Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Garden Tuesday: Sunset

When Thor was coming in Sunday around 4:45, Ryan noticed that the tree trunks in our yard had a vivid hue. Intrigued, he wandered out with my camera to capture what he saw.

Looking east:

And looking west:

I think the boy has a pretty good eye!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Recap

Larry asked which people in this crowd belong to me. Here's the ID for everyone; click on the picture to biggify, after you've memorized the people.
Standing: Younger son of our friend Greg, my 3rd daughter, my 3rd son, (forward) the Colorado mom, my second daughter (brunette), my oldest daughter (blond, child #4), my second son, oldest son's girlfriend (also a redhead), oldest son behind visitor from China, Greg behind his daughter in law, Greg's oldest son, me and my dearly beloved.

On the floor: Ryan, my 5th son (and 8th child), the two little boys from Colorado, Thor (everyone really comes to visit Thor, let's be honest here), Mark, my youngest, and my 4th son, Jeff.

Don't worry, there won't be a pop quiz later.

Now, on to Mango's favorite topic, the food:

And everyone's favorite topic, dessert!

We have here the orange and green cake, lemon meringue pie, chocolate cream pie, pumpkin pie, crumb topped apple pie and blueberry angel torte. There were duplicates of some of these pies. However, the second apple pie didn't survive. Some dumb*** had it sitting on the stove to cool, when she turned on the wrong burner and the pie plate exploded. I won't say who the dumb*** was, but her initials are mine.
Look at my daughters! You can tell that dessert is their favorite thing, too!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

And So, The Season Begins!

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Ours was the typical circus, loud and cheerful. I wouldn't have missed it for the world!

Thor sat off to the side during food preparation (please don't notice the dirt on the floor from the 44 feet that had been marching over it). I don't know what he thought he would do with potato peelings, but in a mastiff, hope springs eternal.

Question: What kind of people does it take to set up a table for 20, when the old, cranky, experienced people arranger refuses to get involved?

Answer: One Mechanical Engineer to design table layout, one lawyer to negotiate seating arrangements, two business majors to cheerfully allocate plates and cutlery, and a nursing student to make sure they don't hurt each other.

Everyone has to gather for the annual photo before they eat, and generally 10 to 15 attempts are required. It's the price of admission here. We had a Chinese student who had interned for Greg's son last year join the festivities. It was her first Thanksgiving.

Everyone sat at their designated places, and ate plenty.

As always, Thor's hope springs eternal.
And as a surprise, Summer, the Chinese girl, was an accomplished pianist. I was delighted to learn that my piano actually works well, and she said it doesn't appear to be badly in need of tuning. I guess my 1947 grand piano is indeed the workhorse I'd hoped it would be!

Hope you're all having a good weekend. See you again soon.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Dogs on Wednesday, Again?

Yes. Again.

Thor wants you all to know that those spare children have arrived, and they love him. Of course! How could they not?

And they brought him a present: a flat fox! No stuffing!

We aren't sure we like the squeakers in it, but we've been playing with everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving Eve, everyone! I'm baking like nobody's business today; the last 2 kids (and a girlfriend) arrive home tonight!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Garden Tuesday

All of the yellow leaves fell off the poplars over the weekend.

The leaves are still clinging to the elm trees. About 8 years ago, we bought some elms propagated from Dutch Elm Blight resistant stock, because we had one elm growing through a stone wall here, and I liked it. So far, they're doing well.
And we have sunshine for the little boys from Colorado. They're roaming around with Thor; he's happy that we brought him more friends!

Monday, November 22, 2010

New Fridges

Sears arrived promptly at 10:30, and the delivery men patiently stood around while we finished scrubbing out the old refrigerators. I don't know if I love the new ones or not yet; I'll decide after I load up the food tomorrow!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thanksgiving Menu

I know you've all been waiting to see just what this crazy lady is planning to cook for Thursday. So, here it is, in all its splendor and insanity!

2 Fresh turkeys, 20-22 pounds each, from a local farm
bread stuffing (for the vegetarian)

sausage stuffing (brought by our friend Greg)
Mashed potatoes
Mashed sweet potatoes (my favorite)
Steamed green beans

Steamed broccoli
Creamed corn
Pizza tomatoes
Jellied cranberry sauce
Whole cranberry sauce

Herb rolls
Rich white bread (cool rise style)

Michelle's Oat bread

2 pumpkin pies
Lemon Meringue pie
Apple pie
Chocolate cream pie
Banana cake

Chocolate cake

Cranberry orange bread
Banana bread

Last summer's bride often brings a delectable dessert, so that may change my dessert plans somewhat. They'll probably call in a day or 2 to let me know.

I plan to have the guys bring in my homework room table, to be put at a 90 degree angle to the main table, to be sure there's enough seating, sort of like this from 2005. Of course, that means I won't be the only person seated at the foot of the table, but so what?

And, next, for Chan, here's the recipe for the sweet potato bread I made yesterday:

2 cups flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 to 1-1/2 cup mashed sweet potatoes (approx)
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs

1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Stir the dry ingredients except the walnuts together in a mixing bowl. Add the sweet potatoes and all of the wet ingredients, and mix well. Stir in the walnuts and pour into one greased 9"x5" loaf pan, or two greased 8"x4" loaf pans. Bake 55 to 65 minutes for the large loaf or 40 to 45 minutes for the smaller loaf. As with the majority of the female population of the world, my weight watching makes me prefer the smaller loaves; since they're smaller slices, I eat less, and feel less guilty. The guys will just have to work harder at stuffing their faces.

And, last, here's a picture of my finished dress, hanging in my office, waiting for the big day:

Ryan commented that it's very shiny, and I'll need to work hard to avoid crows and magpies, who love shiny things. Wise guy.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Next Week's Menus

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for. It's when you get to say, "Damn, she's nuts. I'm glad I'm not that crazy lady in pink!" I've gotten the menus for next week nailed down, the girls are on their way home, and Thor understands that something exciting is going to happen.

Sunday, 11/21
2 roast chickens with lemon/tarragon seasoning
heart attack potatoes

creamed spinach
big fat yeast rolls
strawberry shortcake
(cookies for school lunches)

Monday, 11/22
Meat loaf (what little kid doesn't like it?)
penne with garlic and olive oil
green beans

creamed corn
Peppermint Patty cake

Tuesday, 11/23
Ham with orange mustard glaze (seriously, what kind of idiot tries a new recipe on a holiday week?)
sour cream potatoes
cauliflower with cheddar cheese
Pullman bread

Brownie Tuesdays

Wednesday, 11/24
Roast beef
Angel hair with white clam sauce
chocolate cake

Thursday, 11/25
Thanksgiving, still in the planning

Friday, 11/26
Thanksgiving leftovers
And my 3rd son's birthday - I feel a cake coming on!

Saturday, 11/27
Penne with meat sauce

(probably still plenty of leftover desserts)

Breakfast all week will be oatmeal, waffles or eggs - strictly do it yourself style. If you can't make your own breakfast, you probably deserve to starve, after all. If you're interested, many of these recipes appear somewhere in my past history, but I'll be happy to pass on
anything you want.

And I currently have a pound cake and a loaf of sweet potato bread in the oven. I know they're not on the schedule, but I wanted them. So, off to play with Thor and work on my dress while they cook. And, for the record, my sparkly dress is washable. Mango expressed concern that I didn't appear to be wearing slobber proof gear, but we always plan for plenty of hugs from Thor!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pink Outfits

So, with plenty of cleaning and precooking to be done, I'm learning to use the photoshop collage function. Thor's still sleeping through it all.
First the pale pink, then the medium pink.

Oh, and because college kids arriving home is such a quiet and peaceful time, and because having house guests is so easy, my dearly beloved decided to buy me new refrigerators. They'll be delivered Monday. My food delivery has been postponed until Tuesday.

Later, I'll start posting menus. But meanwhile, here's another random picture of Thor. He's the calm one here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thorsday Anticipation!

Thor wants you all to know that he has an exciting week planned.

He is going to help his boy study.
No, wait, he's going to help his boy NOT study. Friends don't let friends miss the excitement, after all!
On Sunday, his girls will be coming home from college. Then he can sit around with them.
On Monday, visitors from Colorado arrive for a week. This is the last time Thor saw them, 5 years ago. He thinks this child and his brother are probably bigger, but still not as big as Thor.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the rest of Thor's brothers and sisters will return. Then they can have Family Game Time. They might bring a girlfriend or boyfriend, but Thor will let those extra people join in the fun.
Then comes Thanksgiving! 6 to 8 extra people will arrive! And you know what that means! More attention and food for Thor!
Happy Thorsday, everyone, and happy planning to you.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Where Am I, Again?

Oh, yes. I'm in the middle of the week before Thanksgiving. I forgot.

Last weekend, I finished a bunch of pink velour clothes. I like pink, and my dearly beloved loves me in it, so when I found two shades of pink, I bought them both. So I now have a shell pink long sleeved princess seamed dress, long sleeved top and cami. I also h
ave a medium pink A-line sleeveless dress with matching jacket, 2-tone sleeveless dress and cami that will use the same jacket. It's quite warm, and I didn't see why it should be OK to have washable velour warmup suits and not dresses from the same fabric. Photos are somewhere!

Then, early last week I saw a fabric I coveted for my Thanksgiving dress. It arrived on Thursday, an ocean of blue sparkles on a black background. The dress is about half done; I'll finish it Friday night.

To keep myself sane, I've started working on my menus for the next 2 weeks. Here's this week:

Wednesday 11/17
Roast chicken (herb basted)
Mashed sweet potatoes
steamed broccoli

hot dinner rolls
yellow cake with white frosting

Thursday 11/18
Roast beef
sour cream potatoes
creamed corn
cinnamon/raisin bread

chocolate bundt cake

Friday 11/18
Penne with meat sauce

Saturday 11/19
Beef stew
baking powder biscuits

More on next week's food and, of course, the Thanksgiving menu, after I finalize it. Meanwhile, I'm working on my food delivery list, and wishing I could emulate Thor right now.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Garden Tuesday: First Frost

Last Thursday, Ryan exclaimed in horror as he let Thor out. There was frost on our back lawn.

Happily, it got to be 56 degrees that day. It's been exceptionally warm for about 2 weeks, and we are most grateful.
Over the weekend, all of the remaining green leaves turned yellow. It was a shock to notice that on Monday morning!

Here's hoping that the evil white stuff holds off until December!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Herb Rolls

Tis the week before Thanksgiving, and here I am making new kinds of bread. I suppose it's better than getting ugly about all I'm going to have to get done, right? I'll let you all know about that later, when I know all about that; suffice it to say that there will be plenty of Marjie activity in this little corner of the world. I did get my flu shot on Friday, which caused me to spend the weekend feeling sickly (am I the only one affected that way by flu shots?), but I now expect to stay healthy through the season. I promised my doctor he will not be pleased if I turn up sick after flu and pneumonia shots!

Anyway, you are here for the rolls. And they were delicious. Try t
hem; you won't be disappointed.


1-1/4 cups warm milk
6 tsp (2 packets) yeast
4 cups flour (plus another cup, if needed)
1 egg

1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp oregano

1 tbsp sage
1/4 cup chopped chives

Pour the warm milk in your bread machine or mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top of it, and add the ingredients in the order given. Process according to my directions (link in the side bar), and let the dough rise about 10 minutes. Punch it down, divide into 12 pieces, and roll into balls. Place the rolls on a greased baking sheet, brush with warm water mixed with a b
it of sugar, let them rise about 20 minutes, until doubled in size, and bake at 375F for 16 to 20 minutes, or until they are whatever shade of golden brown you prefer.
These were great with our chicken dinner Thursday night (the carcass was the basis for Friday night's chicken soup, to help us through flu shot weekend).
They also made great sandwiches the next day for lunch, warmed up and served with just a touch of Dijon mustard, chicken, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese. Of course, lunch would not be the same if not served on a Pooh plate, right? And we can all now know, thanks to Monica and Bundy, that Pooh is known as Petr Plys in Denmark and Ole Brumm in Norway.

Hope you're all having a good Monday!