Friday, November 27, 2009

Thankful Memories

Okay, the turkey was a little dry but I've come a long way in my cooking abilities since the first Thanksgiving dinner that I prepared.

I was a junior in high school and the head cook in my home. My mother wasn't with us that year so being the only girl and the oldest at home I willingly accepted the cooking challenge. I consulted my Aunt Carol, who lived across the street, and was the best cook I knew. Then I made my first mistake by not taking the 18 pound turkey out of the freezer until the day before Thanksgiving I got really good at reading instructions on the boxes and packaging of rice-a-roni and hamburger helper so I did the same for the turkey. It said to place it in the fridge for thawing. When I woke up bright and early to prepare the turkey on Thanksgiving day I couldn't even get the neck and bag of giblets out of the cavity because it was still frozen. In it went with detached neck and all.

I made mashed potatoes and pumpkin pies. My brothers loved pumpkin pie. One thing my mom taught me was how to make a really good flaky pie crust. She stressed ice cold water and always use Crisco. I still do it that way today. I don't remember what else I cooked up but I'm sure there was a bowl of black olives and pickled beets. I couldn't resist checking it every hour. Another no-no. And by 5 o'clock we were starving and the turkey still wasn't ready. My brothers were begging to eat something. So finally we ate but without the turkey. It wasn't ready until 8pm. I can laugh about it now. But back then I was so frustrated and disappointed.

This year it all went like clock work. Beautiful. I had everybody helping out. Addie and Meagan helped with the pumpkin pies. Yes, I taught them the secrets to a really good flaky pie crust. John made the deviled eggs. Andrew made orange jello parfaits. Peter made lots of messes. Meagan finished up the rolls. The table looked amazing thanks to Addie and Meagan. They polished Grandma Rose's silver and set the table with it. And it wouldn't be much of an adventure if we hadn't of tried a couple of new recipes. I roasted the carrots in the oven with thyme and made Sarah's best ever chocolate pie. So simple too. John said that it was the best chocolate pie that I've ever made. He loves chocolate pie. You'll have to try it. It's embarrassing how easy it is.

Sarah's Simple Simply Delicious Chocolate Pie

1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped up

1 king size Hershey's chocolate candy bar (I used two), melted in a double broiler

Pour hot melted chocolate into whipped cream and fold until well mixed then pour into a Graham cracker crust, the homemade ones are better. Whip another cup of heavy cream and pipe it on top of the chocolate. Chill for a few hours. That's it.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

PreThanksgiving Thoughts

All alone in the Kitchen this morning doing what I love. Cooking and baking. It's a great time to think over past Thanksgivings, traditions, and plan for the day ahead.

I always like to think up the ONE thing that I'm thankful for above the rest and not including the obvious, like: family, food, gospel.... Those are a given and I say thanks for those everyday.

So here's mine: Really, really good health insurance. If we didn't have that great Kaiser coverage thanks to John's amazing job & benefits, we would be...I don't even want to think about where we would be. With everything that has gone on these past two years with Peter and me and more to come this next year (I'll be writing about that soon). Health insurance has been a huge blessing for our family. So I guess that really I'm thankful for such a good, hard working husband that provides that for our family.

I always look forward to our little thanksgiving tradition when after we have said the prayer and our plates are loaded up we go around the table and each person says what they are thankful for.

Here are my predictions on what they are going to reveal:

Meagan: New Moon movie
Addie: no school hence more sleep
Andrew: Boog
Peter: cousins to play with every day
John: Me

But really there's so much to be thankful for. I really do like counting my blessings.

I've been wanting to make something for my red frame that holds my seasonal themed handmade stitching works. So finally last night I finished this. It makes me happy.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Hallen Home. I'd love to hear what tops your list of blessings for this past year... Now off to make those pies.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Mommy Preschooler

I'm a month behind with all my household, motherly, wifely and blogging duties. The laundry is upstairs sprawled out on the couch, waiting patiently to be folded or hung up. I'm so glad that Meagan and Addie do their own. The door to the guest room/craft room remains closed, hiding the scary mess and piles of tissue paper, construction paper, paints, papers... All because it's been my turn along with Cheryl, for preschool. Four long weeks of hosting preschool. Taking our turn to teach six little preschoolers. Three of them are boys. Three of them are left handed. Three of the are three. Yikes. And only two mommies. But these two mommies loved it.

This week was the letter "A". All about apples. We also learned all about spiders, ghost, and pumpkins. Did you know that spiders have 7 knees on each of their eight legs and they have eight eyes? The things you learn in preschool.

Play time. I wish there was a picture of me & Cheryl inside while the children were out playing.

We painted paper sacks, toilet rolls, feet, thumbs, hands, paper plates, paper, table, chairs, kitchen sink....

We sang new songs. Five little pumpkins.

We made goo and made lots of things using glue.

Preschool Halloween party. So fun. We ate fingers and mummies. .

The mommies are great cooks.

Some of the moms in our group.
So now, I'm back to real, grown up life. Looking forward to our turn again in February, but also looking forward to a little break. Marianne and Misty: tag you're it!