Welcome! Here you’ll find the chronicles of my adventures in cooking, making over our new home, traveling, being a farmer’s wife, and all the absurdity that seems to follow me around.
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Category Archives: Holidays
I know. The title is full on #nerdalert. But it rhymes and it’s Friday and it’s all I’ve got.
Anyway, today’s Friday Favorites is dedicated to deliveries from home and helpful parents.
1. Old Ski Delivery!!
Skiing is my thing. I don’t get to do it as much as I’d like living in New York, but I love it. I picked where I went to college based on proximity to ski areas #donttellmydad and even got to fulfill my childhood goals of being a ski instructor my last year of college. I’ve always had my eye on the various sets of my grandmother’s wooden skis my mom used to decorate our house. My stepdad just drove all my remaining
crap possessions that were stored in their Colorado garage cross-country to move into our basement. Included in that carload was a pair of my grandma’s wooden skis as a housewarming/anniversary gift!!! Between my vintage ski posters, those ice skates I pulled from a farm attic, and these skis, it seems a ski lodge decor motif is emerging. And, the skis are from Macy’s – how cool is that?!
2. Ski School
Speaking of skiing, I also got a delivery from my dad today who also decided it was time for me to have my childhood mementos … report cards, Father’s Day cards, lots of random homework, and pictures. It seems that now that we own our own home, it’s time for me to store my own stuff :). The box also had one of my season passes to Steamboat and a ski school report card. How ridiculous is my picture?? I might not have been thrilled to be going to ski school. I definitely had a love-hate relationship with ski school when I was little. I didn’t always love the really cold, hard days, but I did love the pizza, coke, and cookies from the cafeteria #priorities. These days, I’m super grateful that my parents put me in ski school for most winter weekends of my childhood because they wanted to
go ski themselves develop my skills. My mom says back then it was cheaper than day care; today you have sell your kidney to pay for ski school, so looks like I’ll be doing the teaching.
3. Parents Who Paint
Our entire house is this
dingy warm white color with orangey-stained wood trim. My mom (who flew – cross-country drives aren’t her thing) arrived at our new home and said, “The walls are great shape, you don’t event need to paint!” Ha! Little did she know that I had gallons on paint ready in the basement. I wanted to move towards a crisper paint palette with light grey on the walls and white trim. Instead of a relaxing visit, we spent the last week filling holes in the trim and painting it white and painting the walls various shades of grey. My stepdad also built me an awesome bookshelf – I’ll do a whole post on that next week. My parents rock!
4. Kitchen Islands That Face the Right Direction
There is a long list questions I’d ask whoever built this house. Most involve lighting issues e.g. there are NO(!!!!) lights above the cook space in the kitchen. Who does that? Another big one is, “Why did you install the kitchen island backwards and far away from the kitchen?” The countertop/bar area was in the kitchen. The whole thing was very weird. So, last week we enlisted the help of my FIL and BIL to help detach and spin the island. Yippee! Now we just need to do a slight touchup to the floor where the island stood, but the new location is perfect.
5. Old Notes
For some reason, this note was in the box my dad sent which one of my oldest friends, Lindsay, wrote her mom, who was staying with me at the time with instructions on how to turn on the TV. What a good daughter.
I’m back! My parents have been in town this week and we’ve been busy busy busy painting and building shelves and touring historic mansions. I can’t wait to share all our projects with you. For today, though, it’s the Thanksgiving edition of Throwback Thursday.
We do Thanksgiving with my husband’s family and then do 2nd Thanksgiving with his son and some friends and family on Saturday. Each year I go through this epic struggle about how to cook our turkey. TimTheFarmer’s aunt cooks the juiciest turkey I’ve ever had…and she does nothing to it. She cooks it unstuffed and doesn’t brine or bag or season it or anything. Nothing that you see on cooking shows or read in a cookbook. This is when I get whiny in my head…but I want to cook the juiciest turkey.
My dilemma comes from the fact that I MUST stuff our turkey. Our family stuffing recipe is ten times better when it is cooked in the bird. It’s my hypothesis that the stuffing soaks up all the turkey juices which makes the stuffing amazing, but the turkey dry. As I do every year, I will spend the next 5 days researching how to cook a moist, stuffed bird. I’ll read how you should never stuff them because you might poison your guests, advice I’ll promptly ignore because my family’s been cooking this same recipe for at least sixty years and so far, so good.
I’ve cooked it covered and uncovered, at one temperature and multiple temperatures, breast-side up and breast-side down. Ultimately, the only solution I come to is to brine the turkey, at which point I turn to Pioneer Woman, of course. I’ve used the same brine recipe the past four years and my turkey turns out good. Not amazing juicy, but solidly good. The stuffing, on the other hand, is amazing. Part of why I love it is how pretty it looks with all the orange peels and rosemary and peppercorns. The step I always forget in my planning is that after you bring the brine to a boil, you have to completely cool it before you put the turkey in it — 12 hours I usually don’t have.
Here’s where Throwback Thursday comes in. I am a big fan of using the outdoors as one giant fridge. Last year, we got a 16″ of snow the week of Thanksgiving, so the yard was our cooler. In last year’s effort to cool the brine quickly, I thought it’d be a good idea to stick a boiling stock pot of water in the snow to cool.
Because I was putting the brine in a snow bank, I figured I’d need to push down on the pot, not considering the fact that the pot was boiling hot. As I pushed the big pot full of 4 gallons of boiling liquid into the snowbank, all the snow immediately melted and the pot tipped over, pouring boiling brine all over my hand. My friend Jesse was there and as she watched me squeal and plunge my boiling hand into the snowbank to stop the burn, she she righted the tipped pot of brine and saved enough to brine the turkey #shesavedthanksgiving!. After removing my hand from the snow bank, we discovered I’d scalded the side of my hand pretty handedly. We piled in the car and drove to the drug store to stock up on lidocaine-laden burn cream and gauze.
We left the brine in the snowbank – despite it’s dangers, it was fabulous at cooling it down. Ultimately, we had another fabulous 2nd Thanksgiving with good turkey and great stuffing. Moral of the story? Snow melts when pots are hot, so stick your stock pot in the snow bank with caution.
Do you have any tips for cooking a juicy, stuffed turkey?