The women in my knitting class are coming over Saturday morning. I am serving brunch. I think it's considered essential to have some sort of egg dish at a brunch isn't it? I scoured my cookbooks, googled egg recipes for brunch, and spoke with all my social friends who regularly entertain.
Then I selected Spinach and Cheese Strata as the clear winner.
With some bacon on the side, the trial run this past weekend was pretty tasty. I must say.
When I went down to The Studio to sign up for the knitting retreat I saw 3 new projects that grabbed my attention.
1. The Snowden Shawl - pattern available for purchase on Ravelry
2. A Cindy Craig original design - pattern available at The Studio for purchase
3. The Circumnavigate Cowl - pattern available for purchase on Ravelry
I believe I have yarn in my stash to make all 3 of these. I therefore felt it was prudent to get the patterns. I would not want to suddenly finish everything I am currently knitting and find myself without a pattern.
I never thought I would be doing a post about freezing left-over desserts. But here it is. This one ranks right up there with the post I did about ironing way back when. This is practical stuff people. I think it's important you know that pumpkin pie freezes amazingly well when cut into individual pieces, wrapped in plastic wrap, and placed inside a tupperware type container.
You will thank me on December 6th when you take a sliver out of the freezer about an hour before you want to eat it. When you sit down with your hot tea and bite into a perfectly fresh slice of dessert that tastes even better after a bowl of soup than it did after turkey and dressing.
Behold the perfect place for all your holiday shopping.
I want one of these crochet cover-ups to wear over all my long sleeved tee shirts this winter.
This "skateboard artist" was attracting a lot of attention with his bold style.
This woman won first place for best response when I asked it it was ok if I took her picture.
Below is Cecia Smith. She graduated from the University of Madrid. I loved her paintings, and her accent, and the fact that she taught Spanish at the Torrejon Air Force Base elementary school where I went from 1964-1968. She had left by the time I started, but still...
Mark your calendar so you don't miss this event next year. The weekend after Thanksgiving right here in Lawrence Kansas.
Our neice just found out she passed the California Bar exam. Chris and I were not surprised to hear it. Since the age of 10, whenever we have been lost on a family vacation in a strange city, she has been able to logically get us back on track. We don't know how she does it, we're just thankful. Way to go Morgan!
Photo credit: Ann Mulvenon
I did not go shopping on Black Friday. But if I was going to do any shopping, I would have bought this. I saw it sitting outside a cute little shop in Lenexa. I was on a mission today and only had time to grab a few photos. I love you sweet chair. I will be back to negotiate with your current owners.
It was the ideal place to sit and let the prospect of three days off sink in. We sat and contemplated which classes to take at the knitting retreat coming up in February. The perfect amount of exertion for the day after Thanksgiving, if I do say so myself.
Yoo hoo Sister! Your post today got me in an Amalfi frame of mind. I am supposed to be polishing silverware but instead I am looking at my travel journal from 2008!
I am recalling many of the same things you are. But do you remember that we almost missed the ferry and while I was getting the tickets you ran down to the boat and yelled at them to wait for us? I also carefully recorded your bout with nausea and how we concluded that the best place to throw up on a ferry boat is overboard.
I can still taste Le Sireneuse as we sat by the pool and looked out at the incredible view and pinched ourselves and said "we are on the amalfi coast!" I remember that along with listening to the man being interviewed we could hear the sea splashing up on the rocks below.
Remember how when we got back to Amalfi from Positano we saw the Italian water polo players practicing in their kayaks? How about when we arrived in Praiano and rushed to Tutto per Tutti for supplies and bought those beautiful red tomatoes that we roasted with olive oil? And last but not least remember how we moved the table in the living room in front of the big balcony windows so we could see the silvery moon while we ate?
Hmmm I better get off this trip down memory lane and back to thanksgiving preparation. Next up: cilantro chopping and gourd arranging.
I wish my mums looked as pretty as they did almost a month ago when I took this picture of my front porch.
Alas, they are looking a bit wilted today. Kind of like my back feels after working all day then coming home to bake the pumpkin pie and clean the bathrooms. I think I should have reviewed the Martha Stewart Holiday planning guide a bit more closely. I thought it said to start everything 3 days in advance of the big day. Maybe it said 3 weeks?
In order to simplify life on Thursday morning I whipped up some granola this morning. It will be a great breakfast along with some yogurt and coffee before we head out for the Thanksgiving hike. I threw a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice in the wet ingredients. You can barely detect the flavor. But I know it's there and that's what counts.
Chris is all prepared for the 3rd Annual Snacks competition in which each of the Mulvenon boys come armed with their version of the Chex Mix their dad made every year around the holidays. We all taste and vote on a winner. Everyone picks their own and it's always a 4 way tie.
Since I am the only Mulvenon wife who has a blog though I will tell you that Chris Mulvenon's recipe (depicted above) is the closest to his dad's and is the clear winner in my book. His brother Tom puts in extra pecans which is a nice touch and earns him honorable mention.
Whew! Step one of turkey day planning has been completed. The cocktail menu has been created. I took out a bunch of bottles this afternoon and vowed not to stop until I was successful. I take my work very seriously.
This is a perfect pre-dinner holiday drink. It's not too sweet and the apple and ginger are just lovely together. I like a little swirl of lemon peel to float on the top.
This is a little sweeter than the Gingered Apple. It's smooth and buttery with the tartness of the apple to balance it all out.
From past experience I can tell you that a cocktail makes the silver polishing (and any other prep work) a much more enjoyable chore. Besides it's important to be sure you know how to make them properly before serving them to your guests.
Instead of cleaning the house and making the grocery list and planning the timing of when I will do the prep work for the big meal, I think I will enjoy this resurgence of 60 degree weather. I need to spend some time sitting in these new polyvinyl bentwood rockers we got for the back patio.
The lumbar support is very conducive to sitting for extended periods of time. I've got lots of thinking to do. Foremost on my mind right now is some kind of a Thanksgiving drink. Not the pumpkin pie martini, not the turkey-tini, not the dutch harvest martini, but something with a hint of fall. I'll let you know what I come up with. If I make it out of this chair before next Thursday that is.
My suggestion for the entertainment at the Thanksgiving table this year? Make (or buy) yourself a couple of mustaches. There is no end to the amusement that can be had with a couple of sticks, some felt, and a camera.
We had the pleasure of dining at Starkers Restaurant on the plaza last night. My absolute favorite thing on the menu is the butternut squash bisque. Before you die, promise you will make a pilgrimage here to try it. It's that good. I broke out of my usual routine of ordering scallops and instead selected the pistachio crusted lamb with a cherry gastrique accompanied by kale and pureed parsnips. I was quite satisfied with my selection. But the thing I keep thinking about is the drink I had to start the meal. With a name like this I am almost embarrassed to tell you about it. But tell you I must, because when you go I implore you to try it. It is the Libido Lifter. Made with Saint Germain Liqueur. I am going to have to pay someone off to get me the exact recipe. It's that or get a standing reservation for Tuesday nights and have them make it for me. Either one will work.
If you are looking for a perfect fall dessert, with a main ingredient that starts with a P, but is not a pumpkin, I have a suggestion.
How about a Pear Crisp? This is my first attempt at one and it has officially replaced apple as my favorite fruit to use in a crisp.
I apologize for the lack of a well styled photograph, but we attacked this dessert like a pack of wild dogs the other night. I snapped this real quick before putting some away for Angie. The nice big chunks of pear were soft but NOT mushy. They retained their shape and stood up to serving. The topping was delightfully crunchy. For the nuts I used 1/2 cup pecans and 1/4 cup almonds. Perfect. We topped ours with a bit of vanilla ice cream. Add a nice cup of hot Earl Grey and you are set.
I don't think you can have too many kitchen linens. Tea towels, napkins, pretty tablecloths and table runners are all a weakness of mine.
It's the perfect backdrop for this little pumpkin.
Drawn in by the window display, I checked out this store the other day in downtown Lawrence. There's lots to see, and it's all made by hand.
I unfolded my portable chair and sat down to study it all carefully. The store owner did not seem to mind my being there, or the loud noises the gears in my head made as they kicked into overdrive on account of all the stimulation. I made my purchases then headed for home. I went immediately to the basement and started looking through boxes for old sweaters to cut up and re-purpose into something cool like those pumpkins in photo #3. Which one of you came over to my house and hid them all?
I like pumpkin. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin oatmeal, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bars, baked pumpkin, pumpkin pie martinis, and yes... pumpkin latte's. I like pumpkin flavor so much in fact that I just purchased a new bottle of flavoring syrup in case for some reason I could not get out of the house for weeks on end and needed to make pumpkin flavored coffee drinks at home.
Every year in the fall I look forward to October when 'pumpkin latte season' officially opens. In the last (approximately) 38 days I have sampled 3 versions at some of my favorite coffee places. I provide this review and encourage your input in case I have missed your favorite.
The Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte is available widely. It is creamy, super-sweet, and has "full-on pumpkin flavor". It also has that nice cold whipped cream on the top that I so enjoy. Whenever I have one I make sure I am firmly seated when I take my first sip so I don't swoon and fall all over myself with joy.
The Maple Pumpkin Latte from LatteLand is thick. It has real pumpkin in it and tastes exactly like a piece of pumpkin pie topped with a thin layer of whipped cream that has been drizzled with maple syrup. Just imagine that - blended with espresso and super creamy milk and you have it. Not as sweet as the Starbucks version and did I mention it is thick and has real pumpkin in it? I die.
At Signs of Life bookstore in downtown Lawrence, the Pumpkin Latte is first and foremost a coffee drink. Then you taste the subtle pumpkin flavor with a vanilla undertone. It is the least sweet of the three and is completely delicious.
Which one do I like best? Don't be silly. I want to be friends with all of them and simply could not choose one over the other.
Today I passed up "Vampsterdam" and "Diva in Geneva" in favor of "Romeo and Joliet".
I liked the other names better, but I felt the red undertones of this shade drew the eye to the polish and away from the toes themselves more than the purple hue of the Vamp or the Diva. If any of you know the executives at OPI will you please ask them to invite me to sit around the table where they come up with the names for their polishes. I'll pay my own way to get there and I won't talk during the meeting. I just want to see the environment that fosters such creativity.
If you have not done so already, this is your official notification that it is time to put the flannel sheets on the beds.
There is nothing better than slipping into a set of well worn, soft, flannel sheets when it's a bit chilly in the house. This set is starting to move from well worn to almost threadbare in a few spots. What's the deal with all the flannel sheets being either pastel, striped, or checked? I want some with a floral pattern. Do I have to make my own?
Angie loves broccoli-cheese soup about as much as she loves her baby (my older brother) Ray. That is serious love. She asked me when I dropped off the tomato soup last week if I knew how to make it. I told her I would try.
This soup has wonderful full broccoli flavor, that is not overpowered by the cheese. I miss the chunks of broccoli though. The next time I make it I will just make sure I blend all the pieces of the stalk, and leave some of the florets whole. I am also going to see if I can get these two to come over and do some prep work for me.
Photo courtesy of Krissy Watson.
Creamy Broccoli and Cheddar Soup
3 T butter, 1 large onion chopped, 2 cloves garlic minced, 1 1/2 pounds broccoli - stems peeled and cut into 1/2 inch piece and florets chopped int 1/2 inch pieces, 4 cups low sodium chicken broth, 1 cup heavy cream, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 3 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese, cayenne pepper.
Melt butter in large pot, add onion, cook until soft, add garlic cook until fragrant (about 1 minute), add broccoli stems cook until bright green and beginning to soften (about 5 minutes), stir in broth, increase to medium high heat and simmer until stems are tender (about 5 minutes). Add florets, cream, and nutmeg, simmer until florets are tender. Puree soup in blender in several batches or use immersion blender (I would leave some florets whole next time). Simmer over medium heat after pureed and add cheese. Stir until melted. Add cayenne pepper to taste + salt and pepper. Don't boil or cheese will separate.
If you have a favorite broccoli cheese soup recipe and it's different than this, I would love to try it. Please point me to the recipe in the comments.
I think it's just the thing for walking along the beach in California in the winter. If you want to make one, go here for all the details.
I had to get it out of my house the second it was done. If I hadn't, I would never have shipped it off to the person I made it for. I know I have said this before, but Blue Sky Alpaca cotton is a joy to knit with. I will be making one of these for myself very very soon. I just have to decide if I am going to make it exactly the same or mix it up a bit. Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.