The Star of the Show

So this year we weren’t able to make it down to Southern Oklahoma where my aunt and uncle lives to celebrate Thanksgiving with them. I think we were all sad, but sometimes life gets in the way for everyone and you have to do with what you can. So hubby and I decided to do dinner at our house Thursday night with my parents and his parents, that way we could go to his dad’s that day to see his family.

A couple years ago you may remember that we did the Bacon Wrapped Turkey… YUM!

Circa 2012

We discussed how to cook the turkey this year. One thing that was proposed by hubby was just to buy a Turkey Breast and do that, but then my mom said that they had a turkey already and suggested smoking it.

Not going to lie, I kind of had my heart set on the Bacon Wrapped Turkey again, so I asked/suggested doing a Bacon Wrapped Smoked Turkey. Hubby said we could probably handle that. Now a few years ago we did a dry brine on the turkey but this year he decided to do a wet brine.

Our brine consisted of:
Dissolving 1 cup Kosher Salt in 3 cups of water.
Then we used a quart bottle of Cabela’s Marinade (that is no longer made but hubby bought a whole bunch of….), about 15-20 cloves of Garlic, 1 serving Mandarin Oranges and juices, 1 serving peaches and juices, about 2 tbsp Rosemary, about 2 tbsp Black Pepper Corns and 1 cup of Sugar.

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Thanksgiving {in one post}

Okay, one post.  Let’s get this show on the road.  We’re going to do Thanksgiving in 1 post which will make it photo heavy so get your eyes ready, your coffee brewed and whatever else you do!  This year’s Thanksgiving we headed down south.  My aunt and uncle live in southern Oklahoma and the NCHA Futurity is going on in Ft. Worth.  A guy that works for UB had a horse in the futurity show on Thursday morning so UB woke up at 4am and headed to Ft. Worth.  He said he’d work his horse and help Shane and then he’d be home so we planned our Thanksgiving meal around that time frame.

Hubby and I were in charge of the turkey.  Tbug helped AC with some of the appetizers and sides.  I jumped in and helped as well because we all know I love to cook.  But mostly I stood around and took pictures and drove my aunt nuts… haha.  I guess she didn’t know I’ve gotten into taking pictures of everything.  We had a very leisurely morning, appetizers for lunch and ate dinner around 4pm.

I guess now we’ll allow the photos to do their own talking, except I’ll help now and again :).

Don’t worry, I chopped the ‘shrooms after Tbug washed them.

We had eggs and bacon for breakfast Thursday morning.

One thing that I absolutely love is watching the Thanksgiving Parade.  Usually I don’t get the chance so it was exciting to see Santa Claus bringing an end to the parade.  Let the Christmas season come!

Dad was able to watch all the runs going on at the Futurity because I set my laptop up and he watched the live feed.

Appetizer lunches are the best.

Don’t show AC, she’ll disown me but it was soooo cute.

Happy Thanksgiving!

After we ate dinner we went to help AC set up her Christmas tree.

Tbug kept picking on me and I told her I’d sit on her.  She didn’t think I’d do it so I showed her.

One of my favorite comments of the night… This tree has to be like 10-20 feet taller than me.  Holy cow!  I’ll have you know the tree is 12′ tall. But it totally cracked me up.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and let the Christmas season commence.

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Yurkey Turkey Day

I bet we’re all tired of Thanksgiving now, especially with the Christmas season upon us.  All the hustling and bustling trying to get presents bought and friends/family visited, etc.  But you know what, I still have a Thanksgiving post to share with you.

I Greeted a lot of my friends and family with this message:

And I could do your typical this was my Thanksgiving but I thought I’d spice it up a bit…. So I’m going to present you with:

The 10 tips on how to celebrate Thanksgiving correctly!

1.  Do Play with your food!  It’s the right thing to do!

2.  Bacon makes everything better!  So does bacon butter!  And why not throw in some herbs for good measure!

3.  Take time for a photo montage!  Everyone needs a good photo montage!

4.  The pooches know what it’s all about!  The afternoon nap!  I’m kind of jealous of this one!

5.  Bring the egg whisk out, it’s the right thing to do!

6.  This is probably one of the only times my table will be set correctly, I’m cool with that though.

7.  Hello Yum!  That’s all 🙂

8.  And if the kids want to cook… by all means, let them!

9.  Just a random note, the Corn Casserole HAS to be made in the Corn Casserole Dish.  It just tastes better!

10.  And once all the food is there and the people have arrived, it’s definitely time to eat.  I want some of that and some of that and some of that and some of that and some of that… and well you get the point!

Green Bean Casserole, Bacon Wrapped Turkey, Gravy, Andouille Pudding, Potato Casserole, Corn Casserole, Homemade bread & Red Velvet Cheesecake for dessert!

Hmmm… You know it was a good meal when everyone walked away so stuffed they had to crawl :).  Bring on Christmas 🙂

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and nope, this isn’t the first Thanksgiving of the year, it was the second and by far not the last!  Yup we’re that Thankful for Good Family & Great Friends… or is it Great Family and Good Friends.  How about Great Family & Great Friends!

Thanksgiving at The Shack

When I first started coming around my husband and his family, his sister was always referring to hanging out at “The Shack.”  Not gonna lie, I had no clue what on earth she was talking about.  I guess shame on me I never asked either so most people assumed I knew.

Jump forward about 3 years and hubby and I were finally invited to dinner at the Shack.  Finally I asked, “What is The Shack?”  (Yup, took me that long to finally ask…)

My Sister in law’s in-laws have this little cabin on their place that they refer to as The Shack.  I guess it has been there long before my SIL was married and she’s been married almost 10 years.  She told me the other night that one portion of the shack was all that existed before they were married, and soon after they began working on the second part.

pardon the photo, it was dark as it is now days at an early hour!

Dick & Pat (Liss’s inlaws) I’m fairly certain know no strangers.  I was told once, if the shack is “open” and Dick is there, anyone is welcome :).

The Shack is also a large eclectic array of memorabilia from all over the country and the world.  You’d truthfully be surprised at some of the things people have sent and or left for the Shack.  There’s truly a bunch of history in all this stuff.  And I’m not going to lie, there is so much, you can’t see it all in your first gander.  I’ve been there twice now and I’m still finding new things, although that may be partially due to the fact new things are constantly being added :).

And you’ll notice all the writing on the walls… That is one of the traditions, your first time to the shack, you sign the wall!

Above the cups you’ll notice some beer bottles.  They are from all over and some seemed pretty old.

A nice Wild Turkey Span

Money from all over that people have left for Dick.

Truthfully, there is so much information here, I wish I could remember everything Dick was telling me.  Sadly I just can’t 🙁  Guess that means I’ll have to go check it out and pick his brain again :).

Sometimes being the photographer and blogger that I am, I have to remind people that I was in fact there also :).  My MIL is sitting next to me 🙂

And now you can’t have a good get together without food!  Sorry it just doesn’t happen that way.  And being Thanksgiving week, why not have a Thanksgiving meal among friends!

We had ham, green bean casserole, potato casserole, gravy, deviled eggs, pickled green beans and so much more I can’t even remember it all!

When hubby heard about the deviled eggs he jumped all over it before anyone even ate.  He was afraid he wouldn’t get any otherwise.

And then finally, it was time to chow down.

And after taking this photo was about the time I fell off the chair I was standing on.  See what I do for you guys and my photos! 🙂

After dinner was over we were treated to a nice array of desserts.  No pictures of those apparently… I’m not finding any anyway.  My Mother in law made this wonderful pumpkin cake thing with this new stuff called cool whip frosting.  Never had it before but it sure was yummy!

Then Dick convinced hubby to strum a bit on the guitar.  My SIL joined in with singing.

Do you remember Wilson Wilson (for some reason I even want to say his name was Wilson Wilson the III or something like that) from Home Improvement?  This so could have been a way for him to be “seen” :).  My MIL was basking in the warmth of the heat!

Later everyone migrated inside and Dick had pulled out an old record player and some 45’s and we were getting down to some fabulous music! :).  There might have even been a little bit of dancing by my MIL 🙂

And that ladies and gentlemen is, The Shack!

Great Use for Leftover Turkey – Mexican Cheese Soup

How many people were out and about bright and early this morning for all those bargains?  Yup, me too.  Hopefully you found some good ones and it wasn’t as much of a mad house as they were saying last year it was on tv.  Oy!

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s so time to think about Christmas.  I’ve been fighting (not really) hubby since August that we shouldn’t put the tree up yet, especially since we were hosting Thanksgiving at our house.  I have always wanted to make a turkey and last year I got my chance.  So this year when mom mentioned that she’d do it so I didn’t have to I gave her weird eyes.  She’s like what, do you want to do it.  I said, “Well yeah.”  So she said she’d do Christmas.

The one thing that comes with Christmas time and really fall in general, colder weather.  What’s nice to eat during colder weather?  A warm bowl of soup!  And hey, this recipe, if you’re tired of eating that Turkey as turkey, would make a great way to use up some of that left over turkey.  Now I didn’t make this particular batch with turkey, I used chicken, but hey a lot of times chicken and turkey are interchanged so heck go for it, why not!

My momma came across this recipe some years back at a pot luck at work I believe.  Now I’m not a huge fan of Tortilla soup, and I really couldn’t tell you why, but I have a feeling I’m so stuck on this one that nothing else compares… maybe, maybe not, but either way I hope you enjoy this soup as much as I do!  {easy complete recipe at bottom without pictures}

In dutch oven, melt butter, add onions and cut-up chicken breasts.  Brown meat until cooked through. 

Add broth,

soup,

salsa,

and seasonings.  Stir and cook until bubbly. 

Hubby requested that I add corn as well.  I just guessed so I’m not sure how much I dumped in, about a cup or so.

Add cheese and stir until melted. 

Stir in cream.  (The amount can vary, depending on how thick you desire.)  I generally use Fat Free Half and Half.  Save on fat grams and calories, plus the cream makes it really thick, this gives more of a soup consistency and the tortillas at the end also help thicken it.

Add olives.  When you’re holding a camera and a can, you get creative on how you scrape the can out 🙂

Keep warm until almost ready to serve.  Slice several flour tortillas into strips and add to soup, stirring.  (This may cause to thicken.  Add milk to thin, if desired)  I didn’t actually have flour tortillas that day so we just didn’t add any in.

And the whole time I was cooking lunch, Tbug, Dad and Hubby were playing Rummy.

Oddly they kept asking me to play… um… hello, I’m working on lunch =P

Ladle into bowls,, add a dollop of sour cream and top with more olives. 

Serve with chips.  Ok so we didn’t have the tortillas or more olives.  I topped mine with chips but hubby went the Jalapeno route :).  Whatever suits your fancy!

Mexican Cheese Soup

2 Chicken Breasts
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1/2 cup salsa
2 tbsp Chili Powder
8oz Cheddar Cheese
Pepper
1 can Chicken Broth
1/4 cup Butter
2 green onions (chopped)
1 cup Heavy Cream (I always use Fat Free Half and half, works just fine & doesn’t get quite as thick)
1 can Black Olives (Chopped)
1 pkg Flour Tortillas

In dutch oven, melt butter, add onions and cut-up chicken breasts.  Brown meat until cooked through.  Add broth, soup, salsa, and seasonings.  Stir and cook until bubbly.  Add cheese and stir until melted.  Stir in cream.  (The amount can vary, depending on how thick you desire.)  Add olives.  Keep warm until almost ready to serve.  Slice several flour tortillas into strips and add to soup, stirring.  (This may cause to thicken.  Add milk to thin, if desired)  Ladle into bowls,, add a dollop of sour cream and top with more olives.  Serve with chips.

Serves 6.

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Thanksgiving Quiz

Sorry I thought it was cute 🙂

  1. How many pilgrims came over on the Mayflower
    a. 89
    b. 185
    c. 102
    d. 217
  2. In what year did the first American Thanksgiving Celebration take place?
    a. 1900
    b. 1492
    c. 1621
    d. 1776
  3. How long did the first Thanksgiving Feast Last?
    a. One day
    b. One week
    c. Three days
    d. Four days
  4. What does the term “cornucopia” mean?
    a. Corn Husks
    b. Horn of Plenty
    c. A Greek
    d. A traditional corn dish
  5. Approximately how many feathers does a mature turkey have?
    a. 750
    b. 1500
    c. 3500
    d. 4000
  6. Which US state produces the most turkeys annually?
    a. Alabama
    b. North Carolina
    c. Missouri
    d. Arkansas
  7. How fast can wild Turkeys run?
    a. 15mph
    b. 55mph
    c. 5mph
    d. 25mph
  8. Which country consumes the most turkey per year – per capita?
    a. Isreal
    b. United States
    c. Mexico
    d. Germany
  9. How high must a cranberry bounce before it is harvested?
    a. 6 inches
    b. 3 inches
    c. 8 inches
    d. 4 inches
  10. Who was the first President to make Thanksgiving a National Holiday?
    a. Washington
    b. Lincoln
    c. Jefferson
    d. Roosevelt

Answers to come tomorrow 🙂  I know I’m mean.  Happy Day before Thanksgiving!  With all the bad in the world, we all still have so much to be thankful for!

Btw, who thinks it feels like Thanksgiving is WAY early this year!?!?

My Weekend Recap & a Prayer Request

Haha so my Sunday late afternoon before Sunday Night dinner was spent watching Lifetime Movies.  Oh no, the Christmas movie watching has commenced.  I love Christmas movies!  Actually truth be told I watch them year round, however tv has started airing them and I’ve started watching new ones!

A couple things I’m looking forward to this week, you know besides the obvious, Thanksgiving! … A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (or whatever the official title is), Our Friendsgiving next Sunday night and The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. :).  However I wondered if Hurricane Sandy had any effect on that?  Anyone know?

Generally I don’t get to watch the parade because I’m usually always on the road, either headed to my aunts house in southern Oklahoma or running around here visiting people.  This year I’ve made it a point that I’d REALLY like to watch the parade, but it probably won’t happen either.  Maybe I’ll DVR it and watch it later but that’s so not the same.  We’ll see.

Anyway…

One of my friend’s husbands is having surgery today.  I’d really appreciate extra prayers and thoughts sent their way!  It isn’t really my place to go into details so I won’t, but I’d just like some extra love sent their way!!

Yesterday I made some food and took to them so that they didn’t have to worry about cooking after the surgery!  One less thing they have to stress about!  It is out patient surgery so that’s definitely a good thing!

I made them Mexican Cheese Soup (recipe to follow this week!)

Store bought Pillsbury Reece’s peanut butter cookies.  Earl will be so happy that I cheated with store bought and didn’t make from scratch… lol 🙂  btw, very good, I recommend!  and nope, they didn’t pay me to say that!

And the finale was Mexican Lasagna.  So thought I’ve shared this recipe with you, but hubby says he’s never had it which means I haven’t made it in the whole time this blog has been up and running so I’ll share that shortly too :).  You’re welcome. ha!

Now I must confess, in both of the dishes (not the cookies) I had issues with the onions.  I seriously thought the Mexican Cheese Soup was supposed to have onions and green onions… no such thing!  Then with the Mexican Lasagna, it was supposed to have half an onion and I decided to dice the whole thing.  Sure, why not!

So the take home message from today’s post is:

  • Keep my friend and her husband in your prayers!
  • I really want to watch the parade.
  • I know how to cook and will soon share recipes (some even as early as this week)
  • I love Christmas movies.
  • Onions and I don’t get along apparently.
    • Onions have layers… just ask Shrek 🙂

Ok anyway Happy Monday!  This is a short work week and will end with a wonderful family get together which is definitely a reason to be Thankful!

Linking up with Meg and Molly today!

stillbeingmolly

Thanksgiving – The Stuffing {Last Years}

So when I was a little kid, my Grandma S (mom’s side of the family) always did Thanksgiving, that is until she and grandpa “retired” and moved to the city.  {They made their living with a Stud (horse) operation.}  When that happened my aunt and mom split up Thanksgiving & Christmas hosting.

As I stated the other day, there was a falling out with my family over some very stupid issues, but none the less we weren’t allowed to my aunt’s house for any holiday.  End of story.  And again, that didn’t stop us from celebrating plus I got the chance to make my Turkey!

Well what’s Thanksgiving dinner with out stuffing?!?!

My Grandma passed away in 2007 and unfortunately, her recipes she used for Thanksgiving dinner were “misplaced,” until this last Spring when I think I found them in her notebook, but that was after Thanksgiving 2011.

Hubby and I talked about it and neither of us really knew what we wanted to make stuffing wise.  I couldn’t find Grandma S’s recipe, I never thought to ask Grandma J for hers, Hubby didn’t have one that was important to his family so we were at a loss.  Then we thought, well heck, if we’re making PW’s turkey, why not make her stuffing from the throw down as well!  So that’s just what we did.  And we really like it… just sayin :)!

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