Cherish Yesterday...Dream Tomorrow...Live Today

Sunday, November 25, 2012

New Thanksgiving Side Dishes and A Snazzy Scarf

Good morning and happy Sunday morning.  My hubby got called in to work this morning when one of his crew couldn't complete his shift so I got up early when he left and stayed up so here I am posting now instead of tonight.  I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving.  Here is my story about the above picture: I have never been much of a meat cook.  I was practically a vegetarian when I met my husband so I had little experience cooking meat and it is my least favorite thing to cook because I don't feel confident with large cuts such as roasts(and whole turkeys!).  Every Thanksgiving, I overcook the turkey and it falls apart getting it out of the roaster.  I have this thing with poultry(and pork) that I am terrified of under cooking it and having people get sick.  Do you remember that scene in Christmas vacation where Clark goes to carve the turkey and it is so overcooked and dry it just implodes when he puts the knife to it?  Mine never made it that far-they just totally fell apart!  This is the first year that the turkey stayed together so I had to snap a picture of it.  Yes, it was slightly overdone, but not as much as other years!  So behold, the traditional turkey above that actually needed carving!

I wanted to share two new sides I tried this year.  The green beans are from the Pioneer Woman.  We love green bean casserole and had it every year, but none of us liked it warmed up.  I thought this new dish would be good because it has bacon in it.  I couldn't believe the smoky flavor so prevalent in these beans from the bacon.  It had mixed reviews from the family so I don't know if it will show up next year.  It got my stamp of approval and my younger son's as well.
I am not a fan of traditional sweet potato casseroles because I don't like the marshmallows.  I tried this casserole and it was a winner all the way around.  It was almost like dessert but I think it will come back to future holiday dinners for sure.  I took 2 large sweet potatoes and baked them in the oven for 2 hours.  It took longer than I thought it would.  I scooped out the flesh into a bowl when they had cooled.  I added 2 eggs, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup heavy cream, a generous splash of vanilla, a teaspoon of cinnamon and ginger to taste, and stirred in about 1/2 cup chopped pecans.  Put all of that in a greased casserole and set aside.  In another smaller bowl, put 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons melted butter and a splash of vanilla.  Mix and drizzle over the casserole.  Swirl it in like a marble cake.  Bake uncovered in a 325 degree oven for about 40 minutes.  I made it the day before and baked it while the turkey was resting.  It was like a souffle.

 Lastly, I wanted to share a fun scarf I knitted to go with a new coat I got at Kohl's.  I love this Lion Brand Fancy Fur yarn.  I used tropical turquoise for this scarf and it only took one ball worked in stockinette stitch.  I have two other scarves made out of this yarn and they are my favorites.  They are so soft against my neck and they don't add unnecessary bulk down the front of my coat.  I even wear my other ones in the fall with my lighter weight coats when I just want something at my neck to stave off the wind.  I am not a knitter who tackles the tough stuff like mittens, sweater and socks but I love playing with different yarns.  I am really impatient for some reason with my knitting and I want fairly instant satisfaction so this scarf was great for an evening watching television.

I have some really awesome recipes I tried with leftover canned pumpkin that I will share next time and I will post what I made my exchange partner for the Craftaholics swap.   Some nasty Winter weather is supposed to be heading our way and I am very nervous for my 18 year old.  It will be his first Winter driving this season so there will be some tense moments for sure.  Take care and have a great week.  Nancy

Sunday, November 18, 2012

November Friday Night Sew In

Happy Sunday evening everyone.  I am very excited to show you what I have been working on all weekend. I started with the FNSI sponsored by Heidi and Bobbi and this project spilled over into the whole weekend because they are addictive-I warned you!  A good friend shared this pattern with me and I have enjoyed making them for so many reasons.  They have a small material list, they can be easily prepped(cut) with just a mat and rotary cutter, there are all straight lines to sew, they are a blast to choose fabrics for them, and they make the perfect gift for just about everyone.  The tutorial is from LaRae Bunnell Clark and it makes the 10 minute table runner.  I made the corn one for myself first to see if it would really turn out well.  I loved it so I moved on to make gifts for a couple of family members and a couple of friends. 

I love the lodge look on this one and check out those cute buttons. 

 This one is homespun done in the perfect colors for a friend's kitchen.

I had alot of fun picking out buttons for each one.  This next one is going to be hard for me to give up. 

And, last but not least, I wanted this one to look old fashioned because the person I made it for has a primitive colonial look to her home. 

So what do you think?  If you own a sewing machine, you should give these a try.  They are fun to make in holiday prints and I was thinking one would even look pretty as a dresser scarf or on a buffet.  I would love to see pictures if you make some.  But remember, if you get carried away and make a ton of them, I warned you! 

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving full of family and good food.  I am trying a couple of different side dishes this year, one from the Pioneer Woman.  I will let you know how that goes.  Have a wonderful week and take care.     Nancy 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Tom Turkey and the Best Bruschetta

Hi and happy Sunday.  It is a particularly happy Sunday for me because I have tomorrow off!  Happy Veteran's Day to everyone who has and does fight for all of us to enjoy our freedoms.

I wanted to share my "Tom pillow" I made this week.  I enjoyed my "Jack" Halloween pillow so much, I came up with my own design for Thanksgiving with a turkey.  I drew the pattern myself and made up the freezer paper stencils.  He looks homemade but I kind of like that.  My oldest son suggested I do different pillows for different holidays and I liked his idea.  I think I may do one for Christmas, a snowman and one for Easter. 

I am a huge bruschetta fan.  A friend and I go on a little trip every Summer to a wonderful craft shop that is about an hour and a half away and we visit this wonderful family-owned Italian restaurant for lunch after we shop.  There I was introduced to the best bruschetta I ever had in my life.  I finally succeeded in reproducing it.  It is so simple and so good.  Just put a few tablespoons of olive oil in a small skillet.  Mince about 4 cloves of garlic into the pan and cook for about a minute, being careful not to burn the garlic.  Take it off the heat and put the garlic and oil in a large bowl.  Take about one pint of cherry tomatoes(I mixed yellow and red ones) and chop them into small pieces.  Add them to the garlic and toss.  Add a couple of tablespoons of good balsamic vinegar.  Toss to coat and add salt and pepper to taste.  Put this in the fridge to marry the flavors.  When you are ready to serve, cut up a small bagette into diagonally cut slices.  I like to broil them with a litle butter on them so they don't get soggy when you top them with the tomato mixture.  Keep thet broiler on because you have to put shredded mozzarella on top of the tomato mixture and broil until bubbly.  Enjoy!

I am presently working on my gift for The Craftaholics Annonymous Christmas swap.  I love participating in that.  This is my third year.  I am not loving Elfster, however.  I know I am probably the only one but I am having a hard time connecting with my swap partner.  what happened to the good old days where you just emailed each other?  She asked me a question and when I clicked on the reply button, it looked like a facebook entry.  So I emailed her and I haven't heard back yet.  I don't even know if she got my reply.  I know who my swap partner is and yet, somehow there are people annonymously asking questions.  What is that all about?  Oh well, this may be my last year to participate unless this swap ends successfully!

 Have a wonderful week and take care.   Nancy

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Deliciousness and Something Different

Hi everyone and happy Sunday evening.  Wasn't it grand to have an extra hour to sleep last night?  Some of you may have used that extra hour as time to accomplish something but I used it to sleep! 
I had a grand time doing something a little different in my craft room this weekend-more on that later.  I will bet you are distracted by the plate of yumminess above.  They were fairly easy to make and amazing.  They are coconut cream raspberry pastries.  How can you go wrong with puff pastry-am I right?  Set your oven to 400 degrees.  Unfold one sheet of thawed puff pastry and cut it into 8 fairly even rectangles.  Place them on a baking sheet lined with silpat or in my case, a kitchen aid silicone baking liner.  Bake until golden, about 12 minutes.  Let cool and split horizontally.  In a large mixing bowl, beat 3 cups whipped topping, 1 cup whipped cream cheese from a tub, 1/4 cup cream of coconut(also makes amazing pina coladas!), and 1/2 tsp. vanilla.  Divide among the bottoms of the pastry rectangles.  Put raspberries on top and pop the pastry tops back on.  Voila, done and perfect.  You will be very happy!     

Now I want to share what I was up to in my craft room.  I don't do much jewelry making.  I admire what others make but I don't often feel the urge to start making any of it.  The only thing that lures me into the process is my compulsive matchy-matchy nature.  I have a wonderful necklace and bracelet with no matching earrings.  That bugs me!  So I came across this tutorial for box chain earrings and I had to give it a try.  It was fun.  I made big ones:

and medium ones that are my favorites:

Here is a side by side comparison of those:

But I also attempted delicate little ones and this is as far as I got:

I just couldn't fit all the rings in the middles but I love how dainty they were.  I am not usually a huge earring person so these appealed to me.  Maybe I will just add another three rows and see what they look like without doing the box chain pattern.  Anyway, it was fun to break up my usual routine of sewing and painting.  I bought myself a new Winter coat so I have to get some yarn to knit myself a scarf to match.  Also, I am desperate to find some Thanksgiving projects.  I put my decorations up and they are sparse compared to Halloween and Christmas!  

Well, I hope you all have a great week.  Take care.  Nancy