Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thanksgiving is all about family

Well, family and food.  We had the feast on Thursday, then on Saturday I took Ayla and Drake to visit my parents, about 3 hours away.  We had a really nice visit.  I was pleased to see how well my mother is recovering from her knee replacement surgery. 

Drake discovered some fun and exciting ways to have fun in the country!  No cash needs to be spent to have a good time, just hitch a ride on somebody’s lap.
Sorry this one turned out so badly, somehow my camera had gotten the settings changed.  But it’s still cute, Drake riding on the back of Mom’s chair.
And finally, the tractor.  This provided hours of "driving" fun.  He pretended to run over me, he pretended to run over the dog, etc.  
Now, on to Christmas!  I made a paper chain to count down the days.  Beginning December 1st, we'll tear off one ring and read the bible verse printed inside.  When they're gone, it's Christmas!!


Monday, November 26, 2012

You can serve a Thanksgiving meal for 8 people for under $100!

You can serve a Thanksgiving meal for 8 people for under $100!
That was an actual headline I saw online early last week.  My reaction:

Um, what?

I know this is the time of year people tend to bust out their family heirloom recipes, and go all out for the feasts and festivities.  And yes, you can certainly feed 8 people at Thanksgiving for under $100.  But my opinion is, you can feed them for a LOT less than $100.  I didn’t even read that article, I was laughing so hard.  I really don’t know what sort of recipes they were promoting.  I planned to feed 10 adults and 3 small children.  As it turned out, and I knew beforehand that this was a possibility, several people didn’t make it.  We ended up with 5 adults and 2 toddlers, and TONS of leftovers.  In preparation for this I spent $38, which included an extra turkey since they were on sale and is now safely abiding in my freezer, along with bits and pieces of his already-cooked brethren.  Oh, and let’s not forget, add the cost of a couple extra pie crusts because we ate the chocolate pies the night before and had to make more.  I had made 2 pie crusts, we bought 4 more and used 2 of them.  The others will be saved for later.  I could have made more but I wimped out. 

Ask anyone in my family if they feel the food would have been better if I spent more.  Go on, I dare you!  Because they seemed to be enjoying it, and enjoying it, and enjoying it….  I don’t feel that spending another $60-65 would have improved our meal even a tiny fraction.  Looks good, doesn't it?

I think Ayla is now our official pie lady.  She doesn’t yet know how to make crust, but she can turn out a pumpkin or chocolate fudge pie in no time, and it’s GOOD.  Here she is, helping Drake make his very first pie:

You’d think people who are 8 months pregnant would know better than to get in the floor but she said it was easier than holding Drake up to the counter while he helped.  At least there were people around to hoist her back up.        

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Baking Bread

I keep saying I'm going to post my bread  recipe, but I never seem to have time.  So I'm giving a link to the website wher I got the recipe.

I usually make rolls or rectangular loaves with this, but it can be made into bread sticks, round loaves (plopped onto a baking sheet, no pan involved), cinnamon rolls, or pizza dough, if you like a fairly thick crust.  You can add herbs to the liquid, make it sweeter if you like it that way, use water for french bread, milk for a soft bread.  I replace 1/4 cup of flour with an equal amount of potato flour to keep it soft and fresh longer.  I love this stuff, it's so versatile.

Let me know if you try it.

Everyone have a fantastic Thanksgiving, and be safe!

Monday, November 19, 2012

I finished the baby quilt!

Finally.  Life kept conspiring against me and made this take longer than expected, but it’s all good.  It turned out adorable, although to me it sort of looks like a circus tent exploded.

Here's another view, with lousy lighting:

And here are my 2 year old grandchildren, the delights of my heart:

They had a blast taking turns pushing each other in the car, with a little help from Shane:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thanksgiving Dinner

In this country, we’re celebrating Thanksgiving next week.  We do a traditional dinner that day, here’s my menu:

Mashed potatoes
Green bean casserole
Pumpkin pie
Fudge pie

I’ve been thinking about how to prep foods ahead of the big day so I don’t have to do everything at once.  Of course I’ll be enlisting help from my family, and if my friend comes and brings her mom and son, she’ll pitch in.  We like cornbread dressing, so I’ll make the cornbread a few days early and give it time to dry out.  I already have quite a bit of chicken stock in my freezer, I’ll thaw that and use it for both the dressing and the gravy.  I’ll make dough this weekend for the pie crusts, it holds in the fridge for several days.  I’ll make the pies Wednesday evening.  My usual bread dough is a refrigerator dough, so I can make that at any time and it’ll be there when I need it.  Drinks will be a choice of iced tea, hot tea, coffee, water.  Juice for the toddlers.

I’ve had a couple requests for my bread dough recipe, I’ll try to post that tomorrow.  It’s amazingly easy and handy, no kneading necessary and it sits in the fridge, just waiting to be used. 

What are your Thanksgiving plans?   

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

More Baby Stuff

Unless he comes early, he'll be here 5 weeks from today.  That's the day the C section is scheduled.  I'm THISCLOSE to being finished with his quilt, I actually ran out of fabric!  I'm going tomorrow to buy 1/4 yard of one of the prints so I can finish this thing.  That's more than I need but I think that's the smallest amount Joann's will let you buy.
I finished his sweater, what do you think?

Monday, November 12, 2012

So How Did I Do?

I didn’t quite do everything on this list, but I did OK.  Here’s the breakdown: 

Finish the baby quilt, which will require a stop at the fabric store on my way home tonight

I got quite a bit done on the baby quilt but it’s not finished.  I hope to work on it some more tonight and have it finished this week. 

Sew a button onto a sweater, which will then be finished

                    Done.  Pix tomorrow. 

Cook a couple of meals, hopefully doubling one for the freezer

I cooked one meal, ham and pineapple with potato salad on the side, made extra potato salad so people can eat on that a few days.

Make refrigerator bread dough

                    Done.  Tonight’s supper is jambalaya, featuring a side of homemade bread.

Make a double batch of cookie dough and freeze half

                    Not even close.  I bought fudge grahams from Dollar General yesterday.

Knit a hat for a friend

                    Not only did I knit the hat for a friend, but I also knitted one for a baby, the child of Ayla’s


                    This one I accomplished heartily.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Weekend Ahead

Hubby will be out of town from about noon Saturday til about noon Sunday.  I’m going to take this opportunity to get some things done.  Here’s my list:

Finish the baby quilt, which will require a stop at the fabric store on my way home tonight

Sew a button onto a sweater, which will then be finished

Cook a couple of meals, hopefully doubling one for the freezer

Make refrigerator bread dough

Make a double batch of cookie dough and freeze half

Knit a hat for a friend


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Whole Enchilada

Last Sunday I wasn’t feeling well, so Ayla and Tahnee offered to make dinner.  I had planned enchiladas filled with leftover pork roast, and they said they’d give it a shot.  They did a fantastic job!  I appreciate them doing that, if they hadn’t we’d probably have had hot dogs or sandwiches.  I really felt crummy.  I got a break from cooking, and they learned a new skill.  Twofer!!! 

I’ve had several requests lately for my enchilada sauce recipe.  I dislike the canned stuff very much, and my sister-in-law gave me this recipe about 25 years ago, she got it from a missionary friend.  Here it is:

3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons flour
½ Tablespoon chili powder
15oz can of tomato sauce
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 ½ cup beef broth

Heat oil and flour in saucepan, stirring 1 minute to make a roux.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Chicken broth will work for this too.  I usually make my own broths, but you can use canned or even boullion in a pinch. 

Once you have the enchilada sauce, you have many options available.  We like our enchiladas made with flour tortillas, although traditionally I think they’re made with corn tortillas.  Most of my family loves them stuffed with leftover roast beef, and cheese.  Every time I cook a roast, I trim a small piece off the end before I serve it and freeze it for enchiladas.  I shred it up, dump a little sauce on it, and use that as filling for some of them.  Personally, I like cheddar cheese and finely diced onion.  IMO, that’s the perfect filling.  Simple, tasty.  No frills.  Ground beef, shredded chicken, refried beans, Spanish rice, use your imagination.  Anything you think sounds good, give it a try.  It might not be traditional but it might turn into your signature party dish!

Before assembling, I spread a little sauce in the bottom of a 9x12 baking dish.  Then I dip the tortilla in that, smear it around really good to cover the tortilla, then add fillings and roll up.  I squeeze the dish pretty full, but usually have to make a couple dishes full, because everybody will want leftovers for lunch the next day.  When I’m finished I pour the remaining enchilada sauce over everything.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.  Serve with sour cream, sliced olives, salsa, whatever you want.      

A few weeks ago I made these, and I ended up with 4 small dishes of them because everybody wanted something different!  Two people needed no cheese, but wanted roast.  One person wanted roast, cheese and diced onion, one wanted roast, cheese, no onion.  And I wanted cheese and onion.  Normally I don’t cater to everyone’s whims like that but seriously, it wasn’t that big a deal. I had the assembly line going, an assistant, 4 small baking dishes, and we cranked them out in no time.  I used diced onion and cheese on the top of each pan to indicate what was in each one so we didn’t have to figure it out after baking, since many of my dishes are identical.  It was kind of nice, having my very own pan of cheese and onion enchiladas.