Monday, December 28, 2009

the christmas TURKEY

well, christmas has come and gone and so has the turkey...well for the most part at least.  i decided to go with this recipe for our christmas turkey.  i purchased a fresh, not frozen, turkey to elliminate the days of thawing.  alright...starting with the picture in the upper left corner.  5 gallon bucket with brine {water, apple cider, fresh sage and rosemary and veggies}, grandma rinsing the turkey before putting in the brine, submerging the turkey in the brine, turkey all buttered up with the herb butter and resting on veggies, finally the finished product!  looks pretty good, huh!?!?  i wish i had got a pic of it before taking it out of the roasting pan, but to be honest i barely got this one.  dad had already taken the left leg off.  it was super moist and had great flavor with all the fresh herbs...oh and you could also tell that apples were used.  the gravy turned out good as well...different than typical gravy but pretty tasty! 

we give this recipe

so, if you ever need a good recipe for a brined and roasted turkey....this is a good one!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

to roast a turkey

this year i got a bee in my bonnet to roast a turkey for christmas day lunch.  never done it before....but how hard can it really be?  i watch food network all the time and they talk about brining the turkey first and then you stuff it with all kinds of herbs and rub it with butter and then let it cook forever.  so i first tested mymichael on the idea...he wasn't against it but suggested maybe i try it on a smaller bird first and see how it turns out and then decide if i want to take on the christmas turkey.  yea, that's totally not me...i feel that i work much better under pressure.  so next i tried the idea out on my parents who dad was all a little more hesitant but did state that grandma would probably love the idea of not having to do it herself. 

a couple of weeks ago grandma and grandpa were in town and we had a very interesting turkey discussion...we were all eating at los cabos and i told grandma my plan...she was fine with the idea.  since mymichael and i wouldn't get to the farm until early christmas eve evening, i told her that she would need to have the turkey thawed so that i could immediately put it in the brine b/c that takes 12-16 hours or so.  i then thought out loud, "i wonder if you can buy a fresh turkey so you don't have to go through the thawing out process".  well, that led to my dad thinking that was a great idea and us trying to figure out where you would buy a "fresh turkey".  my dad being the person that he is decided to ask our friendly waiter who happened to be straight from mexico city.  his idea of a "fresh turkey" is much different than my idea of a "fresh turkey".  you see my idea is a DEAD {not frozen} fresh turkey.  our waiter proceeded to tell us that we could probably find a place out in bixby that raises and sells turkeys.....real, live turkeys....and that we could pucrchase it there.  well, as soon as mymichael heard that he got really excited b/c that would mean that somehow/someone would need to take to killing the poor christmas turkey and dressing {i think that's what you call it} it.  now, my grandma having grown up on a farm knows how to do that and proceeded to show everyone how to kill a chicken/turkey.  to say the least our dinner turned educational very quick!  we were all laughing at the thought of having to catch a turkey ourselves, kill it, clean it and then me cook it.

anyways, all that to say i am cooking the christmas turkey this year and want a good recipe!  i have found a couple that sound pretty is a recipe from Ina's for a turkey breast but i think i could use the same principle on a whole turkey.  then there is Paula Deen's recipe that sounds yummy as well, but more sweet, oh and another recipe of hers.  And here is  a recipe one from Ann Burrell. 
So, here is my question to you guys.....which one OR do you have a great recipe i could try????

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

things i like

aren't all the colors pretty???  so, i didn't number these...but i think i can remember where they are all from.  the baking dishes are all rachel ray.  i absolutely love the non traditional shapes and colors!  the purse and dress are from anthropology...oh and the patterned bowls.  the purse could go with anything b/c it has every color in it!  the headband is from etsy....i love the peacock feathers.  the boots are from the flat tall boots and the uggs are just plain comfortable.  photo props from etsy...what can i say...they are just too darn cute!  oh...the pots in the bottom right hand corner are le creuset enameled cast iron french ovens.  super heavy duty and just awesome!  so, there are some fun things that i like...some are on my christmas list & some i wish were on my christmas list! 

what's on your christmas list this year?

kitchen favorites

i decided to do a post about some of my favorite kitchen items.  these are things that i use on a regular basis....many of them each time i cook.  so here goes:

1.  Rachel Ray spoonula set {found at Ross}
2.  Pampered Chef avocado peeler
3.  Rachel Ray turner set {found at Ross}
4.  Pampered Chef baker's roller
5.  Kitchenaid stainless steel tongs {wedding has them}
6.  Pampered Chef pizza stone {this is the new version....mine doesn't have handles}
7.  Pampered Chef mini whisk
8.  Rachel Ray spoons {found at Ross}
9.  Kitchenaid small santoku knife
10.  Kitchenaid large santoku knife

but i must say that one of my all time favorites is my kitchenaid stand mixer.  it is 35+ years old and was my grandma's until she upgraded.  mine doesn't have the fancy bowl with a handle like below, but it is still kickin' and does an awesome job!

if you have never used a santoku knife, go out and buy one today!  they are awesome!!!  i have slowly been replacing my standard wedding registry black kitchen utensils.  i think the color ones are much more fun....color does make a difference! =)  the pizza stone is great for pizza, obviously, but also baking cookies and biscuits and such.  anyways, just a few of my favorite kitchen things.  now for my kitchen wish list!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

recipe {sausage & cheese biscuit thingy's}

1 lb. sausage {i used the 1/3 less fat jimmy dean kind}
1 package cream cheese {i used the 1/3 less fat}
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 tsp. minced garlic
salt, pepper & garlic salt
crescent rolls or country biscuits

1.  preheat oven to 350 degrees
2.  cook sausage in skillet, add onions and garlic & seasonings when sausage is almost done
3.  transfer meat mixture to bowl, stir in cream cheese
4.  spray baking sheet or muffin tin with pam so they won't stick
5.  if using crescent rolls, place spoonful of meat mixture in middle of crescent triangle and then roll up.  if using biscuits, take one biscuit and flatten it between your hands.  then line each muffin tin with a biscuit...creating a well in the center.  fill each well with meat mixture. 
6.  sprinkle with cheese if you want to.
7.  bake at 350 degrees until golden brown
8.  serve with a yummy mustard dipping sauce...or just regular mustard....or whatever you like

when i saw this recipe originally, it said to use crescent rolls.  at the time i only bought one can of them so when i had extra meat left i decided to use a can of biscuits i had in the fridge.  i really like how the biscuits turned out...i think they are way cute and now i have a million ideas!

you could do pizza these put a little pizza sauce in the bottom of the biscuit well, then add your meat of choice & veggies and then top with cheese.  breakfast biscuits could have sausage and egg in the well...or ham and egg.  these were super easy and you could have lots of fun with them!

we give this recipe

Monday, December 14, 2009

the connell's {family pics}

isn't this family cute!  jenny and i went to church together back when we were in elementary school.  i had not seen her since then until facebook came along.  she is actually a photographer herself so taking pictures of her own family is a little tough.  she asked if i would and of course i said yes.  jenny is pregnant with their second child...which is a little girl.  will is their oldest as you will see he was quite can tell he isn't afraid of a big black camera!  i must admit, it was a little nerve racking taking pics of another photographers family!

below you will see will's "big eyes"....i love his dimples!!!!!!!

thanks jenny for asking me to take your pics...hope you like them!

what's cookin' this week

wow...i feel like it has been a while since i have done one of these posts.  this time of year is always super crazy and i always feel like i am running 90 different ways!  here's what i've got for this week....

lemon pepper shrimp scampi {cooking light magazine}
spinach & ricotta stuffed shells {cooking light magazine}
coconut curry with chicken & rice {coconut curry sauce was purchased at target}
grilled chicken, green beans & couscous
sausage & cream cheese biscuit & crescent roll thingy's {awesome name...huh!}

mymichael's sister and her family will be staying with us a couple of nights.  so friday night i am cooking for everyone....still trying to figure out what to do...........

what are you cooking...or what fabulous restaurants are you trying out this week???

Thursday, December 10, 2009

a texas christmas

this past weekend we drove down to fort worth for christmas with mymichael's family.  his sister had twins in april and we hadn't seen them since may, so we were excited to spend some time with the family.  saturday evening we had christmas at his uncle mitch and aunt maggie's beautiful house.  the picture above are sandi's {mymichael's sister} two oldest...katelyn & brent.  here are some pics from the night....

i also learned how to make his mother's chicken and dumplings.  apparently those are the only chicken and dumplings in his world {although he did say that cracker barrell is a decent substitute when hers aren't available}.  i'll have to post the recipe at some point...they were pretty yummy. 

i also got to spend some time with my best friend anna!  i made the drive from fort worth to dallas early friday morning.  we grabbed starbuck's and then headed up to ikea where i got a lot of christmas shopping done.  on our way back to the galleria we drove through our old apartments...austin ranch.  oh how we loved living there...we were across the pond from each other.  on the weekends in the summer we would claim our lounge chairs at the pool closest to us and relax all day saturday and many sundays as well.  it was glorious!  we headed back to the galleria mall where we met up with tiffany and had lunch at mi cocino and stared at the huge christmas tree on the ice skating rink. 

when i lived in dallas i worked at am design associates and our offices were in one of the galleria during lunch...or breaks...we would get to eat and shop around {yea...mymichael just loved that!}.  after lunch tiff had to go back to work but anna and i hit up the new 2-story forever 21.  great store but there is just so much stuff!  to finish off the afternoon we had a fat straw smoothie w/ bubbles and then i had to head back to fort worth before traffic got bad.  ha!  it still took me over an hour....there is always of the things i don't miss about DFW! 

and finally to wrap are some cute pics of the brooklyn...

and sadie...

i think they look like little elfs in this one.  sadie always has her toes in her mouth and brooklyn always has her fingers in her mouth...but yet they will not take a pacifier!  i guess who needs one when you have toes and fingers...right?

the crew...brent, sadie, brooklyn & katelyn

yay for early christmas's!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

ben & tiffany {couple pics}

my friend tiffany from dallas, who i use to work with, asked if i would take pictures of her and her husband.  it worked out well that this past weekend mymichael and i were in fort worth having our "texas christmas" with his side of the family.  so saturday afternoon i met ben and tiffany at their church in was super cold & really windy but i think we got some cute pictures!

the one below is one of my favorites from the day...

and this one below i deam the sexiest of the day...=)

after about an hour in the freezing cold ben was finally starting to lighten up!

i had a blast and i hope you like what we got!

Friday, December 4, 2009

lulu's sweet shoppe

lulu's to go is located in the farm shopping center.  i was driving by, saw it, needed something for lunch and decided to try it out.  as soon as i walked in it smelled heavenly!  apparently it is bakery/cafe...this location happens to be all to go.  it was an adorable little shop.  the kind owner gave me a sample of their homemade apple pie and it was fabulous!  they make everything from scratch there....down to the broth they use in their soups.  they have bakery items ranging from scones to cupcakes, then they have deli sandwiches, they have dinners you can purchase to take home and heat up and they also do custom cakes...all the way to wedding cakes. 

i had the chicken salad sandwich, which the owner suggested, and it was very good.  it didn't have a lot of ingredients like you might think of.  it was simple and had lots of fresh herbs like dill and grapes/apples/nuts/etc. { might actually like it?}.  anyways, your lunch comes with a bag of chips and either a lulu's bon bon or a cookie.  she gave me a chocolate chip pecan cookie and it was huge and wonderful.  more than half of it is still waiting to be savored! 

each night she has four regular dinner choices and a special that you can pick up to take home.  monday nights it is indian curry with rice {she is indian}.  i am way excited to try it.  a small, which serves 2-3 people, is only $15!  some of the other specials are black bean goat cheese enchiladas, shrimp and sausage gumbo and spinach ricotta stuffed meatloaf with mashed potatoes and broccoli.  anyways...i can't wait to try more...if you are in the farm shopping center stop in!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

w o w!

i was at hobby lobby today getting some ornaments for our tree at the office and as i was strolling through the aisles i noticed an adorable little girl...probably 3 or so...and her mom picking out christmas ornaments.  i thought to myself, how cute and fun! 

fast forward to me trying to check out....there are only 4 registers open and each register has at least 5 people waiting in line.  the adorable little girl and her mom are in the line next to me.  apparently something happened that the said adorable little girl didn't like and she proceeded to throw a tantrum of which her mother ignored.  now, i realize that children do this and it doesn't matter how good of a parent you are...there will be times where the child becomes possed by the devil himself and there is absolutely nothing you can do.  i get that.  and that's what i thought this was. 

but then the adorable little girl's screams turned into her actually saying first it was all mumbled/jumbled together...and then i heard it and thought to, she's not yelling that!  and then i heard it again and again and again.......
"you a bitch momma and i don't like you". read it correctly....go ahead, read it again. 

yea, so not only is your kid throwing a tantrum, which again i totally get, but she is now calling you a bitch in the middle of crowded hobby lobby when they are having their 50% off christmas sale!  the mother continued to go about checking out and ignoring her kid.  now, i don't have kids, but if my kid started calling me a bitch i am pretty sure i would have handled it a bit differently!  so, for all you mom's out would you have handled this situation?????  seriously...comment!

the prestons {family pics}

growing up my family was practically family with the green's.  we met them i believe when i was in kindergarten...if not a little before.  we went to school together, church together, every friday night we ate at ken's pizza together, sundays after church we ate at either mazzio's or mexicali border together, we went to silver dollar city together, we always went sledding on snow days get the picture...we spent a lot of time together!  we also got to know jan's parents, the preston's, quite well.  they are an adorable couple to be around and we would get to see them a couple times each year. 

whitney, the oldest of the green "children", asked me a few weeks ago if i would go with her and her mom to springfield to take some pictures of her grandparents and of course i agreed.  jan's sister was able to join us as well.  here are some of the pics i got while we went on a nice walk.

whit, i hope these are along the lines of what you were was a great trip to visit two very special people!

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