Thursday, November 27, 2008

Hosting our first Thanksgiving dinner

So our first Thanksgiving at home was kind of fantastic. It was very Chill, and it was nice that way. Anyways, here is our beautiful Turkey:

Yumm-o! And it was so juicy and buttery. I basted that sucker with garlic butter, and stuffed it with sliced apples. It was delicious.

And I thought pioneer woman's green beans added some fun color to the meal. They were tasty, too. (I altered the recipe a bit by adding full pieces of bacon to it. I love me some bacon)

And here are some tips for future Thanksgivings:

-- When a bowl falls out of the cupboard and breaks on the counter, don't use the vaccum to clean up the mess. Even though it seems like a one teaspoon measuring spoon is too big to be sucked into a vaccum hose, it's not. And then you won't have a one teaspoon measuring spoon anymore.

--When the Turkey says "with Giblets" and there's only a neck in the cavity, the rest of the giblets are in the neck hole. Be sure to take these out before you cook it, or else your husband will find them when he's tearing the meat up, and make fun of you.

-- When you put an apple in the cavity, be sure to remove the sticker on the apple, or your husband will find it when he's tearing the meat up, and make fun of you.

-- When you aren't quick with the baster, the juice will shoot across your kitchen. We both learned this one the hard way.

-- Pans from the oven are hot! Don't grab!

-- Stove burners that are on are hot! Don't touch!

-- Your normally well behaved shih tzu will become a begging beast when she sees a bird that is the same size as her. You should probably put her in another room.

Anyways, hope everyones Thanksgiving was fabulous! I'm off to drift into my Turkey coma now.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Walnut Pie Recipe

As requested :)

2 1/4 Cups Flour
1 teas. Salt
3/4 Cup + 2 tbs. Crisco (no subsitutes)
5 tbs ice water

Blend salt and flour, then add shortening. Blend until peasized lumps form, then add ice water. Roll into 2 balls (makes 2 crusts, or one crust and lattice). This is some seriously awesome pie crust. You'll never buy another pie crust again.

Walnut filling:
3 Eggs, beat until light
3/4 Cups sugar
1/4 Cups melted butter or marg
1 Cup Corn Syrup

Add sugar, melted butter and corn syrup to beaten eggs. Whip together and pour into unbaked pie shell, top generously with nuts. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until knife inserted comes clean. Start buying pants in a size larger.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Holiday Planning!

I'm so excited that the Holidays are here! This will be the first year that Dimples and I have Thanksgiving at our own apartment, and this means I'm making a turkey. Lord help us all. Well, actually, Pioneer Woman help us all. She's showed me everything I need to know here and here, so I'm feeling prepared. My Mom and sister are coming over, so it's going to be very small and cozy (the cozy part is because our apartment is like 600 square feet, so when I say cozy, really I mean cozy.) My Mom came over yesterday and we planned our menu:

Acorn Squash- Me
Onion Bread-Mom
Mashed Potatoes- Sis
Walnut Pie- Mom (we fought over who got to make this. She won...this time. :)
Pumpkin pie-Me
Stuffing- Mom (and since I'm making the turkey, we wont be cooking the stuffing in the turkey, thank goodness. I find that practice disgusting. Would you like a heaping dish of salmonella? Yummy)
Cranberry sauce-Me

And we'll each make an appetizer. I'm excited. Thanksgiving is probably my favorite Holiday because all you do is hang out and eat all day. If we could somehow incorporate gifts into Thanksgiving it would be pretty much the best day ever.

I'm still working on my handmade Christmas gifts, though to be honest I haven't done much since I finished the purse. I'll get there. Really I should have got some done yesterday because I had the entire day off, but nope, I just watched old movies all day. It was fantastic.

And to finish up, last week a sister of one of Dimples clients sent Dimples home when a can of homemade oatmeal cookies. She told them not to eat them all, he had to share some with his wife. I thought this was adorable, so today I made a batch of sugar cookies with a peppermint vanilla frosting to put in the can so he can take them back to her. :)

Here is the easiest bestest Sugar cookie recipe ever, which I found on the back of a set of Wilton cookie cutters:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 granulated sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teas vanilla extract
1/2 teas almond extract (I omit this. I don't keep almond extract around)
2 3/4 cups flour
2 teas baking powder
1 teas salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and extracts. Mix flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl; add to butter mixture one cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Do not chill dough (this is my favorite part! I'm all about instant gratification when it comes to cookies). Roll and cut with cookie cutters as desired. Bake 6-7 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Cool on racks and frost.

And here are my finished cookies:

And boy howdy are they good. I know what you're thinking: Those would've been prettier if she'd waited until they were cool to frost them, right? But remember when I said I'm all about instant cookie gratification?

True story.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Squeee! Look what I made!

I finished my first Christmas Gift yesterday, for my 4 (almost 5) year old niece, and I'm ridiculously proud of it. It turned out SO cute!

The purse part is made from fleece that I found in the remnant bin, and the applique is made from felt. My niece LOVES frogs, so I looked up pictures of tree frogs on google, and modeled my little felt frog from that.

I'm so happy with how it turned out, and I hope she loves it. This handmade Christmas is already off to a better start than the last.
Fleece remnant: $1.18
7 colors of felt: $1.75, I used only a tiny bit of each, so I'll say $0.50
Buttons: $2.25 for a pack of 50. I used 7 so $0.35
Total cost: $2.03, plus 2.5 hours it took me to finish it. :)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Handmade Christmas

I know, I know, Halloween is still going on in my little college town and I'm already thinking about Christmas. The truth is, I've been thinking about it for awhile. I think I'd like to try my hand at a handmade Christmas, where all or most of my gifts would be handmade.
This will not be the first time I've done this, in 2006 I tried really hard. I made pretty much everyone scarves and hats. The problem was, I was new at crocheting, and I couldn't size anything. The hats were all either too big or too small, and some of the scarves came out more like ascots (sorry, SIL B!) which I guess would've been cool had I intended to make ascots. So I wont be doing that again. I remember being in a crochet frenzy the weeks before Christmas, and I'm pretty sure my fingers formed a claw for the rest of the year. I also handmade soap, which was a blast. The only problem with doing that was it was really expensive. I split the cost with a girlfriend from work, but I really don't think even that is an option this year. For the men, I borrowed my mom's dehydrator and made beef jerky, which would have been awesome if I had been able to keep my husband (then fiance) from eating it. I ran out and didn't have anything to give his brother. Awkward.

So anyways, I'm going to put the last time I tried this behind me. It was a mess, and I was stressed and it was not really fun. (Although like a year later my sil told me she thought it was sweet, and that she couldn't remember what other people gave her that year, she remembered she got a handmade scarf and hat from me, and that made me feel better :)

November is also a tad late to start this project, especially since my free time is so sparse. Luckily, I've finished all the old seasons of LOST so I won't have hulu tempting me all the time. Today I'm just gathering ideas until I have to work, and I'd really like to get started next weekend (I've got a four day weekend, so I feel like I can maybe get some stuff finished).

For the pre-teen nieces, of which I have 3, I'd like to make Journal covers, similar to this, but maybe not patchwork. I think I'll sew on some simple felt appliques instead. (I'll purchase the simple hardcover blank journals at our local art supply. I always thought a blank paper journal was more inspiring than a lined one.) I found this picture on sewmamasew, a blog which is an amazing resource for handmade Christmas ideas.

I think my 4 year old niece would get a kick out of a cute purse, like this one. I just have to be sure to sew a cut out of a tree frog on there somewhere. (again, this picture is from sewmamasew)
For my sweet baby nephew, who will be ONE next week (holy flying time, batman!) I think I'll make him a little cap. Boys are hard to make gifts for, and he'll be too young to think a handmade gift is more fun than it's wrapping, but I think his mom will get a kick out of an adorable hat. I also may try my hand at these shoes,

but he's walking now, so I'll make them out of fleece so they can be house slippers. And of course I'll make them a little more manly (picture from On Pins and Needles)

And for Dh's brother and SIL, who just announced that they are pregnant (yay!) I found this idea for bibs from JennyGarland I thought were adorable, and maybe another pair of the shoes, but really tiny. The baby is not due until May/June, but babies are just fun to make stuff for. I'll also make them cloth napkins that match their dining room colors.
That's as far as I'll get today. The one person I'm having trouble thinking up an idea for is my 10 year old nephew B. Any ideas, Riah?
Here are two awesome resources for handmade Christmas ideas:
Sewmamasew (obviously, I referenced them about a million times up there)
Crafty homemaker -- Her Friday Craft links are full of ideas, that's where I found both the bibs and the shoes.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Oops! I meant to post these on Friday, but I got caught up in the last season of LOST on My bad :)

This is Su-bee. She looks mad, but that's only because I'm making her sit still. She LOVES her bee suit, and she wore it to visit my mom and her friend. Yes, I'm one of those that dresses up her dog. Don't hate.

(and P.S. you're not allowed to judge my dirty floor. I was sick! KTHX)

And these are our pumpkins we carved Halloween night. DH's pumpkin has got (and I quote) a "douchey" smile. He's also wearing a bluetooth headset, lol. And mine is supposed to be a wolf howling at the moon. DH said it looks like he's pooping, in front of the moon. Awesome. (there are some really talented stars on the side, too) My arm is sore today from scraping out the moon area.
Hope everyone else had a fun, safe Halloween!
p.s. Those mini caramel apples I posted the other day rock. Go make them. Right now.