Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Blogging Break

Hi everyone. I am taking a break from blogging for a couple reasons.  I have so much to do in so little time in the next few weeks that I need to devote a lot of time and energy to get it all done.  Also, I got very sad news about Bev.  They have stopped the chemo because it was not working.  They are still deciding whether they will give her a feeding tube or not.  They are sending her home on Thursday to spend her last bit of time in her own home with her beloved animals.  I still can't believe how fast this has happened.  Bev's niece keeps me informed of her condition (thank you Angie!).  I feel so helpless being so far away.  Bev is such a special friend and I miss her so much.  She has given me so many precious recipes that I will always treasure.  I just need some time to make sense of all of this.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Christmas Wreathes

I just made this wreath for The Blog Tech's cottage this morning.


 Wreathes are so easy to make and lots of fun too.  Plus, they are much cheaper than buying pre-made ones.  This wreath is going to be on his front door close to a main street and the chances of it being stolen are high.  Therefore, I did not want to put much money into it at all.  I started with a plain evergreen wreath and added an outdoor ribbon bow, a few pine cones and some gold bling.

 I added one big green silk poinsettia, a few gold bulbs and some glittery green sprigs.

 As soon as the Christmas pics go on sale I buy them up to use for the next year.  I literally pay 25 cents a piece for them. I buy bulbs at the thrift stores where you can get them for pennies. This wreath cost about 13.00 to make.  The fresh wreath was 9.99 so you can see how little went into the decorations.

 A closeup of the Christmas tree just because I was passing by it.

 These retro wreaths are fun.  I made a bunch of them last year and gave most of them away.  I buy grapevine wreathes at thrift stores for around a dollar. Even if they have tacky flowers on them you can pull them off and use the wreath.  The thrift stores usually have bags of old tinsel garlands like the one I used here to cover the grapevine.  If you click and enlarge this photo, you will see that I used vintage ornaments from the thrift store.  Dollar store also have cheap garland and bulbs which work just as well.


 I made this one with red sparkly garland.

 Young adults seem to really like these campy, vintage looking wreathes.

 One year I made a simple red bulb wreath on fresh evergreen.

I always put one Santa on my tree.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Puttanesca

My family loves puttanesca.  The story goes that the ladies of the night would make this from ingredients they had in their pantries.  They avoided shopping in the markets for fresh ingredients to avoid the scowls from their customers wives.  Puttana is the Italian slang for pig(not the animals).

I used the sauce I made from my summer tomatoes.  I used about 3 quarts.  Saute' a large diced onion, 5 diced garlic cloves, salt and pepper and some red pepper flakes in a few tablespoons of olive oil.  Add 4 diced anchovies. Saute' until the anchovies disintegrate. Add 1 cup of pitted sliced kalamata olives and 4 tablespoons of capers along with a couple tablespoons of the caper juice.  Add the tomato sauce and simmer for a while until it starts to thicken.

Mix it with a pound of cooked spaghetti and top with some grated cheese.  Very easy to make and so flavorful.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Cream of Turkey Rice Soup

 This is our favorite after Thanksgiving meal.  Cream of turkey rice soup.

 Put your turkey carcass in a large stock pot.  Add about 8 stalks of celery, 2 large onions cut in half, and about 6 carrots.  Add 4 bay leaves, some black peppercorns and some fresh thyme, sage and rosemary.  Cover it with water and bring it to a boil.  Turn it down to a simmer and let it cook for a couple of hours.  Strain the solids and pour the stock through cheesecloth. 

 You will have a lot of nice turkey stock.  I added a couple tubs of Knorr's Chicken Concentrate to enrich it.

 Dice 2 onions, a bunch of celery and about 4 carrots and saute them in some butter just until they begin to soften around the edges.

 Add 1 cup  of flour and cook stirring for 3 minutes.

 Slowly add about 6 quarts of stock.  This, of course, depends on how much you want to make.  Adjust accordingly.

 Add 2 cups of half and half.  You can use fat free if you wish.  Add 2 cups of rice and let simmer until the rice is cooked, about 30 minutes.

 This is some seriously good soup.

 Especially when you have a day like this....SNOW!!!!   YES!!!!

 Not too much but at least we finally got some.

 I have another Christmas tree to put up.

Teddy was not too thrilled with the snow.  As she has gotten older, she is a much more temperate weather pup.  She is like Goldilocks...she likes her weather just right.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Day and The Tree

 I think the tree is finally done...I think. Teddy has already placed one of her toys under it.

 I thought I would show a bit of what we had for Thanksgiving dinner.  This is the only stuffing we have ever made for Thanksgiving.  We cube stale homemade bread, add lots of onions and celery, Bell's seasoning (lots of it), salt & pepper, eggs and melted butter.

 Mix it all together and cook it in a casserole.  I haven't stuffed a bird in years.

 I roasted the Brussel sprouts in olive oil and salt and pepper.

 I made herb dinner rolls.

 Here is the turkey straight out of the oven.

 You can see the sage right under the skin.

 Curried pearl onions.

 Teddy polished off a big bowl of turkey with gravy.

 More please?

 A piece of pecan pie.  I sent some pies and rolls to The Blog Tech's girlfriends family.  I also send a whole platter of everything to an old friend who's parents died this year. He just married a woman from Cambodia and this was her first American Thanksgiving food.

 Now I need to get started on my daughter's event.  We have two of them 5 days apart during the first week of December.

 I got a few other areas decorated as well.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

 Have a piece of pecan pie!

 I made pecan brittle to top the pumpkin pies.

 The Blog Tech thought it looked like puke.

 I baked some huge potatoes for the mashed potatoes.

 Ginormous!

 I made 14 small pumpkin pies which will be topped with whipped cream and the pecan brittle.

 While things were cooking and baking, I worked on the tree.  I keep decorations in these vintage Christmas boxes.

 I just finished the tree this morning so I will show pics of it tomorrow.

 The big potatoes made lots of mashed potatoes.

 When I make my turkey, I rub butter under the skin.

Then I line it with sage leaves.  It self bastes as it cooks.  I will get pics of the finished bird when it comes out of the oven in another few hours.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!  Please send some positive energy to Bev when you have time.  My sweet friend is not doing very well.