Because my Thanksgiving recipes are a huge portion of my traffic this time of year, I've combined them all into a handy PDF document that you can download and print out to help you through the cooking process.
Most of the recipes are ones that I already have linked in the right-hand navigation. However, I've added some extras for novice cooks, including Turkey & Dressing, Mashed Potatoes, and Turkey Gravy. The document also covers appetizers, dinner rolls, side dishes and desserts.
Enjoy! And if you end up making any of the recipes, let me know how it turned out.
Unlike the lovely Velcro, who serves as today's LOLcat model, I have plenty to keep me busy today.
I'm doing the KC TourWalk this morning wearing the awesomely ugly and expensive new purple-and-silver athletic shoes I purchased yesterday. Why do most women's running shoes come in hideous princess-y colors these days? What's wrong with black and white, I ask you?
I'm hoping today's walk will get me started walking more often; I could really use the aerobic exercise. At the very least, it'll give me some good photos to post tomorrow.
After that, I'll come home and make dinner rolls and cranberry sauce to take to Ronald McDonald house for a Thanksgiving-themed dinner tomorrow. My Sunday will be mostly given over to volunteering at the spay/neuter clinic, so I need to plan ahead.
Remember last month when I was all excited about my band's latest song, Predator?
I posted it to GarageBand.com and entered it into their review system, then sat back and waited to see what that community thought of it.
Well, they hated it. A lot.
The negative reviews came fast and furious. To paraphrase: It's not metal...well, not contemporary metal anyway. You guys must be OLD. The lyrics are stupid. The vocalist sounds like Geddy Lee from Rush. (We actually got a Best Male Vocals nomination somewhere along the line.) The guitars suck. There's no hook. The chorus is horrible.
It went on and on and on.
At first it was kind of a slap in the face to be reading all of these terrible criticisms about a creative work that I had been quite proud of. Every time a new one came in, it was as bad or worse than the ones that came before it. Clearly we had a flawed song on our hands.
The band discussed things and agreed that the reviewers had some valid points. We really aren't a metal band by current standards. "Hard Rock" is a better, more all-encompassing category for us. The chorus is too repetitive and needs to be rewritten. Even though we'd worked hard on the guitar sound, we hadn't really gotten it where it should have been before releasing the song.
The internet offers some fascinating opportunities for creative people to get good, solid feedback on their work before they try to do something commercial with it. Of course, you may also get rude comments from bored teenagers in Denmark, but that's just part of the experience.
Learning to take criticism is a tough thing to do. The ego gets bruised and pouty for a while. Ultimately, though, it helps you change things for the better. But I'd still like to teach some manners to a couple of the little punk reviewers!
Off the top of my head, here are some products with which I've been interacting this week that deserve special mention.
Baytril antibiotic tablets. Just the thing when all three of your cats have raging upper respiratory infections. I cannot tell you how much fun it is to jam one of them down each cat's throat every morning. The good news is that they seem to work. Only Xena, whose onset of symptoms was well behind everyone else's, is still suffering from violent sneezing fits, weepy eyes and a pathetic cough. I think she'll be back to normal in a couple more days.
Fresh Sugar Lemon lotion. Oh how I love that stuff! I'm still working on my sample-sized bottle from the Roosevelt Hotel in L.A., but I will definitely buy some when I run out. No other lotion I've tried smells that good for that long yet doesn't irritate my super-dry skin.
Kerrygold Irish Cheddar Cheese. Whole Foods has gotten its claws into me, as evidenced by my purchase of this delicious cheese. The price deterred me on the trip where I first tasted it, but given a little extra money on my return visit, I couldn't resist. Now I know why Monkey refers to Whole Foods as "Whole Paycheck."
On a sad note, our betta fish, Mr. Fishy, died yesterday. We'd had him since 2004, which is a crazy long time for one of them to live. His brief memorial service was held in our bathroom, presided over by my husband and attended by Velcro and Xena, both of whom enjoy watching the toilet flush under any circumstances.
The choices we make sometimes say a lot about who we are. Sometimes
they say nothing about who we are. But it’s funny — even the totally
silly choices can end up dropping us into huge debates with our family
(Actually, I think it’s more interesting to note the choices we
struggle with… or just don’t care about at all. And the ones we admit
to, as opposed to the ones we hide.)
But today I don’t want to hear about definitions or shades of gray
or your existential struggle or “I need to know context!” or qualifiers
or “well, generally I think I like this, but it depends…”
Scary, I know.
(And one more parenthetical remark for good measure. Thank you.)
Coffee or tea? Tea (decaf) PC or Mac? Mac Kids or no? No Political or no? Yes, political. Summer or winter? Summer Artificial sweeteners or sugar? Sugar Fries or salad? I'll be honest: fries. But I like salads, too. Lake or ocean? Ocean Own or rent? Own E-mail or phone? E-mail!!! Traditional medical care or natural remedies? Mostly traditional with a soupçon of natural Vegetarian (or vegan) or carnivore? Omnivore Apples or oranges? Apples Follow celeb culture or no? More than I ought to. Liberal or conservative? Liberal Rural or urban? Suburban (from a rural background) Car or SUV? Car Marriage: necessary or no? Not strictly necessary, but I got married anyway. Cable or not? Cable! Must have cable! Campsite or hotel? Hotel Alcohol or no? Yes, please. Up early or up late (if given the choice)? These days, I'm better off up early. News online or news on tv? Online all the way.
Meg had her readers answer in the comments. Feel free to do the same!
I'm skipping the reminiscence post for now and writing instead about the fun evening I had last night. The hubby and I went to the very first stop on the FOUND vs. POSTSECRET Tour.
I had an inkling that the event would be a trifle disorganized because the online ticket sales never materialized and there was a bit of confusion about the time the show started. I was right, but that didn't detract from the entertainment value of the presentation.
Frank Warren of PostSecret was the first presenter. He showed a bunch of "secret secrets" that had been left out of the books for various reasons, and explained how the site got started.
Davy Rothbart followed with animated readings of various Found Magazine pieces. He then turned the mic over to his brother, Peter, who performed three songs based on found items, including my favorite, "The Booty Don't Stop":
It's even funnier with the context of the story that introduces it.
In between performances, audience members divided into teams and competed in various silly events to determine how the admission fees would be divided between two different charities.
The FOUND vs. POSTSECRET Tour has 12 more stops in various cities throughout the U.S., beginning with St. Louis tonight. If they're coming through your town, I highly recommend that you go.
Topping: 2 cups sour cream 1/4 cup sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Canned fruit pie filling, if desired
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly butter 9" springform pan. For crust: Grind walnuts and graham cracker crumbs in food processor or blender. Mix in melted butter and press onto bottom of pan.
Filling: Blend cream cheese in food processor until smooth. Add eggs, lemon juice and vanilla and process thoroughly, stopping to scrape sides and bottom at least once. Pour over crust. Bake 10" cake 40-45 minutes; 9" cake 50-55 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand 15 minutes.
Topping: Mix sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate. When cake is done, spoon over top, return to oven and bake 5 minutes more. Let cool and refrigerate at least 24 hours, or up to 2-3 days before serving.
If you like, you can top with canned fruit pie filling or fresh fruit before serving. I like it with cherry pie filling, but fresh strawberries and fresh raspberries are also particularly good.
Note: When I say to use a food processor for the filling, I really mean it. It makes a huge difference in the texture of the cheesecake. However, if that's not an option for you, a regular mixer will do. Just so you know, I'm using a hand-me-down Cuisinart from the 1970s and it does a fine job. It might be worth keeping an eye out for a used one at garage sales and thrift stores.
I spend an insane amount of time sitting on this couch with the laptop on my lap. The wire sculpture above the couch is a carousel horse that I bought at a garage sale. It's one of those things that my guests either like immediately or hate so much that they start making suggestions about what else I might be able to hang there.
The coffee table is a Syrian copper tray on a stand that once belonged to my grandparents. Family lore has it that my grandmother would clean out the engraved design with a toothpick while she waited for her teenagers to come back from their dates. It doesn't get that thoroughly worked over anymore.
Here's a closer look at the objets d'art on the shelves over the fireplace, back when they were a little less messy:
At the top left, you'll see a jaguar eating a human heart. On your top right, a beautiful vase depicting an elephant being attacked by a tiger. So now you know everything you need to know about my taste in home decor in case you'd ever like to get me a present.