Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Feast

I love Thanksgiving; it's one of my favorite Holidays of the entire year. I'm a little perturbed, however, at how Thanksgiving has become the bright red flashing signal light announcing the Christmas shopping has now become the top priority for just about everyone. Stores are opening earlier, staying open later, having the "deal of the century" every hour on the hour. It feels like quite a few people are forgetting the real reason for Thanksgiving and Christmas both. It breaks my heart, really.
But, I'm not here to continue preaching on my soapbox - I'm hear to say that I am thankful for my beautiful family who wouldn't let me take pictures of them in their turkey-stuffing-pie-induced vegetative states, the people who work hard to make this country go 'round, like the garbage men (yes, the garbage men), the mail carriers, the doctors, the cashiers, the librarians, the girl who hands me my coffee in moments of not-so-quiet caffeine needing despair, the boy who bags my groceries, and so many more that I can't even mention them all. Thank you for helping me.

I would also like to thank the men and women in the Armed Forces that serve us every single day and protect this country and its people. I thank them for their sacrifices and hardships. It is because of them that we can continue to celebrate Thanksgiving every single year, and I for one will not forget. Thank you servicemen and servicewomen. God bless.

With that being said, we can't forget the first Thanksgiving and how they celebrated by breaking bread with each other and giving thanks for all that they had survived and endured, and all that they were blessed with. It is with that same spirit that we celebrate today, with food, friends and family, and thanks.

And so we survived: Two days of cooking and prepping, dirty dishes reaching the ceiling, last minute trips to the store because I forgot __________. It's all over and everyone is still in a turkey coma and very thankful for it! We have the traditional fare at our house; turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberries, sweet potatoes, cornbread casserole, green bean casserole, buns, etc. But for me, the fun part isn't eating the food, it's making it.

I grew up watching my grandmother and mother host Thanksgiving year after year. Now, my Mom wasn't the greatest cook, but since Grams rocked it, everything turned out wonderful. Every year all of our relatives got together, whether we liked each other or not, and celebrated with a feast. I've continued that little tradition in our small family, and I completely go overboard and love it. I make way too much food and we live off of leftovers for days, but I get such a kick out of cooking the meal itself that I just can't seem to help myself.

This was the result (well, part of it). A wonderful, beautiful meal 
that everyone enjoyed and ate with gusto!

This was my poor little fridge, bursting at the hinges trying to hold
all the yumminess that would become Thanksgiving Dinner. Don't mind the soda :) 

 One of the eight, yes, eight pies for the day, seven of which are still
left and awaiting their turn in either someone's tummy or the freezer, whichever
occurs first. I'm not saying how it ends. That would probably be embarrassing.

 This is the yummiest stuffing ever - shown in stages from sauteing the onions and celery with salt, pepper, a hint of garlic, and sage, to adding the wonderful chicken stock and simmering for just a bit before adding the toasty little bread cubes. Yum. I think I'll go have some now. Excuse me for just a moment!
 The buns that you saw in the top photo started out like this - raising in my very warm kitchen and getting yummier and yummier by the second. This recipe is super fantastic and I use it for buns, cinnamon rolls, and sweet rolls. Its good. Ask Racheal, she'll tell you - its her favorite thing in the whole world.
And here's the Bad Boy - a 19 1/2 pound Grade A Turkey who was hatched just to make our tummies happy - and did it ever. Slathered with butter, sage, garlic salt, and pepper and then roasted in the Nesco for 4 hours and 25 minutes, it was a little bird-shaped piece of heaven on a platter. Hmmmmmm. Hold on - I'll be back; I have to go, err, drink something. Yeah, that's it. Be right back!

 There were many more dishes to be sure, and below you can find some of the recipes I used. I've been told by the children that all of these Thanksgiving recipes "absolutely have to go in the cookbook you are making for us!" So, that's where they are going. Maybe some day they will make Thanksgiving dinner for me and I won't have to lift a finger. Yeah, right. Who am I kidding. I'll probably be busting my way into the kitchen looking for something to do! Did I mention I love cooking this meal?

Happy Thanksgiving all. God Bless.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

As Promised . . . Recipes!

Double Chocolate Fudge Cake
1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups semisweet mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the wet ingredients and whisk until thoroughly combined. Add cake mix and pudding packet, whisking until mixed completely, about 2 minutes. Add chocolate chips and then pour into prepared bundt pan.
Bake cake in the center of the oven for approximately 55 minutes. Baking times will vary so test the cake towards the end of the baking time to see if a toothpick comes out clean. Cake is done once you can accomplish this.
Cool cake in the pan for about 15 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. If using a chocolate glaze, glaze while warm. You can also just sprinkle some powdered sugar on the top after cooling completely.

Applesauce Spice Cake
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups applesauce
2 eggs
Sift flour, white sugar, soda, salt, baking powder, and spices into a large mixing bowl. Mix in 1/2 cup butter or margarine, buttermilk, and applesauce. Beat for 2 minutes with an electric mixer on medium speed. Beat in eggs. Fold in 3/4 cup chopped nuts. Pour batter into a prepared bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan for about ten minutes, then invert onto a serving platter and ice as desired.

I used a simple powdered sugar glaze with a bit of cinnamon in it and it worked wonderfully.

Cake Day - I Love Cake Day!

So the day has been filled with cleaning, prepping, and baking. And I'm not anywhere near done for the day and I love it. Just sayin'.

It's almost time to go grab the kiddies from school, but I wanted to hop on and at least post the pics from today's baking adventures. I've decorated cakes for many years now, and these are by no means decorated in the fashion I usually do but then again, they are just everyday cakes - nothing special . . . . until you taste them. Oh my dears, you have got to try what I have dubbed the "Double Chocolate Fudge" cake. 

I found this recipe online some time ago and it is the most requested cake flavor to date. Once you taste it, you will completely understand why. Believe me, I will be posting the recipe soon!

And then there's this little beauty of a surprise:
 This cake came about because my Mother In Law gave me a can of applesauce that she had in her cupboard and thought that the kids would probably eat. Well, being the supermom that I am I decided that plying them with sugary desserts would be a better option than giving them something nutritious like plain ol' applesauce, so to work I set. This is an Applesauce Spice Cake and it will make  you think you've died and gone to the best sale at Khol's with a million dollars in your pocket and a 50% off coupon! O.k., maybe not that stupendous, but it is wonderful. And yes, I will be posting this recipe as well. I must go get the children now and ply them with sugar.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Little Late is Better Than Never!

So, I realize that my little blog here is not ever going to be one of the top 40 or even the top 40,000. I'm probably the only one interested in my life and that's o.k! But, I am going to start posting every day or close to it - let us not get too overly eager here. I'll be starting to post recipes and not-so-great looking little pictures of my endeavors like I had originally planned so many months ago when I started this whole bizarre thing.

So, I'm (hopefully) back on track - just in time for tons of recipes and pictures about Thanksgiving! This is going to be fun - and I am soooooo looking forward to it! I have much to share on thoughts, recipes, life, and other things, and I can't wait to get going. Again. :)