In Which Heidi Pretends to Be the Butterball Hotline

You guys, it’s almost time.

(If you are reading via email, you may want to click over and watch that video and laugh a little. It would be good for you. Hat tip to Ali.)

It occurred to me today that this is my sixteenth Thanksgiving as a married woman. (That made me feel old in a way that nothing else ever has. Even though I was practically a child bride.) With the exception of a few sad notable restaurant years, I have cooked every Thanksgiving meal. As such, I have built up some kitchen cred.
Since I am a giver, I thought it would be nice to share my knowledge. I turned to social media and asked:

Carol asked:

I had no idea. Remember when I tried going vegan and my hair started falling out? I can’t find a link, but I’m sure I mentioned it…
Anyway, thankfully, Barbara fielded that one:

 

And then she swore at me:

Tough crowd.

Over on facebook Sara asked: Will I survive Thanksgiving?
My answer? Yes, but just barely.

And Sarah (with an h) asked: Why do people make “traditions” out of food no one actually likes?
My reply: The same reason we spend holidays with people we don’t like*, doing things we don’t like: because it makes us happy. Right? Right? *cries*

Sarah also asked about stuffing. Hurray, something I actually know about. I referred her to this post.

Tara** wanted to know how to cook a turkey breast without it drying out. The answer is the same for a whole turkey. Use a brown paper bag.
Seriously.

How to Cook a Turkey in a Paper Bag

  • Prepare your turkey as you normally would: thaw; brine, if that’s your thing, or don’t, if it is not; rinse and pat dry; rub with olive oil and/or melted butter and whatever herbs and seasonings you prefer.
  • Place turkey in a large, new paper grocery bag.
  • Poke a meat thermometer through the bag into the meatiest part of the thigh (make sure not to touch the any bone).
  • Fold over bag opening and staple shut.
  • Place, breast side up, on a roasting pan with rack and place in oven, making sure that bag does not touch sides or heating elements.
  • Roast as usual. (I cook it at 350 until the internal temperature is 180 degrees.) Here is a handy chart, if you need it. And one for turkey breast only.
  • Cut open your paper bag and allow turkey to rest for 30 minutes before carving.

I promise, it will not be dry. Also most of the drippings will have filtered through the bottom of the bag to the roasting pan. These make wonderful gravy.

Here is a picture of last year’s masterpiece, taken moments too late to be very pretty.

Sorry. We were hungry.

Any other questions? Drop me a comment and I’ll see what I can do.

 

 

*Note: I like all my people. Don’t cry, Mom.

**Sara, Sarah, and Tara are not my only friends, but they should be. We would be a little like Heathers.
Note to self: find a scrunchy and start wearing it immediately.

Guess? Who.

Guess what Newt is going to be for Halloween:

Besides the big night, Newt also has a costume contest for a 4H animal show she’s competing in.
I have an only child. How is it that I am having to make three Halloween costumes? One for a chicken?
Oh how I wish I were kidding.

Sidenote: I just shampooed that rug and it looks terrible again. I thought of trying to edit it out, but there is a nasty rumor going around that I am perfect. Untrue, as you can now clearly see.
Also: I have things currently growing in my fridge that may require a bio-hazard suit to safely dispose of them. And, I didn’t bother to wash my face in the shower this morning.
Take that, rumor-mongers.

PS: If you like Doctor Who, check out our freezer paper stenciled tee-shirts, free printable Valentines, and Newt’s bedroom makeover.

Muy Bueno Chicken Tortilla Soup


There is a sweet little lady at my church that I adore. She looks like the perfect ideal of a grandmother – with her white hair, glasses, twinkly eyes, and ready smile. She plays the organ in our main service and the piano for the children in Sunday School. She is wonderful.
Last week, I heard that she was home sick, so I came home from church and scrounged through my pantry and freezer. I found quite a few “Mexican-style” ingredients so I made a huge batch of chicken tortilla soup to share with my friend. I didn’t use a recipe, but I did pay attention to what I put in it, just in case I wanted to make it again.
Well, guess what? I do want to make it again.
I loved it.
Newt loved it.
Walt even loved it, and he is not a soup guy.
Best of all, my dear friend loved it.
This recipe is for her.

 

Muy Bueno Chicken Tortilla Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Ole! In minutes you can have a huge pot of yummy Chicken Tortilla Soup - plenty to freeze or share.
Ingredients
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 - 4 oz. cans roasted green chiles
  • 1 - 15 oz. can corn
  • 2 - 15 oz. cans black beans
  • 1 - 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 - 14 oz. can red enchilada sauce
  • 2 cups cooked, diced chicken
  • 10 corn tortillas, cut into one inch squares
  • 8 cups chicken broth (I use homemade)
  • Salt to taste
  • garnish: cheddar or Cotija cheese, sour cream
Instructions
  1. Saute onions, pepper, and garlic until browned.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Garnish with cheese and/or sour cream.

Recipe for my homemade chicken stock

On My Mind – 10/01/2012

one
This girl (the one on the right):

My little Newt is turning twelve in just a few short weeks. Yes, being a tweenager means a bit of drama, but my goodness how I love that girl.
Last week, at swim practice, a boy did something that annoyed her. I’m not sure what his offense was, but she told me, “I just glared at him and thought: I hope you really want chocolate sometime and can’t find any.” Do not cross that girl.
She recently declared that she is a writer, just like her mama. I can’t tell you how proud I felt. She carries a notebook around and writes whenever she has a spare moment. Her stories are just like her: fresh, funny, and a little bit quirky. I adore them.
Also, if you must know, the girl on the right is lovely as well. She is giving us four to five eggs a week.

two
I love to write in our studio/schoolroom. The words flow better there. However, it is not the quietest room in the house. I’ve taken to wearing headphones and listening to this. I’m an Oregonian. I bleed rain.

three
My hair. It’s been awhile since I’ve given you an update, no? As of this writing I have used shampoo one time in the last 15 months. I was out of baking soda. It was a short-lived disaster. Thankfully things went back to normal after my next No ‘Poo wash.
In other hair news, I recently had eight inches cut off. I did not donate it because I had no conception of it being that long. I just didn’t see it until it was a pile on the floor. Sorry.

I love the new cut. I’m also trying out a new color. We’ll see how it lasts with my washing habits. On one hand, baking soda may strip the color. On the other, I only wash 2-3 times a week, which may preserve the color. I know you will be on the edge of your seat. I’ll report my findings once I find them.

four
Walt and Newt went – are you ready for this? – Christmas shopping on Saturday. For me. Walt has never bought a Christmas gift before mid-December. I don’t know what to make of this new development.

five
This. It fascinates me.

What’s on your mind today?

Homemade Magic Shell Ice Cream Topping

Disclaimer: I am not a big ice-creamer. I like it, but I don’t love it. Ice cream has never sung me a siren song. Instead it hums a tuneless little ditty under it’s frosty breath.
do-do-do-dee-do
Easy to ignore.
That is until I add a delightfully yummy chocolate shell:


Then I’ll go back for seconds. Or thirds…

Two ingredients and no* dishes to wash. It really is magic.

Homemade Magic Shell Ice Cream Topping
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
 
Liquid at room temperature. Solid on ice cream. Easy to make and no mess. Make it and feel like a kitchen witch. Magic.
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cups chocolate, cut from a block or use chips - I use half dark, half milk
  • 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients into a pint sized mason jar.
  2. Microwave for 30 seconds at a time until melted.
  3. Stir/whisk with a fork until smooth and well blended.
  4. Pour over ice cream. Allow a minute or so to harden.
  5. Cap leftover Magic Shell. Lick your fork. Dishes are done.
Notes
Store at room temperature. If sauce hardens, just microwave for a few seconds until pourable.

*Heidi does not actually advocate licking your dishes clean, but she won’t judge you if you do.

Secret Doctor Who Bedroom Makeover

Alternate Title: Proof That I Rock as a Mom

It’s no secret that Newt is crazy about Doctor Who. Last week, while she was at summer camp, Walt and I turned her room into a space fitting her obsession (with a few nods her her other geeky loves).
I forgot to take good before pictures, but you can see here a bit of the original, ugly wall color and trim. The closet makeover is already underway.
Note: some of the photos were taken with my phone and at night, so the quality is not so good.

The dresser was a garage sale find before Walt and I got married, 17 years ago. I’ve painted it at least ten times. This incarnation is just a bit darker – I was going for a just after sunset vibe. I also painted new Doctor Who themed knobs.
Before/in progress:

After:

Here’s a close-up of the knobs. Top drawer is for the 9th Doctor and Rose. Middle drawer is for the 10th doctor and the bottom one is for the 11th.

Here it is with the new wall color and art work. I bought the Dalek print on etsy. Elvis – I drew for a high school class and Newt made the wreath, hung with her lariat.


More details:
New switch plate, etsy

I found a bookshelf on craigslist ($20-score) and filled it with all of her little collections. Not everything is Doctor Who; she likes a few other things as well. It makes me happy to see just how many things I’ve had a hand in creating. I made the Luigi cap for Halloween a couple of years ago and painted the Hello Sweetie! sign one evening last week. You can also see the Star Wars needlefelting I made her for Christmas.

To the right of her shelf, you’ll see some of her paintings. To the left, a new Converse lamp I picked up at a discount store and a painting of Shasta done by a family friend.

I wanted some kind of art above her bed, but I didn’t want it to fall on her. Spray paint to the rescue. The Bad Wolf is Newt’s favorite part of her room.

I also sewed new curtains to match her quilt.
I didn’t like the finials on her curtain rods (they were pink) but didn’t have time to go pick up more. So…Lego!

Not pictured, a new Doctor Who Poster with David Tennant. You’ll see it in the video below.
I also have a Doctor Who Wall Calendar on the way. It should arrive next week.

Here is the room’s crown jewel – the Tardis:

I painted the two center panels of her closet blue ( I had done the whole thing in chalkboard a couple of years ago) and added decals (etsy). Walt installed a handle and lock. Then I painted the trim and a light above (which I do not love and will likely redo).

I also painted the remaining trim in the room and her door white. Walt hung new blinds. We still need to put in new baseboards, but we didn’t get those finished in time. Now they will have to wait until we have company or move. Isn’t that the way it always goes?

All in all, I think her room turned out great. I’m pretty proud of it and the hours of work we put into it. But it’s not my opinion that matters – it’s Newt’s. See video of her reaction, complete with uncontrollable giggling, below:

PS: If you like Doctor Who, check out our freezer paper stenciled tee-shirts, free printable Valentines, and Newt’s Halloween costume.

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