Friday, November 30, 2012

And the Roof Has Been Raised!

The final roof trusses were placed yesterday.   I wish I'd had my camera so that I could have taken a wider lens shot.  Complete with the traditional tree on the last rafter.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Scenes from the Feast

The star of the show:

A 17.24 lb bird roasted for 30 minutes at 400°F and 3.5 hours at 350°F.  Perfect!

Some of the supporting cast:

Stuffing baked outside the bird, mashed turnip, and mashed butternut and acorn squash.

Younger son's mashed potatoes!

The cranberry sauce is homemade from cranberries I picked out on the new property!

Pumpkin Pie!

Apple Pie!

Mince Pie!

Pecan Pie!

I didn't take picture of the apple cider sangria, but boy was that tasty!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Our Traditional Thanksgiving Menu

Despite all the cooking shows I watch, all the Pinterest recipes I pin, and despite all the "Holiday Meal" articles in Cooking Light and Real Simple, the Thanksgiving meal in this household doesn't change much.  At least not as far as the what MUST be on the table, no matter how many people are around it.

First and foremost is the turkey.  It has to be large, at least in the 16-18 lb range, even if it's just the 4 of us, like this year.  We have to have tons of leftovers to split between at two households at the very least.  This year's bird weighs in at just over 17 pounds.  I roast this the way my mom did:  in the oven at 325°, covered in foil, until the last half hour.

The bird is stuffed with a relatively plain stuffing.  The stuffing HAS to start with Pepperidge Farm herb seasoned CUBED stuffing.  As my mother taught me, I had celery, onion, some more herbs (a tad of sage, thyme, FRESH parsley, a bay leaf or two), and it MUST have capers in it.  Occasionally I get "fancy" and I've been known to add some pecans, cranberries, or walnuts, but I'm generally booed when I do that.  My mom always stuffed the bird with it, but my husband and sons prefer the stuffing baked outside the bird.  So I do both.  I don't like the dry stuff -- I like the soggy, juicy stuffing!

Accompanying the bird:  mashed potatoes, mashed butternut squash, and  mashed turnip(rutabaga!).   Nothing fancy.  Just those root veggies, boiled or pressure cooked, mashed with real butter, and salt and pepper, and milk in the case of the potatoes.  This year I'm trying something new!  Since my RA diagnosis, I am having a hard time "slicing and dicing", and peeling squash can be a real chore.  I am roasting my squash whole first this year, and then peeling and mashing.  I don't know if my family can stand the innovation.
 If my sister's family shares the meal with us, we add green bean casserole with the crunchy fried onions on top, and rolls.  We have 2 kinds of cranberry sauce - whole berry and sliced, mixed sweet pickles and olives, celery and carrot sticks, and most years, creamed pearl onions.  And of course, the gravy.

And the pies.  NO VARIATION ALLOWED.  Even with only 4 people.  One pumpkin, one apple, one pecan, and one mince.  As my husband states:  "You NEVER make pie, except at Thanksgiving."  That's not entirely true, but I dislike pie making as a rule.  I don't exactly know why, because with the availability of good "ole Pillsbury Ready Dough . . . .

The only place I get to try new things are on the unessentials like beverages.  We traditionally have cider available, water, and wine.  This year I am trying something that sounds really good to me - Apple Cider Sangria.  Here's the recipe, which I gleaned from Pinterest.  This recipe comes from this blog HOW SWEET  IT IS.

Apple Cider Sangria



1 bottle (standard size) of pinot grigio
2 1/2 cups fresh apple cider
1 cup club soda
1/2 cup ginger brandy
3 honey crisp apples, chopped
3 pears, chopped


Combine all ingredients together and stir, stir, stir. Refrigerate for an hour or so (or longer!) before serving.
[Regular brandy can also be used, I simply used ginger brandy to give it more autumn flavor.]

I will let you know how it turns out!

I don't have any pics to share today.  Maybe tomorrow!
Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Friday, November 16, 2012

And Some Constructive Stills

My First You Tube Video

So, today was the day they started setting the roof trusses on the new house.  I stopped at the house on my way home from work.  I just so happened to have my  iPad with me and decided to try my hand at a video.  A learning experience for me!  The first truss I "videoed" didn't record.  Although I'd set the iPad to record, I forgot to press start!! Of course I didn't realize that until I'd videoed for about 2 minutes.

This is my 2nd attempt!

Friday, November 2, 2012

In Which Our Heroine Survives a Stressful Day

My day started about 3 am when I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep.  I started worrying about how I was going to accomplish everything I needed to accomplish, and I couldn't turn my mind off.  I was also concerned about a tricky meeting I had first thing, and due to somebody's else's poor planning, I wasn't ready for my social studies classes for the day.

I arrived at school at 6:30 am carrying 6 doz mini muffins, 2 pumpkin breads, 2 gallons of cider, and my usual lunch box, water bottle, Ipad, and bag.  Do I make 2 trips from my car, up the stairs to my room?  Of course not!  I made it successfully to my room and plopped everything down.  All the way to school, I'd been trying to come up with an activity for social studies, and finally made a decision.  I went to make some copies, and the copier had been turned off which means an almost 20 minute wait for it to warm up.  Meanwhile at 6:45 am I had to meet with a teacher from another school about a possible grievance.  (I am the grievance chair for our educational association.)  The teacher was extremely upset and I had to try to get as much info from the teacher as I could, give the teacher some advice, and decide what the next steps were.  That meeting lasted till 7:15 and then I had to go out to bus duty, making sure the stuff I needed copied had gotten copied.  Classes started at 7:30 and the teaching part of my day began.

The reason for the breakfast goodies was because today was my first "Breakfast with Books" day.  My kids are required to read 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.  They keep journals, and instead of doing traditional book reports, they write weekly letters to me about their books.   About every 6 weeks, they are required to do a book talk.  So today was their first book talk.  We arranged our chairs into a circle, and then each student presented their talk.  I gave everyone a chance to ask a question, and kids got excited when they realized someone else had read a book they liked.  After everyone had shared, they had a chance to munch and sip on cider.  During the 2nd period class where I did the same thing, the principal came in to see what was happening, and he got into the act and shared a book he liked.

The day continued -- social studies was a bit looser than I like, a fire drill, but we finally got to the end of core classes.  We were scheduled to have an assembly at the end of the day. To make a long story short, the planned assembly didn't happen, and the principal shot from his hip to fill the time.  The whole school ended with 40 minutes of recess on a pretty chilly afternoon.  And then I had afternoon bus duty.  By the time I got back to my classroom it was 2:30 and I had exactly 1 hour 45 minutes to grade 42 timelines, 15 vocab assignments, 5 miscellaneous ELA papers, and 42 sets of social studies questions,  bring my grades up to date on the computer, and do my report cards!  I left my classroom at 3:55 (and left it quite a mess!) with all of that done and headed to a 4:00 meeting at church.  I had called the meeting so it would not have been good for me not to show!  Fortunately, it was an easy meeting - we are working on revising our by-laws, and I was home at 5:00.  Dinner was on the table at 5:30.   And now . . . .I am done!