Thanksgiving photos

Menu included —
•Cheese platter
•Maple ginger turkey with Riesling gravy
•Cornbread stuffing
•Aunt Carol’s sweet potato casserole
•Green bean casserole
•Mashed potatoes with caramelized onions and truffle oil
•Yeast rolls
•Cranberry sauce
•Magic chocolate pie (with whipped cream and sugared cranberries)








Organizing my thoughts for Thanksgiving

What would I do without a blog?  Waste a lot of paper?

Gotta figure out what exactly what I need to do today, and make a timeline for what I need to do tomorrow.  So that’s what this blogy will be about…..

My house is clean except for the mess I made working on Liesl’s Christmas present last night (which I realized I need to hurry up and finish and mail), but that should be easy to clean up.

Tonight, I need to

Make yeast rolls for tomorrow (get started on this asap)

Prep sweet potatoes (peel, cube, boil, mash – everything except streusel, which I might mix tonight)

Prep mashed potatoes (peel, cube, boil, mash – although I’ll add seasoning etc tomorrow) (actually might no mash these)


Make the pie in the morning – also whipped cream, and sugared cranberries

*Don’t forget to let turkey come to room temp before cooking

*Also make turkey stock

Start turkey….um, around 1pm (about 3 hours cook time, 45 minutes rest)

Gravy, of course

Bake sweet potato casserole

Saute onions, prep mashed potatoes, and bake when sweet potatoes are done

Bake rolls around 4pm

I feel like I’m missing something, but I’m hoping that’s because I’m not worrying about stuffing or greens.  Hm.  Although some of this might change if the stuffing/greens end up needing to be cooked at my house.  Which would be totally fine of course.

I did not want to get out of bed this morning.  I know I know, that’s the most normal thing ever.  But still.  I just finished a cup of coffee which was mediocre and has not made me feel any more alert than I was already.  Bah.  Also my throat is very vaguely sore, which probably is from drainage as I forgot to take an antihistamine yesterday.  At least I hope that’s what it’s from!!

Facebook and Reddit are full of depressing news today.  So ……


by Wendell Berry

I part the out thrusting branches

and come in beneath

the blessed and the blessing trees.

Though I am silent

there is singing around me.

Though I am dark

there is vision around me.

Though I am heavy

there is flight around me.

And of course, the Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake i the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I got and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief.  I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light.  For a time

I rest int he grace of the world, and am free.

Monday, woot

I’m glad it’s Monday for one reason only, and that is because Thanksgiving is on Thursday.  Otherwise, Monday can go fuck itself.  I ended up getting to sleep around 3am this morning, because a) I had a cup of coffee before dinner…around, oh, 6:30.  Usually I don’t drink coffee that late in the evening, and usually if I do it’s a weekend when I don’t have to worry about being at work on time the next morning.  Also, b), I’ve had a lot of phlegm/drainage the last several days, and I thought I was getting sick but now I think it was probably just allergies/extreme weather changes, but at any rate once I laid down last night I couldn’t stop coughing.  Stephen said I didn’t keep him up too much, but he might have just been being nice because I seriously laid in bed coughing a good chunk of the night.  Was not much fun.  Finally fell asleep, and got about 4 hours of sleep.  Gah.

On my lunch break today, I’m going to the Sysco store for plugra (will probably get at least 3 pounds….it’s the holidays, after all), and then home to take a quick shower.  Wish I could fit in a blasted nap too.  After work, I need to go grocery shopping and basically get everything – so that will probably entail a trip to Aldi and one to Publix.  After grocery shopping, will probably be going to a show.  I stopped at the Pilot down the road for coffee and energy drinks, heh.

Other than last night though, which was only bad because I couldn’t get to sleep, this weekend was pretty great.  I hung out with Stephen on Friday, and spent most of Saturday/Sunday at home.  My weekend was super productive; I cleaned the whole house (excepting craft stuff I have out in the living room because I’m actually using it), which included mopping the floors in all rooms except living room and bedroom, and putting away all my clothes.  I also did a couple loads of laundry.  And put up my new magnetic knife rack.  And decorated the dining room.

You know, I could always just buy the plugra after work, and shower then too.  To make time for a nap.  I’m feeling oddly…uh, like my eyes are burning and hard to keep open.  You know?

(Bah, Aunt Barbara just expressed great disappointment at the fact that I said I wouldn’t be there for Thanksgiving this year.  Blast.  Now I feel guilty.  And I do love Thanksgiving in Oak Ridge.  But I’m so looking forward to cooking, and to my long weekend which includes my birthday, and I want to be at home for it all.  I still feel guilty though – a perfectly useless feeling if I’m not prepared to act on it, right?)

Suddenly my brain has stopped working.  Will probably spend the rest of the morning staring at my computer screen, and ignoring as many phone calls as possible.  Eh heh.  And maybe going back for more coffee.

UPDATE: just got back from lunch. Stopped feeling so sleepy so decided to go home, shower, then hit up the Cash n Carry story for butter. They had glass gallon jugs of cider on display as you’re walking in, so….duh, I had to get one of those too. Bought three pounds of pulgra, which has gotten a little more expensive than last year but is still cheaper than buying it at a regular grocery store. (Out of curiosity, I just looked it up on Amazon, and it’s twice as expensive there as at the Sysco store!) Anyway, bought 3 lbs so that I can use it for the pie, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, turkey, rolls….basically everything that needs butter. Yeah. That’s right.

And I’m looking forward to grocery shopping tonight, too.

The one thing I did neglect is getting actual lunch. Naturally, when I got back to the office, it smelled delicious. I’m now wishing I had more food than natural peanut butter and hazelnut chocolate spread (a healthier version of Nutella…). Should’ve stopped at Subway or something. Damn. At least I have energy drink!

In Which I Include No Complete Sentences

Things I’d Rather Be Doing Now Than What I Am Doing

In no particular order

Reading Wuthering Heights

Or reading Bridget Jones’s Diary, as – for whatever reason – I suddenly felt compelled to read it again

Cleaning my kitchen

Or dining room

Or bathroom

Or bedroom

Or living room

Prepping Thanksgiving decorations, which has the prerequisite of cleaning the dining room

Putting my recently purchased Fleur del sel into my new salt cellar

Which, as long as I’m at it, means I should also refill my pepper grinder

Doing laundry

Playing Oblivion I guess

Or Skyrim, I guess

Finding pretty leaves, spraying them with a coating, stringing them up from a pretty stick

Dyeing my hair

Watching thew newest season of It’s Always Sunny

Cleaning out the refrigerator


Or hiking

Alphabetizing my books, by author, within each genre

As long as I’m being so negative already (wishing to be doing so much besides sitting at a desk), here are some reasons I’m “glad” my job entails sitting at a desk

(“glad”……i.e. “ok with”)

I can make lists ad nauseam

I can browse Pinterest for table scape ideas

I can check Facebook every 30 seconds, if I want – while thinking about how much I dislike Facebook

I can look at my face in the mirror and figure out exactly which angle gives me the least amount of chin fat

The contrast makes going home nicer than it could theoretically be


Did you guys see the video of the guy singing “Blackbird” to his son in the NICU, after his wife died in childbirth?  The son died shortly thereafter.  I tried to watch the video but only made it about 30 seconds before I had to stop it to avoid crying.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day flow of our little lives, but something I realized after Matt died is that there has always been grief and tragedy everywhere.  It’s all over the place.  And it breaks your heart but somehow, at the same time, it also is a thread connecting all of humanity…which can be such a beautiful and encouraging thing.  Grief and sorrow can make you retreat within yourself and build up walls to guard against more grief and sorrow…or, if you let it, it seems to me that it can make you more tender and open by realizing that you are not the first person nor the last to have your heart completely and utterly broken.

Anyway, just a thought.


Things I Had Been Looking Forward To Today But Am Not Anymore:

Getting the shoes I ordered last week, which the Post Office apparently tried to deliver at 7:32 last night.  No one was home.  So they left no notice on my door – or if they did it was stolen, or blew away – and now I have to wait for them to re-deliver.  Since today is a holiday.  (Which is not the part I’m complaining about.)

Things I Am Still Looking Forward To Today:

5:00, naturally

I am so getting pizza and playing Oblivion tonight.  I might do something productive, like a load of laundry, but it’s not too likely.

Things I Am Looking Forward To Tomorrow:

Sappily enough, Stephen getting back – even though he’ll have been gone a day.  Also maybe new shoes.  If the Post Office is on the ball and can deliver them before 7:32pm.

Wednesdays are by default better than Tuesdays, anyway.

Thanksgiving, cont.

I’ve already sent Katie about a million messages this morning, so I’m redirecting my planning-energy here rather than anywhere else.  Do feel free to skip this entry unless you particularly want to hear about the recipes I’m planning on doing for Thanksgiving.

Have printed off two recipes for roast turkey; one is a maple-glaze turkey, the other is a maple-syrup-glaze turkey with Riesling gravy.  Honestly the glaze on the first one looks better, but the gravy on the second one sounds amazing.  I may end up combining these two recipes actually.  Oh the second one calls for fresh ginger in the glaze, so maybe I’ll use the second recipe but apply techniques from the first one.  Basically — the first turkey ends up with a crunchy, crystallized glaze whereas the second one doesn’t.

Found a very highly-rated Slow Cooker Stuffing recipe on Allrecipes, which sounds perfect.  Will modify it to be vegetarian, but using a slow cooker will be great since it’ll free up room/time in the oven.  It’s a very traditional stuffing recipe, which is totally fine with me since so much of what I love about Thanksgiving is traditions.

For the mashed potatoes, I found a link to a recipe on Pinterest – but the link doesn’t work, so I’m going to have to improvise.  It’s called Caramelized Onion and Mashed Potato Bake, so I’m going to caramelized a shit ton of onions in a bunch of olive oil, and prepare mashed potatoes separately (with butter and cream most likely).  Then I’ll put the caramelized-oily-goodness of the onions on the bottom of a baking pan, and spoon the mashed potatoes on top, then sprinkle on some kind of white cheese (e.g. mozzarella or some such).  Does that not sound absolutely heart-stoppingly amazing?  Yeah.  I know.

I was thinking about getting pre-made bread for this meal, but since I’m going to do the stuffing in a crock pot, I figure I’ll have time to make some yeast rolls.  Found two recipes from Martha Stewart.  Will probably make the dough the week before and freeze it until that Wednesday.

And I am going to be lazy with the cranberry sauce and/or relish — not making that.  Will have to buy some.

The dessert is going to be great.  I’m going to make a crust and instead of finishing the crust with the typical fringy-thing that goes around the edge (you know, right?) I’m going to put leaf cut-outs around the top edge of the crust.  That will be baked, then the filling added, and on top I’m going to put a bunch of sugared cranberries and serve with whipped cream.  Last time I made this, I put the whipped cream all over the pie (think lemon meringue pie style), but this time – to make the cranberries and the leaves stand out – will just use the cream as a garnish.  Yes, it’s going to be excellent.

Lastly, I mentioned the cheese platter.  This will be to snack on while we’re drinking wine and cooking.  Components will include but not be limited to ——- as much variety of cheese as we can afford (thinking goat, swiss, brie, havarti, cheddar, camembert, etc), figs (if I can find some fresh), green olives, grapes, pistachios, probably another nut (almonds or something), artichoke hearts, capers, honey, and some crackers/crostini/bread thing.

I would like to fast-forward, now, to the week of Thanksgiving so that I can go grocery shopping and decorate my house.

Thanksgiving, etc.

Currently excited about a couple of things, and since it’s Monday morning, I figured I’d write about it a bit.  At least until work picks up some.

I won’t harp on this for too awfully long, but I started playing Oblivion again (which is the Elder Scrolls IV, predecessor to Skyrim) this weekend and am now quite excited about playing more.  I don’t know if you people who don’t play these games realize how amazing it can be to dive into a different world like this, but it is just great.  The graphics are definitely not as good in Oblivion as they are in Skyrim, but they aren’t horrible either.  I remember Matt never liked Oblivion that much, but loved both Morrowind (TES III) and Skyrim; I would totally give Morrowind a shot if the graphics were not so outdated.  But whatever, I’m enjoying Oblivion so far.

I’m also now excited about Thanksgiving.  Hadn’t decided what I was going to do until I complained recently about how I want to host Thanksgiving at my house at some point in my life.  Katie doesn’t have Elliott this year, so she said that she would come to Nashville for Thanksgiving and spend it cooking with me!!!  YAY.  I’ve always wavered back and forth between Thanksgiving and Christmas as favorite holidays, so I didn’t want to not celebrate it the way I want to – but it also takes a lot of gas to drive to Oak Ridge and back just for a few hours.  So this year is going to be similar to two years ago when I made Thanksgiving dinner for myself and Matt – only Katie will be contributing some to the food this time.

Menu will include turkey, gravy, stuffing, Aunt Carol’s Sweet Potato Casserole, this mashed potatoes w/ caramelized onion recipe I found, bread/greens/cranberry sauce and/or relish, and….that might be it for the main course.  And of course I’ll make Grandma’s Magic Chocolate Pie for dessert.  Might do a pumpkin pie too, but that kind of seems like overkill.  The only reason I’m thinking about making one right now is because I just saw a gorgeous pumpkin pie on Pinterest — decorated with leaf-shaped cutouts and candied cranberries.  I could do that with the chocolate pie though, too.  Hm.

So yeah, the day will be spent cooking and probably drinking wine.  There will be mulled wine and cider and a cheese board, and we will probably not be able to walk or even move after we eat dinner.  It’s going to be awesome.  And I’m going to have leftover turkey for a week, which is probably one of the reasons I want to do Thanksgiving at my house.

fall cheese platter

(Cheese board inspiration, because I love the picture and want to make more of these.)

I think I’m going to Chattanooga this weekend with Stephen.  His family is having some kind of …thing.  One of his relatives started this women’s magazine, I believe, and they’re having a sort of…um, I guess reunion for the magazine?  I’m sure I’m botching it.  But his mom wanted him to come, and I’m actually a little excited about going too.  I haven’t been to Chattanooga in a long time, and I’m anticipating it being a beautiful drive down.  Looking forward to Rembrandt’s for sure – will need to buy some coffee while I’m there.

Hm.  I might start compiling a Thanksgiving list.  I know it’s over 2 weeks away, but the sooner I start planning, the better, right?  Heh.

I like making things.

Can’t stop sneezing this morning.  Guh.

Made that mac and cheese last night, and just wanted to tell you about it a little.  It ended up being delicious, of course, although I wish I’d added a tad more liquid as it ended up being really thick and creamy.  Which is kind of ideal, except that I used linguine and I like to cook the noodles a tad softer than al dente (I’m sure there’s a word for it) – so they were not all able to bear up under the weight of the sauce when it came to transferring them from fork to mouth.  Nevertheless, that does not affect the taste.

So the recipe called for sweet potato puree, brie, cheddar, neufchatel, and milk.  I added onions and garlic, because I add them to everything, and I also had some bacon left from brunch last weekend which I fried and added as a garnish.  And man it was soo good.  Served with salad and baguette — mmm.


After, Cathy went home and I watched most of V for Vendetta, though turned it off when I got tired which happened to be RIGHT before the climax.  Oh well, I’ve seen it before.  I know what happens.

I’m posting a picture of my current leather project, because I want to, because I think it’s turning out pretty well (not done yet, obviously).  As long as all goes well, this will be a Christmas gift for someone, but, uhm, assume it isn’t for you.


I encouraged someone on reddit to buy a leather burning kit, and she did, and just sent me a picture of some doodles this morning.  Maybe I’m posting this here because I really wanted to send it to her, but don’t want to come off as a show-off.  Not that it’s that good.  But…’s not a complete mess.  It’s decent.  Actually I think it’s kinda cool-looking.