Easy Thanksgiving Dinner

Some of my worst memories are of Thanksgiving Day. This dreaded day was by far my least favorite holiday … the over-crowed, over-heated kitchen, adult tempers on edge, angry tension so thick you could taste it. Maybe it was just a case of too many cooks in the kitchen? Each with ideas of what should be done, when, and how… mostly I don’t really know what the issue was, I set the table and escaped to my room when I could. Thanksgiving continued to be a huge cause of anxiety for me, until I moved to Oregon, and like everything else in my life, suddenly became peaceful and happy.

The first few Thanksgiving’s here we just ordered pizza, glad to be out from under the strain of “the big meal”. Last year was the first time we got nostalgic about the tradition. Some traditions are just too hard to break, and then there are some that you don’t want to break. I want my girls to grow up with the same American rituals as I did, and at its heart this is a holiday about food. I wondered if it was possible to have the traditional meal, without the traditional bad moods. Low and behold, it was possible! Last year my hubby and I easily coordinated a tidy little meal that reflected our favorite parts of the big feasts we’d had growing up! Here is our simple step by step Easy Thanksgiving Dinner!

Shopping List:

1 Dinner Rolls, wheat, $1.99
1 Frozen Corn, pack of mini cobs, $2.50
1 Frozen Pumpkin Pie, $2.97
1 Frozen Whip Topping, $0.78
1 Green Beans, Canned, $0.65
1 Hawaiian Punch, 2 liter, $1.68
1 Margarine/Butter, box of sticks, $0.78
1 Olives, canned black, $0.58
1 Pickles, sweet, $1.99
10 Potatoes – brown, single, $2.28
1 Sprite, 2 liter, $0.98
1 Turkey Gravy, $0.48
1 Jennie-O Turkey and Gravy in Roasting pan, $4.50
1 Stove Top Turkey Stuffing, $1.25
Total: $23.41

Step by Step:

Day Before
– Put punch ingredients in the fridge
– Move the whip topping from the freezer to the fridge
– Cook the pumpkin pie

4 Hours Before
– Start the turkey loaf

30 Minutes before
– Set potatoes to boil

20 Minutes Before
– Dump cooked potatoes in the kitchen aid mixer
– Rinse out potato pan and boil corn in it
– Get out ingredients for all recipes, group by recipe
– Mash the potatoes, and cover to stay warm
– Set the table

10 minutes before
– Make stuffing
– Make gravy
– Warm up the green beans
– Open the olives and pickles, place in serving bowls
– Get out dinner rolls and butter, place on a tray
– Make punch

0 Minutes Before
– Put everything on the table, call everyone together, give thanks, and enjoy! ;)

1 Hour After
– Enjoy the pumpkin pie with whip topping

Recipes:

Turkey Loaf
1 package of Jennie-O white and dark meat turkey
Follow package directions

Mashed Potatoes
10 potatoes
1 TBLS vegan butter
Splash of almond milk
Scrub potatoes and chop into fourths. Boil for 12 minutes or until a fork can go in and out easily. Mash with a masher, fork, or mixer.

Fresh Corn on the Cob
4 corn cobs
Husk, boil for 10 minutes in several inches of water, serve.

Frozen Corn on the Cob
1 pack of mini corn cobs
Open package, boil for several minutes in water, serve.

Turkey Stuffing
1 box of Stove Top stuffing
Follow package directions

Turkey Gravy
1 packet of gravy
Follow package directions

Fresh Green Beans
2 cups green beans pods
Cut off ends, steam lightly in an inch of water, serve.

Canned Green Beans
1 can cut green beans
Open can, warm in a small pan, serve.

Sprite Punch
1 Hawaiian Punch, 2 liter
1 Sprite, 2 liter
Fill half of a pitcher, or glass, with Hawaiian punch, fill the other half with Sprite. Add ice if desired. YUM!

Sadly, starting this year we are forgoing the turkey. We agreed as a family that since we are completely vegetarian now, we don’t need the turkey. The girls are completely for this turn of events, they are not emotionally attached to turkey, and I imagine that I’ll adjust eventually.

Happy Thanksgiving!

My attempt to beat daylight savings fatigue!

I grew up in Arizona, the only state that I know of that doesn’t participate in the madness that is daylight savings time. So when I arrived in Oregon in the Spring, and my new boss gave me the heads up to change all my clocks, I was confused, but complied. It was not until I was overwhelmed with fatigue the next day that I really researched this stupid practice. There are all kinds of reasons that are floating out there about why we must suffer the interruption of our sleep patterns, but who knows the real reasons. Anyhow, every spring since that first one I’m exhausted for two weeks as my body adjusts to the new schedule, and So! This year I made a plan! I would change my clocks, but I will NOT change my sleep schedule! The only way I can remember which way to change my clocks is the chant “Spring Forward, Fall Back”, so when I falled back this fall, I changed the clocks, but got up an “hour early”, which means my usual internal clock time… and when I spring forward in spring, I will change the clocks, and simply get up normally. I can’t wait to see how this goes!

I LOVE this… so true…

I’m Already Missing October…

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Non Candle Home Scent

With autumn comes halloween, and around this time I always buy at least one pumpkin spice candle, even though they are expensive, and even though they are usually full of chemicals, the scent brings me to fall like nothing else. This year I wondered if there is any other way to do it, so I did a little google searching and came across this link:
How to Make the House Smell like Pumpkin Spice

Pumpkin Spice Scent
Sauce pan
Pumpkin pie spice (or nutmeg, cloves, ginger)
Cinnamon sticks
Vanilla extract
1. Fill a sauce pan with water and set it on the stove. Turn the heat on high so the water will boil.
2. Add 2 tablespoons ground pumpkin pie spice to the water. If not available, add 1 tablespoon each of nutmeg, cloves and ginger to create pumpkin pie spice yourself.
3. Place 2 to 4 fresh cinnamon sticks into the water.
4. Pour 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract into the boiling mixture. Turn the heat down to simmer once it has reached the boiling point.
5. Simmer the ingredients for an hour to freshen your home with the scent of pumpkin pie spices.

We tried it and it worked as well as a candle. It made the kitchen smell good. The scent kinda sneaks up on you. So if you leave the room and come back you really notice the great autumn aroma!

On a side note, here are the only two pumpkins that came out of our little garden this year!

Crocheted Fall Leaves

These tiny fall leaves are adorable! I Love this idea! And had to make some for autumn decoration this year! The idea and free pattern is found here, I highly encourage you to check it out and look at the step by step photos: Art Threads Blog

I got the instructions to fit on two pages so I could print it two sided and take it on the train with me. Download and print it here: Art Threads – Leaf Pattern

Based on a printed color copy of the instructions, I located the closest fall colors that I could:
DMC Embroidery Floss Colors
DMC# 349 Dark Coral
DMC# 580 Dark Moss Green
DMC# 730 Very Dark Olive Green
DMC# 817 Very Dark Coral Red
DMC# 900 Burnt Orange
DMC# 946 Medium Burnt Orange
DMC# 976 Medium Golden Brown
DMC# 3852 Very Dark Straw

They turned out great, and look awesome scattered on my kitchen table, just like a friendly breeze blew them in for me :)

THE PATTERN

Crocheted Fall Leaves

Materials:

*embroidery floss – one skein will make one leaf with a little left over

*size 4 crochet hook

  1. Chain 16. In the second chain from the hook, single crochet.  Single crochet all the way down to the end.  Do not turn around – you’ll be going up the opposite side of the chain.  Chain 2 and single crochet in the same chain you made your last single crochet in.  So now, the last chain should have 1 sc, 2 ch, 1 sc.  Continue working single crochet up the opposite side of the chain until you are three chains from the top.  Stop here.  The remaining chains will form the top point of your leaf.
  2. Chain 2. Single crochet in the second chain from the hook and in each single crochet back down in the direction the arrow is pointing, until you get to the chain 2 space.  Single crochet in the chain 2 space.  Chain 2.  Continue single crochet until you are 3 spaces from the top.
  3. Your leaf should look like this. Chain 2.  Single crochet in the second chain from the hook and in each single crochet back down in the direction the arrow is pointing, until you reach the chain 2 space.  Single crochet in the chain 2 space.  Continue single crochet until you are 4 spaces from your last leaf point.
  4. Now your leaf will look like this. Chain 2.  Single crochet in the second chain from the hook and continue single crochets in the direction the arrow is pointing, again stopping at the chain 2 space.  Single crochet in the chain 2 space.  Continue single crocheting until you are 4 spaces from your last leaf point.
  5. This will give you a top leaf point and two lower leaf points on each side. Continue working in the same way until you have 4 lower leaf points on each side.  After making your last leaf point, continue single crochet to the chain 2 space.  Single crochet in this space.
  6. To make the stem, chain 6. Single crochet in the second chain from the hook and in the rest of the chains in the direction of the arrow.  Single crochet onto the body of the leaf.
  7. Slip stitch in the next space. This is the one I’ve put a black dot on.  Fasten thread off.
  8. Here is a completed leaf. They roll up a bit – you can steam iron or block them if you’d rather have them be flat.
  9. With leftover thread from one of the other leaves you make, sew a running stitch up the center of the leaf for a vein.