Saturday, December 31, 2011

Peanut Butter Fudge

Be still my beating heart. I think this was my favorite Christmas treat I made this year. Let's just say that I made a batch for cooking club at the beginning of the month and proceeded to have the rest of the pan consumed before Dec 10. Fudge is super simple and addicting. I shouldn't limit fudge to a Christmas only treat. It was much too good for a once a year appearance!

Peanut Butter Fudge by

3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter

2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla
6 oz package semi-sweet chocolate pieces (I used chocolate chips)
7 oz. jar Marshmallow Creme

1/2 cup peanut butter

1. Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar, 6 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup evaporated milk in a medium pot.
2. Bring to full rolling boil which is 230 degrees, stirring constantly.
3. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate pieces until melted.
4. Add 1 cup (1/2 jar) marshmallow creme and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until well blended.
5. Pour into greased 13 X 9 pan.

Repeat with remaining ingredients substituting peanut butter and spread over chocolate.

Then, cool at room temperature and cut into squares.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The missing sock.

Lucan is sneaky. If you aren't careful, he'll try and eat one of his socks. See below for proof.

Foot and sock have been presented to mouth for tasting.

Sock has been removed from foot for further taste testing.

Taste affirmation has come back as positive.

This is everyday life and what happens when mom has a week off with Lucan.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Feliz navidad!

Merry Christmas from you favorite, local shopping mall Santa!

Friday, December 23, 2011

2011 Christmas Card Letter

Top 10 for 2011

  1. We had a bouncing baby boy in June. Apparently that's a pretty big deal. His name is Lucan. He's pretty cute!

  2. Lance and I took an insurance class together and gained our life insurance designations. I also added my accident and health insurance designations too.

  3. Lance took a new job in June. June was a big month (see #1)!

  4. We actually managed to grow tomatoes this year. Garden fresh tomatoes = garden success for the us. But at the same time, we didn't get a single green pepper and our eggplant only grew 3 leaves (and no actual eggplants).

  5. After 6 years of unsuccessful attempts to purchase a replacement vehicle for Lance, we were finally able to buy a Chevy Traverse. Except somehow Lance managed to trick me into keeping the LHS and now we are a 3 car family (Lance keeps talking about Lucan as a future driver of the LHS). At 256,000 miles, the LHS is still tooling around Des Moines. If you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the LHS' doppelganger in downtown Des Moines.

  6. Lance, with the help of a contractor friend, finished installing the 2010 wood floors in October of 2011. Only 10 months late.

  7. Talk about baby boom in 2011– for every month of the year, at least one of our friends had a baby. Boy babies are currently leading in numbers at 9, leaving girl babies trailing with 3. 2012 predicts 2 girl babies and 1 boy baby by February!

  8. Our canning adventure this year was tomatoes and salsa. I'm not necessarily convinced that the canned tomatoes taste any better or are cheaper than store bought tomatoes. We'll see if we can tomatoes next year.

  9. Lucan fell in love with his giraffe lovey, Gerry, his index and middle fingers, and his socks. Lucan's favorite past-times include sucking on Gerry, his fingers, and his socks (sometimes all at once). His second favorite past-time is a game called "Fire Feet." This entails kicking his feet and heels as hard as he can. Lucan's third favorite past-time is rolling, but in only one direction. If rolling counts as a means of transportation, than we are now a household with a mobile child.

  10. Lance completed Calculus 1 this spring and navigated his way through Calculus 2 this fall. One look at his book reminded me why I hate math and have a communications degree. This is also why he calculates our budget and I blog and write our Christmas letter.

Peace on earth friends and family. Jesus is the reason for the season!

Keep up with us all year long at

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Me versus Lance

For my ridiculous Christmas present I said that I wanted a 10 gallon, $200 Simple Human Trash Can. Totally worth the money for me to get rid of my nasty, grubby, white plastic trash can that we currently own!

I mean, can a trash can get any more gorgeous? I think not.

Lance, on the other hand, said that he wanted to build onto our garage so he could have a place to store his tractor.

And that my friends, is why Lance and I are different, but the same.

He wants a place to store his trash and I want a place to hide it :)

Please note, we both realize that these are our ridiculous Christmas present wishes.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Lucan: 6 months and counting!

I'm just really behind in posting Lucan's monthly updates. Gads.

We had his 6 month check-up on Tuesday. It went well! Shots break my heart every time. But Lucan is so brave, he just cries for a moment and then he is okay. I wish his momma could be as brave as he is.

  • L is tipping the scales at 18 lb 12 ounces and is in the67th percentile for weight.

  • He is 27 inches long and in the 64th percentile for length

  • Lucan's head is 45.1 (cm? inches seems extreme) in circumference and in the 81st percentile for head size (yikes!)

  • I hope he stays in size 3 diapers awhile. They go up to 28 lbs, so lets hope so.

  • Two weeks ago L started rolling both ways - from belly to back and now he is also doing back to belly. But the problem is that he'll only roll over his right shoulder, so Lance and I will often have to pick him up and turn him the other way because he's ran out of room. I discovered him under the Christmas tree the other night. Lucan appeared to be secretly pleased with himself because Fire has reserved the tree as his special domain. Poor Fi Fie, mobile baby means his life is in for some changes.

  • Lucan is eating a lot more different foods: butternut squash, avocado, applesauce, and the latest: carrots and rice cereal with prune juice. But he seems to be a little bit constipated as he just cries and cries when he's pooping and his poops are more solid than they should be. So now we've also expanded his diet to include a daily dose of prune juice. Ughhh...

  • Speaking of food, to date I've made all of Lucan's baby food. It has been a relatively painless process as we already had squash that had been scooped, seeded and baked; homemade applesauce from 2010's canning adventures; and avocado jsut requires mashing. I had Tuesday off and spent some time steaming peas and green beans and then pureeing them and then freezing them into ice cube containers. I also baked a giant sweet potato and pureed it too. We will see how long this lasts. While it really wasn't difficult and is much cheaper than buying baby food, it certainly is not as convenient. But I did enjoy pulverizing and pureeing to my heart's content. It's also fun to think about veggie and fruit combos. And then I thought about pureeing everything and then sneaking the veggies into unexpected places. But that's the evil person I am.

  • Lucan hasn't been nursing as well. When he was 4 months old, he would eat as much as 7-8 ounces at his first morning feeding. This morning, for example, he had about 4.5 ounces. I'm not really sure what to make of this, but I don't like it. It's doing screwy things to my milk supply.

  • Lucan likes to stick his fingers in his mouth. Like when he's nursing. Yum, milk is good. Fingers are good. Both ... well that must be even better! Nursing doesn't work too well with fingers.

  • We've started to be more intentional about Lucan's bedtime routine. We read "Time for Bed," sing a lullaby and then pray with him. Then we lay Lucan down and turn on his sleep sheep. Sometimes Lance gets confused and calls it a Sleep Polar Bear. Really?! 1) The sheep only resembles a polar bear in the fact that it is white. 2) What kind of branding department would call it a "Sleep Polar Bear"? It certainly doesn't roll off the tongue.

  • Lucan is usually in bed by 7:30 pm. He gets crabby and just can't control his emotions after 7:30. Christmas with Lance's family should be interesting as festivities are starting at 7 pm.

  • Still no signs of teeth. I'm not looking forward to it.

  • Lucan got his first cold. It was the first time he was sick. Snotty daycare kids. Man, the cold was a doozy. We took him to the doctor twice and he was on two different antibiotics.

  • Lucan still loves bath time. Let's just say: water everywhere. Usually I'm soaked.

  • We started baby sign language after Thanksgiving. We are working on "milk," "more," "food," and "all done." Sometimes I remember to do "kitty," "mom," "dad," and "diaper change." I like to imagine that Lucan is recognizing the sign for "milk" as he get's the biggest smile and gets really excited. Lance is having some difficulties remembering the sign for "more" so finaly I told him that it was two dinosaurs talking to each other. Now it seems to be sticking.

  • One game that Lucan loves is having us wrap him up like a baby burrito in a blanket and then for him to try and throw the blanket off of his head. Lucan runs into problems when he's laying on part of the blanket and can't get it off. The only way L can get it off is for him to pull it down off of his face. But it does keep him occupied!

  • One of my favorite developments is Lucan will reflexively smile back at you. It's so rewarding.

  • Omigoodness, this child is obsessed with his feet. If he isn't wearing footies, he'll pull off his sock and suck on it. And sometimes he'll even get his foot his mouth. But often times I'll have to take his socks off because one of them will be SOAKED. Sometimes I'll walk into his room and he'll be stretching in his crib with his legs in the air. I'm sure if they weren't enclosed in a sleep sack, they'd be in his mouth.

  • Our child sleeps with his arms straight out and snores. It's actually pretty cute and at night I have to restrain myself from picking him up and hugging him. Sleeping babies can't be beat for cuteness.

Thus ends Lucan's 6 month updates. I had an older woman who was aghast that I wasn't keeping up on Lucan's baby book. But I blog! It's basically the same thing. But now I'm on the hook for actually keeping up on Lucan's development. Crap.

Friday, December 16, 2011

All that glitters, is not gold: Sparkly gift guide

If you are me, you haven't quite finished up your Christmas shopping yet. The problem being that you always come back with a gift for the person you've already bought something for (mom!) and still haven't gotten anything for that hard to shop for person (dad!).

Here are a few ideas for the person who loves a little glitz and glam. So obviously not ideas for something for my dad.

Ivory glitter Toms - $54

Toms are a pretty cool idea, for every pair of shoes you purchase, they donate a pair to a needy child. Awesome. I need me some sparkly good-doer shoes.

Minted Necklace - $25

I've had my eye on this necklace on for 3 years now. I should just buy it. I love the coral, aqua, iridescent combination.

Mercury Glass Candlesticks - $25-$42

I've been wanting to redo my mantle decorations for a little while and I've always thought that some statement candlesticks would be a great addition. Mercury glass, even if it's fake, is just cool.

Grand Band - $39

This is one classy money clip. The monogramming adds an extra special touch. And finally something that you could give to the man in your life (all the rest of the items in this guide are things on my Christmas list!)

Aquamarine & Freshwater Pearl Earrings - $27

I recently chopped 6 inches off my hair and fun, dangly earrings are a great way to show the accessory and the hair do!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

6 month pictures

The pediatrician called Lucan square. I think this was in regards to the large head size and Lucan's healthy weight. He also said that Lucan needed a haircut. I'm not sure if I like this different pediatrician.

Without further adieu, Lucan's 6 month pictures, 2 weeks past due!

"Mom, I really like my feet. Do you like my feet? I think they're cute!"

"Mom, I know that you are mad at Dr. John for saying I needed a haircut. But you said the same thing yourself 2 days ago and daddy was the one who said 'no haircuts!'"

"Do you smell poop? I smell poop. Who smells poop? Oh wait ... that's my poop. Nevermind."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Gift Guide: The Quirky Foodie

Here are a couple of ideas for the foodie who has a sense of humor. Or for someone like me who is just a tad bit weird :) I personally think all of these ideas are really fun. But then again, I would - it's my blog!

Pizza Boss 3000: Power Saw Pizza Cutter - $15.00

The perfect gift for the husband who borrowed his friend, Josh's, power saw for 11 months.

Engagement Ring Measuring Spoons - $15.95

Needing to drop a hint to the man in your life that he's not getting the milk for free anymore? I'd say these measuring spoons send the message loud and clear.

Floral Sculpted Nesting Bowls - $33

According to Martha Stewart, presentation is half the battle. These bowls would definitely help you get to 50%. (side note: I'm not really sure that Martha Stewart said that. But for the last 12 years, I've quoted Martha as saying this. This doesn't count as defamation, right?)

Pizza "Pi-e" Cutter - $19

I'm sure pizzas will taste 3.14% better if you cut your pie with this cutter

Table Saw - Cake and Salad Knife - $6.95

The tactful way to tell someone their cake is a little on the dry side.

Shark Bite Oven Mit - $16.50

Protect your hand from oven burns. But not protected from sharks. ooohh my hand, my hand!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Gift guide: Outdoor Settings

I'm doing a little mini-series of gift ideas. Lance says I'm the toughest person to shop for. But he's wrong. Why? Because I'm the only person he has to shop for at Christmas. I take care of everyone else that we buy presents for. Silly Lance.

Here are a few quirky items for a fun outdoor setting:

Magnetic Pallet Chair - $250
I think the recycled pallets are cool. I'm guessing Lance would say that the chair is a waste of money on someone else's junk.

Cattail Bird Feeder Yard Stakes - $20
My aunt lives on a acreage and has a large picture window facing out to an area where they have placed several bird feeders. Her cats love watching the wildlife that passes by. These bird feeders would be a fun addition!

Toad House - $50
Okay, I realize that toads don't really need or want houses. But I think this is kind of fun! They are positioning it as a nice cool place for toads to come and hang out at. I really can't imagine toads buying into this.

Bullseye Suncatcher - $55
This would be really pretty hanging in a large window.

Spiky Owl Balancer Stake -$42
These owls really don't have any functional purpose. I think they are whimsical. Lance would probably think they are a waste of sheet metal.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Spoon Cornbread

Happy post-Thanksgiving friends! Did everyone get their bellies full? My family lives about 40 minutes south of Lance's family, so we have the pleasure of doing two Thanksgiving meals on Thanksgiving. Which typically makes me feel like I'm going to puke. It's no one's fault but my own, so I can't really moan and groan about it.
Every year I bring something different to each of our family's respective Thanksgiving celebrations. The trick with Lance's family is that there are some picky eaters. Namely, Lance's dad. He is the pickiest eater I've ever met. More picky than my friend Erika's husband, Ryan. Lance's dad doesn't even like cheesy potatoes! He announced during the meal that the reason America is fat is because of cheesy potatoes ... Moving on. In the past I've brought a few things that have been more on the "wild" side (hot pepper jelly chesse dip, sweet potato casserole, cheesecake with raspberry sauce) and my FIL has refused to try them. Then I thought that I would make something less "wild" like pecan pie bars and still he wouldn't try them. This year I made a classic spoon cornbread and to no avail, my FIL still wouldn't try it. Even though it's delicious, not at all threatening and contains a key ingredient from his list of "acceptable" vegetables. Whatever. Everyone else really liked it and had several requests for the recipe. I guess I'll just have to try harder at Christmas!

But spoon cornbread is yummy and is a great addition to any holiday meal or to a chili feed. Take my word for it. Not my FIL's.

1 box Jiffy cornbread mix
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 can of corn, drained
1/2 can of creamed corn
2 sticks of butter, melted (this is not a health recipe!)
1 cup of sour cream & chives dip

Combine all ingredients, except cheese. Pour into sprayed 9x9 square pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove pan, sprinkle on cheese and bake for another 10 minutes or so, until golden brown. Enjoy!

Monday, November 14, 2011

5 Months

There are several reasons people blog. Some people are talented and are gracious enough to share their talents. These talents can be things like photography, sewing, remodeling, cooking/baking, saving money, building things, etc., etc. Some people blog because they are oversharers. I obviously fall into the latter category. The tendency to word vomit and the world's cutest baby combined with the opportunity to blog, well ... you can only imagine the endless opportunities to overshare!

So I apologized in advance, but to be fair, you were warned.

Lucan- 5 month update (2 weeks behind)

  • Lucan is a solid 18 lbs. Solid being the operative word.

  • I shouldn't have bought so many size 2 diapers. Really.

  • We started you on cereal and he actually seems to like it! People keep asking when Lucan will get other foods, but your momma isn't ready to start dealing with that reality. So for the time being, rice cereal it is. The first time that Lance fed L, L proceeded to drool the cereal out of his mouth and then slurp it off his bib. Not the most efficient way to eat ...

  • I'm still breastfeeding L. I'm really proud and happy that we've made it this far. There were so many times in the beginning where I thought this feat would be impossible. But as we are nearing 6 months, the impossible suddenly seems possible. If you would have asked me this when Lucan was one month old I wouldn't have believed you.

  • With the introduction of solid food Lucan's poop is becoming, well, more solid. He has to exert a lot more effort and I can see it in his face. Pooping is a lot of work!

  • I really hate Gerber onesies. They are so tiny and such a waste of money. There's no way you can fit into any of them.

  • He has the fastest kicking legs north of the border. When Lucan is really happy, he kicks his legs furiously.

  • This past month L started laughing. He smiles a lot, especially when someone is playing with him and L has learned how to reflexively smile back at his momma. But when someone is flying him through the air (ie: daddy or Josh V), L's will start laughing. And it's such a fun, bubbly sound. I can't wait for him to start discovering more of the world and laughing more.

  • We have several songs that we sing to L that we've altered the lyrics to. I imagine that we are quite annoying to the average person :) Lu-can, Lucan Richard. King of Harvey Street (sung to the tune of Davey Crockett) Lu, Lu, skip to my Lu. Lu, Lu, skip to my Lu. Skip to my Lu my darling. As well as the classic "Shake, shake, shake. Shake, shake, shake. Shake you booty, not your baby." One time I got the lyrics wrong (Shake shake shake. Shake shake shake. Shake your baby, not your booty) and Lucan got upset. I had to apologize.

  • L and daddy have several fun games they like to play. The newest one is called Startle. Lucan lays on the changing table and Lance drops down where Lucan can't see him. Lance then pops his head up and startles Lucan. Lucan acts surprised and smiles, smiles, smiles. Apparently it provides hours of entertainment.

  • Rolling over. What a hot topic. Lucan won't roll over from his back to his front. He'll roll onto his side and hang out there for awhile, especially so he can see the TV better. But that darned shoulder keeps getting in the way! On the flip side (pun intended), Lucan is rolling over from front to back. Which I guess is the harder of the two to do. Lucan doesn't really enjoy tummy time, so it's not entirely surprising that he figured out how to get out of it. He is consistently rolling over, since last Friday 11/11/11. He did it twice for me and also did it for Lance and for my parents who were visiting.

  • Lucan had his first Halloween costume. He was the most adorable pumpkin.

  • We're no longer swaddling Lucan, but he does get a sleep sack blanket as our house is cold. L likes to sleep with his hands up by his head. Lance sleeps the same way, which leads to me getting elbowed in the face.

  • No sign of teeth. That's fine by me.

  • L has more control of his limbs and will pass things from hand to hand. He also likes to grab his feet and roll around a bit. Very happy-baby-pose from yoga.

Without further adieu, his monthly pictures.

"Mom thinks I may need a haircut soon. Especially around my ears."

"But I'm so cute and smiley. I don't need a haircut!"

"Oh no you did not just take my picture?!?! I wasn't ready!"

"Sometimes in the morning I like to catch up on my daily farm news."

"It keeps me up to date on my tractors and livestock."

"Don't take my Gerry!" (Gerry is Lucan's giraffe lovey)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Work Food Days

They bring out the best and the worst in me. The really do.

The best of Kara

1) I get to demonstrate my culinary prowess. Let's be frank. This gal can cook (except for chocolate chip cookies, but that's a story for another day)
2) I get to taste all sorts of fun things from everyone else that I normally don't take the time to make or buy (Krispie Kremes!)
3) I don't have to pack a lunch
4) I get to nibble all day long
5) Free food! Free food!

The worst in Kara
1) I get super annoyed by people who don't bring in food and proceed to eat everyone else's food
2) I get even more annoyed when someone signs up to bring "ketchup." Really!?!? Does one single bottle of ketchup even count as a contribution? According to Lance, not even a single bachelor can get away with that. Not unless they bring all of the condiments.
3) I wonder about people's common sense when they bring creamed herring. Again, quit being stupid and bring something that people actually want to eat.
4) I see random people from other departments stopping in the conference room and filling up a plate for themselves. This morning, I even saw a person filling up a plate of food who doesn't even work here!

You can stop reading now. Obviously this post was of utmost importance :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thank you notes: a ranting

There are some things I'm a little old fashioned about, things like properly written thank you notes and holiday cards (more to come on holiday cards). It's not like thank you's are hard or expensive, but it's the simple courtesy and acknowledgement of the nice thing that someone else did for you. My definition of a properly written thank you is one that is handwritten, includes a mention of the item that was gifted, and is longer than 3 sentences long. It also needs to be completed within an appropriate time frame. Personally, I will admit that I struggle with the timeliness part. Thank you notes should be personalized. If the person took the time and effort to give you a gift, you should take the time to thank the person properly. That means a real message and a real signature.

There are lots of great websites for custom thank you's, here are a couple of nice options:

Friday, November 4, 2011

Rice Cereal versus Rice Krispies

Two Saturdays ago we started Lucan on rice cereal. According to the nutrition and food pamphlet our pediatrician gave us, if your child has doubled their birth weight, is somewhere between 4-6 months in age, can turn their head away when they are full and show an interest in table food, they may be ready for their first foods. Lucan is just shy of 5 months old, weighs a solid 17 lbs, and shuts his lips tight when he's full. Recently he's been intently watching me when I've been eating, going as far as sticking out his tongue and smacking his lips. Based on all of those things, we determined that Lucan was ready for his first solid foods.

Now some parents skip rice cereal altogether and go just for foods like mashed up avocados or bananas. But we're starting slowly and the rice cereal seems to be going pretty well so far.

A funny story about when Lance and I started discussing starting Lucan on solids. We had both read the pamphlet and agreed that it was probably about time to try cereal. When I told Lance that rice cereal is what is typically recommended he said "What, so like Rice Krispies that you let get really mushy in the milk? Is that what we're feeding Lucan?"

Oh good heaven's Lance. It's a good thing we're in this together! Baby rice cereal is more akin to Cream of Wheat and less Snap-Crackle-and-Pop.

"Feed me mom! I'm ready!"

"What? I'm supposed to swallow and not just put everything in my cheeks like a chipmunk?"

"I think I'm done."

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Lucan's First Halloween

Originally I thought that it would be ridiculous to get Lucan a Halloween costume and dress him up. Based on the sheer number of pictures on facebook of parents and their kids in festive Halloween dress, I was wrong. So I'm glad that I went against my first instincts and purchased a Halloween costume for Lucan. Besides, a $5 consignment pumpkin costume is hard to beat!

We didn't actually go trick or treating, but we did take Lucan to our church's Fall Festival. He got to exhibit all of his cuteness there. Lucan also got to model his costume for Grandma and wear it at daycare for their little Halloween party. Lance also put Lucan in his pumpkin costume to wear for the trick or treaters that came to our door. You can imagine Lance's vast disappointment when no one visited before Lucan had to take off his costume and get fed (as it's really challenging to breastfeed a baby dressed in a pumpkin costume!)

Lucan's cheeks are so chubby that his little hat could barely contain them.

Happy Fall Y'all!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Gobble gobble

I did a trial run of our Thanksgiving turkey this past weekend. Not that I'm actually hosting Thanksgiving, but ya know, in case of an emergency, I can make a turkey. Are you all in awe? I've actually made a full turkey one other time, about 3 years ago. There are times when I get overly ambitious and this was definitely one of those times. I decided that I wanted to host Thanksgiving for our small group. While others contributed side dishes, I still managed to squeeze 13 adults and some 5 odd children into our kitchen/living room. It was a little manic. Lots of fun, but more than what I could handle on my own now.

And the turkey I made was much more intense than the one I did this past weekend.

Here's instructions on the intense version, complete with brining, compound butter and aromatic vegetables and herbs.

Brine recipe:

2 c brown sugar

2 c kosher salt

2 lemons

Handful of whole allspice


Add enough water to dissolve the brown sugar and salt. Place turkey in a large container (I have a stock pot that will hold a turkey) with enough room to cover the entire turkey with water. Throw in the allspice and squeeze juice the lemons and add rinds. Cover turkey with water and place in the fridge. The turkey should be rinsed and thawed before this process begins. Don't forget to remove the bag of gizzards and misc turkey pieces from inside the body cavity. You can brine your turkey up to 24 hours ahead of time.

Compound butter:

2 sticks of unsalted butter

1 tablespoon of each, rosemary and thyme

Soften butter to room temperature and mix in rosemary and thyme. Using a small spatula, shove the butter into random places between the skin and meat. This is somewhat gross. This is done after you've brined your turkey for the allotted amount of time.


1 lemon

Roughly chop 1 onion, 2 celery stalks, 2 carrots, and 4 cloves of garlic.

Stuff all of these into the empty cavity of the turkey. You won't eat these later, they are just used for flavoring the turkey. Salt and pepper the turkey and then start the baking process.

That's the labor intensive version. This past weekend, the shortened version. My brine was composed of 2 c kosher salt, 2 c dark brown sugar, water and some lemon juice out of the bottle. The turkey sat in the brine for about 5 hours. No compound butter, no aromatics. Just brine and some S&P. Easy stuff and the turkey was fantastic. It wasn't super dry like some turkeys can be and it had a nice flavor.

Now I always use a turkey bag, I think that it really shortens the cooking time and it doesn't really hinder the flavor at all. With the turkey I made this past weekend, the actual cooking time was right at 3 hours for a 12 lb turkey. I'm mythbusting the concept that turkeys take the entire day to prepare.

Let's get it through everyone's heads right now - turkeys are friends, not foes! Everyone can make a delicious Thanksgiving turkey without spending all day in the kitchen. Don't be afraid, I believe in you!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fall in Love

Here are some items I'm currently fall'ing in love with (I love a bad pun as much as the next person!)

Women's Mossimo Supply Co. Kailey Tall Boots - Brown

Love these boots. And if you hurry, they're $5 off!

Oregon Vanilla Chai Tea Concentrate

I think every fall I get on a chai tea kick. One thing to beware of, chai does have caffeine. I didn't know that at first and spent one restless night wondering why I couldn't sleep. I can't have caffeine after 4 pm otherwise I can't sleep.

Target recently ran some good coupons and specials on Kashi products. I really love this cereal because it contains so much protein and fiber, I actually stay full for most of the morning. Granted, it's so crunchy I often think I'm going to break a tooth.

I love this watch. I need watches that actually contain markings for all the minutes otherwise it' becomes just an arm piece. Maybe for Christmas Mom? It's at Younkers!

Kindle Fire
I recently won a $100 Amex gift card at work (Yes Rae Rae, I know I'm lucky). The Kindle Fire is akin to an iPad, but without the hefty price tag. It's wait listed until November. I'm still debating if this purchase falls within the "cut back" mode of Lance's budget decree.

Love Gloss by The Body Shop

This is my new favorite lip gloss. It's sunset colored and sparkly. The only problem is getting it off of my coffee cup.

This is one of Lance's favs, but I'm digging it too. Nothing says fall like cider.

And the last one is a link to my favorite Wild Rice Soup recipe. I know that it's been in the 80's recently (annoying if you ask me, I'm ready for crisp, sweatshirt weather), but I'm ready for comfort soups!