Thursday, December 6, 2012

November 2012

Oh I am so sorry, Blogger... I've been neglecting you for the holidays.  Can you forgive me?  Here's a photo of some pretty cranberries I turned into jellied cranberries for Thanksgiving as an apology: 

 This post is looooooooooooooooooong.  Perhaps, even, longer than my long dog (okay... not that long).  But still.  Very long.  You've been warned.  (I mean, in my defense it does span an entire month).

How was your Thanksgiving?  Mine was fun and hectic, filled with visiting family, more food than I knew what to do with and new appliances (so pretty much perfect, in other words!) This was a year of firsts for me, including:

- My first time making dinner completely on my own (my mom has always helped to some degree or another, but this year was completely me!)

- My first year cooking a holiday meal for the in-laws (scary and exciting)

- and of course, new appliances for the home!

Stainless steel makes everything classier!

DM's mom and dad flew up to spend the week with us over Thanksgiving.  We haven't seen them for a while so it was fun to spend so much time with them - DM's dad is a handyman so he re-piped under our sink (which was a mess and had a leaking garbage disposal) and installed our dishwasher (after driving it to the house in a giant truck!) We're all pretty much homebodies (plus DM worked Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday) so it was pretty much movies, food and looking up things on the Internet at home, with random trips to Lowe's, Home Depot and a night out to Red Lobster.

Fun Fact #42: Yams are one of my favorite side dishes.  Maybe because they are bright orange, like traffic cones.

We ended up with a 14 lb butterball turkey, homemade stuffing (sage and hot, the latter at the request of my in laws and which turned out to be really really good), mashed potatoes, yams, gravy, cranberry sauce and rolls that tried to choke my MIL (I did not make the rolls so I blame Franz)

Is it wrong to be proud of a turkey?  Because if it is, I don't want to be right.

Thanksgiving was delicious, and aside from me accidentally setting the yams on fire everything was perfect.

Holiday cooking pro tip: don't walk away from  yams covered in marshmallows in the oven or you will come back to FLAMES LICKING THE TOP OF YOUR STOVE DEAR GOD   

We also sold the Saturn last month (finally!) after finagling with people on Craigslist (seriously... is it just me or is CL just the spawning pit of the weirdest people ever?) It went to a good home where it will hopefully not break in 4 months.  The night we sold the car DM went and stood out in the garage and wept (okay I made that last part up), but I was psyched because I finally got to do this:


Finally!  Finally.  We went out on Black Friday and picked up the steel/particle board shelf for $50 (yes I know, it's insane - in years past I'd be one of the crazy people getting up at 3am to hit the mall but this year DM looked at me with real concern in his eyes and said "honey, if you want to go out I will go with you but I'm worried about you" so we ended up going out around 11am.  We even still scored a nice Costco cookbook!)  This shelf has transformed my life - turns out the box for our artificial tree fits snugly on the  bottom, then we can stack giftwrap, food and whatever else we feel like on top.  Inside, my inner Tetris nerd is squealing.  I love it I love it I love it.

You had to know the first thing I'd make in my new oven was cookies, right?  And you can't go wrong with a classic chocolate chip cookie:

DM will help if he gets to lick the spoon, raw egg be damned

We tried out the standard Nestle chocolate chip cookie recipe, threw the cookies in the oven and like small children, sat by the oven and watched as the convection oven turned the balls of dough into fluffy, mouth-watering cookies that we ate warm with milk.

Turns out, convection is really nice for baking (at least for cookies).  You can't argue with this:

It was as delicious as it looked!!

With my new oven I also got bold and tried my hand at making fries using some of the 10 lbs of potatoes I got at Fred Meyer for .99c (thanks Fred Meyer!):

I'm kind of really lazy, so the idea that I could make fries by throwing them in the oven versus having to sit and watch them roll around in oil was really appealing to me.  I used a garlic herb blend from a site whose link I can't seem to find at the moment (pardon me!), then just cleaned the potatoes, cut them into steak fries and let them marinate in the olive oil and spices and sugar.

If you're like me, you don't know how to plan ahead so you don't have the right size bag... but that's okay, because if you're like me you're also a master of improvisation!

After about 20 minutes, cut a hole in the bottom of the bag and let the excess liquid drain, then spread the potatoes on a foil lined cookie sheet sprayed with Pam.  Bake for 45 minutes or so, turning once halfway through.

You end up with these deliciously garlick-y fries that are really crunchy and crispy, considering they came out of the oven.  These were good.  We made them twice in two days - I made them with lunch the first time as a test batch, then when we wolfed those down I made a second set to use as the base for chili fries.

Spoiler alert: these make your house smell so good strangers that come to your door go "is that your house that smells that good?!" True story.

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