Thursday, November 30, 2006

It's melting!! What a world, what a world!

Yay! We were able to go run errands to the PO and the local gas station and tomorrow we will go grocery shopping. Huzzahhhh!!!

I am telling you, being cut off from the rest of the world like that sure makes me appreciate the little things in life. Like getting out without worrying about negative wind chills or ice on the road. The roads here are still icy but managable. My husband is driving to work today too as the temps are not supposed to fall below 30 tonight. It's kind of warm out there (at 35 or so right now). LOL!!

Also, I added a little Weather Pixie to my page, I guess it's in the 40's now! Wow!!! No wonder why we can hear the snow falling off the roof!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Day 4 of being snowbound

This is irritating. Today we're expecting more snow showers and the like, but we're not in the teens like we were yesterday, at least. It's still a pain in the neck! I'm hoping by Friday the roads are not as icy, because we really need to do some grocery shopping. Our vehicles are still under all that snow and ice, but there's nothing we can do til the wind dies down and we have a little bit more time on our hands (at least with my husband, who went back to work yesterday).

In the meanwhile, hot tea is your friend. I'm still working on my box of Celestial Seasonings Gingerbread Spice. My poor baby girl got sick (guess we shouldn't have let her play outside in the snow and coldddd weather (think 15 degree weather with wind chills in the negatives) for over 45 minutes...durrr). She's fighting a little bit of a cold, but I'm making her drink some green tea and take her vitamins.

It's the most miserable time of the year!!! I know some people love it, but I'm not going anywhere, and it's starting to get to me. This too shall pass, eh? Hopefully sooner than later. Day 3 of no school, Day 4 of not being able to really get out and do things we need to do, and hopefully by Friday I can get to the PO and grocery store! *Crosses fingers*.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Comfort food for a cold day

This was not the best time to be stuck indoors. For one, bills of all kinds were due, but luckily for us, technology is on our side, allowing us to pay directly via phone or internet (except for rent, but I am sure our landlord, who is local, will understand if it's not postdated before the first). Secondly, we were due to pick up a bunkbed for our daughter, but that has to wait. And lastly, we really need to go grocery shopping. However, since I have food issues of all kinds, my pantry is pretty well stocked so we will be okay. The only things we have to conserve are milk and bread. Unfortunately I have no yeast, so I can't make our own bread, but if I need to, I'll make some pumpkin bread. Lord knows I have cans upon cans of pumpkin. But eggs, we're running out of those too. *Makes mental note.*

In any case, I decided we needed comfort food to get through this long day, so I am making beans and serving them with baked tortilla strips and some ground beef. To the beans in the crockpot I added:

-2 whole cloves of garlic
-liberal dashes of cumin and garlic salt

So we'll see how it turns out. I will be adding mixed veggies to it, as well, when all is said and done (cooked). Should be delicious, hopefully!

When all else fails, find stuff in your pantry and make do!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

More snow pictures

It won't stop coming down! Remember our deck last night? Here it was at noon today:

Our vehicles today, my truck on the left, my husband's car on the right. Completely covered, and this was 2pmish. It's under more snow if you can believe it:

Finally, my daughter got so fed up with not being able to slide around much on her boogie board that she gave up about 10 minutes into it:

Schools will be cancelled, and work possibly as well tomorrow.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Would you BBQ in the snow?

Maybe? I know others who do. Anyhow, we have gotten about 2 inches (I'd say) of snow tonight. Mind you we don't live in the mountains, we live in relatively low land here in WA state.

So I'm thinking for Christmas we will BBQ, come snow or no snow! What do you think? Unorthodox, yes. But we are an unorthodox Atheist-Agnostic Christmas-celebrating family! (Traditions, ya'll, traditions!)

As much as I hate the snow and am scared to death of driving my truck (without fourwheel drive, might I add??) on icy roads, it's kind of pretty and exciting!!! Baby, it's cold outside!

Friday, November 24, 2006

A (mostly) drama-free Thanksgiving

Yesterday morning I got my butt up at 8am to get over to my SIL's house to start cooking the Thanksgiving feast. Got there by 8:45am and the night before I made a butter/herb mixture, a cue taken by watching Sandra Lee's Thanksgiving special (I did NOT follow her directions to a T though- just basically made an herb butter). The things I put in my herb/butter mixture were: poultry seasoning, oregano, minced garlic. So I cleaned out the turkey (luckily everything was in a bag for me! I can't stand touching the giblets. Gross!) and pat dried it, then massaged the herb butter mixture into its skin and put the thermometer in the thigh, stuck it in the roaster, covered it up and started cooking it at 325°F at 9:15am.

SIL and BIL were cleaning up a bit, then I helped with setting up the table and everything else. Mostly it was a calm morning, just chatting and getting things set up, but by about 12pm, things were getting busy as we started preparing the side dishes. My SIL bought an entire bag of BAKING potatoes (you know, the large kind?). I'm talking a 10-pound bag. Mind you, it was going to be a total of 6 adults and 4 children. Not many people. So she peeled them and I chopped them up and got them ready for boiling. By about 12:45pmish, the bird was done after checking the internal temperature. I put it off to the side and we just got the potatoes in the water. By that time, my BIL's uncle arrived, and my SIL's friend and her daughter came too. We were just waiting on my husband to show, who was not feeling good. The potatoes were still going, a full hour later (yeah, that's how many potatoes were in the pot). The potatoes finally finished at 2pm, around the time my husband showed up.

BIL carved the turkey and we got the sides all ready in their bowls. Unfortunately, because my husband was not feeling so hot, we did not have the camera on us and did not take the pictures. I will say that my turkey? Was a success. We were transferring it to the serving platter and the meat started falling off the bones! When I had my one (and only! I can't believe I had that much self-control!) plate, the first thing I tried was the turkey. White meat (I usually only eat the white meat), no matter how moist the turkey is, can never seem to stay moist enough for me. However, it was delicious. We had dessert about 4 hours later. SIL put the turkey on a plate for me to take home, but all I can think of is how many mashed potatoes she had left over. LOL. The entire pot she made? Well let's put it this way- she filled the serving bowl overheaped with mashed potatoes and STILL had half a pot of mashed potatoes left. LOL!!!

My poor husband is in need of 2 extractions (teeth) and was all on painkillers and antibiotics. He's feeling better today, but we have postponed putting up the tree until next weekend (we have a fake Christmas tree).

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

In a bind for Thanksgiving? Try this

No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake by Kraft Foods

1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened

1 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided

1 HONEY MAID Graham Pie Crust (6 oz.)

BEAT cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar and pumpkin pie spice with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gently stir in 2-1/2 cups of the whipped topping. Cover and refrigerate remaining whipped topping for later use.

SPOON cream cheese mixture into crust.

REFRIGERATE 3 hours or overnight. Serve topped with remaining whipped topping. Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator.

I've made this everytime I didn't have time to make a dessert. It is easy as heck and awesome. Not to mention it tastes great too!

Because starting a new block of classes on Thanksgiving week is soooo not cool. Trust me. At least they are giving us 2 weeks off for the winter holidays.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO EVERYONE and thank you for reading my blog. I appreciate each and everyone of you! :)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The crockpot works!

HUZZAH!!! But the pot roast I made didn't come out so good. I decided to freeze diced up potatoes, carrots, and celery and basically the potatoes turned brown and tasted gross. My husband liked it and ate it...but we didn't.

Oh well. At least my crockpot works!!! YAY!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Dog food

Okay so it's not about dog food per se, but if I owned a dog, I would try my hardest to feed them human-grade food, like Nutro or Candidae. Anyhow, I added a third blog link for dog blogs. Most of you know I'm crazy about the pooches. Can't have one, living here in this apartment, and everytime I see my landlord with his dog, I can't help but pet the dog, who is a Shepard-Husky mix and the most behaved dog I have ever seen in my life.

Growing up, my first pet was a Cockapoo named Brandy. My mom was pregnant with my little sister when we got her, and when my mom had my sister, Brandy was very good around her, and very protective of our family. It was quite funny to see a little Cockapoo growling if someone came to the door! Shortly after my sister was born, Brandy died tragically. I will spare you the details of how, but the vet had to put her down. She was the only dog my mother (who is a cat person) ever loved. After that, my mother went out and bought THREE puppies (what she was thinking I don't know), two of whom were a St Bernard mix (as we found out later as they grew!).

When my husband and I first started living together, we had a dog named D.O.G., who was a German Shepard mixed dog. She was such a sweetheart and would cuddle with you, and was the only dog I have ever known to give hugs. When I became pregnant with my daughter, she would bury her head in my belly and I knew she could hear the heartbeat. Whenever I got home from work, D.O.G. would be so thrilled to see me, and give me this look like she did something bad, so I would play around with her, and say, "What did you do?? I know you did something- what did you do, D.O.G.?" and she would just put that cute little head of hers down and look up at you with those puppy eyes. Such a sweetie. Sadly, she ran away from my mother-in-law (who she lived with after we moved back up to my hometown when I was in the second trimester of my pregnancy) in August of 2005 and they never did find her.

More recently, we haven't had any dogs, but whenever I go to my sister-in-law and brother-in-law's house, I usually get their dogs a-howlin', playing with them. Unfortunately, two weekends ago, my sister-in-law lost her dog, Papa. Papa somehow got loose and well, being close to a highway and busy road, you do the math. They still have Daisy, who is a pit bull/Rottweiler mix and does the whole head tilting thing if I say, "Daisy! Tilt your head!" It's the cutest thing.

Lastly I want to say I really think that pit bulls get such a bad rap and it irritates me to no end. In the group of "aggressive dogs" you also often hear of Rottweilers, Bulldogs, even German Shepards, Labradors, Mastiffs, etc. It bugs me because people automatically hear "pit bull" and think, BAD DOG. Well, bad dog if the owner is a bad owner. But not all pit bulls are the same, and I refuse to believe that. Daisy and Papa are/were pit bulls and never gave us any reason to think that they would be aggressive towards humans. Of course, they were brought up in a better home than some of the other pit bulls you hear about. I won't go on and preach about it, but before judging a pit bull because of their breed, please try understanding why they get such a bad rap, and why that misconception leads to breed bans.

Punish the deed, not the breed!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

What a day!

I feel accomplished for the most part. Decided that I would take today and get the laundry done, and rearrange/clean up my daughter's room, which was a pigsty. I also wanted to attend the Craft Fair our PTO put on, because I donated some baked goods (Peppermint Vanilla Sugar Cookies and the Downeast Maine Bread) and wanted to see what was going on.

So we went to the Craft Fair, which was really slow at that point. They had a gym full of vendors with stuff from hand-made ornaments for the holidays to crocheted caps and scarves to handmade bags and clothing. I found the PTO's table and in the beginning when I arrived there, they had only sold one pack of my cookies but most of my pumpkin bread was gone. It looks like they didn't get a lot donated, because there was only four different baked goods, and two of them were from me. I'm glad I made both of them! By the time we left (about an hour later, I stuck around to talk with my friend, who was running a kid's booth), almost all of my cookies were gone and I received a ton of compliments on it and the bread. So, hooray! Next time I will probably set up and be a vendor myself with baked goodies and punch. Why not?? It's only $20 for a booth! It would be well-worth it!

After that I decided to take my daughter out for a drive and we grabbed a bite for lunch, and came home. Got her room cleaned up, organized and I am halfway done with my laundry.

I feel quite accomplished today. Now hopefully tomorrow I will be as prudent about getting my reading started for my new block of classes (the last block- which starts on Monday!)...we'll see!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Chicken Adobo take two, Nana's recipe

Okay, so I called my Nana again and got the directions on how to make her adobo. This is how she does it:

1. Set aside pork or chicken (if large pieces chop up according to your desires) in a bowl with vinegar (not too much as my Nana says, but enough- you be the judge), water and paprika (again, you be the judge). Chop up onion (preferably yellow, but white will do), and garlic. Put chopped garlic and oil in skillet and cook til just browned, then add the chopped onion and cook til it wilts. Add 1 bay leaf.

2. Add chicken/pork in water, vinegar, paprika mix to the onion/garlic/bay leaf mixture and salt and pepper to your desire. Cook til it simmers down into a semi-thick sauce, serve with rice.

This batch came out good looking, but I added too much vinegar. (Hey, I'm still learning here!) Overall it was good though. YAY! I have my Nana's recipe down (almost!).

Here are some pictures!

Nice and orangey from the paprika (think I added a bit too much too, but hey!):

I LOVE this picture, you can see the steam rising from the bowl if you look close enough!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Crossing my fingers here

Last night I put the crockpot on top of my fridge like I normally do. Well, my daughter went to get something out of the fridge and I guess she slammed the door pretty hard and well...the crockpot fell off the top of my fridge. Oyy. I picked it up and the panel where you turn the knob thingy is all messed up and busted, so I don't know if it will work correctly anymore.

However, my husband took a looksee at it and said the wiring wasn't affected so HOPEFULLY it will work. I just don't know if it will work correctly. This is not what we needed at the moment...but if I have to replace it, I'm getting a bigger one. I have a standard sized crockpot, but I'd like something bigger.

Still, I hope it's not busted. We'll see. *Boohooohoooo!*

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Recipe Review- Pot Roast (Crockpot)

Sorry, I did not take pictures of this, but it was very similar to my Beef Stew recipe. Also, I added celery in the pot roast, which I like because it brings more flavor to the roast.

Anyhow, here is the recipe (it's not online, I got this from my GMIL):


2-3 potatoes, pared and thinly sliced
2-3 carrots, pared and thinly slices
1 to 2 onions, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3-4 lb brisket, rump roast, or pot roast
1/2 cup water or beef consomme (beef broth will do)

Put veggies at the bottom of the crockpot. Salt and pepper meat and then put in pot. Add liquid. Cover and cook on low 10-12 hours (High: 5-6 hours). Remove meat and vegetables with spatula and thicken for gravy if desired.

Notes from Jen: I forgot to add the onion, but will next time. I also used beef chuck roast which I chopped into two and it worked perfectly. I slow cooked this one and it took about 9-10 hours and by the end, the meat was so tender it was falling apart, and the veggies fully cooked. So delicious. I used half beef broth and half water, but I didn't follow what it called for. What I did was added it til it covered the veggies because it was taking forever to cook the veggies through. It was a bit more of a stew, but next time I'll follow the directions more closely and see how that goes! Overall, very hearty. Unfortunately, I didn't start it til 3pm and it was done around midnight. I ended up making sandwiches for dinner that night, and put it in the fridge after it was done (had to go to sleep). My husband kept smelling the food while he was asleep so he got up around 4am to eat some. LOL. At least he liked it!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Got this little joke from a family member

If you're easily offended, you may want to skip this one.

I'm gonna try this recipe this year!

Here is a turkey recipe that also includes the use of popcorn
as a stuffing - imagine that. When I found this recipe, I thought it
was perfect for people like me, who just are not sure how to tell when
poultry is thoroughly cooked, but not dried out. Give this a try.

6-7 lb. Turkey
1 cup melted butter
1 cup stuffing (Pepperidge Farm is good.)
Salt/pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush turkey well with melted
butter salt, and pepper. Fill cavity with stuffing and popcorn. Place
in baking pan with the neck end toward the back of the oven. Listen for
the popping sounds.

When the turkey's ass blows the oven door open and the turkey
flies across the room, it's done.

And, you thought I couldn't cook . . .

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Recipe Review- Banana Cream Cheese Bread

I got this one from Mazenbloo after asking for advice on problems with bread becoming too crusty. This was something she got off of All-Recipes and modified her recipe a bit (there are notes in this recipe). I actually didn't use pecans (didn't have them handy) but made a brown sugar-cinnamon type of topping for the bread, which was good!!!


* 1/2 cup margarine, softened
* 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
* 1 1/4 cups white sugar (I actually use 3/4 brown and 1/2 white sugar for this)
* 2 eggs
* 3 ripe mashed bananas
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 3/4 cup chopped pecans
* 2 tablespoons brown sugar
* 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

~~~***I don't do the stuff in the middle (nuts/sugar/cinnamon). I put the cinnamon in the dry ingredients with the bread. But I do the nuts/brown sugar for the top for sort of a struesel type topping. :D)

1. Cream the butter or margarine and cream cheese together. Gradually add the sugar, and continue beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the mashed bananas and vanilla. Add flour, baking powder, and soda; mix until batter is just moist.

2. In a small bowl, mix together chopped pecans, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and cinnamon.

3. Divide 1/2 batter into two greased and floured 8x4 inch loaf pans. Sprinkle pecan mixture over batter in pans, and top with remaining batter.

4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

The result?? SOFT and delicious banana bread. Oh man...this was the best. I made this earlier this week but had no time to write about it. I took one of the loaves to my SIL and she is in love with it. We're going to be using this recipe from now on!

Thanks Mazen!!! :)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Heaven! In a cup!

You HAVE to try it. I finally found some of these, after lamenting to Cakegrrl that I couldn't find them. I didn't find the Egg Nog one I wanted, but Gingerbread Spice had my name all over it.

Delicious- especially with a little bit of milk and sugar in it!

Veteran's Day

I'd like to tell you about a special man who recently left us. He's my grandpa, Binnie Craig, and he died on December 23, 2005 of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and lung-related illnesses. He's the reason I quit smoking. Binnie Craig was born on April 1st, 1937 in grew up in Petersburg, Illinois. He joined the Army and served 20 years, including serving in Vietnam. He earned the Army Commendation Medal and retired in 1974 as a SFC.

Grandpa always had a way of making me laugh and had this way of kind of making fun of you if you acted ditzy (which I tend to a do a lot of). I miss that. I was the last family member getting into California, arriving in California with my husband and daughter in tow at 9am on December 23rd, 4 hours after Grandpa passed away. My dad was waiting for us and told me in the airport. I've had a hard time reconciling the fact that I never got a chance to say goodbye, not even on the phone for him to hear. My sister did tell him I said, "I love you" and he said "I love you" back. I extended my stay in California and we went to the wake, but I ended up missing the funeral because I came down with a really bad flu and was bedridden. The next time I go home to visit, I plan on going to his grave to just talk to him.

Most recently, I had a dream with Grandpa in it, where we had taken him home from the hospital, knowing he was going to die, but he was at peace with it, and we were saying our goodbyes. I called my cousin and explained it to her, and we both realized that was the way Grandpa wanted to go- at home in his own bed, and maybe this was his way of saying goodbye to me, in my dream.

I still have a jar of Strawberry Chocolate Mint spread he made for everyone before he died. I cannot bring myself to open it up, even though I'm sure he's looking down on me and saying, "Darnit Jennifer! You don't waste food!" and shaking his head.

Sometimes when I see rays of light through clouds I think it's Grandpa saying hello. My own daughter even decided to take his obituary to class for Show and Tell this week and talked about her Great-Grandpa and how he was a veteran.

I realize I spoke briefly of my Grandpa being a Veteran, but today I am thinking of him and really miss him.

In memory of Binnie Craig,
April 1, 1937 - December 23, 2005
I love you and miss you.

A picture of my father and his father together, one of the last times we all were together, in July 2005, having a BBQ.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Indoor S'mores Recipe by Tammie

Here's another one from Tammie! Thanks Tammie! :)


Kids will love these if they like chocolate

8 cups golden grahams cereal (13 oz box)

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

6 cups miniature marshmallows (one 10 oz bag)

1 stick butter or margarine

1 tsp vanilla

Melt 5 cups of the marshmallows, stick of margarine and the chocolate chips together over low heat. Stirring well until completely mixed. While that is melting butter a 13 x 9 x 2 pan and put cereal in a big bowl. Just smear it all over good. Once melted together remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Got to move quickly with the rest because it gets hard really fast. Pour marshmallow mixture over cereal and add the other 1 cup of marshmallows. Quickly but gently cover and coat the cereal. Spoon into the buttered pan and use a buttered spoon to press down into the pan, smoothing it out over pan. Let cool completely and then cut into bars. Enjoy!

If the batter is not burning hot, I just buttered hands, not a spoon and dished it into pan and pressed down with fingers.

German Apple Cake recipe by Tammie

My friend, Tammie, shared this recipe with me and gave me permission to post it. It sounds so delicious!


Set oven at 350 degrees

Prepare a 9 x 13 pan by spraying with non-stick spray or grease/flour. I prefer the non-stick spray. Spray bottom and sides.

Beat until foamy 2 large eggs and one cup vegetable oil. Add to egg mixture and then mix well:

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

When that is all mixed smooth then add 4 cups of peeled and finely cup apples. I use granny smith, but can use goldens or others. And add 1/2 cup walnuts.

The batter will be very thick! Like cookie dough thick. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes. It is always more like 45 for me, pull out when toothpick/knife comes out clean. If just a lil tacky that is fine, it will cook slightly a bit more once removed.

Let cool while you make icing: Beat together with electric mixer:

Package of cream cheese (the brick size)

3 tablespoons butter/margarine

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Cream together thoroughly. Frost cake while warm.

Note: I have done this as well with adding a lil can of crushed pineapple to the cream cheese mixture but just plain is great!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Two famous people I could be friends with

1. Freddy Mercury- hello, our love for music? Maybe he could have coached me on singing better. *Sigh*. Choir was such a part of my life during high school, I accomplished a lot with choir and even drew the attention of a few arts and music schools because of my interaction in my choir. Freddy Mercury's voice can still give me the chills to this day, and it's hard for me to listen to anyone sing the songs he sang without being highly critical of it. I think that is why I balked at the thought of a Queen night on American Idol last season. Some people shined, but mostly I was not impressed. Of course, I hold Freddy in a high light, just because no one can get me to feel the emotion of a song like he can. "Somebody to Love" is perhaps my favorite song that he sang.

2. Okay, I know Rachael Ray drives me crazy, but honestly! We're both wacky and tend to be quite loud. She seems like the kind of person you can have a drink with and learn a few kitchen tips from! I'll swap her some makeup tips for kitchen tips. Not that her makeup is bad, but hey, it's an exchange of info. Or maybe I'll give her my vast knowledge of business...hahahaha.

And steering away from the topic a bit, speaking of school, I ended up with an A- in my Economic Theory class and an A in my Legal Business Issues class, which actually raised my grade to the GPA I wanted before I graduated- a 3.71. I do have two more classes that look VERY challenging but I'm up for that challenge. Bring it on.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Recipe Review: Stuffed French Toast

As promised, after watching the episode of $40 Day with Rachael Ray, I decided to make the Stuffed French Toast she had at Jack's Outback while visiting Cape Cod. I did have to cut the recipe down some because I wasn't making as much as it called for, and I did top it with different fruits (oranges and bananas as opposed to peaches, bananas and strawberries). I also omitted the powdered sugar.

Overall it was quite easy to make, but I will be honest, I did NOT care too much for it. I think it's the texture of the ricotta cheese. I tried whipping it as smooth as possible, but I couldn't get it. I bet it would taste good with cream cheese, but it would be richer than it is with the ricotta cheese. It's very tasty, but it's a very rich dish, and as Rachael said, it's like dessert for breakfast, which is why I made breakfast for dinner last night and this was our dessert. It got a huge thumbs up from my daughter, though! My husband liked it a lot as well, but also said it was quite rich. I didn't even use any syrup, that's how rich it was.

Maybe someday I will try it with cream cheese instead of the ricotta! Pictures for your viewing pleasure!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Let's talk Turkey

My sister-in-law and I are going to commence on our first ever Thanksgiving dinner, and it should be interesting. She's a bit challenged in the cooking department, but I can balance that out. However, she does bake well. We plan on roasting a 12-15 lb turkey (whatever my husband's work gives us for free for Thanksgiving- usually around that size). I keep hearing that you should roast your turkey upside down so the juices run into the breast. While that sounds fine and dandy, I have to wonder- what about the skin?? Doesn't it turn into a moist pile of goop? The guys (my husband and her husband) love their turkey skin to be crispy and brown. How does that work out??

If I plan on cooking it traditionally, do you think adding maybe some sage or rosemary would hurt? I think it may be a nice little addition to the butter we are rubbing all over that thing. (LOL!)

Our menu for the day includes the following:
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Rolls
  • Canned cranberry sauce (blech!!!)
  • Corn
  • Gravy (homemade)
  • Salad
  • An assortment of pies: Pumpkin Cheesecake (I am making), SIL is making Apple and Pumpkin Pie
I think that should be enough for us 4 plus 3 kids and possibly some stragglers (her mom maybe, maybe BIL's dad and his wife). What do you think? Should we add more food?

Friday, November 03, 2006

You get what you pay for

I recently ordered a new kitchen knife set from a website offering them at an astronomically cheap price. I figured maybe they would break sooner and thought, what the hell, I'll go ahead and order them. Well, after a month or so of use they are duller than ever. I can't chop veggies without having to really press down into the board.

Time for another set of knives. Our rusted Farberware knives we replaced worked better than the new set! I'm thinking something not too expensive but not so cheap it rusts or becomes dull within a month of use. I've always wondered about the Miracle Blade- any good reviews from that?

So there is one more thing to add to the old Christmas wishlist!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

OT- anyone else getting SPAM comments

on their blog lately?? If it's a bother, you can set your blog to Comment Moderation, looks like the Spam Bots are in full effect, getting through word verification too!

Recipe Review- Banana Loaf Cake

Recipe provided by Allrecipes


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 3 very ripe bananas


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 5x9 inch loaf pan
  2. Mash bananas and add flour, sugar, butter, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda and egg. Mix well. Pour into loaf pan.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 50 to 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.

I added some spices because otherwise, it just would have been bland to me. I added 1/2 tsp of Cloves, 1/2 tsp Nutmeg and 1 tsp Cinnamon.

This was a VERY good and tasty loaf, but I think without the addition of the spices it just would have been bland. The only thing I am having trouble figuring out is how come my loaves are coming out more like breads, at least crust-wise. That's why I haven't ventured into making cakes from scratch yet. Inside is moist and soft and delicious but the crust turns out to be a bit crispy or not as soft as I would prefer it. I've tried turning down my oven, stopped using the baking spray (when I realized I had non-stick pans, durrrrr), put it in for less time, but it always comes out crispy. Any suggestions on how to fix that?

Here are some pictures:

The whole Banana Loaf Cake:

Alternate views: