Sunday, November 30, 2014

Week 46 Sunday (11/30/14)

Recipe Review       
Today’s Recipe and Location:           Giblet Gravy        
Found in: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays
                  Pages:  251 - 253     Copyright:  2013  Harper Collins         OR

I figured out that there are about 150 calories per serving, if ¼ cup servings are made. (Please note that the calorie counts vary depending on the specific brands of ingredients that you choose to use.)

Here is the nasty looking neckbone,
 and the goodies I peeled off of it.
The rest was already cut up
and in a bowl.

This is the leftover liquid that is also used in the gravy

OMG, you can see all of the flavors and goodness.
I wish I had a big spoon!

         I absolutely love this gravy. This gravy is so rich and decadent that I could eat it at every meal. I like all of the giblets, because they gave the gravy texture and a rich taste. The directions were similar to how I have made it in the past, but they add some fat and then what was left in the pan was slightly different. All I know it that it is one of the best gravies I have ever eaten.

Trivial Triffles

         The other day I was thinking about the cartoons we had on the TV when I was a kid. I was never a cartoon or animated fan. I was reading a wonderful book called Wonder by R.J. Palacio when it made a reference to Auggie Doggie and Doggie Daddy. That reference just made me sit there and smile. I also started remembering characters like Quick Draw McGraw, Foghorn Leghorn and Wiley Coyote. I also liked Pepe le Pew, Boris and Natasha, Huckleberry Hound, Yosemite Sam, and an oldie but goodie – Top Cat. 
         I am quite shocked that the names came flooding back into my head. Who sticks out in your mind?

Memory Musings      

         I was fortunate enough to share my home for a short time with my niece, Rachel. One of my favorite memories is when Rachel received a stuffed animal, she named Zeke, from a friend of mine named Jenny Felt. Zeke was a sheltie stuffed animal and strongly resembled my dog Zoe. Rachel wanted a "Z" name and came up with Zeke. This stuffed animal was pretty large and somewhere in between Zoe and Zeffe’s size.
This is Rachel a few years ago at a Christmas Party

I had to cover my bed with a sheet
so Willow and Sage don't destroy my comforter.
Here is our beloved Zeke who looks nothing like Willow,
because Zoe was redder, like Zeke

Doesn't Willow look thrilled?

         One day I was walking down the hall and spotted two of the dogs against the wall. I thought it was Zoe and Zeffe, but discovered one was Zeke. Rachel came around the corner and said, “There you are Zeke.”  I burst out laughing because it was amazing how much he looked like Zoe.
         Zeke still lives here in my sewing room, and I plan to give him to Rachel as a gift when she has her first child. He is a little roughed up, and his fur is no longer beautiful, due to washings, but he was once the love of her life thus making him a wonderful keepsake for my fabulous niece.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Week 46 Saturday (11/29/14)

Recipe Review          
Today’s Recipe and Location:           Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey        
Found in: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays
                  Pages:  248 - 249     Copyright:  2013  Harper Collins         OR

I figured out that there are 54 calories per serving, if a 1 oz. serving is made. (Please note that the calorie counts vary depending on the specific brands of ingredients that you choose to use.)

It looks so naked!

Golden brown and ready to carve

         This turkey was so moist it just oozed liquid. The meat was tender and wonderful. I did mess up a little, what a shock!  Because Ree cooks at two temperatures, I couldn’t follow the package directions about how long to cook it. I did look at the thermometer temperature, but maybe I didn’t have it far enough in the bird. Some of the pieces had a light pink tinge to them. After I cut up the entire bird, I put all pink pieces in foil and wrapped it up. I think it steamed the pink out of the pieces.
         I am so glad I learned how to do this holiday food. It wasn’t as hard as I thought, and the turkey was outstanding.

Random Reflections

         I love the Wizard of Oz. I was reading the Chicago Tribune yesterday and learned that the costume Bert Lahr wore as the Cowardly Lion was sold at auction. I was kinda grossed out when I read that the actual costume was made from a real lion hide. I hate to think that a lion lost is life for a movie. I am telling myself that it must have died of old age. I’m sure I’m delusional, but I’m happier believing that thought. That costume had to be so hot on the set with all of the lights. No wonder he constantly wiped his head with his tail. Just think……it only cost a collector $3.1 MILLION DOLLARS.  Are you kidding??? Think what we could do with that amount of money.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Week 46 Friday (11/28/14)

Recipe Review              

Today’s Recipe and Location:           My Favorite Turkey Brine        
Found in: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays
                  Pages:  245 -247     Copyright:  2013  Harper Collins   OR

       Turkey Brining – I knew the word, but really didn’t know what was involved in the process. I don’t remember ever watching anyone even prepare Thanksgiving dinner. I’m sure I helped set the table or put the rolls in the oven or even make a salad, but I was never involved in the actual turkey making. Boy, does that sound sad. Apparently, it never dawned on me that this was something I needed to learn to do in my lifetime.
         The first area of frustration was locating a brining bag. I went to Walmart, where they acted like I was speaking Swahili or something. Then I was off to a local small store – no such luck. I did need to pick up the girls from the groomer in Sandwich, so I stopped at the Jewel in Sugar Grove. The worker there had heard of it, but told me the display they had them in was gone, so they were out. For some reason I decided to ask another man who worked there. THANK GOD I DID. He located the only one in the store – which was a brining mix kit with the bag. So because I always try to follow Ree’s recipes to a tee – I spent a whopping $8.00 for a thick bag that can only be used once. Just in case you were wondering – it really is a great bag.
         I bought a fresh 15 pound turkey. It seems monstrous for just one person, so I plan to share the wealth with Mom and Ron. I am also making many recipes with the leftovers, so this will make everything for the next week work out just fine.
         Brining a turkey consists of throwing the ingredients in a pan, bringing it to a boil, cooling it, and then pouring it over and around the turkey in the bag. I left it in the refrigerator overnight and then it needs to be rinsed and soaked for about 15 minutes to remove the extra salt. I did have to turn to the bird over halfway so both sides received the full impact of the brine. It was now ready to prepare for the oven. 

         This is really easy to do, and tomorrow I will decide if it was worth the extra amount of time it took for me. It felt pretty good to do this for the first time.


Fabulous “Family and Friends” Food

Kim Gerhard’s Peanut Butter Treats
Another school recipe – thanks Kim for sharing

12 oz. package butterscotch morsels
1 cup peanut butter
8 cups Rice Krispies
12 oz. chocolate chips
1 cup powdered sugar
4 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons water

         Melt butterscotch chips and peanut butter in a pan. Add Rice Krispies. Cool in freezer for 5 minutes. Add chocolate chips, powdered sugar, water, and butter in a bowl. Put in microwave until it melts one minute at a time. Add to pan in freezer. Put the rest of the Rice Krispies on top. Cut into squares. Keep in refrigerator.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Week 46 Thursday (11/27/14)

Happy Thanksgiving!!!
         I am currently cooking through the Thanksgiving section of Ree Drummond’s newest book called The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays.  I will be brining and cooking a turkey later in the week and preparing dishes like Giblet Gravy, Turkey Tetrazzini, and a Turkey Panini. I only have a few days to finish the Thanksgiving section before I have to start the Christmas one. I hope today is a memory making Thanksgiving for all of you and your families.

Recipe Review

Today’s Recipe and Location:           Bruschetta Chicken        
Found in: The Pioneer Woman blog

         Bruschetta Chicken sounds wonderful except for all of the tomatoes.  Ree actually uses two types of tomatoes which really do make for a pretty dish, but with my tomato allergy, this one is just a no for me.  If you are a tomato or Bruschetta lover, go ahead and try this gem.

Random Reflections

On October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the first national Thanksgiving Day would be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. (I had never heard that information).

In 1940, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving to the third Thursday in November because of pressure from retailers. This was done to give the citizens more shopping days between the holidays, thus boosting the economy.

I obtained these fun facts to know and share from the youtube video:

I did check these facts out on online and they appear to be true.  I love learning something new!

Irksome Ideas and Images

         Now that I am going to brine and cook my first turkey, I am irritated that I haven’t been baking a turkey regularly. Why are we only making the “Thanksgiving meal” one or two times during the year? Is it so we have a tradition on holidays? I just don’t get it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Week 46 Wednesday (11/26/14)

Recipe Review

Today’s Recipe and Location:           Low Carb Burgers        
Found in: The Pioneer Woman blog

         I love a good hamburger. This might be okay for me, except I love the bun.  I love that this works for people who are counting their carbs, but I decided a while ago to count calories, not carbs. Counting calories has really worked for me, and I now know that I do not deprive myself of what I love – I just eat a reduced portion of it. Here’s to burgers of any type.

Gabbin’ About Gratitude

         I am grateful that I have everything I need to be happy with my life. I do need to remember to remind myself of my blessings and gifts, and appreciate who I am, what I have, and those in my life.

Memory Musings

         I received my doctorate degree from Nova Southeastern University in 1998. Going through a master’s degree straight into a doctoral program was one of the highest stress periods in my life. I committed myself 100% to obtain this degree. I owe a great deal to my family for allowing me to put my energy into school. I occasionally missed family functions, or stayed for only a short period of time. I was highly distracted and consumed with my thesis.
         I also owe thanks to my best friend, Donna Dowd, who was my editor and advisor throughout this process. I am blessed.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Week 46 Tuesday (11/25/14)

Recipe Review      

Today’s Recipe and Location:           Homemade Frappucino        
Found in: The Pioneer Woman blog

         I love everything in here, except the coffee.  That is the problem here. I guess I would just love a chocolate shake. I didn’t want to deprive all of you coffee lovers from this recipe, because of my dislike for java.  So here is a great looking recipe.

The Perfect Popcorn

         I am not a popcorn connoisseur, but I know what I love. I have discovered the most amazing LOW-CALORIE popcorn. I have become an addict and Skinny Pop Popcorn is my fix. This amazing brand has four flavors that I have tried to date. My all-time favorite is Black Pepper. It has a kick that I adore. The most decadent is the White Cheddar. They also have a Plain flavor as well as Sweet Popcorn. Black Pepper is only 155 calories for four cups. If you have never tried this brand, give it go. I highly recommend it as it is the key for me to get from lunch to dinner without snacking.

My Gorgeous Girls – “dog beds”

         There are so many types of dog beds on the market. My girls love the type that have a lip or ledge to rest their heads on as they recline. Sage’s bed was purchased with a gift certificate to a store in Geneva Commons called Wet Nose. The bed was about $60.00. Normally, I would not spend that much money on a bed, but with the certificate it only cost me $10.00. This bed is extremely well made. The pink fabric is flannel and baby soft. It has a zipper underneath the brown trim so the cover can be removed for ease in cleaning. Sage loves her bed. Willow however, wants nothing to do with it. It is squishy and she dislikes the movement.
         Willow’s bed is plainer. The outer cover cannot be removed, but the pillow on the bottom can be washed and air dried. Sage, of course, loves both beds and frequently ends up in Willow’s bed at night if she is not on my bed. In warm weather, Willow prefers the bathroom floor or her crate.
         I have always left a crate in the bedroom for the girls. If Sage is ill, she will run to the crate to throw up. Thank God my carpet is saved.  The cook surface makes it ideal for Willow.
         Investigate the perfect bed for your pet. My girls love, love, love their wonderful beds.

Sage in her pretty little bed

Willow loves her bed, but hates being photographed

Monday, November 24, 2014

Week 46 Monday (11/24/14)

Recipe Review      Picture

Today’s Recipe and Location:           Pecan Pie        
Found in: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays
                  Pages: 282 - 283      Copyright:  2013  Harper Collins

I figured out that there are 477 calories per serving, if 12 servings are made. (Please note that the calorie counts vary depending on the specific brands of ingredients that you choose to use.)

The crust is so rich and buttery and pie itself is amazing.
         I took this fabulous pie to my sister, Susan’s home, for an early Thanksgiving dinner. This pie received rave reviews from everyone. I must say that it was amazing and so darn good. This is a definite yes for future Thanksgiving meals.

Random Reflections - Bucket List

         I would like to pay every debt off in full. The only debt I currently have is my home, but I will need a new vehicle soon and surgery so debt is once again in my future. I will rejoice the day that I am free and clear of all debt.

Have absolutely no debt
Set up a schedule for next summer to visit area cities
Organize and purge the basement
I am going to learn as much as I can about large animals
Make repairs in each and every room of my home to prepare to sell
Research Hadrian’s Wall for visit to Scotland
Enter a quilt in a local fair
Write a book about school for parents
Host a game party
Purchase a truck
I would like to learn more about fostering animals
Visit the narrowed list of Kentucky towns each for a weekend
Have a B.M.I. of 24.9 or lower
Return to Florida/Alabama and see old friends
Play tennis again
Learn to play bridge
Have an in-ground pool
Finish writing a book on the Scent Family
Save up enough money for a down payment on my Kentucky house
Research every town in Kentucky in hopes of relocating
Work on learning calligraphy and bettering daily penmanship
Begin making my own clothing using a mannequin
Volunteer at an animal rescue
Visit all 50 states
Photography courses
Complete all of Mom’s and my scrapbooks
Go skiing again in Colorado
Meet the Duggar family
Watch every nominee and winner for the Academy Awards to date
Remodel my kitchen
Take piano lessons
Write 2 books for my great-nephews
Travel to Wales
Travel to Scotland
Alaskan cruise

Why Weight?

         Today, I would like to share some recent feelings that have emerged from the past. Last week, when I went out to dinner with friends, I remembered all of the times I had to ask for a chair without arms. It was always so embarrassing, yet I knew that I needed to go with my friends. I also remember the pain of having to sit uncomfortably in theatre seating, as I was too big for the seat. Of course, I had no one to blame but myself, but the pain and embarrassment were overwhelming at time.
         The most painful memory is one pertaining to my nieces and nephews. I must have been an embarrassment to them at functions, yet they always hugged me and introduced me to their friends. I am so fortunate to have been loved for who I was and not my body shape. I am so sorry that I put them through that as kids. This memory makes me so thankful for their strong character. They are the most wonderful people in the world.
         As I sit here with tears streaming down my cheeks, I thank God that I am on a positive journey now, and hope he gives me the strength and character to make it all of the way down to my chosen weight. These painful memories help me continue to make good choices.

Wants and Wishes

         I have never dealt with my own stress well, and I am finding out that when I worry about others, it affects me internally. Some stresses are easily handled and others are dependent on the actions and reactions of others. I wish I knew all of the answers.  What a drag????

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Week 45 Sunday (11/23/14)

Recipe Review      
Today’s Recipe and Location:           Sesame Chicken Salad
         Found in: The Pioneer Woman blog

         I found this recipe, but don’t have the time to create it this week.  I thought y’all might enjoy it.

Trivial Triffles

         I just spent the day with my Mom, Ron, and my sister, Susan’s family. One of the highlights of the day was watching my Great-Nephew, Wyatt, play with helium balloons. He loved to kick them, and just carry around one or two by the string. They made him happy.
         Balloons have been around since the 1800’s when Michael Faraday used them in London for a science experiment. If only he knew then, the joy and pleasure these bright orbs would bring to us today.

Memory Musings

         One of the best things I did professionally, was to transfer to the middle school for five years. This was a major change for me. I have always taught fourth or fifth grade so eighth was an eye-opener. I absolutely loved the humor of the older students, but was frustrated with only teaching one subject over and over again. I have tremendous respect for middle and high school teachers who teach the same lessons over and over again. I began to think I had Alzheimer’s. I found out that I needed to teach all of the subjects to feel challenged. I am glad I was there, and thankful I returned to elementary to finish my teaching career.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Week 45 Saturday (11/22/14)

Recipe Review                  
Today’s Recipe and Location:           Cheesy Cauliflower Soup
         Found in: The Pioneer Woman blog

       Cauliflower is of those foods that I really don’t care for at all. I know it is in the cabbage family. The cauliflower is really, really old. Some sources said it went back as early as 600 B.C. We grow a lot of cauliflower in the United States. Yeah us! This veggie has a lot of healthy reasons to eat it regularly (not that I would ever take my own advice. It has a lot of Vitamins C and K. It also has the B family, B1, B2, and good old B6. I know that they are good for me, but I am pretty clueless about the B6 thing.
            Well, enjoy this one for me.

Random Reflections
         It’s Friday night, and I need to post this blog first thing in the morning. This has been a really stressful week, and yet I feel a calming now that I am home. That is what is important – a peaceful home, where I can block out the world and the chaos, and enjoy the girls.  TGIF!

Revisiting Favorite Photos

I was skimming through my I Photo and some pictures jumped out and made me smile. Here are a few to re-enjoy.

I loved coming face to face with this herd.
Their stares were pretty intense. 

There is nothing quite as cute as a pig's butt

I feel such happiness as I watch the joy
Sage oozes when she has a frisbee

This beautiful crop reminds me of my childhood

Nothing makes me smile more than a breathtaking sunset

My sweet girls make life worth living

My Dad's birthday was this week.
I miss his smile and quick wit.

I am blessed with a wonderful family

It seemed fitting to end with a baby Eaglet.
We are all so lucky to live in the good ole' U.S.A.