Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas in Michigan

This Christmas I left DC- our paper chains, our beautiful Christmas tree, Zoo Lights and the National Christmas Tree- and headed home to an almost entirely snowless Michigan.

our DC tree

Zoo Lights and the National Christmas Tree

 Unpacked in Michigan

Lucy love- 5 months and cuter than ever!

we had snow for a mere 20 hours of melted pretty quickly.

Christmas morning
christmas dinner smoked turkey (instructional post to follow..)

Luminaries at Kath's

Matt and I are back in DC and ready for a busy New Years weekend. I am looking forward to sequined dresses and champagne cocktails! Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Home Again, Home Again...

I admit that I have been very behind on posting. So behind in fact, the first few pictures here are from weeks ago on Thanksgiving day. Thanksgiving was a success. We had another delicious meal and great company.

Cream cheese topped with blackberry jam- the perfect dip for plain crackers!

Onto Christmas. We scored our 7 foot tree from a local elementary school and carried it home several blocks, on a beautiful 60 degree day. (weeks later, it is now quite cold!)

Home again, home again...I am off to Michigan to celebrate Christmas with my family. I am sure I will take lots of photos! See you in the New Year!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Preparation

Thanksgiving is 2 days away which means I have been busy preparing for another successful DC Turkey Day (lets knock on wood for good measure..)

The turkey is ordered and ready for pick-up tomorrow a.m. On my counter, piled into two Hefty E-Z Foil Roaster Pans are Stuffing Cubes, cans of olives, beets, all natural chicken broth, peppercorns, bay leaves, paper turkey desert plates and a plethora of other Thanksgiving goodies. Piling is a good organizational tool. Make sure all of your Thanksgiving goodies are in one place...that way you know you have everything.

They do not kid- Support the bottom when removing your turkey out of the oven!..these aren't the strongest, but they are disposable and cheap (3 bucks or so...) I bought two for good measure.

On the menu this year?
Turkey and lots of it. I am using the same recipe as last year and including- a Ree-Drummond-inspired brine (also the same as last year.) 

Please people, do not, I repeat, DO NOT stuff your bird and cook it. Your bird loses so much moisture and cooks unevenly when you stuff it. Studies have even shown that food-borne illness is much more likely to occur when you stuff your bird. Frankly. It is gross. So just DON'T do it.

My favorite recipe. Enough said. 
White Mashed Potatoes
This may be one of the simplest recipes known to man. Simple is great on a day when there is so much hustling and bustling around the kitchen.
recipe serves 5
peel and quarter 8-10 medium potatoes. add to a pot of boiling water and boil until tender. in the meantime peel and crush 5 cloves of garlic. Add to a small saucepan with 2 cups of skim milk. Boil the milk until garlic is tender. run through a strainer mashing the garlic through the holes of the strainer (some will be left in the strainer. This is fine.)
Drain the potatoes. Mash with a masher, or potato ricer. Add 4 tbs. of melted butter, the garlic-milk, and salt and pepper to taste. Lightly stir. Fluffy, buttery, garlicky deliciousness.

 Chili Sweet Potatoes with Carmelized Onions
I came up with this recipe years back while messing around in my mother's kitchen. It has since become a family favorite and I make it on Thanksgiving and Christmas every year.

our friends will be bringing the rest...and of course..there will be wine..lots of wine.

oh..and flowers!

Mums are a wonderful fall flower. This bouquet of mums is paired with a giant lily (please don't bloom until Thursday!!), sunflowers and other greenery. 

  Need some help finding creative recipes? Or just want to drool over beautiful food and essays? Check out several of my favorite books below and of course...Happy recipe picking!

Earth To Table is a gorgeous book loaded with beautiful essays and photographs. Chapters are grouped together and organized by seasons.

I was gifted two of the Canal House Cooking books by my aunt Dana and haven't been able to put them down since. I ordered several more on my iPad and while they are beautiful...frankly they are better in print. They are beautifully bound! And of course, the recipes are delicious! 

I don't need to say much about this kitchen classic. Own a copy. It is as essential as a great stockpot and will get just about the amount of use..

 The Americas Test Kitchen series is another must have. The "Family" books come in a binder with organizational tabs and are easy as pie to read and cook through. Plus they have wonderful illustrations and photos to cook by. 

Happy prepping! Happy Cooking! Happy Thanksgiving!