Sunday, November 30, 2008

Highlights of

Thanksgiving... yes, this is belated, but better late than never. Two days prior to turkey day, I received a phone call: our hostess' family was sick with the stomach bug. Before I even needed to politely decline the offer she had extended to us several weeks ago, she very graciously informed me (or rather ordered me), "don't come...why put you into that awkward position of wait and see what happens?" Thank you, Joy!

So Plan B went into action. For the first time in our family, we ordered a $40.00 turkey dinner from a local grocery store, added a few homemade touches, and voila! A tasty and stress-free Thanksgiving dinner. It was probably the most delicious, moist turkey that we've tasted thus far. (No offense, Mom!)

We spent the remainder of the day walking off the dinner at a local park,

gathering bits of nature

getting a good workout

and enjoying a slice of pie with homemade whipped cream.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Update on Cherry-Almond Coffeecake = Double-Whammy Semi-Flop!

Due to my recent hectic schedule of the past few months, I've been attempting to lighten my load (at least in the cooking department) by making double-batches of recipes to save time. Good idea in most cases. Not this one. Just means we have more to consume. (Note to myself: never double a recipe without first trying it normal size.) Actually the cake had a good texture to it but lacked flavor. I'm trying to figure out whether I should just look for another recipe or doctor this one up. I would say add more almond flavor and more cherries - maybe dried ones along with golden raisins. The frozen ones I used must have had little flavor to begin with, hence the flavorless cakes. But eating this with a dollop of pumpkin butter helps it!

Update on Crafting = Simple Start 1

I'm on the collecting sweaters and felting (okay - fulling) them in the washing machine rampage again. One baby step closer to creating.

Update on Crafting = Simple Start 2

I've been in the mood for a denim skirt for winter but don't want to pay full price for something. I found these 2 (both too small for me on their own) in a thrift store and think they may work if pieced together. Of course, I'll have to make a few alterations along the way.

Update on Potato Soup = Thumbs Up!

Except add more seasonings: more dill, more pepper, add in garlic. Omit water, omit cream, add more bacon, use different potatoes... so basically change the original recipe. But otherwise, good. Enjoy.

Potato Soup (adapted from this one)
1 pkg Trader Joe's uncured bacon (this is not a full pound by the way, just in case you're thinking fat overload!)
1 onion, finely chopped
20 (approximately) small Yukon gold & Red gold potatoes, cut in half or quartered (skin on)
1 Tbsp dill weed (dried variety)
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Few shakes of garlic powder (or use real garlic, minced & saute with bacon & onions)
1 32 oz. container Trader Joe's low sodium chicken broth
1 cup water (or wine) - optional
1 can evaporated milk
Trader Joe's French Fried onions (as topping)

Cut up bacon with kitchen scissors so that it's in 1" pieces. Cook this and onion (& garlic if using) in skillet until bacon is browned & onion is soft. Drain the grease. Add all but milk & onion topping to a crockpot. Cook on low for about 6 hours. May have to increase temp to high so that potatoes are soft. Right before serving, stir in evaporated milk. Warm through. Serve with French Fried onions (or shredded cheese). My husband likes it with a few drops of hot sauce. Note: it is a more chunky thin soup rather than a creamy potato soup.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Is it an 'H'?

Today's weather has been weird, vacillating somewhere between snow flurries (too big to stick) & hail (albeit brief) with moments of calm thrown in for good measure. While my son decides to save the first (measly) snowball of the season...

I make a pot of potato soup and cherry almond coffeecakes. Don't know if either recipe tastes good yet. I'll let you know tomorrow.

Today also meant piano lessons, which for some in our family translates into joy and for others, conjures up feelings of embarrassment and dread. Of course, the latter is due to lack of practice during this past week. Oh well. And yet, we forge ahead. Today we spent the car ride practicing our note flashcards. Or at least the kids did as I drove. All I heard were things like...

"Is it a C?"
"No, wait...don't tell me... I know this one!"
"Oh, rats!"
"You don't know that one?"
"Quit stalling!"

Normal stuff. Until my youngest, who at this point is the only one who doesn't take lessons, yells out, "I know what that is! Is it an 'H'?"

Too bad there isn't an 'H' on the piano.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Craving Simplicity

Well, another month has passed. Many hours forgotten. Busy-ness seems to be my middle name. I am thankful for some simpler things though...

Enjoying good coffee: the homemade, freshly-ground, money-saving kind of coffee ...

Baking breads... banana, pumpkin and cranberry...

Recipe from this book. Try again? Not exactly... a little dry.

Celebrating my daughter's 14th birthday with a maple cake...

What's better than playing with something slimy?

Making 'gooey gunk' just for fun. Recipe from this book.

I'm hoping to set some time aside to make more of these, and finish the sweater that I began months ago. Maybe squeeze in some time for more creative endeavors.