In fact I had never actually had turkey on thanksgiving until I was 19, when I started going to Boomer's family's Thanksgiving dinner.
I don't even think I had had turkey in any form other than deli meat.
But I have a recipe for a roasted turkey. Do I ever have a recipe for roasted turkey.
And the only reason I do is because one year we decided to go to my family's thanksgiving instead of Boomer's. And Boomer informed me that it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without turkey.
So I googled, and researched. And came up with a fool-proof method for brining, and roasting the bird.
So, last year I thawed, washed, brined, chilled, warmed up, and rinsed said bird. And then wrote detailed instructions for buttering, seasoning, an roasting the bird for my wonderful mother (a woman who has never roasted a turkey, or even tasted any for of turkey in her life). And she cooked it flawlessly. It was moist, and tender, crispy skin, juicy meat, and seasoned perfectly. Delicious.
But here is the funny part. Or maybe it's ironic. I never really know how to use the word ironic. Irony is lost on me. Alanis Morissette ruined my ability to ever understand what it means to be ironic. Moronic, I understand perfectly. I digress. The funny part- I have never roasted a whole turkey by myself.
Crazy right?! I have a recipe, and a method for it. But I, myself, have never performed the act of cooking a gobbler.
So this year I did it. I brined, and chilled, and rinsed, and rubbed, and seasoned, and roasted. And you know what happened to that beautiful bird?
It. Was. Dry.
The dark meat was wonderful (but dark meat always is). But the breast, was dry, and tough, and flavorless. Yeah, so that "fool-proof" recipe I told you about? Fuhget aboutit! Because this fool (me) proved me wrong.
Getting up every morning (or afternoon depending on the day)
People who understand my sense of humor
and this blog
I love that day in and day out I can come here and write about whatever is going on in this strange mind of mine. There may not be anyone reading it, but it makes me feel better. This is the cheapest, and best kind of therapy!
Growing up black friday was a big deal for my mother, sisters and I. We never really did the family Thanksgiving thing once my sister's were older and had their own families, and in-laws. But we always planned out black friday, and made a game plan so we all got our shopping done as a team. This also meant that most of us knew some of what we were getting for Christmas, but it was worth the excitement of the hunt! This is how we do Black Friday!
Scour the Sunday ads. The week of Thanksgiving check the ads, decide who has the best door busters (early morning sale items), and the best sales in accordance with what is on your shopping list.
Assemble a team. This involves comparing shopping list with your cohorts, deciding who has the biggest vehicles to drive, and dividing up lists (figuring out where the overlaps are). For example; you want to get aunt Betsy a combo DVD/VHS player that is on sale at Target, and your sister wants to get the same one for uncle Dave, decide who is going to Target based on who has the most shopping to do at that store. This also means choose your fiercest, most competitive, animalistic friends and family members. This is not a bonding day to bring feeble aunt Bonnie who has bouts of dementia. As much as you love her.
Develop hand signals with your shopping partner. Signals for; "meet you in 5 by exit," "they're all gone," "I'm getting in line," and most importantly, "I'mma bout to slap this (bleep)."
Set a timetable. This is the hardest part. Because a lot of it depends on chance. You have to look at your lists, decide which gifts (deals) are of the most importance (because the really good ones go fast), and base that along with what times the stores open. This step is of the utmost importance because a lot of it is luck. It depends on how popular the item is, what the lines are like. Etc. Some things may not be worth the hassle, and some are. You have to be able to let go of that item, and if not, let go of whatever it is you need to get next. Because time in line is a huge factor. And do not let anyone budge you (or butt-in-line depending on where and when you grew up), even if it doesn't piss you off, it most definitely will piss off someone in line behind you. And today is not the day to get arrested for brawling with that crazy lady with the one lazy eye, and the Movember Stache.
Eat your Wheaties! You may not want to eat breakfast that morning because you still feel like a cow from the night before, but trust me. Shopping is a sport. Especially at 3 a.m. in the snow, with hundreds of thousands of other crazed, maniacal, methodical, cutthroat, and cheap women and their cohorts (and by cheap I mean crazy about a good deal). And this may be a given but lots of caffeine. Starbucks usually opens early on Black Friday. So I suggest getting a to-go mug from your house, and stopping at a Starbucks a couple of hours in.
Laugh! This sounds like crazy advice, because Black Friday shopping is intense to say the least, but it is more than important to take a step back a couple times (every hour), take a deep breath, look around and laugh at all of the ridiculousness ensuing around you.
Get physical! Don't be afraid to push through a crowd, or clothesline that 20-something making a mad dash for the last flat screen. She may have her youth, but you have brute force, wisdom, and a husband with a full-time job that can bail you out.
Disregard #7. Especially if you are already out on parole, or have a record.
So last week, when I was on T.V. (!!!!), I did some window (and actual) shopping. I ordered some new running shoes. And by "new" I mean, "I've never owned any." I was going to start training last week, but that didn't work out. I decided I needed to do some research, and get new shoes (I took a step class last week, and halfway through my arches, and shins were throbbing).
So I did, I ordered some because they were on sale.
Because, they were cute.
Because, I was tired of making up excuses.
And because they were on sale.
And then I started reading, and researching running shoes. Because that is what I do when I try to avoid things, I research and read because I can inevitably find and excuse not to do something. Fear of an old injury flaring up, fear of further injuring myself, fear of not being able to complete 2 minutes on the treadmill without vomiting, you know, typical stuff. I found out because I have flat-feet, or over-pronated feet I need shoes with motion-control, or stability, or something. And I found out the shoes I ordered aren't the right ones.
Well, today is a glorious day. I am crossing off another very important task on my to-do list.
#12 Get on T.V.
Last week Boomer and I were at the mall having dinner, and window shopping. And we just happened to be walking through the rotunda when a plethora of people wearing purple and gold garb were getting in line to sit at one of the rows of seats facing a stage with a purple backdrop and a poster with Jared Allen's face and biceps a blazing (whew! run-on sentence). We were at:
Boomer, and I are both HUGE Vikings Fans. I have lamented about the sad excuse of a season we have been having on this blog, and you know I been yelling at the T.V. every Sunday. It's a little ridiculous. But I have yet to make a decision on whether letting Childress go was the way to go. I mean, he isn't the one playing, right? And we have had phenomenal seasons prior to this (i.e. last season) with him as a coach, and has his style changed that much since last year? He is the constant, so what was it that changed? But, I digress.
We decided to stick around. Watch the show. The line was still short, there w
as an hour until the taping, and we had nothing else to do.
The cool thing is this is a radio show for KFAN, our local sports talk station. But they tape it and it airs on Sundays, at 11 a.m. CST on Fox Sports North! We happened to be sitting near the front row, right in the camera's line of sight. And my face, in all it's gloriousness... Was. On. Television!!! So freakin' excited!!! Let's take a look!
Can you see me? Let's take a closer look!
There I am, to the left of the nice ol' lady in red. Why did I want to be on T.V.? I need bangs.
And maybe a nose job.
Oh well, I'm Famous!!
Love, fame, and fortune, from Hollywood,
P.s. If you would like an autograph, just send me an e-mail with your name and address and I would be happy to send you one! ;-)
I slept through my alarm this morning missing my bars class. My head was achy and my throat was sore. So I suppose it was best I didn't get out of bed at 8 a.m.
I slept until noon. At which point I got up had some juice, IBuprofen, peppersteak w/ rice, and watched my beloved Vikings kickoff against the Packers.
After the first quarter I promptly fell asleep on the couch, due to frustration, and disappointment. I want to scream, "Fire Chilly," but the verdict is still out on that for me, not sure it will make a difference at this point.
Yesterday I had the entire house to myself, and thus did a lot of cooking. Including:
Chocolate Cupcakes. Which I failed to take a picture of the finished product. Sorry.
The soup was hot, and cheesy, and delicious. It takes a while to make, it definitely isn't a weeknight meal. But if you have a weekend afternoon, and want something yummy, and decadent, and leisurely to make this is it. I am a fan of french onion soup, and the addition of fennel makes it a little fancier, and gives it an extra depth of unexpected flavor. I didn't have any sherry, or brandy so I left it out, and a subbed swiss for gruyere, because I am a broke college student. But I did have bacon ;-) As always I encourage you to make this recipe your own. Do whatever it is you have to do so that you will make this!
After eating the soup, I was still hungry. So I made some Peppersteak, and rice. It was very homey, and comforting, and filling. I ate it too fast, so there is no picture. But now that I have mentioned it, I will make sure to make it and share it one day. It's a family recipe, of Jamaican and Chinese heritage. And I love it. And no one makes it like my daddy. But I get pretty close!
I hope ya'll are having a great weekend. I have a fun post having to do with my list coming up tomorrow!
Love and Bacon grease,
Fennel & Onion Soup Gratin
Recipe by: Ina Garten, from How Easy is That?
4 Tblsp Butter
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/3 lb bacon chopped
3 lbsweet Onions (halved, and sliced 1/4 inch thick)
2lbs fennel, tops and core removed, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 Tblsp minced garlic
1 1/2 Cup Dry white wine (i.e. Sauvignon Blanc)
8 Cups Beef stock
3 Bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Crusty French bread, sliced 1/4 inch thick and toasted
4-6 ounces swiss cheese, grated
Brown bacon until crispy remove from pan. Remove grease.
Add butter and olive oil to same pot over medium heat, add in onions, cook for approximately 20 minutes until soft, and starting to brown.
Add in fennel and garlic, cook additional 10-20 minutes, until fennel start to soften, and caramelize. If onions and fennel are not browning, turn heat up.
Add in white wine and scrap up brown bits from bottom of pan, allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Add in beef stock, bay leaves. Taste and season with salt an pepper. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add bacon back in, remove bay leaves, and taste for seasoning.
Preheat broiler and position rack 5 inches below the heat source. Ladle soup into oven proof serving bowls, top with toasted bread, and sprinkle generously with cheese. Broil for 3-5 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve hot.
We are bringing back Total Request Live! You know, rushing home after school to watch that cutie Carson Daly before he sold out and became edgy, when MTV's only reality show was The Real World, Backstreet Boys shutting down Time Square... Come on, I know you remember that.
I remember when just a couple weeks ago Hannah Lives had food on it. That came out wrong, let me try again.
I remember when just a couple of weeks ago I had the good sense to post the things I had been cooking. This was somewhat of a food blog, and I liked it.
Don't get me wrong, I have been eating. A lot. Just nothing that I felt was worth sharing. There were some peanut butter cookies (that weren't fantastic), and homemade ravioli (that wasn't perfect and needs to be re-done), but nothing worthy of your palates.
I've got a bit of a cooker's block in the works. So this is me asking you,
What do you want to eat?
Leave a comment below telling me and old favorite of yours (maybe even the recipe or link), something you have always wanted to make but haven't, something you are scared to make, or what you are hungry for right now! Depending on how many requests I get we will have a vote, and I will re-vamp your recipe, or share my version of it here on Hannah Lives (my mom's suggestions will not count)!!
Tomorrow will officially mark the halfway point of the month of November.
We are 10 weeks into NFL's football season.
Thanksgiving is in 11 days.
Hanukkah is in 17 days.
My semester ends in 5 weeks.
Christmas is in 6 weeks.
And the New Year begins in 7 weeks.
So just in case you weren't freaked out enough about how fast time is flying by, here is your reminder. Plan your holiday menus, go get your shopping done, wrap those gifts, clean your house, lose 5 pounds so you break even with the weight you will gain with your holiday menus, stock up on antacids and Excedrin, pick a new years resolution, and build a secret panic room so you can escape your family when Aunt Mable starts yelling at Uncle Edwin about his drinking.
I am really excited today to be hosting my very first giveway on Hannah Lives (hold for applause). The very nice people over at CSN Stores are allowing me to giveaway a fabulous prize to one lucky reader! CSN is an online shopping center where you can buy pretty much anything, from bathroom shelving, to chef knives! And because the holidays are just around the corner they've got a great feature to help you achieve a "Stress Free Season" and have broken down a lot of their merchandise by personality type. For example they've got the New Parent, Seasoned Chef, and Athlete/Fitness Guru among many others!
Most of their items have free shipping, and free returns! I am definitely going to take full advantage of everything they are offering this holiday season, and have already added a few items to my holiday wishlist (see below).
Over the last month or so I have been reading a lot more healthy living blogs in an effort to live more healthfully. I have a few tried and true stand-bys that I read regularly, but recently I have been expanding my blog horizons. In the last two years I have developed a fascination with running. It seems like a great cardio workout, it's free (sort of), and there is always a sense of accomplishment (and competition) when you've completed a new distance, or a new race. But what has always held me back was the thought that I would never be able to do it. I had various (and seemingly valid) excuses from, being overweight (talk about catch 22, huh?), and shin splints, to self-doubt.
So, here in front of everyone, I'm putting it out in the universe, publishing it on the interwebs,
I am going to run a 5K.
Well, that's the plan anyway. I found a pretty nifty 8-week training program on Runner's World that I think might work for me. I like that on the days that I'm running it's a run/walk pace, and it alternates with an easy 30 minute walk. It seems easy enough that I can still maintain my body blitz without too much fatigue. It's only an additional 30 minutes a day, and there is an Anytime fitness right near Time Out so I can get it all done at one time (sort of-I do have to drive a couple blocks).
I found a 5K that will take place right here in the Mini Apple about a month after my 8 week training is up. I want to continue training for a 10K after my 5K calendar finishes. I need to keep making goals, that's how I work. But before I get to ambitious I need to take it one step at a time, finish my Body Blitz, finish the 8 week 5K training, continue running, and run the Valentine's Day TC 5K. That is what I need to do. That is what I will do.
And this is all because of a few women in the blogging community that I am navigating my way through. So, to those women, to those women that share their lives, and experiences every day, to those women that inspire myself, and so many of us to be faster, healthier, stronger, smarter, better, I thank you.
So a while ago I told you about Time Out Fitness and the 12 day trial I was participating in. And I had every intention in the world to update you on my classes and progress, but who knew working out was so much work?! Needless to say I was exhausted for the entire 12 days, and my blog suffered.
But getting to the point, I loved it! I loved the way it made me feel so strong in class, and especially right afterward, when I realized I had made it through the entire class without passing out. I loved the sense of accomplishment, I loved that I was counting the days I had worked out, instead of the days I hadn't, and I loved that I earned the "Gym Rat" badge on Foursquare (it's the little things)! And I loved that people seemed to notice a change that I hadn't. I was in a better mood most of the time, and even Boomer said she though I had lost weight. And while I don't own a scale (well I do, but it doesn't work for me, I can gain, and then lose 5-8 lbs in 2 minutes), I did notice that the new jeans I bought a month beforehand were somehow a little too big around the hip and thighs, but I told myself that they were just stretched out.
But I loved it so much I committed myself to 6 more weeks!
I am competing in the Holiday Body Blitz! The schtick is that you get in shape and lose weight before the holidays come around so that you keep up that momentum, and don't be a glutton and a sloth (I am guilty, and not just around the holidays)! But more than that, it is going to keep me on track for my fitness, and weight loss goals, and keep me motivated.
For those of you who don't know, I am highly competitive!
First you get put on a team. They take before photos, take a bunch of measurements (arms, legs waist, weight, BMI, body fat %, and blood pressure), and then you make a goal, whether it be to lose inches, pounds, fat %.. And then you take unlimited classes for 6 weeks, I'm sticking to a goal of 5-6 a week, depending on what my schedule (and body) allows. If you go to at least 3 classes per week you get entered in a weekly drawing for prizes, gift certificates to various establishments usually, as well as merchandise from their in-house boutique (clothes, skin care, fitness equipment, supplements, etc.). At the end of the 6 weeks they take all your measurements again, and whatever individual, and team has the best results wins a prize!
So I am working out, getting healthy (and smokin' hot), and being motivated by prizes! I mean, who doesn't love free stuff! I am gunning for a massage gift certificate (which was one of the weekly prizes at last year's blitz)!
Update: I am 4 work-outs in and I am exhausted! I know working out is supposed to give me more energy, but right now I am dragging. It is taking up a lot of my day, and so are those naps ;-). But I'm telling myself it will be worth it! It will get better, once my body adjusts again after my week off, it will get better. I think I am also pushing myself a lot harder right now because I'm not new to these classes anymore. Send me some positive vibes, OK? Please? Thanks!
Since my time at the gym, and the library this week is increasing, my time in the kitchen will be decreasing. And while sharing the things that I love to eat, and cook is easily my favorite part of this blog, I do have other interests. In fact, what you may not know is that I have a bookmark folder on my browser entitled, "Wishlist". So if you are ever at a loss for what to get me for say, my birthday, Christmas, Valentine's day, or the upcoming holiday: Veteran's day, look there and you will find a plethora of gift ideas.
So today's post is about The Things I Love- No Food Edition:
Ruche Love Mug I love Valentine's day almost as much as I love coffee. And these mugs blend the two beautifully.
Essie Nail laquer in "Masquerade Belle" In the fall and winter there is little variation in my nail polish choices. It is always dark, deep, and yet subtle. I love this shade of deep reddish-brown. It screams Fall.
Erin Condren Life Planners- My life is lived by my planner. I've tried to join the 21st century and use a digital planner of sorts, via my blackberry, google calendar, and iCal. But none of them give me the satisfaction of writing out a to-do list on paper with a pen, and then definitively crossing them off. Erin's planner are pretty, methodical, and impeccably designed for an organization freak like me.
Custom Sigg Bottles by GreenSender- I have gone through quite a transition of reusable water bottles. Growing up I alwasy carried a water bottle, being a student, dancer, gymnast and kid I always needed hydration, and my mother was never willing to pay $1 for a bottle of water that we get for free from the tap. So I always had some generic, plastic, reusable water bottle. And in high school Nalgenes were "in". But since the recent discoveries that being BPA free was the way to be, I have yet to convert over to an aluminum, or steel bottle. But these are so cute, and smart I might splurge- and I love a good monogram.
Maya Brenner State Necklaces- I have been in love with these for years. When I first wanted to order one the were only making California, New York, Texas, and a few others. Now they have all 50 states. Above is my beloved Minnesota. You can place the diamond at any city (along the border), but I am just fine with it in Minneapolis/St. Paul.
Simon Pearce Barre Dinnerware- I love so much of Simon Pearce's dishware it is a shame it is way out of my price range. Everything is so classy, elegant, and modern.
Alright, so I finally did it, I can now die a happy woman. I Made Jenna (by way of BethT's) Creamy White Chicken Chili. Ever since I read about this chili (almost 2 months ago), I have not been able to stop thinking about it. It has been in my consciousness the entire time. Every time I was cold, hungry, homesick, thought about what to make for dinner, and awake. This chili has been on my mind. Non. Stop.
Remind me why I waited so long? It was warm, creamy, tangy, comforting, and meaty. Yum.
Forgive me, and the fact that I literally has 2 acceptable photos of it. I made it on a whim (although I had planned to make it-i hadn't made it to the grocery store yet to pick up the green chilies, or white cheddar), and forgot my camera in the basement. And it came together so quickly, and when it was time for me to eat the aroma had intoxicated me so that I didn't have the energy to go get my camera, bring it upstairs, and take photos in natural light. So I brought my bowl downstairs into the dungeon, sat in front of the couch took 3 quick pics, and proceeded to eat as the Vikings game kicked off.
Two and a half minutes later, my bowl was empty.
Please make this. I'm sending you over to EatLiveRun for the recipe because... well I'm lazy, and the Vikings are winning (I jinxed it) losing, and I have to go cry. Oh well there is always the second half right?
I started with bacon. Three slices (what was left in my pack), diced, and browned-then I added the onions
I didn't have canned green chilies, but I had one fresh Jalapeno. So I roasted it over the burner, steamed it, peeled it, seeded it, and diced it. It was good, but I wish I had more.
I had leftover pulled chicken from when I made chicken stock. I threw that in at the end right before the cream, just to warm it through.
I stirred a little bit of cornmeal (masa is ideal, but cornmeal or flour works well too), into an equal amount of water, and then dumped it into my pot to thicken it a little. I like my chili a bit thicker, more stew-like, than soup-like. And the cornmeal/masa gives it a nice tex-mex, corny flavor, and interesting texture. (poured in right after the chicken, bring liquid to a bubble)
I hope you make this the next cold night, or football Friday/Saturday/Sunday in your town!
This is healthy. And delicious. So delicious in fact, I don't even know if it's healthy anymore.
No, it is healthy. Aside from the itty, bitty, teeny, tiny bit of butter and sugar in the batter and on top, it is healthy.
Mmmmm Dark Brown Sugar...
Feel free to lick the remnants from your measuring cup, you won't be sorry.
But don't let that deter you from making this. I just took another bite of the giant slice I cut for myself, and it is delicious, unmistakably. It is like a warm, cinnamon-y, apple-y, hint of maple-y, autumnal yumminess*!
I imagine this bread to be consumed warm with cool apple butter, or honey butter, and a big cup of coffee the morning after Thanksgiving (the day I have lovingly named "Tryptophan Wake Up Day"), to fuel yourself on a day full of Black Friday Shopping!
Make this bread for the sake of humanity, or at least for the sake of Fall!
Make it your way (these are the changes that I made, but I encourage you to make it your own):
Omit walnuts (aside from the fact that I don't like chunks of nuts in things, unless it is peanut butter cookies, Larabar, granola, trail mix, and my friends, someone in my household is deathly allergic to tree nuts)
Sub maple extract for vanilla (I'm still out of vanilla, but it's fall, and I love how maple flavoring makes me feel like I am in upstate New York or in Canada tapping maple trees while wearing plaid, and talkin' like a Canuk!)-Normally I would use half the amount of maple as called for in a recipe (if subbing for vanilla) but I was feeling like a rebel and used the whole amount.
Double the coarsely chopped apples (In my experience I can't get enough of chunks of apple)
*Did you know that "yumminess" is a word? At least my spell check says so.
Do what's right! Don't disappoint your mother! Make something yummy, fruity, healthy, and delicious, and eat it with butter and a pumpkin spice latte!
Ok so the title is a little bit of a lie. I was supposed to be doing homework all morning today, but my blackberry went BERSERK and my alarm never went off. For those of you who do not know, I am not a morning person! So if I don't set an alarm, not matter what time I got to bed the night before, I will sleep until at least noon! I have made it work for me for the last 23 years, but most of the time I wish I was a morning person. Mostly because I love sunlight, and I wish that I had more sunlight hours in my day. I know that I would be infinitely more productive if I was up by 8 or 9 every day.
Anywho, I actually wasn't going to blog today. I have to leave for dance in 15 minutes, and I haven't showered yet. But, I need to do it for the sake of consistency. I haven't been cooking or baking much this week for a multitude of reasons, first of all it is November and I cannot believe how fast this year is going by, in class yesterday on of my professors said including this week we have 5 weeks of the semester left and that gave me an ulcer, I got home from school last night and looked at all of my syllabi and realized the mountain of homework, tests, and final projects that await me, I had a panic attack, I left my planner at home yesterday when I was at school, I pulled my hair out, my dance season has their first week of practices this week and I wake up in the middle of the night with cold sweats from nightmares of costumes, music, choreography, hair pieces, makeup, ballet technique, and injuries, and then I get out of bed, get in the closet, curl up in the fetal position, suck my thumb, and cry out for my mommy. I am stressed, and busy, and my cell phone is on it's last legs, and it makes me want to cry.
To remedy that I had a fried egg sandwich with american cheese, and a bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup (the one thing I actually cooked this week but forgot to take pictures of), while I read some of my favorite blogs. I'm going to share some things with you that I would like to add to my ever growing "to-do" list:
While I love my recipe for traditional chili the idea of a Creamy White Chicken Chili (Courtesy of EatLiveRun) sounds divine sprinkled with monterey jack (or pepper jack) cheese, and tortilla chips. I have been thinking about this recipe since week 2 of this football season. I imagine it will warm me up, and make me feel good even if my beloved Minnesota Vikings don't. :-(
The truth of the matter is that I have had Deb's (SmittenKitchen) recipe for Apple Cider doughnuts bookmarked for a very very long time. I live in Boomer's parents house, and Laura says the only reason she has a kitchen is because it came with the house. She doesn't like to cook, and she hates the mess. Needless to say I feel like a giant butthead deep frying anything in her house. And to be completely honest even when I lived on my own I disliked deep frying. I would make an exception for these.
Go forth and cook! Make me something pretty, take a picture and report back here. I would love to see how these work out for you, since I have yet to wake up before noon to make them!
P.s.Oh, and... Are you an early bird, or night owl? I am curious to see where you all fall.
P.p.s. Does anyone else find it weird that both of those idioms are bird references?