Monday, November 29, 2021

Day-to-Day activities plus a delicious Thanksgiving Dinner

Our days have been rolling along like clockwork. The temp's are drifting lower and we have wonderfully crisp, clean air with blue skies most days. We have had occasion to eat out on the deck - generally it's breakfast, as it's too chilly and dark at dinnertime.

I can tell that that is egg on pizza, a familiar favorite.

But some days it's too chilly in the morning (this AM it was 49°), and we retreat to the Florida Room.

Another favorite, here's a yummy ham, tomatoes, scrambled eggs 
and french toast (a nice finishing treat).
A Florida Room breakfast, the above plates plus a bowl of fresh fruits.

Last year I was able to round up boneless, skinless turkey thighs, (our favorite part of the bird), but this year the grocery stores were complaining that they were only receiving necks and wings from the meat processors, who stated that they have been short staffed due to covid - bummer. 

As a result, I waited until Monday of Thanksgiving week to decide on Plan B. By the time I got to the grocery store all they had left were 18+ lb. frozen turkeys for wa-a-ay more $$'s than I wanted to spend. Besides which, much too big for 2 people! Instead I picked up a pair of Cornish hens and endeavored to do them proud. 

I had never done a "dry brine" before but decided to give it a shot. The day before baking, I washed and patted dry the birds, placed on a small baking sheet, then piled on the brine (including the cavity). The brine was 1/4C each kosher salt and brown sugar, with a heaping tablespoon each black pepper and garlic powder. I then covered the birds with a layer of plastic wrap and refrigerated them overnight. In the morning I rinsed them thoroughly, and again patted dry, then let them rest, covered, in the fridge for about 45 minutes.  I used some of my homemade garlic & herb compound butter under the skin of the breasts and slathered it all over the rest of the birds. Dusted with paprika, salt and pepper and baked @425° for 55 minutes. Oh wow, they really turned out great! The flesh was nicely seasoned and very moist. A definite winner.

We split one bird and paired it with cornbread dressing, rice & gravy and roasted carrots, plus cranberry sauce, the relish plate and a nice Pinot Grigio wine. AAAHH... stuffed and replete for sure.

What are we waiting for, I'm ready to dig in!

To any readers out there that get bored with food-related posts, sorry, but that's the way it goes. We're not travelling right now and not much else is going on, so "foodie-ism" is the way it is.

I caught a modest yet pretty sunrise a day or two later. It hit a cloud layer and fizzled out pretty quickly.

A promising start but it didn't last long.

And lastly, I've been playing around with my dehydrator from many, many years ago. Just checking it out and trying to reduce the carrot load from my vegetable drawer in the fridge. We'll see whether or not it's worth it.

Amazing just how much they shrink when dried!

I thought I'd round things out with a shot from this time in 2012. We had a bigger crowd than now, for sure, and as usual, my wonderful mother-in-law hosted it at her house. We sure miss her!

Thanks for checking in with us, and feel free to leave a comment!

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Calendar Year-End and the Holidays are fast approaching

 I can't believe just how fast the weeks and months are zipping by, although the days seem only a little bit faster. The holidays are almost upon us and I have to say I'm getting excited by the prospect! With such a small family these days (attrition is a b**ch), it's hard to think about going to all the effort of decorating the house and cooking gorgeous, elaborate holiday feasts. Lucky for me, it's fun!

In years past we have joined our neighbors for a delicious pot-luck at the pool pavilion for Thanksgiving. Loads of wonderful sides and desserts along with the "host-provided" turkey/ham. Very enjoyable way to spent the day. However, last year Covid put the kibosh on that - rats. During the Holidays we had simple but lovely meals in our Florida Room, just the 2 of us, followed by a stroll around the neighborhood.

This is 2021 New Year's Day dinner

I imagine we will do the same this year as well and be thankful for our health and blessings.

Speaking of thankfulness, I'm so thankful for all the bloggers out there that routinely post about the "who/what/where/when and how" of their daily lives. It really makes me feel connected to them even if we haven't met yet.  And more to the point, it reassures me that regardless of the "wackos" out there, and the (awful) daily news, the world is still filled with good people, who are doing their best to share their way of life, their recipes, their pet shenanigans, their farms, gardens and projects, their travel adventures and to otherwise teach and inform their audience. It's wonderful to know that I can find "good news" out there!

In other news, I got a notion yesterday to bake cookies. I realized that it has been months since I baked anything other than savory dishes & pizza, and with the holiday baking season upon us, it was definitely time.  I had everything I needed to bake butterscotch, pecan and coconut cookies, and boy, they turned out tasty. I made up a few gift bags for some people that have been kind to me, and I'll get those delivered today.

We love our pizza nights!

Cookies in one of my many cookie tins, plus gift bags.

One day after doing a grocery shop, I came home to find my husband had rearranged my kitchen countertop appliances - I think my comments were "WHA?!, then NO!" Of course he can testify that I always say NO to start with; "Can I help you with that? - no", "Do you want to take trip into outer space? - no". After a few minutes/days to ponder, I usually find he's had a great idea and the real answer is - YES! We are funny creatures, oh yeah. (And I have a very patient husband!)

Anyway, he had grown tired of seeing me have to pickup the 14# Ninja Foodie and move it, so he made a sliding, swivel base and repositioned it to the corner of the countertop. How smart, how perfect, "Thanks Honey!"  💖

Former position under my wonderful analog
Amana Radarange that came with the house 😊

Tucked up in the corner with the rarely used
Toaster Oven now under the microwave cabinet.

Pulled forward on the slides for use.

This  shows the slides and swivel feature.
While we're in the kitchen I just wanted to take a moment to talk about grits, the under-rated by many breakfast side. When making grits, use stock in place of water, at least 50% stock and take your time cooking it. Mine might hangout on the stove for an hour or two, just slow simmering, with me adding more water/butter as necessary. And use plenty of salt, (btw - Ed calls me the salt monster). After mine have cooked and slightly cooled I pour them into rectangle shaped plastic containers and stick them in the fridge. The next day they have congealed nicely, so I pop them out onto the cutting board and divide in half. For us, each half will do for 2 breakfasts. Next, into baggies and into the freezer. They reheat just great in the microwave. I'll generally make enough for 2 plastic containers with 1 set of servings set aside - look-out bacon, here we come!

Lovely grits - ready for the freezer.

Finally, time to get this post wrapped-up and I'll close with a shot of one of my silk flower outdoor baskets that dresses up the dockside wall.  Pretty soon I'll have to change them over to Christmas arrangements.

I love the "set 'em and forget 'em" aspect or silk arrangements.

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to check us out, we appreciate it.  Take care, God bless and stay healthy.