November 30, 2010

Vote for Me!

When I was in middle school, I ran for Student Council Secretary. My tagline: Vote for Allison because All-Is-On. 

Yep, I've always been clever. 

Today I'm asking you to vote for me in a photo contest on Facebook. If you're on Facebook, click on the link below and vote for my photo of the sunset. 


November 29, 2010

Two in One

I feel like I had two holidays in one this weekend. 

Thanksgiving went great, and I really enjoyed it. Friday was recovery day, and Saturday was Decorate For Christmas Day. 

I have to be honest. I didn't have 100% this year. Maybe because I was still coming down from the Thanksgiving high, but when I saw these

And these

And this

I became a little overwhelmed.
But the process had to begin, and so did I.

 Porter thought he would be helpful and watch over me and my fluffing.

Porter then thought he would get out the lights for me. 

I continued working, Chris continued sweeping up behind me and Grace slept. 

Will our Christmas house ever come together?

November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Success!

Thanksgiving 2010: Success!

This is my beautiful turkey. Can you believe it? It cooked and looked so pretty. And it was tasty too.

Here I am taking the turkey out of the brine. 

Jack poured everyone a little champagne

And we had my deviled eggs as hor d'oeurves

Here's me and Jenny and Thad. So glad they were able to come!

Here's my family minus Chris, who is behind the camera.

Jenny taught me how to make dressing.

And then it was time for the big reveal.

I was so proud of how pretty this bird turned out!

The next morning, we all met back up for some breakfast.

 And after everyone had eaten their fill, and we said our goodbyes, it was time to clean!

The turkey was huge, and I knew I wanted to make stock, so I spent some time chopping up the turkey carcass, and placed half in each of two pots.  

 After two days, I was able to cook 4 pots full of stock. I refrigerated some of it and froze the rest. I know it's going to be delicious, and save me so much money at the grocery store. 

This evening I cleaned up all the turkey remains and packaged up the rest of the stock, when I came across the wishbone!
 (This is a Christopher Cook photo)

So we had to split it.

And I won! I got my wish, but I'm not telling what it was.

November 24, 2010

The Follow Up

After some cooking, here's my updated Thanksgiving report. 

I completed the sweet potato souffle. DONE

 On to the deviled eggs. I boiled a dozen eggs. Three of them cracked while they were boiling! I didn't let the pot come to a hard boil, and as soon as the water boiled, I turned it down. Grr. So I had to put on another pot of eggs. And you know what? One of those cracked! Maybe it was the eggs? I'm not sure. There wasn't any crazy hard boiling going on, so I'm stumped. 

Finally I got enough eggs.

I made the Emeril recipe and split the batch, as suggested.

The eggs with the chives have pickled jalapenos and hot pepper sauce in them. Surprisingly they aren't that hot spicy. They have a more vinegar flavor to me, which I like. People can choose and that's the point. Right before I serve, I'll sprinkle the jalapeno-less ones with paprika.

Eggs DONE. 

Tomorrow I'm left to 
  • finish the pumpkin bread pudding soak and bake it off. 
  • bake sweet potato souffle 
  • roast green beans
  • cook the dressing with my grandmother
  • cook the pecan pie with my grandmother
I think that's a pretty good list. I'm feeling good!

So here are the downsides I have found to being the Head Cook for Thanksgiving.

1. the clean up: I've had to clean the kitchen after each dish every night and day. That has gotten boring, but there's really no option. Just a lot of cleaning.
2. My hands are DRY: See #1. With all the hand-washing, pot cleaning, knife rinsing, etc., my hands are super, super dry. I'm lathering my hands in lotion before I go to bed tonight.
3. My refrigerator is full: I've had to move around my standard refrigerator food to accommodate all the food.
4. Cooking apparatuses: I'm not sure you can ever have enough. My pots haven't been big enough, and I'm going to need more oven space tomorrow. Solution? My sweet, sweet neighbors are traveling for Thanksgiving, and they agreed that I could use their oven tomorrow. Hallelujah! The one day you really need a second oven? Thanksgiving. And, I'm sure after dinner, I'm going to say that I need a second dishwasher. This happens to be Jack's mantra: a second dishwasher, and I will be agreeing with that tomorrow night.

That's about it. Other that those details, I've LOVED prepping for Thanksgiving.


The Turkey Report

With only hours until Thanksgiving, I'm giving you my update. 

So far, I've made the cranberry sauce
And I added sugar. And lemon zest and juice. 

The overall taste was good, but very bitter. I'm not sure if it was the lime zest and fresh cranberries, but there was a lot of bitterness going on. So I added the zest and juice of one lemon and more sugar. And then just a little more sugar. 

So it's not quite as healthy as planned, but the flavor is there. 

Dish #1 DONE

Next was to make the brine for turkey.

Turns out I don't have a large enough pot for roughly 3 gallons of liquid. So...I split the recipe between my two largest pots. 

Y'all (you know I'm about to speak the truth when I start with y'all) this brine smelled so good I could have slurped it up from the pot. I cooked it last night, let it cool overnight and then it was ready for the turkey. 

Today I cleaned out the cavity of the turkey--a little ewww, but I survived--and then placed the turkey in an oven bag. I carefully ladled all the brine in the Turkey Bag. 

Behold: Turkey in Turkey Bag.

Some interesting facts about cooking/prepping/handling a turkey. 

1. turkeys are heavy
2. when you place them in a bag with 3 gallons of liquid, they are even heavier
3. always have something on hand to secure the top of the Turkey Bag after you fill it, or you'll be left with a very full bag of sticky, heavy liquid and no twist tie. Then you'll have to stretch out your leg, open the drawer with your feet and carefully grab a twist tie and several rubber bands. 
4. then you have to carry the Turkey Bag inside a huge roasting pan to the refrigerator. Heavy.

So half of the turkey is DONE

I've also baked the pumpkin bread for the pumpkin bread pudding, and that' been hanging out in the pantry.

I baked the sweet potatoes the other night, and tonight I'll be making them into a souffle.

And, I'll be making the deviled eggs. 

I'll keep you posted!

November 22, 2010

T-Minus 3 Days 'Til TDay

I've been researching and researching what to make for my first Thanksgiving as the Head Cook. 

I've read recipes, magazines, blogs and Tweets.

My first decision was to purchase a fresh turkey from West Wind Farms.  The turkeys are free-ranged on organic pastures. This means they will taste like turkeys, not corn!

Then I learned there are too many turkey recipes in the world. Seriously! My eyes crossed at one point. 

So here's what I've decided:

The turkey is in honor of Pioneer Woman

I'm using her brine recipe and her roasting suggestions.
 Her brine highlights oranges, and so I've decided to have oranges as the theme running through the meal.

For the green beans, I'm going to roast them in the oven with orange zest, olive oil, salt and pepper. 

The dressing is my grandmother's recipe, and thank goodness she's coming to help me cook it!

The cranberry sauce also features orange juice, and it's from the Food Network show 5 Ingredient Fix. It's becoming one of my favorite shows because she only uses 5 ingredients in each dish. I think I'll leave out the jalapeno in this recipe, but it should still be good!

I'm making Emeril's deviled eggs. I like that he has some that are spicy and some that are not. 
And for dessert:
We will be having my grandmother's pecan pie--again, thankfully she's coming to help me!
And, I will be attempting the pumpkin bread pudding by Bobby Flay from his Throwdown with Pioneer Woman. Yes, there are more steps to this than building a house, but it's worth a shot!

At least we'll have the pecan pie, right?

So what are you cooking for Thanksgiving, or what is your favorite dish that you're awaiting at your destination?

November 16, 2010

Just a little about me

 Porter says: 

Hey, get on over to Green Line Marketing Group's web site, and find out a few things about my mom!

November 12, 2010

Wha Tcha Bin Up Ta

Hey there reader!

Are you looking for my Shutterfly post? 

Run on over to my new blog:

It's got all the great information you're looking for, a slide show and more!

Go on now. 


November 8, 2010

I Got Older!

I had a birthday, and just like that I'm an entire year older. 

Nothing like a birthday as an excuse to have lunch with the family!

 My new favorite photo. Period.

Although these are pretty great. My grandparents are funny people...or at least Jenny thinks Thad is pretty funny.

Love them!

Testing out my interval timer shooting, and this is what I got the first time.

Now that's better.

And Jack brought me a cake!!

So pretty...and yummy!

Mom was happy I had a birthday.

Chris gave me a new piece of glass for my glass collection.

It's a pumpkin! And the box in the background was part of the gift too. It was made by a local artist, and it's out of black walnut.

Then Chris and Thad headed outside to test Chris' new bass fly rod.

And I took a picture of my glitter TOMS. They were festive for my birthday.

And the final hurrah was getting my interval timer working. Thad had the idea that we could do four shots back to back, and each time the next person in line would raise his/her arm.

Such a great time with family. Including this guy.

It's the birthday and birth-day girls.

Thanks for having us mom and Jack.

See? It was my birthday!

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