Leftover Love

If you’re like me, you’re probably getting a liiiiiiittle sick of Thanksgiving leftovers by now. I could probably eat pie for the rest of my life, but I’m starting to feel a little weighed down by all the butter I’ve been consuming, and one can only eat turkey and green bean casserole for so long before turning the color of said beans.

Quick side note: not to toot my own horn or anything, but I make the best leftover turkey sandwiches on EARTH. My secret? Mashed potatoes. COLD mashed potatoes. Also, I keep things simple. I grab a leftover dinner roll (I never have sandwich bread in my house, and dinner rolls work just as well, if not better), split it, spread COLD mashed potatoes on that sucker, and top with cold turkey and a sprinkle of kosher salt. That’s it. I ditch the stuffing (I don’t like it…plus, why put bread on bread? I love me some bread, but that’s weird, right?) and I’ll occasionally add some cranberry sauce, but it’s perfection with just the turkey and taters. Yummmm.

Anyway…I hate to waste food, but Thanksgiving leftovers in their original form have a hard stop after about 3 days for me. After that, I need to get a little creative. My favorite way to use up leftover turkey? Turkey Tikka Masala. The warm, creamy, spicy sauce works just as well with turkey as with chicken, and I serve it over – you guessed it – mashed potatoes in place of rice. It’s delicious, it uses up a good chunk of all that turkey, and it tastes COMPLETELY DIFFERENT than Thanksgiving dinner! Not the lightest dish in the whole world, but I figure it’s better than loading my plate with scoops of mac & cheese and marshmallow covered, butter loaded sweet potato casserole night after night.

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Turkey Tikka Masala

Ingredients

3 Cups leftover turkey (I like to use white meat, but I’m sure dark meat would work just as well or better if you like it)

3 Tbsp butter

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated (I love Trader Joe’s ready to use ginger paste – it comes in a tube)

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes

1 Tbsp sugar

2 tsp garam masala

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

Salt & black pepper, to taste

1 cup whole-fat coconut milk (you can also use heavy cream)

Leftover mashed potatoes, or cooked basmati rice

Cilantro, chopped – to garnish

Instructions

Melt the butter in a large skillet over med-high heat. Add onion and cook until softened; 5-7 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and continue cooking until fragrant; 1-2 minutes. Add sugar, spices, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper, tomatoes, and 1/2 cup water. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes; add coconut milk and turkey and simmer until warmed through. Serve over mashed potatoes (or rice, but mashed potatoes are SO GOOD and you probably still have some sitting around, yes?) and garnish with cilantro.

 

 

 

A Black Friday Exchange

Jeff: Want anything from Dunkin?

Me: No thanks.

Jeff: You sure? Coffee, breakfast, hot cocoa…anything?

Me: Nah, I’m going to eat pie for breakfast.

Jeff: Did you say you’re going to eat pie for breakfast?

Me: Yeah.

Jeff: That’s sexy.

 

Ahh, the holidays. Let’s get this party started.

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Oh…and happy shopping! I’d do a recap of the best sales, but it’s way too late and also every other blog on earth did that. Google it, you’ll see!

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

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The world is essentially a garbage fire in 2017, and yet, I am thankful. I’m thankful for my home, I’m thankful for my friends and family, I’m thankful for my livelihood, I’m thankful for husband who always keeps my smiling, and I’m thankful for my fluffy white little nightmare of a pup. I’m thankful for the enormous privilege that allows me to have it pretty damn good, despite everything going on around us.

“I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me… but it’s hard to stay mad, when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst… And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life… You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry… you will someday.”

Is it in poor taste to quote a Kevin Spacey monologue at this present time? Eesh. Anyway, I hope you have an amazing Thanksgiving, and don’t forget to actually, y’know, be thankful. Because even though things may suck, they probably suck a whole lot worse for someone else. ❤ ❤ ❤

Official Thanksgiving 2017 Menu

Happy Monday, friends! I may be a bit on the absent side this week – lots of shopping, cleaning, pie baking, and cooking to be done around here. I figured I’d at least pop in to share my finalized Thanksgiving menu, though (with links to recipes, when applicable) – and then if I get a few free minutes, I may just drop in with a few other little things. So, without further ado, here it is: our 2017 Thanksgiving Menu.

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Simple Roast Turkey (NY Times – I’ve used this dry-brine recipe every year I’ve hosted, and it’s by far the best turkey I’ve ever had)

Mashed Potatoes (I’ve never previously used a recipe, but I’m going to try this method from The Kitchn this year)

Turkey Gravy (No recipe here – I just work from what my mom taught me)

French Onion Zoodle Bake (Climbing Grier Mountain)

Macaroni & Cheese (No recipe here, either – I tend to combine about 5 different recipes to taste.)

Green Bean Casserole (I’ve used Smitten Kitchen’s recipe every year until now, but I saw Ree Drummond make her recipe on this kitchen this year, and, well…she uses bacon. And cheese.)

Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows and Pecan Streusal (I’ve tried fancier sweet potato/squash dishes, but everyone prefers the good old sweet stuff – who am I to argue with tradition? I’ll be putting in a couple little spins to elevate things a bit, though – orange zest and fresh ginger, to start.)

Cranberry Sauce (No recipe – I just throw in whatever sounds good at the moment.)

Traditional Thanksgiving Stuffing (Stuffing’s difficult for me, because I don’t like it -*GASP* – and Jeff’s mom makes him his favorite stuffing each year. I always feel like I should make stuffing for everyone else though, because Jeff’s is a pretty specific recipe and it’s not for everyone…I’ve tried a few different recipes, but I figure I’ll just stick with this basic recipe from Averie Cooks this year. Can I say recipe again? Recipe.)

Rolls (Keeping it real – I usually use frozen parker house rolls and brush them with butter, herbs, and sea salt before serving. I’ve thought about making them from scratch, but…just, why?)

Brussels Sprouts with Chorizo and Sherry Vinegar (Serious Eats)

Silky Smooth Pumpkin Pie (Smitten Kitchen – this recipe is a bit more laborious than other pumpkin pie recipes, but it’s so good that it’s the only recipe I ever use.)

Chocolate Pudding Pie (Dinner a Love Story – I may or may not spread a layer of peanut butter over the crust before adding the pudding. Shhhh!)

And that’s it! Well, minus one additional pie that’s yet-to-be-determined-but-needs-to-be-decided-on-within-the-hour-because-that’s-when-I’m-leaving-to-do-my-grocery-haul. I’m thinking some kind of apple crisp/pie/cheesecake combo. Also, I feel I should mention that this menu is to feed FOUR PEOPLE. I repeat, this menu featuring a 16 pound turkey, 10 side dishes, and 3 pies will be feeding FOUR PEOPLE as of right now – my parents may make a hail-Mary drop in, but even then it’ll only bring the count to six. God help us.

Off to buy all the groceries – if we don’t speak, have a happy, cozy, and delicious Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Friday!

And a great one it is! Today is my last day of work until next Friday, and I’m pumped to kick off the holiday season. This weekend will be spent mostly preparing for the holiday rush – deep cleaning and shopping and such – and I also hope to enjoy bit of relaxation before the craziness sets in.

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A couple friends & I went to Joe Biden’s book tour in Philly this week, and celebrated with cereal-flavored ice cream and cocktails.

I’ve also decided that instead of ditching the gym from Thanksgiving until Christmas like I usually do (which would be impossible, since I haven’t gone to the gym in months…oops), I’m going to make an attempt to head off the 15 pounds of cookies (and eggnog, and wine…) I’ll consume over the next 2 months by hitting the gym THROUGHOUT the holiday season. Maybe I’ll also try to get a few hikes/outdoor runs in before it gets too frigid. I figure this might set me up for success throughout the rest of the year, and maybe chase the seasonal depression monster away. Wish me luck (I’ll need it)!

Lentil Pasta (plus a recipe!)

Have you guys tried red lentil pasta? I was a bit skeptical at first, but after hearing several rave reviews, I snagged a box of this from Amazon (I was having a hell of a time finding anything other than chickpea pasta at the store – which I also snagged and have yet to try – but it turns out Trader Joe’s sells red lentil pasta for something like 2 bucks a bag, so Amazon proved to be unnecessary). Red lentil pasta is just that – pasta made from 100% red lentils. Nothing else. The calories are relatively similar to traditional pasta (about 200 calories per 2 oz serving), but the noodles are packed with protein and are gluten-free. I’m by no means a gluten hater, but let’s be real – traditional pasta isn’t exactly health food.

The texture of these noodles is pretty close, if not totally spot-on – they’re a tiny bit denser than your typical pasta, but if I didn’t know they were different prior to eating them, I’m not 100% sure I’d be able to tell. I also haven’t noticed any “off” flavors or aftertaste at all – it just tastes like pasta to me. If you’re a picky eater and you’re worried about flavor, I’d recommend using them in a more flavorful sauce or dish – since they’re pretty neutral, they don’t add much additional flavor to your recipe.

Speaking of flavorful recipes, I figured I’d use this opportunity to share one of my favorite, crazy simple weeknight dinners. It’s delicious, takes under half an hour to throw together, and it can be customized in infinite ways, depending on what you like/have in your fridge. Plus, it’s healthy to boot! Win-win-win (win).

Veggie-Packed Pasta Bake

I used the lentil pasta here, but you can also use traditional pasta (I love penne for this), spaghetti squash, or veggie noodles – you do you. I’m also not above using jarred sauce as a shortcut – as I’ve mentioned before, I’m obsessed with Rao’s (especially the arrabiata sauce), but your favorite sauce (or homemade, if you’re feeling ambitious) will work just as well. For veggies, I used onion, mushrooms, spinach and roasted broccoli this time, but whatever you have in your fridge is fine. If you can dream it, you can eat it.
Ingredients

8 oz pasta (of your choice – if using spiralized noodles, I’d say 3 or so medium sized zucchinis or equivalent would do, or 1 spaghetti squash, roasted and scraped)

1 jar pasta sauce

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

8 oz button or cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 head broccoli, chopped

1 bag baby spinach

Shredded mozzarella cheese

Grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 425F. Place broccoli on a baking sheet lined with parchment or foil. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt & pepper; toss to coat. Roast in pre-heated oven for around 20 minutes, or until charred.

In the meantime, cook pasta including to package instructions. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high until hot, add onions and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes or until soft. Add mushrooms and season with salt & pepper; cook about 5 minutes or until mushrooms have started to release their moisture. Add spinach to pan and stir until wilted; add sauce and stir until heated through. Add broccoli and pasta; stir until combined.

If your pan is oven-safe, sprinkle pasta/sauce/veggie mixture with shredded mozzarella and grated parm (if your pan isn’t oven safe, transfer to an oven-safe dish before adding cheese). Bake for about 15 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and has started to brown.

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Puffer Picks

Last December, we were walking around Philly on a cold night during our annual overnight stay for my birthday, and I realized something…it’s time to invest in a good, insulated winter coat. I’d been making do with various pea coats, duffels, and other “dressier” wool coats, but they just weren’t cutting it – while wool coats can be very warm, they just don’t offer the protection an insulated coat would. I put it off until this year, but I finally dove in and made a purchase. Here are the top options I was considering:

The Cool Girl Pick

Uniqlo Seamless Down Long Coat – $149.90

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I came THIS CLOSE to buying this guy, and to be honest I’m not 100% sure why I decided against it…it’s stylish, gets great reviews, and the seamless design prevents cold air from seeping in. I did kind of want fur lining on the hood for no particular reason, so I guess that’s what edged this coat out.

The Sensible Pick

LL Bean Ultrawarm Coat, Long – $269

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I actually don’t remember coming across this coat while I was searching, which is really strange, because I searched LL Bean pretty exhaustively. This may have won out if I had seen it, although I didn’t really want to spend over $200…although I probably should have shelled out the extra cash for a warmer coat that’ll last me years (this is an ongoing struggle with me – I’m a crazy bargain hunter, to a fault.)

The Bargain Pick

Larry Levine Down & Feather Fill Jacket with Faux Fur Trim – $89 (on sale)

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This bargain-loving gal came very, very close to purchasing this coat – it’s super cute, right? What ended up stopping me was the lack of elastic in the wrists (I could see my arms freezing because of this) and the lack of reviews…plus, the price is so low it was almost suspect (to be fair, it was originally $198).

The Too Good To Be True Pick

Columbia Voodoo Puffer Coat – $180

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This seemed like a great price for an outdoor brand like Columbia, but upon reading reviews it sounds like it’s more of a fall coat and isn’t built for freezing weather (despite looking pretty darn warm). Next!

The Luxury Pick

Canada Goose Chelsea Fur-Trimmed Down Jacket – $755

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While this was never actually a consideration, this is most definitely the coat I’d choose if I had an unlimited budget – but alas, this is not currently the case. Maybe someday.

My Pick

Michael Kors Faux Fur Trim Down Puffer – $165 (on sale)8867784_fpx

And the winner is…this Michael Kors coat. Time will tell whether or not I regret buying a winter coat from a fashion brand, rather than an outdoor brand (my bet is YES, yes I will). Okay, you guys – so here is my (probably faulty) reasoning. First of all, it’s cute as hell. It’s nice and fitted so I won’t look like the Michelin Man, it’s just the right balance between matte and shiny, and I had told myself in the first place that I’d prefer gold hardware (which I didn’t end up actually caring about, but still). It got good reviews, the wrists are elasticized, there are plenty of pockets (I like that cute arm pocket, not that I’ll ever use it), and it’s the right length. AND…you guys, it was on crazy sale. Why am I like this? But seriously, it was marked down to $194.99 from what the website claims was originally $330 (although I’m skeptical of this, and I can’t seem to find this exact coat anywhere other than Macy’s…maybe it’s from last season? Which I’m fine with), PLUS I got an extra 25% off for signing up for text alerts so I only ended up paying a little over $150, PLUS I earned extra Macy’s cash that I can use towards my insanely expensive foundation, so that’s a win. But, I mean…it’s Michael Kors. What the hell does Michael Kors know about winter coats?

Welp…my decision has been made, and I’m anxiously awaiting its arrival (it is seriously FREAKING COLD here all of a sudden). Time will tell if I end up giving in and shelling out $250+ for a legit puffer from LL Bean or Patagonia or something next year…I’m hoping not, though! Wish me luck!

My Kitchen Countertops Are Ruining All My Pictures

Sigh.

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Gross

Why do you do this to me, ugly yellow granite? Or rather, why do you do this to me, previous homeowners who chose the ugly yellow granite? I realize that this was a popular material choice back in the early aughts, but if I’m to understand correctly, our kitchen was re-done shortly before we bought the house (which was in 2013). Could you not have chosen something a bit more neutral or modern? Don’t even get me started on the maroon wall (THAT WE’VE STILL YET TO PAINT).

Nothing looks good on this countertop. Nothing, I say! My white dishes clash with it. It makes pictures look dark and dingy, and I cannot for the life of me figure out how to prevent that. Counterintuitively, any light in the area glares off of it, making pictures suck regardless of time of day or weather.

It’s also hindering my ability to re-do my kitchen (which is maybe why I keep putting it off? Sure, we’ll go with that.) Since we don’t plan to stay here forever, we don’t want to do a full gut job and have no intention of replacing these damn countertops. But it makes it difficult to do ANYTHING with the space, because everything I like decor-wise (white, gray, anything neutral) clashes with it. I suppose I could go black (like a tuxedo situation), but that would make the space even darker. Plus I don’t really want to paint the (ugly off-white) cabinets anyway.

Also! (And yes, I know I wrote basically the same thing 3 years ago on my old blog) These suckers are impossible to clean. I mean, they’re pretty easy to clean – they’re granite – but they camouflage everything, so I can never tell whether or not they’re ACTUALLY clean without breaking my back leaning from various angles. “That sounds like a benefit!” you say? To that I very respectfully say, kick rocks. It sucks.

So here I sit with ugly pictures. WOE IS ME. Could I have it worse? OH ABSOLUTELY ONE THOUSAND PERCENT. Am I still going to wine incessantly about it? Quite obviously yes. One day we will buy a house and I will gut the kitchen regardless of condition when we move in and I will have my dream kitchen (white people, amirite?) Until then, I’ll be over here dreaming of all the gorgeous Cambria Quartz. I’LL HAVE YOU ONE DAY, CAMBRIA QUARTZ!!

All the heart eyes.

Happy Friday!

Happiest of Fridays (kind of holiday Friday, no less)! While I do have to work today, a few co-workers and I decided to make the best of things and work from a gorgeous local cafe…check out my current view:

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It’s FREEZING here, which makes me a little excited and a little scared. I’m planning on firing up a batch of hot mulled cider tonight (which I may or may not spike with bourbon) to go along with our pizza, and we’re finally having a new dishwasher installed tomorrow (DESPERATELY needed…like, since we moved in – I don’t know why we always put these things off for so long). Have the coziest weekend!

What in god’s name is going on with my skin?

How does my skin know when summer’s over?

Why is my skin FLAWLESS all summer long, and then the second the leaves start to turn, I look like a pox has been thrust upon me by some type of evil witch?

At first, I figured it had something to do with the temperature – that was the only thing that made sense, but I always had a nagging doubt in the back of mind mind, because I actively moisturize all year round and my skin isn’t any drier or less dry in the winter than it is in the summer. BUT, this year the acne came back before the temperature changed AT ALL. What IS that? I always thought it was strictly hormonal (and it probably is, judging by the type/location of said acne), but then, like…why was my skin perfect all summer? Was I not a woman this summer? Did my hormones take a summer vacation?

Diet? I think not…my diet isn’t the best (nor is it the worst), but either way, it’s relatively consistent. No changes there.

When I say my skin was perfect this summer, I assure you that I am not exaggerating. Nary a blemish to be found. Acne scars disappeared as if by magic. I’m a lifelong faithful foundation wearer, and I considered many days going completely makeup-free (and some days I did just that)!! While my skin usually clears up incrementally during the summer months, this year it was better than it’s been since I was (miraculously) a totally fresh-faced teen. I experienced a brief glimmer of hope that this would be the year – that somehow, 32 and a half was the magical age at which acne would cease to kiss my face and from this moment on I’d have clear skin forevermore. But no. Practically the second October hit, my skin went back to normal. And normal sucks.

I know what you’re thinking – “Go to a dermatologist, ya turkey!” but you guys…I’m JUST NOW working up the courage to go to a normal doctor for the first time in my adult life (other than emergencies)…you’ll need to give me a moment to incorporate specialty medical professionals into my situation. So…I don’t know. I’d ask what miracle products everyone uses, but I’m skeptical regarding their effectiveness for my particular situation (as am I weary of being offered various MLM products) – I’ve tried most types of treatments, and nothing topical will cure this if it’s hormonal anyway. Birth control isn’t an option because of the whole possibly making a baby situation, so…I guess this is just my skin. Cool. Wish for a miracle for me? (Not really – don’t waste your miracle wishing on my dumb skin which is mostly fine save for some relatively mild annoying monthly acne. Use it for something cooler.) Okay bye.

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