I love food and fashion. Sprinkle in some home decorating, a motorcycle man, and a black lab. A dash of photography, all mixed together with sunshine makes me one happy girl. My signature colors are blush and bashful. Actually I like purple better so my signature colors are bruise and mortified. I love to watch movies and reality tv. Thanks for stopping by. Come on over, I'll make you some dinner.
Right about this time every year I get super excited about Christmas. Super dang excited! I can't wait to decorate the house. The only problem is I'll be on a budget ~ I've been looking for ways to decorate on the cheap. Sometimes I hit up the dollar store looking for bargains. I try to stick to a color scheme when shopping at the dollar store so it doesn't end up looking...well, dollar store-ish. I know this is sorta putting the carriage before the house ~ talking about decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving... I had Thanksgiving yesterday since I have to work tomorrow. (It was goooooood!)
Here's a few ideas I've found that I may work into my decorating this year:
Candy canes in a glass jar..economical and jolly!
I'll be using red instead of blue..but the blue really does look nice.
Just cute. Festive.
Pretty. Makes me want to run out and get some disco balls.
I would love this on my mantel!
I hope you have a happy, safe, Thanksgiving full of yummy deliciousness!
Every now and then I come across a recipe and post it just for me. If you are anything like me, I get lost in the blog world. Sometimes I just look at other people's blogrolls and jump from blog to blog to blog, sometimes I see something great, forget to follow the blog, and forever try to remember where I saw that one thing, and it remains in oblivion forever.
Or sometimes! Sometimes that just happens at home with my millions of cookbooks. I also print recipes daily, then go to find it and find scraps and bits of paper and recipes and grocery lists on backs of recipes all over the place. Organize much? Clearly lacking at the moment.
When I found this recipe I knew I was going to make it relatively soon, and just so happened had to bake for a bake sale. And gosh. I so didn't want to give this pound cake up..it was delightfully lemony, perfectly moist, altogether just delicious. I knew I had to post it so I don't lose this one!
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 tbsp lemon zest
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in lemon zest, then beat in the eggs one at a time until well-combined.
In a measuring cup or small bowl, combine vanilla, buttermilk and vegetable oil. Working in two or three additions, alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture to the butter mixture, ending with a final addition of dry ingredients. Stir only until no streaks of flour remain. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 50-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack before topping with lemon glaze (recipe below)
I have lots of ideals actually, but I'll give a realistic ideal. Tomorrow I have a Saturday off and I couldn't be more excited! I've only had about 4 or 5 Saturdays off this whole year so this is something special. I am looking forward to a business meeting in the morning..my own business that will ultimately lead me to the life I've always dreamed of. Then either lunch with hubs or friends, a movie at the theater, and church. Then a quiet night with the hubs. A little Barnes time squeezed in somewhere too.
2. What is your favorite Thanksgiving dessert?
Hahahaaaa well. I never met a dessert I didn't like. But Thanksgiving wouldn't be Thanksgiving without a pumpkin pie. Although on Throwdown the other night Bobby Flay made a pumpkin bread pudding..I've been searching for the recipe, I must have that! But I haven't found a recipe that looks like the one he made. Anyone?
3. What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?
I was a flight attendant starting in 2001, then in 2007 I moved from the flying world to the hospital world..both industries that don't get holidays. I am usually working, sad to say! This is why I look forward to waking up early on a Saturday morning for business meetings, because one day, holidays will be all mine! And new traditions will be made. Really though, I just miss my family, who are in Chicago. I just want to go hoooooome for my mom's turkey.
4. Who does the cooking?
Depends on where I am. Anywhere but Chicago, I do the cooking. In Chicago I make a dish or two and dessert.
5. Do you shop black Friday?
Helllllllllls no! You won't find me waking up at 3am on a day off..and I hate crowds, in particular vicious crowds.
I have to work on Thanksgiving, can you believe that bunk!? Someone break out the violin, hand me some cheese to go with my w(h)ine, and give me the pathetic sad face!
This leaves me to cook our Thanksgiving dinner on Tuesday, which means today, I shop. I just finished the grocery list and hope for a week's worth of leftovers out of this meal, because this wipes out my grocery budget for the next 2 weeks.
Here are the recipes I'll be using:
From Pioneer Woman: Turkey brine, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and pumpkin cream pie. Wow, I didn't realize how much of her recipes I was using until I wrote all that out. I almost considered not doing mashed potatoes this year, for health's sake, but after seeing PW on Throwdown with Bobby Flay last night, I made a command decision: mashed potatoes were back on the menu!
And stuffing, no recipe attached. I'm sorry to say I can't make it from scratch, and by can't I mean I am too much in love with making the ol box of Stovetop, I saute up carrots, onion, and celery with crumbled spicy breakfast sausage, then add in the Stovetop. And there is no other for me.
I can't wait I can't wait I can't wait!!!
It's just going to be hubs and I so if you are free on Tuesday, come on by!
Diane's flight was earlier in the day than mine was..we were both flying into New York and laying over, a simple 45 minute flight. I drove to the airport, a mess of jitters and excitement. And then even more excitement on top of excitement at being excited about going to work. Can you imagine such a thing?
Being only 3 days after 9/11, even though passengers were stranded around the country, they found other means of getting to where they needed to go. My first flight had less than 10 passengers on it. The flight was quiet and completely calmed my jitters - I can do this! Our flight plan took us right over downtown Manhattan, and I don't think anyone expected that. All eyes were frozen at the gaping hole that was the World Trade Center, not a soul moved, some cried as they saw their city's new skyline for the first time.
Walking through the airport, the other crew members marveled at how empty LaGuardia airport was. Normally a jam-packed, hustle and bustle, mass of humanity, and now eerily quiet. The only people in sight were military men, in uniform, carrying massive weapons. I didn't know the difference - yet. Obviously it was not normal but I didn't understand the chaos that was normally LaGuardia. Feeling ever the new girl, I followed everyone outside and waited for the hotel van.
Still not knowing what to expect, I was given the key to my hotel room in New York, and did a little happy dance when I realized we all got our own hotel rooms! Yee-haa! I went in the room and jumped on the bed for a good 5 minutes before gathering myself, throwing on some real clothes (as opposed to uniform clothes) and running to find Diane.....who had already gotten started at the hotel bar with a couple of pilots and another flight attendant. Altogether, there were 4 of us from the same graduating class on our first layover there. We were excited and ready for whatever flight attendants do on layovers.
Everyone but me decided it would be a great idea to jump on a subway and head to Manhattan. But not wanting to miss out on my first adventure, I went along with the group. When we arrived, it was late, and immediately the pungent smell attacked my senses. A rescue worker passed us at that moment - If you're here to sightsee you can turn around and leave right now, he told us. I immediately turned to get back on the train, the whole feeling of being so close weighed me down, it was overwhelming. As I was about to get back on the train I realized I was alone - the others were walking on. Now I'm in a strange city, I have no choice but to stay with the group, so I ran to catch up with them.
Long story short, that night changed me forever, I will never forget the sights, the smell, the sadness, finally ditching the group because I couldn't take it anymore, walking forever to find a subway, taking hours to get back and not caring as long as I got away from there.
The next day a classmate, Jay, and I continued on the same crew. As we all piled out of the hotel van to gather our luggage at the airport, Jay and I looked at each other dumbfounded as the crew all held out their dollar bills to the van driver. We have to tip? Oops! Note to self: bring lots of singles on long trips. We had to check in at the airport, security opened our bags to look through them. I laughed at Jay when I looked over and his bag was filled with hotel soaps, shampoo, and towels. He just shrugged - whatcha gonna do - Busted!
The second day of our trip ultimately took us to Los Angeles, for a 24 hour glorious layover. We stayed at the Hilton, a beautiful hotel I'd never be able to afford on my own. After my ritualistic jumping of the bed, I met the crew at the bar. After spending several hours there - now it's about 2am our time, we headed to the hot tub. Now why didn't I think to bring a swimsuit? Note to self: always pack swimsuit! I ended up borrowing someone's shorts and jumped in with everyone else.
Is this what you always do on layovers? I asked another flight attendant. Probably a dumb, novice question, he looked at me like are you for real, shrugged, I guess, he said. I watched as a pilot and flight attendant grew increasingly closer, and eventually excused themselves. The rest of us stayed out late, or should I say early, and drank the night away. A 24 hour layover gives plenty of time to drink. We planned to wake up early and head to Venice Beach. The next morning, hungover and bleary eyed, we set forth on another adventure, a world apart from the first.
This is the life!!! I came back from that trip completely exhausted, happy, and excited at my new career.
Here is a very simple Thanksgiving side recipe, and so tasty too. While in Barnes yesterday I was flipping through Ina Garten's new cookbook, How Easy is That? I really was tempted to buy, but truth be told I had to make a choice. I've been wanting to join the group French Fridays with Dorie and I can only afford 1 cookbook. Do I need yet another cookbook, definitely not, if you ask the hubs, but I say YES. There's always room for more! So I just perused the How Easy is That book for now..maybe I will get it after the holidays. For now, I bought Around my French Table by Dorie Greenspan and I look forward to joining her cooking group!
I couldn't just leave the book at Barnes without snagging a recipe or two though. I had a butternut squash waiting at home for me, so I copied this simple (I mean, how easy is that!?) recipe. It tastes so good. Did I say that already? It's GOOD. The only thing I'd say, for Thanksgiving, is make this last..it did turn cold rather quickly.
Roasted Butternut Squash
Recipe from Ina Garten, How Easy is That?
1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and 1 inch diced
3 Tbsp good olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place the squash on a sheet pan, add the olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper, and toss with your hands. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until tender, tossing once during cooking so the cubes brown evenly. Serve hot.
**It's been a minute since I picked up the memoirs of the flying days, I have the links at right if you want the pre-story!**
Flight attendant training lasted one month in total. Would you believe that 95% of that training was to prepare us for an emergency? The day to day flying, the job we would be doing regularly, was not covered. The last 2 hours of training they broke out the beverage cart.
We had 3 instructors during training. The head instructor was almost stereotypical gay flight attendant. Immaculately groomed, flamboyant, hilarious, he made training fun. Then we had 2 other women who were in training to become instructors themselves. One of them was very Marisa Tomei, My Cousin Vinny. She was from New York, had the accent, the kind of brassness and sassiness that some New Yorkers have. She was the one to break out the beverage cart and teach us service.
"You walk up to the row and ask them what they'd like to drink. Tell them we have Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, and juice. Now. If they want tomato juice. We also have this bloody mary mix, which is spiceeeey. Ask them which one they want but let them know the bloody mary mix is spiceeeeeeey. They can have just the mix without the cocktail but just be sure to tell them it was sp-iy-ceeeeeeeeey."
Diane and I looked at each other and at the same time said spiceeeeeey and broke into a fit of laughter. Ahem. Wait, this is serious business.
For goodness sakes, she went on and on that bloody mary mix was spicy!
Then we filled out a survey on the class as a whole. What was good, what was bad, what could be improved... I remember distinctly saying that the training on hostage situations could have been better. I don't think I can say what the training consisted of, but I will say it only lasted an hour, two at most.
Little did I know, 4 days later, how forboding that comment was. Every one of our lives would be changed forever.
After flying back home after training, I realized I was going to have to haul booty to Detroit. There was no planning involved, I didn't know where I was going to live, I didn't know what the job was going to be like, where do I park at the airport? Where do I go when I get there? What do I do? How do I pack? I need a cell phone!!
Is that sad? I remember the first day I ever got a cell phone, only because it fell between graduation day and my first day on the job. September 9, 2001. Saying goodbye to my family and friends in Chicago, I packed just a few belongings in my car and headed to Detroit. I ended up at the friend's house who I had met in Tampa. Calling scheduling I learned that my first flight was to be a Tampa turn, Tuesday September 11, 2001 at 3pm. Oh my gosh! I'm a flight attendant! I giggled and jumped up and down.
The night before the big day I got the jitters, first day on the new job. I hoped people wouldn't be able to tell I was new. I hope the other crew didn't roll their eyes at the new girl. I hate being the new girl, I like being 100% confident in what I'm doing, and there was really no way to prepare for this, being on a plane. I had to relax. My mind racing, I dozed off late that night.
The next morning I awoke with my new cell phone ringing.
Are you ok?? It was a friend calling.
Well, you know, I was pretty nervous last night but I think I'll be fine today. I'm ready! No, I mean....turn on the tv.
I think we all remember that day, watching it live, unfolding in front of us. The shock of planes hitting the twin towers, the disbelief when they crumbled to the ground. The fear as news reported there was one plane in the air unaccounted for. They talked about that plane for some time, and then just stopped. They never did say what happened to it. Was it a mistake, was there not a plane unaccounted for? Did something happen to it? So many conspiracy theories..
I called Diane. We lamented over the situation, and then talked of the craziness of the whole experience. Going through training with a fear of flying, all the plane crashes during training, and now this?? Is it a sign, should we turn our backs on this new career and run? I called scheduling, unaware at that time how they were busy trying to help all the stranded crews around the country, not having time to think about us first day on the jobbers. What do I do? Go to the airport? No one knew what was going on at that point. How long would flights be grounded, what is going to happen to the industry? Suffice it to say you won't be flying today, the scheduler told me.
I knew the day was so much bigger than me, there was so much uncertainty and fear, and yet I couldn't help but also not want to get in trouble being new on the job.
Diane and I met for drinks later that day. It probably wasn't later that day, maybe we started around 1. The bar was somber, no one talking, everyone's eyes glued to the tv screens. They started a scroll with the names of those on the flights. I felt chills when they listed the crew members. That could have been anyone. This is happening in our country.
Diane invited me to live with her, a huge relief because I knew I couldn't stay where I was at. The friend who's house I was currently crashing in was a player, staying with him would have ruined his game. And new flight attendants don't make much money at all, I knew renting a place of my own was out of the question. I moved in with Diane immediately.
A few days later we both received the call, our first flights would be on the same day, different flights both headed to New York on Friday September 14th. New York?! We have to go there?
There are rules to winning this award, I have to share 7 things about myself and then choose 15 other stylish bloggers to receive recognition.
7 Things you wish you never knew about me!
1) I wish I didn't love to sleep so much, but really, it's one of my favorite things.
2) I also love clever (Modern Family) and literal (Airplane!) humor immensely.
3) I enjoy traveling, and when I win the lotto I will become a full time jet setter.
4) When I hear a song on the radio, or wherever, I can remember what I was doing in that moment the song was out. I don't even realize it but it happens.
5) I need to live near water. Even if I go a year without going to the beach, I know it's there and that makes me happy.
6) I love being a homeowner and wish I had a good stash of money somewhere with which to decorate.
7) My favorite food is my Pop's bacon spaghetti. I can make it, but it's never as good.
Phew, that was tough. People Magazine (or is it US?) has this section in every issue, 25 things to know about me for famous people. I think I'd have a hard time coming up with 25...no wonder some of them are silly!
Now the fun part, passing the award to 15 other blogs! Please check them out and show them some love!
I love baking with apples in the fall just as much as I do pumpkin. I was not going to bake anymore between now and Thanksgiving, but after trying a Halloween brownie, hubs asked if I'd make an apple pie. Well OF COURSE I would!! Me, turn down a chance to bake, never!
One thing, I never made an apple pie before. I started pouring over the internet and books to find the best recipe. And by best I mean easiest. I found this recipe in ol faithful, Baking: From my Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan. And since it's part CAKE I thought this would be a good first apple pie recipe.
As with all of Dorie's recipes, this one didn't disappoint. The crust, if you happen to change your mind about making pie cake halfway through making it, could be instead made into cookies! How cool is that? You know it's gotta be a good crust if it could be made into cookies. Hubs, who rarely ever eats sweets, dug into 2 slices and immediately scarfed both down. That's the sign of a good pie!
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Juice of 1 lemon
3 1/4 cups of sugar
Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, 3 minutes more. Reduce mixer speed to low, and add the baking powder and salt, mix just to combine. Add the lemon juice - the dough may curdle but that's ok. Still working on low speed, slowly add the flour. When properly combined, the dough should almost clean the sides of the bowl.
Turn the dough onto a work surface, gather it in a ball and split it in half. Shape each half into a rectangle. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 3 days.
For the apples:
8 medium apples (I used 4 grannies and 4 fujis)
Squirt of fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
(Dorie uses 3/4 cup raisins, I omitted those, not a fan)
Peel and core apples and cut into slices about 1/4 inch thick. Toss the slices in a bowl with a little lemon juice. Mix sugar and cinnamon together, sprinkle over the apples and stir to coat.
Preheat an oven to 375. Generously butter a deep dish 9 inch pie pan. (I used a cake pan) Remove dough from fridge. Press or roll out pieces of dough and patch them together in the pan. You don't want the dough too thin, so you can taste it! If the dough comes up the sides of the pan, that's fine; if it doesn't, that's fine too.
Turn the apples into the pan and spread them evenly along the bottom.
Roll out the top of the dough and position it over the apples. (I did the patchwork again here) Tuck the excess into the sides of the pan. Brush the top of the dough lightly with water and sprinkle sugar over the dough. Using a small sharp knife, cut 6-8 evenly spaced slits in the dough.
Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the dough turns golden brown and juices from the apples are bubbling through the slits. Cool until just warm or room temp.
Did you know there's a fair in town? Hubs asked me last weekend.
Ummm,YEAH, it's only on billboards every 10 feet around here!
I don't look at billboards when I'm driving. (him)
A likely excuse indeed! (me)
On Monday we decided to forgo the gym, which we've been going to nightly, instead to head out for some greasy fried fair food! MMMM can't ya just smell the peppers and onions?
Walking out the door, we both walk over to the passenger side of the car. Dang it dang it dang it, I Hate driving, especially when I don't know where I'm going, but he has been working all day so I have no choice.
Do you know where it is? I ask as I begrudgingly saunter to the driver's side.
No! he jovially replies.
Grumble. (me) I hate driving.
Off we go, as I'm heading down some side streets, he tells me I need to get over to the highway. This when there is a line to get on the highway a half mile behind us. Meaning? Gotta cut some people off. (Did I mention I hate driving?) I'm one of those people who get into the proper lane a mile in advance. Ooh I don't like this one bit, I think to myself.. (Meanwhile, he, from New York, would have been cutting people off the whole ride there. Yes, I'm from Chicago, but I don't have that driving mentality. Do you?)
On the highway, sticking to the right lane since I didn't know where I was going, there were signs for which exit to take for the fair. I was planning on getting off at the first one, but a mile before that one, I saw some cars on the side of the road, thinking they must have gotten into an accident, I flew by. Suddenly realizing it wasn't a few cars, it was a massive line of cars, all headed to the FAIR. Oooh I really hate driving. The second exit had a line that was deceptively shorter, deceptive because the stoplight made it so only 2-3 cars got through at a time. We were about 20.
Long ride short, we were in the car over an hour getting to the fair,which was about 10 miles away.
On a brighter note, the sky looked amazing as we drove:
I am slightly obsessed with the sky, so the picture on the left was actually taken in the parking lot of Lowe's the day before. The colors were gorgeous! BUT the one on the right was really the sky as we drove to the fair, it looked like a child fingerpainted it, beautiful.
After the hour long car ride, we were H.U.N.G.R.Y.
First stop? And this was quite immediate, FOOOD!
We went to the very first place we saw, which was a Greek place.
Chicken gyro for him, Lamb for me
At this point, may I interrupt myself to bring you this very important message.
I have such trouble inserting and moving around pictures, it's ridiculous.
I may scream. The gyro picture? Went to the top of the blog, then the very bottom, then back to the top. Never quite landing where I wanted it to. Gah! Took me a good 10 minutes to place it properly!
That's all. Now back to your regularly scheduled blog.
...When all of a sudden a guy in a blue shirt walked by gnawing on a giant turkey leg.
TURKEY LEG! I exclaim, knowing my husband would need one immediately.
Let's go! He says, trying to follow the guy, who was walking fast and weaving in and out of the mass of humanity that lay in front of us. We lost him as soon as we saw him.
Finally, found the turkey legs! Barbaric aren't they? Not to mention, $10! For a turkey leg!
I mean, I guess if I had to lose a leg for fair folk to gnaw on barbaricly, they better be paying dearly for it. These things are massive, the poor turkeys..
And since hubs was indulging, and we only go to the fair like once every 7 years, I thought ME TOO!
I bypassed the marginally healthy (hello, apple?!) candied apples..
And headed straight for the elephant ears!
Hubs: Real turkey leg
Me: Fake elephant ear
Bring on the fried dough! I had the cinnamon sugar, and I ate about a quarter of this massive ear.
And oh, it was worth it.
Then we walked and walked and walked. Past all the gaming wizards, all shouting to us.
Hey! Hey you! Play this game! Win this Rasta Nana! Hey! Come here!
To which we pretended to be in intense conversation, not paying much mind to the heckling gamers.
We did play one game, the squirt gun game,. Even THAT..there were 4 of us and he wouldn't start without filling up the table, so we had to wait while he heckled the passersby to come here! Only 2 more people! Win any prize you see!
A dad started walking over and his teenage son pushed him away. Noooooo. I don't want to play! Don't play! And the dad kept walking, like he was walking against a strong gale forced wind, the wind being his son pushing him back, noooo. Don't play!
I mean, this kid REALLY didn't want his dad to play!
The dad, as dad's do, won the argument, played against us, and kicked our butt.
And so, we took our full bellies, carried them to the car, and went on our merry way.