November 20, 2012 § 2 Comments
“Who does not thank for little will not thank for much.” – Estonian Proverb
With my wonderful mother-in-law and both girls in tow, I braved the grocery store this afternoon for “the big shop” – the annual gathering of all my essential items for the perfect Thanksgiving meal. I love this holiday: time spent relaxing with treasured family and friends, the football games, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and, of course, THE FOOD. I’ve got our family’s perfect southern meal down to a science, with a number of recipes that are must-haves – I’m not even sure my brother would show up without my Grammy’s corn bread stuffing or our dad’s green beans (which, like all his great recipes, includes a can of beer). Even my addition of marbled mashed potatoes in recent years has quickly become a staple. I’m sure most people are like me and have tons of traditional family recipes they can’t live without but, if you find yourself searching for something new, look no further. These favorites of mine cannot be beat and are another little thing in my life that I’m so thankful for!
Sweet Cornbread Stuffing
4 boxes of cornbread mix, prepared and cubed (MUST be Jiffy brand)
3/4 cup butter
2-3 cups chopped celery (including leaves)
1 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
salt and pepper to taste
poultry seasoning to taste
dark meat turkey and broth
Make cornbread ahead of time and cut into cubes. (I make it the night before and let it sit out overnight to dry out.) Heat butter on the stove. Add celery, onion, salt and pepper to taste and cook until softened. Stir in the cubed cornbread and add poultry seasoning and more salt and pepper to taste. In true southern-girl style, I boil up some turkey parts (neck, thighs, etc.) with butter and lots of salt and pepper the night before and add a bit of this along with some of the turkey broth to moisten. I save the rest for the gravy the next day. In our family, we always cook our stuffing in the bird, but this still tastes great baked in the oven on 350 degrees for 30 minutes in a casserole dish.
Dad’s Green Beans
fresh green beans, ends broken off (as many as will fill a large stockpot)
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
pepper to taste
1 medium onion, diced
1 thick slice ham steak cut into pieces
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 can beer (I sometimes use wine)
2 tablespoons butter
Combine all ingredients in pot with a few inches of liquid in the bottom. Cook on low heat covered for at least 4-5 hours. Let it cook down slowly overtime – beans will reduce by at least half. Stir carefully to not break up the beans too much. Lid can be removed toward the end to boil off excess liquid. Additional salt and pepper can be added to taste.
Marbled Potatoes (from “True Grits” by the Junior League of Atlanta)
1 pound red potatoes (I substitute russet potatoes)
1 pound sweet potatoes (I use canned)
2 large scallions, chopped
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped
nutmeg to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper (may want more)
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Cook the regular and sweet potatoes separately and mash in separate bowls (no need to cook canned sweet potatoes). Saute the scallions in 1/4 cup butter in a skillet until tender. Stir half the scallions into each bowl of potatoes. Whisk the sour cream with the whipped cream in a bowl. Fold half gently into each bowl of potatoes. Add half the nutmeg, salt and pepper to each bowl. Layer the potatoes 1/2 at a time in a greased 1-quart dish. Swirl with a knife to marbleize. Sprinkle with a mixture of the bread crumbs, melted butter and parsley. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.
November 12, 2012 § 2 Comments
Sophie had the day off today to mark Veteran’s Day. We went to lunch with my friend Stacy and her girls, and then we spent a little time getting lost in Ben Franklin Crafts – fun! I wanted to make it Sophie’s day – our special time together – so this afternoon, we made a new bulletin board from her room with some pretty aqua chevron fabric I picked up. I am in love with chevron stripes and was excited to add some to Soph’s room. It is easy to make a custom bulletin board of any size using fabric, a staple gun and an art canvas. We took a huge canvas we already had, covered it with the fabric, wrapping it tightly as we stapled it along the back side. For this board, I wanted a clean and simple look so I trimmed it out using decorative silver nails along the edges. Sophie is so happy with her new board and is already happily pinning up her treasures.
There are so many easy-to-make and lovely bulletin board ideas online. I’ve added a few to my Pinterest page in case anyone out there needs some inspiration. Craft on!
November 11, 2012 § 3 Comments
One of our favorite places to spend a beautiful summer day is Volunteer Park – a 48-acre retreat at the top of Seattle’s Capital Hill neighborhood – playing softball and relaxing in the big grassy field, climbing to the top of the old water tower with one of the most spectacular views of the city, and wandering through its amazing conservatory. For now, the weather has turned, and it’s too rainy and chilly to hang outdoors. But as we headed over there again today to take pictures at a place I’d scouted out for our Christmas card, I was reminded of how much I love spending time in this beautiful oasis in our city. Even though I’m not much of a green thumb, even I can appreciate fabulous flora when I see it, and there’s a lot of it to be seen in the Volunteer Park Conservatory. It’s just another little place I love.