Currently {december eighteenth}

This week's themes:
loving, reading, choosing, designing, wondering

Loving:  I am loving that Christmas break is just around the corner!  Instead of getting up at 6:15am, I'll get to sleep until 7am instead.

Reading:  Still reading Interview with the Vampire because I've been knitting and not reading.  And while I've been knitting, I've been watching Call the Midwife on Netflix.  I LOVE THIS SHOW.  How have I not been watching before now?!?!  It's addictive from the very first episode.

Choosing: Choosing to ignore the husband's television choices this week. Apparently the WWE decided to have a big all week long to-do. So that's what has been on my tv. I'm so lucky.

Designing:  I'm always designing something in my head for the house.  Mostly it's things I can't afford to do, but dream a little dream.

Wondering:  ... if we'll get a white Christmas.  We usually don't have much in the way of snow, but it's always nice to see a little dusting on Christmas.

No themes for next week because... duh Christmas!!

Currently link up is hosted by Harvesting Kale and OT & ET.

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

I have been on a big cookie baking kick lately.  I made the good ol' stand by peanut butter.  I tried my hand at shortbread for the first time.  I did not like them.  Others said they were fine.

Finally I decided to make some yummy oatmeal cookies.  I opened up my cabinets to grab the ingredients and something caught my eye.  Hmmm...  I wondered if I could change some of the basic ingredients and still get a yummy cookie.  

I could.  And I did.  Now this may have been done before, but I've not seen it anywhere so I present to you...

My secret ingredient?  Instant oatmeal.  Apples & cinnamon flavor.

Preheat oven to 375F degrees.  Prepare your favorite cookie sheet.  I like to line mine with parchment paper.  Non-stick and easy clean up.

In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream together butter with granulated and brown sugars until combined.  Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure to to beat well.  Side note:  I like to make sure my eggs are room temperature when I bake with them.

In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Slowly add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture.

Mix together the apple & cinnamon packets and the sliced almonds.  

Gradually add to mixture in mixer/bowl.  Side note:  At this point I change to a dough hook, but I could have just used a spoon to mix them in.

Drop the dough by heaping tablespoons about 2 inches apart.  

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove to cooling rack. 

I got about 60-ish cookies from this batch, but of course the amount you get will depend on the size you start with.  I didn't do specific measurements, just winged it.  They are so delicious right out of the oven.  There is almost nothing better than a fresh out of the oven cookie!

Printer friendly version can be found here!

Currently {december eleventh}

Duuuuuudde... how is it already the middle of December?!? Does not compute.

Since I used this week's prompts last week when everyone was down with the sickness, I'm just using some random prompts this week and I'll get back into the regular swing next week!

Listening: Still jamming every chance I get to Christmas music on Pandora. We bought a soundbar last year to go in front of our TV and I can hook my tablet right up to it! It's great.

Eating: Cookies!! I've been making cookies galore the past few days. I even came up with a recipe that I'll be sharing in a couple of days. They're so yummy!!  I'm sure someone else has probably already done this cookie, but I've not seen it so I'm totes gonna say it's mine all mine.

Wearing: Sweats, tshirts, yoga pants, etc. Gotta make room for all those cookies I'm baking (and then eating....).

Feeling: Quite a bit worried actually. Since my husband lost his very good job almost two years ago, we have struggled at Christmas time. Luckily, two of our three kids are old enough to understand. The other is still young and is happy no matter what. It still bothers me though.

Hoping: Is it bad that I am hoping for a bit of a white Christmas? Chances are only around 30%, I think. But still... just a little snow on Christmas then bring on warmer weather!!

Reading: I've started the first book in the Vampire Chronicles, Interview with the Vampire.

Watching: Chibs didn't die. Amen. Do you know how hard it was for me to delete Sons of Anarchy from my DVR schedule?  Even though I watch several other shows, I feel so empty right now.

Next week's themes:
loving, reading, choosing, designing, wondering

Currently link up is hosted by Harvesting Kale and OT & ET.

Currently {december fifth}

The ladies and babes that host the link up for this weekly get together are down with the sickness this week!  Sending them healthy healing vibes!

This week's theme's:
dancing, cooking, losing, clearing, sharing

Dancing:  I've been wearing out the Christmas station Pandora.  I have serious issues about my Christmas music.  Burl Ives, Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, etc.  None of that modern crap.  I will knock people out of my way if Mariah Carey shows up on my Pandora Christmas station just so I can push that dislike/thumbs down button.  Get that shit out of my station.

Cooking:  Grilled cheese in our iron skillet.  It's ah-maze-balls.  We usually cook them in a sandwich maker, but really buttering them up in that cast iron skillet makes them soooo much better.

Losing:  Rowan has been losing socks.  Not whole pairs.  Just one of each.  Yesterday she lost two socks.  And she wasn't bothered by her lack of a missing sock.  She just continued on her way as if it was completely normal to only have on one sock.

Clearing:  Slowly I've been clearing off knitting projects.  It's hard to get things done when the person eventually receiving it is at the house.  I have a few hours during the day to work on them.  Today I finished some wrist warmers for Kaia.  I can post it here because she doesn't read, but I was so excited and proud of them and couldn't share on my Instagram or Facebook!

Sharing:  I can tell you what I am NOT sharing... my eggnog.  I love eggnog.  Not the alcoholic kind either.  Purity brand eggnog or no eggnog at all.  It's the bees knees.

Reading:  I've decided I'm not going to make it to my goal of 25 books for the year.  I nearly made it and I'm satisfied with what I did accomplish.  With the release of the new Lestat book, I'm going to reread the first few book in the Vampire Chronicles series and then read the others for the first time.  This will probably end up taking up most of the next year of book reading for me.

Watching:  The last season of Sons of Anarchy.  I can't believe it's going to be over after next week and I'm terrified of this last episode.  All I want to say is please for the love of all things holy do not let Chibs die.

Turkey Day Vittles

I hope everyone has survived the food coma that is Thanksgiving or the hell that is Black Friday shopping.  I forego that most hated of all shopping days.  I worked in retail for five years.  I saw first hand the ridiculous things people will do for a $10 Care Bear.  So instead of all that craziness, let's talk about food!

My mom made all the potatoes {sweet potatoes covered with marshmallows and cheesy potatoes} and the green beans.  It always helps to outsource a few dishes!  I did more pre-planning that I have in the past, which is great and I think I'll try to remember to do more earlier next year too!

On Monday, I made the herb butter for the turkey. I love basil.  I love garlic.  Goes without saying that I love pesto.  Waiting for that butter to soften enough to mix together just about killed me.  I kept walking in the kitchen and poking the sticks of butter.
Basil Herb Butter

-2 teaspoons of dried basil (I would rather have used fresh, but it's expensive and NO ONE in our little town carries fresh)
-2 sticks of buttah, softened
-6 cloves of garlic (chopped and then chopped again, really chop it)
-2 tablespoons of lemon juice

-Mix together the dried basil, garlic, and lemon juice.  Realize that the butter is still not softened enough, fix a cup of coffee and stare at the unsoftening butter.  Come back after the second cup and throw that butter in the stand mixer, dump in the basil mix, turn the mixer on low, low, low speed.  Tada!  Herb butter!  Put it in a small dish, refrigerate until you need it!  

I also decided to make my own ice cream.  I don't have an ice cream maker so it took a little looking to find a recipe that was as simple as I could find.  Thank goodness for Pinterest!

{Cinnamon Bun version}

-2 cups of heavy cream
-1 (14oz.) can of sweetened condensed milk
-3 tablespoons butter, melted
-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

-Pour heavy cream into mixer.  Whip.  Whip it good.  (You knew I was going to go there, right?)  While that is mixing, pour sweetened condensed milk into a separate bowl, mix in butter, cinnamon, and vanilla.  Once the cream is whipped to stiff peaks, fold in the condensed milk until it's all blended and delicious and m'mmmm..... cinnamon bun...  
Pour all into a 2 quart dish (I used one of my glass bread pans) and freeze for at least 6 hours.

Definitely check out the other recipes on the Kevin and Amanda blog.  There is one that uses Krispy Kreme donuts!

On Tuesday, I premade the bacon wrapped cheese stuffed mushrooms. I honestly just saw this picture on Facebook. I couldn't find an exact recipe, but come on. It's real simple.

Bacon Wrapped Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

-fresh mushrooms, as many packages as you think y'all will eat, we used two
-string cheese

Wash or wipe dirt from mushrooms, remove stems.  If you wash them make sure that you pat the excess moisture away.  Slice string cheese into 1/2 inch pieces.  No need to be too precise with that because some mushrooms are larger than others.  I just winged it.  I cut the slab of bacon in half and wrapped each mushroom with half a piece of bacon.  Cook in a preheated 350F degree oven for 20-ish minutes.

Then I sat all day on Wednesday wondering if I should be cooking something else.

The big day arrived.  I took my turkey out of the fridge, removed the bits, rinsed her thoroughly, and patted dry.  I took my herb butter that I'd let sit out and get to room temperature and spread it under the skin along the breast side of the turkey, then spread it all over the skin on the breast, legs, wings, errreywhere.  Put that bird in the oven and away we go!  I took a walk on the wild side and cooked my turkey a little differently from the way I usually do.  I left it uncovered and basted it (every thirty minutes after the first hour) with 2 sticks of melted butter.  Then covered it for the last 45 minutes or so.  It was awesome.  See this unattractive yet falling off the bone photo!?

I made cornbread in my iron skillet and then this amazingly easy pear cobbler!  Most people make pumpkin pie or apple pie for Thanksgiving dinners and I wanted to make something a little different.

Pear Cobbler 

- 1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter
-3/4 cup milk
-1 cup sugar
- (2) 15 oz. cans of pear halves in heavy syrup, cut into bite size pieces
-3/4 cup of self-rising flour

Put the butter in the baking dish and place it in a pre-heated 350F degree oven until the butter melts.  While the butter is melting, stir together the sugar and flour.  Slowly stir in the milk and mix well.  Remove the dish from the oven, pour the batter over the melted butter and DO NOT STIR.  Place pears on top of the batter and slowly pour the syrup over the pears and DO NOT STIR.  Bake the cobbler for about 30 mins.

I'm only including the chess pie debacle because this could happen to anyone.  I used the chess pie recipe in one of Paula Deen's cookbooks.  It's not the recipe that I used last year, but since I couldn't find it and a chess pie is so easy to make I figured, what could go wrong?!  Not cooking it long enough.  That's what could go wrong.  Her recipe says to cook for only 35-45 minutes or until the top is browned nicely.  On hindsight, and after looking at several other recipes after the fact, you should really cook these pies for about 55 minutes.  My pie never set up and it was because that shit didn't cook long enough.

And I made the crust from scratch!!  *stomps foot*  Can I just scoop out all that chess-ness and eat the crust?!?!