Posts Tagged 'cooking'

thanksgiving: a much overdue post

dear world,

we hosted thanksgiving dinner this year at our new house. my whole family came in for the week. both my sisters who live out of state and my grandma came down and we were joined my my mom, my uncle and his lady friend. all in all, including kids, we had 12 people!

M cooked the largest turkey we’ve ever had and as the night went on, the turkey got bigger and bigger to hear him tell the tale. it turned out beautifully!


i cooked just about everything else and i have to say i’m the most proud of the cranberry sauce. growing up, we ate the cranberry sauce that came out of the can with the little rings around it, sliced into a lovely glass serving dish. for the past couple of years, we made homemade cranberry sauce which was chunky and my family eyed it with distrust. this is not what we’re used to eating. this year, i made the ultimate compromise. homemade jellied cranberry sauce. folks ate it up.

food and wine’s cranberry sauce

i finally made something that looked like the picture.

my version

my version

then, M started to make stock with the turkey carcass, but fell asleep putting V to bed. so at the end of the night, i finished my evening quietly.

feeling thankful,



thanksgiving menu

dear world,

i rarely have time for one post, let alone two, but here we are.

this year, we are hosting thanksgiving dinner at our house. and we’ll have 12 people including the kids. yikes! it’s going to be a little nuts, but here we go. this year, i’m pretty excited about our menu. M is responsible for the turkey and gravy and i an responsible for everything else. our meal will have:

  • turkey and gravy (obviously)
  • homemade stuffing
  • mashed potatoes whipped with roasted parsnips
  • roasted brussels sprout with either shallots and balsamic vinegar or maple syrup and brown sugar (i can’t decide!)
  • roasted sweet potatoes
  • jellied cranberry sauce
  • green salad

we’ll also have 2 pre-meal options so folks can munch while we’re cooking: pears with goat cheese and arugula wrapped with proscuitto and an old-fashioned cheese ball (like we had at my grandma’s parties all those years ago.)

and pies. lots of pies. i’m making a vegan pumpkin pie and apple pie and my family is bringing even more desserts.

i cannot wait. happy thanksgiving!


french toast, for the win

dear world,

this past weekend, i asked my husband to pick up a load of the really nice bread from the local bakery so i could make french toast for the girls. but, it turns out they wanted pancakes instead. which is fine. to be fair, this is what they were supposed to look like. mine were a little droopier. but they tasted awesome!

Puffy Pillow Pancakes

photo credit: post punk kitchen

however, i had this load of really nice bread just sitting there getting stale. so, rather than totally waste it, i made french toast last night after they went to bed and popped it in the fridge so they could have it this morning. apparently, it was a hit. every once in a while, i feel like a nail this mom thing.

for the win,


PSA: wax paper is not the same as parchment paper

dear world,

in our effort to eat more whole foods and less processed stuff, i’ve started making homemade cereal bars. i’ve tried a couple of different recipes, but this one from tasted great and requires no use of the stove so the girls can help from start to finish. apparently, the bars are supposed to look like this when finished:


photo credit:

however, the first time i made them, i used aluminum foil to line the pan so the foil stuck a little to the bottom and i let them cool for a bit too long before trying to cut them. they certainly weren’t pretty, but they were absolutely edible.

this time, i thought, i’ll use wax paper to line the pan. the box says it’s oven safe. i mean, i did check the box and since we don’t have any parchment paper, i took the plunge.

my cereal bars turned out like this:

cereal bar crumble

cereal bar crumble

apparently, wax paper, when baked in the oven for any amount of time melts into whatever you happen to be making. my cereal bars had a fine layer of wax melted into them which i then had to peel off.

it was messy business.

in brighter news, my cereal bar crumble tastes just as good as a properly formed bar. one simply needs a spoon or many many napkins available to eat it.

crunching away,


ps- does anyone have any good no-heat recipes that kids can help with?

school lunches – it’s a marathon, not a sprint

dear world,

as this is the first year we’ve been responsible for providing lunch for V, i thought i’d look to the internet for help. i want V to eat well. i want V to have healthy choices. mostly, i just want her to eat what i pack. where to start?

well, the internet suggests about a million things and i kid you not, all these moms are making food that looks like owls for their kids school lunchboxes and i’m all like, oh shoot, i have to figure out what to pack for tomorrow and it’s 10pm.

last night, when this very thing happened, i wandered into the kitchen, stared deep into the fridge and decided on making her a quesadilla with peas on the side and threw in some leftover popcorn and a whole apple. then i almost burnt the quesadilla and totally exploded the peas all over the microwave. but, i think she’ll like it. it wasn’t pretty, but i covered my bases.

here’s what i learned:

  1. land’s end makes a lunch box that wipes clean and fits enough food for lunch.
  2. goodbyn makes a 3 section lunch holder and the stuff doesn’t leak into the other sections or the lunchbox (unless your child forgets to shut it when she’s done).
  3. it’s hard to think of a variety of choices so you don’t end up with pb&j 3 out of 5 days
  4. it’s kind of fun to use pretty toothpicks to hold a sandwich together

i went to a playdate/lunchbox party with some friends and got some good ideas. i bought a cookbook that is *fairly* optimistic in packing suggestions. for example, V thinks lettuce is only for grown-ups- kind of like coffee and wine, and this cookbook suggests things like skewers with tomato, fresh mozzarella, bread pieces and fresh basil.

and then, today, i read a post about the pinterest bitches who stay up to 4am making totally over-the-top stuff for back-to-school time. i’m thinking i can settle down. V is fed. she’s excited about what’s in her lunch and she loves her “coffee cup” which will keep milk cold for 7 hours.

happy eating,


ps – the second week of school, V very specifically asked for lunch money so she could buy her lunch at school including strawberry milk. oh well.


happy thanksgiving

dear world,

we cooked thanksgiving dinner at our house this year. my mother came as well as my sister, her new husband and their new baby. all in all, it was a pretty weird experience.

i guess i had my hopes up too high that we would get to spend some time with each other before the meal then sit down and catch up over dinner. instead, my mother arrived about 30 minutes before we planned to eat and when i called and texted my sister at quarter til, she didn’t pick up. i figured we’d just eat without them if they didn’t arrive. but they did. and we ate.

i’ve known my family forever, yet we had nothing to say at the dinner table. it felt awkwardly quiet. MHM saved the day and asked my sister’s husband something and then we got rolling. nana held the baby all through dinner and nobody ate much of anything. i thought it tasted pretty good. i certainly ate my fill.

and now we begin the eating of the leftovers. tomorrow, we’re having turkey soup with the stock we made from the turkey carcass. i’m really looking forward to that.



ps- i’m really glad to have met my little nephew, but it’s a bit odd to see my sister as a mother.

susie home maker

dear world,

i am back to work half time, but today i think i accomplished more since i’ve been home than i did at work. it’s a little hard to get in the swing of things again.

at home, though, i’m on it.

we have our annual halloween parade and trick-or-treat tomorrow night in the neighborhood. obviously, i committed to bring cookies. how many cookies? i made a batch of chocolate chip cookies this afternoon (using real butter!) and the package said i should get 5 dozen cookies. i got 3 1/2. i guess i made the cookies too big, but they look wonderful. it’s a shame i can’t taste them. i’ll have to get feedback tonight. if they’re bad, i’ll just go to the bakery on the way home tomorrow. no one will know.

then, i *may* have overspent while on medical leave this time around. i felt kind of sad and stuck in the house. and not the productive let me clean out my closet stuck in the house. i guess i figured i’d get some pretty clothes to cheer me up for when i went back to work. i got a lot of them. so, this afternoon, i opened a 0% apr credit card, transferred my balance and now i have 15 months to pay off my wares. this is using credit to my advantage.

and now i’m done. and it’s only 2:50pm. i have a whole afternoon ahead of me. i think i’ll watch tv and save up my energy for my little ones when they get home. nana is coming for dinner and it’s like a madhouse when she comes, especially on a week night.

i read an article recently that said that women are now primarily the breadwinners in the family and when asked which responsibilities they kept for themselves a majority said the household finances. and baking.