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!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Full Fall

I am happy to say I am having a beautiful fall! My new camera arrived two weeks ago and I couldn't be happier with it!  (SO SO HAPPY!)
Last weekend Kathryn was here. We spent the whole time pacing around DC and snapping photographs left and right. I can easily say some of my best photographic moments have occurred with Kathryn near by. So with my new camera in hand (and her matching Canon!) we snapped and snapped.....
 Kath has been my best friend and partner in crime for 23 years now. As years go on, our visits are few and far in between. With that said, it does not matter. Every time we talk, or see each other it feels like no time has gone by!

Sunset on the mall
WWII Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Michigan at the Navy Memorial

 and of course we ate...

...and cooked...

twice baked sweet potatoes with cream cheese and spinach

 Happy Fall, friends! Thanksgiving is right around the corner which means I will be right back with all the cooking and decorating tips I have..Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Easy Baked Eggs

I am a huge fan of easy breakfasts. I am not talking about throwing some cereal in a bowl with a splash of milk, or putting hot water into a packet of oatmeal (not that there is anything wrong with either of those..). I am talking about the type of easy breakfast you want to make on a Saturday morning that doesn't trash the kitchen and is satisfyingly tasty.
Baked eggs are one of my favorite go-tos for an easy weekend breakfast. This recipe serves 2-3 people and can be cooked at different times depending on preference to runny yokes. Serve with a side of toast.

You will need:
 a small stoneware baking dish.
Ramekins are great for this. For individual servings, use small ramekins and two eggs per dish. 
Cooking spray (Pam canola is my kitchen fav)
4-6 fresh eggs
3-4 Cherry tomatoes, red and yellow
diced asparagus
any other veggie you want to dice and throw in
salt & pepper

*Preheat oven to 350F

1.) generously spray the baking dish with cooking spray
2.) add the eggs. For a healthier version, use 3 whole eggs and three whites. Salt and pepper to liking. Do not scramble!
3.) slice the cherry tomatoes and add to the mix. Add additional veggies

4.) Cook at 350 F for 20-25 minutes depending on liking. (for runnier eggs, cook for 15-20 minutes)

5.) enjoy!

recipe by mkh2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Life As of Late

I have taken a leave of absence from blogging for the past few weeks. My DSLR is busted (this time for good) and I am waiting for my new camera (still picking it out actually..). In the meantime, I have been using my little Canon Powershot to take snapshots of daily life- meals, flower arrangements, fall leaves, and neighborhood happenings. I have traveled to Texas, Michigan, Chicago and in the process have been accumulating exhaustion points (is there such a thing?)

Mt. Pleasant Fiesta Day

fall flower arrangements

National Book Fest (take II)

Off to GRR
Best Reuben's, Best Beer, Hands-down Best Brewery

Artprize in Grand Rapids, Michigan

a fall sighting we don't get in DC


Go Blue! Knock on wood, but we are doing okay this year!

Chicago for Dana's wedding!


More later! Have a great week, y'all!