Monday, November 30, 2015

Some days we need our heads examined

Some days I think we need our sanity checked! Yesterday was one of those days! The alarm went off at 4:30am. Yes, you read that correctly. Don't worry, I didn't get out of bed until 5. And that was funny in itself because I asked hubs what time it was and he said, "I know you are but you need to get up." He thought I said I was tired....

Yesterday was a home Chiefs game.

Another fun story, the night before Grady called and asked if we knew anyone that would like to go to a Chiefs game because they had an extra ticket. We called Memaw and asked her if she'd like to go to a Chiefs game. She said, Well I've never been to a baseball game so it sounds like fun. We all died laughing and said, well after tomorrow (meaning yesterday) you still won't have gone to a baseball game. She meant to say football and accidentally said baseball. We teased her all day. Woops!

Anyway, back to yesterday morning... This is what a lot of our drive looked like. And once it started lighting up... it started raining. And boy was it ever so cold!

We rode up with Jared and met up with the other clan at IHOP in Belton, then piled in to their vehicles and headed on to the Chief's stadium. Jared was picking on SW. Either that, or it was snowing in IHOP

And as we all know I take pictures of food... Jared ordered this... Chicken fried steak, eggs over easy and hashbrowns.

Hubby had a sampler platter, 2 eggs over easy, 2 pieces bacon, 2 pieces sausage, 2 pieces ham, 2 pancakes and hashbrowns.

I have no idea what I actually ordered but I got 2 eggs over easy, 2 pieces bacon, hashbrowns and wheat toast.

Memaw went with the waffle.

Tbug went with pancakes.

Once we were done eating, it was time to head on to the stadium. Game was a noon game so we didn't head in until around 11 or so since it was 30 degrees and raining. It never quit raining either.

Grady and Dan are red coaters as I've mentioned before. When Grady got back up to the stands, he said that since Memaw wanted to see a home run, he definitely needed to stay until the end of the game to make sure he didn't miss a momentous occasion. Poor Memaw! It was her first football game, it was freezing cold, but the Chiefs won and she saw a touchdown! She said all was good in her book.

Tbug lasted until halftime and then was so cold and wet that she went to sit in the truck with Deb and SW and her friend. Hubby and Tbug both forgot their coat. I have no idea how that happened. They both had blankets so they were able to cover up and stay warm, but when you're wet, it's cold! My bibs soaked all the way through... my left leg was soaked while my right leg wasn't. CRAZY! I can't explain it.

The game was good and intense. The first 3 minutes we all questioned if we'd be better to load up and head home. Thankfully we didn't! It was a GREAT game.

After the Chiefs beat the Bills 30 to 22 it was time to head back and get Karen's truck and eat dinner. We went to Snead's BBQ.

After we all placed our orders, I saw this flier thing (whatever they're called) sitting on the table. Enough people agreed they looked good that they decided to order a few orders for the table.

The presentation wasn't the same, but it was definitely YUMMY!

Hubby and a lot of the table ordered the All-You-Can-Eat Catfish. I ate a piece. For not liking fish, it definitely wasn't bad.

For the most part the rest of the table went with Burnt Ends (Brownies as they called them). They were okay but they were a bit dry. Still good though! And nothing a little Ranch Dressing didn't dress up!

And then, we drove home. The End :).

Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

If there's one thing that hubby and I have come to love to do, it's preparing a Thanksgiving turkey. Obviously if we go somewhere, that's great too, but when we get the opportunity, we jump on it.

This year was one of those years. So a couple weeks before Thanksgiving we made out our menu, planned out our plan of execution, made out the shopping list, and cleaned house. Cleaning house included rearranging some too... we invited 16 people to our humble little abode so we needed to make sure we had room to set up tables. Easy Peasy! Yup, Abug was helping daddy move the old desk out of the living room :).

We were able to get Tbug on Tuesday night. Tuesday afternoon Abug and I started working on one of the desserts, a recipe that my aunt makes when we go to her house. This cake is awesome! Chocolate, chocolate ganache, a praline topping, what more could you ask for? Oh yeah, there were like 6 other options for Thanksgiving.... (and ignore my fashion sense, remember, there's a reason I'm not a fashion blogger!)

Wednesday evening we had to run to my parents house to get our bird, so while we were there, we went down the road to see my grandma since we wouldn't be able to see her on Thanksgiving. We all joined in eating grandma's rolls and Abug got some tators and gravy too (don't tell my mom that says tators, she'll yell at me :))

Then we were off to the house to start working on prep stuff and anything we could do the night before, like finishing desserts as well as making homemade rolls. Tbug worked on dinner for us. I worked on the rolls. They tasted good, but boy were they dense. I messed up grandma's "recipe". Hubby and Tbug worked on one cake, I finished up another. Mom saw on the Today show to do the lattice work for our Bacon Wrapped Turkey on parchment paper and place in the freezer 15 minutes before putting it on the turkey, so Wednesday night he did the lattice work and put it in the fridge over night so the next day all we had to do was place it in the freezer. Then it was off to bed, off to bed, off to bed.

Quick funny stories.

  • I've been having allergic reactions to something. Wednesday night I had another one so I took a benedryll at 6:30pm. By 9:30pm I was ready to curl up in a ball on the middle of the kitchen floor and sleep it off. I was soooooooo tired.
  • Tbug stabbed her self in the nose with the cap off a sharpie.
  • I sent Tbug off on a wild goose chase to find my bottle of water only to realize I finished it off 10 minutes before.
  • Abug was getting tired.
    Abug - Crying, ready for bed.
    Me - "I took Benedryll 3 hours ago, you haven't had a nap. I'm struggling, you're struggling. The struggle is real."


Thursday brought on Thanksgiving. We started out our morning by eating waffles, then heading into hubby's dad's house to see his family for a bit and then back to the house to nap and finish fixing our meal for a dinner meal. All the cousins were in the same house at the same time, twice! I'm surprised the world didn't collapse. ha! just kidding.

When we came home, I chopped up all the vegetables while hubby rinsed the turkey off and got him ready to go in the roaster. After I chopped up the vegetables for the turkey, I was in a chopping mood so I went ahead and chopped up the onions for our Andouille Pudding (our stuffing). I had hubby and Tbug crying and I just giggled. I want to be as good as Julia Child or Rachael Ray or some chef like that. Hubby jokes that one of these days he'll come home and I'll have our kitchen table pulled out and onions galore diced up because I want to get good at chopping onions and that's what Julia Child did.

Tbug did the prep work on our Corn casserole and this year, she did the whole thing, except dicing up the green onions which I did because I LOVE to chop things. haha. The corn casserole was a thing of my grandma's. It is a tradition and it has to get baked in the corn casserole bowl. It's just not the same in any other bowl. I can't explain it. This year we let Tbug in on the making of it.

Then we all took a nap before the real madness took over. I started out working on reading The Hippopotamus by Stephen Fry only to decide the back of my eyelids painted a more vivid story.

Then came the fun! By the way, we love to cook at my house.

When Jared and Karen got to the house, Jared started carving up the turkey. Tbug held the platter for him as well as giving him fits.

Would you believe this is the only picture I took of the finished food? Seriously! Hey when I made my plate to eat, I didn't even get any turkey. I have no idea how that happened........ We had homemade rolls, Andouille pudding, corn casserole, mac & cheese bites, brussel sprouts, garlic cheesy mashed potatoes, gravy, deviled eggs, copper pennies, the veggies out of the bird, corn that Memaw made, oh and the bacon wrapped turkey... but don't ask me how it was... I only got one bite....

For dessert we had Chocolate Pie, Praline Chocolate Cake, Tennessee Whiskey Cake with whiskey whipped cream and whiskey butterscotch glaze, and a chocolate cannoli. There was also ice cream but no one took any of that.

And it wouldn't be a holiday at my house if something didn't happen. This year the garbage disposal decided to quit working. We learned that there is a breaker not only in the breaker box for it but also on the bottom of the disposal itself. After hubby and Jared rewired the switch and pulled the disposal off, they got it back up and running.


  • After everyone left I went on the hunt for one of my recipes which I still haven't found... I found the second I still haven't found.. 
  • We went on the hunt for the babies binkie. found in the bed...
  • We went on the hunt for E's binkie too. found in Tbug's room....
  • I found a frog in the house (oh boy!). YIKES!
  • Marlie didn't want to come in the house for a while, she finally came. 
  • I had to take more benedryll. 
  • I realized I didn't eat but one bite of turkey and that was when I was making the gravy. Realized this as I was going to sleep.
  • I cleaned off the kitchen table to wipe it down but forgot until Friday morning. Woops!

Now if I could just find that darn recipe!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Peanut Post - A 17 Month Update


  • You know how to fist bump and blow it up.
  • You know the word sissy and by the way, you absolutely LOVE your sister.
  • If we ask, do you want a ba (bottle) you immediately lay down and are ready for the ba.
  • You LOVE banana's (nana). 
  • If we say Banana, you go crazy saying nana.
  • If asked if you want a banana, you'll drag whoever you can into the kitchen where they are sitting and go crazy about wanting one.
  • We have to call them yellow dawgs so you don't know the word banana.
  • You're working on fine motor skills, placing things in an object (say a basket) and taking them out and repeat.
  • you say momma, dada, da (dog), ca (cat), nana (banana), this, that, here, yes, no, hi, bye, ba (bottle)
  • To get pants long enough you're in 18 month to 2T but you can fit in clothes that are 9 months and 12 months as long as length isn't an issue.
  • You are putting on a little weight, I've been told that means you're getting ready for a growth spurt.
  • You have 4 teeth trying to break through.
  • You've learned how to scream.
  • Shoes you're wearing a 5/6.
  • You like to feed yourself. If I can't convince you to take a bite, I give you the spoon/fork and you'll take that bite.
  • You like donuts. 
  • Sweet Tea and water are your drinks of choice. You do like flavored waters and Black Cherry Koolaid also.
  • You usually have 2 bottles a day, but sometimes you have 3.
  • You still have/love the binkie. I'd like to get rid of it but... we haven't.
  • You hate sleeping under covers until you're asleep and I cover you up.
  • You are at about 1 nap per day, if you haven't had much of a nap, you're ready for bed come bedtime.
  • Sometimes you avoid sleep like the plague and you fight it hard.
  • Still blonde hair. It is usually pulled up most days to keep it out of your eyes, but it isn't long enough for a single ponytail yet.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Candied Pecans

Can you believe we're at Thanksgiving week? Didn't we just ring in the New Year? This year has flown by. In the last couple days I have been putting together a document on Christmases and as we're approaching my favorite time of the year, between Thanksgiving and New Years, I've been a scrooge the last 3 or 4 years at Christmas time. How the heck does that happen? I wish I had an answer but I don't. Maybe this year will be better? Here's to hoping!

My mom laughs at hubby and me because we write our Thanksgiving game plan out with courses, how long they cook, at what temperature they cook and even when we need to start working on them to get them in the oven at the correct time.

One of the recipes we're making this year is a Tennessee Whiskey Cake with Candied Pecans. Hubby was going to buy some candied pecans, but I told him I would find a recipe and make my own so that's just what I did yesterday... made my own candied pecans. Can I tell you how easy they were because wow, they were! The hardest part was I accidentally dropped my egg yolk into the egg white I was separating out and broke it while I was at it. Bummer!

That just meant I had to start over. Seriously, separating the egg white from the egg yolk is the hardest part of this recipe.

You drop the white into a mixer (or do it by hand, I was being lazy), bring to a frothy white, add brown sugar, fold in the Pecans, spread on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in a 175˚ oven for an hour and a half. And.... then you have Candied Pecans.

Recipe for Candied Pecans found here

Ingredients:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp flour
1 large egg white
3 cups Pecan Halves (about 9 ounces)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175˚. In a medium bowl, mix together the sugar and flour.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the egg white until frothy; whisk in the brown sugar mixture. Then fold in the pecans to coat evenly.
  3. Transfer to a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake 1 1/2 hours. Let cool completely before breaking apart (that is if you can stay out of them!)
And bam, you have candied Pecans. Here we come Thanksgiving!


Friday, November 20, 2015

Bacon Wrapped Turkey

In 2012 I was surfing the internet one day and found a recipe for a Bacon Wrapped Turkey. I knew that we were going to be cooking Thanksgiving again this year so I shot the recipe to hubby and asked what he thought. He read through it and said he was in. So the next task was gathering the ingredients.

We've made it 2 years now and plan on making it again this year. (last year hubs thought he'd do it but smoked it instead of the oven. Then we forgot our bacon blanket....)

The Turkey
This recipe is for an 18-20lb turkey but extremely easy to adjust for bigger or smaller. And make sure that if you're using a frozen turkey you give ample time to defrost it!
What you’ll need:
A large plastic bag (optional, it's just used for the brining process)
A platter or pan that fits the turkey in the fridge (I use a big stock pot and no bag and get along fine)
Kitchen twine
A roasting pan that fits the turkey (and fits in your oven. Check, this is important!)
A probe-style meat thermometer.
A turkey (remember, if it's frozen, give it ample time to defrost!)
Lots of Kosher Salt
1 1/2 pounds bacon
1/2 pound butter
Fresh herbs: sage, thyme, oregano, parsley, marjoram, rosemary
Roasting Vegetables: carrots, celery, onions, apples
Brining the turkey:
Dry Brine the turkey. It works great and is super simple. We learned don't brine the turkey more than 24 hours in advance or it gets too salty. One year we salted it Monday night and wow, the turkey was way to salty and my husband salts his food and he kept claiming that it was too salty. Remove all the interior parts from the bird.  Discard them or use them for stock, or the giblets for gravy.  Wash the bird well, inside and out. Place the bird in your brining bag or pot of choice.  Rub kosher salt all over the turkey, inside and out.  Use a lot of salt.  Wash your hands. Put the turkey in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Thoroughly wash the sink you rinsed the turkey in and your hands.
For the Butter:

You can make this up to a week in advance to help with time on Thanksgiving day, especially if you have to get up at the crack of dawn for a noon lunch. We eat in the evening so there isn't as much of a push but we still make the butter in advance.

In a food processor,  add 1/2 lb raw bacon slices, 1/2 lb butter and generous handfuls of the herbs (sage, thyme, oregano, parsley, marjoram, rosemary). I don't have exact measurements we use for each of the herbs, just play around with it, we do every year. haha. Place the lid on the food processor and blend together until it makes a smooth paste.

Now if you're going to store, place in an airtight container.

Preparing turkey day of:

Bring the bacon butter to room temperature.

While that's going on, bring the turkey out of the container you were brining in and rinse it thoroughly. Place it breast side up on a cutting board or large platter to prepare it. Wash your sink out.

Take the pop-up timer out of your turkey if it comes with one, it's useless!

Wash your hands and get ready to get messy. It is helpful to have help because this gets messy! Take your rings and watch off. Now gently pry the skin away from the bird without tearing it. You just want to stick your hands between the meat and skin because you're going to be placing the butter mixture between the skin and meat. Keep going all the way to the neck and over the legs. Try not to tear the skin but don't worry if you do, it's not a huge deal!

Now take big fistfuls of butter and rub it up under the skin and all over the flesh. Use about 3/4 of the bacon butter under the flesh. Now pat the skin down into the butter; this helps spread the butter evenly under the skin. Rub the remaining butter on the outside of the bird in a thin layer, paying particular attention to the legs as they won't be covered by bacon.

Not only does the bacon make your bird have an extremely nice presentation but it helps keep the bird from drying out. Plus, bonus, it makes the gravy all that much better if you use the drippings!

We use thick cut bacon because as the bacon cooks, remember it starts to shrink a little. Plan for about 1 pound of bacon, give or take.

Placing the bacon:

Think of a pie how you do the lattice work... well that's what you're going to do with the bacon on the outside of the turkey. Lay one strip crosswise over the breast, then one lengthwise. Keep going, folding up the strips already placed to fit the new ones under.  The bacon will shrink when you cook the bird, so place the strips close together and use as many as you can fit.

Tie the legs of the bird together with kitchen twine. When you’ve got the bacon all woven, wash your hands thoroughly.

The bacon blanket can be done the night before if you are doing lunch so you're not having to get up so early. Just make sure the bird on the platter fits in your fridge. Since we do dinner, we do this step in the morning so we're ready to go for cooking the bird.

Cooking the bird:

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Remember, remove the extra rack in your oven if you need to so the bird fits because it sucks to remove it when it's that hot!

Now to make your clean up easier (not totally mess free but easier) you can line your broiling pan in heavy duty aluminum foil.

Now you're going to chop up the vegetables. You want very aromatic root vegetables so we use carrots, celery, onions and apples. Take the outside skins and tops off the carrots, the celery can be chopped into smaller bits or not, your choice. Peel the outside paper skin off the onions and halve or quarter the onions. Chop the apples into halves or quarters, take the stem and seeds out. Stuff some of the pieces of apples, onions, celery and carrots into the cavity of the bird also. Also stick some of the herbs in the cavity of the bird as well.

Go ahead and mold a piece of aluminum foil over the top of the bird so that if it starts to get to brown later on in the cooking process, you already have the aluminum foil ready to place on the bird.

Roasting the turkey:

Place the turkey in the oven at 450 degrees for 30 minutes, then turn the heat down to 375 degrees for the rest of the turkey cooking process. This is where a nice probe comes in handy, stick the probe in the deepest part of the breast and you can place the reader up on the counter and it chimes when the bird is fully cooked; carefully sliding the probe between an opening in the bacon blanket. Make sure you don’t’ go so deep you hit the bone. You want the turkey to be cooked to 165 degrees.

If the turkey and bacon start to get too brown, this is where you put the aluminum top on it that you created before placing it in the oven.

For a 20 pound turkey, you're looking at about 4-4 1/2 hours. Leave yourself some wiggle room... the turkey will wait, hungry people won't. ha!

Carving the turkey:

Let someone else do it :). ha! Now that the turkey is fully cooked, place it out so your family/friends can oohhh and ahhhh and then it's time to cut. I don't carve a turkey, I leave that to the professionals.

Take the juices from cooking and make gravy. or if you're at our house, this is where hubby and I get into an argument every year on how to make the gravy. One year my parents sent us to separate ends of the house for a minute. I wish I was kidding.

I make my gravy by making a roux out of flour & butter, he would rather make with cornstarch. Let's just say last year we went his way and it was all thrown out... I'm not bragging or anything...... :). But we also smoked the turkey so there were no drippings to add to the gravy for flavor. Maybe I should point that out?



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