Tag Archives: Holidays

Yet Another Quick Personal Update

Yes, I’ve been away yet again, but I’m back. πŸ™‚

It’s been a hectic last week plus here. Initially, it was last minute holiday preparations and cooking two different holiday dinners (the things we do for family). The previously mentioned spider bite slowed me down just a little as well. More on the meals in a separate food post. πŸ™‚

During the prep for the bigger, second dinner, my Microplane box grater decided to take a chunk out of my thumb instead of leaving it at the smoked gouda cheese

If you’ve never used this goodie, or the more well known Microplane graters:

I highly recommend them. They work amazingly well on anything from lemon skin (for zest) to coconut to thumbs. πŸ‘πŸ€¨ Dark humor aside, they’re FAR superior to the typical grater.

After the dinners, presents and festivities, it’s been a combination of clean up and (mostly) what I can only assume is a reaction to the antibiotics for the spider bite; I’ve been dead on my feet for days. Worst case of fatigue I can ever remember. Yesterday, I was only awake for 7 hours or so and I was dead on my feet the entire time.

I’d almost attribute it to the Onmicron variant (which is supposed to cause severe fatigue), but I’ve felt fine otherwise. Even the spider bite is healing nicely. So with no other suspects or symptoms, the now finished off antibiotics seem the most logical suspect.

Despite it all, I’ve managed to keep the new positive outlook. Can’t say I’ve been perfect. Last minute grocery shopping certainly worked my last good nerve, lol. I’m sure hoping that I’m done with the fatigue now as well. I’m managing to keep an overall positive attitude about everything though. πŸ™‚

Presents and meals you ask? Next Time. πŸ˜‰ Here’s a hint though:

Christmas Music: The Fun Stuff

I’m putting Friday Night 80s on a brief hold for some Christmas music. I’d intended to do a longer series of these posts like some other blogs have, but the whole spider drama kept me sidetracked. I’ll make a handful of these posts today and tomorrow in between all the cooking / prep and cleaning I have to do. πŸ™‚

So we’re going to start with the silly and fun stuff first. We’ll get to classics and religious Christmas songs a little later.

We start with one that only the SoCal beach hot rodder culture could have come up with:

This secret now revealed; I’m a huge Beach Boys fan πŸ™‚

And no list of this type would be complete without the infamous Mr Grinch song:

Nobody does it better than the original

Next stop; The Muppet Christmas Carol. There are several good songs to choose here. I was tempted to pick the Scrooge song from the beginning, but I want to keep things positive and upbeat, so…

And last for this post, we’re going to pay Snoopy a visit. This is another one you Millennial kids probably never have heard. πŸ™‚

Thanksgiving Feast Reveal!

Yes, it was a few days ago, but I needed time to recover, LOL. As usual, I spent WAY too much time cooking. The results and everybody’s enjoyment make it worth while however. πŸ™‚

I once again cooked the turkey on out Recteq (Formerly Rec Tec; they changed the spelling) pellet smoker. I also had my cousin-in-law (is that a thing? πŸ˜€ ) drop off a ham since his kids are not turkey fans. Plenty of room in the smoker for both.

200 degrees (93degrees C) for 7 hours…

Since cooking low and slow will turn any poultry skin rubbery, I peeled the skin off the turkey before smoking it. At the point this picture was taken, it was looking better than it did going onto the grill. The ham was pre-cooked and spiral cut, so it went on for a shorter time to simply warm it up and add some smoke flavor to it. We’ve had that brand of ham before and it’s overly sweet out of the wrapper.

I had actually started with the desserts, as they’re the most time consuming. Up at 2:30am start also. There were 2 dutch crust apple pies and a Ghirardelli double layer cheesecake.

Before the dutch crumble topping was added and after it was done baking.

One of those pies went to the next door neighbor, who was kind enough to bring us over a store bought pumpkin pie. The cheesecake (link to recipe at Ghirardelli) was major work. I didn’t remember to get a picture until after we’d cut into it also, lol.

It looked prettier new.

What you have there is a chocolate graham cracker crust, then a layer of regular “vanilla” cheesecake topped by a layer of chocolate espresso cheesecake, then covered with Ghiradelli chocolate ganash, fresh raspberries and mint leaves as garnish.

Since the layers are both liquid when added to the springform pan, they come out with a marbled look instead of even layers. There are some things I’d change with that recipe, having made it now. That will be a separate post in the near future though. πŸ˜‰ Overall it was a hit, and almost as rich as my goo-goo cluster cheesecake. Something I just realized I’ve never posted here… O_O

Once the desserts were out of the way, I was able to focus on the actual dinner.

One very easy side dish I did was a giant butternut squash:

I know, kind of small. At least it didn’t have a phallic appearance though, lol.

All I did here was skin it, dice it into cubes, throw it in a casserole dish with melted butter, and top it with brown sugar and cinnamon, then bake.

It’s an easy, old school recipe for a veggie dish that even most kids will devour.

There was also some homemade dressing, not stuffing. The difference there is that stuffing goes IN the turkey for cooking. Dressing goes in the oven in a baking dish. Unfortunately, I forgot to get pictures of those two items.

Family also brought over some green bean casserole, fresh baked bread and store bought pecan pie. Yes there was as much dessert as there was food.

From bottom to top: Bread, Turkey, Cranberry Jelly, Dressing, Gravy, Green Bean Casserole, Ham, and WAY at the back off to the side, the Butternut Squash.

Note I wasn’t able to get the skin off the drumsticks or wings, as the picture shows.

How did THAT experiment work out? Reasonably well. I won’t call it a huge success because the turkey was just slightly dry. That had more to do with my thermometer breaking on me though. That, in turn, led to the turkey staying on the smoker a little longer than it should have.

And that’s my Thanksgiving dinner recap. With that, I’ll leave you with this important Thanksgiving thought:

πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€