11.27.2010

leftover turkey? turkey pot pie

Turkey Pot Pie

turkey -- cubed or shredded
lightly cooked vegies (peas, onions, carrots, whatever you have)
binder (egg or creme fraiche or cream of heart-attack soup or whatever)
pastry (from scratch or puff pastry or (gasp!) Pillsbury crescent rolls, torn and layered.

350 degrees, 30 minutes
You might also like Turkey Dumpling Soup or Turkey Curry Salad.

:: read the rest of leftover turkey? turkey pot pie

11.26.2010

orphan girl

One of our (beloved) family holiday traditions is singing.  Usually my sister plays the piano and leads us in singing favorite old hymns.  Then the guitars and mandolins are pulled out and the folk music begins. 

Yesterday my brother's lovely girlfriend played and sang for us Gillian Welch's  Orphan Girl, lyrics below: 

I am an orphan on God's highway
But I'll share my troubles if you go my way

I have no mother, no father
No sister, no brother
I am an orphan girl

I have had friendships pure and golden
The ties of kinship have not known them

I know no mother, no father
No sister, no brother
I am an orphan girl

But when He calls me I will be able
To meet my family at God's table

I'll meet my mother, my father
My sister, my brother
No more an orphan girl

Blessed Savior make me willing
Walk beside me until I'm with them

Be my mother, my father
My sister, my brother
I am an orphan girl
I am an orphan girl

In the middle of the song, Chickadee blurts out "That was me."

:: read the rest of orphan girl

11.23.2010

cheater pie crusts

So, my Nana blessed our family with a really good pie crust recipe, flakey, yummy, just perfect.  It was with some dismay that we tried to resign ourselves to the fact that -- in spite of this really good recipe -- our Mom was in the habit of buying, and using, and serving to us "Cheater Pie Crusts" (those insipid ready-made ones).

In her defense however, I do have to admit that there are times when Nana's pie crust recipe just won't roll.  I don't know why, but sometimes it is rolls out perfectly, and sometimes it doesn't.  Here is what I do when it doesn't.

I spread out one layer of plastic wrap (but I don't tear it off yet).

I plop the crumbly bits of an abandoned rolling on top.


 I fold the plastic wrap over and cut it off.

I roll out my dough.

I put it in the freezer.  I just need it to freeze enough so that the plastic and the dough separate from one another nicely.  Though, if I wanted to, I could leave it in there for days.  It's my own guilt-free cheater pie crust.

Oh, and if you want the Top Secret Family Heirloom recipe?  Pioneer Woman stole it from us and published it in her book, so it is not a secret anymore.

:: read the rest of cheater pie crusts

stuffing. or dressing. whatever

I call it stuffing because I like to stuff my mouth with it.  Dad prefers that it be called dressing.  I figure that when he makes it, he can name it.  Until then . . .

Suzanne's Stuffing

Saute together: 
  • 1 large bunch of celery, sliced thin
  • 2 large onions, chopped small
  • 2 large apples, diced
  • 1 C butter
Then add:
  • 2 boxes Trader Joe's cornbread stuffing mix
  • 1 C oj
  • 1 C chicken broth
  • 2 packages Trader Joe's Rosemary Cranberry Pecans
Check for moisture content -- add more broth if you need it.
Put in shallow baking dish -- heat up before serving.

:: read the rest of stuffing. or dressing. whatever

11.18.2010

Round Steak & Grilled Onions Stroganoff

This started out as Round Steak Baked with Onions, but it has drifted a bit. 

Round Steak & Grilled Onions Stroganoff 
onions
butter/olive oil
1 round steak
white wine
thyme
salt and pepper
Crème fraiche

In a cast-iron skillet, saute in butter/olive oil two onions, sliced thickly.  When they start to soften, take them out of the skillet and set them aside for awhile.  Into the skillet pop one round steak which you have cut into bite-sized cubes.  Brown this for while and then add the onions, 1/2 C white wine, 1/2 C water, some thyme and a little salt and pepper.

Cover and bake at 300 for 1.5 hours.  Remove from oven, stir in 1/2 Crème fraiche and some sauteed mushrooms.  Serve over rice or noodles.

I watched Julie & Julia (streaming Netflix rocks!) the other day and am now all inspired to cook again.  I may have to get the cookbook.

Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1

:: read the rest of Round Steak & Grilled Onions Stroganoff

The Smaller Thanksgiving List: 10 people, Mom's House


because proper preparation and planning prevents poor performance!

at least 1 month before
1. purchase free-range turkey from local farmer

at least 1 week before
1. finalize menu

  • pumpkin soup - Jamie & I
  • spinach salad - mom
  • marshamallow salad - mom
  • mashed potatoes - Jamie & I
  • sweet potatoes ala Smitten Kitchen - Jamie & I
  • turkey - Jamie & I
  • dressing - Jamie & I
  • gravy - Jamie & I
  • bread/rolls - Jamie & I
  • dessert: pecan pie, pumpkin pie, apple dumplings - Jamie & I
  • beverages - mom?
  • cranberry sauce - Trader Joe
2. make up grocery list
3. make and freeze pie crusts
4. timeline food prep
5. confirm that the food thermometer works

Monday
1. grocery shop



Tuesday
1. make mashed potatoes
2. roast pumpkins
3. make pumpkin soup
4. mix up brine


Wednesday
1. pick up turkey
2. brine big turkey
3. mix up turkey rub
4. make dressing
5. prep sweet potatoes
6. mix up pecan pie filling
7. stage apple dumplings
8. pack everything up and move into Mom's house (don't forget the Nespresso maker!)

Thursday
1. remove potatoes from fridge
2. rub down turkey if you didn't brine
3. run & empty dishwasher
4. confirm garbage can is empty
5. sweep front porch and walk
6. stage tea station


12:00
1. make a thermos of coffee & prep coffee maker for next round
2. make sure you have eaten something sustaining
3. check your clothes: are you bespattered?

1:45
1. confirm small lamps and candles are on/lit
2. confirm dishwasher is empty
3. turn on coffee pot

2:00
1. dine

3:00
1. rest whilst others clean up. 

:: read the rest of The Smaller Thanksgiving List: 10 people, Mom's House

11.13.2010

The Great Thanksgiving CheckList

The Great Thanksgiving List
because proper preparation and planning prevents poor performance!

at least 1 week before
1. order brine if use Williams Sonoma
2. purchase turkey
3. if you are cooking a turkey for the first time, or trying a new method, do a practice turkey
4. press leaves for table decorations
5. polish silver
6. make & freeze pie crusts
7. finalize & delegate menu
8. clean oven
9. confirm table coverings
10. collect table decorations
11. confirm that your turkey fits in your pan
12. confirm that you have a working food thermometer

weekend before
1. clean house
2. make duty cards: door host, coffee sergeant, appetizer server, table waiters, before dinner kitchen tidier, sous chef, table clearer, after dinner kitchen tidier, garbage taker-outer, dessert server, after dessert kitchen tidier. Folks draw one card on arrival and that is their duty for the day (I assign some of them as I see fit).
3. timeline food prep
4. wash living room & dining room windows
5. figure out turkey thawing schedule
6. empty front hall closet and confirm available hangers

Tuesday
1. make mashed potatoes
2. roast pumpkins
3. make pumpkin soup
4. clean off all ancillary surfaces and tables

Wednesday
1. brine big turkey
2. set up tables
3. set tables
4. set out and label serving platters & utensils
5. set out extra platters and serving bowls for guest use
6. mix up turkey rub
7. make dressing
8. make pumpkin black bean casserole
9. mix up pecan pie filling
10. stage apple dumplings
11. lay in fire
12. clean house again
13. move living room furniture to accommodate extra chairs
14. filter and chill water for table

Thursday
1. remove potatoes from fridge
2. rub down turkey if you didn't brine
3. run & empty dishwasher
4. confirm garbage can is empty
5. sweep front porch and walk
6. stage tea station
7. sniff check animal litter boxes just in case

12:00
1. make a thermos of coffee & prep coffee maker for next round
2. make sure you have eaten something sustaining

1:45
1. confirm small lamps and candles are on/lit
2. recruit valet for parking
3. confirm dishwasher is empty
4. turn on coffee pot
5. close and latch bunny room door against visiting dogs and small children.

reposted from November 2009: Guests: 22. Location: my house.

:: read the rest of The Great Thanksgiving CheckList

11.08.2010

this just in

The kids had their first outside-the-family play-at-their house playdate yesterday.  This is the first time they have been in a non-relative's home without a parent or relative to keep tabs on them. 

I got this in a morning email: 

We were so happy to have your kids over. They were delightful and we'd love to have them again. There manners were very good and they played very well with my children.
The mom that wrote this has no idea what this means to us.  I actually cried.

:: read the rest of this just in

180

hope for America



DIY Chicken Coop!


me! me! me!


Here I chatter about books, parenting, election 2008, recipes, teaching college writing, and the adventures of getting settled in with our two freshly (Fall 06) adopted school-age children from Russia. This blog is chapter two; chapter one is posted at Jamie & Suzanne go to Russia. I live in the City of Subdued Excitement, Cascadia, Land of the Free.

I am the wife of a man I call My Gift from a Generous God. I am mama to two lovely children, Dandy and Chickadee that became ours in September 2006 in a court-room in Siberia. I am the daughter of two people whom I love and admire. One of them, my dad, is a new (Dec 06) paraplegic.

In my previous life (B.C. - before children), I was a college English teacher, specializing in composition and ESL composition.

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This blog started life as hackosphere's neo and has been heavily tweaked and widgetized by Suzanne :: I got all the coding for the peek-a-boo posts over at hackosphere :: All my pretty little icons came from famfamfam :: The coding for the rotating banners came from Vince Liu :: The very cool tabbed sidebar widgets are thanks to the very cool hoctro :: The fun "Feeling Lucky?" toy -- which is currently disabled -- came from phydeaux3 (fido 3?) :: The pretty label cloud also came from phydeaux3 :: The elegant and easy to install related posts widget came from Jackbook :: I got all the social bookmarking icons nicely packaged for me at the aptly named Social Bookmarking Script Generator :: The 3 column footer came from Technodia :: The pretty sliding photo galleries are from CSSplay :: The recent comments widget is from Hackosphere::

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