Pilgrims Rock

People. Check this out. We’ve officially successfully had 4 (that’s f.o.u.r.) Thanksgivings at our place in Chi-town. It’s been freakin’ awesome. Here’s a peek at what goes down.

I make deviled eggs. They are the first thing to get eaten in their entirety, and this year I made extra. It still happened. Just like the sweet potatoes, I wonder why I don’t make this delicacy more often.

We also had a lot of other awesome food. I made the usual offenders – the sweet ‘taters, green beans, cranberry sauce, bread for snacking, eggs, blah blah blah. Oh. and homemade rolls. Awesome. Homemade. Rolls. Cheryl brought all of her shortening-laden pies (yum!) and Jennifer brought the usual mashed ‘taters and broccoli cass. Jon’s sausage-cornbread stuffing was the second thing to disappear, and Brook/Katherine brought snacks, pork (more meat!) and a damn good salad. Hubs made an awesome turkey and of course, his gramma’s stuffing. He yelled at me for a second year for not buying poultry seasoning. He got over it, but he will always loathe my aversion to buying seasonings I can make in five seconds.

We drink a lot. Wine, beer, and liquor. You want it, we had it. If you can believe it, we all got a little alcoholed-out by Saturday, and there was a 3/4 full bottle of wine on the counter the next morning. It was weird. Also, I forgot to make spiced sangria this year.

Jennifer’s birthday happened. That always seems to be the case over Thanksgiving, which is nice because it’s a good excuse to leave the house, which we do infrequently from Wednesday-Sunday. She was smart and made reservations at Girl & the Goat months ago. Good call, Simps. Also, I haven’t forgotten about your present.

We left the house twice, actually. Hubs had this great idea to go to a bar with good pizza to watch NC State on ESPN. Although, I really don’t need an excuse to go to Piece. Plus, ordering a beer called Camel Toe will always make me chuckle – even when I grow up.

Let’s see – what else…. something’s missing…. any guesses? Yes – Rock Band!! Check this out – four years, and we still play it. Luke is probably tired of it, but he’s a team player. Plus, we do take breaks, just like the real bands. And we always have drinks ‘on set’. (Also, please take note: we got a new couch two years in. And recruited a few more rockers this year!)

Luke took some kick-ass pictures of us rocking out:

You don’t have to say it: we know we’re cool. And we know you’d rather be with us than over at Aunt Nelly’s eating that jello mold. It’s the beauty of transplanting yourself in another state – you find the others who are like you, and you celebrate together. For us, it’s how Thanksgiving is meant to be.

It’s how Thanksgiving will always be – and we’re thankful for that.

Hope yours was a blast as well.

(thanks to Luke for most of the pictures!)

Deviled Eggs
makes 12 (but make more, if you’re smart)

time commitment: 30 minutes

as many times as i say it, this dish should really be made often. it’s a perfect snacking dish for any occasion i can think of right now. my mom (or was it gramma?) used to put relish in the egg mixture, but i like my deviled eggs smooth and, well, eggy. as for recipe credit, i honestly don’t know where this came from, so if i stole it from someone, i’m sorry. all i have to go on is an index card in my writing :{ .

printable version

6 eggs
3 T mayo
1 T sugar
1.5 t dijon mustard
1 t apple cider vinegar
salt & pepper, to taste
smoked paprika (or regular sweet paprika, if you prefer)

carefully place 6 eggs in medium saucepan and fill with water to cover. bring to boil, and reduce heat to med-low for 12 minutes. meanwhile, get out a big bowl and fill it with ice cold water. chill eggs in water bath immediately. (at this point, you can refrigerate them until use.)

when ready to use, peel shells and halve eggs lengthwise. remove yolks carefully (i use a small teaspoon or my fingers if i’m feelin’ lucky) and place in bowl. add remaining ingredients, including a tiny dash of paprika, and mash ingredients together. if you want to fancy it up, whir the mixture together in a mini-blender for a few seconds to smooth the mixture out, and spoon it into a plastic bag with an icing tip. pipe into eggs in a swirly pattern (or, just clunk the mixture, unblended, into the eggs – it tastes the same this way!). dust with paprika.

I Am Thankful


I am thankful for my sister. She says what she is thankful for every day on facebook. She also likes Meatloaf. And since I enjoy her facebook gig, I’m going to try to catch up with her.

I am thankful for _____.

the guy upstairs pounding down the long hallway and the puppy downstairs yipping through the night.

mullets. Even if you have to drive to a Rush concert in Ohio to see them in the midwest. That don’t make no sense….

good mullet

the drool on my pillow. That means I had some good sleepin’ last night.

my father-in-law, who just had two knees replaced! He is one crazy mo-fo.

my mommy. today is her birthday. she’s getting old younger by the year.

my washing machine, even though it has started to tear my clothes. I will give it the boot soon. Love ‘Black Friday’ deals.

apple pie, with cranberries! If you behave, I’ll post the recipe below…

apple-cranberry pie filling

good wine; I only wish I had barrels of it and not bottles. *sigh*

wine barrels

my friends, some of my favorite people on earth. They also like to eat. A lot.

Thanksgiving 2008

my husband, as he is only very occasionally annoying but usually cute and delightful. Wait… is he trying to take off his wedding ring here? I guess there’s no better time than when you have balloons on your head and are in the midst of the famous “fist dance”…

Chris - New Year's

my cats, who can sleep standing up. that is so cool. and mine has great teeth. see? Thanks, Lindsay, for this lovely picture!


Rock Band. We love you, xbox game. Look how serious we are. Every. Year.

Rock Band 2007Rock Band 2008Rock Band 2009

knife skillz. that first turkey we made in 2004 was a massacre.

bad turkey carving 2004

and last but certainly not least, leftovers. we will eat you up like there’s no tomorrow. we always do.

Thanksgiving 2008 spread

Cranberry-Apple Crumble Pie
Adapted from Gourmet, November 2009; serves 8

printable recipe

You didn’t think I’d leave you with no recipe did you? Sure, Thanksgiving is officially over, BUT that never means that you can’t make more pie. You’re probably running low anyway, right? And this here pie is a great version of apple pie and a great way to use any leftover cranberries. Sweet and tart. That’s my kinda pie.

pastry dough
1 1/2 c ap flour
3/4 stick unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 T vegetable shortening, cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3-4 T ice water

crumble topping
3/4 c ap flour
1/4 c packed light brown sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1/8 t salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 c pecans, coarsely chopped

fruit filling
2 lb mixed apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
8 oz fresh cranberries (or frozen, unthawed)
1/2 c packed light brown sugar
3 T ap flour
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
2 1/2 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

make pastry: blend flour, butter, shortening, and salt into bowl with fingertips or pastry cutter (or by pulsing in a food processor a few times) just until mix resembles coarse meal with some rough clumps. drizzle 3 T ice water and gently stir with a fork until incorporated. squeeze a portion, and if dough doesn’t clump together, add another T water. don’t overwork the dough! turn out dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and gather dough into round disk. cover with wrap and place in fridge for an hour.

make crumble topping: stir together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in small bowl. blend in butter with fingertips until large clumps form, then stir in pecans. chill until ready to use.

make fruit filling:  stir together apples, cranberries, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and lemon juice in a large bowl.

assemble pie: preheat oven to 425 F with rack in lower third. roll out dough on lightly floured surface with lightly floured rolling pin into a 13-inch round, then fit gently into pie plate. trim edges, leaving a 1/2-inch overhand, then fold and crimp. transfer fruit filling to pie shell. loosely cover with foil and bake until apples droop slightly, about 30 minutes. reduce oven to 375 F. sprinkle crumble topping over filling is bubbling, and apples are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour more. cool completely, 2 to 3 hours.