Monday, November 30, 2009


- Puppy kisses
- Coffee and gingerbread
- Brothers & sisters, talk, talk, talking
- Old records on a brand-new record player
- Brothers & sisters, Dad & Mom, gabbing upstairs & downstairs & all around the house
- Billiards in the basement
- Basting and chopping and mixing in the kitchen
- Thankful prayer
- Feasting, oh the feasting
- More & more puppy kisses
- Dinner-induced napping
- More & more yakking
- Dining room table poker
- Apple pie & trifle & cheesecake & coffee dessert-ing
- Apples to Apples playing, all 7 of us
- Family hugs & kisses & see you in the morning
- Sleep, sleep, sleep

Another happy, HAPPY Thanksgiving for the books!

[I've shamelessly stolen this list idea from Amanda - thank you, friend!]

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thankful Thanksgiving Eve

Today I am thankful for a body that is able to wake up with the sun and for eyes that can drink in God's beautiful, beautiful creation.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


I've been feeling a little sheepish for carrying on so gleefully about all of the Thanksgiving dessert I'm about to indulge in (4 days & counting, ahem!) and thought that instead of sharing another cheesecake recipe, I'd post a tried-and-true, simple & quick, really scrumptious recipe for cranberry sauce. It would be nice, I thought, to show everyone that our Thankgsiving dinner will include something other than butter and cream cheese and pudding. Then I looked at the nutritional information and discovered that one serving of this stuff probably has the same amount of calories and fat as a doughnut. Sigh. Well, I tried, anyway :)
Baked Cranberry Sauce (again, from Taste of Home)

1 pound fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed
1-1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup orange marmalade
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Pour into a greased 11-in. x 7-in. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until cranberries are tender. Serve warm or cold. Refrigerate leftovers. Yields 10 servings.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Let us eat cake!

We have the great fortune of celebrating Thanksgiving twice this year, which means....two days of dessert! The Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle will make its appearance at feast #1, and for the second go-around, we'll enjoy a parade of cheescakes. After searching high and low, I've found a set of mini springform pans - only about 4-1/2 inches across. This means I'm going to try a few different kinds and we can all have tiny pieces of each. No one should have to suffer through only one cheescake choice, after all!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Deluxe (from the Taste of Home website)

3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
32 gingersnap cookies, coarsely crushed
3 tablespoons brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted

3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1-1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
4 eggs, lightly beaten
Sweetened whipped cream, optional
Pecan brittle, optional

Place a greased 9-in. springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil; securely wrap foil around pan. Place pecans in a food processor; cover and process until ground. Add gingersnaps, brown sugar and butter; cover and pulse until blended. Press onto the bottom and 2 in. up the sides of prepared pan; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the pumpkin, cream, syrup, vanilla and spices. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Pour into crust. Place springform pan in a large baking pan; add 1 in. of hot water to larger pan.

Bake at 325° for 60-70 minutes or until center is just set and top appears dull. Remove pan from water bath. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Chill overnight. Remove sides of pan. Garnish with whipped cream and pecan brittle if desired.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My date with a pig-out

Thanksgiving is only 8 days away, so let's talk about dessert! First, though, I must qualify the previous post about our weight loss challenge by saying this: It is my intention to eat everything in sight on Thanksgiving. This is not an exaggeration, and I'm really excited about it.

I found this recipe (and the picture, too) on the Food Network website. It's by Paula Deen, which means it's bound to be yummy. It will also be astronomically high in calories and fat, but for me that's the very definition of a Thanksgiving dessert, so I don't mind a bit.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

2 (14-ounce) packages gingerbread mix
1 (5.1-ounce) box cook-and-serve vanilla pudding mix
1 (30-ounce) can pumpkin pie filling
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 teaspoon ground cardamom or cinnamon
1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping
1/2 cup gingersnaps, optional

Bake the gingerbread according to the package directions; cool completely. Prepare the pudding and set aside to cool. Stir the pumpkin pie filling, sugar, and cardamom into the pudding. Crumble 1 batch of gingerbread into the bottom of a large bowl. Pour half of the pudding mixture over the gingerbread, then add a layer of whipped topping. Repeat with the remaining gingerbread, pudding, and whipped topping. Sprinkle of the top with crushed gingersnaps, if desired. Refrigerate overnight. Trifle can be layered in a punch bowl.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

And away we go!

Quite literally, actually. Three weeks ago we started a Weight Busters Challenge at the YMCA, which means that for three weeks we've been taking all kinds of 5:00 a.m. spin classes and running a thousand miles on the treadmill and making the supreme sacrifice of only eating one measly vanilla tootsie roll on Halloween. Each week we're given exercise and nutrition assignments, and we earn points for each task we complete. We're also weighed each week and earn points based on the percentage of weight we've lost. The person with the most points at the end of 12 weeks is the winner and right now.....

Jan Michael is beating everybody by a country mile. He'll wish I would have kept that quiet, but it's so neat to watch him work so hard and see such amazing results. Besides, I'm a proud wife and must crow about him :)

Anyway, this is such a super time of year to be involved in this kind of thing, what with the heaps of holiday food lurking at every turn. It's nice to know that when January rolls around, we'll be ahead of the game instead of scrambling to whittle away the damage of several eggnog cheesecakes and piles of Christmas cookies.

So, wish us luck (although Jan Michael doesn't need it), and eat something terribly fattening in our honor, since there won't be much of that coming our way in the next couple of months :)

Monday, November 09, 2009

Sunday, November 01, 2009


Halloween this year was almost too fantastic for words. We high-tailed it to Derek & Sara's, jumped on the cruisers, which had been gussied to the hilt with lights, and rolled all over Olympia. You wouldn't believe the hooting and hollering and very near fainting we witnessed every time we turned a corner. Someone in a car stopped paying attention to what he was doing and drove up onto a curb as we rode past. Other cars slowed down and honked for all they were worth. Parents clapped and small trick-or-treaters ran after us, begging to know, "WHERE did you get those bikes?!" One little boy was heard muttering, "Who ever heard of a kid on a motorcycle?!" in a somewhat offended tone - I suppose that's what we get for whizzing by at the speed of light, bikes a-blazing. And then, towards the end of our cruise, another boy said, with awe in his voice, "Are you human?....My name is John..." as though he was in the presence of some majestic, other-world creature and thought he should introduce himself. I don't think any of us stopped smiling the entire time we were out. Never mind candy - the biggest treats definitely went to the four of us; it's hard to beat bringing so much happiness and delight to so many people. We're already planning next year's outing :)

This gang of bikers chased us down the street, were excited to have their picture taken with Jan Michael's warhammer, and pronounced us both 'Beast' and 'Legit.' We now know what it must have been like for the Beatles :)