Sunday, November 28, 2010

Kitchen is Closed!

As of 8:03 tonight, my kitchen is officially closed. I've roasted my big turkey, made many turkey casseroles, baked almost 2 dozen cranberry orange walnut breads and oodles of Xmas cookies. I'm DONE.

I'm back to work tomorrow to rest my body and actually sit down.

More time in the kitchen

Since I roasted and picked the turkey clean on Friday, yesterday was cooking time.

First of all was a huge pot of turkey vegetable soup. It simmered away as I started in on casseroles. I made 3 pans of turkey tetrazinni and 2 pans of turkey broccoli casseroles. Everything had sauted onions and mushrooms and I'm one of those mushroom users that rinses well to make sure they don't have any lingering dirt.

My kitchen smelled so good.

Since it was cold out, I put everything on the deck railing to cool once the pans were no longer really oven hot. After everything was cold, I put most of the food into individual plastic containers for the freezer. That meant rearranging the freezer but I was able to make a lot more room. The two pans that won't fit will go in my friend's freezer.

Yesterday I also made 2 batches of cream cheese spritz cookie dough and 2 batches of sugar cookie dough. I'm waiting for some of the spritz dough to warm up so I can start making cookies. I'll be at it all day.

Hopefully this is the end of my holiday baking. I've had Hallmark channels Xmas movies on all weekend so it's been nice.

Friday, November 26, 2010

That's a lot of turkey!!!!

During November the grocery store had a promo for a free turkey or ham after you've spent $300. That's not really that hard to do with regular groceries and ingredients for holiday baking. I picked up a 21 lb. turkey as my reasoning was to get a big one since it was free.

Into the frig it went on Sunday to thaw. This morning when I took it out, I was really surprised to find out that the inside was still frozen so I kept running cold water inside it in the sink. In about a half hour, it was fine and I could rinse it out and get it ready for the oven. I sprayed PAM on it, sprinkled seasoned herb salt, pepper and lots of dried parsley. According to the directions on the turkey, it should have been done around 6:30.

Off to OLD Navy and the grocery store I went. I had to get ingredients for turkey soup and several turkey cassroles. The store was out of celery and scallions so I bet lots of other people planned on making turkey soup this weekend. The next grocery store had it and celery hearts were on sale. The bags were small and there were just two left so I took both. The man next to me then told me he needed celery so he bought the organic one not on sale.

Came home and made fancy mashed potatoes and butternut squash with maple syrup to have with my turkey. Oh, it looked wonderful and was browning beautifully. Come 6:30, it wasn't done. Same at 7:00 so at 7:40, I took it out. I couldn't wait for it to cool and cut a big piece for supper. Oh so good.

Later in the evening I cut all the meat off and it's in the frig. I broke up the carcass and it's simmering in my big pot. I'll let it cool, pick off the meat and store the big pot in the frig. Tomorrow is soup and casserole making day. I will have to rearrange my freezer as it's full. I might have to drive some things over to my friend's freezer again.

The dog is going nuts with the turkey smell and looking for anything that might have fallen on the floor while she was safely tucked away in her crate while I was working on the turkey. She's never had turkey but her nose is telling her that it's mighty good stuff. She didn't find any on the floor but she keeps hoping.

I can tell you that a 21 lb. turkey that only one person ate from yields a LOT of turkey. The best part is that it was free.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I took today as a vacation day. What really surprised me is that I set my alarm but for 7:15. Got up, showered and made a big artery blocking breafast of sausage, fried eggs, toast and OJ. Put in a load of laundry and hung it out.

Then the real job of the day started. I rinsed and picked through 8 bags of cranberries and made 12 large and 10 small loaves of cranberry orange walnut bread. Most are for Xmas gifts. I never know how many I'll need so I make more than needed as it's nice to pull one out of the freezer in February to have for breakfast with cream cheese. Since it's such a messy job, I like to get them all done at once. I make them in foil loaf pans (much easier), wrap heavy duty foil around them and pop them in a friend's freezer. When I give them, I wrap them like a present with colorful fancy ribbon that has silver in it. What a great gift IMO.

The kitchen is all cleaned and I'm just waiting for the second batch of breads to finish baking.

This weekend I want to bake spritz and sugar cookies too and have all my holiday baking done.

I've had the Hallmark channel on with Xmas movies so it has been a nice day. In my email, there is a 50% off coupon for today at Borders so I'll run there tonight to buy the old movie Holiday Inn. Maybe I'll watch it over the weekend while knitting.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Love That Barbara!

I have always loved Barbara Bush. Love her spunk and her tell it like it is. I just saw a clip of her interview with Larry King. When he asked her about Sarah P, she remarked that she sat next to her once, she's pretty and that she hopes she stays in Alaska. Love that Barbara!!!!! I can't stand Sarah P!!!!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Getting in the Mood

I grew up to hearing Perry Como in my house as my mother loved his music, his TV show and what a wholesome man he was. It's not Christmas without hearing Perry Como. I used to love his Christmas special on TV (and also Andy Williams'). Checking out at the grocery store today was a display with some CDs. Staring at me was Perry for $5.98 so onto the counter it went. Guess I'll pop that into the player in the car tomorrow and sing along.

Remember all the wonderful Christmas specials on TV? Miss them.

I also bought 3 pointsettias this afternoon. One red one is for a co-worker's birthday on Thanksgiving and I'll bring it in tomorrow. The red one is on my kitchen table next to my laptop and the third one is pink and for my desk at work. When my daughter was growing up and I went all out decorating the house for Christmas, I had lots of pointsettias in the house as I love them. I used to have the traditional red along with white and pink.

Next weekend I'll be baking - cranberry orange walnut breads, cream cheese spritz cookies and sugar cookies. Most of it will be given as holiday gifts to friends and co-workers. Of course, I'll eat some too. Another holiday tradition of mine are my green cream cheese spritz cookie wreaths. I never missed making them except for last December. I was so busy with work and everything needed to be ready to fly to Moscow a week before Christmas. I brought the directions and cookie press with me but never got to make them there. Unfortunately I forgot the press there and my daughter forgot it when she came in March and for the summer. My good friend Cecelia sent me home with her press when I was visiting her in NY a few weekends ago. She didn't plan to use it this season so I'll put it to good use before I get it back to her.

I stocked up on flour and sugar (many bags) this weekend (on sale)as there is nothing worse than being in the midst of the baking mess and running out. I don't have anyone to run to the grocery store for me and having to put on decent clothes to go is such a nuisance.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Xmas Craft Fairs

Love love love them. Today I went to two and enjoyed them. One always has one room for baked goods and prepared soups and casseroles. They have a list of the available frozen meals and you place your order. Someone goes to the kitchen freezer while you pay and then you have lots of dinners ready for after work in your freezer. No work and the money the fair makes all goes to support a local food kitchen. What could be better?

The same fair also has different rooms with used books, homemade candy, tag sale items, tea cup auction and crafts. I always have to make two trips out to my car. I wait for this fair each fall.

It also brings back happy memories as it's where my daughter went to nursery school for two years.

After the fairs, I stopped home to put the frozen meals in the freezer before heading for the grocery store. Made another stop home to put away groceries.

For several hours this afternoon, I went to a drop in knitting session at the library.

This evening the dog and I watched a few movies and I knit on the Xmas socks I'm making myself. I got out my Xmas videos so I'm in the holiday mood. White Christmas is being saved for next weekend. I've bought my eggnog, hot cocoa and whipped cream so I'm all set for the viewing. It's a holiday tradition of mine.

Great day. There's another craft fair I'm going to tomorrow so 'tis the season.

P.S. Sunday Afternoon

The craft fair this afternoon was great. Bought some things for myself and for gifts. Saw one of my daughter's teachers. Went grocery shopping again for specials in the flyer and for my free turkey. Now I have a frozen 21 pound turkey in my frig thawing. I'll roast it later this weeks for turkey dinners, hot turkey sandwiches, turkey tetrazinni, turkey soup and freezing for later use. I asked the butcher to saw it in half but he refused as the health codes have changed. It was free when you spent $300 so it was better to get the large size turkey. Sheets are in from the clothesline and the bed is freshly made up. Another nice Sunday.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Wash freezing on the line

I love the fall in CT. It's cold at night and sunny and beautiful during the day. Normally I hang clothes out as long as I can. Since I'm out first thing tomorrow morning to go to several Xmas fairs in the area, I wanted to get laundry on the line tonight. I washed my summer cotton blanket first and hung it out. While the next load was washing, I guess the temperature dropped as it was a little stiff when I went out with the towels to hang. Love it!

I do put my perma press in the dryer so they come out wrinkle free. Everything else is on the line.

Many of you will think I'm weird. I don't do this to save electricity but because I love laundry off the line. I've even hung out sheets and towels on a sunny, warm winter day.

No, I won't be retiring to the Sun Belt. I love fall and winter. Nor will I ever live where I can't have my clothesline.

My mother never had a drier so she hung laundry out all year. We often had frozen laundry thawing out in the kitchen. Now you know where I get it from.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

White Christmas

Tonight my friend and I met for a quick dinner and then went to see the Broadway play White Christmas at the Bushnell in Hartford. Both of us watch the movie each holiday season so I can truthfully say we know the story well and love it.

The play did not disappoint us and we really enjoyed it. The scenes, costumes, singing and TAP dancing were wonderful. I just love tap dancing and as a little girl always wanted to take lessons. My conservative father said it wasn't ladylike and so I was enrolled in ballet. I wish when I'd gotten older that I had taken tap lessons as I am a tap dancer wannabe. I was a tomboy so tap lessons suited my personality much more than ballet as an elementary schooler. I only took lessons for a few years so never got on my toes.

Now we can't wait to watch our White Christmas movies within the next week.

If the play comes to your area and you love the movie, spring for a ticket and go with a friend.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Work and Pleasure

My weekend was divided into the two areas of work and pleasure.

Work: Laundry both days and one load hung out on the line. Grocery shopping. Took all my window screens out, carted them out to the front lawn in the sun, spread out a plastic tarp, gathered a bucket of hot Lysol suds, wire scrub brush and padded gardening kneeling pad. Scrubbed all the screens, hosed them off, dried them against shrubs and brought them inside. Made a noodle and apple kugel, baked pork loin with sauteed onions and apple slices, salad and broccoli. I have enough for dinner the next two nights (a plus).

Pleasure: Baby shower yesterday for a coworker which was really nice. Couch time this afternoon with the dog while I read my Country Living magazine. More couch time tonight with the dog, knitting on my Xmas socks and watching movies.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What we do...

What we do to not accept the advancing years.

On my way home from work, I went for a haircut. I have a very short haircut and so when it's cut, the upper part is ash blond/light brown while the true color is what you see on the bottom. All the color is cut off and what's left is salt and pepper (mostly salt).

I've been coloring it myself for years as I buy a box of Garnier on sale for around $5. Yeah, when I had it done at the hairdresser's, I loved the highlights she put in. The only problem is that I get a haircut every 6 weeks and so it needs to be colored at the same time. That was just costing way too much money that I could ill afford. My hair comes out fine (if I say so myself) and it sure is way less money.

The only drawback to doing it myself are the various shades. I choose a dark ash blond/light brown and it comes out a medium brown. Each week it gets lighter. I guess I should look on it as it doesn't get boring with the same shade and I kinda like that.

I've finished it, taken off my hair dye tee shirt, towel dried my short hair and now am in my old comfy turtleneck and sweatshirt. Dying my hair in the colder weather is chilling as I am only wearing a tee shirt and I have a wet head with hair dye for a half hour. At least it takes 45 minutes to do it and then I'm all set for another 6 weeks.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Death Penalty

Yeah! The death penalty for that animal Steven Hayes. Now we citizens of CT will have to pay as his lawyer will have appeals and we'll have to keep him on death row for probably 15 years. I wonder how much that will cost us CT taxpayers? I wish he were fried within the next month or so. You sure know my views on the death penalty. I'm sure some of you won't agree and that's your choice as it's America. But, it's my blog and I can say what I want. I hold back when reading some blogs as I respect the person and their views. Please do the same for mine.

And what came in today's mail - jury summons for right after the beginning of the new year. If I do have to go, bet they won't pick me for any criminal trial as I am VERY opinionated.

Can you believe?

I woke up this morning to sleet and it's Nov. 8. There was about 1/4 coating the ground and car. On the ground, it mostly was not still white but you could see it. Fortunately it turned to big, wet raindrops for my commute to work. By early afternoon, the parking lot was starting to dry.

Wonder what we are in for this winter season here in CT?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Yarn & Candles Part II & Reading

My friend Diane and I had such a great jaunt yesterday. First stop was for bagels and then we hit the road. We went to Webs' Yarn in Northampton (Exit 18 off Interstate 91 for those of you avid New England knitters). The place is amazing!!!!!! I've been to quite a few privately owned little yarn shops but they never prepared me for this huge place. I was in yarn overload. Diane turned me on to knitting socks and I'm working on my first pair. I made right for the sock yarn area both in the full price and marked down areas and stocked up on great variegated yarns. One yarn even makes up into a patterned Xmas sock. Can't wait to do that as the sample is adorable. I also bought lots of colors for another knitted project. I'll have to figure out how to put pictures on my blog so you can see the finished results.

We then went north to Yankee Candle about 10 minutes away. There is a wonderful restaurant on their property called Chandlers. We got right in for lunch as most people needed tables for 4 or more. We had a delicious apple cider glazed pork loin lunch with butternut squash, oven roasted potatoes and rolls.

We had walked all around Yankee Candle and bought some stuff there. It was MOBBED and we were so fed up with all the shopping cart and stroller pushers who would just stop and block it so no one could get around them. We glanced more than looked at everything as that would take all day and neither of us are needing any Xmas decorations. Our favorite area is the German one with the Black Forest.

The highlight and main reason for our trip there was to see the Von Trapp Children perform. They are the Baron and Maria's great grandchildren and Curt in the movie was based on their grandfather. They are 4 siblings - 3 girls in college and 1 boy (16) in high school in Montana. The girls dirndls were all Maria's. That was amazing. They do not show signs of age or wear either. Their 4 voices are just lovely and the arrangements were so well done. We both bought a DVD of one of their concerts and had them autographed. This was their 5th time performing at Yankee Candle. I'm sure Diane and I will want to see #6. The 4 Von Trapp children were so wholesome and a joy to hear and meet. One of the girls complimented me on my silver dachshund pin so I told her how I named my dachshund Liesel after Liesel in Sound of Music.

With the time change today, I was loving getting the extra hour of sleep. I spent a lazy day reading. Read one mystery and went to the library for several more by the same author. I did hang out two loads of wash and do another with the dryer so I did accomplish something. Mostly it was a veg day reading which I love.

Now it's couch movie knitting time with the dog.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Yarn and Candles

Tomorrow my friend Diane and I are heading off for a day in MA. Our first stop is for bagels to munch in the car as we head north to a huge yarn shop/factory in Northampton. I've never been to the place but she has and raves about it. She told me to bring patterns (and money).

Then we get back on the highway and go to Yankee Candle for lunch, browsing, and shopping. The highlight of the afternoon will be the Von Trapps. Four of Maria and the Baron's grandchildren have carried on the family singing tradition and they'll be performing at Yankee Candle. After seeing them on Oprah's Sound of Music Reunion last week, we said, "We HAVE to go." So, ROAD TRIP.

Sure wish Cecelia lived closer as she'd love to join us for the day's outing.