Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Turkey Time


Well my friends, we're just two days away from Thanksgiving, which means that most of us will be gathered around the communal table enjoying copious amounts of fattening food with a side of guilt.  Be sure to double check your bottle of Xanax before you run off to catch your flight, because there's nothing worse than a National holiday spent listening to your Mother question your life choices without the muffling effect of prescription drugs!

I assume that, for many of us, our memories of Thanksgivings of yore include not only weird Uncle Ned and the lonely neighbor man with wandering hands, but also plates of dry turkey that made you question whether perhaps wallpaper paste might, in fact, be more appetizing.  It's time for Americans to stop committing culinary crime and to learn to prepare turkey properly.

I assume that some of you may be cooking (and hosting) Thanksgiving for the first time this year, so I'm here to help.  I've got a few tips for hosting the perfect Turkey Day dinner as well as a foolproof recipe (courtesy of my Chef Hubby) for perfectly cooked, moist and delicious turkey that will ensure everyone will want to come back next year for Thanksgiving dinner.  It's up to you whether to consider this a positive or a negative.

1.  Make your feast a pot luck.  There is no reason that you should spend your entire holiday slaving away in the kitchen cooking multiple dishes for your guests.  This is expensive and unnecessary.  Cook the turkey and force everyone else to bring the sides and desserts.  Yeah, Aunt Rainbow might bring a soy and wheat berry loaf, but pretty much everything tastes good slathered in gravy.

2. Have plenty of wine and cocktails on offer (unless, of course, you or your guests are Friends of Bill's. In that case, stick with sparkling cider).  Most people get kind of tense in social situations.  Booze helps loosen people up and get the conversation flowing.  Just make sure that you cut off Cousin Jeremy before he's six cocktails in and starts feeling up the decorative gourds.

3. Place cards.  Seriously, I can't stress this enough.  Yeah, they seem like something only WASPs from Greenwich use, but people really don't like having to figure out where to sit.  Put some thought into who talks and who doesn't, and seat them next to each other.  We're all children at heart and we just want someone to tell us what to do, so go ahead and print out some cute fall-themed place cards and go nuts.

4.  Clean your bathroom.  I can't believe I even have to write this, but if you're having people over, take the time to clean whatever commode they will use.  Invest in a fresh bar of hand soap and a clean towel and maybe even a nice smelling candle in case someone who is lactose intolerant over-indulges in sour cream mashed potatoes.

How to Cook the Perfect Turkey:

Defrost your turkey.  Please don't try to cook a frozen turkey.

One Day Before:
Brine your turkey (you can do this while your turkey defrosts).

Thanksgiving Day:

Rinse brine.

Stuff turkey with one whole onion, a few cloves of garlic, herbs of your choice (rosemary, thyme, etc.), and one orange cut in half.

Rub with olive oil, a splash of soy sauce, and a touch of agave, maple syrup or honey, whichever you prefer.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place breast side down until skin becomes golden brown, approximately 30-45 minutes, depending on the weight of your turkey.  

Turn turkey over, breast side up.  Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.  The residual heat of the oven should brown the breast skin fairly quickly, which seals in the moisture and keeps your turkey from tasting like cardboard.

Baste turkey with pan juices and a little red wine every 30 minutes.  (Bonus: this also creates a nice pan gravy, which you can reduce down on the stovetop to make a more traditional gravy; no gravy packet needed!)

Roast bird until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.  With this high heat cooking method, the turkey should take about 12-18 minutes per pound.

Let bird rest at least 20 minutes before carving.

Enjoy your well cooked bird.  Here's hoping Uncle Larry doesn't get drunk and barf in one of your houseplants.
Happy Thanksgiving!  
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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Fix My Wardrobe, November Edition

Despite my horrible photos it looks like you guys really liked my previous Stitch Fix post.  I'm so glad that the images of me with greasy hair and not wearing a speck of makeup didn't make you scream and run from your computer!  I'm also pleased that a number of you actually signed up for the service and are getting some new pieces for your wardrobe.  That makes me happy, and I suspect that you wearing something other than sweatpants will make your partners happy as well. 

You wanna see what I got in my November Stitch Fix

Good.  Because I have pictures, and I'm actually wearing makeup this time!

I didn't take any photos of my October fix, because I ran out of time before I had to send the stuff back.  Don't worry, you didn't miss much; I actually didn't keep a single piece.

This month I got smart.  I requested my original stylist, Stephania, who definitely understands my style and what I'm looking for.

A few tips to help you get pieces you'll like:

1.  Communicate.  Much like in marriage, communication is the key to getting clothing pieces that you want/need.  You can leave notes in your account requesting specific clothing items or stylists, which is how I ended up getting Stephania again.  My request for a pair of boyfriend jeans was met with less success, which you can see below.

2.  Get Pinteresty.  Set up a fashion Pinterest board and keep it updated.  When you fill out your Stitch Fix profile it asks if you have a Pinterest account and it's really helpful for your stylist if you use this.  I had no idea that I like black skinny pants with zippers, but Stefania noticed I had pinned quite a few of that style and sent me a pair.  If only my husband was as observant about my love for the kitchen trash being empty!

3. These are not cheap, disposable clothes.  It's important to understand that you're investing a little bit in your wardrobe.  That being said, you need to be truthful about your budget when you fill out your SF profile.  Don't be embarrassed to say that you can't spend more than a certain amount on clothing, and never hesitate to send something back because it's too expensive.  The point of the service is to make your life easier, not to keep you awake at night worrying about how you're going to pay your Visa bill.  Personally, I think the fact that they managed to find me jeans that cost less than $80 is awesome.  I think it's better to spend a few more sheckles on things you're really going to wear rather than throwing down $10 bucks for a cheetah t-shirt from Forever 21 when you're Actually 36.

And now, without further ado, the goodies in my November box:
My disclaimer: obviously, I am not a contender for America's Next Top (geriatric) Model, but at least this time my hair is clean and I'm wearing some lipgloss.  I promise to do better next month.

Market and Spruce Graphic Print Blouse $48.00
I would have never picked this out for myself, but I LOVE this shirt.  It's incredibly comfortable, but also looks totally put together.  I've already worn it to three preschool tours, so I've totally tricked them into thinking I'm chic and hip instead of frazzled and unshowered.  Win!  KEPT

LA Made Striped Sweater $68.00
I liked this when I saw it in the box, so I was dissappointed when I put it on.  It just wasn't that flattering.  Turns out that just because something is black and white doesn't mean it must be purchased.  Who knew??!  RETURNED

Renee C Asymmetrical Cardigan $58.00
Again, I liked this when I saw it in the box, but it looked horrendous on me, like I'm wearing a giant burlap bag as a sweater.  It was fine when it was unbuttoned, but I need another grey cardigan like I need a third child (read: NEVER).  RETURNED

Kut from the Kloth Distressed Boyfriend Jean $78.00
In my message for my stylist I asked for a pair of distressed boyfriend jeans.  While I was happy that she sent a pair, these were not for me.  First of all they were too big and kind of short in the legs (am I wrong on this? weigh in, please, fashionable readers).  Plus they made my butt look really flat.  I just haven't been able to find a pair of boyfriend jeans that look good on me, so either it's not a style for those of us with toothpick figures, or I have to continue searching.  Sigh.  RETURNED

Gorjana Double Bar Drop Earrings $48.00
Initially I was going to send these back without even trying them on, but thanks to the fact that I wanted to provide you people with photo proof, I discovered how cute these earrings are.  Okay, I normally would not spend more than $10 on earrings that I'm not going to wear every day, but these looked so good, and I figured that since I'm trying to upgrade my wardrobe I should class up my accessories as well, so I splurged.  I kind of love these and think I'll wear them often.  KEPT

Honestly, I think if you sign up for Stitch Fix you won't be disappointed.  I'm just glad that I have some cute new clothes that fit my postpartum figure, and I suspect the Hubby is thrilled that I no longer try to leave the house wearing pajamas.

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