Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas at Paddington Lane

We have done a little Christmas decorating, i'm big on after Christmas sales, so we are decorating with what we bought last year and a few things i've gathered over the years. Anyway, its been fun!

He stole my chair!!
(Thats my favorite spot)

ahhh, got my spot back

Christmas Tree

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanksgiving Weekend

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. Dad had a huge furniture delivery in Canada, so he wasn't able to join us until Friday night. Because of this we decided to postpone the traditional turkey dinner until Saturday. We decided that Tom would try his hand at roasting a duck for Thanksgiving day. Tom started his duck prep in the morning. To those of you who don't know, Tom's cat is Ducky. She stalked around the kitchen for awhile, so i reassured her that we were most certainly roasting a fat chicken and of course we would never consider eating a duck! Also, if we said "duck" in her presence her ears would perk up and she would look at us :) Well it is her name! Anyway, back to the dinner. Tom prepped the duck and then roasted it for 4 hours, flipping it every hour and letting the fat drain into the bottom of the pan (he had it sitting up on a rack). Then he parboiled potatoes, browned them in duck fat and roasted them in the oven. Just before being served the duck recived a glaze (your gonna have to ask Tom about that, I'm not sure what went into that) Mom arrived just in time for our feast, which tuned out completely perfect. I really like duck as a meat, but i didn't grow up eating it. Aside from some very greasy fare years ago my mother had never really tried it. This duck was not greasy at all. It was tender and juicy and amazing.

Saturday was my day to test my skills in the kitchen. As usual, mine comes with a story to tell. Tom and I picked the Turkey several days before when we found them on sale. At that point I began to think about how I wanted to roast this years turkey (I've only done this once before and it was good, but I knew I could do better) I had heard of brining a Turkey, but had no idea how to do it. The day before Thanksgiving I was working in a nursing home doing some assessments. I met an 86 year old woman who had broken a hip just days before Thanksgiving. We were chatting about the holiday and I told her I was going to handle the turkey this year and I was a little nervous since I didn't have a plan (ask Tom, there always has to be a plan. Following the plan isn't required, I just need to know that I have a place to start:). She took pity on me and offered to share her favorite brine recipe that she promised would make the juciest turkey I had ever roasted (not hard since I had only made one, but still, it was a kind offer) So I used her basic recipe and made a brine that went a little something like this - equal parts vegtable broth and water, half a cup of my favorite herbs (more like a tablespoon each) 2/3 cup tender quick, minced garlic, a little bit of worchester and some real maple syrup (no fake stuff here!) Bring to boil, cover turkey with brine and leave to sit for 24 hours. Add some of moms party potatoes and my favorite pasta salad and steamed broccoli and you have Thanksgiving dinner. Except it wasn't on Thanksgiving day. Dad arrived the night before and Jen, Kevin and Nolan joined us for the meal. We were very excited to have a house full of guests for the meal. As promised, the Turkey was by far the best I had ever made. It was juicy, tender and flavorful. So good in fact that Tom has been waiting on turkeys to go on sale so we can roast one for lunch meat. Oh, and I almost forgot Mom's pumpkin pie. Also amazing.

Dad did lots of little helpful jobs around the house Saturday. At one point he decided that he needed to go to Lowes, however he neglected to take his loyal little dog with him.

Buddy sat there, looking out the window the entire time dad was gone

In the middle of all that Mom and I unpacked some 30 boxes and got our house feeling more like a home than a storage unit. We also went out shopping on Black Friday. We did find some great deals and after a year and a half of dreaming I finally own a Cricut (to those of you who do not scrapbook, its a machine that cuts all kinds of shapes and is perfect for my wedding planning)

Here we are, playing with the scrapbooking toys


P.S. As to the questions as to the last post about the day Tom proposed, it seems I did not provide enough detail :) He did get down on one knee. On the wet ground. In the rain. He said something profound and thoughtful about perfect days. I got a little distracted by the shiny ring and the emotion of the moment and  I sorta forget the details (sorry Tom).  And after that we walked back up the hill and it started pouring rain. Mr Prepaired had a giant umbrella, so it was fun. No one else was around, even though we were on a popular little wooden dock overlooking the koi pond (thats probably because it was raining!) Hope that fills in the details a little :)