Friday, November 26, 2004

The morning after....

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year. It was a bit untraditional, but that made it special. The moving van delivered our Garden City family to Salina on Tuesday. We arrived at the new “digs” yesterday morning to find the most important rooms unpacked—kitchen and Aaron & Adam's bedrooms. The toys were unpacked, put away, and all back out again as the kids were enjoying their new play area.

I spent most of the day playing with the boys and Dan helped put together a cabinet for the playroom. Between unpacking boxes Marc made a trip to Dillons to pick up the makings for our Thanksgiving dinner. We broke their brand new kitchen in properly and deliciously. We had a pork loin on the grill, fresh green beans, sweet potato casserole, fresh rolls and a wonderful original portabella mushroom au jus for the meat. Kim should write down how she did it because it was excellent. Doug, even you might have liked it----not! We had my pumpkin pie and pecan turtle cookies for dessert.

I missed seeing our Colorado family, but we are planning a visit over New Year so I look forward to that to avoid disappointment in not seeing them yesterday.

I have the day off and have many things on my things to do list (see last Sunday) with the most important to dig out Christmas decorations! I love the house this time of year.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Ice Snow and Pie Crusts

It is late, but thought I would quick post my secret to great pie crusts. I have my chamomile tea and recipe. We have a snow storm moving in so I will probably loose my satellite connection soon.

Pie Crust

2 cups flour
1/1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup Butter flavored Crisco
4 – 6 tablespoons ice water

Measure four & salt into a bowl and mix together. Add the Crisco. Cut in the shortening with a pastry cutter or a dinner fork works fine (my mother always used a fork). It is important not to over do but to work the shortening into the flour until it is small crumbles. Then add about 4- 5 tablespoons ice water.

Here is the important part: once you add the ice water, work gently. Don't over mix. If the dough is like play dough or clay, you've mixed too much. It should be sort of dry but will hold together in a ball. If an edge falls off after you roll it out, wet the dough with a little of the ice water and mold it back on. It works fairly well to roll it between waxed paper. Best is a pastry cloth but it is a bit old fashioned.

I can't stress enough to treat the pie dough gently and don't overmix. This is enough for one two crust pie or two one crust pies.

Pecan Pie Wantabe

It is a tradition in our family to have pecan pie with a holiday meal. The trouble I have is I get through the meal without eating myself sick, but the pecan pie puts me “over the top.” I certainly cannot pass up the opportunity to have a piece. So, the past few years, I have made Butter Pecan Turtle Cookies. With a name like that, they have to be delicious. The best thing about these bar cookies is that a small piece is enough to fulfill the need for a piece of pecan pie. I am going to post this recipe because I can’t resist sharing my good stuff.

Butter Pecan Turtle Cookies

2 cups flour
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350. Combine crust ingredients. Mix well or until particles are fine. Pat firmly into ungreased 13x9x2 pan. Sprinkle enough pecans over the unbaked crust to cover well. The recipe says 1 cup, but I use more.

Caramel layer:
2/3 cup butter
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
In sauce pan, combine brown sugar and butter. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until entire surface of mixture begins to boil. Boil ½ to 1 minute. This can be done in the microwave, I suppose. Just don’t boil it too much or it makes the cookies hard.

Drizzle caramel over pecans and crust. Bake 15 to 20 minutes (do not overbake). Sprinkle chocolate chips over the hot cookies as soon as they are removed from the oven if desired. Swirl the chocolate around as soon as they melt.

Wait until cool to cut.

We also have pumpkin pie. If I have time later, I will share how to make wonderful pie crusts. It is simple and very delicious compared to the store bought chemical laden, hard, bla bla bla—you know how I stand on that.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Back When We were Grownups

was the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie last night.

The movie was an adaptation from the book of the same name by Anne Tyler. The principle characters were Blythe Danner as Rebecca Davitch, a usually merry widow; Peter Fonda as Will Allenby, a socially inept professor; and Jack Palance as Jack Palance aks Poppy, the senior respected member of the Davitch family. Rebecca has reached a point in her life where she feel unappreciated and without direction. She was widowed at an early age and left with three stepdaughters and one daughter of her own. Her life was her children. She says at one point that from now on its going to be "all about me." She then reconnects with Will, an old boyfriend. The rest of the members of the Davitch family move around this storyline.

I loved the story. Not only because I could identify with the "what ifs" but because four generations were dealing with familiar and often similar life circumstances. The ending was refreshing and realistic. It definitely was not a "tear jerker, chick flick." Maybe just a brief tear.

Actually, I cried more at the commercials. Hallmark has the best.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Things To Do Lists

I made a long list of things to do this morning. Since I worked yesterday, today was not a day of rest this week.

I wonder if lists could be a peek at how a person ticks. Kim prioritizes and methodically works down. Dan carries recipe cards and a pencil in his pocket and writes as items come to mind. I sit down in the morning with my coffee and a notebook. I may take up to an hour doing this if the coffee is good and Dan is there to discuss the day. Usually, my list starts with something like clean the kitchen or wash. I have been known to write tasks that are already done just so I can cross something off.

There are times when I feel my things to do list consists of tasks that I should not do because I avoid doing them all day. Today, however, I have kept to task fairly well. I still have some things not marked off, though.

I am going to copy the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie soon because I don’t want to watch the commercials. Here’s the plan, I’m going to tape the first half and watch it while walking on the treadmill and then watch the second half tomorrow night so I will look forward to the walk.

Wait a minute, I am going to put that on my list.

Kansas State University Football

I think I will quit predicting KSU football. We didn’t go to the game today as I had to work, but I listened on the radio and
read the statistics. It seemed the talent and work ethic were there, the team just couldn't get the grove this year. We’ll be there next year.