Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Edgar: Almost Eleven Months

Edgar's almost eleven months official teenager in a dog's life!

True to form, he's sleeping most days until noon and eating us out of house and home....and causing trouble.

He loves to play WWF with Silas, body-slamming him outside in the afternoons...pure entertainment.

He's gotten taller and lanky...and is officially the tallest of the pups.  He can comfortably rest his head on the dining room table when standing, an action which I don't encourage!

He's very uncoordinated and can't seem to get into the car these days without a bit of help...or either he's so smart to know I'll help him in the car with just a glance from that "poor puppy" face.

He lost a few pounds this month...down to 77.8 pounds.  I'm told this is typical for golden retrievers during their teenage years, but I'm still worried a bit.

And I'm also wondering how big he will get?  With his father weighing in at a lanky 106 lbs, I'm wondering if he'll be in the same range....lots of dog food to buy!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Recipe: Homemade Banana Pudding

You can serve it in a bowl very simply...

You can bake it in a pie....

Or you can layer it in a trifle bowl....

But you simply must have banana pudding on any holiday table in our family.

Oh yeah...and a word of warning...don't make the pudding to let it cool overnight in the refrigerator..when you get up the next morning, it might not be there...just saying!

Homemade Banana Pudding
2 1/2 cups Sugar
6 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
Pinch of Salt
2 large cans Evaporated Milk (12 ounces)
4 Egg Yolks
1/4 cup Unsalted Butter, cubed
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 box Vanilla Wafers, saving a few to crumble for garnishment
6 Bananas, sliced
Whipped Cream

  1. Whisk together Sugar, All-Purpose Flour, and Salt in a heavy saucepan over low heat.  Slowly pour in Evaporated Milk and stir constantly until thickened, approximately 15 minutes.
  2. Lightly beat together the egg yolks in a small bowl.  Add a ladle full of the thickened liquid to the eggs and whisk to temper the eggs. Slowly stream the egg mixture into the saucepan, whisking constantly to combine, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla extract.  Place the pudding in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let cool in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  4. In a large bowl or trifle dish, add a layer of Vanilla Wafers, a layer of sliced Bananas, a layer of pudding and a layer of whipped cream.  Repeat the layers.  Garnish with crumbled wafers on top and enjoy!

Recipe: Turkey in Under Three Hours

Oh my!

I'm apologizing...really, really apologizing.

I've been using my blog to post family recipes, sorta like a catch-all for everything instead of having this recipe here in this book and then going to another book for another favorite.

But I've never posted how to cook the all-important Thanksgiving turkey...and in under three hours.

Probably about two-and-a-half hours would be more realistic.


Yeah, really...with the best results.

I used to be one of those who baked the turkey in the bag because that's the way the Momma always did it. It always produced a beautiful bird, but it was always dry...probably because I had no control...couldn't baste the turkey, couldn't turn the turkey, couldn't take the turkey's temp.

So I started searching...making my family eat a lot of turkey...until I found a great, fool-proof method to cook the turkey.

Trust me, you'll have to take a leap of faith with this one, but you'll have the best turkey...minimal effort and time do equal maximum results.

Turkey For A Crowd
 Or otherwise known as Turkey in Under Three Hours
 Courtesy of Cook's Illustrated, Inc.

Resist the temptation to tent the roasted turkey with foil while it rests on the carving board. Covering the bird will make the skin soggy.
  • 1 (18- to 22-pound) turkey, pre-brined or kosher
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 onions, chopped coarse
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped coarse
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped coarse
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt, or 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position; remove remaining racks.  Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Line your large V-rack with heavy-duty foil and poke holes in foil; set your V-rack in a 15- by 12-inch roasting pan.
  2. Toss onions, carrots, celery, lemon, and thyme in a medium bowl; set aside.  Brush turkey breast with 2 tablespoons butter, then sprinkle with half of the salt and half of the black pepper.  Set turkey breast-side down on the V-rack.  Brush with remaining two tablespoons butter and sprinkle with the remaining salt and black pepper.  Fill cavity with half of the onion mixture; scatter rest in roasting pan and pour 1 cup water into pan.
  3. Roast turkey 1 hour; remove roasting pan with turkey from oven.  lower oven temperature to 325 degrees.  Using clean dishtowels or potholders, turn the turkey breast-side up; return roasting pan with turkey to oven and continue to roast until legs move freely and instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 170 to 180 degrees, about two hours longer.  Transfer turkey to carving board and lest rest, uncovered, 35 to 40 minutes.  Carve and serve.
    Note: I recommend using a male species to do the lifting part...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sewing: My Weekender Bag is Finished!

My Weekender Bag is almost finished, just needing a few hand stitches on the inside at this point.

I still believe the binder clips are a necessity when doing those final seams, as there is no way a pin will hold together all those layers.

I only broke one needle...and that was due to my own stupidity, trying to sew through a pin.

And I definitely need to replace my pin supply at this point; after four Weekender bags, most of them are bent out of shape.

Was it worth it?  Absolutely, positively sure was...and I'd do it again if need be.  It's my bag...and there is no other one in the world like it.

But the best parts about it....RalphieParker fits snuggly in the side pocket, and it's Edgar approved!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sewing: Weekender Bag #3: Assembling the Parts

Now is where my past experience in assembling the bag comes in handy.

There are itty-bitty little things to create...the pattern has you do these as you assemble the bag; I like to do them before I assemble the bag to make it go quicker.

And a few tricks I've learned along the way...

There are no other words to say it...piping is not fun....and there is nothing you can say or do to make me change my mind.

The first bag I made with the store-bought was OK and got the job done.

The next bag I used a coordinating fabric to make was a severe pain-in-the-rear experience, but it definitely made the bag. 

Two things I learned:
 Use your zipper foot, unless you own a piping/cording foot (I don't).
 Wonder tape is your best friend...just go ahead, lay that cording down the center of the strip,
   and put it all together with Wonder Tape before your perfectly!

Something I might consider next time:
 Cutting the strips a bit bigger, maybe 2 inches...a little bit more fabric to grasp.

Two changes for me...and I will never handles for this bag any other way.

I cut the straps at 3 inches versus 2.5 inches...not a large difference, but makes a nicer product.

I put nylon belting inside the handles instead of wimpy handles here!


Yup, I put D-rings inside the outer pockets....because it's my bag, and sometimes I might want to carry it over-the-shoulder with a longer strap.

Not hard...two strips of fabric...1/4 inch turned under on the edges...fold lengthwise...and add in D-rings before stitching sides down.


Bag Bottom
Did you know that fabric is heavy? No, I mean really, really heavy....and at one time or another, this bag will need to carry fabric...lots and lots of fabric.

Thus, I didn't use the instructions for the Weekender Bag for this part. I wanted the bottom to be a bit more reinforced, plus I wanted to protect the bottom of the bag from dirt if all possible.

First thing...there is a pattern correction for the Weekender Bag bottom on Amy Butler's website...go it...change your pattern in red ink so you always have it.

My process:
  Peltex cut to the revised size, centered on your bottom fabric, and fused.
  Plastic grid cut to the revised sized, aligned with the Peltex, and held in place with tape.
  Bottom stands added at 1.5 inches squared on each corner and aligned in the center (6 total).

Most of the work for the assembly of the front is I'll start piecing it together.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Family: 45 Days and Counting

45 days and counting....

45 days until graduation ceremonies at Purdue....

45 days until our daughter participates in the graduation ceremonies at Purdue, earning her B.S. in Nursing....

45 days until we're in Indiana watching our daughter participating in the graduation ceremonies at Purdue, earning her B.S. in Nursing...

Let the countdown begin!