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November 2010 Archives

Turkey Pot Pie

November 30, 2010

1 small onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1/2 c diced peeled potato
1/4 c chopped celery
1/4 c butter, cubed
1/3 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes
1/4 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 tsp rubbed sage
1/4 tsp pepper
1 c milk
1 c chicken broth
2 c cubed cooked turkey

Turkey Pot Pie

Pull one of the extra rounds of pie dough from the freezer and set on the counter an hour or so before dinner so you can roll it out, but don't let it get too warm. It would be better to put it in the refrigerator in the morning, but you want pot pie now.

Dice some onion, carrot, peeled potato, and celery. Throw some butter in a hot pan and saute for a few minutes until everything is no longer crunchy.

Dump in a good quantity of flour, some chopped fresh parsley, rosemary, sage, and pepper and stir it all together.

Stir in equal parts milk and chicken stock, then a bunch of chopped up leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Be sad that this doesn't use up ALL of the leftover turkey, and wonder what other meal you can sneak the turkey into before it goes bad. Bring everything to a boil and cook for a few minutes until it gets good and thick. Salt to taste.

Roll out the pie dough and line some wee pie tins or some oven-safe bowls. Fill the bowls with the still-hot turkey mixture and top with more pie dough.

Bake at 375°F for 20ish minutes or so, until the crust gets golden on top. Let it sit for a few minutes because that sucker is going to be HOT.

Only manage to eat half of it even though you routinely eat enough soup or stew or curry or anything that fills up these bowls. But that's okay, throw it in the fridge for lunch tomorrow.

New Experience: Nutcracker Ballet

November 28, 2010

This weekend I took my three nieces to see The Nutcracker Ballet. They had never seen it live before, although apparently they have read "the book." Whatever that means.

I hadn't seen The Nutcracker since I was in high school, and I was looking forward to a more polished production than what Homer was able to present. Not that the Homer production was crappy, but it was less professional and more precious as most productions are in small towns.

I remember going to The Nutcracker a few years with my mom and Melissa, I always loved the pretty costumes - the Sugar Plum Fairy was always my favorite. I don't know exactly how many times we saw it - it may have only been two or three times for all I know - but enough that I remember it being a holiday tradition.

When I heard The Nutcracker advertised on the radio one morning on my way to work, I went through a string of emotions: excitement remembering the joy that The Nutcracker brought to me as a child, sadness that it's more of a mother-daughter type of event and I may never have a daughter of my own to share these kinds of things with, grief that I cannot share it with my sister either, and then hope of sharing it with my nieces.

I don't spend enough time with my three nieces despite living in the same city as them, and I was more than happy to invite them to the ballet. We went to dinner beforehand and then found our seats at the Performing Arts Center.

When the lights went down and the curtain went up, I could not stop the tears from falling down my cheek. I still really miss Melissa and wish I could share so many things with her, things like The Nutcracker, my excitement about house-hunting, the cute shoes I just bought, the Crazy Thing That Happened Today.

And at that moment I was so happy to be sitting with my nieces, to be sharing the experience with them. We laughed at Fritz antagonizing Clara during the party, jumped at the canon, and giggled at the wee mice dancing out of sync. At intermission we talked a bit about The Nutcracker's storyline to make sure they were following along, and the oldest compared it to The Lawrence Welk Show. We clapped for the Trepak Dancers and admired the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. Afterward we talked about our favorite dancers.

I am so glad I went and invited them along with me, I hope that they enjoyed it. I want to find more things that we can do together.

Pinecone on Red

November 22, 2010

Pinecone on Red

I'm feeling the holiday spirit early this year.

Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Melt

November 19, 2010

1. Buy a huge 2lb container of mushrooms from Costco on impulse. What the hell were you thinking.

2. Thinly slice half an onion and cook in butter over low heat until they caramelize. This takes time, don't rush it or they will burn. In love and in mushrooms, time = sweetness.

3. Slice a bunch of mushrooms and saute in butter over low heat. Don't crowd the mushrooms, mushrooms are introverts and happier with some space. Do it in batches while the onions caramelize.

4. Pull out the four slices of deli swiss cheese left over from something else this week. nibble on one while caramelizing the onions. Wonder why you dislike cold swiss so much when you love hot melty swiss so much.

5. Lightly butter both sides of a piece of bread and grill in a pan over low heat.

6. Flip the bread over and pile with the sweet and brown caramelized onions. Add a slice of swiss cheese. Pile on the still-hot mushrooms and top with two more slices of swiss.

7. Cover the pan so that the cheese melts as the bottom lightly grills. Peek at it after a few and notice that the cheese has just started to melt nicely and the bread is just starting to burn.

8. Curse your inability to grill sandwiches. Eat it anyway because yay melty cheese.

Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Melt

About Sums Up Our Entire Relationship

November 10, 2010

This about sums up our entire relationship.

Tuesday Shoesday

November 9, 2010

I'm not linking to them because 1/ they are behind a members-only sign-in, and 2/ you don't really need to see that they cost too much in order to appreciate their beauty.

What is the What

November 3, 2010

I picked up What Is The What at a book swap and was pretty confused about it being labeled a novel. It reads more like a biography or memoir, especially detailing the more mundane aspects of refugee life as young Valentino Achek Deng is caught in a bloody Sudanese civil war and forced to relocate time and time again as one of the Lost Boys of Sudan.

I feel like if the book had been 100% fiction the story would have been tighter and more interesting. But at the same time I feel like if it was 90% non-fiction then I am a big jerk to think Valentino's life of war and survival was boring.

I really loved the way the story jumped between the present and the past, how the main character spent his present periods of suffering and waiting to recount the past periods of suffering, fleeing and waiting. This technique drew very clear parallels between Valentino's suffering in Sudan and his suffering in Atlanta - though there may be more dust and blood in Sudan, it doesn't invalidate his suffering in Atlanta.

Even at the end of the book we encounter Valentino fleeing once again, nothing in his life has really settled or worked out for him: his jobs, his schooling, his love life, his home life. Then the little blurb at the very back about Valentino (the real man, not the character) indicates he had become very successful in his college career and his returns to Sudan.

Why were those successes not included in the book? It would have give the book a little glimmer of hope, instead of the feeling that refugees will always be caught in the cycle of fleeing and waiting.

Halloween Weekend

November 1, 2010

Halloween weekend was really quiet here, partly because of recovering from a crazy work week and partly because my uterus wanted to remind me how much it hates me.

It started with some pilates where I was the last to get into the main class, and was rewarded with the instructor teaching it one level harder and I may have cried a little bit and my abs/legs/glutes still hurt.

Next came breakfast, where I magically made some recipe substitutions and Steve kept saying "but I thought you were out of milk? what did you do?" and I kept telling him to just shut up and eat it, pancakes are good for him.

No milk, had to wing a substitute with sour cream. Then I spilled the syrup all down my leg.

I had to go into work for a few hours because the higher ups are stupid and boy do I have my fingers crossed for this election, some people had better be replaced no matter who wins.

I got minor bits of satisfaction out of going to work in completely work-inappropriate attire, namely flipflops and pigtails and a shirt that showed my belly, but then I remembered that I was still at the office and bah humbug.

Who has two thumbs and is back in the office for more OT? Yeah.

Olive and I went to the dog park where it was 30°F and I did some Couch to 5k training and I nearly died. First of all because running is hard and my body hates it, but also because there was frozen dog pee all over and I nearly slipped.

Olive really enjoyed it, though instead of the run-walk intervals, hers was more like run-sniff-sniff intervals. Also she didn't almost slip on any dog pee.

Frozen #c25k at the dog park with Olive. Nearly slipped on frozen dog pee. #akmoveit

Steve put in some terrible movie and I read a bunch of my book, which is pretty depressing and also not terribly interesting which makes me feel like a terrible human being because of all the starving children in Africa.

And we sat in front of the fire burning things just to watch them burn, discussing the possibility of skinning Olive for a fake bear-skin rug. Decided it wouldn't be worth it unless we had at least 10 Olives, and I could not handle that many Olives.

In need of a bear-skin rug. An Olive-skinned rug would be too small.

We didn't get any candy this year because the last few years we did get candy and no kids came by and I spent the weeks following Halloween telling Steve how fat he would get by eating all of the leftover Halloween candy while simultaneously eating all of the leftover Halloween candy.

So this year: no candy! Turned off our porch light, no pumpkins out front, all but put a YOU KIDS OFF OUR LAWN sign out. And we got trick-or-treaters. That we had to send away because the only thing we could offer them was some hot beef stew or Olive.

The kids chose to walk away with broken hearts and we felt like big old jerks. But also grateful that no one egged or TP'd the house. Do kids still do that? Did kids ever do that? I have no idea.

I may or may not be going to bed before 8pm. But my hair is super fantastic.

And I went to bed before 8pm.
Also I had some great hair.

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Hi, I'm Valette

I'm a photographer based out of Anchorage, Alaska. I've recently become a wife, a stepmother, and a homeowner. Life is pretty awesome. You can email me anytime. Learn more...

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