ShabbyBlogs - Must be Maddie

Friday, November 30, 2012

Plan B

So you know our plan was to drive up to PA on Thanksgiving, then have a second turkey day with my family on Friday...well unfortunately Thanksgiving morning Husband realized he had food poisoning.  Travel was out of the question.  We were both bummed to miss the big Thanksgiving with his extended family.  Truthfully we look forward to it all year and talk about it numerous times during the year.  With a tinge of sadness we decided to go with a plan B, and have our own Thanksgiving.

I ran to the store and picked up a ham and a few other items.  We already had some appetizers to eat: spinach balls, sweet & spicy meatballs, cheese & crackers.  We had ham and decided to make cheddar chive biscuits for sandwiches.  I remembered a Barefoot Contessa episode where she made cranberry sauce.  So I made that too.  We had all the food we could want and were very thankful for it.

Cooks note - I made the biscuits and with some good direction from Husband they turned out really well! They were light, flaky, and golden brown.  We used one of Alton Brown's recipes from FoodNetwork.   Husband told me the key is to sift the dry ingredients - it gives the biscuit a light, airy texture.  And I read that the less you work the dough, the flakier it will be.  And the cranberry sauce was good too.  It was a bit too sweet, so I think next time I would cut down the sugar to 1 cup, but all in all it was tasty.

On the upside, for the first time in a few years I got to watch the Macy's day parade, which I used to do every year when I was little.  You know, before a Mr. took over my heart and holiday.  :o)  There was a James Bond movie marathon and we had lots in our que for Netflix.  It was a cozy, snuggly day.

Maybe God didn't want us traveling on Thanksgiving.  Instead he wanted us to have our first turkey day together in Charlottesville.  We were/are definitely thankful for the supportive family and friends we have in our lives.  We have so much to be thankful for this the move to Happy Town aka Charlottesville, a good job, an opportunity for Husband to go back to school, a good neighborhood with even better neighbors. The list goes on and on.

Who knows the reason, all I know is that we were happy on Thanksgiving.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is here!!  This afternoon I need to bake some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and paint my nails.  Not too bad of an evening right?  

This is from the PA Thanksgiving last year. 

I love Thanksgiving.  For the past several years, Husband and I travel up to Pennsylvania to visit his extended family for Turkey Day.  His mom's side gets together and there's a good 30-40 people.  It is just so much fun catching up with everyone.  

I have to say, I am SO thankful that I have such awesome in-laws family on their side.  I love them so much and they make me feel so welcome.  I thank God every night because I know not everyone likes their in-laws as much as I do.  

Anyway, Friday we will drive back to Northern VA and have Thanksgiving #2 with my family.  It's a much smaller gathering but I like it.  My family has always had a smaller Turkey Day. In the past we have gone to the neighbors or family friends, but my favorite is when it's just us.  With me and Husband in Charlottesville and my brother in Maryland, it's good to get everyone back together. 

These are pumpkin cupcakes from VA Thanksgiving last year.  

And with my brother being the awesome organic sustainable farmer that he is, Thanksgiving #2 is going to be delicious.  I got a text from him today that said he got a 17lb turkey, broccoli, purple cauliflower, and collards for dinner.  I. Can't. Wait.  

To add to the fun, when Husband and I come back home on Sunday we are going to cut down Christmas trees with the neighbors!  And we're having Thanksgiving #3 with the neighbors.  

The next five days are going to full of turkey, family, and friends.  

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Safe travels! 

Roast Chicken

About two weeks ago I roasted my first chicken.  As you know I'm a huge fan of Ina Garten and with the help of her How Easy is That? cookbook and watching many of her shows, I felt like I was ready to tackle the chicken.  I wasn't able to find the recipe I used online but she does have a different roast chicken recipe on

Of course I read the recipe about 20 times before I did anything and Googled a couple of things. I got everything as ready as I could, which involved cutting some lemons and onions, and then worked the bird.  

I'm happy to report that my roasted chicken turned out pretty well, especially for my first time.  I even think Husband went back for seconds.  The chicken was tasty and full of flavor and it was moist.  And it was tender!  I went to plate the chicken legs and the bone just fell out.  I took that as a sign of success! 

I forgot to take pics with the nice camera, so these iPhone pics will have to do for now.  And I forgot to take a pic with the delicious lemon onion sauce. 

I think after this first attempt, the process will get easier.  And I learned a couple of things.  

1. Rinse your chicken and pat that chick dry - it will help the skin get crispy.  

2. I learned how to remove a chicken neck - ew gross.  I am really hoping that that part gets easier with practice.
3. When you think the chicken is done, use a knife and cut into the leg meat and make sure the juices run clear.  I was checking the chicken in between the body and leg but Husband informed me that I need to check the leg meat since it takes longer to cook.  

4. A little bit of sugar can cut out and take away the strong acidity of a sauce.  Because I used 3 lemons, the sauce turned out to be a bit...tart.  Just a little!  But Husband added a little bit of sugar which evened out that tartness.  

5. Just be adventurous!  If you're intimidated with a certain dish, Google is your best friend.  I Googled #2 which really helped take away any anxiety or concern.  Knowledge is power people!  And with your knowledge you can tackle anything.  I'm looking at you pot roast!  

And next time I'll save the giblets and have Husband teach me how he makes his gravy.  I will definitely be roasting more chickens in my future.  In fact, Husband came home today with a chicken that we are roasting tonight.  :)  

And because we had leftovers I used another Ina recipe for chicken salad.  Again, that woman can do no wrong.  And the recipe I used from the How Easy is That? cookbook isn't available online, but this chicken salad recipe of hers from is pretty close.  

I can cross off one item on my Winter Bucket List.  

Love & Hugs! 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Winter Bucket List

There have been so many Winters where I feel like I didn't do all the fun, wintery things I planned. Hopefully having a list (and one on my phone) will help me remember to do all of the fun holiday, wintery things...and even as I look at this list I have things I want to add

-Make a Christmas ornament
-Listen to Christmas music

Do you have any favorite holiday things you like to do?  

What about favorite holiday movies?  
I am always taking suggestions for holiday movies.  I feel like there are so many I haven't seen.  

And everyone has favorite holiday foods.    
Just this Fall, I have made super soft pumpkin chocolate chip cookies a couple times and they have been such a hit.  

And here's the link to a fairly healthy pumpkin pie dip.  It's delish with apples.