Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I actually have two blog posts waiting for me to finish them. One about Thanksgiving (with the previously promised recipes) and one about decorating for Christmas (no pictures as of yet)

So, you know...I'm here writing again, instead of finishing those...because I don't have the things ready to finish them. Maybe that's a project for tonight? We shall see!

Sitting here contemplating the new clothes I was so blessed to get yesterday. One of my dear friends from church lost her mother a couple months ago. Her mother had a boat load of clothes. So, she put the ones she thought I'd like in a box and bag and brought them over. Oh, my goodness.

Yesterday morning, while getting dressed I looked at the clothes that have been in my closet for...years. I don't normally spend money buying clothes anymore...if I do, it's normally socks or under shirts. I was looking at my closet and thinking that a good portion of my clothing is starting to fall apart, I've had much of it for 5+ years. I take care of my clothes and have enough for a good rotation, but after 5 years of wear, it gets hard to keep the sweaters from unraveling. I knew we didn't have money for me to replace everything that needed it.

Last night, I got a box of clothes. Almost all of which fit. So many tops that fit and were just my style. It's kind of hard to think of at the moment. I feel so blessed. I know God provides in whatever way He sees fit...the generosity of a friend, the unknown gift of a stranger. You never know.

I've been thinking about the way I act a lot recently. I'm a little emotional recently and have been feeling the strong discipline of my Heavenly Father. One of my 4 year olds head butted me on Sunday, she was mad...she's 4. We had a time out, a bit of a tantrum and then a good talk about why we don't hit or throw tantrums. Her mother is an amazing woman whom I love and adore and count as one of my friends. When she found out, she brought her back in to the classroom and made her apologize. I felt bad, because I know how sorry my friend was for the behavior of her child. Now...let's go back to our Heavenly Father. Goodness, I just know that sometimes I'm just like that little girl, I throw fits, I am thankful and talk to my Father...but man, when things aren't going my way, sometimes it's the hardest feeling! But, Abba sent His son to take whatever sins I have...and make them void. I don't have to carry the burden of acting up.

The grace that I have been given and am continually given has been blowing my mind lately. That's all. I'm reminded that I am more precious than the sparrow...and that God provides everything that little bird needs, so why do I worry about His plans for provision for me?

The other two drafts will be done tonight. Working on a lot of stuff :) It's all coming together so well! :)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving: The follow up.

Though football was not on the TV on Thursday, Thanksgiving was as full as I could have possibly wanted it.

Generally, Thanksgiving is a family holiday. We did have plans to go to my uncle's and spend the holiday with my cousins and my aunt's family. After a particularly crazy week previous (giant weird migraine that kept me out of the office) I realized we weren't going to be able to do that. Cue last Sunday, a small group from church blesses us with a wonderful gift basket full of amazing things that provide for the trimmings we need to do Thanksgiving.

Now, I was born in California and moved with my immediate family to Georgia when I was 8. I learned very quickly that your friends become your family when you're removed from the family you would normally celebrate with. We had many holidays spent out with friends or hosting people at our apartment when I was a kid. So, naturally, with the group of friends we've been so blessed to find in the last few months, I invite a couple of the guys that have no family in the area over for dinner. It was really amazing. I remembered how much I love to entertain and cook...really! We opened up the apartment for anyone else to come hang out whenever they were done with family if they wanted to, just spend some time with what we affectionately call our "Squirrel Family". (yes, another post...I'm just racking them up now aren't I?)

We had everything I could have wanted for Thanksgiving. And a full home after about 6pm. Warm cinnamon and turkey scents in the air, good friends and good time together. It was a happy evening and though I missed my family...I somehow think God had other plans for us. (We've been feeling like God has put us in this place at this time for a reason...and no matter what, we will follow that) It just felt like a little piece of home...and my memories of Thanksgivings past came flooding through in fuzzy little kid thoughts. Now, I've made my first turkey...and I'm the one making sure everyone got enough to eat. :) Hide and seek and flashlight tag outside my grandparents house with my cousins and now playing Rock Band until late Thanksgiving evening are all filing themselves in the archives of my memory. It's a great feeling. :)

So..on to what you really would like...the recipes. Come on now, we had to get past all the gushy mushy stuff first. The turkey stuff is going to be last, it's long and involved. :) Anything noted in the prep section of the recipe is something that I did the night before. It took about 2 and a half hours...but made Thursday breeze by...seriously, everything was just timed and came out perfectly.

Cranberry Sauce: I made this the night before.

2/3 C Water
2 C white sugar
1/4 tsp nut meg
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 lb fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained
1 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp all spice (optional)
1/2 tsp ground cloves (optional)

1. Combine sugar, water and spices in saucepan over medium high heat, until sugar is dissolved.
2. Once mixture starts to come to a boil, add cranberries and orange zest. Bring to a boil.
3. When entire mixture boils, cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir every so often.
4 Check texture and flavor. Add sugar to taste if necessary.
5. Place in container.


4 medium yams, skinned, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 lemon - juiced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
6 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large onion roughly chopped
4 tbsp brown sugar

Prep -
Combine yams, garlic, onion, olive oil and lemon juice in gallon size bag. Place in refrigerator.

1. Preheat over to 415 degrees
2. Spread contents of bag in baking dish or over safe pan, 2" or shallower.
3. Sprinkle brown sugar over yam mixture, turn over with spoon.
4. Bake for 15 minutes, stir, repeat twice.
5. Spoon in to serving dish, cover with foil (unless serving immediately). Reheat at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Green Bean Casserole: Next year this recipe will be from scratch

2 Cans cut green beans
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 c milk
Onion strips (for garnish)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine green beans, soup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and milk. Stir until smooth.
2. Pour in to serving dish, top with onion strips

Heat at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

Garlic Roasted Mashed Potatoes: I'm not a big fan of boiling potatoes because you loose a lot of the good stuff that's in there for you.

6 medium potatoes, washed, cut to 1" cubes
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/8 red onion, minced
1 c milk
4 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in large pot.
2. Saute onion and garlic until clear.
3. Add potatoes and coat in existing mixture.
4. Allow to simmer slightly, cover and reduce heat. Roast potatoes until soft
5. Add milk, mash potatoes. For creamier or softer mash, use more milk.

Turkey: This is going to be big.

Stuffing -
1 large orange, quartered
1 large red onion, quartered
1 celery stalks, chopped in to four pieces
1 small apple, quartered
1 large lemon, quartered
1 tsp basil

Combine in bowl.

Basting -
1 cup butter, melted
3 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 tsp basil
1/2 lemon, juiced

Combine in basting bottle (I used a silicon brush with a detachable bottle, Pampered Chef)

Prep -

Bring turkey to room temperature, remove plastic wrapping, neck and giblets. Wash inside and out.
1. Fill inside of turkey with stuffing mixture. Sew closed.
2. Place turkey breast side down in cooking rack with drip pan.
3. Baste with mixture, wrap in plastic and place in refrigerator.

1. Remove turkey from refrigerator, bring to room temperature.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
3. Remover plastic wrap, place turkey in over, cook for 15 minutes.
4. Lower heat to 350 degrees, cook for 2 hours, baste every 30 minutes.
5. If meat thermometer does not register at least 165 degrees when placed in to the thickest meat on the turkey, lower heat to 225 degrees and cook an additional hour to hour and a half, basting and checking temperature every 30 minutes.
6. Remove turkey from oven when internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Let rest for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the weight of the turkey.
7. Carve, plate and ENJOY!

Honey Butter:
1 c butter, softened
1/2 c honey

Mix until smooth.

Hubby made pumpkin rolls too...I'll have to get that recipe ;)

Next year, rolls and green bean casserole will also be made from scratch :)

Getting on with the rest of the year!

Okay, I have to get it out...OMG CHRISTMAS! LOL Sorry. Have to have a little joygasm for the decorating on Friday. It was pretty stinking amazing ;) The tree is up, the nativity is set on a table and the lights are all over. Stockings are up on the...wall...with care :) I did realize that I've become one of those women that has a "thing". You know how some people collect things? Well, when I had my first Christmas at my own apartment, I didn't have all the little crafty things that my mom kept packed away from my elementary years, I didn't have much by way of Christmas. This realization dawned on me when I returned home from Thanksgiving with my family that first year and there were no Christmas decorations anywhere in my apartment. So, I went and picked out some Christmas. I bought a little tree (as close the the fake Mr.Christmas tree that had graced my childhood holiday memories) and decided on silver and white snow flakes...and colored lights. (Don't start this crazy discussion with me on this post...it's just a matter of personal choice...I prefer colored lights on my tree...and most places around my home...maybe this will be another post...) AAAAAAAAANYWAY! That was my first Christmas. My tree topper was a 7" silver and blue angel. The next Christmas, my grandma gave me a 16" angel with fiber optic wings. She fit rather nicely on top of my big bookcase.

I've added things over the years. It's been about 7 years in the making and now, with the infusion of Brian's Christmas stuff, we have a nativity set, garlands and bows, candles and snow villages. However, in unpacking my Christmas treasure, I found that I have a lot of angels. I have the two from the first two Christmases. One that is a purple wire container and 4 ornaments. Now, this may not seem like a lot to you...but I didn't buy any of them other than the first tree topper (that is now just another decoration, this year we added a glittery gold star!!!)  As stated before, I believe I am a woman with a thing. All of the ornaments have been gifts, the most recent of which from my mother-in-law :) It's absolutely beautiful. The purple wire angel was full of chocolate kisses...mmmmmm...did that person know me or what? So. Angels. And I really don't mind :) I don't want it to get out of hand, I only have so much tree and shelf space. But, I actually kind of like the idea of angels and snowflakes gracing our walls and shelves and tree along with all our homemade memories :)

You know I opened this blog to write about Thanksgiving...I think I need to write  another blog post for Thanksgiving. That's what I'm going to do. I'll save this here...and then write a totally different one for the recipes ;)

So now, a week later and both entries are done. Enjoy! I have another recipe coming shortly for spiced pumpkin cake. It's SUPER easy and yummy! It's kind of cheating but for all of you that are on Weight Watchers, stay tuned, it's only 1 point! :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Calm Before the Storm

Ok, so that title is a little ominous. Though that's what it kind of feels like. Tomorrow I will cook my first Thanksgiving feast. Brian and I are hosting Thanksgiving for a couple friends and possibly Dad and Annie. Yeah...first turkey...ever.

So, instead of freaking out, I thought I'd come here and share the recipes that are going to make Thanksgiving happen at our place.

I'm not stuffing the bird, no jokes about it will be possible. I am doing a couple things with it though.
1 Orange quartered
1 Onion quartered
1 Spice bundle (Rosemary, thyme and basil)
2 tbs melted butter with garlic and lemon
Olive oil under skin rub
Possibly putting bay leaves under the skin as well
Breast down until the last 20 minutes

We shall see :) I am now the proud owner of a fresh 12 pound turkey, a turkey pan with rack and a meat thermometer. Yeah, I'm set

Mashed Potatoes - the family recipe is boiled diced potatoes with butter, salt, pepper and milk mashed to a pulp. I may take some creative license with that. Pot roasted potatoes, garlic and onion, olive oil...mashed to a pulp. I'll finally get to use the potato masher!
Green Bean Casserole - I've never actually made this. My grandma never had it on the table, my mom never cooked it...but I do believe my Bonus Mom made it some time last year and I really liked it. We were blessed with a basket of goodies by a group at church and have the green beans and cream of mushroom...so why not?
Yams - not going to be candied, possibly caramelized. I'm hoping to roast them with onion and bacon and olive oil. It's kind of...an experiment. I'm looking for the recipe online. I'll post it when I find it :)
Rolls - not even going there trying to make rolls and a turkey, we're doing Hawaiian King Rolls :) mmmm
Cranberry Sauce - from scratch y'all! Oh yes, it's one of my favorite things to make, and eat really. I'll post all the fun recipes once I've made them and have times. I do have this one somewhere in my cookbooks :)

Pumpkin Rolls - These are to DIE for. Brian makes them and they're like little bits of pumpkin heaven! Pumpkin bread with cream cheese filling. Oh, yes...it's amazing! I'll post the recipe, don't you worry ;)
Cranberry Scones - a mix given to us in the basket, I'm actually kind of excited to try them!
Possiby - Chocolate Pie - Grandma always makes one, and I've been in charge of them...so I'm not sure. We'll see.

Lemonade, tea, wine. Coffee and hot tea.

There you go, now you know what's I'm doing for dinner tomorrow...what are you doing?

I'll be back to my daily dose here shortly. Getting back on a set schedule and trying to feel better. ;)  Are you ready for the season of reason?

Lastly, thankfulness.

I am so completely blessed by the wonderful husband I have. Through the past year, I can't even explain the things we've learned and grown through. He is such an amazing man and growing so much in Christ. He's my hero :)
I am equally blessed by the family I have. Both blood family and the people I consider my family. Being able to be close to my family members up here. I've gotten to see my uncle, aunt and cousins more in the past year than I have in a very long while and I absolutely cherish it. I can not wait to see them more as life settles into a routine. Our new found family in Christ, not so very new as we've been with them more than a year now. It is amazing how, looking back, you can see the way God moves to put you where He wants you to be. I would not change my church family for anything. They are supportive and loving and accepting in ways that still amaze me. The friendships we have with people at the game store Brian now works at also fall in to this family category. I miss them when they are not around and enjoy opening our home to have them over to play games and eat together. There were some big holes in our lives when we moved and left everyone in LA and those holes have found residents now. Our friends and family in LA can not be replaced, but we can make new rooms to accommodate the people we've been blessed to encounter.
I am blown away by the position I am in. To have a job at all right now is a blessing, to have something that I enjoy and that challenges me is even better. There are always bumps in the road, but God willing, those bumps end up making us stronger. I feel like we've come so far as a company this year and I am proud to have been there when things were growing and changing :)

I am also thankful for those of you visiting my blog. I don't know who you are and I really don't know why you're reading, but I hope that somehow, you find something that you encourages you and builds you up. Gives you a warm fuzzy feeling and helps in taking one more step on this journey.

Until next time (Probably Friday with recipes ;))

Friday, November 11, 2011

A few thoughts on many different subjects...

First - today is Veteran's Day. The sense of pride I have in my fellow citizens that fight for this country is huge. The selflessness of the people that put themselves in harms way as a profession. I also can not fathom the dedication required of the wives, husbands and children of the service men and women. I have friends that are in the military and friends married to the military. I'm related to a group of people that have served back years. I think of what it means and am always reminded of this verse, Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:12-14. I am filled with sorrow for those that have lost their lives, but extreme love and thankfulness at the same time. 

Second - I'm taking a step out today. Looking back at the year or so since I started this blog, I see some areas lacking. I know we all get busy, but that's not an excuse. So, I will be making the time I need to for my commitments, for my passions and for my life. I'm so thankful for the life I have and have not been putting forth half the effort I feel I need to be. Here are my promises:

I will make the time in the morning that I need to do the Daily Dose I've been cramming in to the end of the day or a corner that really needs more light.
I will make one thing a month - be it a blanket, Christmas gift or card...I'm going to make something. Creative juices flowing.
I will post at least two recipes a week - my own or ones I've found, tried and love. 
I will get the things out for Kid's Quest on Monday. Not Tuesday, Monday. 
I will post about the meals I am making and put those pictures on FaceBook, just like I said I would.

Yes, there is a bit to getting all of this done on a daily or weekly basis, but this just means I need to cut out the crazy things in my life and be accountable. 

Once I have gotten my structure back and am moving forward, I know everything else will just fall in to place. Thank you for praying with me and for me while I try to make this transition. :)