Thanksgiving (sorta) live blog…

Ok, so I wanted to live blog, but I was doing a bunch of different things in the kitchen at once, so that didn’t really happen.  And now, as I sit here for a moment to try to take a breather and blog a bit of what I was able to capture on my iPhone, I’ve forgotten how to blog!!

Here goes… I think… and Judy said this is called batch blogging actually…

 

Yesterday, I tried to get a head start on the baking so that the kitchen would be freed up a bit today:

Roasting and peeling hazelnuts for chocolate hazelnut ice cream:

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Making vanilla bean ice cream and starting the chocolate hazelnut ice cream:

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Making red velvet macarons:

 

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Mom cooking and peeling crab for stuffed mushroom filling:

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Christine starting to prep the turkey:

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Vanilla bean ice cream churning:

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Macarons are piped and resting:

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The turks is in its temporary home for the night:

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Christine making the mirepoix for the gravy and beautiful cranberries for the cranberry sauce:

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Macarons out of the oven!

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Mint chocolate chip macs resting. They look so nice and pretty right now (though I put too much green food coloring), but they turned out horribly!:

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Then it was sleep time!

This morning, I woke up early to start again. (second try on the mint chocolate chip macs, which, spoiler alert, turned out horribly again):

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Christine working hard:

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Mom was making stuff but didn’t want her pic taken because she was in her PJs.  :|

I went to the store to get more ingredients for the chocolate mousse I was making:

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Christine still working hard:

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It is now 10:52am at this point, by the way.  :|

Then someone finally got up to prep for Thanksgiving.  Christine is peeling shrimp that will be used in mom’s stuffed mushrooms:2014-11-27 11.52.22

That’s turkey neck for the gravy that she’s cutting up, in case you’re wondering:

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Mom cutting up scallops for the stuffed mushroom filling.  (She’ll probably be mad that her picture is on here):

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Chocolate mousse cups done:

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Stuffed mushrooms ready to be cooked:

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Horrible macs v. 2.0:

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Christine giving the turks the star treatment for his special day:

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and his super-turkey cape being put on:

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In he went into the oven and after a half of an hour at 500 degrees, he started looking golden brown:

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Time to turn the turks:

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and put on his cape and give him a turkey probing… :O :

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That’s it for now!  ;)

 

Thanksgiving 2014 Live Blog — Kicking it off!!

Okay, we’ve been a bit silent on this blog, but there’s renewed energy to get back in it, at least for today. Diana wants us to live blog our Thanksgiving prep and feast, so I’m gonna kick it off with something done the day before, and by none other than Diana herself!

Don’t know why I didn’t think of it ever before, but last night I had the flowers already, and everyone was over for K’s family birthday pizza party. Putting two and two together, I asked Di to do the Thanksgiving flower arrangements last night and… Voila! They’re done. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it ever before, but last night I had the flowers already, and everyone was over for K’s family birthday pizza party. Putting two and two together, I asked Di to do the Thanksgiving flower arrangements last night and… Voila! They’re done.  (Note to self: do this every year! This is why we blog, right? Blog = notes to self)

image

Beautiful, fall arrangements?  Check.

Next up: making my contribution to the desserts…

My latest “thing”: homemade granola bars

It’s sadly been so long since SOMEbody (anybody!) posted anything to this blog. :-( I guess it must be because our lives were too full of good things/people/activities to have time to blog! :-) Maybe someday we’ll go back and post about Thanksgiving or Christmas 2013 (lots of fun memories)… or maybe we’ll just keep chugging forward.

Onto the more mundane things of life… like the latest “thing I’m into”  (BTW, we sisters seem to have a lot of these, so I was trying to find one good word for it, but couldn’t — obsession is too strong, interest too blah, infatuation/fascination too heart/head-y, fad and trend too fashion-related when it’s food — any suggestions?)

So, in the midst of all the “healthy new year” resolutions and ads out there, I was reading some article about minimizing our processed foods. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for years (and making slooooow progress, but some progress). In addition, the Web site was talking about how all those “healthy granola bars” are not that healthy, so today last week (it’s taking me a while to finish this post!) I got inspired to make some homemade granola bars.

I looked online and decided to try out both of these recipes:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/homemade-granola-bars-recipe/index.html

http://www.inspiredtaste.net/21462/soft-and-chewy-granola-bars-recipe/

I stocked up on some nice dried fruits (apricots, dates, raisins, cranberries, plus the dried mangoes and blueberries I already had at home) to let my kids customize their granola bars. What did they pick? Raisins and chocolate chips. :-/ And of course since I was planning to do a side-by-side comparison of the recipes, I had to make TWO batches with just raisins and chocolate chips. Sigh. Next time I’ll add some of the other yummy fruits. :-)

granola1 2 pans

So here are the two finished batches side by side. To be fair to Ina, her recipe called for an 8×12 pan, but I tried it and it looked too big for the mixture. I had already used the 9×9 for the other recipe, so the only pan I had left was an 8×8.  In the 8×8, Ina’s bars were too dense and thick.  But I think it might also largely be because her recipe requires you to put them back in the oven once in the pan and bake for 25 min.  We did a taste test (and shared some with friends, after all, these are fresh for only a week and how many granola bars can one eat in a week? or so I thought…). They were BOTH good, but everyone had a preference for the inspiredtaste recipe (the one in front in this next picture).

granola1 finished

I thought it would take us a LONG time to eat 36 granola bars, and granted we did give away about 10, but we started running low this week, so I decided to try another couple of batches, and using only one recipe version this time. The first batch: almond, pumpkin seed, dates, dried blueberries, and mini chocolate chips.

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The second: peanut butter, peanuts, and mini chocolate chips.

granola2 beforePB

I was wondering how it would work with “whole half peanuts” (can one say “whole half” or is that an oxymoron?), I thought it would look prettier :-) with whole halves, so I decided to go for it.  In retrospect, I think next time I’ll chop them up a bit more. They made the granola bars crumble a lot (see final picture below). Maybe I should’ve waited for them to come to room temperature, but I was anxious to try them out so I cut them right out of the fridge.

The finished products on this week’s homemade granola bar menu:granola2 finished2

Here’s how they cut, you can see the PB one is very crumbly. As I said, it’s in part because I didn’t chop up the peanuts, but it might also be because of the consistency of the bar due to the creamy PB. But it’s a case of “it tastes much better than it looks.” Both are really yummy, I like the consistency of the pumpkin seeds in the granola bar, and the dates/blueberries are way better than raisins (in my opinion, will have to ask the kids when they get home from school).granola2 pans

Look like this new obsession fad “thing” will give me lots of opportunities for delicious experimenting!!

Thanksgiving Day Play-by-play

Happy Turkey Day everyone!

Christine here – as suggested by Judy, let’s try this “live-blogging” thing! Here’s a run down of some of the prep, cooking, and fun that’s going on in our houses today…

(Forgive the less-than-perfect photos, we’re going for quickness here!)

7:47 am- C: Woke up early and went down to the garage to flip the bird (haha). This year we were lucky to have an extra fridge (thanks Judy!) in the garage that we could use for the turkey and brine (all alone…). I like how this picture looks a bit omnious, hehehe.

lonely turkey

9:07am- D: Wish I had a renovated kitchen!!  My counter is under there somewhere… Not enough space!

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10:04 am- C: Made some curry chicken salad for lunch, seems funny to be cooking something that won’t be used for Thanksgiving dinner whatsoever.

curry chicken salad

10:52 am- C: Started the cranberry sauce so that it has time to cool and gel before dinner tonight. Love how festive and bright cranberries look :)

cranberry sauce

11:00 am- C: Snapped a shot of Diana’s guava chiffon mini cupcakes fresh out of the oven, so cute!

guava chiffon mini cupcakes

12:15ish pm- C: Finished up the turkey stock for the gravy (ugh, blurry cell-phone pic!). In case you’re wondering, yes, that is a turkey neck!

turkey stock

12:51am- D: Christine is oiling down the bird and giving it a massage.  Guess it runs in the family!

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12:54am- D:  Stopped for a lunch break.  It’s nice having lil sis around.  :)

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12:58am- D: Aromatics getting stuffed into the bird.

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1:06pm- D: Caped crusader?  Breast plate of armor?  Burn guard?  Maybe all of the above?  :)

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1:07 pm- D: Note to selves: 25.68lbs is the capacity of this oven.

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1:41pm- D: Bird is already browning… gotta put the cape on!!

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Whew, you may now call him Superturkey.2013-11-28 13.42.21