Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful for YOU

I am thankful for the stories that come from my heart and for those who read them. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Surgery and Tuesday Cooking

Had a spot taken off my forehead today. It took a lot longer than the one on my nose last January. The doctor took a long time sewing it up. It hurts tonight.

Joanna made dinner with the kids and Sheala oversaw the turkeys made out if fruit. I made the beans this morning before I went to the hospital.  Javier's suggestion of hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls was a winner.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner

Oh yum! Everything turned out delicious. The only glitch was the turkey was done an hour earlier than anticipated. It was the most beautiful turkey I ever made. Juicy and yummy.

After the saltwater brine I patted it dry. Filled the cavity with lemon pieces and fresh rosemary. Put sprigs of rosemary under the skin

Sprinkled sage and Italian seasoning on the bird. Melted butter and added wine then soaked a cheesecloth in it. Put the cheesecloth over the bird. Oven set at 350.

Every 20 minutes removed the cheesecloth and soaked it again. Put it back on the bird.

The pies were yum.  Although the apple was too sweet. I changed the crumb recipe to try again. The potatoes and dressing so easy with the prep yesterday.

We had an enjoyable day.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Turkey in the bath!

Saltwater bath, that is. Last chore for today.  This is the first time I ever brined a turkey. We'll see how it turns out tomorrow.

Just a note here - if that husband of mine dies before me I am done entertaining. You all can invite me over and I will reciprocate by treating you to dinner at Harvey's.

He makes my life so easy.

Dressing Ready

The dressing is ready for the crock pot tomorrow.

Bread cubed
sprinkle with parsley

In a wok I cooked
1 stick butter
1 large onion chopped
3 stalks of celery plus the heart chopped
Sage, salt, pepper,  Mrs. Dash

When onions are translucent add 2 cups chicken stock.

Mix into bread cubes.

Put in crock pot tomorrow for 3 hours. When done put foil in large crock pot to divide it in 2. Put dressing in half and mashed potatoes in other side.

Potatoes Done

When I saw you could make these ahead and then put them in the crock pot this was a no brainer.

They are amazing. As usual I messed with the original recipe. You can find that here:

This is what I used
6# potatoes - cooked to fork tender
7 oz cream cheese
3 TBS butter
1 cup sour cream
Salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash

Put all of it in the Kitchenaid mixer and mixed until creamy.  Done! In the refrigerator until tomorrow.

Pumpkin Pie

Pie number 2

Yes, I forgot to take a picture - already in the oven. I was intrigued with a recipe that my niece, Sarah Noble, pinned. The pumpkin pie had pepper in it. I just had to try it. I changed the recipe a bit. I doubled the amount of pumpkin.

Pie Crust for 1 large pie or 2 small
2 cans (15oz can) pumpkin puree - American Test Kitchen suggests cooking pumpkin on top of the stove and then cooling it before baking with it.
3 large eggs
1 and 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 cup heavy cream (I used pumpkin flavored coffee cream)
1/4 cup milk

Original Recipe from:

This makes a very large pie. There was one bit of epic fail. It said to pre-bake the pie crust for 10 minutes. I did not use beans to keep the shape because I was worried about getting them out of a pie shell that wasn't fully cooked. And of course the sides collapsed. In retrospect I don't think I would pre-bake the pie crust.

Will critique tomorrow.

Apple Pie with Crumb Top

The first pie - Apple with Crumb Top - for our family Thanksgiving tomorrow.  This looks so good. I tried a new crumb topping. I didn't follow her directions because i combined everything and then added the melted butter. Turned out great though. (

1 3# bag Gala apples sliced thin
1 TBS cinnamon
3/4 cup of crumb topping
1 TBS butter cut into small pieces

Mix together until each apple piece has cinnamon on it

Crumb topping
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups flour
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted

Mix dry ingredients. Add melted butter. Mix thoroughly.

Roll out pie crust. Add apples. Dot with the small pieces of butter.

Top the pie with remaining crumb topping. This is the tallest apple pie ever to go into my oven!

Put pie dish on cookie sheet to catch drips. Bake in 375 oven for 25 minutes then turn oven down to 350 and continue to bake for 25 minutes. Cover edges of crust with foil if it is turning too brown.

Will post picture after it is out and critique the taste tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Yeah! A good start

Joanna came over today to help us start cleaning out the basement. When we saw a condo we liked this fall I knew that there would be no way we could even consider moving at this time. I decided right then that we needed to begin getting rid of the tons of stuff in the basement.

Joanna and Pat are at Bethesda right now. Lots of plates and bowls. Bags of clothes. Boxes and boxes of books.

Feels good!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thank You Harvey's!

What a good time to pick for dinner out! The manager's were tasting new wines. Arlen shared.  I had a glass of Lancaster Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. It was so delicious. Full bodied. Tart. Yum. It will probably be over $100 bottle. Have to say - would love to win the lottery. Thank you Harvey's.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tuesday Cooking Class

Yeah! Potstickers!  Javie and I made the best potstickers. Ours didn't look like this picture the blog posted. Ours were a rectangle. Quite easy. We used ground turkey instead of chicken. And I made a flat circle of scrambled eggs to slice into small pieces to replace the mushrooms. Yum!

We also had roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, and squash. A yummy dinner. Click the picture to go to the recipe. It made enough to freeze a batch.

Javier asked, "Nana, have you ever heard of hot dogs wrapped in croissants? "

Guess what we are having next week!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Characters Changing the Plot

The next book, A Light Shines Forth, is coming along.  I find it very surprising that my characters have a life of their own.  I thought the ninth graders, Isabella and Ellie were the main characters.  As it turns out Emma and Noah have taken over.

While I write a chapter I actually go back into the previous chapters to add tidbits that may lead into what I am writing.  That is when the characters usually take over.  Ideas and thoughts just spill out onto the page and I find that the whole novel could have a new twist.

Now if I can just figure out how to smoothly move my book five years into the future I will be able to pull this novel off.

I love writing.  I love my characters.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Tuesday switched to Sunday

The kiddos do not have class on Tuesday because their classrooms are a polling place. Which means I need to mention that we all need to vote on Tuesday.

So today after church Javier, Pat and I cooked dinner. Before I left for work I put chicken in the oven on the slow cooker setting. It was the first time I used that setting. It worked great.

When we got home we made Grandma Shea chicken. Cooked chicken dredged in flour seasoned with garlic, salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash and parsley. Javier learned to season by looking at the pattern on the flour. Then browned in butter.

We made pasta with cheese. Javier learned by chewing a piece of pasta whether it was done.

We made Red Lobster biscuits - yum.

Pat made corn.

Everything was delicious.

Then after giving them the cookie dough I made this morning they went home.  A half hour later Sheala and Joanna stopped by. We visited for awhile before they went over to Caroline and Jesse's. 

Now we are waiting for Madam Secretary to start and drinking Mr. Lepeak's raspberry wine. Tangy, sweet, full bodied. YUM.