Sunday, November 22, 2009

Coffee Hour

Right in the middle of our Thanksgiving preparations, George and I are coffee hosts at church today. Yesterday he baked oatmeal cookies and rice crispy bars, and we both baked chocolate cake and a pumpkin spice bundt cake. We bought New England crumb cake and powdered sugar donuts for the kids and will serve all of the above after church today with apple cider and coffee.


Have a good day.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Old fashioned Thanksgiving

I love all these recipes that are in the newspapers and on TV around Thanksgiving time. It is great to see all this interest in cooking. There are lots of hints and ideas about preparing turkey and hotlines, etc. I read all the hints. One year, it was all the rage to deep fry the turkey. I pass on that. Sounds like way too much dangerous hot oil to me. This year, the rage seems to be about brining the turkey with dry salt. Sounds like a pretty salty turkey to me. This year, I'll make the turkey as I always do. Thanksgiving is one of those meals where I don't need a recipe card. I have done it way too many times to need recipes. Still, I'm always interested to see what they come up with to talk about.

Yesterday we went to Trader Joes. If I never cooked at all, I think I could manage a Thanksgiving meal at Trader Joes. They were handing out cornbread stuffing made from a box, and the stuff was pretty darn good. Add some fresh sauteed onions and celery and I think you'd have it. They had mashed garlic potatoes from a box and gravy mix that didn't look too bad either. The cranberries were from Wisconsin. Living in Massachusetts, I'm not going to eat Wisconsin cranberries. Eat local must not be one of their mottoes.

So, Thanksgiving dinner for me has already started. We bought the brie and crackers, we bought the potatoes, squash, and 3 kinds of apples for the pie. We have three turkeys in the freezer and now only have to decide on which one will be crowned Thanksgiving king. (I always make those white paper crowns for the turkey me old fashioned.)

Here's the menu: [spoiler alert for Michael and Michelle]
Brie and crackers, bacon-wrapped teriyaki shrimp, roast turkey with cornbread stuffing, (yes, we do brine our turkey in salt water for a few hours) pear & strawberry fruit salad, cranberry sauce with orange slices, crispy rolls & cold butter, sweet potatoes with pecans, roasted squash with rosemary, real mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli and George's wonderful gravy. For dessert we are having pumpkin pie and apple pie with ice cream or whipped cream.

The mad scramble in the kitchen right before we serve is nothing new either, but it will all come to the table fine and it's going to be one really tasty Thanksgiving!

Have a great day.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My Dining Room Table

Don't get me wrong, I'm very happy to live in a nice house that George has known and loved for over 37 years. But I knew I was in trouble right away when I saw the size of the rooms. We have rather small rooms and I have lots and lots of stuff. My creativity gets me in all kinds of jams, and one of them is that I have way more things than most people.

The dining room table is my catch all. I haven't figured out what to do about that. The dining room table is used for bills, letters, work bags, calendars, cameras, sunglasses, scissors and get the idea. All my important paperwork is done at the dining room table. If I move something, I usually lose something. There is no room in this house for an office, and I know if I made a little office upstairs in the small bedroom, I would never find all my paperwork again. I also run my jewelry business from the dining room. My light box is there, my camera set up, my tissue, bags, and packing materials. I want to keep all that stuff handy and not worry about losing things or having to sift through boxes to find things.

So, having guests for dinner tonight is a really good thing. It forced me to move my things and set the table. I managed to do all that by 9:00 this morning, so that I can spend the day making jewelry, writing letters, wrapping a birthday present....uh oh. Now where am I going to do that?

So, enjoy with me as I look at my dining room table ready for what it is intended for...dining!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Cowboy Hall of Fame

George and I were pretty tired, but we managed to get to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City on Sunday afternoon. I still call it by the old name--Cowboy Hall of Fame. I enjoyed looking at the authentic Indian bead work and pottery and George took pictures of the famous sculptures and enjoyed the Cowboy exhibit of famous movie star Cowboys like Tom Mix and John Wayne. It was great as always.

Coming Through the Rye is Frederic Remington's most ambitious bronze sculpture. A contemporary of the artist wrote of Remington's sculpture: "Here are four cowboys, wild, harum-scarum devils, shooting up a town from the mere joy of a healthy existence, plus the exhilaration produced by frontier rum! They are dashing down the street, the ponies at top speed, spurning the ground beneath their feet -- only six of those pattering hooves touch the earth!" The technical feat of creating a sculpture in which the outer horses do not even touch the ground pleased Remington greatly, as he pushed the limits of bronze casting and imbued his subjects with a naturalistic energy.

End of the Trail by James Earle Fraser

It was for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition held in San Francisco in 1915 that Fraser produced his most recognized work, the doleful "End of the Trail." While intended to be cast in bronze, material shortages due to the war prevented this, and the original plaster statue slowly deteriorated until it was obtained by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in 1968 and restored. The restored statue is currently on display in the entryway of the Oklahoma City museum, and the original that sat in Visalia, CA, was replaced with a bronze replica.[2]

Fraser was later to remark that he should have copyrighted the image and that many people, painters, print and calendar makers and even other sculptors, made more profit from this work than he did.

Auction at mom's house

Dale Chihuly glass scuptures at the Oklahoma Museum of Art

Two months and a few days

It has been two months since I posted anything here on my blog. In those two months we have had a couple more Nor'easters, I've knit more socks, got new responsibilities at work, arranged to auction and sell my mother's home and contents, taken a trip to Oklahoma to attend the sale, and made lots of pretty jewelry. That's about it I think.

The hard freeze came last night and our plants and peppers on the back porch are frozen and limp and the grass is covered with frozen leaves. Fall fell hard this year. Summer actually didn't amount to much, and everyone feels robbed. It's like looking forward to a European vacation only to find out that someone swiped your passport. Summer was rainy and cold until August, and by then everyone was back at work, or at least I was.

Our trip to Oklahoma last week was very bitter sweet. It is very good to sell a house that can't stay vacant, and we found some wonderful people to handle it all. There were three auctioneers all working at once and two hundred people came to buy what we could no longer use. The house is all clean and ready for the close. George and I are very aware that we had a lot of help from angels. Things just fell into place for us. Like when we had two large paintings in card table boxes to get to the post office to send to my brother, and they wouldn't fit into our rental car and mom's good friend pulled up right then with a pick up truck. Stuff like that just kept happening, and it all went smooth as ice. I had a few tears, but I was resigned that the stuff needed to go to a better home than mine. Many people came to bid on specific items, like my mother's very good friend who came to bid on her silver, and did, and in the end had to go get her pickup because she had bought so much stuff. It was nice to see things go to people who will cherish the things my mother loved so much.

Now we look forward to Thanksgiving and Mike and Michelle's visit, and to Christmas, when George and I will not be traveling but will stay home with our kitties. No need for further excitement we think. I plan to spend some time decorating and setting up a tree and making our home very festive. We'll invite friends in for dessert and cider and enjoy a Christmas without airports and train stations.

If you haven't looked at the blog on the New York Times called Bitten, try that. It is a great foodie blog and very short and sweet. This morning I'm clipping recipes for Thanksgiving, and enjoying an early Saturday morning in my favorite chair.

Have a great day.