It’s begining to look a lot like I’m late decorating for Christmas.

Are you still eating Thanksgiving leftovers? Are you still in a turkey coma? I hope everyone had a good holiday. Here’s a couple of pics of the last of our turkey which went into some pies. Our pot pies are one crust only – which caused a lot of controversy in our house at first. No bottom crust? Crazy. But now everyone’s in line.

img_1460img_1467I know it’s December, and I know everyone has moved onto lights and trees and stockings hung by the chimney with care – but I’m a little behind. The leaves are still falling in our neighborhood and my dead mums are still by the front door. And guess what – I don’t really care. The plaque on the door still says Gobble Gobble and my mantle is still living in the past too.

This weekend is it. I’m on it. I need to make the move. The switch. Goodbye rotting, half eaten pumpkins! Hello Christmas. Can’t wait! Well, I mean, I can wait just a little.  I’m not doing it today. I’ll do it tomorrow. When I say weekend I mean Saturday. Sunday tops.

The gobble gobble 

It’s the Tuesday before Thanksgiving – my absolute favorite time of year. Who would have guessed that a vegetarian Indian girl who never even really acknowledged the holiday until 1991, would be this obsessed. I hear my husband saying it’s all him. He’s the reason I love it. Maybe. 

First turkey day ever: Milford, PA circa 1991

Memory: Aunt Dee Dee (whose real name is Mary inexplicably) handing me the sausage to cut up for stuffing. First time I ever touched sausage. Good times.

For years we went to her house every year – even right after my little baby girl was born. Speaking of baby girl – she came home for the holiday. On her 18th birthday. We missed cake for breakfast so we did cake at a normal time. 

18. As in a year younger then I was when I went to my first Thanksgiving in Milford. This is some twisted time warp. But she’s home! And by home I mean she’s out with friends but in the same town as us. I’ll take it.

 We also saw some oldies but goodies. Katherine. Howard and Luigi. Santa. And Janey. The picture says it all. It’s blurry. Off center. Everyone’s smiling – even Howard – he’s the bald head floating on top of Janey. (On a side note) Katherine has her tree up. We have neighbors who have lights up. I know it’s tradition but I’m still rocking the pumpkins. I need to hold on to pumpkins people. And that is in no way a diss to Christmas-on-Thanksgiving people. You do you.

So anyway it’s the Tuesday before…Thursday  and all through the house, not a creature was stirr… that’s not true. Creatures are stirring. They’re stirring all over the place. 

Turkey #1 is in the brine! Do you brine? Do you dry rub instead? Do you do none of the above and your turkey comes out better then mine? Don’t tell me.

I brine because I’m a sheep to The Food Network. If Ina tells me to do something – by god I do it. My brine is a combo of mulling ingredients and things I’ve heard are good to dump in there.  Yes that is star anise in there. And yes, also some dried apples and pepper cloves. Citrus? Yep. Onions and garlic? Yep. Good turkey. Nice turkey. What do I care – I’m not eating it! Just kidding..  And now something that has nothing to do with anything but is just as important. I want to share a photo taken by an amazing photographer(among other things) in our town – who as fate would have it just happened to be my baby girls soccer coach in middle school. Small beautiful world. 

He took this pic of the lake in our town. I screenshot (or is it screenshotted? Is that even a word?) it a week ago and have been looking at it ever since. I was totally going to pretend that I took it – but he’s too nice a guy. Thanks Pat for sharing your talent!

 

Thanksgiving week is on – and in the words of Jim Morrison or Mandela or Bobby Flay…the only way out is through. Let’s do this.

oh hey….

Remember me? No? I don’t blame you. It’s been a few days, or weeks or maybe months (ouch).

I just haven’t been in the mood. Every form of social media that I used to love and get excited to be a part of became a vehicle for me to voice my frustrations. About what you ask? Well, you know what. Tuesday, November 8th is what. And since the middle of the year I’ve been caught up… in it…with it. Up to my neck. Who knew I was so civic-minded? Not me – my priorities (outside of my family of course – I’m not a monster) were usually my DVR rotation and what I was having for my next meal. But I got hooked. And it felt great. And I did and do and will always believe in it. But I’m exhausted. A friend texted me the night of the election and said she was gutted. That’s the perfect word for how I felt too. Gutted. Not just by the results, but by the ride.

And when I woke up the next day and hopped a train to work – I felt like a zombie. But then I started seeing friendly faces. Talking. Laughing. Commiserating. My team and I  literally broke bread (NYC bagels) together the morning after and talked about how we all spent the night before. It felt great – and it wasn’t just the sugar from the carbs hitting our system. It was hearing about plans for the next weekend. Complaining about upcoming meetings and joking about family.

Now, a few days out, I’m coming out of the fog. And it doesn’t hurt that the leaves are bursting with psychedelic color and my favorite cooking shows are all focused on Thanksgiving (I don’t even mind the Christmas commercials already airing).

So I’m going to start a cleanse. And this cleanse has nothing to do with kale or juicing. I haven’t lost my mind. I’m going to stop indulging and eating up the news. I’m going to stop soaking up opinions and articles and shows about the state of the world.

You’ve heard me say that I love Facebook – or I used to. I loved seeing posts from friends and family near and far about their daily lives and what they were up to. But in the last year, the news feed that used to make me happy has either incited me or validated my opinions. I’ve felt the need to read and absorb every single good/bad/hurtful/helpful thing that comes up. And it’s depleted me. I joined a local group of supporters who felt like I feel and think like I think and I thought it would make me feel better. But it didn’t.

So I’m cleansing and purging. I deleted all my posts that were political in nature – and the comments good and bad that followed. If I thought for a second it would feel like a copout – it didn’t. It felt great. I also hid every single person on my news feed that posts constantly about their political/social views – whether I agree with them or not. I would never unfriend them – but now I only see what they post when I want to. I realized a lot of my actions were reactions to other people. That can’t happen anymore. Instead my newsfeed is full of people who post dog pics, their latest cooking ventures and what they did the night before. If you checked in to a good restaurant last night, I want to know about it. If your kid’s team won – I want to cheer him on with you.

Does that mean I don’t care anymore? No.I care a lot. None of my views have changed. Not one. I still believe in every single vote I cast. And I’d do it again (I will for sure in 4 years). But I have never been a fighter. I’m not into it. I don’t enjoy making someone feel bad. I’ve worked hard to only have people in my life that make me feel good – make my family feel good.  Passion is good, but it needs balance so it doesn’t become rage. And I value kindness above all other things. Period. I don’t always succeed, but I try.

So I’m going to focus on Cranbury sauce recipes and whether I should add buttermilk to this year’s mashed potatoes, is that a crime? I’m going to put all my brain power where it belongs – on a new brine recipe for the turkey. Furthermore! I need to start thinking about Black Friday….will I or won’t I? I’ve been ignoring these major decisions for too long.

Talk soon, xoxo

 

Rabbit Rabbit

It’s December 1st. Tradition says that if you say those words together today you’ll have some good luck or good vibes or good something.

Don’t we all need some good vibes?

How are you? You doin’ ok? Made it through Thanksgiving? Me too. It was so much fun.

I miss it already.

I’m back at work after a whole week off. Actually I was back at work yesterday but it didn’t feel real yet. I was still avoiding all the work by asking people about their turkeys. It was awkward. People would come into my office to talk about some upcoming event and I’d redirect, deflect and evade.

“Can we go over this event agenda…” they’d say trying to keep me ontrack.

“Agenda…hmmm….yeah. What was your agenda for dessert on Thanksgiving? Let’s talk about that first.” I’d fire back.

I was hopeless. By 1pm I was finally ready to give it up. No one seemed to be having the post tramatic turkey day withdrawal like me.

So what’s next baby? Christmas? Hanukkah? New Year’s?

I like the holidays, what can I say? I like seeing friends and family. I like baking cookies. I like buying gifts. I like the whole damn thing.

One day, when my kids don’t see me everyday and my husband has lost most of his sight,  I’ll be one of those people that not only decorates their home, but also themselves.

That’s right. I’m talking themed clothing people!

Christmas sweaters. Thanksgiving earrings. Halloween PJs. Oh it’ll be on.

Till then – here’s some random photos to enjoy. My kitchen as I prepped. My turkey (apparently claried butter is the way to go). A couple of people passed out on the couch after dinner – which I consider the ultimate compliment. Photos of the hike my sister orgnaized for a few of us. I think more people would have joined had they known we would be stopping at a Vineyard on the way home.  True story.

xoxo

Because Butter

It’s officially Thanksgiving day but it’s technically still the night before.  I’m getting ready to call it a night. I’ve done what I can. Tomorrow will just have to happen.

I got a call today from a friend who is hosting her first ever Thanksgiving. She’s all freaked out and stressed out about the bird. The stuffing. The potatoes.

She wanted me to walk her through some of the recipes that I use. Since I was in the midst of prepping for the big day when she called I cut to the chase.

“Ok. So you know when you eat at a restaurant and you have their mashed potatoes or the chicken or steak and you think…how did they make it so well? Why can’t my food be this good. What makes this food better? You know what makes it better? Butter.”

That’s the truth. It’s not the organic ingredients or farm raised turkey. It’s not the Martha Stewart vs Ina method. It’s the butter. Obscene amounts of butter. In the potatoes, on the turkey. The stuffing? Oh it’s stuffed with butter.

When you think you’ve used enough – use more. Want to choose a healthier alternative? Have it. It won’t be as good.

Happy Thanksgiving people. Because butter.

Here’s a pic of my one of the turkeys (made with clarified butter and regular butter). Call 911.

turkey!

I add the love

I make a lot of things for Thanksgiving from scratch. Scratch meaning once there was nothing and now there’s something. Just in case you needed clarification.
Know what I don’t make from scratch? Gravy.
There. Now you know.
And cornbread.
I feel better. Lighter.
A few years ago I found this…

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It’s genius. This is what I do to it to make it seem homemade and take the edge off.

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After the turkey cooks I take some of the drippings and add that too. This not making gravy while 15 hungry people watch you has added years to my life. Ok days. It’s added days to my life. I’ll never go back.
And the cornbread? I just add some…how do you say…corn to this jazzy old school staple.

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It’s 59 cents people. And perfect. What are you a superhero trying to make this from scratch? Get over yourself.
Happy Thanksgiving Eve to you all!!

Oh No You Didn’t!

I was a bit distracted today. Last night, as I was falling into a deep deep sleep at 8:45pm, my husband dropped a bomb. A major announcement. Something he knew would send me reeling, so he waited until I was only half concious. He told me my Thanksgiving stuffing “needs work”. Excuse me? I’m sorry what? I felt like someone dumped cold water on me. It needs work? The stuffing I’ve been making for almost two decades? The one that we never have leftovers for?? Really? Then he kept talking. “It’s not clumpy enough.” “The sausage bits are too big.” “Maybe try a new recipe.”

I pretended to continue falling asleep, when in reality I was really seething for almost 10 minutes before actually falling asleep. How dare you sir!!! 

This morning I woke up and decided to ignore everything he said. This is the dude that has been licking his plate clean every Thanksgiving for the past 18 years. All of a sudden he’s on Chopped judging my technique?? Well I would not let him derail me. I mean, really, what am I supposed to do? Test run the stuffing? What am I a newlywed? But I was tortured. Obsessed. Fine! You win husband! I’ll do a trial run.

So I went through my work calls, work emails, work work – and then at 5pm…or maybe 4:59…I went out and bought all the stuff to make test stuffing. AKA dinner.

Here’s how it went down…buy this

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Then grab the entire 8 oz of butter. Yes. All of it. Do it. I also add in some fresh sage.

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Then add in the pre-chopped onions and celery or chop it all yourself if you’re a better person than me.

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Take whatever bread you are using, cut it up into rough pieces while thinking of your husband smack talking your hard work when all he does to prep for major holidays is take a shower. Ahem. Then bake at 200 degrees for an hour to dry out.

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Start another pan and cook the sausage. Here’s a before and after of what it should look like.

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I forget to add an egg to the ingredient photo – but you need an egg. At this point you’ll mix about a 1/3 of the stock with the egg and set it aside. Then generously butter a dish because…well, you know. Because butter.

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By now the onion, celery, sage mix is golden brown and swimming in butter.

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Time to combine the bread, sausage, onion/celery/butter mix and add a generous dose of fresh parsley and sage.

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You’ll note that I don’t add any salt because the butter I use is salted and, although I’ve never actually tasted it, I imagine the sausage to be salty. The only thing you have to add is the egg/turkey stock mixture and about a cup of just the stock.

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Then, for shits and giggles, add more butter.

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Bake for about an hour and done.

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When your husband says,”Sorry I doubted you, you are the best stuffing maker on the planet.” Drop the oven mitt on the floor and walk out of the kitchen.

P.S. – Don’t forget that your family can’t have food until Sunday because of all the calories they’ve consumed on Friday night and you should give your husband a small aspirin because of all the butter intake.

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