Friday, December 25, 2009

it’s good to be home

IMG_6173 Even though I was born and raised in Las Vegas, I consider ‘home’ to be anywhere family is really, and right now that is North Carolina.  It has been so nice getting to visit with my mom, step dad and grandparents! 

I just feel so relaxed and happy here.  It’s nice to have a break from school and work, but I really shouldn’t be taking too big of a break.


Our flight was without hiccups and we arrived late Wednesday evening.  Thursday we didn’t do a whole heck of a lot and slept in late, which was really nice.  We drove to Trader Joe’s and picked up a few last minute things.  For dinner I decided to make the Sausage Broccoli Pasta that is always a hit and my mom’s favorite dish.  It’s so easy and yummy!  She also had a bottle of Charles Shaw Chardonnay and it wasn’t all that bad actually.  I had a glass and a 1/2. 


After dinner we decided to watch The Hangover.  I’ve never seen this one before and it was pretty darn funny!  I sure hope that doesn’t really happen in Vegas! lol  

Of course there was some munchin’ during the movie and we broke out the stash of popcorn my mom has.  Think we have enough?  The Trader Joe’s Lite Kettle Corn is my fav and I had a small bowl of that mixed with the regular lite popcorn and a few small clusters of the moose munch.  That stuff is too rich!  I also had a glass of Celestial Seasonings Mint Green tea which is my favorite after dinner tea. 



Today my mom had to work, but I just spent most of the rainy day prepping the sweet potato casserole, pumpkin pie and turkey for dinner while Chris and my step dad watched sports.

Here’s what I had for lunch while drooling over the Southern Living Magazine and their praline pull-apart bread recipe :)  A simple pressed turkey sammie with roasted red pepper hummus, muenster cheese and 1/4 avocado.  I think I could just read recipes all day . . .   


IMG_6228I had an apple for an afternoon snack and my cat Tweety likes to lick the core!  So funny! 

I was a little worried about the turkey though because my mom had only taken it out of the freezer a day and a 1/2 before!  It was only 14 lbs, but it needed at least 3-4 days to defrost.  So when I got up this morning I made a quick cold water bath for it, changed it a few times during the day and prayed that it would defrost and not get too warm.

At 2:30pm when I went to get the bird ready it was still kind of frozen in the middle, eek!!  So we ran some cold water down the cavity and pulled all the bagged middle stuff out.  It was actually the first time I have made a turkey all by myself!  After patting it dry, I rubbed the turkey and underneath the skin with this mix:

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 1-2 tsp poultry seasoning
  • garlic powder
  • salt and pepper

Place it in a roasting pan, breast up with 2 cups of chicken broth in the bottom of the pan.  Roast at 425 F for 30 min, then turn down the oven to 325 F and roast until the meaty part of the thigh reaches 165-170.  Be sure to baste it with the broth every 30 minutes or so.  Take it out of the oven and tent with foil for 20 minutes to rest.  This was the moistest turkey I think I’ve ever had!!  I was so relieved that it tasted good and everyone enjoyed it :) 


My mom had a Charles Shaw Merlot, and while it was nothing to sing home about, it was an easy red that didn’t over power anything else too much.


I also made a sweet potato casserole from Cooking Light.  It was great, but next time I think I will reduce the sugar a bit more. 


Everything else we had alongside was really yummy too!

IMG_6245My grandma made corn bread stuffing and fruit salad.  We also had a green salad, honey baked ham, and Chris made some awesome gravy.  I’m not a gravy person, but his was really good!

Here’s my plate . . .



IMG_6180And then . . . DESSERT!  I made another recipe from Cooking Light called vanilla bourbon pumpkin tart, except I didn’t have a spring form pan or bourbon and made a gingersnap crust, so it’s kind of like pumpkin cheesecake.  I also doubled the spices of course :)  FYI a few teaspoons of amaretto in whipped cream is amazing!



Oh boy, I think I’m going to pop!  It was all so delicious.  I only had 1 glass of wine and 1 plate and I’m still full, but not uncomfortably full.  My biggest weakness is when we put all the food away I find myself taking more little bites and licking spoons darn it! 

I hope you all had a nice Christmas if you celebrate and I can’t wait to read about all your holiday festivities soon! 

I think tomorrow my mom and I are going to wake up early and do a little shopping to try and find some deals.  Maybe we’ll stop by the Carolina Blonde Brewery for a little tour?  So many things to try and do still with the family, and I love that nothing of it has to do with work or school :)

What’s your favorite part of the holidays?? 





Anonymous said...

oh my gosh that dinner looks AWESOME!! i just love being w. my family for the holidays..and all the joy in the air :)

i just saw the hangover for the first time too the other day.. HILARIOUS

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

Sounds like you had a very nice Christmas. And I agree, home is where family is... Great job on the turkey and all the other food!

Have fun shopping today!

MelissaNibbles said...

The food looks amazing and your tree is very pretty.

My favorite part of the holidays is watching people open presents I gave them. I like to see the looks on their faces!

Meal Makeover Mom Janice said...

Hey Kristen, sounds like a great Christmas! My daughters love the TJ candy cane JoJos in your photo. We stock up at Christmas since they are a seasonal item. And as you said, the three buck Chuck isn't bad- I admit to buying it by the case and using it as my nightly wine!

I also make the sweet potato casserole every year (must be something about dietitians) and this year for the first time I added a can of evaporaated milk. Sounds weird but it gave it a really nice creamy flavor. For 8 pounds of sweet potatoes I add about a cup of brown sugar, some cinnamon and nutmeg, 2 eggs, 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt, and the can of evap milk and mix it all up with a hand mixer until smooth. Put it into a 9x13 pan and top with toasted pecans mixed with a little melted butter, ground ginger, and brown sugar. Bake at 375 for about 40 minutes. Yummy!

Gina said...

Wow KRisten, you outdid yourself!! Is that a word?? hehe. Well everything looks so delicious and I am very impressed with all of your hard work. IN particular that turkey, so amazing!! I hope one day I can make the time to do all that cooking, I would love to really.

I'm glad oyu had a merry Christmas, and I hope this last week of 2009 treats you well!

Favorite part of the holidays: Food, family, and fun gifts ;)

Emily said...

Sounds like you are having a great time with your family and enjoying some great food. All your recipes sounds really good (especially the vanilla bourbon pumpkin tart!).

I agree that home = wherever the family is. It is so nice to have a break, although mine is going by so fast.

Hope you continue to enjoy the holidays!

MelindaRD said...

I am so glad you were able to spend the holidays with your mom and other family. Was it warm there? I know Vegas can be cold this time of year, so maybe in more humid areas a little further south it is warmer.

My fave part of the holidays is time off from work. Ok, in Vegas that never happened and here I don't relaly have a schedule, so I guess it is that my hubby gets off from work! Merry Christmas!

Astra Libris said...

Merry Christmas season! :-) I'm so happy to hear that you had such a beautiful Christmas with your family!! Your turkey sounds fabulous - I'm quite impressed!! I adore cooking light - I made a version of the same pumpkin tart for Thanksgiving! :-) YAY pumpkin!! :-)

I hope you have a beautiful, relaxing rest of your vacation... You deserve it!

Kelly said...

Your food looks absolutely delicious.
I love spending time with family on the holidays, and experiencing fun old traditions.

Watching The Hangover is on my list of things to do this week (you can see it's a very productive list)

Anonymous said...

Glad you made it safely! All your eats look delicious!

We got the Hangover too - and my daughter hadn't seen it yet - she's watching it for the third time as we speak! The pictures at the end kill!

tam said...

What wonderful food hope you had a great day!
my favorite part of the holiday has been having my best friend here from spain x

Anonymous said...

Hey! I love your cat..soo adorable.
I'm so glad you had a wonderful Christmas! Are you in town til New Years?