Sunday, November 27, 2016


Picture heavy, few words.  Making a schedule is good for my organization; it looks like I knew what I was doing in these pictures, right?  Especially with my potato peeling crew.
 And my table setup crew, with Bebop supervising.
 And, of course, Jeff had to chuck up a wooden paddle in the drill driver to mash the sweet potatoes.

Everyone has learned that they really have to line up for a picture, or they won't get fed.  Dogs line up in hopes of getting food, too.

 OK, already! We want food!

 Isn't this a wonderful picture of my daughter and her husband?
 The baby is our friend Greg's granddaughter.  Our granddaughter went to see the other family, since her daddy's on sabbatical this year, and they had time to drive.
 Turkey #1, right next to Ryan.

 Turkey #2.  Total weight: 49.23 pounds.

 Our friend and his baby granddaughter, age 4 months.
 And, desserts!  Apple, pumpkin, Lemon chess, lemon meringue and cranberry walnut pies, plus carrot cake and 2-color cake.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Garden Tuesday, A Day Early

So, I'm a day early because I had to show you the first snowfall of the season. This was Saturday night.

And this is what I found Sunday.

We had 5" of snow, but, thankfully, the ground was warm enough that it mostly melted.

Happy Thanksgiving week, everyone!  Back to baking!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

It's Starting....

So, I had this week's menus all planned out....

 And then we decided that the kids couldn't come here this weekend to rip out and replace my tile kitchen floor (for one thing, we didn't find a tile my beloved and I both agreed upon)...

And then my oldest son decided he would be here the weekend AFTER Thanksgiving to celebrate on their way back from wherever they're going, instead of the weekend BEFORE.... the menu now looks like this:

with, of course, notes to myself on a few of the things I have to remember to do.

So, it's never too early to start!  The whole cranberry sauce is now cooked, and cooling.  Pie crusts are next.  Here's the recipe for whole cranberry sauce, in case you forget to read the back of your bag of cranberries:


1 Bag Cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup cold water

Combine all ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil, and boil for about 5 minutes, until the berries begin to pop.  Remove from the heat, let it cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until you need it, at least overnight.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Thanksgiving Food Delivery

So, in years past, I've shown you my shopping lists, menu planning, etc, before Thanksgiving.  We're doing it a little differently this year.  This was what I ordered from my restaurant supply house:

Have you ever seen eleven hundred dollars worth of food?  Well, here you go.
 There are a ton of fresh veggies in the closest open box.  And, yes, that is 15 dozen eggs in that case.

Note that there's 20 pounds of chicken in the sink, waiting to be wrapped in 1 pound packages (I have one of those dandy food vacuum sealer).  It only took me about 2 hours to get it all done, including the 20 pounds of ground beef on the floor in one of the other pictures.

Now I have to get serious about scheduling my pre-holiday preparation, along with nailing down the census for each day.  Menus maybe tomorrow?  We'll see.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Garden Tuesday: Leaves Hanging On

Well, despite the fact that there are a bucketload of leaves down, and all of them have migrated to right outside my garage door, some are still hanging on.  I really like this dogwood which just isn't going to give up.

 The burning bushes in our walled garden are losing the battle, but very gracefully.

Shannon and Chris were visiting a couple of weekends back, at the same time Jeff was here.  Of course, talk turned to Thanksgiving.  Part of the conversation:

Chris: In the next few years, there will get to be more of us, and we will need 3 turkeys.  I vote that we deep fry one of them:

Jeff:  Oh, yeah!  I'm with you there.

Dearly Beloved: Guys, that's how people set their porches and houses on fire.

Chris: Oh, don't worry.

Jeff: We'll do it outside.

Chris: I'm an engineer.  I will engineer this project.  It'll be great.

And so begins the Thanksgiving planning.  Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Chicken in Parchment

This is an easy dinner as we head into the holiday season.  Chicken in Parchment Paper: it can be customized for those of us who are fussbudgets, er, have strong food preferences.  Plus, everything except your starch is right there in the fun packet, meaning there's no real cleanup.  What more could you ask on a chilly evening?


Chicken breast or boneless, skinless chicken thighs (my preference)
salt and pepper
sugar snap peas
grape tomatoes, halved

Slice the carrots into thin strips, and spread them out on the parchment paper as a base for the chicken; and very lightly salt them.  Cut the chicken into strips and lay them over the carrots; lightly salt.  Arrange the sugar snap peas, grape tomatoes and mushrooms (if desired) over the chicken, lightly salt and pepper.  Arrange very thin pats of butter over the top of the vegetables, fold the parchment paper closed tightly, and label which is for whom.  Bake at 350F for about 45 minutes.  Serve over a bed of spaghetti or rice.

My menfolk took up demanding that I never again cook chicken not in parchment paper, a rather unreasonable request, but exactly what I'd expect of them.  This was really, really good, and for a mushroom hater like me and Mark, it's a perfect way for us to let the others in the household have fungus while we get to avoid it.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Drive By cuteness

Just a drive-by posting.  This picture is from a couple of weeks back, when Maddie and Penny were visiting.  Ryan was hauling around the puppy, and the baby wanted her, as you can see.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Setting the Clocks Back

In my house, that's a daunting task.  The Grandfather Clock, the two stove clocks, 3 alarm clocks in my room, 3 mantle clocks, and many others.

But one of my favorites is this guy:

My Uncle George brought him back from Germany to my grandmother in the 1950s.  A couple of months ago, he decided he wasn't going to run and cuckoo any more, and that made me sad.  So my son in law found a cuckoo clock repair man down where they live, and took my clock to that guy.  It cost me an absurd $250, but my grandmother's cuckoo clock is now cleaned, with new hands, and new bellows, so the cuckoo now has a nice resonance (and now I know that my clock is from the 1930s, in the Black Forest in Germany).  I think many members of my household aren't fond of the bird, but I do love him.

So, be sure your clocks are set back, so you aren't late to work, school or play tomorrow!  Happy Sunday, everyone!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Coloring? Really?

So, when I got my company's Staples bill, I found this advertisement enclosed with it.

Coloring folders?  Really?

Sorry, but if you need to color in my office, you need to work elsewhere. I mean, what's next?  Nap mats?

Happy Saturday, everyone!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Bebop Wanted To Help

So, on Monday, when my daughter and Bebop were here, I made a roasted chicken.  As is customary, Ryan carved the chicken.  And Bebop wanted to help.

Bebop knows from previous visits that I don't allow dogs in the kitchen.  But he was smart enough to stay back far enough to not incur my wrath.  Of course, Ryan tossed some of the carrots I'd stuffed inside the bird to Bebop, who loved them.

 He even used one carrot to reinforce Bebop's "Lay down" training.

"Come on, Dude!  Unhand the food!"

Happy Friday, everyone.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Fish Florentine

Last week, for my birthday, I made fish.  I frequently cook it in parchment paper, in individual servings, so everyone can have exactly what they like.  My dearly beloved especially loved this creation, and with only one pan to wash, so did I!


Parchment paper
White fish filets
Frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
minced onion (optional)
thinly sliced mushrooms (optional)
shredded Parmesan cheese

Tear off a generous square of parchment paper for each serving.  Spread about 1/2 cup spinach on each piece of parchment, lightly salt it, and sprinkle the onion over it, if desired.  Top with a little parmesan.  Place the filets in single layer atop each bed of spinach, very lightly salt and pepper, then add mushrooms for those who like them.  Top with thin pats of butter and more Parmesan.  Arrange the packets on a baking sheet and bake at 350F for about 30 minutes.  Serve over a bed of rice or angel hair.

See?  Easy peasy.  One baking sheet, one pan, and you still get your veggies.  And cheese.  Because life is always better with cheese.

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Soft Sandwich Rolls!

You'd never know it from my activity here, but I've been cooking.  Really, I have.  Recently, I made a batch of sandwich rolls.  They sold so well that I actually made another batch a few days later.  Seeded or not, these are a terrific roll for a sandwich, as your starch for dinner, or just warmed with honey for breakfast!


1-1/4 cups warm water (or milk, and skip the milk powder)
2 tbsp yeast
2 tbsp gluten powder
4 cups flour
4 tbsp milk powder (see note above)
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
2 egg whites
2 tbsp vegetable oil

Sprinkle the yeast over the water, add the other ingredients, and mix in your bread machine or according to my directions to the right.  After the first kneading, let rise for 10 minutes, punch the dough down, and form into 16 balls.  Place them on baking sheets, flatten, brush the tops with warm milk, then sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds, if desired.  Let the rolls rise until doubled in size, then bake at 375F for 17 to 20 minutes, depending upon how dark you want the rolls.

Given that I use nonfat milk powder, these are low cholesterol.  You can also substitute up to 2 cups of white whole wheat flour for the same amount of white flour, and no one will be the wiser.  Either way, these are soft and tasty.  I plan to make these again this Friday, and serve with chicken legs and salad for an easy weekend dinner.  That's right; I'm thinking about the weekend.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!