December 6, 2016

Dad's Birthday and Thanksgiving

Time got away from me again, and I didn't get a chance to post about my dad's birthday and Thanksgiving in a timely manner, but better late than never right?!  My dad and stepmother came to California to celebrate my dad's birthday with us and Thanksgiving with my stepmother's family. We were so pleased to be able to celebrate my dad's 79th birthday and spend this special time of year with them. My stepmother Susan, is a fabulous cook, and we always have a lot of fun cooking together. A few years back I made this coconut cream tart for my dad's birthday, and ever since it's been his go to birthday dessert, so I whipped one of them up for him, as well as joint cooking his prime rib feast! I made the cast iron skillet potatoes that I did a few years ago at Christmas time.  Susan made Yorkshire pudding for the prime rib, which was fun to watch being made. I must give that a try some time! I think my dad looks pretty great on his 79th birthday :)   The next day we took a break from cooking and took them out to Bull Valley Roadhouse for dinner, and they loved it.  We had so much fun visiting with them, and it always seems too short.
Thanksgiving this year came at lightening speed, for me anyway.  If you are a long time reader, you know it's my favorite cooking holiday, and I'm always tinkering with perfecting cooking that darn bird. This year, I think I found the best combination!  I can't remember if I blogged about some mishaps with my All Clad roasting pan or not, but I noticed that when I moved back from France in 2004, I started cooking my Turkey in my new All Clad roasting pan, and for some reason had lots of trouble with even cooking. I'm still not sure it is the pan or not, but I went back to all the times my turkey did turn out, and I always used those cheap foil roasters. So, I went back to those last year and had a much better result. This year I saw a recipe from Martha, where you start the bird upside down. You use a whole loaf of ciabatta bread, cut open like a book, and slathered with lots of butter. Lay the bird breast side down on it and crank the heat up (475) for 45 min. The recipe is on line of course, if you google Martha's upside down turkey. The only thing on the recipe that I think was wrong was cooking time, but other than that,  it's a keeper! We used a 15 lb. bird, so it wasn't that hard to flip it when the time came. I'm sad I didn't think to snap a picture of my perfectly golden cooked bird. We were so hungry we tore into it as soon as it rested. The breast meat was really juicy and tender, and all the dark meat was cooked perfectly, with no pink spots like I have had in the past. I also basted it every 20 min. with white wine and butter. Can I just say that you might want to pick at the yummy turkey juiced caibatta bread and call it a day! I used the juice soaked ciabatta in the extra stuffing to add flavor to it. I also stuff my bird. I know a lot of people are afraid to do it, but I have always done it, and I think it makes the best stuffing. Ok, enough about the Turkey!
This year we had some new friends we made through Alex and Barbara, our German friends. Alex and Barbara could not make it this year, as they were in Germany on business. We were delighted though to have Ralf and Annette join us.  Annette brought a really yummy salmon appetizer that she made to kick off the feast, and Caitlin brought an apple/cranberry whiskey cobbler to add to the dessert fun.  It was a really nice gathering! I put up the blurred picture of Caitlin and Cyrous, because that is the only one I nabbed of them, so pretend it isn't blurry hahaha.

I spied this cute little woodpecker outside on the neighbors apple tree the other morning, it's he cute?!  I'm happy to report, I haven't had anymore birds hitting the windows recently. The trees are about ready to take their winter nap, and each day the landscape changes bit by bit. This week it will rain for a few days in a row, and most likely take out the rest of the golden leaves, and turn the trees into winter lace. I love seeing it all change from my little tree house.

Shop news: I just finished a cute little dress that I will post about soon. I have been trying to squeeze in a few outfits before Christmas to fill up my shop. I just shipped out one of my little fur hats yesterday. I'm really hopeless with planning ahead for Christmas items for my shop. I know you should start in July or so, but I'm never motivated to do it then, so I leave it with my red capes and the little hats and whatever I can make to round out the fall/winter garments that I have in there. I don't think I'll ever be the Etsy power house seller hahaha. My money maker is that cape in the months of September and October, and I reached my goal again this year with them. Lots of really nice customer reviews makes it all worth while. I also got the cutest pictures back from a customer that I did a big special order for a while back. It melted my heart to see the clothes on this beautiful little girl, and how much her mom loved the pieces.  This is why I like to do what I do on a small scale.

On that note, I need to get house back in order after taking out all the Christmas boxes out. Right now my living room looks like a Christmas tornado just hit!   Happy Holidays!

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