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Monthly Archives: November 2014

We’re not afraid of snow

On Friday it was almost 60 degrees.

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We played outside in the sandbox without coats and life was good.

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Please explain to me the phenomenon that turns a balmy 60 degree afternoon into a 12 degree evening?

But I’m not a complainer yes I am and a little snow doesn’t stop us!

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We went ice bowling. This is 100% because of Curious George. Blast that monkey. The kids saw a snippet of Curious George that suggested they make their very own bowling set out of frozen milk jugs and water balloons.

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I kind of thought it would be one of those things where the kids saw it and would then forget about it after 36 seconds.

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Nope. FYI: the frozen water balloon was a major fail. A regular old basketball was better, but for the big chunks of ice/pins that we used, we really needed an actual bowling ball.

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And then it was pizza time. We like grilled pizzas. You can make grilled pizzas in the oven, but they’re just so much better on the grill.

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Matty B is a very good sport. Make sure you note the thermometer in the background.

We’re not afraid of snow!

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She & Him, 48/52

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A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014

Both: In front of their favorite Christmas trees at the Marcus Whitman display.

Thanksgiving 2014

Today I made everyone go around the table and say what they were thankful for. J Man and Miss Rae were excited about this part because they had been coached. Everyone else may have groaned internally, but they remembered their manners because I held the keys to the pie.

Answers ranged from Christmas (J Man) to real turkey (Unk C) to family (everyone:).

It was my favorite part of Thanksgiving.

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Well, actually, my favorite part might have been playing football with the Indian on the left.

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We won, beating the team made up of Matty B and Uncle Andrew. We let them score a few touchdowns, but the best team definitely came out on top.

Although, the food was pretty epic this year, so it’s possible that my favorite part was the food.

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Good thing I burned a few calories this morning.

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We trotted with the turkeys. I had hoped to win a pie, but I just wasn’t fast enough.

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Andrew said he was going to run slow. He’s a big fat liar! He sped past Matty B and I like he was running for pie.

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But was running really my favorite part of Thanksgiving? Absolutely not. My favorite part was definitely the family.

And the pie:)

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(The pumpkin was prettier, but I don’t eat pumpkin pie.)

What I ate the day before the big day…

Nothing pleases me more than spending the majority of the morning in the kitchen. Chopping, sautéing, sipping coffee, listening to the Wailin’ Jennys (love bluegrass!) and watching my kids tramp around outside with Matty B? Nothing better.

But preparing for Thanksgiving is no small feat (even if you prepared like an expert) and it requires expert nutrition. Thankfully, I’m fairly confident in both my eating AND cooking abilities, so today was a win!

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Eggs and toast. Easy and satisfying. I added bell pepper and leek to my mess of a scramble. Without belaboring the fact, can I just mention how simple it is to be vegetarian and not vegan?

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The kids and I went to pick up my last (sniff) CSA share and on the way back, stopped at Starbucks. I tried their new chestnut praline thingy. What was I thinking? I knew, deep down in my heart, that it would be too sweet. It didn’t disappoint. Sickeningly sweet. I came home, made a keurig pod and then mixed half black coffee with half the chestnut praline. That made it palatable.

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Before you get all judgy judgy on me because my lunch was carrot/apple juice, let me just say that in addition to this juice I also had about five tastes of everything I was making including:

Potato soup
Cornbread
Balsamic/brown sugar reduction
Corn casserole
Fruit salad
Veggie tray

Needless to say I was very full.

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Yet, I was still starving for dinner. We went out to eat like every other person I know. No one wants to cook on Thanksgiving Eve!

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Veggie fajitas. Typical. Sour cream? Not as typical.

Good thing I’ve got the turkey trot tomorrow morning!

Maple Apple Kabocha Squash

So, apparently Kabocha squash is trendy.

I mean, I guess.

It seems odd to say that a squash is trendy (and I’m not on the front line of “trendsetters”- I just got on the leggings/boots bandwagon and now I find out that I’m supposed to get special socks that go over the leggings but under the boots and they’re supposed to show, but just a little bit? Bri! Help me!) but everywhere you turn, bloggers are waxing eloquent about the esteemed Kabocha.

1. How to cut and peel a kabocha.

2. Kabocha is a beauty detox!

3. Kabocha squash helped me win the lottery!

(Okay, that’s not real, but I’ll bet someone somewhere attributes their good luck to Kabocha.)

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I got a Kabocha in my CSA box. It’s been sitting on my counter cluttering things up taunting me.

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I didn’t really know what to do with it. Do I roast it, steam it, purée it? Do I wear it over leggings and under boots? I’m clueless!

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Roasting is my “go-to” cooking method, so I decided to mix it up. I actually cubed the Kabocha and boiled it in apple juice. Yeah. Is that weird?

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I used about 1/2 of the squash, cubed in 1 in. (or so) pieces and about a cup of apple juice, more or less. Then I simmered it for about 20 minutes.

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It tasted good- kind of tart. But I was looking for a little more sweetness.

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So I drizzled the Kabocha with (approximately) a teaspoon of pure maple syrup. That was the ticket! It was so good!

A little maple syrup oozed onto my cauliflower. That was pretty good too. Maybe I’ll start a maple syrup/cauliflower trend.

Or maybe I’ll just leave the trends to the trendsetters.

Now back to the boots, socks, and leggings. Are there any other rules that I need to know about?

Thanksgiving Prep

On a stress scale of 1-10, if 10 is J Man during a fire drill at school and 1 is Unk C at any moment of any given day, holidays tend to make me a very strong 9.

For Thanksgiving this year, we’re hosting family from Florida and Iowa.

You’d think that this might send me over the edge, into fire drill territory. I’m surprisingly relaxed. Eerily calm. Excited to see family, and feeling somewhat que sera sera.

However, if you’re not as perfectly mellow as I am:) here are my tips for relaxing Thanksgiving prep.

1. Light a turkey candle. This is a must.

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Bonus points if the candle is cinnamon scented or some other “fallish” scent.

2. Freeze whatever you can ahead of time.

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Freeze your apple pie (unbaked). This probably wouldn’t work with pumpkin, but I don’t eat pumpkin pie so this is of no concern to me.

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Freeze your ice cream. A no brainer, I guess, but especially helpful if you’re a rockstar like me who’s making her own homemade cinnamon vanilla bean ice cream. That’s right. I just won this game called Thanksgiving.

3. Eat all of the Chex mix.

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All of it. My favorite pieces are the whole wheat Chex. Matty B’s favorite pieces are the rice Chex. Our love is meant to be.

4. Channel your inner Martha Stewart and preset your table.

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This is tricky when you have two eager helpers with sticky hands and clumsy feet. I almost had a heart attack 11 times as I handed over Grandma V’s china to my well-meaning, yet 3 year old baby girl.

5. And then I took it a step further by setting out the dishes that I’d bake/serve each item in.

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You kind of hate me, don’t you? In my defense, I’m working this week AND J Man has a Thanksgiving program/feast that we have to attend AND I promised I’d help with Christmas shoeboxes AND it might be nice if we changed the sheets on the guest beds for our family…so obviously the #1 priority was knowing which dish the Brussels sprouts should go in. (Of course I’m making Brussels sprouts. No one has to eat anything they don’t want to eat on Thanksgiving which means I’ll have all the deliciousness to myself.)

6. Finally, my top tip for relaxing Thanksgiving prep?

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Lay on the couch and watch football. Go cowboys!

Also, I addressed my Christmas cards.

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Now you really hate me, don’t you?

She & Him, 47/52

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A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014

She: Sitting patiently in her car seat, waiting, because J Man was inside, insisting on tying his shoes all by himself. Sigh…

Him: The expression I get when I say, “Don’t smile!”