Saturday, November 30, 2013

Christmas Decorating and Wreath Making

 I started decorating.  I fixed up the bedroom for the Holidays. I like crawling into a Christmas bed.

 These stars will go in my kitchen windows.

 The retro wreathes I've made will decorate the shelter.

 I love making these from thrift shop finds.

 This wreath has vintage glass balls painted with holly from the 60's. Have you started decorating yet?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving Dinner

 I ended up making Thanksgiving dinner.  This is not very attractive but I remembered to take a photo after we had already dug in.  We had planned on having Asian food so I could take a break after all the shelter cooking.  I wanted to be able to make turkey sandwiches so I bought a turkey breast and roasted it.  I decided to make gravy with the carcass.  I had an extra bag of cranberries so I thought, why not make some sauce.  Then I made stuffing. I found a bag of peas in the freezer and made creamed peas and onions. Soon I realized I was actually making Thanksgiving dinner.
So I made some rolls.  I made coiled ones to eat with the main meal.  I used my mother's potato roll recipe.
 I made buns for the sandwiches.

 I make lots of different rolls but I still think these are the best ones.

 I changed the recipe this year.  Though these rolls have a wonderful flavor, they sometimes can get a bit heavy.  So I replaced the crisco  with butter and added more yeast....perfect!  Here is the recipe:

1-1/2 C. of water
2 eggs
2/3 C. sugar
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1T. rapid rise yeast
2/3 C. melt butter
1 C. mashed potatoes
7-1/2 C. flour

Pour the water into the bowl of your mixer.  Add the eggs, sugar, salt, yeast, butter and potatoes.  Beat the flour in cup by cup until you have a nice smooth ball of dough.  Place it in a buttered bowl and cover.  let it rise until doubled.  Form into whatever type of rolls you want.  Let rise for 30 minutes.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until they look like the photo above.  Brush with melted butter when you take them out of the oven. 

Everyone seemed very happy that I made Thanksgiving dinner after all.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving 2013

 Teddy and I would like to wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving.

 We hope you are up to your nose in turkey and gravy.

And maybe a bit of cranberry sauce too!  30 quarts on it's way to the shelter!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Stuffing

 Do you use Bell's Seasoning?  I think it is the best.  My mother used it and I use it to this day.  BTW....the snow missed us!!!  I am so bummed!  They promised at least 6 inches and up to a foot.  We got nothing more than what I showed you yesterday morning.

 I made 250 quarts of stuffing for the shelter. If each person eats 1 cup, I made enough to feed 1000 people.

 I got a blister from cubing the bread.

 I made my traditional stuffing. Cubed bread, diced onions and celery and salt &  pepper.

 Then lots of Bell's Seasoning.

 Then I add beaten eggs, butter and some turkey stock.

 I made 10 of these restaurant sized pans.  They have to cook them at the shelter because my ovens couldn't handle all of these.  And my oven seems to be acting up again.  All this cooking is putting a strain on my appliances.

 Hopefully I will be getting my tree today.

I am feeling very Christmas pressured here.  I have so little done and so much to do.  How are you progressing with your Christmas decorating and baking?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cranberry Orange Cornmeal Cake and a Storm

This is a perfect recipe for Thanksgiving.  It makes a wonderful dense, moist cake with terrific Thanksgiving flavors.
 You can find the recipe here: 
Zest the oranges before squeezing.

 The link will give you directions for a single recipe, double it to make a 10 X 13.

 Make sure to sprinkle the top with 1/3 cup of sugar before baking.

 It gives it a nice crunch when it is done baking.

 I like to refrigerate it to make it even denser.

 We have a big storm on the way.

 I shoveled a couple Teddy paths at 4:00 am this morning and it has come down consistently since then.  The heavy stuff hasn't even started yet.  We could get up to 10 inches.  Perfect thanksgiving weather...perfect me weather!!!

Teddy's bowl.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Turkey Gravy

Yesterday I made the turkey gravy for the shelter.  If I didn't make this, they were getting it out of a can.  This took hours and hours to make.  At the end, I had 50 quarts.
 I couldn't use my giant pot to make the stock because it is too big to work with for something like this.  I used these three pots and let the stock simmer, strained it and added it to my giant pot and then did it all over again. I had so much garbage I had to take it to the shelter and throw it in their dumpster.  My trash cans couldn't handle it all.

 This is the stock from the first batch.

 I went through boxes of celery, onions and carrots.

 I used the turkey carcasses, along with the vegetables, some fresh herbs, bay leaves and black peppercorns.  These simmered for 3 hours each time.

Then they were strained, seasoned with S&P and thickened with flour mixed with butter.  When I took the lid off to transfer it to their pans, the guys were swooning.  I sure hope no one breaks into this before Thursday!  It is very dicey leaving it at the shelter but I had no room for it here.  Tomorrow is stuffing making day.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Creamy Sausage Tortellini Soup

I had to go to the shelter yesterday to pick up the frozen turkey carcasses they saved for me to make gravy.  I just can't go there empty handed.  When I pull up the men have such excited looks on their faces that I have to have something to feed them.  I whipped up 50 quarts of this soup.
 First I made chicken stock with some leftover chicken bones.

 I will give you the recipe for a normal amount.  Saute 1 medium diced onion and 4 stalks of diced celery in 2 T. of oil.

 Add 1 lb. of Italian sausage and break it up as it browns.  Sprinkle in 1 tsp. of granulated garlic, 2 tsp. Italian seasoning, 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. of black pepper.

 Add 2 C. of chicken stock and 2 cans of tomato soup. I added some I had frozen along with what I had just made.  Let this come to a low boil.

 Add a bunch of diced kale.

 I had 20 lbs. of cheese tortellini and wanted to stretch it so I added 4 lbs. of campanella pasta.  You can skip this step.  Add 1 bag of frozen cheese tortellini.

 After about 3 minutes turn the heat down to a simmer and add 1-1/2 C. of milk and 2 C. of half and half.  You can use low fat if you wish. Heat gently, taste and adjust seasoning.  Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

* I added some pesto for added flavor.If you want to do this, add 1/4 cup.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Christmas Mantel

I am getting a late start on my Christmas decorating this year.  I did manage to get my mantel done yesterday.
 I decorated in between baking the rest of the rolls for the shelter.

 Rolls covered every counter top.

 Here are some of them packaged and ready for the freezer.  In 2 days I baked almost 800 rolls.  I kept thinking about how long it takes to make them and how quickly they will be eaten.

 Time to get my tree. It will sit right where that chair is.  Notice Teddy's stash of toys on the floor next to the chair.  She doesn't play with them much but don't try to move them.  She knows they are hers.

 The polar bears are watching you.

I swapped out my pumpkin pillows for these tree pillows and switched my Fall throw for this Christmas one. So much to do and so little time.