Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

Thanksgiving rehash

We don’t stray too far away from the traditional Thanksgiving menu, generally. A typical Thanksgiving dinner at the Newland house consists of turkey, Pepperidge Farm herb stuffing, spinach casserole, Sister Schubert Parker House rolls, cranberry relish, and green bean casserole. This year was no different. I had lost the recipe for my favorite spinach casserole for a couple of years, but was thrilled to find a version this year! This year, I used a dry brine for the turkey from the November 2011 issue of Food Network Magazine, and I think this was the best turkey we’ve ever made. I had intended to make fancy schmancy turkey gravy, too, but in an act of utter absent-mindedness, I strained the broth I’d been simmering for a couple of hours right down the kitchen sink! Luckily my mom was here and whipped up gravy in a snap, and I highly suspect it was waaaayyy better than what I would have made!

The one thing that I do tend to mix up each year is dessert. We usually go for pies (one of my favorites is chocolate chess pie), but this year I made the Caramel-Pecan Brownie Dessert from the Betty Crocker Christmas Cookbook. The recipe itself was good, but, unfortunately, I didn’t hear the timer go off, so it baked a few minutes too long and was pretty crunchy on the edges. You can’t tell that from the pictures, though!



I wasn’t terribly satisfied with that dessert, though. (I think part of it is that it uses a box instead of being from scratch…) So, on Friday when I knew we were having company I decided I needed to bake a cake from All Cakes Considered. The next one in line was the Buttered Rum Cake, and it was definitely in my top 5 cakes. Absolutely outstanding! I will be making this one again next week for our holiday party at work.



My final food adventure of the weekend was tortilla soup, using leftover turkey. My mom boiled the turkey carcass for me the other day, and I had suggested trying to make tortilla soup. I have to admit, I wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about making this. I can be pretty picky, and I was a little worried I was going to cook something I wasn’t going to enjoy eating. But, before I could talk my way out of it, my mom started heating up the stock and picking the meat off the bones, so I was committed. I needn’t have worried! This soup was delicious – extremely flavorful and just a tiny bit spicy! I do believe it will be a new post-Thanksgiving tradition.

I heavily modified the tortilla soup recipe from the Texas Home Cooking cookbook. Here is my version:

Stock from boiled turkey carcass, plus the meat picked from the bone (Mom did this part, so I can’t give specifics)
1 can crushed tomatoes (smaller can – 14 oz?)
1 Tbsp onion powder
1/4 tsp ground chipotle chili
1 tsp Mexican oregano
1 dried chile pepper, stem and seeds removed
1 can hominy, drained
Juice of one lime
1 avocado, diced
Shredded Colby Jack cheese
5 corn tortillas, cut into strips and toasted

Simmer the stock and turkey meat until it reduces to about 6 cups. Add tomatoes, onion powder, ground chili, oregano, dried pepper (whole), and hominy. Let simmer for about 30 minutes. Remove the whole chili pepper and discard. Add lime and let simmer a few more minutes.

Place tortilla strips in the bottom of each bowl and spoon soup over them. Serve avocado and cheese on the side.


This Week on the Needles

Feeling very productive this week! I finished two projects, made quite a bit of progress on another, and made some progress on another.


Emma’s Star beret




Strawberry Fingerless Mittens


I’m about 75% finished with Roxie’s sweater, and I’m 6 rows plus bind-off away from finishing Dancing Batty.

I got a lot of added knitting time this week due to unfortunate circumstances – I dropped a glass baking dish on my toe (didn’t break either the dish or my toe, luckily) and spent a lot of time on the couch recuperating. I would share pictures of my colorful toe, but that’s kinda gross…

My mom is coming to visit on Tuesday, and I can’t wait to take her to Sugar Land Yarn Company, as well as just sharing time with our yarn and needles!

And now I’m off to watch A Muppet Christmas Carol with my family while working on Dancing Batty!

Let the holiday baking begin

Yes, I know, it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but there are so many things I want to bake out of the Betty Crocker Christmas Cookbook, that I just had to start today!

I’ll let you in on a little secret. I can be a little bit, um, obsessive. One of the most romantic gifts I’ve received from my husband is this neat little randomizer on a pretty webpage that he made for me: To Be Read. It started out as a tool to help me choose the next book to read, but I seriously use this ALL THE TIME when I have a list of things to decide from. I have multiple book lists, lists of knitting/crochet projects, and, now, recipes that I use with this tool. It is a lifesaver for me, who has a very hard time dealing with too much information and decision-making based on such information.

So, I made a list of all the recipes I want to bake out of this cookbook, and plugged it into the randomizer. Wouldn’t you know, the first recipe to be pulled out of the hat, so to speak, was one of the ones I was least excited to make. But, I’m determined to follow the whims of the code, and so today I made Merry Cherry Fudgies.


Don’t they look pretty?

And right now I will try the first one.

Hmmm…kind of brownie-like. Not overly cherry-flavored (which is a good thing, IMHO). Not knock-your-socks off good, but good enough to share. Which I will tomorrow! The recipe only makes 2 dozen, though, so you better get ’em fast! (I’ll be at work at 11…just sayin’)


So, the work test. I brought about 15 or 16 of these to work today in a ziploc and took them to the knitting group that was meeting today. At 5:00 this evening I went to my desk and my coworker had put the remaining treats on my desk. The bag was not even close to empty. As she put it, “They weren’t bad, but you’ve made things that were so much better!” That about sums it up.