November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu 2008

Posted in Journal, What's for Dinner tagged , , , at 5:52 pm by Jenn



The big day is right around the corner and thankfully I had two packages arrive today with ingredients that I need to make a couple of the items I plan to serve with Thanksgiving dinner (Chex Party Mix and Pecan Pie).

This year we have a little larger crowd than last.  I think the total I need to feed is 13 (plus 2 kids).  This is what I have planned. 

Thanksgiving 2008 Menu

Oven Roasted Turkey with Bread and Celery Stuffing

Slow Cooker Cola Ham

Giblet Dressing

Easy Giblet Gravy

Mashed Potatoes

Gourmet Sweet Potato Classic

Grandmas Green Bean Casserole

Red Currant Sauce 

Meesie’s Refrigerator Rolls

Pecan Pie

Perfect Pumpkin Pie 


Pumpkin Bread

Chex Mix

This year I am linking to the recipes that will serve as my guide.  I had so many requests for recipes last year that this year I decided that I will just refer people to my blog.  These recipes will get them in the ballpark anyway.  I usually find the recipe that has the best rating on, read the reviews and then modify the recipe based on my tastes and preferences.  I’ve found this to be very successful and have created some must have again dishes using this website.  Last year dinner was a huge hit so I figured I would just duplicate that effort.

I really LOVE the website.  I went on the other day, modified the recipes to the number of servings that I needed and then placed the recipe in my shopping list.  After I had added all the recipes, I print the shopping list and there neatly organized were the items that I needed to prepare the whole meal.  It gave me the amount of potatoes, flour, spice, dairy ingredients etc.   I love that feature.   Print, click and go.

I took my turkey out of the freezer on Saturday night and hopefully it will be thawed and ready to go on Thursday morning.  I made the cranberry saucered currant sauce yesterday (thinner than I’d hoped, but YUMMY!).  This evening I’m making the Chex Mix and prepping the sweet potatoes. Tomorrow I will do most of the sides,  and make the corn bread for the stuffing and dressing.   That leaves the turkey, ham, dressing, mashed potatoes and rolls for the day of.  Not so bad!  And hopefully with the lessons I learned from last year I’ll be able to have dinner ready to go on time.

I bet you are wondering what about dessert right?  Well two of the girls that Scott works with want to learn how to make pumpkin pie and cheesecake so I told them that they could come over on Wednesday evening and I would show them.  So we’ll make the desserts during Pie/Cake 101.

I just realized that I don’t have a pickle/cheese tray but that’s easy enough to throw together, a few jars of pickles, a couple kinds of olives, some chunks of cheese, tooth picks, crackers…done.  I also needs plates, cups, utensils and napkins but I’ll pick those up tomorrow on my way home from having my morning latte at the coffee shop!

All those food classes that I had to take in college really pay off around the holidays.  I really don’t feel stressed out about this at all.  Of course Thursday night I may need a straight jacket and a rubber room, but for now I’m good.  Alrighthy then, off to make the Chex Mix!




December 29, 2007

Back to work

Posted in Journal, Max's World, What's for Dinner at 9:49 pm by Jenn

Well, it looks like my vacation is about to end.  Scott brought home a vacancy announcement for a position that I said I would accept.  I guess that means I’ll be returning to work in the new year.  It’s not nutrition related, but it’s good money and it’s part time so I’ll still have plenty of free time for knitting, blogging and all the other projects I’ve seemed to accumulate recently.  Besides, a little cash in the pocket will be a good thing to support my new swapping habit.  I’ll complete the application this weekend, turn it in sometime next week and then just wait to find out when I start.

 Max is going to be sad when I go back to work.  He is my little shadow during the day.  Every move I make he is right there with me.  He really has mellowed out a lot since we’ve been in Belarus. 

Tonight’s dinner, chili w/cheese and cornbread! YUM.  All locally purchased ingredients and better than I ever made in the states.   


Posted in Journal, What's for Dinner tagged , , , , , at 1:23 am by Jenn

I have wanted to  try a turducken for the past few years, but it just hasn’t been in the cards (cost, deployment, etc).  This year it’s out of the question because of shipping.  

A turducken is a  chicken stuffed into a duck, stuffed into a turkey.  I had read about them on the net and John Madden talks about them now and then during football.

We needed something to send to my parents for the holidays and decided to send them a turducken.  Of course, I had to tell them that we were sending dinner and asked if they would like the gift for Christmas or New Years.  They selected New Years.

My mom called today to say that the turducken had arrived, they plan to eat on Sunday.  I asked her to take a picture so I’ll be sure to post it when she sends it to me. 

December 23, 2007

In Keeping with Tradition

Posted in Journal, Max's World, Purls of Wisdom, What's for Dinner tagged , , , , , , , at 11:54 pm by Jenn

Prior to moving from Maryland it was my Christmas Eve tradition to gather with close friends, eat tacos and exchange gifts.  When I moved to North Carolina I really missed that tradition.  Scott and I met good friends in North Carolina and started a new tradition…egg nog.  Christmas Eve, Christmas music, good friends and a few glasses of egg nog. 

This year we are in Belarus away from the Maryland tradition, away from the North Carolina tradition and decided not to feel sorry for ourselves.  We decided to carry on both traditions and to share them with our friends here in Belarus.  We firmly believe that everyone should eat tacos and drink egg nog on Christmas Eve.

Of course I planned before I thought.  Where was I going to find taco shells and where was I going to buy egg nog in BELARUS?  The taco shells were ordered online from Netgrocer and arrived last week so that was easy.  The egg nog on the other hand presented more of a challenge.   It was out of stock from all my ordering sources, or needed to be refrigerated and I didn’t trust that it would make it here in a timely fashion.  So that left me with one choice.  I was going to have to make my egg nog this year.  That presented me with even more of a challenge.  I needed to find a recipe that called for cooking the eggs….hmm.  Surprisingly I found this recipe for Amazingly Good EggNog.  I made the first batch to day and I must say it was AMAZINGLY GOOD!  I’d even go out on a limb and say it’s better than Larry’s Egg Nog, and that’s saying something (trust me on this Larry). 

Egg Nog Step 1

Egg Nog Step 2

Egg Nog Step 3

Egg Nog Step 4

The egg nog cooking must have inspired something in Scott because he decided out of the blue, that today was the day he was going to make Monkey Bread.  He also decided that we needed to make cookies for the party tomorrow night.  We spent the day in the kitchen needless to say, but we were very productive.  Snickerdoodles, Gingersnaps (sorry, family recipe), Cranberry Hootycreeks, cupcakes,  a cake, monkey bread and egg nog.  After all that it was time for a well deserved break.

Scott watched the football game and I, well of course I worked on my poncho.  Here is a picture of the progress (Row 56 of 72).  When this is finished I knit an identical piece and then join them together to make an L and then again at the open ends to close it in and make the poncho.


This picture was requested by my mom.  The stockings and Max’s goodies have not been put out yet.  We are trying to decide whether to open gifts on Christmas Eve after the party or wait until Christmas morning.


Last but not least, here is a picture of the bad dog Max, sitting on the naughty stool.  The little sucker bit me last night.  I guess I got too close to his “boney” when trying to retrieve the napkin from his mouth.  Ok, this really isn’t the naughty stool (but he really did bite me), but I made you wonder didn’t I?  This is Scott practicing the “table” agility command with him. 


December 12, 2007

Cure for SSS (second sock syndrome)

Posted in Journal, Purls of Wisdom, What's for Dinner tagged , , , , , at 3:02 am by Jenn

Move to Belarus!  I can’t believe it.  I actually found myself wanting to knit the second sock.  The battery on my camera is dead (but charging).  I promise to take a picture and post it tomorrow.  In knitting this second sock, I’ve decided that I’d like to try a circular needle instead of using the double pointed ones.  I’m using 4 and it just seems like so much work.

Tomorrow is Wednesday (actually today is Wednesday) and you know what that means….MAIL!  I’m hoping my needles are in there, I’m doubting, but hopeful.  I’ve also ordered some goodies for my yarn swap partner and some random stocking items for Scott, so maybe those will arrive also. 

I’m finally recovered from “Pump it Up” and ready to give it another go.  Scott mentioned going to the gym on Wednesday.  I’m thinking cardio will be a good choice, and not too rough on the legs (note to self – charge IPod!)

I had a horrible lesson on Monday and decided to drop out of class until after the first of the year.  I’ve also requested a new instructor.  I’m a firm believer that attempting to learn Russian is painful enough without being verbally assaulted by the instructor.  I need to learn this language, but I don’t need to be bullied in the process. 

Scott and I noticed today that it is always dark here.  Now we know why they issue “happy lights” to everyone (picture of that tomorrow too).  It’s dark at around 8:00am and again at around 3:30pm.  The sun really doesn’t come out it just stays kind of grey all day.  My poor amarylis doesn’t even want to grow.  I’ll have to plug in the happy light for sure tomorrow.  They say it will stay lighter, longer in January.  Let’s hope so.    

I worked with the cook at the Marine house today.  She’s a very nice Belarusian woman named Irena.  We made Japanese Chicken Wings and Green Bean Casserole.  She was thrilled to learn some new recipes.   She asked for a lasagna, zucchini bread and bean soup recipe also.  I told Scott she really needs a Crock-Pot, she’s thrilled to see what it can do.  She’s never used one.  I explained to her that she can come to work, throw a bunch of stuff in it, turn it on and go home, 8 hours later dinner is ready without a lot of “work” on her part.  This will come in really handy for her on Fridays’ when she cooks meals (dinner) for the entire weekend.  I guess we should probably get her a cookbook too.  We also discussed things she’d like to try making, but has trouble getting ingredients for.  She mentioned cookies.  There is NO peanut butter, chocolate chips, cocoa powder, baking chocolate or vanilla extract in Belarus.  Thankfully we can order from Helsinki so she’ll be able to make cookies and cakes in a few weeks.

Mom, can you send some vanilla beans?  There’s plenty of vodka here and we discussed making homemade vanilla extract.  I’d like to give it a try.

December 5, 2007

Pork Chops and Applesauce from November 13, 2007

Posted in Journal, What's for Dinner tagged , , at 2:10 pm by Jenn

Orginally posted on this site by me on
November 13, 2007 at 4:39 pm 

Well as usual I’m home trying to figure out what to do and I get a craving for none other than Pork Chops and Applesauce. Well you guessed it there is no applesauce in Belarus, but there is plenty of pork. So here’s what we are having:

Curried Apple Pork Chop Bake

4 (1 inch thick) boneless pork chops (I used two – Me, Scott, no leftovers)
vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 large onion, food choppered
3 large apple, cored, peeled and food choppered
2 cups Russian mixed fruit juice w/kiwi, pineapple, banana, grape and apple (you can use apple juice)
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoons ground curry powder, or to taste
**salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F or (200 degrees C).

Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Brown in skillet over medium-high heat, in a small amount of oil, flip to brown both sides. Arrange chops in a 9×13 inch baking dish. (I’m using my Pampered Chef 12″ skillet….LOVE IT! It’s oven proof so why dirty another dish…..especially now that I am officially the “dishwasher”.

In the same skillet, melt margarine over medium heat. Cook and stir onions and apples in margarine until caramelized. Stir in apple juice, chicken bouillon, garlic, and curry powder. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over chops, and cover dish with foil.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until pork chops are cooked through.

Enjoy with baked sweet potato, broccoli, beer bread and a glass of your favorite wine.

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