Sunday, November 25, 2012

We Need More 5 Day Weekends!

Going back to work after a normal two day weekend is no fun, but going back to work after a long holiday weekend is the pits! Don't get me wrong; I'm extremely blessed and thankful for my job, but c'mon, don't you agree? I dream of the day when the days are reversed...two work days and five day weekends! Yeah!
I had to good fortune to be off on Wednesday to prepare most of my dishes ahead of time, which worked out great. I wanted to get as much as possible done before our girl got home later that day, because she and I planned to just sit and snuggle and visit, as we both desperately needed it! She pulled up right on time, with one stinky cat along for the ride (and I mean STINKY! He pooped in his cage about 5 minutes into the 2 hour drive) Hilarity ensued as Linds gave him his second bath in two days (betcha didn't know cats hate water)....

HE WAS NOT HAPPY! This picture makes me laugh every time. Doesn't he look like one of those hairless cats?! Poor Harrison...
(please ignore the stained grout)
She got him all cleaned up, and he went about his business scoping out the house again. He really does like it here ☺
See? He's fine. He made himself right at home later in the evening, helping himself to our Scrabble game (he kept laying on my letters, trying to make me lose my train of thought. No way, buddy, but good try!).
I don't know if everyone has appetizers on such an already 'big eating day', but it's a good thing we do, because I told Patti & Dave to be here an hour too early. Sigh. I was guess I was just excited, and anyway, we had a great visit. I love the fresh cranberry salsa (I actually think I'm the only one who does) and everyone loves Patti's deviled eggs. They were gone in a flash!

Here's our hard-working guys. In all the years I've made turkeys, I've never carved (whew)! And see? The egg platter's empty!

Dave makin' the taters. I love all this help, guys! And I am truly blessed, because Jack always does all the after-dinner dishes! (thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!)

Thankful for these folks right here ♥ And that big pan of Patti's cornbread stuffing.
('Scuse Al, he was still a little sleepy)
One of many poses for the Christmas card photo. How did I get so small?! (I'm thinking this particular line-up didn't help)
We had a wonderful, wonderful day! We ended the day with our traditonal get-in-the-Christmas-mood-movie, Elf, our all-time favorite!
Linds and I swore we were gonna stay home in our jammies all day Black Friday, but that didn't quite work out. Our shopping hormones completely took over, and we were at Kohl's by 10:30 am. It was actually quite fun; we got in, scored our deals, and got out. This line was nothing compared to how it looked just a few minutes later. Boy, did we get lucky!
Friday night brought a "campfire" and more movies.
On Saturday, we enjoyed breakfast out, Deb came to visit, and we watched another movie!
Ahhhh, What a Wonderful Life!
Hope yours was just as great!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Not a Great Day to be a Duck...

Ahhhh, Opening Day. Jack waits for this day all year; from the close of the season in January, through Early Teal Weekend in September, to the Official Opening Day the weekend before Thanksgiving, anticipation mounts (even though he just returned last weekend from a two and a half week hunt in North Dakota, this apparently is just as exciting). Packing peanut butter sandwiches, Pop Tarts and a few (adult) beverages, he now heads out to the refuge the night before, and secures his place in line. In the God-forsaken-middle-of-the-night, the gate opens, and out they go to their secret spot; a box of shells later, it's all over.

Today was a good day, they shot their limit! I'm actually really happy, because nothing makes me sadder than to see them return with one (or zero) birds after all that preparation!

Look at that beautiful creature! (a green-winged teal drake)
 I can't look when it's time know...(making slashing motion across throat)
Anyway, Jack shot a "banded" bird, which must be a good thing since he was so excited about it. I learned today that there's info on the band that helps track the bird (where it was tagged, its age, etc), so Jack called the number provided. They'll send him a certificate about this particular one, and we'll find out where he came from, only to know...(insert same motion across throat here) 

Al was able to go again this year, and will be enjoying duck stir fry for dinner tonight (LOTS of it, cuz Momma don't make no duck!) I actually made it for him once, but now he does it ☺
I do, however, make turkey, so Happy Thanksgiving to you!!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Lil' Terry Homemaker

I definitely like to cook, but cookie baking isn't nearly as successful for me. I used to bake birthday cakes when the kids were little, and those were fine, but I've never, ever, had success with cookies. I'm talking every cookie: chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal, sugar cakes, snickerdoodles, you name it...always hard as a rock. I take that back; I bought the Mrs. Fields Cookie Book years ago, and the peanut butter ones turned out nicely, but Jack doesn't like peanut butter cookies. Figures. Jack is, 99.9% of the time, a grateful, gracious consumer of my cooking, but he does like to make little snipes regarding the "crisp" consistency of my cookies. So I set out to find the magic ingredient that would turn my crunchy cookies into soft, chewy, more palatable ones (that don't need dunked in milk or coffee to get them down!)

Hours of Pinterest scouring later (not really, but I did check out a number of blogs, which was fun), I found the recipe for THESE! Could I have finally gotten it right?!

I don't know who to give credit to, because this "secret" recipe is all over Pinterest. However, I found this on
Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. cornstarch (a/k/a "magic ingredient")
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
chocolate chips, as many as you like! I used 1/2 bag each of dark chocolate and semi-sweet

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together butter, brown sugar and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat to combine. Combine the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt and add to wet ingredients. Mix to combine and stir in the chocolate chips (don't worry if the dough is a bit crumbly, it comes together). Chill dough for at least 30 minutes. Use a small cookie scoop and drop dough onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until barely golden around the edges. The key is to NOT overbake. 
(we'll see if they're still soft tomorrow...)
   Then I made dinner !
This is 'Lighter Sesame Chicken' from Iowa Girl Eats (love her). We put ours on lo-mein noodles rather than rice, and it was fab. Her photos are beautiful, and I'm ashamed to even put this on here, but I snapped it in the dark dining room after I had taken two bites. Sheesh. Amateur.
Here's the pro's link:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Keep It Weird, Vermont! I'll Be Back!

("Keep it Weird" is another t-shirt slogan, I'm not being cheeky ☺)
For my own memory's sake, I have to finish this trip. Our last full day was very cool & misty, but it was still heaven to us. We rolled outta bed and walked next door to Mass (isn't that cool?! St. Alphonsus was literally two doors away), where the priest invited us to the church dinner since he "bagged" a 50 pound turkey for it! Then we put on our "extra" shoes and sweatpants, and set out on a hunt for blue rocks!

Peg took us on a 15 minute walk to the creek where her kids and now grandkids love to play. I know why!
 Kinda like the "Where's Waldo" of blue rocks; the rocks are blue from iron (I think) from a furnace factory upstream. Do you see one?

After we loaded up with rocks, dried off and had some warm snacks, Peg drove us all around Pittsford. That little town is packed with cool things to see, one of them being a huge haunted house and hayride during Halloween week. Dang, we're gonna miss it! Here's a stop at Hammond Bridge, #2 of four covered bridges in town. 

Depot Bridge...that makes three that we've seen!

Laura and I ventured to the Maple Museum ourselves while Peg attended a speaking engagement. We were so looking forward to getting our syrup on...after all, that's Vermont's #1 souvenir!
A syrup tasting! How fun is that?! If they only made maple flavored wine...
A little exploring found us a huge pumpkin patch! (because it was on the main road) Pumpkins as far as the eye can see! Well, almost. It felt very fall-ish! And Halloween-y! And "northern"!

Why not?! Look at that misty sky ☺
Ok. Laura felt bad for just taking pictures here; she had to buy something, and it was gonna be a pumpkin! And it had to fit in the suitcase. This lil pumpkin did NOT get her busted at the airport, but her blueberry pancake mix (white powder) and maple syrup did (more than 3 fluid ounces)! She's a nut! A fun one!

After another lovely homecooked meal, courtesy of our hostess, and a mad dash to find the elusive maple cremee (which we unfortunately didn't find), we settled in in our favorite spot in the house. Over five nights in here, we chatted, watched a debate, a movie, drank lots of tea, coffee and hot chocolate, and chatted some more. Thank you, Peg! We don't wanna go home!!! 
But alas, we must. On the way to the airport in the morning, we stopped by the Shelburne Museum and snapped a pic of the Ticonderoga through the fence. Then we stopped in a local bagel shop for one last Green Mountain Pumpkin coffee and a cider donut! We don't wanna go home!!!
Good fortune smiled on us before our trip home; we took a "bump" and came home a few hours later. Hmmm, $400 each in free airfare, and $60 for food while we waited? Sure!
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