Monday, November 30, 2009

What I really want to create today

Cute, no?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving: A woman didn't invent this holiday

A repost from 2008

Sorry for the lack of posts. I'm sure not too many people have been reading anyway. As we go through all of the preparations for Turkey Day, I am starting to think that there's no WAY a woman invented this holiday. Let's take a look back in history

*insert wavy flashback-style screen*

1492 - Christopher Columbus set sail in a fleet of three ships - the El Nino, the Pinto and the Carne Asada Steak Taco. After months, perhaps years, of sailing, they landed in what they thought was America. Except that it was the Caribbean. Since the ship was sailed by men, they weren't able to stop and ask for directions. Instead, they agreed to tell everyone that they had reached the Americas, declared victory and shared a big high-five.

1620 - the Pilgrims set sail from England. This time they were accompanied by their wives, who wisely asked for directions and this time the ship landed in the real America. Unfortunately the Mayflower charged extra for non-carry-on baggage and the Pilgrims had to leave behind their food storage, electric blankets and iPods. This caused much suffering the first winter.

1621 - Having befriended the local Wampanoag Indian tribe, the surviving Pilgrims celebrated with a harvest feast. The Indians brought local delicacies, such as stewed squirrel and corn while the Pilgrims shared things from "across the pond", like smallpox. The Indians introduced the concept of "The Turkey Bowl" where the least-physically-fit tribesmen competed in feats of strength and daring. The 100-meter Big Rock Toss was a favorite of the Wampanoag men. This resulted in many sprained ankles and much complaining. This primitive tradition continues to this day, except that instead of log-tossing and rock-heaving, the "feats" have been exchanged for weekend-warrior football. Meanwhile the women cooked the turkey (known then as "venison").

1784 - Ben Franklin writes a letter to his daughter, declaring the turkey to be more noble than the chosen national bird - the eagle. Various celebrity groups speak out in favor of preserving the turkey and declaring it a protected species. Other celebrities organize a benefits concert to protect the rights of the eagle. Elton John writes a song called "Giblet Wizard". The debate is ended when the Supreme Court declares the turkey "delicious" and the eagle retains its National Bird status.

1934 - With the advancement of women's rights, the ladies begin to wonder why their husbands don't help out in the kitchen, especially with the big holiday dinners. Enlightened men everywhere rose to the challenge and instead of playing football on Thanksgiving day, began to watch it on television. They reasoned that with less sprained ankles to attend to, the women would have less work making the dinner.

1985 - Redneck men attempt to revolutionize Thanksgiving by the invention of Turducken. Instead they just make it worse. Other culinary mistakes include; Stove Top Stuffing-esque Bread Nuggets, no-bake cheesecake and Jell-O with shaved carrots.

2003 - In a misguided attempt to help in the kitchen, men introduce turkey to their other two loves - oil and fire. Countless men burn down their homes in deep-fried turkey fires.

Today - Thanksgiving traditions continue, unimpeded. While men watch football and nurse their sprained ankles and singed eyebrows, women continue the tradition of delicious food and family-togetherness. I hope every one of you ladies has a wonderful holiday. Be sure to hide the matches from your husband.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Thanksgiving stuffing

Remember that one time I won that recipe contest and the recipe was posted at Rachael Ray's magazine? I guess that link doesn't work anymore but the recipe is still posted here. Yay!

The test kitchens have changed my recipe a little bit, so I'll go ahead and post the recipe that I actually use:

One 1-pound loaves white bread, cut into cubes
1 bunch celery with leaves, coarsely chopped
2 sticks (12 ounces) butter
2 onions, chopped
One 10-ounce package sliced white mushrooms
1 tablespoon coarse salt
3 tablespoons poultry seasoning
2 large eggs, beaten


Preheat the oven to 250°. Scatter the bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake, tossing occasionally, until dried but not browned, about 40 minutes. Let cool.

Wash the bunch of celery and chop the entire thing (leaves and all) into 1/2" pieces.

In a large, deep skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 10 minutes. Mix in the celery and mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Stir in the salt and poultry seasoning until thoroughly combined.

In a large bowl, toss the bread cubes with the beaten egg mixture. Add the vegetable mixture and toss until well combined.

I stuff part of this mixture into the turkey. The remaining stuffing is placed into a buttered casserole dish and covered with foil in the fridge until the turkey is almost done. Bake the stuffing for 40 minutes, covered, at 350 or until hot throughout.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fuentes Pictures

If you're thinking 'wow, there have been lots of pictures this week'... you'd be right! We got lots of great pictures of this totally fun family and I had lots to share.

Remember these little heartbreakers from last year? If anything they're more gorgeous now.

And now they've added another beautiful girl to their collection.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Holiday plates

We're hosting Thanksgiving at our house this year so I'm totally excited to get new holiday plates.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Duffin family pictures

Last week was crazy-busy with pictures, so you get to look at a lot! After the cold cold weather of mid-October, I was worried that picture-season had come to a close - but then we had another beautiful and warm week. This family had great energy and they were just awesome to work with.

The kids were so cute and fun to work with. They were silly and loved to run around but they pretty much did everything I asked them to.

There were so many from this shoot that I loved... sorry!

Look at those lovely blue eyes!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Baby Milo pictures

Sweet little Milo is the new baby boy of my good friend Jessica. It's lucky she dedicated an entire afternoon to photographs, because little Milo was so determined to be awake that it took a while to get him resigned to the idea of taking pictures. I think this is the only sleeping picture we were able to get.

He was awake the the rest of the time but fairly agreeable. Milo's daddy had a special blanket from when he was little - we wrapped Milo up in 'Lankie' for some of the pictures.

And then when Nate was on his mission, he had another special well-loved blanket, 'Mission Lankie'.

Thanks baby Milo, you are so precious and adorable!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Why not...

...enjoy the last few warm days outside with some good books?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Christmas already?

I've thought about getting an Advent calendar for the kids for a while but I never see one that I particularly like. I also don't have the patience to make one. So today I ran across this little beauty while I was out shopping, which satisfies my desire for the advent calendar AND a darling little Christmas village!

I know, right?!?!!?

I 'borrowed' the pictures from an eBay auction so ignore the Best Buy Always thing.

So the bad news is that I also got this box of Chocolates From Around the World that have pretty, shiny foil wrappers and I thought they would be perfect and lovely to open every day. Sadly I got everything opened and realized that the chocolates are too big to fit in the doors for the calendar. Poor me. I now have to eat all these lovely chocolates myself. Also I need to find something smaller for the village.
Bart is nearly beside himself with excitement and can't believe that he has to wait an entire month to start opening doors to find treats. It occurred to me that he just might be planning to eat 48 pieces of chocolate on December 1. I might have to think this process through a little further.

Monday, November 2, 2009

In which they wore costumes and gathered candy

Once upon a time there was one not-so-wicked witch with her shiny happy ever-so-pink costume and her sidekick, Disgruntled Bat.

Not-so-wicked Witch was beautiful and sparkly and put together a costume full of stripes, polka-dots, a clever little cape and even a not-so-scary spider.

Disgruntled Bat really really really wanted to be a pirate and would not accept that the pirate costume was Not Warm Enough for trick-or-treating in the cold. He did not appreciate being cute or fuzzy.

The Not-so-wicked Witch had very specific instructions for the team that handles her makeup and hair.

Disgruntled Bat finally agreed to one not-grumpy picture in return for a large treat from the Halloween bag.

The two friends went on a fantastic adventure with the Whos from Whoville, HutuHutu headhunters and Princess Leia where they gathered candy from hundreds of people, were chased by a giant escaped Elvis impersonator and eventually collapsed into a sugar-induced coma while watching Monsters vs. Aliens. But that's another story.

And because my parents are Cool Like That, check out who answered THEIR door when trick-or-treaters came to call. It might be hard to see in the picture but they rigged up the scariest phantasm you've ever seen.