Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Talking turkey.

I know Thanksgiving is done and gone, but as with Halloween, I didn’t get all the turkey posted beforehand.  I blinked and the holiday was over.  So, here’s a belated little Thanksgiving craft you can put on your list for next year!
First, let’s give proper credit.  I saw this cute little hair clip made by  highlighted from a linky party and was inspired.
Next off, let’s just clear something up right now.  For the next, oh I don’t know, 5 months or so all of my pictures will be horrible.  Awful.  I’m not going to apologize for them every post, because that would just get old and tiresome.  But I WILL cringe every time I see a super subpar photo on here, and rest assured I will also be cringing at the lack of natural light.  I’m pretty sure the sun will never shine here again.  But then, I feel that way every winter.
OK, and finally, please disregard the black paint all over my hands.  I was working on a lot of things at once...
Without further ado, a super duper easy, kid-friendly, gobble-filled, itty bitty puppet.
And here is what you need to make this little turkey:
Ribbon of various colors (and widths)
orange rick-rack
Small hair elastics
hot glue
First, you’ll make your turkey body by looping a tan or brown ribbon around and hot gluing the ends.  Make it as tall as you’d like to fit little or large hands.
Now, cut the tail feathers to the right length by measuring them against the body.
When they are all cut, you can loop them around and hot glue the ends together.
Then hot glue them in place behind the body, fanning them out and gluing them to the body and each other.
With my extra wide ribbons, I layered a smaller ribbon over it.
When your tail feathers are on, glue the elastic to the lower back of the turkey, where the ends of the elastic meet.
Then take a bit of ribbon that matches the body of the turkey, glue one end to the bottom of the turkey and wrap it around the bottom of the turkey, 

sticking it through the elastic and gluing it down - sandwiching the elastic between.
Now, fold your rick-rack in half and cut a bit off, just under where it bumps out.
Keeping it folded, dab a bit of hot glue right in the middle.  This is the beak.
Take some red ribbon (I used super skinny) and loop it in half.  Glue it into the beak, dangling down (like the wattle).
Spread the sides at the back of the beak and dab hot glue.  Attach it to the turkey body up towards the top.
Glue the black buttons above the beak for eyes.
And you’re done!
Colorful and simple!
And super fun.
These turkeys are really putting on a show.
And the cool thing is they can double as napkin rings!
And they can triple as party favors for the little turkey day guests!

   Its Hump Day!

Texas Monkey

Keeping It SimpleSumo Sweet StuffThe Girl Creative

mmm buttonPhotobucket

Show and Tell Green
A Crafty Soiree

PonyTails and FishScales


Creations by Kara



Monday, November 29, 2010

Tres Magnifique (aka "stinky cheese")

I did NOT go all out for Monday Food Fest tonight.  I know, I know... two weeks in a row?  But don’t fret.  Because we DID have a food fest.  I just didn’t cook much.
For tonight’s dinner, I was inspired by two things.
1.  We are, of course, the cheese capitol of the US, despite California’s claims.  There is a reason Packer fans where a large wedge of cheese on their heads, and it isn’t because it matches the uniforms.  (Although it does, actually.)One word.  2.  Thanksgiving.  Did anyone else gorge themselves beyond comprehension?  I mean, besides my husband.  Because I’m always very careful on Thanksgiving NOT to do that.  I wouldn’t want to make myself sick for the REAL holiday - which is, of course, Black Friday.  
After deciding on light and easy - first to commemorate the great dairy state, and secondly to make up for the gorgefest that was last week - I realized I’d been wanting to try my hand at a “sophisticated cheese tray” for some time.  You know, the kind they serve in fancy restaurants or on TV... the kind that looks like it walked off the pages of an Italian travel catalogue - or would have had it had legs.  And once I realized that, I came to the conclusion that this was a perfect time to discuss cheese trays - and a few of the pointers I learned - considering the abundance of opportunity to serve them throughout the holiday season.  So, here it is:  my official “sophisticated” cheese tray guide for your very own food fest.
I did a little online research, and you can find some handy and simple tips both here on ehow and here on Real Restaurant Recipes.  Also, if you’re trepidatious on the cheese front, or need a little shove out of your comfort zone from the packaged American variety, you can read all about cheeses here.
First, the most helpful tips I learned:
  1. You should serve at least three types of cheese; which should include a variety of flavors and textures.  At least: one soft (spreadable), One semi-soft or semi-hard, and one hard.  If you are afraid of the “crumbly” cheeses, like bleu or stilson, you can opt for a smoky variety of a more tried and true cheese.
  2. You should use a different knife to cut each cheese to avoid cross contamination of flavors.  So provide a knife for each cheese on the tray.
  3. The best thing to serve with cheese is crusty french bread.  But you can also use crackers, as per usual.
  4. The best fruits to use are grapes, apples, pears and raspberries.  But you should always opt for what you can get locally in season.
  5. Serve nuts as well - at least two types, like almonds or walnuts.
  6. Don’t forget to provide cheese forks, tongs or small sticks.
When you take a look at the links provided, you will also get tips on how you are supposed to cut each type of cheese properly.  I had no idea there were rules to dictate that, but apparently the cheese connoisseurs over in France and Italy have spoken.  
So here’s what I did:
I chose Gouda to serve for my mild cheese.  It came in a wheel, and therefore I cut it into small wedges.  I discovered that gouda tastes phenomenal when you pair it with crackers and red grapes.  Mmmm.  The whole family loves gouda, especially mr.  I knew it was a safe bet since he ate it in Germany all the time.  
For my crumbly, soft cheese, I chose stilson.  It’s a lot like bleu cheese, same stinky feet smell and all.  I actually like bleu cheese a lot, on salads and burgers and in different sauces and dishes.  But I discovered I do NOT like stilson.  At all.  I tried it several ways with different pairings and finally had to agree with bug that the only think it was good for was throwing on the floor.  (which he did, by the way.)  The only person in the group that liked it was dad, although mom said it was tolerable if you ate it with the honeycrisp apples.  Ew.
My third cheese was brie.  mr hates brie.  I made this recipe for baked brie that I found on Samster Mommy.  Though not a mild cheese by any means, I thought it was delicious.  Even mr said that brie was much better baked than not.  When paired with the raspberries, the brie was stellar.  Everyone liked it, except dad, who thought it was gross.  But he liked the stilson, so I don’t put much stock in his opinion.
For a foundation, I served some imported crackers and french bread.  I added honeycrisp apple, raspberries for the brie, and red and green grapes.  My nut options were pistachios and cashews.  I also added some black olives and calamata olives.  If you haven’t tried calamata olives, you should.  mr tried them for the first time tonight and loved them.  
Ah, yes, and most people couldn’t talk about a cheese tray like this without mentioning the wine served and what kind goes well with what... but my family doesn’t drink alcohol.  So, although I know it is nothing like wine, really, I served sparkling juice, just for fun.  We tried white grape, red grape, apple medley, and blueberry grape.  By unanimous vote the blueberry grape was the taste test winner.  It even beat my long-standing favorite, red grape.  My mom has called me a “nonalcoholic” for a very long time... I can drink them all under the table when it comes to sparkling juice.
I knew I needed to serve dessert as well, or it wouldn’t be a food fest.  So I went with chocolate mousse, which seemed nice and light.  I got a recipe from martha.com.  I know, crazy, huh?  You thought I’d sworn off Martha for good, didn’t you?  Well, this recipe was a guest recipe from a chef in New York, and it was seriously good.  

But it ended up much more rich than I thought it would be!  I couldn’t even finish mine.  And although bug looked like this:  

he couldn’t finish either.  First time ever for these two chocoholics!
We really liked how different tonight’s dinner was.  I think it would be fun to serve at a holiday party or in the summertime when it’s too darn hot to cook.  Try it.  It’ll make you feel all chic and classy. 



Sunday, November 28, 2010

I'm still alive. (but tired.) (And stuffed.)

I assure you, this isn't a voice from the grave.  It may seem like it.  I wouldn't blame you if you didn't believe me.  I think it may be what - a millennia?- since my last post?  Yes, that seems right.  I don't know how people do the whole posting during the holidays thing, because I've been awake pretty much since last Tuesday morning nonstop and I STILL couldn't find time to post.  (and yes, that means I WAS one of THOSE shoppers on Friday.)   (I don't do it for the deals, or the crowds, or because I love getting knocked down, blocked off, run over or sworn at.  I just like hanging out all day long with the girls - i.e. my sisters and mom.)   (Seriously, I look forward to Thanksgiving all year long, not for the food or thankfulness, but because it is the one day all year that every single one of us has about 15 hours to ourselves to be crazy and over-tired and funny and sarcastic and just plain FREE.)  But I digress.  Although I spent most of this past week preparing for mr's family and then spending time with them, I managed to snap a few photos.

Here's my scavenger hunt.  Go check out the others at Ramblings and Photos.

Black and White

(This is also my entry for the "Scenic Black and White" over at iheartfaces.  Look at me totally multitasking like a pro.)

looking through a hole in a railing

I Ate This
ALL of it.

a historic moment at our house... Delilah napping on my mom IL.  He usually avoids most females and wouldn't even look at my mom IL last visit - she felt a little slighted (I don't blame her, I feel slighted by him all the time.  I mean, he's a cat.)  He made up for it this trip by spending the majority of his time attached to her.

Off Center
well, now that I look at it, I realize that mr is actually centered.  But I was focusing on that adorable little girl...

The End
Bananagrams - at the END of our Thanksgiving get together, at the END of the game... and the END of my losing streak, yea!

And at the trendy treehouse, the theme is "give thanks."  


This is mini, giving thanks for her rocking cousin.  They are quickly becoming best friends.  Hooray for family!
"I adore you, K."

I can't imagine it getting any EASIER to post as the holidays continue... especially considering there are two important birthdays coming.  And considering my love for all things "Christmas" and "tradition".  But I'm going to give it my all.  You'll stick around, won't you?

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