Category Archives: Uncategorized

Thanks for Franks in Blanks

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

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And looked at these barns.

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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)

STOP IT.

 

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.


Stuffed

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.


Phil & Lori Pop In

 

 

I have little to no food in the house.  But I refuse to go to the grocery store because Mom and Dad swooped in for the weekend.

I’d like to think they came to see my shining face, but the storm knocked out their power last Saturday, and the house is registering at 45 degrees.  I’m going to make the educated guess that a heated hotel room had a lot to do with their visiting me… on a Thursday.

This morning I made oats on the stove which, even though it takes far longer, is much more voluminous and tasty.

I threw in some fresh cranberries with almond milk, water, oats, chia seeds, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, a dash of salt, some honey and cinnamon.  Topped it all off with walnuts and pumpkin seeds (pepitas if we want to sound fancy).

And after meeting my parents for dinner — bbq chicken salad at Faegan’s …soooo goood (but they didn’t have avocado!) — I did nearly everything I could to avoid writing a paper that’s due tomorrow.  Like stringing these lights over my radiator – an obvious fire hazard, but aesthetically pleasing.

And unnecessarily doing laundry.

And watching sex and the city.

And vacuuming.

And making coffee when I would rather be sleeping.  Oooops.

Here’s to going to work tomorrow while my parents entertain themselves.  And here’s to the dinner they’re buying me after that.


59.

 

Happy fifty-ninth anniversary to Gram and Gramps.

Over six decades ago, a farmer boy clad in overalls and steel-toed boots swooped a Uconn sorority girl off her feet.

In sharing only two of these decades I’ve witnessed that they would do absolutely anything for one another.  Constant “I love you” holding hands, and kisses on the cheek when they think no one is looking.  Just a couple of 13-year-olds obsessed with each other.

Wish I could be home to celebrate.


Lessons from Grandpa

My grandfather is an extremely impatient efficient man.  When we were little, he taught the seven of us the first rule of any task: throw out the directions.  Who needs directions when Grandpas know how to do everything already, right?

Gramps and I used to meet up every weekend for breakfast dates throughout high school, and when I went to college, we grabbed breakfast whenever I came home.

Over his scrambled eggs and lox with cranberry juice, and my omelet and coffee, he inquired about boys, and often tried to set me up with 35-year-old restaurant patrons…. whose wives and children sat at the same table.  I mean… okay… there’s nothing wrong with older men.

Peppered in with stories from his childhood (100% of them contained some sort of exaggerated component), Gramps offered me lifestyle advice.

Here’s his take on the egg.

May I present to you Grandpa’s kind-of-scrambled egg:

Why dirty a bowl, add a bunch of nonsense and waste time whisking?  Go Grandpa and crack your eggs into the pan, let them cook halfway, and theeeeen give them a bit of a scramble.  I think I scrambled too early to really have an egg a la Grandpa.

Okay so there’s no spectacular secret to his egg making, but god bless his efficiency.

Then on the other half of the English muffin, I spread some goat cheese, a little honey and topped it with grilled apple slices.

I’ve been dying to bake something… and I took today’s dreary weather and Ina Garten’s baking a peach cake on tv this morning motivation enough.

Pumpkin-Banana Bread

As with 95% of what I make… I worked off of no specific recipe (why? not because I am a perfect baker.  I’m nowhere close.  But I tailor a combination of recipes to the ingredients I have on hand …. which generally means a lot of substituting and experimenting)

This is as mathematical and specific as we’ll get (this is not how you’re supposed to bake… experimentation most always leads to failure with baked goods)

-2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

-1/2 cup sugar

-2 eggs

-2/3 can pumpkin puree

-2 bananas mashed

-1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce

-cinammon, pumpkin pie spice (get as spicy as you want to)

-1 teaspoon baking powder

-1/2 teaspoon baking soda

-1/4 teaspoon salt

-1/4 cup coconut oil

-1/4 cup almond milk

-oats to top

I’m horrendous with giving directions (thanks Grandpa)… but here’s what I’ll tell you:

-Mix dry stuff in one bowl

-Mix wet stuff in the other

-Combine dry into wet… but whatever you do… no overmixing!

-And I’m a pan greaser (I used coconut oil on a paper towel)

Couldn’t even tell you how long this puppy spent in the oven (at 350)… laundry and tv took command of my attention, until the yummy smell wafted down the hallway into my room.

While the nanner bread cooked away, I also baked up some butternut squash medallions.

Then made some pasta with spinach, lemon, olive oil, parm, mozz, salt and pepp.

Cauliflower, too – with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and oregano.

Wish me luck when I cut into my baked experiment for dessert.  But remember, impatience isn’t always a bad thing.


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