Archive for the ‘Holiday’ Category

One thing you may or may not know about me… I am obsessed with finding good deals and then stocking up in the freezer.  I dream about the future, when I will have a garage and can buy one of those huge freezers.  Please don’t judge me.

Anyway, I bring this up because around Thanksgiving I bought turkey breasts (the whole bone-in breast, basically the turkey w/o legs and wings, not just boneless, skinless breasts) for 99 cents a pound – which is CRAZY cheap.  So obviously I bought three, two of which I was not planning on using for Thanksgiving.  After a particularly robust trip to Costco, I had to free up some freezer space and I finally made one of the breasts… IN A CROCKPOT.

SO EASY and SO DELICIOUS.  Do it, you will thank me, later.

What you need:

  • Full bone in turkey breast (make sure it will fit in your crock pot, first!), defrosted
  • 1 packet of dry onion soup mix
  • minced garlic
  • two onions, chopped
  • one bunch of celery, chopped
  • a few red potatoes, chopped
  • carrots, I used a bag of baby carrots
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth or white wine (or half and half)
  • 1 stick of butter, softened, mixed with oregano, sage, thyme, rosemary

mmm veggies

What to do:

  1. Put the breast into the crock pot dish.  Prepare the bird by lifting as much of the skin off as you can, then rubbing the butter & herb mix into the meat.  Cover back up with the skin.  Kind of gruesome, but so worth it.

    Boyfriend giving the bird a butter rub down

  2. Fill the crock pot around the bird with half to two thirds of the veggies.  Stuff the remainder inside the cavity.

    This is post-cook, but you can see how the veggies are around, and stuffed inside

  3. Mix the soup packet with the wine/ stock, and add to the crock pot.
  4. Cook on low for about 7 hours
  5. Don’t worry about the lack of liquid!  While it cooks, it will let out all the juices, as you can see in the photo above.

finished product

with stew on the side!

This is seriously the easiest and most tender turkey I have ever made/ had.  We usually fry turkey for the holidays, which is awesome, but a huge PITA.  This is so easy, and it literally falls apart when touched.

P.S. you don’t have to use the veggies, but it so easy, and in the end you have an entire one pot meal waiting for you.


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I hosted Thanksgiving this year, for the first time ever.  I was pretty excited because I have been wanting to try making cheesy pumpkin dip for at least two years, but it’s not really something you can make and bring to someone else’s place.  This dip is pretty simple, but it is so ingenious (not to mention tasty) that everyone will be chattering about it all afternoon.

What you need:

  • A sugar pumpkin (or two, we had 9 people, double the following for two pumpkins)
  • Bread, any kind really, about 4 slices
  • Garlic, minced
  • Italian seasoning, just a pinch or two
  • Nutmeg, about a teaspoon
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 6 ounces cheese: I used cheddar cubes and grated romano
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • Salt & pepper
  • crackers, crostini, etc for serving

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cut the top off the pumpkin and keep it.  Scoop out the seeds, but no need to worry about all the stringies as long as the seeds are gone.
  3. Cube bread and cheese.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the following together: bread, cheese, spices. garlic, breadcrumbs, basically everything but the cream.
  5. Add mixture into the pumpkin, and really pack it in as much as you can.
  6. Add heavy cream to pumpkin, put top back on pumpkin (I secured mine with toothpicks).
  7. Place pumpkin in a dutch oven, or pyrex dish that you don’t mind serving it in and bake for 60 – 90 minutes.
  8. After it’s done, stir up the dip, and scrape the inside of the pumpkin to get the pumpkin meat off.  Stir again, then serve!

Hope everyone had a great holiday!  Here are some more pictures of some of the other stuff I served.

Creamed corn w/ parmesan

Simple salad with home made croutons

Garlic red mashed potatoes

Green beans sauteed in bacon fat, topped with parmesan and bacon bits

honey glazed carrots


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Hope you all had a great Independence day and three day weekend!  I was inspired by Smitten Kitchen and a log of fig goat cheese that I thought I would love, but kind of hated, to make this DELICIOUS cornbread for our holiday BBQ.  This recipe was awesome, not only because it was yummy and a huge crowd pleaser, but also because I didn’t have to go out and buy a single thing for it.  I had it all already in my kitchen.

Here is the link to the original recipe.  I basically followed it, except I added more corn and more goat cheese (had to get rid of it!).  I did use polenta, mostly because I already had it.  Oh I also didn’t soak the polenta in buttermilk overnight, but for about 2 hours.  Another tip – the goat cheese needs to sit out for quite awhile to soften up, well over an hour.  But I just whipped it in the kitchenaid and it turned out fine.

I did use a large, very deep (6 inches maybe?) cast iron skillet to bake it in.  Next time I will definitely just put it in two skillets, or a skillet and a dutch oven/ pyrex.  It took about an hour to cook, and the edges got totally burned because it was so tall.  So if you improvise and add more ingredients, just keep this in mind…. or use a really big rectangle pan/ dish, so it is more shallow.  Once I got over the burned edges, I realized this is probably the best cornbread I have ever had… which was a really cool thought because I made it!

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Soooooo… I made a whole feast for Christmas, for the first time ever.  It was expensive, a lot of work, but totally delicious and worth it.

The prime rib I went to 4 stores to get

I swear to god this was the last prime rib in San Diego.  Apparently it was amazing ( I don’t eat beef).

Fried turkey wangs!

Creamed corn

The best part of this recipe is the real whipping cream!

Roasted brussell sprouts, onions & garlic with BACON

Everyone RAVED about this.  It was my first time making, and eating b-sprouts, as I like to call them.  I just roasted everything with a coating of olive oil, salt and pepper and chopped bacon.

The infamous holiday potatoes

These are called Holiday Potatoes, because they are so fattening and decadent, that you can only have them on holidays, unless you want to be on The Biggest Loser soon.  Got to use the new Cuisinart food processor to shred the potatoes and cheese!

homemade bleu cheese and chive biscuits

We also had tamales, salad, and lots of booze.  Oh and our very own Santa Claws:


Hope you all had a great holiday season!

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Apple Pie!

Walter loves apple pie.  He’d rather have an apple pie than birthday cake, which I personally find insane.  So I decided to treat him and attempt to bake my first apple pie.

Got this (adjusted) recipe from allrecipes.com:
•    1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
•    1/2 cup unsalted butter
•    3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
•    1 tsp cinnamon
•    1/2 tsp nutmeg
•    1 tsp vanilla
•    1/2 cup white sugar
•    1/2 cup packed brown sugar
•    1/4 cup water
•    6-7 Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored and sliced
•    milk

1.    Melt butter in a sauce pan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add white sugar, brown sugar and water; bring to a boil. Reduce temperature, and simmer 5 minutes.
2.    Meanwhile, place the bottom crust in your pan. Brush the crust with milk.  Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Cover with a lattice work of crust. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off.
3.    Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and continue baking for 45 minutes.  Recommended to place a cookie sheet, or foil under (on rack below) the pie because it will likely bubble over and spill out the sides.

The only thing I changed was the type of apples.  I had a bunch of galas that I needed to use, so I used 3 galas, 1 big red delicious and 2 huge granny smiths.  Also, I just used the pre-made frozen pie crusts from Trader Joe’s.

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Deep Fried Turkey

So the boy got an itch to deep fry a turkey for the holiday, last week.  He was inspired by Alton Brown, and used this recipe:


So once we got all the necessary components, we were ready to go.  This is what you will need to have;

big pot/ burner ($80 kmart)

fresh turkey, 13 lbs ($30 costco)

5 gallons peanut oil ($26 costco)

brown sugar, salt

various pulleys, rope (less than $10 home depot)

ice chest/ cooler and ice

Basically you just have to carefully fry the turkey (according to the detailed instructions provided by alton brown).  The oil temperature decreased considerably when we added the turkey, so it was a good thing we actually waited until it got to 300 F to lower the bird into the oil (instead of 250).

Here are some pics!

the pre-fried bird

the rig (so you dont burn yourself with piping hot oil)

like a turkey jacuzzi

about an hour later...

One of the BEST turkeys I have ever tasted!

I made some stuff, too 🙂

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My Thanksgiving Dinner!

Okay, I didn’t really cook most of it… but I DID bake & decorate the cake!

The room/table:


The turkey!


The dessert spread:


Me & my beautiful cake!


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