Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thanksgiving Tip #1

Today Granny and I made our annual pre-Thanksgiving pilgrimage to the Price Chopper for our family dinner. All of the usual Thanksgiving shoppers were there: 
  • Little old ladies getting supplies to make the meal completely from scratch
  • Moms trying to divvy up cart space between children and food items
  • Single folks buying small hams and individual potatoes, with and without beer or wine
  • Married men scratching their heads in front of the assortment of spices, "My wife needs..."
  • Young couples
Oh, the young couples! They were my favorites to watch today in a completely "Bless your little heart" way. If you've got even a touch of Southern mentality, then you're well aware that "Bless your heart" is really just a polite way to call someone a dumbass...

Is Home Ec still a mandatory class in high school? I don't know, but I do know that I heard one young girl say to her guy, "I'm bringing the pie, remember?" and then she picked up a pre-made graham cracker crust and a big box of instant chocolate pudding...

WHAAAAT? Oh, honey, that's adorable but it's not pie!

Girls, do yourself a favor - go to your mama's house and cleverly swipe whatever cookbook you remember her using the most during your childhood. Get the one that's stained and torn up. You steal that thing and you read it! You STUDY it!

My mother's copy of The Betty Crocker Cookbook, first edition 1969. It no longer has a cover, and is covered with stains. The index pages have come loose, so I use them as bookmarks for my favorites. Stolen about 8 years ago.
Find one or two recipes for sides in that cookbook and you make those dishes for the family dinner. Sweetie, if you're old enough to live on your own and buy your own beer, you're old enough to cook a real meal! 

That old saying about cooking being the way to a man's heart? It's true and it doesn't apply to men in particular. People. Like. Good. Food.

So in short, forget about that 'pie' made of instant pudding. You're an adult, cook like one and everyone will will be thankful.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Movie and Cocoa

{This post is brought to you by Netflix}

I'm going to come clean right here at the beginning: Last week was National Young Readers Week, and that was supposed to be the basis of this month's Netflix sponsored post... BUT because my life is one awkward moment after the next, I didn't see the original suggestion at the beginning of the month... 

Good news though - I'm still going to write and dang it if I'm not including a recipe for what my kids describe as "Da bess hot chok-lit you hab ever maked, Mommy!" You're welcome, friends! I'm a giver by nature!

In keeping with the theme of children's literature we took a vote tonight on whether to watch James & The Giant Peach (a book that I loved as a child) or The Polar Express (a book the kids love, and loved so much that one child... just take a guess which one... took into the shower and ruined last winter). The Polar Express won the vote because the kids outnumber the adults here at Palis Palace.

As my girls watched the movie, I watched their sweet brown eyes light up. "Mia dat yooks yike a rwollaw-coasta! I would NOT go on it!" followed by Big Sis's reassuring "Marlee, you could ride with me and then you wouldn't be scared." They lost themselves in the movie, the same way they lose themselves in their bedtime stories at night. Little people fueled by imagination + watching a movie with Daddy where they sing about hot chocolate + Mommy making our very own homemade hot chocolate? Here we go, creating memories like the freaking champions of parenting that you know us to (sometimes) be!

"Hot hot! Ooh, we got it! Hot hot! Yeah, we got it!
Hot hot! Say, we got it! Hot hot! Hot chocolate!"

Homemade Hot Hot Hot Chocolate (serves 6):
  • One 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 caps of pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups of milk
  • 2 packets of cocoa or chocolate flavored drink mix
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon

In a large pot, warm the sweetened condensed milk over medium heat until it thins a little. Add in the chocolate chips once the s/c milk begins to bubble, and stir the mixture constantly with a whisk to combine the chocolate and canned milk. 

Next, you'll add in your vanilla, milk, cinnamon, and chocolate drink mix. You need to do this fairly quickly and remember to continue with the whisk while you're adding the remaining ingredients. If you don't stir the entire time you're adding ingredients, you risk burning the canned milk and chocolate chip mixture.

Once all of the ingredients are combined, raise the heat a little until the entire mixture comes to a low boil, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat once the hot chocolate has boiled for a full minute. Pour into mugs and top with whipped cream.

{Chef's notation: I don't typically use measurements or time things when I cook, and tend to eyeball things and use my judgement by the sight and smell. All measurements are approximate, as are times. Good luck and remember, there's really no way to screw up hot cocoa. Unless you skimmed over that whole 'stir the entire time' part and you burn it. In that case, congrats on screwing up a completely simple recipe!}

As I said earlier in the post - the girls claim it's the best cocoa I've ever made. Photographic proof of this perfection? Done:

That smile says it all!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Holly Jolly Impatient Me

I'm going through a bit of an internal struggle right now, guys:

Why do we have to celebrate Thanksgiving before we celebrate Christmas?! 

This. Is. So. Hard.

Since the day after Halloween, I've been fighting myself on digging out all of the decorations and plopping a big 'ole tree up in the living room. The child in me says that it's never too early, but the adult in me says "Hey Crazytown - you're hosting your first Thanksgiving this year. Let's chill on the stockings and leave up the scarecrows for another week or so."

Fine, sanity, you win for now, but only because I'm willing to compromise...

Beautiful is a gross understatement here, friends! If there was a dream boat classification for Christmas music, David Ian's CDs would be Grade A Holiday Dream Boat!

Both albums are available for purchase now on iTunes and Amazon and can be previewed on David's website

For those of you who are fans of the classics, think Bing, Dean Martin, and the incomparable Rosemary Clooney. And you young whippersnappers? In the style of Harry Connick Jr., Buble', and Miss Norah Jones. 

Dream Boat, indeed!

And an added surprise that I received with the CDs? A little note from Ian's wife, Grace. Talk about a sweetheart!

Thank you again, David and Grace for sharing your music with our family and I strongly encourage any holiday music enthusiast to do the same!

That's all I have for now. It's time to start getting ready for our Christmas card photo shoot. I'll leave you with a little hint of what's in store with that one...

"It's because I'm green, isn't it?" - The Grinch

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Looks Like Flat Square Boobs

I came home the other night and noticed that someone (definitely Marlee) had pulled the towel bar out of the wall in our bathroom. Not completely out of the wall, but enough so that the drywall was bulging on one side. And, obviously, just enough to irritate the shit out of me.
Of course when I asked who'd done the deed (I only asked Marlee), nobody (Marlee) knew who the master of destruction had been.

Chris came home a few hours later and it wasn't long before I pointed out the new eyesore. Pissy? Quite!

Again, children were questioned (Marlee, just Marlee) and no one (Marlee) would confess. Several minutes into the interrogation, the culprit (MARLEE) cracked: "Aw-wite! Fine! I di'yit! But I was jusssss pyaying cyime da wallllll!"


Chris decided that it was an easy fix - remove the towel bar, patch the holes, re-drill into studs. 

Have you met my husband? He doesn't fix. He maims.

"Babe, calm down. The grout has to dry before I can sand and paint it."

This is why we can't have nice things.