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Category Archives: Foodie

The Little Things:: Like a HUGE dinner!

Happy “Coma day” friends! I hope you didn’t eat so much that you are still feeling it today! I know I kept it in moderation and was so proud of how differently I ate this year compared with Thanksgivings past! Hubs and I had a wonderful day full of little things that made it amazing!

We got up early and got everything ready and a cookin’! This jump of the gun led to us having “dinner” at about 1:30. We liked it better as Thanksgiving lunch (I was aiming for around 3-4, so we weren’t that early) and I think that is what helped our tummies not go to bed so full!

I love the smell of celery cooking! About to add the onion to complete for the stuffing addition!

While I let that sweat it our in the skillet, we were able to sit down and enjoy tradition we started a few years ago: Panera for breakfast! Talk about yummy:

Yummy cranberry walnut bagels with cranberry orange cream cheese 🙂

We of coursed watched most of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade… before we realized our turkey was almost done!!

Back in 2009 we bought this roaster when we hosted Thanksgiving in our tiny little apartment and knew a turkey just would not fit in the oven. It produced the best turkey then, and this year was no different! Thank you Rival, for helping make Thanksgiving that much easier!

There of course were Naps::

My boys napping during the parade!

Then it was time to get ready for a delicious feast and celebrate all the things we have to be thankful for:

I knew the counter space in our dining room would eventually come in handy! Also, notice that awkward three dish buffet? Another thing to be incredibly thankful for! All our food stayed nice and warm!

Then the turkeys came out and cooled down! Yes, we went with two tiny turkeys, didn’t even eat one, and have plenty of leftovers! I was not juggling a huge turkey though!

Don't they look pretty on our Turkey Plate?

Of course, I was most thankful that the table was able to be set for two with our Thanksgiving plates that were in storage in VA last year, and our nice glasses! It was so special to share another Thanksgiving with my amazing husband!

This is one of the most beautiful things to be thankful for: Dinner with my husband!

Then of course we have our world class carver::

He is a Pro... for the most part!

The funniest thing to happen all day happened while he was carving away! You can kind of tell the electric carver is plugged in on the wall behind him. All of a sudden it stopped working and Hubs said “That’s awkward!! It must have overheated!” All I could think of is “Well, why don’t you use a regular knife? It’s a five-pound turkey for heaven’s sake!” We bantered back and forth and then at the same time realized and said “Oh, it’s unplugged! Problem fixed!

Of course, no Thanksgiving is complete without dessert! We went the cobbler route::

Deliciousness in a bowl!

I hope you enjoyed your day, friends: wherever you are and whoever you were with! I’m off for breakfast with my love (which will consist of cookies in the kitchen) followed by Pilates and DECORATING FOR CHRISTMAS!

Follow me on instagram (TheYoungRetiree) to see it all go down live 🙂 Have a happy weekend! Don’t forget about 30% off in my shop until 11pm tonight with “BLACKFRI30” then 25% tomorrow with “THANKS25”!

Thanksgiving 2011 :: So Very Much To Be Thankful For

Most of you will not be reading this on Thanksgiving, as you will be spending time with your loved ones, cooking up a storm, and of course watching those NYC Rockettes on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade! It is so important that we pause and remember all of the things we are thankful for in our lives on this busy day, during this busy season, and of course throughout the entire year. So often we get caught up and we forget what is really important.

The day becomes about baking the right pies and if we’ve having corn or carrots (both of which are high in sugar and should be eaten as a vegetable in moderation!) and if we are stuffing the bird or just baking the dressing separately. We are so caught up in the sales ads in the paper and getting ready to leave the house by 9 to get in line at the doors of our favorite stores.

This year, my heart is so heavy and calling to mind all of those things I have to be thankful for is what gets me through. There are a million reasons to complain::

  • deployment looms over our heads and every second can so easily become one second closer to D-Day instead of one more precious second with my Prince Charming.
  • We have sparse decorations and I am neither crafty or wealthy enough to decorate the way I want. It is hard to remember we’ve been “together” less than a year, and as Newlyweds nobody has every decoration they ever wanted! As we break our our Christmas Decorations though we will discover we have more than some folks married 15 years have and the spirit will fill our house!
  • We are away from family and my heart aches to be with them… they are with me in spirit though, even though we shall sit at a table for two.

There are a million reasons to be thankful::

  • Our health! We both have good health and that is certainly not something to take lightly.
  • Our Family! It might be just the two of us right now and our three furbabies, but it is our little family and we are always there for each other.
  • A roof over our heads: we are blessed with a house big enough for our love!
  • Food in our bellies: we will dine this afternoon on quite the feast! (and then again tomorrow… and then again on Saturday!)
  • Creativity: I have found such joy working in my shop! The process of coming into my little space and creating something is amazing. I can’t wait to grow my supply inventory and learn some new techniques!
  • The love we have for each other! I have an amazing husband who takes me for all the good and all the crazy. Who could ask for anything more?

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! What are you thankful for?

30 Day {Instagram} Photo Challenge :: Day 3, Happiness Is

When I saw the prompt for “Happiness” today, I wondered how I would create a picture exemplifying it. Then it hit me when I was in the kitchen this morning. This is the happiest time of the year! Friends, family, loved ones gathering and sharing in the joys of time together. This Christmas is our first one together as a married couple and that makes it even more special. For me, happiness is::

This means that very soon we will be baking real gingerbread cookies, decorating the house for the holidays, listening to classic Christmas music and enjoying our final days with each other before deployment. We need to make the most of these happy days and when the house smells as amazing as it does now, there’s no way we can’t find happiness!

What is your happiness?

30 Day {Instagram} Photo Challenge :: Day 1, Favorite Food!

By now everyone has seen “challenges” for this, that, or the other. I have participated in a few and found one tonight while waiting for my dinner to come together that I absolutely adore:: 30 Day Instagram Photo challenge! A quick google search led me to a clear and crisp image of the challenge::

I am excited to participate in this and think it will be another way to call to mind all those little things throughout the week that call for celebration, no matter how small!  You can join in, even if you aren’t Instagram obsessed like me! I’ll try to post every evening but in the very least will post the next morning! Day one, favorite food:: Chicken! I could eat it every day! Tonight, we are having it with a (hopefully) awesome sauce we got while we were visiting Savannah::

Speaking of which, let me get back in the kitchen! It should be marinated enough and ready to go in the oven!

You Jive Turkey!

Friends: can you believe Thanksgiving is only a week away? Well, a week and a day! Where does the time go?!? Today I blogged over on Happy Homefront and shared a mashed potato recipe that just might save your sanity next Thursday! I would love it if you were to head over there and read it and perhaps shared it with your friends! You know you want to!

Also, follow me over on pinterest and particularly my “Jive Turkey” board for any of your last-minute goodies!

Weigh-In Season In Our House

If you are a military family you know all about weigh-in season. If you are not, allow me to explain. Twice a year (for the Navy, is it different in other branches?) active duty personnel have to complete their PT test and pass a weigh-in. There are height weight requirements set in place to keep members fit and healthy (and looking damn fine in uniform).

Every six months my house gets turned upside down at weigh-in season and I may as well be living with a high school wrestler. You’ve seen pictures of Hubs, he’s no fatty in the eyes of popular society but he is built mighty awkward. He is short and kind of stocky. He would pass every time if he were about an inch or two taller with absolutely no problems. He is not an inch or two taller and as a result he has been eating a banana for breakfast, and apple and banana for lunch and salad for dinner.

One year when we were first dating he was given 2 days to lose about ten pounds and weigh-in again. He lost about 12 pounds in those two days by drastic measures similar to those of high school wrestlers and worse, some of which were endorsed by his command and shipmates at the time. I feel it is inappropriate to write about these methods but it involved saran wrap, gel, a homemade sauna and little to no nutritional intake as well as a few other drastic measures.

Hubs passed his weigh-ins this week and a weight was lifted off my shoulders! I could now commence my regular cooking schedule and he could resume eating like a normal person. I won’t buy $14 dollars worth of beef only to have it go bad since we never got around to making that stew, since we were too busy eating salads or chicken!

He will never change: about a month to two before weigh-ins he hits his PT schedule hard (for him) and tightens the purse strings on his diet. He is a snacker… more a “grazer” in the snack aisle… and I have not seen him snack in I could not tell you how long. I guarantee tomorrow he’ll be back to it.

He does pretty good and keeps himself in check… I just wish we could stretch those legs an inch for him! How do I motivate him all year long instead standing by and watching the torment during the season? Deployment goal #1 set: join a gym. If I’m paying for it, I’ll use it and maybe he’ll join in when he gets back!

It’s Fall, Y’all :: Pork and Pumpkin Stew!

By now you all know how in love I am with Williams Sonoma. We go to most of their Sunday morning classes, and it was there that I first sampled and fell in love with Pork and Pumpkin Stew… and I don’t even like pumpkin flavored things! Using Pumpkin as a vegetable for this stew (and a pumpkin chicken curry I’m making soon!) has completely changed my outlook on the food! Keep your latte’s and pies, I’ll take mine for dinner! You don’t have to attend their classes to get the goodies! The recipe for this dish can be found on their website (but I’m sharing it here too!)! Did you even know they had recipes? Once you’re done here, you should go browse around!

Here is the recipe::

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes (I had the butcher at Albertson’s do this for me! He cut them a little bigger than that, but he did it for free so I wasn’t complaining!)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil (divided)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic (I used fresh, and about two cloves because I love me some garlic!)
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh ginger (Which I actually got fresh! It was my very first try with it and it was super easy!)
  • 2 tsp. chicken demi-glace (This was the only ingredient I had to buy from Williams-Sonoma directly, because I couldn’t find it anywhere else.)
  • 2 tsp. tomato paste
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbs. applesauce
  • 9 oz. canned diced tomatoes with juices
  • 1 lb. peeled and diced (3/4-inch dice) pumpkin or winter squash, such as kabocha (I’ll share down below how easy it was to use a baby pumpkin!)
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh sage
  • 4 tsp. chicken stock concentrate mixed with 2 cups water, or 2 cups chicken stock
  • Mashed potatoes for serving
  • SautĂ©ed broccoli rabe for serving (We didn’t use this.)

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 325°F.

Season the pork with salt and black pepper. In a 3 1/2-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Working in batches, brown the pork on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate.

Reduce the heat to medium and warm the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, demi-glace, tomato paste, cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, cloves and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the vinegar, applesauce, tomatoes with their juices, pumpkin, sage, stock and pork. Bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pot to the oven and cook until the pork is fork-tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Skim the fat off the sauce. Serve the stew over mashed potatoes and pass sautéed broccoli rabe alongside. Serves 6.

So now that you’ve read the recipe, what do you think? I was a little intimidated by it, quite frankly! It just seemed like A LOT of ingredients! I went to a local Spice store and had them give me a Tbsp of each of the spices I would need. They cost about fifty cents by doing it like this and I didn’t have to buy a bunch of spices I might never use again before they go bad. We bought small pumpkins and I used about a 5 incher for this recipe. Here is how easy that it: you cut the top off and scoop out all the seeds and pumpkin guts! I cut a hole in the side (like if I were carving an eye) but next time I think I would carve two or three to let more steam out, because I popped the little fella in the microwave for about ten minutes. I let him cool and the skin was super easy to remove! Some of it fell right off! I quartered the pumpkin and then peeled all the skin off before chopping it into little cubes! Super easy, y’all!

All ready to go in the oven for about 3 hours!

I must warn you that this is not a quick dish. It takes a lot of time and a lot of lovin’! Since you do the pork in batches, it took about 45 minutes. While it was browning though, I used that time to prepare my other ingredients (the onion, the garlic and the ginger). The ginger was super easy to work with. I bought just a little piece, peeled it like a potato and minced it up like garlic! It smelled super delicious and I know is going to be such a great part of the dimension of this stew! I served it with the mashed potatoes on the bottom of the bowl, and the stew on top!

”]”]Let me get real serious for a minute: y’all, this was the best thing I ever prepared with my own two hands! Are you ready?

FEAST!

Have you ever made a stew with pumpkin before? This was my first time cooking with it and I must say, we are heading to the patch tomorrow to try to get a few more so I can freeze some up!