25 November 2011

NOW Christmas can begin.

For the past few years, basically since I worked retail, I'm not in favor of having anything Christmasy out until AFTER Thanksgiving. Fall decorations are so pretty, why rush putting them away? Though, my Fall decor consists of a wreath, a pumpkin, and pilgrim salt and pepper shakers. My Christmas is a little bit better. Michael's had 4ft pre-lit Christmas trees on sale a few weeks ago, and I was all over that. So, we've got a Christmas tree, a few ornaments, couple of plates, and the newest additon, the wreath I just made!



One of my oldest friends, Allison, repinned this link on Pinterest. Then a few days later, I saw her put the one she made up on Facebook! I was sold. The hardest part about this wreath? Finding a wire coat hanger.
I used 8 of the bigger decorated balls, 11 of the small glittery balls, and about 60 of the red, white and green balls. So, they were correct when the website said about 80. I could have put two more on there, but it was getting hard to close the wire hanger. I bought some ribbon to go with it, but I didn't like how it looked, so I'll use it for something else. I actually recommend this wreath. It was really easy, and cost about $40 to make, but that's because I had to buy a hot glue gun. I'd make another one.

24 November 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had a nice, peaceful Thanksgiving, my husband and I. It was actually kinda nice with just the two of us. My normal Thanksgiving is a potluck of food and family, scattered everywhere throughout a house, normally about 15-20 of us. This year, we're nowhere close to Georgia, and so we had our own Thanksgiving.



I started out with a slow cooked turkey breast. It was maybe 5lbs at the most. I rubbed it with Lipton's Onion Soup Mix, and threw it in the Crock Pot, high heat for one hour, then low heat for seven hours. Turned out nice, juicy and amazing. I was amused that the turkey breast came with a gravy packet, so much to my husband's liking, I made gravy. Poured in whatever was in the packet, 1/4th cup of the turkey drippings and about a hand full of flour. I don't like gravy, but this was delicious!

Along with turkey, I made my mother's cornbread dressing. I refuse to share the recipe, but I'm very pleased to say it tasted JUST like my mother's. I thought I made it too soupy. Along with that, I made bacon wrapped green beans. They turned out pretty awesome! And then I cheated and used bagged cream corn and the Hawaiian rolls.

The pies turned out amazing. Well, the sweet potato pie could have used about 1/2 cup less sugar, but I still liked it. The pumpkin pie was perfect. And yes, we did end up sampling them yesterday. :)

Overall, a pretty damn good Thanksgiving, giving what happened yesterday...but that's for another post.

I hope everyone else had a fantastic thanksgiving!

23 November 2011

Pre-Thanksgiving planning.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving! And around these parts, we have to do a little pre-gaming. Or pre-baking, if you'd like.
To make my mother's secret dressing (I will not share the recipe!) You have to make the cornbread a day ahead, so it gets "old." Now, that recipe, I will share with you. Being that it's just the two of us, I cut the cornbread recipe in half:

Maybe I'll Eat YOUR Cornbread
2 cups of self rising cornmeal
2 eggs
2 tbsp of bacon or sausage drippings (I used olive oil)
and buttermilk or milk (I used buttermilk)

Heat oven to 400°F, place iron skillet with oil in there to preheat and warm up skillet. 
Mix cornmeal, eggs, and drippings/oil together, add milk slowly. You want to make the mixture moist, but not soupy. Somewhere between thick and thin consistancy. Once you get it there, take skillet out of oven, pour mixure into skillet and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on your oven. IT should be a nice golden brown when you're done. 


Awww yeaaah boooyyyy!
That's a 10 1/4 inch skillet, and it only fills it up half way. If you double the recipe, the same size pan should still work. 


After the cornbread was done, I made TWO pies. Yes. Two. A pumpkin and a sweet potato pie, per request of my husband. I decided I wasn't going another Thanksgiving without a pumpkin pie (long, tragic story) and he wanted to try sweet potato pie, so I said, "Why the hell not?" I used my traditional pumpkin pie recipe, which turns out was developed by Eagle Brand and had to search the internet for a sweet potato pie recipe, being that we have no family one (terrible Southerners we are.) I found this one, and in the description it reads "special friend in Atlanta." What? Yeah, I'm sold. So, I made it, too. I've got my fingers crossed. It looks and smells delicious. I'm trying to resist sampling it. 


Pumpkin and Sweet Potato
I'm so excited to try them. I'm seriously thinking about just having a damn slice tonight. I mean, it's just me and my husband for Thanksgiving...no one will care...



15 November 2011

Beef Stew Bowls

I think I may have found a new love of mine. Beef Stew in a Bread Bowl. That's right, it's so important, it needs capitalized letters.

First off, I made bread bowls, following this recipe, kind of. I didn't use all purpose flour, but instead used bread flour, also used olive oil and added 1 tsp of sugar. Nom. They ended up looking like this:

Mmmm. Yeah.

Then, I started cookin' my pressure cooker beef stew. So easy.

NEEDS:
1lb of stew beef
about 5 small potatoes, cut up (peeled or not peeled. Your choice)
a small bag of baby carrots, or about 5 regular carrots, peeled and chopped
half a bag of green beans (being vague, sorry.)
1 packet of Lipton's Onion Soup Mix
1 cup of water.

Layer it in the order of written, put on lid, close. Turn heat onto medium, walk away until done.

While that was cooking, I finished up the bread and let it cooled, then carved a bowl out of 'em.


Something like that. And all I had to do was just wait on the pressure cooker to do it's thing. Once it was done, I was able to stuff it full of beef stew.

Like this.

Awww yeah, boooooooyyyy! The bowls were fairly small, but seriously filling and oh so good.

14 November 2011

I DID IT.

Ever since I joined Ravelry, I decided I was going to learn to knit. Mainly for the purpose of knitting socks. And probably sweaters. Now that I have the know how to knit, yesterday, I embarked on the journey that is socks. Only took me three years. Though, these socks are slightly cheating; they're "baby" socks. Now, being that I've never had a baby and don't play with them that often, I'm going to assume these are going to fit my newest cousin, Emily.


I used the Mini-Sock pattern from Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer, and it was a great beginner sock! They both took me about 5 hours to make (because I kept having to rip out, figure out, and plus I just knit slow) but I love them! I used Claudia Hand Painted Yarns in Short Sport in the color way Summer Rose. I hope they fit Emily, if not Mom and Grandma get Christmas tree ornaments instead. ;)

I now feel as if I could conquer regular-people socks.

13 November 2011

Thankya, Jesus.

A couple of weeks ago, I got an awful hankerin' for grits. Not that instant crap that you can pick up at the store. Yeah, it's easier, but it's not worth it. So I used my Google-Fu and finally found some. Sweet Jesus, thank you Anson Mills for existing. As I drooled over the monitor looking at all the yummies they had for sale, I realized they had a four 12oz bag purchase. That's too easy. I pondered over it for about an hour, and chose. WISELY. A week later, I had a box full of deliciousness at my door. The UPS man greeted me with his usual friendly greeting, and it was all I could do but snatch it from him and run. I opened my box with fevered anticipation. I pulled the bags out one by one and the smile on my face got bigger and bigger.


It was pretty much Christmas for this Southern girl. Bless my soul, stone ground white and blue grits, two different textures of cornmeal and Sea Island Red Peas. I excitedly placed them in the freezer and began my wait for my husband to return from the field. I mean, I can't not share these. After two long weeks, and several horrible distractions, I decided that tonight was the night, for grits. I've never cooked these bad boys before, as my dear, sweet, loving mother had always done it. So I called her in the middle of her dinner for instructions. 4 to 1 ratio? But play with them? 'Bout 30 minutes? Okie dokie.
Being that there's only two of us, in a small sauce pan, I put 1/2 cup of grits, and 2 1/2 cups of water and brought it to a boil on medium heat, (5-7 minutes), while stirring constantly.
After that, I reduced my heat as low as I could go, and brought some water to boil in my kettle. I'd stir about every two minutes or so, and would add water when they'd get too thick. I added a tablespoon of butter, threw a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper in, added a little more water, and that was it. I think total time was 30 minutes. I think they could have used about 10 minutes more, but I was hungry and don't mind a bit of chewy texture. And delicious they were! Served enough for my husband and I and probably enough for one more person. Or seconds.  Or breakfast the next morning for one.
These seriously hit the spot. Hopefully this week, I'll try out the Red Peas and make some cornbread!

Now if only I could find some Purple Hull peas and Butter Beans...

12 November 2011

Oops.

So, uh, I've kinda ignored the blogging world for about two weeks now, but that's okay. I've been doing things with friends and doing other important things...like shopping. And cooking. And forgetting to take pictures. Whoops.

And so, because of that, I've decided to indulge you in a post. Blessed you are! For it's that time of year. The time where Thanksgiving becomes forgotten for Christmas. Well, I haven't forgotten you Thanksgiving. But I hope you will forgive me for going ahead and starting making my Christmas cards. That's right. I'm insane and have decided to make Christmas cards this year! This is what I have so far:


Basically, I'm cutting scrapbook paper (cutting straight is overrated) and gluing it to premade notecards. That's as far as I've gotten. I'm also going to attach a handmade ornament to the front, which is why they're kinda plain looking. Here's half of the first one I've made!



My husband makes a great hand model.
Tiny mittens! How exciting is that? Okay, maybe just for me, but whatever. Hopefully this will work out. I figured if I start now, I'll have a good chunk done before Christmas. :) So yes, I'm insane and I'm that bored. Hopefully, I'll be able to report back with happy news.