Category Archives: Stuffing

Easter Guinea Pigs

No, not actual guinea pigs for Easter dinner, how horrific!  We were just pig sittin’ (and yes, when you are pig sittin’, you don’t use the second g). But I’m talking about the humans who tested my practice Easter dishes. Though the thought did scare the April Fool’s Day donuts!

So for one of the practice Easters, I made up my own ham glaze with 1 10 ounce jar peach preserves and 1 tablespoon each brown sugar and dijon mustard. Now this was a tiny spiral ham for only 5 people and it still took approximately a jillion hours to get to the safe internal temperature.  The glaze was great, but I think I’m gonna start the Easter ham this Thursday.

I might have accidentally bought this bunny with a light up egg. Ok, two. But, you’ll see come actual Easter, there is….a theme! (name that movie).

I made Cooking Light’s Artichoke and Spinach STUFFING. Yes, that’s right, stuffing. Because any reasonable 10 year old would know that if this were called a strata, it would be disgusting. And heaven forbid if one called it bread pudding, then it would be straight-up G-ROSS. But when it is a stuffing, well then, we’re in familiar territory. And it was delightful.

The only thing I did differently was used a mix of Gruyere and Fontina cheeses because that’s what I had handy. And I used canned artichokes hearts and just chopped them up a little, which I would definitely suggest.

Ok, let’s talk about this amazing simple Asparagus and Arugula Salad, also from Cooking Light.  Just greens (I used Spring mix), asparagus and hard boiled egg.


I grated one egg over the salad, tossed, and then grated another one. Also added 1/2 teaspoon mustard to the dressing. Don’t be tempted to add more to the dressing, I had thought about dill but then was very glad I didn’t add it. It is luscious as is.

Kevin doesn’t like asparagus so he picked it out, but still liked the salad.  I guess I could make it with other green vegetables instead like peas (Kevin – Nope), pea pods (Kevin – Nope), broccoli (Kevin – Nope).  But why mess with a classic?

Does anyone want a cocktail?  Will be making the Porch Punch from Imbibe Magazine though I cut the proportions down significantly from the 21 cups of tea and 2 bottles of bourbon! How many people does Imbibe Magazine’s porch hold?


Porch Punch

5 cups boiling water
3 Earl Grey tea bags
1 mint tea bag
1 cup sugar
.25 ounces orange bitters
.125 ounces orange blossom water
juice of one lime
lemon and lime slices

Put the sugar and tea bags in the boiling water and stir to dissolve sugar. Steep the tea about 7 minutes then strain into a pitcher and cool.  When cool, add the bitters, orange water and lime juice. Refrigerate until ready.  Serve with lemon and lime slices over ice.  If you had fresh mint, that would be a lovely garnish, but don’t go out and get it just for this.

When buying the boys Easter shirts at TJ Maxx I might have also accidentally purchased these rose gold sandals.

See also: I have a problem.

That’s it, thanks to all the human guinea pigs who endured the recipe testing. See you at actual Easter for my themed tablescape. It justifies the Homegoods problem, trust me!

Have a great week everyone!

A Time to Give Thanks

As far as my young children are concerned, Thanksgiving is just a small step between Halloween and Christmas. A step where people eat “gross” food (except for canned, jellied cranberry sauce – that apparently is acceptable). So we were trying to make it more meaningful last week and in talking about what we are thankful for, the main thing the boys agreed we are thankful for is:


Skunk, our cat.   Sure, we love our family and friends.  Happiness and health – good things as well, both boys agreed.  But survey says what we are most grateful for is our cat.   That, and Xbox.

Since we cannot show our appreciation and thanks to the folks at the Microsoft corporation, we instead agreed with the boys that if we are thankful for Skunk, we should show our thanks during this season by donating to the shelter that saved him.   So the boys gathered up their tooth fairy and the occasional chore money and we took it over to the shelter (Mom and Dad augmented the donation).


The shelter couldn’t have been more gracious. Getting out of there without another kitten may qualify as a Thanksgiving miracle.


But enough about giving thanks for the things we should, let’s talk about giving thanks for the little things that make Thanksgiving easier or more fun.  After all, this blog is about tabletops and recipes, written at night by someone who works 12 hour days sitting behind a desk and really isn’t physically fit or mentally competent to be offering any kind of life advice.  If you want to read some truly uplifting and spiritual discussions about how to live your life, I suggest you try my sister-in-law’s blog at Everyday Faith.

But as for me, on with the material possessions!

Serving Platter/Carving Board

This carving board from Cost Plus World Market:


Isn’t it pretty?  I most often use it as a cheese board but this year will use it for the turkey.  And right now it’s $29.99 and, if you still have the Sunday Chicago Tribune around from 2 weeks ago, there’s a coupon in there for 10% off.   THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE.   It’s a newspaper.  Yes, on paper.  Yes, we still get one.


Given that I have two boys who feel bad about eating animals (but won’t eat beans, kale, spinach, cheese or any other protein or iron based food – so chicken nuggets it is!),  I’m not sure how they’d feel about breaking a turkey’s furcula (look it up!).   But hey, tradition, so I had them make a bunch of these fun clay wishbones from Oh Happy Day.  Added bonus, everyone who comes for Thanksgiving can make a wish.


By the way, I told Guitar Boy and Drummer Boy  that I think Turkey’s Furcula should be the name of their band someday “THANK YOU CHICAGO  – WE ARE TURKEY’S FURCULA – GOODNIGHT!!!”   They did not agree.

Salted Butter on Little Plates

I read this story at TheKitchn about salting butter. Now I don’t usually use butter on bread, but Faith Durand’s story about how this simple act – slicing butter and sprinkling smoked salt on it – would transform people’s opinion on bread and butter moved me to action. And I can tell you, it totally works, everyone comments on it. You know, because we need to find a way for Americans to eat more bread and butter. I’m a patriot really.

I use this smoked salt from Williams and Sonoma.


 And I serve on little plates.  Such as these.  From TJ Maxx/HomeGoods.   I know.


Chocolate turkeys:


Because I can.   WorldMarket, Dylan’s Candy Bar and Godiva all have some.

Turkey – to heck with tradition

After seeing 3 or so articles from chefs about how we are all suckers for cooking a turkey whole, where the breast is done and dry way before the dark meat was fully cooked, I decided to try the turkey in parts. You show everyone the turkey for like 1 minute and then take it back to the kitchen for slicing, so why all the hype about a whole turkey? *shaking fist at Norman Rockwell in heaven*

The practice turkey from House Beautiful turned out well. The whole turkey, white and dark done to perfection, in 1 ½ hours.

However, we thought it needed a little something-something. So Thanksgiving turkey will be some combination of these two recipes from Epicurious: Deconstructed Holiday Turkey with Sage Gravy or Citrus Sage Roast Turkey Breast.

I’ve made the latter turkey breast before in testing out the stuffing recipe (see below), but kind of think brining could help. I’ve also pre-made the gravy (wha?!) because TheKitchn told me I could. We’ll do a gravy taste-test on Thanksgiving to see if TheKItchn was right. Mmmmmmh, gravy taste-test.

I’ll let you know how everything turns out afterwards – in between cleaning up Thanksgiving and putting up Christmas.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Halloween Redux

Here are various pictures of the crew:

at Alvin’s costume birthday party:




carving pumpkins:


and actual Halloween.




Check out the detail on Fake Sister’s home made by Dad Up costume.  Amazing.

New decorating idea – cheap snakes from Target dollar section stuck in my flowers.


 Green pepper ghouls:


Oranges for the kids – everyone knows that kids DEMAND healthy snacks when they return from trick-or-treating in the Illinois Halloween snow.  Yep, snow.


And, best drink from Halloween Pizza Night:

Vampire Blood Margaritas (aka Pomegranate Lime Margaritas from Howsweeteats)

As I had to make 2 pitchers of them, after juicing 12 limes I decided that bottled lime juice is no longer as fake tasting as I tend to think it is.  And it tasted fine mixed with the fresh in the drink.

Dipped top of pitcher in corn syrup mixed with red food coloring and let it drip down the outside for spooky effect.  But forgot to take a picture, because, well, 2 pitchers of pomegranate margaritas might explain why.


But, now that it’s November and Halloween is behind us (other than the 12 hours of putting away all the Halloween décor), I made a mini Thanksgiving. I was inspired to do so when I saw pumpkin/cornbread croutons at Trader Joe’s. Then I found this recipe for Pumpkin Cornbread Stuffing at The View from Great Island.

Use 2 boxes of TJ’s pumpkin cornbread croutons.  3 out of 5 Wileys surveyed recommend this stuffing.  But quick, it’s a seasonal item so HOARD NOW.   Among other things, I combined it with the Citrus Sage Roast Turkey Breast from Epicurious.

I’ll be back when Christmas season approaches.



Don’t forget to set your clocks back!

Happy Daylight Savings Time everyone!