Author Archives: nlmcderm

Thanks for Franks in Blanks

This morning Jillian and I walked down Tryon, and chatted with this horse.


And looked at these barns.


Then, with some simple mental math, we decided we canceled out 1/45th of today’s energy intake, and made our way home to prep our tum tums for some fantastic noshing.

In our family, we value education.  Enter: our Thanksgiving history lesson.


Education shmeducation.  My aunt just covers our seats with pilgrims and turkeys.  Close enough, right?

Auntie Sharon does it up right.  Look at all that business on the chandelier.


Buffalo chicken dip is dope.  Dunk, dip, slather, eat with a spoon.  Nothing is better than buff chick dip.


Weenies, weenies, weenies.  Chocolate before dinner.

And welcome to the 7th grade dance.

oOoOo… the boy’s room…

… and the giiiiirl’s room.

Delumptuous (this is a word)…


Get in my belly.


Turkey, turkey, turkey, TURKEY, turkey, turkey, turk.  (Sorry to everyone present for singing one word jingles far too many times)



Dad decided to cut half the bird like Bobby Flay does — big ole hunks to keep the juice in.  Bobby taught Dad this morning when he was on Rachael Ray’s show.

While Dad carved, we popped open some chocolate wine.  Grandma deduced that she’d rather enjoy the two as separate entities.

awwww yeah


A few Aussie throw backs:

My aunt used a koala clip to seal up the cupcakes, and I spotted the aboriginal painted coasters in the dining room.

And the main event.  Jillian made pumpkin pie (it was outrageously delicious), and Uncle Dicky Van Gogh-ed it.


A simple Keurig lesson and Gram’s apple crumb.  Doesn’t get better.

Why hello, cupcake tree.  How might you be on this fine November evening?

Do some giving, do some thanking.  Make your body horizontal.



Buttermilk Cornbread

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cups yellow cornmeal

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons sugar (or to taste)

2 cups buttermilk

2 large eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Heat oil in sheet pan for 5 minutes.

3. Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl, make a well in the center of the mixture.

4. Stir together buttermilk and egg, add to dry ingredients, stirring until moistened (don’t over mix! a few lumps are a-okay)

5. Pour onto hot pan.

6. Bake for…. hmm… as long as you feel like.  I don’t do bake times because the ovens I use generally don’t match up to other oven’s cooking times.  I cooked mine for probably 15 minutes.

If this was “normal” cornbread, it would be a hell of a lot sweeter (at least that’s what I like), and It would be in a deeper, smaller pan for big ole chunks.  But I want fairly dry cubes for the stuffing.

mmm it smells like cornbread.

It would make more sense to let the cornbread stale a bit overnight, but ehhhh I don’t quite plan ahead. I had the kitchen today before mom snags it tomorrow, so it made the most sense to do it all today.

Here comes the fun part.

Sausage Apple Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing

1. Toast cornbread: Toss cornbread chunks onto a baking sheet, and toast in a 250 degree oven for about 30 minutes.  I also toasted up some wheat slices we had.

2. Prepare base:

2 tablespoons butter/olive oil/ fat of choice

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 stalks celery, chopped

Combine ingredients and saute until veggies are soft.

Add chopped apple (I used a golden delish) and fresh herbs (I used rosemary, time and sage)

And as usual, these quantities can be tweaked to taste

3. Prepare Sausage:

Pop it out of its casing (I’m sorry, that sounds so gross), or don’t (I didn’t), and cook it through in a saute pan.

4. Combine Ingredients:

Dump onion mixture into a large bowl, then mix in sausage, and add a little salt and pepper and add the toasted bread chunks.

5. Add Stock: Add enough chicken stock to soak the cornbread.

6. Store and Bake: Scoop up your lovely-smelling-goodness into a pan and cover and refrigerate until Turkey day (I can do this since it’s tomorrow, but if you do it much more ahead of time I’m sure freezing is okay too)

Then bake that puppy up at 350 until hot and browned on top (very technical terms here)

7. Eat and Pray: Stuff the stuffing in your face and pray your family members don’t ostracize you.

Recipe adapted from: Sausage Cranberry Apple Cornbread Dressing

Gram Loves Hugh Jackman

Yesterday’s Breakfast: Egg sandwich with tomato sauce and feta, and a banana with plain greek yogurt and some blueberry jam.

For dinner last night, I met my cousin Trevor (a freshman at Springfield college who drove home yesterday for break) to have dinner at our Gram’s house.

I brought down a salad I threw together and Mom’s chicken parm.

We used the rooster plates that my sister found a few years ago.  She was scouring the attic for apartment furnishings and brought down the rooster set that my grandparents got for their wedding.  Gram decided they were “in” 5 decades later, and now uses them as her everyday dishes.

Gram supplied rolls and cookies.

Then Trev and I taught her how to play words with friends… she wasn’t having it.

And then we talked about Hugh Jackman.  And his children, and his wife, and his accent, and his Oprah appearances, and his hair, and his kindness, and how we should invite him over for dinner sometime.  Then we cozied up for some stories about Gramps (and his movie star crush, Doris Day.. who coincidentally was in the movie he took Gram to watch on their first date) and the two hour finale of Dancing with the Stars. Trev LOVED IT.

Before I left for Gram’s, I threw a bunch of stuff in a crock pot: chicken stock, fire roasted tomatoes, lots of chili powder, bay leaves, pepper, red pepper, onion, zucchini, button mushrooms, carrots, eggplant, and a 15-bean mix.  Then I let it cook away for about 7 hours.

Mom’s one request for my week off  was to make soup.  Good thing she didn’t request something intricate. (Hey, and that’s Sam Adams pumpkin hiding in the fridge.  Dad knows me too well).

Time to watch some more Food Network’s “Thanksgiving Live” and get going on the cornbread for the stuffing.

Wine & Winnie

Tonight we family dined.  Mom prepped the chicken yesterday and tonight I baked it with a mustard and berry compote (frozen raspberries, blueberries & blackberries, dijon, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and pepper… boiled and reduced) then greens with feta and roasted acorn squash, apple, carrot and onion.

And since Dad never disappointments  in the ice cream department, I had greek yogurt with cocoa topped with peppermint stick ice cream.  Peppermint ice cream = winter.

Tonight I had some wine with Winnie the Pooh and some friends (real ones, not stuffed animals).

Post Screening Deductions & Queries:

-Pooh, at times, sounds like Julia Child

-I still want to get a basset hound and name it Eeyore

-All of the characters did not pursue higher education (they’re so dumb it hurts)

-Christopher Robin wears a hat that looks like a yarmulke

-Did Christopher Robin have a british accent when we were children?

-Rabbit sucks.  He’s a self serving arsehole.

-Gopher was no where to be found.  I loved Gopher.  Where was Gopher?

-Kanga is the only female.  Where is her main man? Does she have to hustle the 100 acre woods to support her family of two?

That is all.

A Camera-less Day

This morning Mom and I capitalized on the insanely beautiful weather and went for a walk down Tryon Street… my old high school crew team stomping grounds.  Apparently it was take-your-tractor-to-work day because we were nearly mauled by a few.  We also ran into some dogs (Mom ran away) and a horse just casually straddling the yellow line.

Then I met one of my very best friends in the world for an iced latte at So. G., a fun little coffee shop in South Glastonbury that I’ve been meaning to try.  We were lucky it was warm enough to sit outside!  I will absolutely be back again.

And a friend from high school served me up my latte which made it even better.

Tonight we went to Fairfield for dinner at our family friends’ house where I finally snagged a taste of Morgan and Dave’s snack chicks.

Check out their website:

I tried the herb-an chicks and loved them on my salad. Super crunchy and a great stand in for croutons.  They also come in naked chicks, hot chicks and sweet chicks (sounds like a tasty ice-cream topper).

They’re all natural, baked, low-fat, gluten free, cholesterol free and boast 6g of protein per serving.

Here’s the latest CNY Signature I forgot to post.  Love to see all the nice comments for restaurants…Friends Diner

Since I’m on stuffing duty for Thanksgiving this year, I’d love some help!

Standard Stuffing: celery, carrots, onion, bread and seasoning … as simple as you can get.

Sweet Cornbread Stuffing: apple, cranberry, nutmeg, homemade cornbread

Sausage Cornbread Stuffing: Standard + Sausage + Cornbread

Orrrrrrrr… some sort of combo.  Suggestions welcome!




A Very Merry 422 Thanksgiving

The wine: flowing. The laughter: abundant. Blah ,blah, blah we ate a lot of deliciousness.

We, the ladies of 422 (plus our house pet, Colin) decided to host a pre-Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving dinner.

I don’t know why we didn’t think of doing this sooner.

Svedka, crackers, a medley of cheese, cool whip, reddi whip and wine.  All the components of a classy meal.

Anna roasted some garlic and olive oil rubbed asparagus.  Look, we eat veggies!

I made two squash dishes.  The left one is delicata squash and carnival squash with dill, olive oil, onion and lemon (salt and pepper too).  The right one is candied walnuts, pumpkin, apple, acorn squash, brown sugar, apple cider, and freshly squeezed oj.

Priyanka whipped up a fun quinoa dish with corn, olives, tomato, cheese and black beans.  We are very traditional with our Thanksgiving dishes.  The pilgrims definitely served this.

Can’t have enough mashed potatoes.  Liz wins for pro mashing skills.

Tara cooked up the biscuits.  And Brenna made apple sauce.  And pie! Colin brought pie and both cool whip and reddi whip… just in case.  The rotisserie chicken stood in as our impromptu turkey.  Works for me.


We are so domestic.  Happy almost Thanksgiving!

Just Dandy

Woops, I slept through my alarm this morning.

After a slightly longer than expected sleep, I had toast with jam and pumpkin seeds then apple slices with almond butter sandwiched in between and a mug of earl grey.

For dinner, I used Pellicano’s Dandelion pasta sauce.  I’m not lying when I say I bought it because the label is pretty.

The ingredients list is slim… also a bonus: Tomato puree, dandelion greens, olive oil, salt, sugar, garlic, onion, citric acide, black pepper, basil, parsley.

The label has a cute little write up too: “When I was a kid, my grandmother used to pick dandelion and use it in her cooking.  Legend has said that it helps indigestion and keeps the plumbing running smooth, if you know what I mean.”  I’ll uhhh… let you know how it goes.

I cooked up some lentils and whole wheat shells.  Then mixed diced red pepper in a bowl with tuna.  Then I layered the two, threw some cheese on top and heated it up under the broiler.  It looks ugly.  Sorry.

And for dessert I made cookie dough dip (that beany dessert that’s blowing up the internet).


It consists of beans, baking powder, oats, milk, chocolate, sweetener of choice, nut butter of choice (I used almond), salt and vanilla extract.

Weird that it’s a bean base but its super versatile.  There are a bunch of pumpkin versions online too.

Meanwhile, Miss Susie Homemaker (Liz) is whipping up some peanut butter thumbprint cookies.

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