November 29, 2010

Halloween Better Late Than Never Style

Sassy and Chunky carved pumpkins -

Chunky's was particularly proud of how gruesome his was (left) -

Friends stopped by for trick-or-treating. This is Nora as a giraffe (though it looked a little like a cow, sorry MPB).

I loved Nora's socks! Sassy would totally wear these if they came in her size.

November 26, 2010

Turkey Day Redux

Our Thanksgiving was perfect - good food, friends and family. I worked my butt off in the kitchen (if only that were really possible) while hubby and charming children cleaned. The table was set with a linen tablecloth my mom gave me - very elegant (thanks Mom!).

I made the turkey, potatoes and supplied rolls and pies. In-laws brought stuffing, green beans and sweet potatoes. Friends brought cranberry relish (Harry & David - fantastic!) and a cranberry-jello-pineapple-green apple-walnut salad which I'm still craving today. The 16 lb turkey was arctic-bred from Trader Joe's. Did you know the arctic is the top turkey producing state?! I am a big believer in brining - it gives so much flavor and moisture. I either buy already brined or do it myself. TJ's did not disappoint. To impart even more flavor (and the intention of making perfect gravy), Joe was stuffed with an onion, carrots, celery, fresh thyme and rosemary. I used a hybrid of the Pioneer Woman's roasting technique and my own - covered in foil 3 hours at 275 degrees and then basted with butter and dry marsala wine every half hour at 375 degrees (no foil). PDub did not give a total roasting time so I was a bit nervous but it worked out to be 4 1/2 hours which was perfect. Alas no photo of the most perfectly browned bird you've ever seen. If I do say so myself. By the time that opportunity came along we were all too hungry to wait for a photo opp. We have barely any turkey left - we all like white meat and made quick work of that as none of us had eaten breakfast and by 2:00pm were all ravenous. The quest for perfect gravy was not attained. The bottom of my pan was so thick with wine that I didn't feel like I had enough turkey juices to do a gravy justice. Thank goodness for jarred roast turkey gravy and the grocery store being open on Thanksgiving! The potatoes were undercooked (boiled them for what seemed like 45 minutes for pete's sake and the one I taste-tested was super soft). No problem - I fixed by mounding in a baking dish and baking after the turkey was out resting.

I purchased clover leaf rolls from a bakery and was disappointed. Perhaps I should have warmed them more. The pumpkin pie from the same bakery was fabulous -I may never make my own again. I'm off to make a turkey-cranberry-stuffing-potato-white cheddar sandwich. Heaven!

November 24, 2010

Photo Favorites #5

I wouldn't normally post a photo of myself that doesn't include an alcoholic beverage, but I thought an exception was in order for this one. Chunky will never be accused of taking himself too seriously. This was taken by my friend Em during our Hot Sam's photoshoot. We were sitting in front of a campfire and I like the effect the smoke has.
I'm thankful for these two -they're the craziest, bestest things ever!

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 18, 2010

Dress Up Doll

Hello, my name is Better Late Than Never and I have an addiction. I love playing dress up with my daughter. Not as in we both dress up together, as in buying her cute things to wear. It is why she will have a mountain of student loans instead of having college paid for. It is a sickness that began when she only a bump in my belly. I used to buy her cute ensembles like this or this. She wasn't picky (that is until she turned 12) and would wear whatever I put out for her. It was awesome - my own little dress up doll. Styles and attitudes have changed but my obsession still reigns. Now this shop is a favorite. I recently bought this dress for an event. I also like this shop and especially this dress (I'm sick, not crazy - there's no way would I spend that!). I feel like her own personal stylist and though she has a flair of her own, every now and then she indulges me. Like when I talked her into a leopard-print trench coat. Classic! My next mission is roll-up cargo or twill pants. Wish me luck!

November 17, 2010

Will & Kate plus...

I am a sucker for a royal wedding. I remember almost 30 years ago making my BFF get up in the middle of the night to watch the Charles & Di wedding live. I think we had strawberries, chocolate, tea and some other food we thought befitting the occasion. The news that Britain's Prince William has finally proposed is very exciting. How sweet is it that he gave her his mother's ring?! I'm partial to sapphire/diamond rings as I have one myself but it's a little less than Kate's 18 carats. I can't help but feel a little sad for Monaco's Prince Albert. I've always had a special place in my heart for him as the son of my favorite actress, Grace Kelly. He is also getting married next year and I suspect they won't get nearly the press coverage as Will and Kate's wedding. I am anxiously waiting to hear the date so I can clear my calendar.

November 14, 2010

Food workout

Pom-gran-ach: this is the way my great-grandfather, Giovanni Minelli, said pomegranate his middle name was either Battista (like the Italian general) or Baptista (as in John the Baptist), I can't remember. The true italian transalation is melograno but I loved the way he said it in his husky accented voice. I thought he looked like the man in the Grace and Gratitude painting.

I love pomegranates, and eating one always makes me think of grandpa Minelli. The little seeds are tough to release from their cocoon, but it is SO worth. My favorite celebrity chef, Nigella, says to cut them in half, turn over and pound on the skin until the seeds "rain down". She says its therapeutic. I love you Nigella (she's my girl crush), but there's nothing therapeutic about having to clean up pomegrante juice which has been liberally splattered all over my kitchen. I rather enjoy peeling away the rind and membrane one section at a time to dig for the little nuggets. Pomegranates are said to have many health properties, but I love them 'cause they taste good - they way the juice bursts when you first bite into them and the delightful little crunch. I'm thinking the workout to release the little gems and the crunching burns calories; hence the oxymoron of this post's title. Off to make Sassy some popovers with honey butter - a special request to celebrate she made the JO volleyball team. Yeah - more volleyball posts are in our future!

November 13, 2010

Drinking in winter wonderland

We got our first snow of the season. Here's how it all went down -

Chunky wanted to use the snow thrower but since he never has before I was nervous about testing that out today. I had him get it for me out of the shed. Of course there was no gas in it so I put in the only available gas in the garage. Chunky tells me it's the wrong stuff. I go to start the darn thing and it won't turnover. Delightful. I finally get it going after several starts and stops (have to turn the choke down at precisely the right moment) and then the blower thing gets clogged up with heavy, wet, slushy snow. I ask Chunky to get me a wooden spoon so I can dig it out. He is slower than pond water. I spoon the snow out, push a bit, get clogged, spoon. Rinse and repeat a few times. I throw a temper tantrum in the driveway and put away the ?#%*($@! snow thrower. Hubby calls back (Chunky called to tell on me for using the wrong gas) and he tells me it's wrong because it's a gas/oil mix. I ask if there's any other gasoline available and he says no. So by my standards it was right. I plow out of the driveway over mountain of snow to get to grad class. Works like a charm every time.

I'm excited about my first yoga session after class. It's the only thing that gets me through talking about asset turnover, debt ratios and some other accounting blah-blah-blah stuff. I stop at the in-laws because I arrived a full hour early for yoga and their house is in the neighborhood. I get stuck in their driveway. I look up directions just to be sure and find out yoga is cancelled. Of course it is. I stay for supper with in-laws and unstick my car from their drive. I arrive home, gun it into the garage and start the snow thrower. The snow is super heavy and is not blowing very far. For every pass I make, I have to make two more to clean up the snow I just dumped on the part of the drive I already cleared. I do maybe 30% of the drive, attempt to shovel the really tall mounds down and then say "screw it".

Am drinking heavily now. Expect biceps like Popeye in the morning from all the heavy lifting (literally).

November 12, 2010

Will he make it to 12?

Happy 11th Birthday Chunky Monkey!

Please Lord don't let this be foreshadowing of a future as a loanshark

November 10, 2010

November 9, 2010

Photo Favorites #2

I'm hoping this car is still available when he gets his license in five (gulp) years. I'm afraid of him getting anything more zippy and honestly, have you ever seen anything cuter?!

November 7, 2010

Photo Favorites #1

You've already seen two favorites from our Fall photo shoot. I had to pick one for Christmas cards but I'm not going to share until after they've been sent. Who knows when that will be. I am proud to say I ordered said photo yesterday and as it is well before Thanksgiving I am giving myself props.

There are so many wonderful photos so I have decided to dazzle you with a fresh selection each day or so. Let's start with Silly Sassy - these fit her personality to a "T"!

November 4, 2010

Nothing doing

Sorry for the lack of excitement here. Not much going on this week. Chunky started school basketball practice, MIL is hounding me for Christmas lists and we've had relatively nice weather. I'm selling coffee for the school PTA at church this weekend (loving the Peru right now) and doing Acctg homework/reading. Can you handle all this?! I'm not complaining, just saying things are relatively quiet. I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts. Off to watch The Vampire Diaries - Elena thought she was home free after her evil doppelganger, Katherine, was sealed in a tomb, but now she's been kidnapped. Now that's exciting!

November 3, 2010

Here we go again

The arctic is getting quite the reputation for elections. We may have a repeat of the 2008 recount on our hands. What a mess!