Just a little blog about me and mine.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 November 25, 2009

Filed under: family,food — Katie @ 11:51 pm

Today…I got off work at 1pm. It was a quiet and productive morning at work, but it’s always fun to leave early. I did get to read, rather re-read Mary Oliver’s Wild Geese as part of something I was doing. So beautiful. I just adore her, even though I’m not a huge poetry fan…just her and Rilke. Maybe I’ll be converted yet.

When I arrived home, my dad had already finished cutting down the huge bushes in the front of the house, and cut down the two dead dogwoods in the backyard. Together we picked up all of the small branches and and stacked the larger pieces usable for firewood. We also have another exciting yard project in the works, so stay tuned.

A highlight of the day, and this week, has been watching my Christmas cactus, er, Thanksgiving cactus, bloom. Shortly before she died, my grandmother gave me this cactus that she had at her house. It’s blooms are a beautiful coral color, which reminds me of her since it’s a color she really liked.

After a much less glamorous supper of sandwiches and chips and more fruitcake cookies, we removed the turkey from it’s brine and put it into the refrigerator until tomorrow. I made cranberry sauce, PL got the gravy mostly ready (or at least as ready as it can get without a turkey and its drippings), I assembled made from scratch, (not just from scratch but yuppie-like with a bechamel and gruyere and sharp white vermont cheddar), macaroni and cheese and got it oven-ready, and together we made a pumpkin ginger cheesecake.

While the cheesecake was baking, the oven did it’s really hot freaking out thing (c.f. Julia’s chocolate pecan pie from last Christmas Eve and my banana oatmeal bread from this summer). What happens is that it gets really hot all of a sudden, like lava hot, and turns itself off and won’t turn back on. PL thought she smelled something burning so we caught it early enough to scrape some black off the top of the still uncooked cheesecake, turn the circuit off and back on, and try again. We cooked it a bit more, and it’s cooling now so I think we saved it. I guess we’ll know tomorrow–the batter was very good, even though we added extra ginger to the recipe, so I hope the oven freakout didn’t ruin it (did I mention we have a $3500+ Jenn Air oven, not cool). We watched Glee while all this was happening, turning the tv off and back on a few times trying to find the right switch on circuit breaker for the oven, it’s the unlabeled one of course! Why then did we try the one that said “range” first, silly us for thinking things make sense in our house.


What I’m Reading–Mary Oliver’s Wild Geese

Filed under: Uncategorized — Katie @ 11:41 am

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Filed under: family,food — Katie @ 11:28 am

Today…my parents arrived at our house for Thanksgiving. PL and I cooked a really nice dinner for them, Chicken in Mustard Sauce, Middle Eastern Carrot Salad, and Green beans with Almonds. My mom then washed all the dishes since she can’t let a dirty dish sit around for more than a few minutes after eating-it’s fantastic.

Then we brined our Thanksgiving turkey. My dad hinted several times that the best turkey he ever had was one his mom brined before she cooked it. We bought a free-range, never injected with junk, vegetarian fed bird at the farmer’s market and we are using this recipe for the brine and then the gravy. I always ate giblet gravy with boiled eggs in it growing up, and I’m not a huge fan, and by not a huge fan I mean that I think it’s disgusting. I make a good pan gravy now, but thought this would be nice to try.

Since the turkey has to brine 18-20 hours and then sit in the refrigerator overnight after that, we had to get started yesterday evening. Yes, I confess that I am generally that organized all the time, I even have a Thanksgiving 2009 Google Doc schedule, so fun.

The turkey had been hanging out staying nice and cold with ice water in our cooler outside since we had too much stuff in our refrigerator. We somehow made enough room in the refrigerator, and it’s now brining in a large bucket. We were also smart enough to snag some of the large plastic bags they use in the meat section at the DeKalb Farmer’s Market which are nice and strong and the perfect size. (Full Disclosure: PL bought a brand new bucket for turkey brining (our stockpot was too small) on Monday, but then was so happy to have a bucket she used it for Murphy’s oil soap and water to mop the floors, even though I said that was gross. I lost the argument, and she cleaned the bucket really well after mopping, then we lined the bucket with one plastic bag, and put the turkey inside of 2 more. She might not like me sharing that, but it’s funny to live in our house most of the time).


Monday, November 23, 2009 November 24, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Katie @ 10:53 am

Today…I cleaned the house even more. My parents are coming tomorrow, and it’s finally clean–the dogs sure did their best to bring in more mud as we were trying to get rid of the mud that was already there. PL did more cleaning than I did-she vacuumed and mopped everything. She says near the top of her “Things I’m Thankful List” is the pet hair Dyson that we got earlier this year. Sometimes I think the Dyson might be higher on the list than me, but she reminded me that without me she wouldn’t even have dogs or a house full of dog hair–I’ll take that as a compliment.

Then PL and I baked Fruitcake cookies for my dad, using my grandmother’s recipe. I’m not really patient enough to bake, and this recipe is easy but uses lots of bowls and can get messy. I was already frustrated after having to run out for one item we forgot to buy this weekend for the cookies, and the store was a total zoo. So baking was frustrating more than fun, but PL came and helped me finish the cookies. While the cookies were baking, we watched a couple of our favorite tv shows–among the only shows besides Grey’s Anatomy we ever really make time to watch regularly–How I Met Your Mother and Big Bang Theory.


Sunday, November 22, 2009 November 23, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Katie @ 11:11 am

Today we went to Sunday school and church, and then stayed for a potluck and a little bit of the Advent Festival. It was a really rainy and cold day, so almost as soon as we got home we lit a fire in the fireplace and enjoyed it all evening. We were smart enough to start pea soup in the crockpot that morning, once again somehow picking the nastiest of days to get to come home to soup–I had planned to do that last Tuesday, not knowing at the time that it would be pouring down rain. We just relaxed on the couch in the afternoon, reading, playing on the computer, and snuggling the dogs. That evening, we just sat around even more, did a tiny bit of pre-Thanksgiving cleaning, and watched several episodes of Criminal Minds on tv before going to bed.

When I was getting ready for bed, Oliver went with me to the bedroom, and when I came out of the bathroom, he had made himself comfortable.

Yer bed. I made it warm for U.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Katie @ 11:06 am

Today I got up early, but not early enough, to get to the DeKalb Farmer’s Market to do Thanksgiving shopping. It was crowded but people were generally friendly and patient. We decided most of the people there were regular shoppers like us and knew how to behave and deal with the crowd. Then we went to Kroger to finish up the Thanksgiving shopping. I actually have a longer story about that…

The List.

The parking lot at 9:30am. FYI-they open at 9am. Fun times.

One of our Thanksgiving desserts is going to be Ginger Pumpkin Cheesecake. It’s a Cooking Light recipe and it combines fat free cream cheese with reduced fat cream cheese to make it a little less bad for you. At our Kroger, the dairy section is the last section you come to before reaching the end of the store. So we had a cart nearly overflowing, and just needed the cream cheese and one or two other things before we were totally done shopping. We get to the section where the cream cheese is located, and they only have the regular kind–no fat free, no reduced fat. We look around a bit more and still can’t find any, and realize we’ll have to go to another store.

Then a guy who was behind us restocking the ice cream asks if we need help. We ask him about the cream cheese, he goes to check some of the other cases since sometimes they have things on sale in other cases. There’s none there, but he tells me to wait and he’ll check in the back. PL goes to get our last items, while I wait. He comes back a few minutes later, apologizing that he couldn’t find fat free but that he found the reduced fat kind. We thank him several times for being so helpful, and I make sure to look at his nametag to tell a manager on the way out how much we appreciated his help. When we were on the last aisle, he tracks us down with a box of fat free cream cheese that he found after looking some more through other cases in the back. He asks what we were planning to make, does an adorable swoon (we were 90% certain he was family already, 99.99% after that). As we were leaving the store, we see him going out of his way to help another customer as well. On perhaps the busiest grocery shopping day all year, he took the time to help us find what we needed, saving us a trip to another store and being incredibly friendly the whole time. Later that afternoon I called the store and told them how helpful and nice he was and that I wanted his supervisor to know he was an excellent employee. He said they get thank you calls about this particular guy quite often. So thanks, Robert in frozen foods at the DeKalb Industrial Kroger, for being the awesomest employee ever.

After our shopping adventures, I picked up my cousin Dee and took him with me to the GT Women’s Basketball game. We had a great time, GT won (but who knew Florida Gulf Coast a) existed; b) had a basketball team and c) had several great 3-point shooters). I’m sure he’s still talking about how Buzz sat down with us, hitting me in the head with his tail and then knocking Dee’s drink out of the cupholder.


Friday, November 20, 2009 November 20, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Katie @ 10:41 am

Today I worked incredibly hard, getting so many things crossed off my to-do list. It felt really good.

My in-box.

Then we had a nice evening at home, watching a strange but excellent movie, Lost and Delirious. It was a teenage, lesbian coming of age film that takes place at a boarding school, so you can imagine how dramatic and angst-filled it was. At the end, I commented, “that was a really good movie until the last minute and a half.” PL replied, “no, it started getting strange when she stopped washing her hair.”