It's officially the day before Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Can you believe it's here?! Some of you might be filled with dread. My tips for you are try to breathe slowly, make a check list (I love checking off check lists...even if it says to just put slippers on, check!) and remember that the whole reason for having friends and family over is to make memories and reminisce about those good 'ol times. Keep in mind there are a lot of people in your same situation and I always say the worst thing is for a host to get so frazzled that they miss out on the fun of the event.

Even though I typically make a lot of food, rolls and pies from scratch, it's ok to have help. This year we are traveling for Thanksgiving, so our families pies will be from the great baker Costco. Definitely not the same as my homemade. If you are looking for some last minute pie tips, my sister spilled a few of our family secrets here:

If making a pie today is not in your plans - thats fine! We all have our physical and mental limitations. The important thing is our family (or maybe its friends that will be with you) will be together this thanksgiving and I know my kids will be asking who gets the turkey legs. I hope you all have a wonderful thanksgiving!

With Love,

Re-post: Turkey Wrangling

Monday, November 19, 2012

This year we will be visiting family this Thanksgiving  so I was able to bypass all the crazy planning and prep cooking. But in honor of all of you that have to cook I thought I'd re-post one of my favorite thanksgiving posts. Here is an oldie but a goodie from one of my first thanksgivings.

Here's the issue with the Thanksgiving turkey.... it is THE Thanksgiving turkey. It is the main focus point of the meal. You spend hours on end slaving away in the kitchen over side dishes and deserts all to complement a big chunk of meat. I mean, think about it- if you burn the turkey, that kinda ruins this whole meal that you literally have spent a month preparing and hours prepping for. It's kinda scary to most people to put that much pressure on one piece of meat!

Yes, even after doing this many years, it is still intimidating to me. Not to mention the whole "prepping" the turkey.
Here's what goes through my mind on Thanksgiving morning:
How the heck am I going to rinse this awkard lump of meat that weighs an insane 24 pounds ! Um...o.k. So I'm dangling this in my sink and trying to control where the faucet is hitting the turkey while trying to not drop it. It's freezing too! It's been thawed out in the fridge and happens to be very cold. And it's slippery! Oh crap, totally just dropped it- hope that didn't bruise it or tear the skin. This thing is bigger than a kid! It'd be easier to hug this thing and rinse- but eeew. Well, do I have another shirt? Ok, bad idea. Ok, got most of it rinsed by this point. Oh darnit, the turkey just hit the faucet- mental note: Disinfect that when I have to disinfect the sink later. And, LIFT. And then try to gently set this monster of an obese bird on a roasting rack. Phew. Now just pat dry.....and thoroughly scrub myself and the sink and possibly floor where water went splashing everywhere. Now yell at the dog to not lick the water on the floor, dangit that's going to make him sick. Kids!
No running in here! Don't come over here!...... When do I get to open the wine?!

Here's the good part- it turned out perfect! After I patted it dry I rubbed it down with a salt/herb mix and slathered with butter and olive oil. It was soooo good. Yay for a successful turkey roasting!

My little project- a mantle

So when I think of Christmas I think of stockings hung above the fire....ok, stop there. Until a week ago I couldn't do that. Our house was built without a mantle! And the people who built it, made a cut out right next to the fireplace. Probably for a desk or something. Buuuut since the cutout is there it means that there is a sharp corner by our fireplace. Really annoying because all pre-made mantles that you can buy at the home improvement stores get larger at the top so they'd hang over the side. So I had to make a custom mantle.

My inspiration came from this blog:

And I'm sooooo happy with how it turned out! Here is a walk though of how I did it.

I cut the boards to the size I needed and made a simple rectangle without a back

I filled in all the nail holes with wood putty and then I stained it :)

Because I had to wait for the stain to dry this is a 2 day project. I used Dark Walnut from Minwax and did approximately 2 coats.

Next step was to screw a 2x4 into the studs above my fireplace. This is where measuring the size of your mantle that you made is important. The mantle slides over this piece and is nailed in. So measure 2x before you screw in the 2x4! The little pieces in front are just for extra support for the top piece of the mantle.

And here she is! Because I took the pic almost straight on it looks like it hangs over, but it is flush with the little corner. It doesn't hang over the sides :)

It really wasn't too hard and it wasn't very expensive. Total came in under $45. So go ahead! Give it a shot!