Saturday, November 29, 2008


It's about this time of year when I start adding Christmas decorations to the house that I start getting claustrophobic. There's cozy and then there's closed in. I look around and start seeing all the things I could do without. A perfect time to get that white elephant gift wrapped!

In the guest bedroom closet, for example, I store things that I rotate: vases, sofa pillows, little lamps, decorative items, etc. Then there's this collection of things I don't really use anymore. Like brass candlesticks that I used to put out at Christmas but don't any more. There's a Santa Fe style snake cribbage board; framed pieces that don't fit any place, paper flowers, gifts we've received and feel compelled to keep, wine glasses that don't have a home in the kitchen, an extra ice bucket, all the gift bags that I have saved, an extra comforter and shams, a weight bench for ladies (barely used), a bread machine. I don't need to itemize everything. I've convinced myself I need to take a serious look at that closet.

Friday, November 28, 2008

How could I have doubted Martha?

Gravy with bourbon AND white wine in it? I almost didn't try it but it was in Martha's Thanksgiving menu and I gave her the benefit of the doubt, thinking she wouldn't steer you wrong on Thanksgiving ... and you know what? It worked. It was so good that I'll keep the recipe and put it in my holiday best. The dressing I wrote about yesterday fully met expectations. And the sweet potato/cranberry casserole that my sister brought was such a WOW dish -- that little tart burst of the fresh cranberry amongst the sweet potatoes. I'm writing myself into leftovers tonight.

Our going around the table and saying what we were thankful for was so heartfelt and quite emotional actually. Everyone participated and it was such a joyous day. It's one that I will be glad to have linger in my memory.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Le Menu

Thanksgiving Day. I'm trying Martha Stewart's pecan cornbread dressing this year. I even made her buttermilk cornbread yesterday so I could give the recipe the true test. And to top it all off, I used real buttermilk rather than making my own with lemon juice or vinegar in regular milk. Talk about going all out. The dressing is supposed to be fab -- we'll see. With the anticipation of all the starches today, I'm already starting to feel comatose. The menu for today is turkey & dressing, ham, mashed potatoes & gravy, a sweet potato/cranberry dish, green beans, my famous green jello, and a spinach salad. For dessert we have pumpkin pie and apple pie.

I woke up early this morning and made placecards for the table, made some pumpkin bread and a pot of delish coffee. We've been on a coffee search lately and actually our problem may be solved. Tom picked out this coffee yesterday at Starbucks. It's Ethopia Sidamo. A year ago I bought a Cuisinart coffee maker that grinds the beans and drips into a carafe. I did this thinking it would take the guesswork out of the coffee experience and we'd be able to get a consistent pot every day. It just hasn't happened. We've tried using ground coffee, tried grinding for 10 but using 8 waters, tried a variety of beans -- but here's the thing -- we've been buying beans from Sam's. I think that's the problem. The coffee this morning is soooo good. And I needed a good cup of coffee. I'll add a good cup of coffee to my list of things I'm grateful for.

Speaking of being grateful and thankful, I saw a sign on a church yesterday that said something like "When you pause to think, pause to thank." And when I do pause, my list of things to be thankful for is very long. Health, family, friends top the list and little things like a good cup of coffee, seeing a sunrise, and fresh air make me know that today is going to be a great one. Happy Turkey.

Thursday, November 6, 2008