Thanksgiving, Our Way.

I made it thru this year and I would call Thanksgiving a success. So before I begin… here is the legal disclaimer- I am an Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador (a voluntary position) and I’m not compensated for my work with Allrecipes.com.

Products received from advertiser are only used for experienced-based reviews on Legalized Frostitution. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of Cathy. This blog was written in support of Campbells and Swanson, assuming I like them.

So, lets talk turkey. This was my best one yet. I managed to defrost the turkey (Past fail #1 overcome), then I managed to take the neck out the the body (past fail #2 over come), but try as I might I could not find the bag of giblets  So I called in Goalie who rooted around violating the turkey a little bit more. We even brought in the high powered flashlight and shined it up his ass. (the turkey’s not Goalie’s) Still no bag of gross was found. (past fail #3… inconclusive). So I went to my my favorite website and found this video on HOW TO PREPARE A TURKEY. Easy, simple.. perfect. I am a big fan of garlic salt so I chose to use that. I chopped 1 onion, threw in a hand full of baby carrots and chopped up some celery. I put a little in the turkeys butt  (I felt we had already violated him enough) and put the rest under the poor guy.  Then I slathered him in melted butter, garlic salt and a dash of pepper. Into the oven he went! Easy yes? Yes.

On to the cornbread stuffing. I followed the recipe here for MOIST AND SAVORY STUFFING. I made the horrific mistake of using cornbread stuffing. Yeah, don’t do that. I really liked using the Swanson Chicken broth to make the stuffing and I would defiantly do that again. Even when I make Stovetop. It was just the texture of the cornbread stuffing that I was not a fan of. It was very mealy and grainy to me. Everyone had some though, and it got eaten without complaint, so I guess it was not that bad.

For the vegetables I mixed some carrots and green beans and I used the QUICK AND FLAVORFUL VEGETABLES recipe, (again from allrecipes.com. What would I do without them?). We were unable to locate the Flavor Boost, but I am super excited to try it. So I used used regular chicken stock on this one. The veggies were really good. Everyone ate some Punk and Bear didn’t complain at all. Even tho there was no butter on anything. So that was nice.

My favorite part was the potatoes. Very easy to make. I peeled them into a recycled shopping bag while we watched the parade and then I boiled the heck out of them. Then I went Ultra Creamy. Potatoes have been a nemesis for me. There was the year they were lumpy, the year they crunched, the year I didn’t have a masher, oh yes and they year I just gave up and made them out of a box. Not even kidding. But this year, they were amazing. I am sure my trusty Kitchen Aid helped but so did Swanson!!!

So back to the turkey, It came out of the oven right on time… looking amazing. I laughed, telling my mother about the fact that we had a special turkey because ours came without the sack of gross stuff. “Did you check both ends?” she asked me. Ummm what? Goalie and I looked at each other, in all my years I didn’t know you had to violate a turkey from both sides. Either way, this was my moistest turkey every. It was literally perfect. Even when we warmed it for leftovers, it was juicy. So I don’t care it I didn’t conquer all my past fails, and I didn’t brine it or cover it in bacon. I made and awesome turkey this year. For that, I am thankful.

Thirty-wha?!?!

I am about to turn 32. Yes I said it.. my REAL age. So far I am not embarrassed about it, not ashamed either. Maybe when I see it with a 4 in the front that will make a difference, but so far, not so much. What did hit me today was thinking about where I was 10 years ago at this point in my life. I had an amazing job, I worked for a company that traded semi conductors and really truly cared about their employees. The CEO was accessible and made a difference in the life of everyone from the sales people, and shipping dept to the secretaries. I was the secretary who had just moved into sales. I was 6 months pregnant and 2 months married. I was a mess. I worked with many young professionals. Men and women who, to this day I look out and wonder where they are, but know that wherever that is, they are successful. I was at the point in my pregnancy where I had just started to keep food down. I was just starting to feel good. No longer did I want to curl up on any given public bathroom floor and sleep after losing the water I was told I had to drink. My belly was starting to show, Bear was starting to kick, I was 21 and scared out of my mind. No one at work had ever had a baby, I was the first of my friends to have one, and with no brothers and no sisters for either my Ex or I this would also be the first Grandchild on both sides. I wasn’t sure if this made me a pioneer or an idiot.

My 22nd birthday was when it really hit. No longer was I hoping for clothes or jewelry, I was hoping for baby clothes and supplies. That was what I genuinely wanted. I was a little sad that I could finally go out to a bar legally and have a drink, but alas, no… not in that state, it would have to wait. I was afraid to even be seen in a bar pregnant. (que Sweet Home Alabama quotes). 

Then I thought about this year… so much has changed. I no longer work for that company, but I dream of being the kind of boss my CEO was. I have had some crazy amazing experiences. I have worked with seals, been to Paris on Thanksgiving Day, divorced, fallen in love 3 more times (Bear, Punk and Goalie), I have loved and lost, I have seen stars from a sailboat, slid down a concrete slide in a mountain and zip-lined thru the rainforest of Costa Rica with no hands. We have made so many happy memories. For my birthday, I don’t want to go to a bar, it isn’t my weekend with the kids, but I asked if I could have them to take out to dinner with us. I can’t imagine them not being there with me to celebrate another awesome year. So while I no longer wish for baby clothes and supplies and I would not turn down diamonds or sapphires,  I suppose what I really want is more amazing memories. 

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Non-Traditional Tradition

Thanksgiving is a week from tomorrow, so all of the commercials have started. You know the ones where all of the brothers and sisters come home to the house where they grew up and hug each other while the kids play quietly on the rug. Then they show dinner coming out of the oven, everything at the same time, cooked perfectly, piping hot and everyone smiling, not a crock pot in sight. I call Bull Shit! This has never happened other than in a Norman Rockwell painting!

 

While searching for that image, I came across this one, I prefer it much more. It is more of a representation of my life. The apartment, the wine, the bacon wrapped turkey… yes.. much more my speed.

 

But such is NOT my life. Why? You ask, I am divorced. So there is no such thing as a traditional dinner for me. Every other year I get my kids for dinner and every opposite year I get them for breakfast. My Mom and Gram come down to visit. This year Gram will not be able to make it, but we will go visit her in the nursing home after the kids head to their Dad’s. So a light breakfast while watching the parade on TV in our PJs while I cook the Thanksgiving dinner in the kitchen and we eat it for lunch on a table pulled into the middle of the living room, thanks to limited apartment space. So while we don’t have that beautiful picture of tradition that the commercials show, we have our picture, and that is more beautiful to me than any Norman Rockwell. Traditions are what YOU make them. Not what someone else says they have to be.

Another part of Thanksgiving that I enjoy is the planning of the food. This week, is my heaven. Pouring over recipes for Turkey, Stuffing, Veggies and Pie. What will I make? Will I try something new? How can I get the logistics of my tiny kitchen to work together? This to me is fun. Stick a glass of Riesling in my hand and sit me in front of my favorite website- allrecipes.com and let me have at it!!! I will come up with something delicious for us to eat in our PJs, I promise! So tell me, what is the one thing you are most excited to make for Thanksgiving and where did you get the recipe? (and can I have it?)

Popping in!

Before she got really sick, my Grandmother was one of my big supporters in my cupcake business. She would always find little gadgets for the kitchen and ask me, “Don’t you need this?” or “Won’t this help you?” Sometimes the answer was “Yes that is genius!!” and sometimes I stared at a picture in a catalogue like Ariel staring at a fork wondering what the hell the dinglehopper did. One thing she asked me about was a BabyCakes Cake Pop Maker. At the time I said no thanks because a: I thought it was too expensive and b: I made my cake pops by hand. It was very labor intensive but they were REALLY good. I mixed the frosting and the cake together before dipping it. But it involves freezing, food processors making frosting, baking a cake, hand shaping, dipping and time, tons and tons of time. After a few orders I was looking around my local big box store and I saw that they had the BabyCakes Cake Pop Maker on sale, so I figured I would give it a shot. Darnit, Gram was right! That thing is SO easy!

You start out making your batter. Then you fill the bottle that comes with the maker. After which you squirt batter into the “dents” on the bottom of the maker. I found it works best if you almost fill the bottom of the “dents”. Close the maker, flip it over, leave for 4 min (don’t try to open it, you WILL make a mess, trust me on that one),  after 3-4 min flip back and use the fork tool (included) to remove your pops onto the white cooling trays (also included).

While I was looking for photos to include here, I saw that there was many different styles. I got the pink waffle iron style that flips over. It is REALLY awesome and I truly wish I had gotten it earlier. This is a photo of mine. The only thing I am not a HUGE fan of is the bottle. While it works, I wish there was a way to “burp” it better so that the thick batter would come out easier.

 

I don’t think it needs to be said, but just incase, all opinions are my own. I was not sponsored by or asked by anyone to write this post. Heck they don’t even know I am doing it!!

So while I probably won’t admit to her that she was right, I don’t even know if she would remember suggesting it at this point, I will take Gram some baked treats. One of her favorite things is Pumpkin donut holes from Dunkin Donuts. So last night I made some with the maker and I will bring them over to her since they are out of season at Dunkin. It doesn’t just have to be used for CakePops. I also plan to use it for Thanksgiving to make some Waffle Bites, for the kids to munch on while watching the parade.

 

So Happy Thursday, I am off to shovel the first snow of the season off my doorstep!!! Keep Warm everyone!