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!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lucan: 4 Months Old

My baby boy is 4 months old. It breaks my heart just a little bit. It also surprises me how much I still don't know, but yet how much more comfortable I get with being a mom with each passing day. It's a good thing that Lucan doesn't realize his parents have no idea what they are doing.

Lucan continues to be a healthy, growing baby. He weighs over 16 pounds and is close to doubling his birth weight.

  • We moved into size 2 diapers as the 1 1/2 were starting to make Lucan look like a sumo wrestler.

  • I think we're at the tail end of his 3-6 month clothing already. A little ridiculous. We have all of these long sleeved sleepers he's never worn because it's so hot outside and our daycare provider keeps her house on the warm side (side note: can I dictate what temperature she keeps her house at or make her get a flu shot? I kind of want to. I have to reign myself in sometimes)

  • His hair in the front is growing in thicker. Lucan kind of looks like he has old man hair with some strange comb-over thing going on. It's getting long on the sides and the top of his hair sticks straight up. My mom says that my hair always stood straight up too :) Must be an Asian thing.

  • Lucan made his longest road trip to date: a weekend trip to Minneapolis and a stay in a hotel! He did fantastic, despite getting really irritated about being in his carseat for so long. He went shopping with me and my mom, but Lance is convinced that Lucan needs to start his training as a Twins fan early on and should go to the game with the boys next year. We'll see. I can't see how a 14 month old is going to have a great time at a baseball game, but maybe that's just me ...

  • Because we could never convince him to take a pacifier, it appears that Lucan is substituting his fingers as an object to suck on. I used my thumb, so maybe this is a hereditary thing.

  • Lucan has become incredibly drooley. Drooley enough for me to put a bib on him during the day just so he doesn't get a wet spot under his chin and on his clothes.

  • We introduced Lucan to his first lovely, Gerry the Giraffe. Lucan really enjoys drooling on him.

  • Bath time continues to be fun time! Meaning, I get soaked. Lance is always concerned that all the water Lucan splashes out of his bathtub is going to warp the wood flooring.

  • I've become the queen of booger patrol. Me and the nasal aspirator, we're BFFs. Of course this also means that Lucan doesn't want to be my BFF when he sees me pull out the snot sucker. I'm not sure if my baby is just extra special or what, but his nose always seems to be clogged up.

  • Lance put Lucan in nursery at church for the first time last Sunday. He put him in there against my will. We thought we had given pretty clear instructions to page us once he woke up so we could feed him, but I guess there was some miscommunication because I went back after Sunday school, Lucan was just hanging out with the old ladies. It ended up being kind of bad because by the time he got fed, he was bordering on starving and crabbiness.

  • Lucan has really good neck control, but doesn't appear to have any interest in rolling over. Lance tries to encourage rolling, but Lucan just gets stuck on his side. And then he gets tired, so he just lays on his side awkwardly. It's actually really funny.

  • Up until recently, we had been doing Lucan's feedings at 6AM - 9AM - noon - 3:30PM - 6PM - 10:15PM. We're in the process of trying to drop Lucan's last feeding of the day and it's been a little rough. We are trying to move his feeding schedule to 6AM - 9:30AM - 1PM - 4PM - 7:30PM. So far, Lucan gets unbelievably cranky after I pick him up at 5PM and won't go down for a nap. Once he reaches the point of no beyond, he has a hard time settling into nursing and eating without wanting to cry in between gulps. We're at a loss as to how best manage his feedings. I do know this - 12 hours appears to be too long in between feedings for him. This morning L was up at 5 am. Yippie. If anyone has any suggestions, send them my way!

  • Here's a funny story: we were out to eat and I took Lucan into the restroom to change his diaper. A complete stranger commented about how adorable my daughter was and offered to hold her while I used the toilet. Okay, so 1) Lucan was wearing blue - head-to-toe. 2) What kind of mom lets a complete stranger hold their baby while they go to the bathroom? Well meaning woman, but completely wrong. On so many different levels.

  • All in all, Lucan is a lovely baby and a blessing. Despite his post-work crabbiness, he's easy-going and mellow. He must get that from Lance. We can't go anywhere without someone telling us how cute he is. I would start to think the world is filled with liars, but it's true. Lucan is adorable. Just ask complete strangers.

Without futher ado, Lucan's 4 month pictures.

He's getting more rolly-polly, chubbier chipmunk cheeks, longer, and crazier hair.

The only smile we got the entire time.

Here's an idea of the great lengths Lance goes to try and elicit a smile.


"I'm falling!"

"I'm flying through the air ..."

"Oh, Dad caught me. Thank goodness."

"Ugh ... I feel a little sick now. The room is spinning. I'm falllingg over..."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Semi-Homemade Pizza

It's somewhat pretenious of me to label this as "homemade" as we bought pre-made pizza crust and used jarred alfredo sauce. But my oh my, was this tasty in a non-healthy way. If you've ever had Papa Murphy's Gourmet Vegitarian pizza, it's very similiar. You can load it up with as many vegetables as your husband will allow. If it were up to me, we'd have artichokes, broccoli, and zuchinni on this. But since it wasn't up to me, we edited the veggies, added chicken, and it was still great.

Chicken & Veggie Alfredo Pizza
1 pre-made pizza crust
1/4/- 1/2 c. alfredo sauce
cooked & diced chicken
diced tomatoes
fresh basil
fresh spinach
mozzerella cheese

1. Start with your pizza crust and layer ingredients in the following order: sauce, toppings and then finishing with cheese.
2. Bake according to package instructions
3. Enjoy!

Easy-peasy, lemon squeezy. Fantastic pizza.