Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I just wanted to take a minute before my day gets all crazy and wish you all a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING from all of us at Mom2Mom Cafe. We are thankful for each one of you that God has brought into our lives. We pray that your day is blessed and you find yourselves with much to be thankful for.

My husband just posted a really great post titled 'What Are You Thankful For?' over on his personal blog. If you'd like to check it out just click here.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Miracle of You

I am so proud that I just can’t keep it to myself...

Karen Wells, who is a dear friend as well as one of the contributors to this blog, recently had her book, The Miracle of You, published and has already sold out the first printing!! Congratulations, Karen.

If you are expecting a baby, this is the book to have. It also makes a lovely gift for newly expecting parents. It is a beautifully illustrated book that takes you on a journey from conception through the weeks of pregnancy. For each week of pregnancy, The Miracle of You gives the reader an inspirational promise. It is laced with scriptures that have been prayerfully selected to minister specifically to those expecting.

Words really can’t do justice to how beautiful this book is, so I suggest you get your hands on a copy to see for yourself. It is truly one of the most beautiful pregnancy books I have seen.

For more information, click here to go to The Miracle of You website.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

More Thanksgiving Recipes ~ Garlic Mashed Potatoes & Gravy

On Thanksgiving, my kitchen reminds me a little bit of one of those Italian kitchens where every person that walks by adds something to the sauce. In our case it's the garlic mashed potatoes. One daughter decides they need more pepper, while the next one comes by and thinks they need more get the idea. One thing that doesn't get messed with though, is the consistency. How they turn out is every bit as important as how the turkey itself turns out. We like them 'mashed', with a potato masher, not mixed with a mixer as this makes them too creamy for our personal preference. We like there to be little chunks for texture. My daughters are what you might call 'mashed potato snobs'. They take their mashed potatoes very seriously and because of this they won't allow anyone else to volunteer to make them. I know, it really is kind of pathetic. But there you have it. It just is what it is. :)

Since we are a garlic loving family, we like our mashed potatoes loaded with garlic flavor. If you've never branched out and put garlic in yours, trust me - it brings them to a whole new level of yumminess!! Here's how I make mine, but remember how I said everyone adds as they go? Well keep that in mind. These are the amounts I start with...I don't think anyone really knows how much butter, garlic, salt & pepper or milk/half & half we really end up using:

(serves 10)
5 lbs russet potatoes
1 head of peeled garlic cloves (I usually use more)
1 ½ to 1 ¾ cups milk (I like to substitute half of the milk with ½ & ½)
1 ½ sticks butter, cut into pieces (sometimes I add more)
Salt (I like to use the course kind)
Pepper to taste (we like lots of pepper on ours)
Peel potatoes and cut into 1 inch chunks. Put potatoes and garlic cloves into a 5 quart pan and completely cover with water. A 1 tablespoon salt.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until potatoes pierce easily with a fork, approximately 25 to 30 minutes.
Drain; return potatoes and garlic to pan. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat milk; pour over potatoes. Add butter and salt and pepper to taste. Mash until desired consistency is reached.
Here’s a nifty little tip I learned from Martha Stewart: You can make mashed potatoes up to two hours ahead of time. Just make as directed and then top with a thin layer of milk. Cover; set aside in a warm place. When ready to serve, just stir the milk into the mashed potatoes.
Of course, we only serve these with homemade gravy (remember - 'mashed potato snobs' - what can I say?). Making gravy is one of those things that can seem intimidating, but it really isn't hard to make. I don't have a recipe for mine, because I usually just make it to taste and consistency as I go, but you can click here for a recipe on the allrecipes website that looks like what I do to make mine.
Okay, so am I the only one with such an opinionated family? Do any of your families have quirks like ours?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thanksgiving Turkey

I am very traditional when it comes to my Thanksgiving menu. Apparently I've trained my children to be also, because if I even mention the thought of changing up the menu, I get a reaction. So, we are all happy to have it stay very basic every year, with an extra side dish or dessert thrown in here and there. What is the menu? Well, since you asked...


Turkey (recipe follows)
Garlic Mashed Potatoes & Gravy
Sweet Potatoes
Green Beans
Cranberry Sauce
Rolls & Butter
(I no longer bother making the Green Salad since nobody seems to want it on Thanksgiving)


Apple Pie
Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream
Homemade Fudge

Mmmmmm. That made my mouth water, just writing out the menu. This is definitely one of my favorite meals of the year. Comfort food at it's finest.

If you've never made a turkey before, here's how I do it. It's really easy and I always get rave reviews.

First I gather the following ingredients:
  • A bunch of celery
  • A whole yellow onion (I like the sweet ones)
  • A head of garlic
  • Several sprigs of rosemary
  • Several stems of thyme
  • Several stems of sage leaves
  • 2 cubes of butter
  • Salt and Pepper (I use kosher salt)

Next, I chop up the celery and onion, peel the garlic cloves, cut 1 1/2 sticks of the butter into pieces, and break herbs into smaller pieces and toss it all into a mixing bowl with salt and pepper.

When that's all ready, I set it aside while I rinse the turkey in cold water and pat it dry. I put some of the mixture into the neck cavity of the turkey and secure the flap of neck skin with toothpicks.

I flip the bird over and use the rest of the mixture to stuff the inside. (Note: I usually roast a turkey that's somewhere around 25 pounds so it all fits. If you prepare a smaller turkey, just place any extra mixture around it in the pan.) Then I take the remaining 1/2 stick of butter, cut it into slices and tuck it under the skin. Next, I rub the turkey down with olive oil (you can also use vegetable oil), sprinkle with salt and pepper. This is what it looks like right before I put it into the oven:

I cover it with aluminum foil before putting in oven and remove the foil for about the last hour or so of cooking to brown the turkey.

Side Note: After preparing poultry, I spray down my counters, and sink with a bleach cleaner to make sure and kill any bacteria before I prepare any other food.

After roasting for about 5 1/4 hours at 325 degrees, and the turkey has reached 165 degrees internally, it comes out looking like this:

For more tips on thawing and roasting a turkey you can check out the USDA website by clicking here.

What are the traditions and recipes that are your family favorites? If you'd like to share, please leave us a comment.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday

As I was sitting here with my grandson this morning, listening to his endless chatter, I became completely overwhelmed with gratefulness once again. I was reminded of what a blessed woman I am to have these amazing children be a part of my day to day life.

Just some of the things I am thankful that I am able to experience with them around:

  • lots of snuggles
  • endless chatter
  • amazing company
  • loud squeals of laughter when they are chasing each other around the yard (or through the house)
  • wrestling matches
  • fun teaching moments (6 year old Devin - referring to sandwiches: "Two halves + one whole = 'a double whole'.")
  • lots of snuggles
  • lots and lots of artwork (Even the artwork on the coffee table done with a black sharpie pen reminds me of how blessed I am to have them around.)
  • the new things I learn every day (This week I learned that hand sanitizer will take a silver sharpie mural off of the lamp ;), but it won’t take black sharpie off of the coffee table.)
  • did I mention all the snuggles and love I am blessed with????

So anyway, as I was sitting there basking in the blessedness (is that even a word?) of my life and feeling so incredibly thankful for so many things, I realized it is only ONE WEEK until Thanksgiving!!!! Seriously, where has this year gone?!?

As we celebrate this season of giving thanks, what are you finding yourself thankful for?