Monday, November 15, 2010

What to do for Thanksgiving?

Do you do what your grandmother did? and then what your mother did?  What was it?  Do you have traditions passed down through generations?  And then you got married and did you incorporate your mother-in-law's traditions?  What makes Thanksgiving really special to you?  The cooking? the get-togethers? the sheer joy of eating good food?

We'll be spending this Thanksgiving in Sarasota, Florida, with family members and after a couple of years of just the two of us, we're really looking forward to it!  While down there last week, my cousins and I sort of planned the mean and divided some chores and I think it will be great!!

Besides the golden brown, crispy-breasted turkey in the 15-18 pound range, we have stuffing that is from my family from 1964 out of TV Guide no less!  Let me tell you this stuffing is so good you'll be spooning it into your mouth faster than you get it into the turkey!!  Here's the first recipe:

Turkey Stuffing that Might Not Make it Into the Bird ... this recipe is over 40 years old and for each of its 40 years since we have had it, it has been awesome!  So I wish you well if you try it :)  They call it an Apple Sausage Stuffing, Pennsylvania Dutch Style and here we go ...
1 pound sausage
1 cup diced bacon
1 large onion chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 pound mushrooms sliced
2 apples cored and diced
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon each sage and thyme (I usually up the sage as I love it(
1 pound loaf firm white bread cubes
2 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook sausage and bacon togeher, mushing sausage as it cooks.  When both are brown, add veggies (onions, celery, mushcooms, and apples) along with herbs (parsley, sage and thyme).  Cook for about 5 minutes until vegetables begin to wilt.  Season with salt and pepper and add bread cubes and chicken broth to moisten all.  Don't make it mushy, but don't make it too dry either!  Pour into a bowl to let cool before stuffing the bird.

This will fill about  a 10-12 bird, but we're going for a 15-18 lb bird so I might add some more stuff to his .... yummmmmmm.
Onward and upward ... let' s see what else we traditionally had at our Thanksgiving table -- mashed potatoes (like duh!!!), squash -- yummmm! In my adult years I have migrated toward a mixture of Butternut and Hubbard squashes, boiled and mashed.  Now, I admit that Butternut isn't that forbidding to deal with -- cute little gourd-like squash -- not to difficult to chop in slices and peal and get in the pot to boil.  But then we have the Hubbard squash -- wow! is that a challenge!  First time I faced that was up in Vermont and I was totally intimidated by this veggie!
... and rightfully so!  It really needs a "manly" hand and an axe to cut through the touch hide, but then it's all yours!  I generally leave the tough skin on and roast it in a pan with a lot of water until I can peel the flesh away easily.  Then it goes into the mixer with the butternut squash, a bit of butter, a bit of brown sugar, and a good couple of shakes of salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Ta Da ... ready for the table!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

To move ... or not to move

That was the question when I headed south to Florida last week.  If I was able to find a wonderful place in a week, then we'd take it as an omen that the move would be a good thing ... if I didn't find a place, then "oh well", we'd stay where we are!  That took some of the pressure off the quest for a new home.  Would you believe that on day one we found the greatest house??!!!  Now, with my cousins vetting properties for me (and keeping me in some kind of control), we still spent another full day viewing apartments, townhouses and single family homes -- all in the pouring rain I might add!! -- and by the evening we were done and went back to house number !.

It's a 3 bedroom/2bath house with a huge Florida room (fits my longarm beautifully!!), a screened in lanai, split floor plan, great fenced in yard for the little Midge, and all around great!  Less than half a mile to one cousin and about two miles to another -- close to the Interstates and the quilt guild meetings -- and believe it or not, I can actually walk less than a mile to the closest quilt store!!

So who wants to come and pack my house with me? lol!!!  You can fondle all the fabric you want!!

One month away!

Regarding "Stress"

I do love Oprah's perspective on stress and how to handle it, or rather, how the body handles it ... I'm just so not there in terms of being coordinated with mind and body.  Right now all I feel is stress -- overwhelming at times, and then during other hours I believe that it can all be fixed!

It's now entering my favorite time of the year -- family holidays :)  That's the really good part and I'm having a great time shopping for family and friends.  The Internet has been the greatest invention for those of us who might not like to move with the crowds at the malls -- but you have to do it at least once during the season!  And if you live in a city that does the "tree lighting" and the streets of light, how could you pass them up??!!

We're heading south for Thanksgiving where we'll eat ourselves silly with family in Florida.  Fortunately, we like to cook and we love to eat, so we've already planned our menu.  The other side of this fun is that we're also planning to move to Florida two weeks after Thanksgiving ... so our plates are full of more than just the wonderful turkey and gravy!  But it's a good thing and I can't wait to be in a new house in Sarasota!

So, the first stressor on our list is a move ... a large one to Sarasota that we currently have planned for December 15.  The most wonderful part of the move is that we will be living within a half mile of family -- that's a good thing!  The hard part is packing up a four bedroom house and getting ready for the movers.  We've got about 30 boxes packed, and I have a weekly packing plan, so I hope you all will help me keep on track!!