hello holiday!

Holiday Gift Guide, Part 1: Your Eclectic Mom Who Enjoys Getting Lost And Is Never Without A Book

An old-world terrarium so she can enjoy the beauty of a greenhouse in any room with minimal care. $39.

Alicia Keys’  Girl On Fire, because it’s powerful anthems and intimate ballads are sure to be enjoyed. $13.

An ipad mini so she’ll never have to choose just one book to fit into her purse. $329.

teavana perfect teamakerteavana forbidden kingdom tea collection

A highly rated gourmet tea collection and the perfect tea maker for loose-leaf teas. $20 – $120.

hummingbird feederA pretty new hummingbird feeder. $36.silk pillowcase

A pair of silk pillowcases that will feel smooth and cool against her face. $76

peacan pie in a jar

A pretty ruffled pie dish and a delicious pecan pie in-a-jar. $20 – $65

slippers

A nice pair of slippers to keep her feet warm this winter. $50

nambe crystal bowl

A sparkling crystal bowl that faintly resembles a dove. $80

coach handbagcoach wallet

A classic, sturdy purse and matching checkbook wallet. $348 and $238

thermos

A well made travel mug for keeping coffee warm on long drives through mountains. $30

woodland print

A snowy woodland print to bring the mountains indoors. $30

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kitty cats

Cat Love.

The kitty-cats have been living life on the wild side for over 2 months now – – prancing around the garden, bouncing around the back yard, trolling the neighbors’ yards and exploring the forest. Some things have changed for them. Mac got into a cat fight the other week and came home with a bleeding ear, intense scabbing all over his furry little head, and had a close call with a could-be abscess on his chest. Allegra has to be tricked to come inside most nights and consequently throws the most ridiculous tantrum when she realizes she’s been trapped. Fortunately though some things have stayed the same and even gotten better. Like Mac purring so sweetly when you scratch is belly or pet him or, sometimes, just look at him. Allegra has gotten much, much sweeter and when she is inside she tends to be more social and content and cute. Overall there is no doubt they are happier cats.

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recipe box

Green Beans, Jalapeno Cornbread Stuffing, and Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey

We were so happy with how our Thanksgiving meal turned out. We were so stuffed from everything “special” we made, we never even cut into our baked yams. So, I thought I’d share the recipes we used.

First up: Green Beans with Caramelized Onions and Almonds from the Food Network.

We boiled about a pound or so of trimmed green beans in a high-sided skillet with a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes. When they were done, we ran ’em under some cold water and set them aside. Next, in the same skillet, we toasted about a third cup of slivered almonds on medium heat for a few minutes, maybe 5, stirring occasionally. Then we put a couple tablespoons of olive oil and butter into the skillet with a sweet onion (cut very, very thinly) along with a little salt and some pepper and cooked them for about 25 minutes stirring frequently. When the onions were well caramelized we added what looked like a tablespoon of thinly chopped fresh thyme and cooked the onions for a couple more minutes before mixing in the prepared beans and almonds.
They were awesome!

The biggest surprise of the night was the Gluten Free Jalapeno Cornbread Stuffing that I found {here}.

My version was *slightly* altered but mostly  the same as Jeanine Donofrio’s. For the cornbread I used Bob’s Red Mill blue cornmeal and just doubled up on the GF all-purpose flour instead of using almond flour. For the stuffing I used jalapenos and some peppers from our garden, raisins instead of currants, green onions instead of scallions, a can of drained corn, and didn’t fret too much about measurements for the veggies but rather estimated quantities by what looked about right. Again, it was awe.some. It certainly wasn’t a traditional herb stuffing but the slight spiciness of it complemented our turkey and beans really well while still standing out as a distinctive flavor on our plates.

Finally, the Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey (breast) from the Food Network’s recipe archive.

On Wednesday morning we brought a large pot of water to a boil and added a cup of apple juice, half a cup of salt, a cup of brown sugar, a couple cloves of minced garlic, three bay leaves, a couple tablespoons of black peppercorns, a tablespoon of dried rosemary, and one and a half chopped up peeled oranges. After bringing the mix to a boil we removed it from the heat, let it cool to room temperature, submerged our rinsed 8 lb turkey breast in the mixture (and added water to fully cover the breast), and put the covered pot into the fridge to “brine” for 24 hours.

Thursday afternoon we discarded the brine, rinsed the turkey, and let it soak for about 15 minutes in cold water before  wrapping it up in our dutch oven with foil over the top and cooking it in the oven at 275 for 80 minutes (10 minutes per pound). After pre-cooking the turkey we removed the foil, brushed the turkey thoroughly with a mixture of orange zest, melted butter, and finely cut rosemary from our garden and then roasted the turkey uncovered for about an hour and a half. Every thirty minutes we checked the internal temp of the bird till it reached 165 and basted it with melted butter.

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