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  1. Friday, November 21, 2008


    Happy day!  Today I feel honored to be a guest blogger over at Shutter Sisters, a beautiful and engaging photography blog.  *click on over to see my post!

  2. Thursday, November 20, 2008

    Thanksgiving Prep: Cranberry Slush

    cranberry orange slush vert web

    Everyone seems pretty excited about the Cranberry Slush on my menu, so I think I better get the recipe out there!  Plus, it’s one of the items you can make way ahead of time, so it’s perfect for this week’s planning.  In fact, you need to make it at least 1-2 days ahead so it has time to freeze.

    It’s my Great-Grandma Blomquist’s recipe.  Everyone in my family, from coast to coast, serves it on Thanksgiving.  Definitely a family tradition and one I’m excited to share!

    Cranberry Slush (Original Recipe)
    This is a Blomquist family tradition (my mom’s family). Can’t have Thanksgiving without it! Make sure you make the frozen cranberry stuff a day or two ahead and have enough room in your freezer to freeze it. This is the original version, but I always use the Quick recipe (see below).
    Recipe type: Beverage
    Serves: 24 servings
    • 1 pound cranberries
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 2 cups water
    • 2 quarts cranberry juice
    • 2 quarts ginger ale
    1. Cook cranberries, sugar and water until thickens. Run through a collander. Add 1 quart cranberry juice. Freeze.
    2. When ready to serve, mash up frozen cranberry mixture with 1 quart cranberry juice and 2 quarts ginger ale.

    Cranberry Slush (Quick Recipe)
    [i]This is a Blomquist family tradition (my mom’s family). Can’t have Thanksgiving without it! Make sure you make the frozen cranberry stuff a day or two ahead and have enough room in your freezer to freeze it. This is the Quick recipe that I always use.
    Recipe type: Beverage
    Serves: 24 servings
    • 4 cans whole cranberry sauce
    • 3 quarts cranberry juice
    • 2 quarts ginger ale
    1. Run whole cranberry sauce through a colander (pictured here) or press through a fine sieve with a large spoon (pictured here) over a large bowl. Keep pressing until you just have skins left in the colander/sieve.
    2. Add 2 quarts of the cranberry juice, mix well, then freeze until hardened. You need to make this part at least 1 day ahead of time. I freeze the juice in a flat storage containers so it’s easy to break up later.
    3. When ready to serve, mash up frozen cranberry mixture with 1 quart cranberry sauce and 2 quarts ginger ale.
    For those of you who like to make it "interesting"...feel free to spike your slush. I have a few friends who evolved dear old grandmother's recipe with a little vodka and were quite pleased with the results. Grandma's rollin' in her grave!

    cranberry slush sieve sideview web

    cranberry orange slush storage |

  3. Wednesday, November 19, 2008

    Thanksgiving Prep: The Menu!

    Time to bite the bullet and settle on a menu. I need to get my shopping started!

    – Turkey
    – Gravy
    – Stuffing
    – Mashed Potatoes
    – Green Beans
    – Squash OR Sweet potatoes
    – 60-second brussel sprouts
    – Cranberry sauce
    – Butterhorn rolls OR Squash rolls
    – Cranberry Slush

    – Chocolate Mousse
    – Pumpkin Pie
    – Apple Bavarian Torte

    I will provide more details on my menu items over the next few days, including recipes. Until then, once you have YOUR menu planned, please share it with us! You may inspire me to switch it up a bit and you’ll certainly inspire one another!

  4. Tuesday, November 18, 2008

    Thanksgiving Prep: Pumpkin Butter

    I have a scrumptious Thanksgiving recipe that you can make this week, long before all the Thanksgiving cooking really begins.

    I recently purchased the Muirhead Pumpkin Butter from Williams-Sonoma. Love this stuff. (Try whipping it up with some heavy cream or cream cheese. Pure heaven.  Or use as a base for pumpkin pie!)

    But at $10 a jar, not the most frugal of purchases. So, I decided to try making my own. The recipe I found here was delicious. It’s just as good as the stuff from Williams-Sonoma. Although, not as sweet, which isn’t bad actually. (I do think I’ll add more sugar next time.)  Not only is pumpkin butter great for Thanksgiving, but also as a gift for friends this holiday season.

    One quick note. When it’s time to simmer the butter for 15 minutes…well, it’s so thick that it pops and makes a huge mess as it “simmers.” I put the next-size-up lid on my saucepan and kept it propped open with my wooden spoon…that way the moisture could escape to help thicken the butter, but your kitchen doesn’t look like the battleground for the Great Pumpkin War of 2008.

    Tomorrow I am going to finalize the Thanksgiving menu!  I’ve got some tough decisions to make…

  5. Monday, November 17, 2008

    Free Giveaway: Anna Maria Horner Goodies!

    This giveaway is now closed.  Thank you!

    Today’s free giveaway is too cool for school.  Remember my post last week about Anna Maria Horner?  Well, she’s as fabulous as ever and offering a great giveaway for TWFD readers!

    One random (and oh so lucky) winner will receive a signed copy of Anna Maria Horner’s new book Seams to Me (retail $24.99) and an assorted mix of 16 Garden Party fat quarters (that’s fabric, for those of you non-sewers out there, retail $38.00).  If you sew, you are gonna LOVE this package.  If you don’t sew, this will make a fantastic Christmas gift for that special sewer in your life!  Just look how cute my copy of the book looks sitting on my desk (picture above)…it’s even better when you open it up! 🙂

    Be sure to check out Anna Maria’s lovely blog…and you can buy her book here (unsigned) or here (signed) and the fabric here.

    To enter the random giveaway, please leave a comment on this post by Midnight PT, Monday, November 24.

    Good luck to all and thank you, Anna Maria!

  6. Sunday, November 16, 2008

    Week 95 Menu

    No picture today.  I just got home from a FANTASTIC weekend in San Diego and my memory card is buried in my bags.  But I need to get a menu up, so pictures will have to wait!

    This week’s going to be great here on TWFD. I have a few San Diego eats to share, a perfectly LOVELY giveaway and Thanksgiving deliciousness in the works.  Make sure you check in!

    – Chicken Marsala (Trader Joe’s simmer sauce)
    – Whole wheat pasta
    – Broccoli

    Lentil Soup
    – Whole Wheat French Bread

    Orange Chicken
    – Rice
    – Veggie

    – Leftovers

    – Breakfast for dinner…maybe waffles? something egg-based? we shall see…

    – Eat out

    Kitchen Sink Quesadillas
    – Guacamole & chips

    Last week we had so many menus!  Keep up the good work…can’t wait to see your menu for this week!

  7. Friday, November 14, 2008

    Happy Eats Club: The Series Finale

    The Happy Eats Club has gone the way of a bad TV drama series.  Those of you who have been waiting with bated breath for updates on our progress (I’m sure there are millions of you) will be sad to know the Happy Eats Club is extinct.  Kaputt.

    The club actually worked great!  And we’re planning on doing it again in the new year.  But we’re only going to do it for 5 weeks at a time, instead of 10.  Oh, and people are going to think long and hard about their rules next time. Here are a few lessons learned:
    – The people who completely cut out sugar owed the most money to the pot.
    – My friend Mindy and I had the most successful, sustainable rules. Mindy simply cut “sweets”. You can see my rules on the original post here.

    I think our experiment proved what I’ve always believed: Moderation in all things. The week when I totally cut things out (white sugar, white flour, dairy)…I was MISERABLE. The 5 weeks where I had rules to follow that simply limited the bad stuff and increased the good stuff, I was successful and in a good mood to boot!

    So, how has the first week without the Happy Eats Club gone? Terrible. I’m right back to not drinking enough water or eating enough fruits/veggies. Knowing I would owe money if I didn’t get that stuff in was an amazing motivator. Mindy and I may start back up again in a week or two. Looks like I need it!

    Angie, another member of the club, just told us she misses our constant email exchanges bemoaning our sugarless states and has proposed a sit-up club. 100 sit-ups a day? I’m totally going to owe money.

    For those of you thinking of doing something like this, you should!  It really works and helps with motivation, whatever rules you decide to follow.

  8. Thanksgiving Post on Real Simple

    Good morning, everyone!  From yesterday’s comments, it sounds like many of you are getting your Thanksgiving planning game on!  I’m excited to plan with you over the next few weeks!

    Be sure to check out my guest post on the Real Simple Simply Stated blog today!  It should be helpful for the early stages of planning!

  9. Thursday, November 13, 2008

    Thanksgiving Prep Begins!

    Thanksgiving is two weeks away!  Time to get planning!  Over the next two weeks I will share my planning process with you, along with recipes and more!  And I want you to help with the preparations!  Please feel free to share your ideas, recipes, anything…Let’s inspire one another!

    Today marks the start of my official Thanksgiving planning.

    • Finalize the guest list.  My list is all set…Mom, Dad and Little Sis are coming to town!  I can’t wait!
    • I’m going to start looking through all my November magazine issues, which I’ve yet to do this month. Hopefully there will be some good inspiration!
    • Email my guests to see if there is anything they want on the menu.

    I can’t believe it’s only two weeks out.  I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again.  Where does the time go?

  10. New Favorite Easy Dinner: Paninis

    Here’s my new favorite easy dinner.  Paninis.  No, I don’t have a fancy panini maker (yes, I accept free panini makers).  I just cook it in a pan and smash another pan on top of the sandwich.  Oh so fancy, but it does the trick.

    If you’re stuck for a new dinner idea, give it a try!  I use actual panini bread or yummy sliced bread and pile on whatever toppings I happen to have in the fridge.  (I also browse sandwich shop menus for ideas.)

    Pictured is a chicken panini (I cut the chicken into strips, pounded, and sauteed on the stove in olive oil and S&P) with provolone, spinach, tomatoes, roasted red pepper and honey mustard.

    Another plus of the panini – you can use spinach.  Lettuce ain’t so good warm, but spinach is, and it’s oh so super healthy.

    Fast, warm, easy, tasty.  My idea of a good dinner.