Thanksgiving: The Food

Thanksgiving food… the best of the best. I love Thanksgiving because the point is to eat. It is rude not to eat. That sounds like my kind o’ party. So, eat we did.

Bf and I drove to Spartanburg late Wednesday night and got in at 1:3o a.m. We were exhausted! My sisters, the twins, were still awake when we got there to help us with “the animals.” We had ChumChum, StellBell, and Oinky Pants and with us and we definitely needed some extra hands herding our group.

Once we got settled in to bed it was about 2:30 am. Have no fear… We were up and raring to go for Thanksgiving lunch at 8:30. We had the wine flowing by 11 and lunch cooking on the stove. I love the pre-Thanksgiving food. My favorite is the sausage and cheese ball! Mmmmm…mmmm….mmm…. This is my #1 holiday food. Yes, above turkey. Yes, above stuffing. Yes, above unconventionally timed wines.

Don’t worry. I couldn’t just “fresh from brushing my teeth” have a snippet of wine, so I had a spritzer. Or as the Barbara Streisand on “Meet the Fockers” would say, a schpritzer. A little white wine + a little gingerale= a lot of fun.

I love the sight of my mama cooking at the stove. I (usually) know that she’s got somethin’ good goin’ on over there (except for this one time when she made something that tasted like grass cooked in a terra cotta flower pot). But when it comes to Thanksgiving, she is gooooood.

So, I sat on my perch at the bar and watched my mama cook us lunch.

JOHN CARVED THE TURKEY JOHN CARVED THE TURKEY. I couldn’t believe it. He fits in so well with my family. Sometimes I think that they like him more than they like me. I think the only person to ever carve the turkey has been my dad, so I was proud that John had the reigns this year. My brother, Brady, wasn’t there so he couldn’t be jealous.

Look at that sucker! My Dad brined the turkey this year. We usually have fried turkey, but this one BLEW the old turk out of the water! It was succulent and delicious. The whole family was raving!

Now, just so you know, I am the gravy girl. I may not make turkey, or stuffing, or cranberry sauce, but…oh wait…  you need some gravy? Call me. I’m on the j o b. I should be, as much as I love gravy. Seriously. This year I studied my Bon Appetit for weeeks to perfect my gravy. When it was “go time” I used all my newly acquired knowledge to blow this year’s gravy out of the park.

I made a giblet gravy with the heart, liver, and gizzard from the turkey. I added a little milk… a little flour… a little pepper… a little chicken broth and VOILÀ! C’est Magnifique!

We also had some awesome Pork Butt.

And my Aunt Kim’s broccoli casserole.

My mud’s delicious mac and cheese

Some type of fruit chutney and cranberry sauce

All the girl’s were arranging the kitchen so that everything would fit! My Aunt Kim and Aunt Ruth Anne’s exchange student, Matilda, were working together to get things ready!

Here is the kid’s table. I have never sat at any table other than the kid’s table. I can’t imagine the adult table! BORING! We have fun at our table. Now the age range of the kid’s table is 18-29, so I guess you can’t really call us kids.

The adult table

The spread (Oh, I wish I was there right now!).

I filled my plate with my favorites! No need to make room for something that isn’t necessary. All I need is my Turkey and dressing with my giblet gravy, mac and cheese, some collards, and some broccoli casserole.

Who on earth made that gravy?! It looks sooooo delicious! Oh, me? That’s right.

Now, the twins were on a Thanksgiving date. There wasn’t enough room for all, so they enjoyed their lunch at the bar.

And then this happened…

Nothing like a good Thanksgiving nap to let your food digest and to get ready for the fun that comes after the meal. We have traditions that we up hold every year. There was much more to come… drinks to drink, games to play, fights to get in….

Coming tomorrow… Thanksgiving: The Fun

Tonight, (with my mind on Thanksgiving food) I am going out to my favorite sushi place with my favorite friend, Thao. Remember how she just got engaged? You can check out her engagement here. We are hitting up Shoya for some squid legs and chicken hearts, my fav! Hooray for Tuesday (geez, I wish it was Friday).

Sunday Supper: Chicken Piccata

I used to hate Sundays… like hate them. I would have the Sunday blues all day and I freaked out about “being ready” for work on Monday. Well, those days have been o v e r since the new school year started. I made a pact with myself to start enjoying every inch of my weekend starting on Friday at 3 and ending on Sunday at 11pm. Every Friday I think “Let’s do this weekend!” This weekend was especially awesome because it lasted from Tuesday at 3 until Sunday at 11. Dang, that’s how every weekend should be, right?

Bf and I spent our nice lil’ Sunday with me waking up at the crack o’ dawn to write a 5 page graduate paper (gag) and then headed off to lunch for burgers and bloodys… and a little football… at his dad’s house. We brought Oinky of course and it was hilarious.

Then we jetted off from lunch go get our Christmas Tree. I LOVE getting my Christmas tree and it is such an important part of my holiday season. This year, Bf was in charge of picking it out… all by himself. He did a great job! Last year we got a Fraiser Fir, but this year we upped it a notch and got a Noble Fir.

Yes, I am taking all of the pictures while chillin’ on the couch. I have a cold that won’t quit and have been feeling partially disabled.

Ooo! That’s a big boy Christmas Tree! I think it is 8 ft.

So, while Bf set up our tree, I got busy making this week’s Sunday Supper. This week’s Supper reminded me of one of my favorite recipes, Spaghetti Alla Carbonara. Maybe because its easy, maybe because its cheap, maybe because its Italian, but definitely because its delicious. Also, it has my favorite components of Sunday Suppers: buttery, salty, carby, proteiny.

Ingredients

  • 2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, butterflied and then cut in half (I just used one this time since it was just me and bf)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup brined capers, rinsed

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons olive oil.

When butter and oil start to sizzle, add 2 pieces of chicken and cook for 3 minutes.

When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes.

Remove and transfer to plate.

If you are making enough for 4 (if not, then skip): Melt 2 more tablespoons butter and add another 2 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add the other 2 pieces of chicken and brown both sides in same manner. Remove pan from heat and add chicken to the plate.

Into the pan add the lemon juice, stock and capers.

Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Check for seasoning. Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes.

I’m such a sauce gal… its all about the sauce.

Remove chicken to platter. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to sauce and whisk vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken.

We served it up for 2 with sauce for 4 (that’s how we roll) and served it over some Buitoni Fettucini noodles.

When I was living in my first apartment in Atlanta alone, I made this dish a lot! I had completely forgotten about it until today when bf and I were at the grocery store. We had just eaten hamburgers and nothing sounded appetizing. But, we knew ourselves and knew that we’d better get something because it was just a matter of time until we’d get that urge for Supper. Beef was out (hamburgers), pork was out (OINKY!), and the fish department just looked pitiful at PUBLIX after shopping at Whole Foods for so many weeks. Chicken was the way to go and I am glad that this dish is back in the rotation!

Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. Details on mine to come!

A Peek Inside: Andrew and Thao’s Engagement

If you remember my post from a few days ago about my friends’ engagement …. here are the details of Andrew and Thao’s exciting moment.The details were so sweet and they really are lucky to have found one another (11 years ago). On the night of their engagement, John and I and a group of our closest friends, were there to celebrate with the happy couple. The best part was: that Thao didn’t know…muahaha….

6 of us got together to excitedly drink wine beforehand. We were all so excited that we were about to burst! I seriously felt like a spy slinking through the streets of Roswell, Ga, hiding cars and whispering.

This is where the engagement took place.

As we passed the restaurant on the way to their house we slowed down and peeked in the windows just to try to catch a glimpse!

Then we let ourselves into their house and began to celebrate the happy couple… in the dark… until they got there. Which was supposed to be about an hour and a half before they actually showed up…. mmm… hmmm…. It was actually pretty fun hanging out in the dark. It felt like a sneaky high school party.

We were afraid to make any sudden movements should they pull in the driveway, so we were also tip toeing around the house like cartoon burglars. The plan was to wait until they walked in and we were going to wait until they found us hiding around the corner.

It was so hard to be quiet when they walked in! I just wanted to scream “SURPRISE!!!!!!!” at the top of my lungs. I think the best part of the night was when they walked in to their house and Thao didn’t know anyone was there. She was bubbling with glee. And then we finally got to burst out “SURPRISE!!!!!!!!!!!!”

It was well worth the wait.

Look at her face! She definitely had NO IDEA that anyone was going to be there! SUCCESS!

I get a knot in my chest even looking at these pictures. Her happiness was palpable. Have you ever seen 2 people so happy?

Thao retold the story of how Andrew proposed while I sniffled in the back like an idiot. I am such a sucker for sentiment. Even still, I am shocked that Thao and I were the only people crying, it was really sweet. Everyone else must have hearts of steel. I. do. not.

The Champagne flowed… and so did the tears….

Then we gave impromptu toasts… which I bombed. Tears + speaking in public (10 people is public right?) = blubbering.

Enough with the sap…. look at this rock! I hope Andrew and Thao don’t mind me showing it because it truly should be showed off! A M A Z I N G.


When Thao was retelling the story she said that when Andrew asked her, she didn’t even look at the ring. She just said yes and was crying (awwwww!) and had to be reminded by Andrew to see what he had put on her finger. When she saw it, she screamed. It was exactly what she had wanted. What a great boyfriend… oops, fiance.

I FINALLY hear wedding bells

No, not for me. For my and John’s bestfriend couple/regular bestfriends/high school buddies (except for me… Oh SHS), ANDREW and THAO!!!

Andrew and Thao began dating back in high school. They celebrated their eleventh anniversary of dating February 14, 2010. Well, no more February 14th anniversary for you suckers! They will now have a new anniversary date (although I bet Thao will still make Andrew celebrate their dating anniversary).

While, I can’t possibly express the happiness they are surely feeling at this moment… I can tell you one thing: this girl can keep a secret. Andrew came over earlier in the week and told us that he was going to propose. My baby pig nearly fell from a grasp and I began to sweat. John, Andrew, and I were hugging (well, me and Andrew were) and passing out the congratulations.

When I saw the gorgeous ring I did a double take (boy, does Andrew have nice taste!) and my knees began to shake. I knew that this was going to be special. Seriously. I don’t know if it was the seriousness of the situation, but a friend’s engagement has never made me literally sweat before.

Then, it happened. The chest tightening feeling I get when someone says “You can’t tell anyone.” I am a great secret keeper. But this had to be the juiciest news that I had had in a loooong time. It just wanted to squirt out! And to keep it from Thao just seemed impossible. I was afraid she could read it on my face, tell from my Blackberry Messages, or from my Facebook comments. But I did it! Hooray for me! Oops, not about me… Hooray for Andrew and Thao!

I am so excited for you guys. Its going to be awesome. Now, let’s get this party started!

CONGRATULATIONS ANDREW AND THAO!!!

Here are some photos of me and my newly en-fianced pals…

Wedding in Rhode Island

Fourth of July at the Lake

Breakin’ it down at a wedding in Houston

Andrew and I at my Disco Birthday Party

I am sure that there will be much more to come!

Thinking Thanksgiving

Boy, do I have Thanksgiving on the brain. I have had turkey and stuffing dreams for weeks now and I am so glad that the time has finally come! I can’t wait to see Mama and Dad and Emily and Erin (sisters) and my dog Buster. I am also excited because Mama has agreed to let me bring not only Chum and Stellar home to Sparkle City, but also Oinky! Woo hoo! This Thanksgiving has already gone to the dogs (ahem…pigs…pig).

I realized that I was so excited this year, because last year John and I didn’t participate in our family’s Thanksgivings. No, there were no spats or bad blood. We. were. on. vacation. Ah…. vacation. We hit the air and jetted off to our favorite place in all the world (so far): a little Island off the coast of Mexico. We spent almost a week there last year. We enjoyed some major sea and sun. It was such a nice break and something that we had looked forward to for months.

So we had a few days before Thanksgiving to get some sun and relax.When Thanksgiving came, we ate at an Italian Restaurant (odd I know) and had Gnocchi.

We just love strolling the streets at night… and stumbling across new things.

Yes, that was a scorpion, tomato juice, tequila, and salt… Mmmm….good.

Here’s the tequila with the scorpion in it.

We did tons of fun things like Golf Carting…

And Lighthouse climbing

We even made time for continuing a traditional pose…

And creating new ones…

The beaches were beautiful and an amazing way to spend the day.

I would literally chop off all of my hair to be transported to this exact spot right now!

Nothing like reading a book on a warm sunny day with a cocktail in hand. I remember drinking cheladas…. ah… Mexico.

This was the first Thanksgiving that I had ever missed with my family and I got to tell ya…. being in Mexico really softened the blow of missing my fam. But it also got me raring to go for this year’s Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

baby pig=tired lady

I love Oinky. He is sweet and cute and melts my heart….

But I am tired. And I feel a twinge of guilt. I hate that I was at work all day and that when I got home, I really didn’t know what to do with him. What do you do with a baby pig?! Hug it, yes. Love it, yes. Kiss its snout, yes. Then what…

His home is the bathtub. Thank the lawd for a guest bathroom. When I went in there he was crying and had his little hooves up on the side of the tub.

Poor little baby…

But, I did find something that Oinky likes: Granny Smith Apples

Here are some still shots of Oinky devouring his apples…

This pig is the belly-run-king. He twitches and gets chill bumps. Auntie/Sister Kate was doing it juuuuust right.

With a face thats impossible not to love…

After Kate left he spent another hour or so snuggled up inside my jacket. Now he’s in his tub and I am off to bed! Hopefully I will get some sleep and not worry about pigpig the rest of the night!

Have you ever had a potbelly pig? Know anyone that has? Got any tips?

This Lil’ Piggie

I love pigs. There. I said it.

My first pig love is my favorite book character, Piggie

So, when John got a call Friday night from his mom, saying that she had gotten a piglet, I knew we were on our way to Sweet Olive farm Saturday to fall in love check out this oinker. I texted her immediately and made plans.

I could barely sleep knowing that I would have a pig pig in my arms shortly. When we arrived in Athens on Saturday night, I oinked right over to that pig. Kat and Susan named him… OINKY.

I literally couldn’t stop smiling.

Even Bf, who doesn’t like anything, was in love with Oinky.

AWWW!!!!! He is even cute in pictures. I was also excited about Athens because we were headed to The National. I had heard sooooo many great things about this place and I literally was about to explode to go. The ambiance was awesome, the menu was excellent, there was a pig waiting for me at home… life couldn’t get much sweeter. Bf got the hanger steak and I got…. what else… meat and cheese plate. Its a sickness. I love them so much. Remember my other meat and cheese adventures (here and here)?

Anywoo… back to my Mr. Oinkers. So when we got home, we watched some tube and doodled around on Bf’s mom’s iPad. I awoke raring to go at 7 am. Yes, 7 am. Actually, I was up before that thinking “pig.pig.pig.pig.pig.pig.” So… after some farm work (meaning watching someone else do some farm work) I settled in for my pig love fest.

Can you find Mr. Oinkers?


pssssst…. he’s in my shirt.

He was even my blogging buddy.

Right after I took this picture I realized “Oh my gawd. He is not mine. I have to leave him here! I had been on the phone with my sisters all morning cooing over this precious baby and now I had to leave!?!?!?! It was absolutely inconceivable.

Before we hit the road, we stopped at The Grit

Then we went home, the end.

Do you see something in this picture? Maybe something black and small. And heres a hint…. that picture was NOT taken at the farm…..

muhahahahaha……

stay tuned for this oinker

At this very moment, I am so happy I could burst. First, I have mad love for pigs. Second, I love anything “baby.” Third, if John doesn’t buy me a pig, I will die. Stay tuned for more of my (i wish) oinker.

Does Your Boyfriend Have This Problem?

What has the world come to? When did it be ok for grown men to play video games for hours on end? When did it be ok for a guy to not respond when asked a question or to not even flinch at the shoes being thrown at his face? O. M. G. I went online and found some hilarious rantings from women (and MEN!) about this game they call: Modern Warfare: Call of Duty (I just broke out in shivers at the name).
When I typed in “I can’t stand modern warfare” these are some of the responses:
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“Honey, I do not know how old you are or how old the boyfriend is, but this is what I am going through and I am 42, and have a husband who goes down in the basement to play this game
all the time.. and he even skipped work today to do it! Quite frankly at this age, I am FED UP. He will be nice to me and then go down and play for a few hours, come back up and be nice again,  and then he goes back downstairs. We have an expensive home, he has a good job with Boeing, and we have 3 kids all over the age of 18 ,one boy of 21 in the USAF, and two girls (19 & 20) living with us -the 20 year old daughter has a brand new adorable baby girl, so we are now grandparents.”
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“Okay, uh Its Call Of Duty 4 ! HEELLOO And get ready for tomorrow cuz the new one’s coming out lol 

I mean, psh, screw children, it is way better to go and killl people lmfao

Haha, just kidding, im not addicted, I do play a lot, but don’t really ignore my girlfriend(s) to play Call Of Duty ….”

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“start to fake cry (if u can) and say something like please can you just pay more atention to me and he will it worked with me and then he will say awww baby its ok ill do it less job done x”
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“well let him play, damn u women, we need time for video games. ur lucky he hasnt broken up with u. and this game is really addicting u cant just stop playing for one day. there are stats u have to keep up with. u need to understand the game before u complain. at least hes not cheating on u. and if u really wanna be a good gf u should get him a bluetooth and a rocking chair with speakers and a cup holder build in it and make him a sandwitch.”
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Ahahaha… I am not sure if its the way that guy spelled “sandwitch” or what… but ah…. Those are funny. And clearly my case isn’t the worst. I am just tired of my house sounding like a war zone.
The sound that the buttons make when clicked haunts my dreams. I can hear it rooms away, not to mention the cursing that comes along with such a game.
So, while my den was slowing turning into a war zone, I went off to check out the gorgeous southern fall leaves in my front yard.

I love our Japanese Maples. They are to die for gorgeous in the Spring and Fall.

That red-neck guy’s post about Call of Duty got me thinking sangwich….I mean, SANDWITCH, so then I headed in to make my favorite SANDWITCH.

I was just going to make a regular ol’ turkey sandwich and the I saw my griddler…. hmmmm….

Even a plain ‘ol sammy can be jazzed up with one of these bad boys.

A little layer of (fake) mayo, a lot of mustard…

Then the  Pièce de résistance, PICKLES! Snooki and I have one thing in common: besides a killer bod, a massive love of pickles.

I love all pickles, except Sweet Gherkins (ick) and I love them the most on my sammies.

After I made my turkey sandwich just the way I like it, I put a little butter on each side and pressed it in my Griddler.

Wham Bam Thank you Ma’am, a delicious pressed, hot, turkey sandwich.

With the sounds of war continuing, I enjoyed my nice hot sammy…. outside.

What I need are some ideas of what to do with my Griddler. Right now, I am limited to sandwiches. There must be more….

Is it just me, or is your boyfriend/hubby obsessed with Call of Duty? Is there another game that I should be afraid of?

Lindsay Phillips Shoes

I was in Spartanburg with my mom at the local Ace Hardware and she introduced me to some amazingly comfortable flats. These Lindsay Phillips Shoes are available online and I swear by them. Not only are the front beejangles removable, they are as comfy as a pair of sleeping socks.

I mean… c’mon! They are so cute and so comfy! I feel like I am wearing feet jewelry.

Now, she does make a flip flop and a kitten-heelish shoe, but the flats are just my style. These are the winter choices:

And some more… I have the Snake Skin and the White Gold pairs. My mom has the awesome Grey Patent ones (they are my favorite, but were sold out of my size).

And then here are some of the removable and exchangeable show decorations. There are TONS on her website and I just can’t wait to get more.

The front pieces range from cool and jeweleryish to young and fun. How cute!

Since I am a teacher, I am pretty dedicated to my cozy flats but my mom and sisters all swear by these shoes too. I have never seen them anywhere except for the Sparkle City Ace Hardware and I just gotta know… DOES ANYONE ELSE OWN A PAIR OF THESE SHOES?

When I hit up Sparkle City again for Thanksgiving, I’ll be cruisin’ over to the local hardware store to grab me up another pair. I’ll be looking for those Grey patents…