With a busy schedule and the holidays already overwhelming me, I need a new Thanksgiving game plan. I've made the traditional spread (more times than I can count), vegetarian (yes, I made a tofurky), Native American (fry bread, three sister's soup, wild rice stuffed acorn squash, baked pudding with maple syrup), one year my mother and I even did Chinese. This year I want to try something new again. I want to cook with my kids.
Normally I would wake up at dawn, cook for 12 hours, and dinner was always late. Meanwhile everyone else would watch TV or play video games. Then I was blessed with cleaning all that mess up! As it turns out, children don't like tofurky, acorn squash, and soup. I spent the whole day making a huge meal only I wanted to try and I wasn't even happy doing it. This year will be different. I'm making a vow to being happy for the holidays which means I will need help.
I'm going to sit down with my children and pick a menu we can all agree upon and we'll do the work together (fingers crossed). My eldest and I are pretty picky eaters in very different ways, but we both love to cook. My youngest helps with washing, prepping, and mixing, while the big girls do the chopping and cooking. Cooking is one of those few "chores" in which we can all work together with relatively little complaints.
This year Thanksgiving will take some extra planning to keep everyone happy and on track. Usually I pick all the recipes, drag the kids grocery shopping, and schedule each recipe to be completed and still warm by 6. Then the day comes and I've forgotten some little, but integral ingredient and then everything is late and the world implodes, but someone still needs to do put away leftovers and do the dishes. This year everyone will work like a team and we'll have fun. We'll pick easy recipes everyone will love and there will be smiles and hugs and rainbow unicorns. That's realistic right?
What is your Thanksgiving game plan? Have you had any especially memorable Thanksgivings? Please leave them in the comments below! Happy planning, Supreme Beings!
Photo from familyfreshcooking.com (click the photo above to be directed thataways). During my daily internet meanderings I was struck by a sudden jolt of (P)inspiration. It's spaghetti, but in tiny little spirals. Because everyone knows the flavor-infusion power of the spiral is left unrivaled. Trapezoids try their best, but at the end of the day the stomach and soul craves food Fibonacci-style.
I just happen to have some spaghetti lazing around in my refrigerator, sponging off the government. So I did what any good American would do. I stabbed it, contorted it into balls of glory, sprinkled it with freedom (Parmesan) cheese, and baked it at 350 for 20 minutes. If you don't happen to have cold spaghetti on hand, just cook some al dente in the sauce of your choosing! I know it may blow your mind, but this method will infuse the spaghetti with your favorite saucy flavor and leave the perfect amount of sauce for spiraling.
As expected, one of the spaghetti balls became sentient and begged I show mercy and release his pasta-brethren. I did not oblige.
Making spaghetti into balls didn't quite make them fancy enough, so I added a sprinkling of diamonds to really accent the flavor of the spiral. (Seriously, don't eat diamonds. Doing so will lead to intestinal bleeding.) Enjoy, Supreme Beings!
As I often do, I was craving a certain kind of food. Not so much specific, but everything from one genre; Chinese food (or what Americans consider Chinese food). Ideally I wanted to splurge on a buffet, but I knew that immediately afterward I would experience the post-buffet regret. In order to satisfy my wallet and my stomach, I needed to get creative. I was already starving, so I needed something fast before the beast within took over and made bad judgments. This is the result. This was very satisfying and while it could feed two people, I topped them with some sriracha (or cock sauce as I like to call it) and ate all of them by myself. Don't judge, just do it yourself, Supreme Beings!
Here's some pictures of real Chinese food from my trip to China.
Few things beat a lazy Sunday morning. This is when I drag out the last bits of weekend freedom before having to face the real world again. Waffles are easy, pleasing, and satisfying. I've tweeked the recipe over the years to create a soft, fluffy waffle that goes great with many combinations of mix-ins and toppings.
My waffle maker has seen some abuse over the years, but I love the cute hear-shaped symmetry and the lovely chirping to let me know she's ready to go.
My first mold-making experience needs to be something special. Making a tiny polymer clay mold of these waffles will be a challenge, but I think I'm up for it. Will update soon.
These are the beautiful apple pies my friend and I made a few years ago (please excuse the horrible picture). I thought the successes in polymer clay apple pie making may translate to the medium of real food.
I bought a bag of macintosh apples that looked beautiful and delicious. Everything is going great so far. I even remembered to preheat the oven! I washed, peeled, cored, and sliced the apples with a knife with no major wounds!
Already I succeeded at almost burning down my apartment. This is the only time that the smoke alarm has done any good in the 3,782 times that it has gone off in the last year.
At this point I added the apples, sugars, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon juice into the pot on low heat while I made the crust.
I do not have a food processor, so I got my hands dirty working the cold butter into the flour and salt. I always have cold hands, due to my frigid heart. Those more altruistic may need to insulate their hands with some latex gloves to accomplish this or periodically chill the dough if the butter melts too much.
If the dough is still too crumbly, you'll want to add 2-4 tablespoons of ice water. I like my dough flaky so I only added a small portion. This also made my dough harder to roll and work with, so it's your call on how malleable you want it. Reserve about 1/3 for a lattice crust if you're feeling frisky. You can get more creative by using an apple cookie cutter and placing apple-shaped crust on top. That sounds a bit easier than what I tried.
The easy way to transfer your rolled dough to the pie tin is by wrapping it around your rolling pin and unrolling it onto the tin.
Mold the crust to the size of your tin or else!
Bake bottom crust for 5 minutes. If you have pie weights, use them. You can also use dry, uncooked black beans as pie weights.
At this point, your apples are softened up, lubricated, and ready for insertion (in to the pie).
Scoop the apples into the pre-baked pie crust. Be sure not to overfill. Any leftover apples should be immediately consumed.
Roll out the remaining dough all longways and cut lines about 1 inch thick with a pizza cutter. Arrange into a lattice and roll onto the top of the pie similar to the bottom crust.
Melt butter over low heat and tempter into egg white. Brush mixture onto the crust. Bake on a cookie sheet! (I did not and spent 30 minutes cleaning burnt apple pie juice from the bottom of my oven.) Bake for 20 minutes, then cover with a foil tent to keep the crust from burning. Bake for another 30 minutes, periodically brushing on more of the egg white mixture.
Here's the final product with my polymer clay doppleganger. The real apple pie was much less crunchy and served more people than the clay one.
This pie is delicious! It wasn't leaky or dry and the crust was the ultimate in flakiness.
I encourage you to do it yourself, Supreme Beings and share your experiences in the comments below!