Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving: Take 2

Every year, my husband and I take the kids to our parents' houses for multiple turkey dinners. But, in our own little world of insanity, we also cook a Thanksgiving meal of our own the next day.

If you know anything about me, you probably have heard me admit that I am a terrible cook. My husband, on the other hand is actually pretty talented. He's not one to create his own masterpieces, but give the man a recipe and he delivers every time.

We both like to experiment and find new recipes online. So, this year, I was really thrilled with our final products and thought maybe I'd gloat some of you guys might like to check 'em out. The sad part is, I didn't take any pictures. What can I say? I was too excited to eat.

The first thing we did was brine our turkey overnight. My ingenious friend, Seth Pollins, had a great instructional video, but the link no longer works, so we'll just go with outright instructions:

3 cups kosher salt
1 cup sugar
2 gallons water

For a 12 to 20 pound turkey, you can submerge it in this solution for 4 to 12 hours.

Then, when we cooked it, my husband found this Black Pepper Pomegranate Molasses Glaze recipe.

Holy bejeezus, this was the best turkey I have ever eaten. Even days later, the turkey is still juicy. I feel like I have Rubbermaid tubs full of crack in my fridge because I can't stop consuming it.

Another recipe that my husband tackled was this basic cranberry sauce. Growing up, all I ever saw was that tin can-mold of jelly slurp out into a bowl, so I never touched the stuff. Even though I wasn't excited about the recipe, once it started cooking, the whole house smelled incredible. And so, another addiction was born. The flavors burst in your mouth, coating it first with the tart of the cranberries, but then the sweetness of the brown sugar and honey smooth it out. It was super easy to make and an excellent dish to impress.

I actually made a sweet potato-marshmallow casserole, which is something I never even ate growing up. Never once did sweet potatoes cross the threshold into our home. I don't even like them that much. So, I took the time to bake the potatoes. I mashed them with the electric mixer and love. (Yes, I said that.) For the record, I love anything with brown sugar. I can eat brown sugar right out of the bag.


But, read carefully here...DO NOT add the marshmallows until the last 5 or 10 minutes of baking. Otherwise you will have burnt marshmallows. They neglected to mention that in the recipe, but thankfully, I was leery of cooking them that long and saved them before it was my usual disastrous ending. And surprise! I loved it.

These may be some fairly basic recipes for some, but they are all flavorful and simple ways to create a meal that everyone will drool over.

Bon appetit!

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Yes, here in Albuquerque we go crazy over 1 inch of snow on the ground.  We even try to sled on it:

We build alien snowmen with it.

And we make snowcones at 8am with it.  We have to hurry, because it's all melted by noon!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Time For a Sea Change

I love to read. There was a time I would read anything I could get my hands on. My mom would tell you that she spent the better part of my 19th summer worried about me because I chose to read The Autobiography of Henry VIII for fun. It was longer than War and Peace, Crime and Punishment, and my mom would swear it was longer than the Bible.  I don't really know, but I've read those three from cover to cover as well.

The last few years I've been devoted to chick lit. It's entertaining and light, but not anything that will give the  medulla oblongata any sort of meaningful workout.

Enter Sea Change by Jeremy Page. I read it. It's not chick lit. It's not funny. It's not light. But, it was intriguing and haunting and terrifying at times.  Page reminds you constantly that "life has an elegance about it sometimes, of moments playing out you never thought would."  It's those moments that he writes about: the string of moments in your life that seem surreal and distant, the moments that make you, the moments that ultimately break you.

Guy has lost his daughter in a freak tragedy which subsequently causes his divorce from his wife Judy. Unable to deal with the loss, Guy lives on a barge in the North Sea where he spends his days passing time and his nights creating the life he lost in a journal. It's a fascinating concept. He just writes the life he imagines he would have had. He is paralyzed by his grief and his past, and you honestly feel like you will drown in a sea of grief with him. Just as the writing becomes unbearable, Page throws you a life preserver- a love interest, a storm, something to bring you back to the light, and then he you are forced to dive into the grief again.

Sea Change is not uplifting, but it's not hopeless. It's not entertaining, but it's mesmerizing. Just as grief is surprising with its many ironies, so is this novel. Page has been able to freeze pivotal moments in the grieving process and drive readers to compassion. 

So, if you're looking for light-hearted holiday entertainment, this isn't your book. But, if you're ready for an honest and introspective story about a man who loves and loses his family, this one's for you.

If you want to read more about Jeremy Page and Sea Change, go here. There are discussions, reviews, and summaries for you.

"I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review but all opinions expressed are my own."

See Y'all!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...

The mall halls are decked, the movies are playing, and the music has started. 

It's officially holiday season. 

Yesterday I ordered a fresh turkey from a farm in East Tennessee because Coach wanted to have our very own Thanksgiving here which will include all the kids helping with the cooking, china, silver, manners, and maybe even shoes.  It has Griswold written all over it.

Of course, all of this will take place on Thanksgiving Eve because we both have humongous family celebrations on Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving will begin with all 5 of us running the Turkey Trot 5K to help Graceworks before we eat a celebratory Krispy Kreme and race home to dress for the day's festivities. 

And you know what?  I can totally relax then because the Christmas Card is complete!  It will be addressed, stamped, and mailed Wednesday afternoon, so those babies will start arriving first thing Friday morning!

And then....

IT'S ON!!!

In the meantime, here's a preview.  I feel very old.  VERY OLD.  The kids were not amused at our idea, but we didin't let that stop us.  Some friends of ours did this last year, and I cried when I opened it, so we hijacked their idea (Thank You Reynolds Family!). 

I'm climbing back on the blog horse this week.  I have a book review coming, some recipes, and maybe an adventure or two!

Bright Merry Cheer Christmas Card
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See Y'all!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy Birthday, Sapphire!

Sapphire's three!  She likes to draw and make crafts, play make-believe with her brothers, help mom with chores, and read books with dad.

Sometimes she joins me for yoga

We made LEGO guys of our family for the top of the cake.  She liked the herb tea in her tea set more than the cake

We played pin-the-mouth-on-Hello-Kitty

Andrea: Wes, do you remember if giant rats are safe to eat? [in Nethack]
Sapphire: I want to play the Curious George game on the computer.
Quartz: You are the most insane mom I ever heard. [for letting them have huge pieces of chocolate cake]
Onyx: What if there was a LEGO battery as  big as this room?
Wes: The basting will continue until morale improves.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween and Quotes

First, our Halloween costumes!

From l-r: Lisa as Renaissance beauty, Onyx as Pharoah Mummy Amset-Ra, Sapphire as ghost, Andrea as mad scientist, Quartz as C3-PO, Wes as Renaissance doctor.  The Renaissance costumes are actually from Assassin's Creed 2 (courtesan and doctor).  Well, I suppose I could be an Abstergo mad scientist.  Yeah, sure, why not?  :-)

I am actually rather proud of some of the sewing exhibited here -- mostly Lisa's skirt, which is a circular tablecloth with some lace curtains added; and my lab coat which is patterned after a too-small lab coat from the thrift store and made of white pleather.  It's nice to have a long jacket that fits!

Andrea: "Would you like to be my -- er, *try* my latest experiment?!"
Onyx: "If I take off my shirt, you will see gold coming out of my belly button."
Wes: "Whatever, I'm a cursed princess!"
Quartz: "I AM RUDE!!!"
Sapphire: "I am a big girl that wears underwear!!"
Sapphire: "If a bear comes in our house and wants to eat me, I will run away."