Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

With just the 3 of us this year, it was a tiny tailored Thanksgiving feast. Only the things we liked and very few dishes. It was perfect. Stuffed as usual afterwards, but LOTS of leftovers in the refrigerator.

We had the usual turkey and dressing - this time turkey slices from the deli at Publix - and dressing that has just the right amount of seasoning and moistness.

Sweet potato casserole and brown rice and mushrooms.
Sugar snap peas (frozen - 5 minutes to cook and really good) and sauteed mushrooms.

A surprisingly good strawberry cream pie that we bought for some occasion and never ate. It came in handy today when neither of us wanted to cook a dessert.
It was a nice meal all in all. We missed the ones who weren't able to be here, but we'll see them in a few weeks.

Speaking of baking, this was Mike's next-to-last venture.
It's not an overstuffed sub or a loaf of French bread----

But a pineapple upside-down cake.

We discussed pan sizes ahead of time, and he decided to go against all odds and used a layer cake pan. There was a cookie sheet there to catch any batter than may run over. Unfortunately, there was nothing to catch what ran off the cookie sheet except the bottom of the oven. The smoke and smell did clear out after 3 days, and the cake was delicious - what was left of it.

We spent the afternoon aimlessly, taking Darby for a long walk and riding around and exploring some. We talked to Mike's dad who is newly in a nursing home and heard what a good Thanksgiving dinner he had and how much progress he's making - getting up and visiting friends, talking on the phone, etc. Big improvement over the past few weeks.

Just talked to Emily who is preparing her own dinner for friends. Homemade cranberry sauce, fried turkey, dressing. She gets upset with me because I change the dressing recipe so much (this year I forgot to add "day-old bread"). Pretty soon, she'll be comfortable with her own recipe. and I'll be trying to copy her!

Today is Gaby's birthday. She gets to share her big day with our Thanksgiving Day. I'll have to see if she's tried the sweet potatoes and dressing yet. Happy Birthday, Gaby. I know you're dying laughing over the cake disaster above.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Time for Food

This is the time of year when everyone starts talking about food. Gaby and Dina have been asking about our traditional Thanksgiving dishes and are going to share the Guatemalan holiday favorites. I'm already a big fan of their punch and am looking forward to making it again soon - maybe this week.

We're passing along recipes from Alabama to Texas to Washington to Guatemala for dressing and sweet potato casserole. Everyone makes their dressing differently, and it's hard to tell someone what YOUR recipe is. Once the cornbread is made, then you just start adding the chicken broth and veggies and herbs until it's like you want it. I'm sure I'll make it with a daughter this year, so we'll write down exactly what we do - this time.

Mike and I christened our new mixer last month with a delicious recipe - Pecan Cheesecake Bars - and since a few people have asked for it, I thought I would post it here. I even took pictures for the momentous occasion of my actually cooking something.

The recipe is from this cookbook.

Makes me want to go back to the Red Rooster and sew and eat and laugh and eat some more. On well....

Here is the unveiling of the mixer.

We kind of shared duties, but he got the fun part of putting things in the mixer while I was stuck chopping pecans.

The flour, brown sugar and butter are mixed with a pastry blender along with the pecans and patted into a pan for the bottom layer.

The cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and milk are mixed to make the center filling.

After this has baked and cooled, the topping of brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and eggs along with more pecans is added.

After another baking, this is what it looks like.

Yummy with a glass of milk.


1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar, divided
1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups finely chopped pecans, divided
2 (8-oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup butter
3 large eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine flour and 3/4 cup brown sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 1/2 cup pecans. Press mixture evenly in bottom of a 13 x 9 inch baking pan; bake for 10 minutes. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and sugar; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add milk and vanilla, beating until well combined; pour over cooled crust. Bake for 15 minutes; remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes. In a medium bowl, combine 3/4 cup brown sugar, corn syrup, melted butter and eggs. Stir in 1-1/2 cups pecans. Pour brown sugar mixture over cream cheese mixture. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until center is set. Makes 2 dozen.

I'm going to go wait for the thunderstorms I was promised by the Weather Channel.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Just to Keep Life Interesting

I'm a bad blogger. I do remember to take some pictures, and I do have things I want to remember, but I just forget to sit down and record them. So this morning since I woke up first and had some extra time, I thought I would cause a little havoc.

I was packing the children's Christmas boxes for our church and just couldn't resist. When Mike wakes up, he pretty much stumbles to the coffee area, and it will be interesting to see his reaction. It's bound to help get rid of a little grumpiness.

Boxes packed and ready to go.

I have a lot of pictures that I downloaded this morning, so this will be random.

We have a long way to go on getting the house the way we want it, but Mike has attacked the yard, and it's coming along. I took this picture of my pitiful side door plants at the end of a summer of neglect.

With just a little work, we've improved that area. The "bricks" are neat plastic/rubber-type rectangles from Home Depot that are light and easy to work with. We'll probably use them again somewhere in the back yard.

Just no time. I'll do more tomorrow.