Saturday, November 29, 2008

Too Good to be True?

I am not one to fall for hype. However, after hearing so many testimonials, the time had come for me to try it for myself. I woke up yesterday with a terribly sore throat, sinus drainage and chest congestion. I was coughing up icky, sticky mucous. I was lightheaded and dizzy, too. This had all the hallmarks of a severe cold. On a whim, on our way home from our big Christmas deal (, we pulled into our favorite CVS pharmacy and I purchased a bottle Zicam (TM). I was hesitant to do so because the last time I used Zicam (nasal swabs) it took away my sense of smell. This time I decided to try the rapid melts. 1st dose taken at 7 a.m. I went back to bed at 8 a.m. and slept until noon. I took a 2nd dose at that time. I'm feeling better but not 100%. I took another dose at 4 p.m. By evening I was not experiencing any symptoms of a chest cold. Coincidence? You decide. I just know I am feeling great and am ready to decorate for Christmas!

Black Friday

I have never shopped on a Black Friday. I have an aversion to massive crowds, short tempers and rampant commercialism in what is suppose to be a most sacred time of year. However, yesterday, we changed our minds. I had seen, online, a door buster special on pre-lit Christmas trees at Home Depot. Our old tree is falling apart and we've been talking about replacing it for several years now. It was a good tree and served it's purpose well during most of our 17 year marriage. Anyway, I searched the Thanksgiving newspaper circular but there was no mention of this special deal. Would they have them in stock? Was it worth getting up early for? Would there be huge and nasty crowds? We decided to try our luck. There we were, at 5:45 a.m., entering our local Home Depot store. And there they were...7 1/2 foot pre-lit Christmas trees for only $49! This bargain shopper and her frugal husband were very happy indeed. And you know something? No crowds. Beautiful.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Our Thanksgiving Tradition.

Brrrr! It's a nippy 28 degrees in the Piedmont of North Carolina. Not a time for fashion statements! There's a few minutes to go before the start of the annual Lake Norman Turkey Trot, sponsored by The Center for Advanced Medicine and Clinical Research . All proceeds from this race goes to support children with cancer and with autism. The Turkey Trot includes a half marathon, a 10K and a 5K. We opted for the 5K and it is my sweet son's 1st race ever! My personal goal is to complete the race under 30 minutes.

Normally, when I go run, I use the time for personal prayer and meditation. For this race I decided to use the time to recite the Rosary. Usually, I complete the Rosary a few minutes before I've completed a 3 mile run. In this race I was only halfway through the last mystery when I crossed the finish line. What was my time? 28:38! Oh, and I also placed 3rd in my age division! Goal achieved.

Go, Paul, Go! Run! You can do it!!!! There's my Munchie-Boy in action! His time? 37:27! Way to go, son!

We're done, we survived, and we are very hungry! One happy and tired family who have earned their feast!

Would I do this again? Of course! Maybe next year I'll try for the 10K! (But don't hold me to that!)

And a special thank you to our darling daughter: our frost-bit, shivering, personal photographer who did not want her own photo taken. Sorry Sweet-Cheeks! You did a great job capturing the action for that I thank you.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Simple Feast

Welcome to my kitchen! Today is prep day for our very simple Thanksgiving dinner. Since we will be running in our local Turkey Trot tomorrow morning, I wanted to get as much done the day before so that I'm not spending my whole time in the kitchen.

Normally, I cook very healthy meals. Thanksgiving is a different story. It's the one day of the year where we celebrate our abundant blessings! I will show you you how, just today, over a pound of butter made it's way into just 3 dishes (more planned for later!)

The first dish I prepared was my Simply Tasty Stuffing. I gathered all my ingredients: Dried bread cubes from homemade bread, 1 full onion finely chopped, 1/2 cup mushrooms chopped, 1 bunch of celery sliced, 1/4 lb. butter, fresh herbs (my preference is rosemary and sage), my Signature Spice Blend, kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, chicken broth and lots and lots of garlic!

Saute your veggies in a full stick of butter until tender. Add your seasonings and cook a little longer. Mix with your bread cubes and add a full can of chicken broth. Add more for moister stuffing, less for drier. Tomorrow I will bake, covered in a 350 oven for about 30 minute, uncovering the last 10 minutes so the top will be slightly toasty. Here's what it looks like today, though.

Mmmmmm. Stuffing is my favorite, well next to the turkey, the gravy, the sweet potatoes, the asparagus, the cranberry sauce and the pie!

Our next 2 1/2 sticks of butter are used to make what I call Herbed Butter Medallions. I simply soften the butter and add the following: garlic (lots and lots!) , a couple of tablespoons of fresh herbs (any combination of rosemary, sage and basil), kosher salt, pepper and several dashes of My Signature Spice blend. Once blended, spoon out onto some plastic wrap and roll up into a "tube". Place the butter log into the freezer to harden. After about 1/2 to 1 hour remove from freezer and slice. These will be used to place between the skin and meat of your bird. It gives a very lumpy look to the bird but your turkey will be very juicy indeed after roasting. You should have plenty medallions left over to rub on the outside of the bird and to place within the cavity, along with some celery and onion wedges.

Get your roaster ready by placing, in the roasting pan, celery and carrot sticks, onion wedges and the giblets. Place the bird in the rack, cover with foil and refrigerate until you are ready to roast that baby! Just before placing the turkey into the oven, I pour about 1/2 bottle of beer and 1 cup or so of chicken broth to the pan. I use this, along with the juices from the roasting bird to baste every 20 or 30 minutes. Trust me...this is the BEST bird we have ever had! And the drippings make for a very special gravy!

The last half stick of butter goes in my Ever So Slightly Sweet Potato Cashew Bake. An unusual signature Thanksgiving dish of mine.

The asparagus has been rinsed and placed in a large baggie and coated with olive oil. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper was added. These will be grilled to perfection, just prior to dinner being served, tomorrow.

My job is practically done! Dear daughter will make the cranberry relish. We will prep Pioneer Woman's Crashed Potatoes tomorrow, along with tossing the salad, and the sweet potato pie just needs defrosting. Thanksgiving couldn't be easier!

A simple table presentation and you're ready for a simple Thanksgiving feast indeed!

Give Thanks to the Lord Who is good...Whose Love endures forever!

Psalm 107:1

Links to recipes mentioned in this post:

My Signature Spice Blend:

Ever So Slightly Sweet Potato and Cashew Bake:

Pioneer Woman's Crash Hot Potatoes:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Certain Photo...

It was the photo of shame. My family vacationed in Jamaica this past summer and my daughter took a photo of me in all my "flabulous" glory. I was horrified. I did not think I was the least bit overweight but photos don't lie, right? But this unflattering as it was...was the the impetus to get me off my butt and to try to get back in shape.

Fortunately, I've enjoyed running in the past so I figured that was the quickest and fastest way to get in shape. It was the end of June and we had the Turkey Trot coming on Thanksgiving (a family tradition) 5 months away. My initial goal was to get in shape to run the "trot" in a decent time, preferrably under 30 minutes. Thanks to a good training regimen and the advice from my husband (former triathelete) and of the creator of the blog: Muddy Runner ( ) I am ready and have a pretty good chance of achieving that goal. In addition, I've lost a goodly amount of the "flab" in the process.

This year's race will be extra special as my 10 year old son will be running with his dad and I for the 1st time! Gotta love a kid with a healthy mindset!

In the Beginning...

I am quite new to this world of blogging. Should I simply "journal" about life in general, share my most unusual dreams or simply supply one with handy dandy kitchen, sewing and homeschooling tips? Hmmmm. Something I must truly ruminate upon. Once I have it all figured out I shall return to the blogosphere and illuminate upon my musings. Be patient, dear friends. The life of a full time wife, mother, homeschooling mom, volunteer and part time employee does not leave me with ample time. Thus, I will do my best to make every blog count! Until we meet again!


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