Blog Hop up and running tomorrow.

Those are my
intentions. Life may or may not stand in my way.

I planned on posting Wednesday.

That was before I drank a whole bottle of wine.

I wasn't setting out to pretend that it was Friday on a Wednesday. It just sort of happened.

I poured a glass. It tasted so good. The tension left my body. Kindergarten angst disappeared like magic!

So I poured another. And then another.

Thursday morning was not pleasant.

You know you are old when it takes you two days to recover from a few glasses of wine.

Pathetic am I. No doubt.

The Offspring went to my parents' house on Friday.

The Mr.'s birthday is Monday. It was the best gift they could have given him.

I was lucky enough to benefit as well.

There was a whole lot of peace and quiet and very little clutter to pick up.

We made a visit to the art museum.

And ate a lot of good food that I did not cook.

We stopped by the neighborhood pub to watch basketball and drink cold beers.

My Longhorns won. Finally.

My Spurs are on fire.

Dallas lost.

You can't get much better than that.

I'm sorry if this picture offends.

My friend Chach sent it to me.

He is a fellow Spurs freak and Johnny Cash fan. He's also an incredible graphic designer and photographer.

I find it especially funny, because The Boy just asked what the middle finger means. He knows it's bad, but isn't sure why.

Luckily, he doesn't follow my blog.

Let me emphasize that we are not lazy, gluttonous lushes that make inappropriate hand gestures.

At least we aren't most of the time.

We just like to have fun when the kids are away.

How was your weekend?