Sunday, November 30, 2008

Wedding Planning Moment of the Day

B's phone rings. "Deacon B" appears on the screen.

Me: Hi Deacon B! It's A. B is upstairs packing. How are you?

Deacon B: Oh, hi there. I'm doing fine, how are you?

Me: I'm great. I'm so sorry we didn't call yesterday to confirm this afternoon's appointment at the church. We were traveling all day and time got away from us.

Deacon B: Well I bet I was close to you yesterday. I was in Birmingham shopping at the Galleria.

Me: No way! That's wonderful. Well, now that I have you on the phone, are we still on for our appointment in an hour?

Deacon B: Well... I'm not feeling great and I was wondering if it would be too much trouble to reschedule. I hate to mess up your schedules, but I'd hate more to get you sick.

M: Not a problem. I'll have B call you later this week. Feel better, ok?

Deacon B: Ok. Thank you and have a nice afternoon.

Me: Bye.

The cynical side of me dances. We still have no priest and have twice been rescheduled/flat stood up. Granted, I have a soft spot for the sickies right now, so I appreciate him keeping his germs to himself. Just so long as SOMEONE agrees to marry us, I'm good. In the meantime, I figure I've got to be racking up some good points somewhere with all of this. Par for the course, my friends.

B Knows Football

B was driving through some ridiculous traffic today en route back to law school, so when I called to say hi, he asked for a score update. See, this is why we haven't upgraded to satellite radio or fancier cell phone plans--it keeps us close. Right. Anyway, I was happy to help him out. Little did we realize that it would be a telling conversation.

Me: Ok, here we go. Atlanta beat South Dakota 22-16. Pittsbu--

B: What? No, hon, it's San Diego.

Me: Oh right, why would South Dakota have a pro football team? Sorry about that. Back to the scores. Pittsburgh beat New England 33-10. Seattle lost to the Giants 23-7. Um.... Kansas City?

B: Right.

Me: Beat Oklahoma 20-13.

B: What? Hon, that's Oakland. Not Oklahoma.

Me: Crap! I thought I knew this. Shoot, wait, it says that Seattle lost to Dallas 34-9, but I thought Seattle played the Giants?

B: What does it say?

Me: WAS.

B: Washington.

Me: Right, Seatt--oh. I bet this turned out way more entertaining than you expected.

B: That it did.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Eep! It's been so long since I had five consecutive days off that I almost forgot what it's like to be devoid of computer contact for so long. A few more days and I might have never posted again... Ok, at least not until I got back to the comfort of my desk at work.

Tuesday night I headed out of Birmingham and headed due west toward Atlanta, where I met B and his parents for a delicious dinner at our favorite, um, ethnic restaurant. Malaya, off Howell Mill, serves Thai, Indian, Chinese, and just about everything else you can think of that can be made with coconut milk.

After a delicious dinner, we headed home then met up with a few of B's good friends from high school who mostly live in Atlanta and, I have to say, I love them. I love that he has such great guy friends and that they've managed to attach themselves to the best girls ever, thereby making any hang out time equally fabulous for the both of us.

Wednesday, I got B up pretty early and we decided to conquer our to-do list, meaning we got to the mall by 9:30 to look at everyday plates. For what it's worth, I think he got a much better picture of why I'd been so overwhelmed the weekend before; all we wanted were white plates and there had to have been 15 different kinds. Luckily, the store was empty and the sales people negligent, so we could poke around and move the plates from section to section to our hearts' content. A plate picked, we headed off to visit my ring's birthplace: the diamond playground.

We'd planned to pick out our wedding bands and see if we could get my ring sized. When R, the man who helped B before, saw the ring on my finger, he eagerly agreed to get it sized. Right now. Back by Friday. So, feeling totally naked (how does something become "normal" so quickly??), we picked out bands, which was much easier for me (oooh, sparkles) than for B (think? thin? lined? bling? er, no.). By noon we were back in the car and on the way home, eager to get started on the Great Thanksgiving Cooking Session of 2008. A quick stop by the grocery store and we were on our way.

Back at home, I got to work making a candy bar pie and a pumpkin pie with meringue topping while B's mom worked on, well, just about every dish you can imagine. Thanksgiving at B's house is, as he puts it, akin to the British soccer league; if a dish doesn't hold its weight, it gets bumped out of the lineup and a new dish comes in. This year, the classics included the much raved about pea salad (for which there is no recipe), squash casserole, stuffing, two kinds of cranberries, and a 22-pound turkey. There was more, but I'd need more server space to go on.

She prepped Wednesday and then Thursday launched the real marathon cooking day, during which B and I mostly watched as his parents fluttered around the kitchen pulling everything together just in time for us to sit down to a late afternoon meal with his parents, his brothers, and his dear next door neighbor. Sufficiently stuffed, that night we watched football and chick flicks (compromise, yes?) before turning in.

Friday we avoided the crowds at the mall and slept in before heading over to pick up my ring (perfectly sized!) and place the order for our bands. We stopped by Tiffany's in the mall first to browse other band types, which is always a hoot to me. Seriously, you sell jewelry. Nice jewelry, but still. Be nice to me! The lady that helped us was nice, but it was almost like she didn't believe us. It was great when B guided me straight to the exact section of the rings. I looked at him quizzically and he just shrugged and said, "I've been here before." Love it.

We met up with his friends that afternoon for a fantastic game of touch football (from which I am still sore) before grabbing dinner and meeting up with them again that night at Mr. C's for some beer and catching up. We turned in early to hit the Alabama game the next morning.

Saturday, we headed for Tuscaloosa for what would turn out to be an epic day. We met up with his aunt, uncle, and cousins for a preliminary house party ("tailgate" just doesn't do it justice), then headed closer to the stadium to see my family, including the crew from North Carolina. Mom and dad graciously let B and I sit in the Zone seats with my sister and her husband and it was fantastic. Sure, the shrimp and grits and scalloped potatoes were nice, but the company was what made it. That and the amazing, long-awaited victory over Auburn. Roll Tide!

We got home early Sunday morning, around 12:15, totally exhausted and super happy. What a perfect end to a great weekend. I'm still so impressed with us-- we managed to see three sides of the family this weekend: his parents, my parents, and his aunt and uncle. That's got to be a record for a first Thanksgiving together!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Ultimate in Baking Indulgence

This Sunday, J and I got together to embark on a baking extravaganza never before attempted this side of the Mississippi. Granted, I don't know where Bakerella is located (the mama of this brilliant idea), but I'll assume she's somewhere over there, just helps me keep my ducks in a row.

We make Cake Pops, brilliant little bite-sized creations of baked cake mixed with icing, then scooped into balls, dipped in bark or candy melts, and decorated, in this case, as turkeys and cup cakes.

It was crazy fun but also overwhelming. It looks so simple! Let me tell you, it is not. We started at 4pm baking the cake and five hours, four red-stained hands, and about 47 chocolate-covered espresso beans later, we were done. And they're so freaking cute!

Bakerella makes tons of these things and her Halloween ones were particularly super-cute. Her pops look way better than ours, but we comforted ourselves that perhaps she had to make 50 to get her perfect five, and this probably wasn't her first rodeo.
The verdict? Super fun. Set aside a day for it. Don't do it with kids if you're looking for perfection (and certainly ditch the espresso beans in that case!). Probably not a good idea for wedding favors. Believe you me, you'd still be picking red velvet cake out from underneath your nails even on your honeymoon.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Wedding Planning Moment of the Day

Love B. He knows I'm trying to declutter... organize, give stuff away, so on and so forth. So imagine the humor we both found in this IM exchange...

B: anyway, i was thinking, do you still have that toaster?

Me: yep, would you like it?

B: i think so

Me: ok, but know that it comes with three fondue pots and a juicer.

B: haha, no on the fondue

Me: oh, and did I mention the coffee maker? It's part of the package too.

B: whatever. i really just want the toaster

Me: would you actually like the juicer? I didn't hear a no.

B: not really

Me: well you can totally have the toaster. My mom tells me I should keep it because it's big enough for bagels. Making that good for two things I don't eat: toast and bagels.

B: but i like both

Me: perfect. So help me God, if I have to give this thing away twice.

B: we might have to do that.

The View From My Weekend


Saturday afternoon, on my way home from plate hunting, my car started sputtering and jerking. I'd press the gas and sometimes it would be, but most of the time it wouldn't. I got it home (freaking out at B the whole way) and realized I'd have to call a wrecker to get it to the dealership.

PSA: Do you have AAA? You should. It's $44 per year, plus a one-time membership sign-up fee of $20. Then you can add other accounts onto yours for like $20. Best money ever spent. Use it once and it's paid for. Never need it? Lucky you. Instead use your membership for hotel and car rental discounts, which amount to about $10 off a pop. Christmas is coming! Make this your stocking stuffer.

So I called the wrecker on Sunday afternoon and he headed on over and promptly noticed that my car had a flat from tire. &*$&@*! What? When did that happen? I called B laughing, because you have to laugh when it's a holiday week and you're praying that the dealership will have someone actually look at your car. Turns out the poor sputter was probably a blessing, as I would've woken up this morning with a flat tire, had to call and wait for a tow-truck, missed half a day of work, etc. Just so long as the sputter is a quirk, and not a huge malfunction. Ok, I prayed, if it IS a huge malfunction, make it a ginormous one that's covered by my drive-train warranty.

So I get Grandma to take me into work this morning, bless her 91-year-old heart, but first we stop by the dealership just to put a face (and a short skirt, sue me) with a car. Maybe that's dumb. I prefer to think of it as "helpful." Heck, they would've gotten cookies if I could've gotten myself anywhere to buy the ingredients. I'm not above bribery, especially when it's of people doing things that I have no idea how to do.

About an hour later, safe at work, I get a phone call from Jake at the dealership, who informs me that my new oil change place, the one I raved about being open until 6pm, bless them, knocked my boots loose when they changed my air filter. So, remember, I have no idea about cars, so when he talks about knocking boots, I can tell you my mind did not go to engine regulators, but apparently it should have. The boots, as they were, were loose, letting "unmetered air" through my car. Basically, my car was saying, "She's pushing the pedal again, give her X amount of gas," but the car never heard that because the ears (the boots) weren't listening. So he's tightened the boots and all is well.

This is what I don't get about car places. "Boots" already means something to me, namely knee-high leather footwear. Pick a different word, or just reverse it. Stoobs brings nothing to mind.

So all is well. They've fixed my tire, tightened my boots, replaced a corroded positive connector for my battery, and given me new wipers. Yes, I went for the new wipers. I'm so happy the car's fixed that I would've gone for new floor mats if they'd offered them. I didn't go for the new drive belts, which are cracked, because apparently that can wait until the 60,000 checkup. Translation? A broken drive belt might mean my AC quits, but it won't leave me stranded on the side of the road.

What a day. Tonight I'll do the car shuffle, moving cars around Birmingham until everyone is where they're suppose to be. But today, oh today, I am oh-so thankful for easy fixes, and for the fun I'm going to have writing a letter to the oil change place. It pays to be engaged to a lawyer, you know. His first thought? "Ask them if it's going to hurt your car in the long run, because that's a direct liable suit."

My Life. For Serious

The site was having some trouble this morning. And by "some trouble" I mean that all the recipes were giving error messages, rather than their usual content (you know, how to make good tasting stuff). The best part though, is the error message itself:

Forbidden (403)
You have requested data that the server has decided not to provide to you. Your request was understood and denied.

Well screw you, server! How mean is that? "Um, yeah, we got that turkey you were looking for, and, well, we've decided not to give it to you. Not that we can't, we just won't. Yeah, we understand what you mean by 'turkey,' but we're going to go ahead and deny that request."

Has anyone seen my stapler?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Important, And Not So Important, Piles

I'm at a weird point in life where I'm trying to fully become an adult (though I still call and whine to my parents at the first sign of any trouble) and am starting to think about merging households with someone else who recently embraced his full adultness.

So, as I think about moving to B's apartment in May, I'm beginning to cull through my carefully collected piles of "stuff I'll deal with later," "stuff that I might need," and "stuff that maybe looks important." Oh, plus the bills, statements, and work info that I know is important.

What do you keep? How do you file it? I started using Quicken, though I can't figure out how to make it useful to me yet besides making me type in every. transaction. I. make. all. month. Painful, but helpful in seeing how many times I add a new entry to the "Eating Out" category. Yikes.

Right now, I'm thinking of folders. And three-hole punches. Ooh, and labels. I think this is a sign of Type A personality. I'd rather organize the organization than actually get the piles organized. So far we have Medical, Bills (paid), Bank Statements, Investment Information, FSA receipts, Charitable Donations, and Wedding, which gets its own bookshelf at this point.
B says that he keeps his bills, even after they've been paid and the check has cleared, which I guess makes sense. It's a record. But how long do you keep those internet payments to Charter? I know, I know, I should switch to online bill-pay anyway, but I like the check writing part. Sue me.

Anyone else have any great ideas of how they organize their lives? Seriously. The folders and I are ready to take some action. I'd love to find a way that worked for me and B, or at least didn't drive him crazy with unnecessary steps...

Wedding Planning Moment of the Day

I see plates.  No seriously, whenever I close my eyes, my poor corneas bring to my mind's eye the now burned-in vision of plates.  Everyday plates.  Stoneware.  Fine China.  They're not dancing like the festive plates in Beauty and the Beast (but wouldn't that be nice.  I'd make a mint!), but rather are displayed in their "natural state," basically in rows and rows with unflattering department store back lighting.  That or they're perfectly set up on a table.  

Point it, when I close my eyes (in the shower washing my hair, the moment after I hit the pillow, or just prolonged blinks of the couch), I see china.  Some good (antique white, clean patterns), some not so good (did you know Paula Deen has a Nantucket-inspired crab line?).  Ok, so her pattern is cute, but I don't know that I could live with myself if I picked Paula's plates.

As B said, "Let's be honest, if a plate is covered with weird birds and dead trees, I'm still going to eat off it.  I just may not be happy about it."
Gotta love a man with standards.  And perspective.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Defining Moments

I've had several defining moments today. Some I'm proud of, many I'm not. A few were preventable (hello, please eat something before 3:30pm), some were not (why oh why is my car sputtering now??). All defining moments. All while trying to register. Which should not, for all practical purposes, be stressful.

B was a champ. He kept getting crazy phone calls about china patterns, everyday plates, store choices, and, finally, car noises. What's wrong with my car? Nothing, I hope. But it started sputtering between 0-24 mph, smoothing out after that. Sometimes I push the gas and it does nothing, like when I try to back up. Then the engine light came on. All things lead to "not good," but the service center is closed until Monday at 7:30 am, by which time I hope it will have "calmed the hell down" (the new M-coined phrase at work) and sorted itself out.
Otherwise, I'm going to have a date with the dealer, only it's really more like a surprise date since they don't know I'm coming. I tried to tell them, see, to set up an appointment, but apparently the dealership phone lady isn't the same as the service phone lady, so even though I suggested (rather kindly!) that she go check their appointment book (so as to know if 15 other people have the same 7:30 idea in their minds), she declined. Sigh.

The good news is that I think I found a china pattern that B will love, and some good options for everyday plates. I had no idea it was such a puzzle... finding something you like that isn't likely to be discontinued that is carried by stores in Florence, Atlanta, and Birmingham.
Nothing's been scanned or selected yet, but we have a short-list, I guess you could call it, that I'll show B when he's home for Thanksgiving. Then we're off to the races.

I had hoped this weekend would be a relaxing, calming weekend, but instead of having it handed to me, it seems that I'm going to have to make my relaxing weekend. I can choose to get upset and worry about my car, or I can acknowledge that there's nothing I can do about it until Monday at 7:30 am. I can choose to get caught up in the flurry of picking plates and kitchen items for a table and kitchen that I don't have, or I can enjoy it and think how blessed I am to have the luxury of shopping for such items.

Really I miss B and I'm pouting. It's my go-go-go weekend, so last night I tackled Quicken (go budget go!) and tomorrow J and I are taking on a fun baking adventure (details to come).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wedding Planning Moment of the Day

With fewer than six months to go between now and the wedding, I'm starting to get my wedding legs (akin to sea legs, only less sculpted) about me regarding a few things. Today's lesson? Wedding registries. I have lots of thoughts and rants that I'll save for a rainy day, but for now I'm just trying to fill out my information online to save a little time at the stores when I go browsing this Saturday.

So I'm typing my details (name, wedding date, state) into one of the sites and it comes back with this:

We have found the following registry that matches the name and wedding date you provided...

Ashanta Johnson & Brian Kelly, 8/25/06

For serious? Did their system recognize any part of my information? Maybe it thought I was confused? And that wedding was two years ago! I guess Ashanta and Brian are still holding out hope that someone is going to buy them that roasting pan. Dream on, kids. Dream on.

"The Day of the Ax"

Ooph, what a title to give November 19th. Seems like our friends in the press would go a little easier. After all, they're in publishing, too!

As most of you know, layoffs are looming and publishing is in trouble, at least for me. We'll see what today brings following two weeks of nonstop layoffs. How is today suppose to be the bad one? Aren't they all bad?

As the article says:

TIME Inc. today becomes not a publisher of magazines but of pink slips instead.

Pray for the people getting bad news today, right before the holidays, during what can at best be described as a down-turned economy. What a day!

...and for the emergency meeting my boss just called in fifteen minutes. I think I'll switch to a more stable career, like investment banking.

Monday, November 17, 2008

How to Make Boneless Wing Dip

B's favorite thing in the world (beside me, I'm sure... at least most days) is wing dip. Of the things I've made or that we've made together, wing dip is by far the most requested, most sought-after, and most highly spoken of. Luckily, it's also the easiest. Courtesty of my friend H, the recipe for wing dip is a cinch. It's perfect for tailgating because it packs all the great flavor of your favorite wings into one dish that can be eaten with crackers or a fork. Plus you don't find yourself alone with a pile of chicken bones at the end of the night. It's football season--Get cooking!

Wing Dip

8 ounces cream cheese (fat free, 1/3 fat, or full fat, pick your poison. We go free or 1/3.)
1/2 bottle Ranch dressing (again, pick your poison. We go low fat or fat free.)
1 package chicken breasts or chicken tenderloins
8 ounces shredded Mozzarella cheese
Wing sauce
4-5 stalks celery, finely chopped

Poach chicken or start with already cooked chicken, shred and toss with wing sauce, just enough to coat. Spread chicken in the bottom of an 8X8 glass pan. In a separate bowl, combine equal parts Ranch dressing and cream cheese, stirring until combined and (mostly) lump free. Spread over chicken. Sprinkle chopped celery on top of Ranch mixture. Top with shredded cheese. Cover with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove foil. If cheese isn't melty, then kick it up to 400 for about five minutes, uncovered, until the cheesy is melty.

Serve with Triscuits, Wheat Thins, or a pile of forks and enjoy with the game!

Wonderful Weekend Away

With work being crazy (our President, the 2nd one in two weeks stepped down today), it was so amazing to get out of town for the weekend. B persuaded me into coming on a last-minute trip to Durham and I'm oh-so-glad I did. As great and stretching as Pre-Cana was, we barely had a minute just to talk, something they probably assume you don't need if you're in the same city as your betrothed. Not us. I'm a talker.

The weekend started off with a bang. Atlanta had a pea-soup cloud coverage, so both my flights were about two hours late. Luckily, the flights meant to leave before mine were running about three hours late. Thank you, no checked luggage, I was able to hop on the "earlier" flight and arrive on time on both legs of my trip despite not setting foot on my actual flight either time.

B picked me up at the airport and whisked me home to peace and quiet. We did absolutely nothing Friday night and loved every second of it.

Saturday morning, B got up early to read for a while (ah, law school) then came in a while later to wake me up. "You have to take your birth control," he said. "See? I'm involved." Love it. Apparently you need to start about six months out. Not sure if it needs that long to get in your system or if that's just to make sure you don't react. Either way, hilarious, and a great way to wake up.

We headed out soon after to go see my sister's family, but made a quick detour to pick up a cookie cake and a Cookie Monster cupcake, both to celebrate my sister's recent defense of her dissertation topic. B's mom called as we were on the way in to the store, so I chatted with her while poor B had to place the cookie icing order. "Um, and can you write 'Yea Mommy!' on it?" He's the best. The cake was for the family and the cupcake, well, we'd been dying to bring my niece E one for a while. She'd seen the picture I posted on the blog a while back and loved it. You can tell by the picture that she liked her version!

Saturday afternoon we grabbed lunch at Panera, browsed Home Depot (unsuccessfully) for patio furniture, then headed home where we got the recipe for B's favorite, Wing Dip, and walked to the grocery store.

There's a reason I love B's apartment so much: You can walk everywhere. It's like bringing the big city to the little city. Within walking distance are two supermarkets, a movie theater, Super Target, Sam's, a dozen or so little restaurants, and a CVS. And I love that he walks everywhere to pick up things. Fabulous!

So we walked to the store, grabbed Wing Dip supplies, and settled in for a great night of sinfully bad food and Alabama football.

Sunday was another perfect day. We headed out (walking, of course) to this cute little Mexican restaurant where the prices are low and the food is, at best, plentiful. We stuffed ourselves silly, then browsed Target for a few Christmas presents before heading to the theater to watch the new Bond movie. Loved it! Great fight scenes, fun dialogue, and an entertaining two hours. What more can you ask for?

We headed home for a little more football before driving to the airport for my late-evening flight. Two day trips are tough because they're short, but they're oh-so needed these days, especially when we can just kick back, do a little cooking, and enjoy life. Well, life and a big box of Muna Cookies (he loved them!).

Great weekend leading up to a tough week, work-wise, but Thanksgiving is only about ten days away, and I can't wait.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Feeling Loved

Feeling loved is...

arriving to find your favorite drink in the fridge.

leaving blankets nearby for any snuggling needs.

stepping into the shower to discover your fiance has stocked it with your favorite scrubby soap, a little purple razor, and two new bottles of shampoo and conditioner, even though he only uses 2-in-1, because he knows your hair gets tangly when you go the combo route.

Wedding Planning Moment of the Day

Visiting with B this weekend and having a great time, but had to share some fun tidbits. Like we've been told, we're always learning about each other, and always will be. Tonight I discovered something that almost dissolved our would-be union.

Me: I can't marry you.

B: What? Why?

Me: I just opened your peanut butter. It's almost empty, but the contents are completely level. That's not normal. I can't do completely level. How do you even do that, with a spoon or a knife? Do I need a spatula?

B: Would you still be able to marry me if I told you I did that eating from the jar with Vanilla Wafers and it's level because that's as far in as my hand can reach?

Me: Ah. Yes. Definitely yes.

Plus I have smaller hands. This may be a match made in heaven after all.

Wedding Planning Moment of the Day

In the past three months, I've given out my email address, wedding date, and shoe size to almost any website or vendor that has requested it. Samples? Thank you. Discounts? Yes, please. But these are all new sites. Contrary to what most guys might like to believe, we girls don't sign up with or register at stores just for kicks before getting engaged. Imagine my surprise then when, my tried-and-true book seller, sent me this (unsolicited) purchase suggestion:

Essential Manners for Couples: From Snoring and Sex to Finances and Fighting Fair-What Works, What Doesn't, and Why

Apparently, the book addresses topics including...

Permissive flirting: How to define parameters and enjoy verbal combat with the opposite sex.
The "Chore I.Q." test—are you really divvying up the workload fairly?
When you hate her friends: socializing with the enemy.
Enter children: Good parents still spend time together as a couple.
Bedroom etiquette—getting beyond the headache excuse.
Interactions with in-laws—smooth merge or crash and burn?
Where to go for the holidays: surviving family visits and how to say "no."
Balancing life with your other significant other—your work ... and much more.

Oh boy. I think I really do have a headache...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Muna Cookies

I think I'm nesting. I have this huge desire to throw all of my stuff away (so as not to have to pack it in April), to clean my apartment, and to introduce B to all my favorite foods of childhood. So far, I've promised him creamed corn, made him sweet potato casserole and meatloaf, and filled him with lots of sugary baked goods that remind me of growing up.

But today, oh today, he's in for it. I'm heading to Durham and I'm taking Muna Cookies with me. Muna Cookies are the brilliant creation of my friend's Grandma, whom she dubbed Muna. We spent long weekends growing up on Muna and Papa's farm where we chased Chester the Bull (from the safety of the driveway), rode around the pasture in Papa's Mouse Truck (again, a name given by my friend), and generally having a blast. Muna let us make doll clothes, paint little wooden toys, play dress up with her fabulous dresses, sleep upstairs in the loft/attic space, and climb around in the barn. She makes the best biscuits and gravy I've ever had. You think you've had better? Her gravy was chocolate.
Note to self: Ask Muna for chocolate gravy recipe.

So last night I whipped up a batch of Muna Cookies, made from yellow cake mix and a splash of vanilla, and remembered the good times we spent on the farm. As I read the recipe, I loved discovering the notches of a signature recipe. "Bake until golden brown." I had to call my friend. 8 minutes? 10? My timer-constrained mind had to know. "Ha!" she wrote back. "I've always been told to bake them until they 'look right.' I'll set a timer next time and let you know, but I'd bet between 8 and 12 minutes, and it's always better to go under."

Another great gem? For these cookies, you roll the batter into balls, then press chocolate chips into the top, "as many as you'd like." Sneaky Muna. Of course we'd be happier if we could see all the chocolate chips. Brilliant.

If you have a hankering for super easy, over-the-top delicious chocolate chip cookies that are light as feathers and guaranteed to be tasty, give this recipe a try this weekend. You may just find something new to leave for Santa.

Muna Cake Mix Cookies

1 box yellow cake mix (or any flavor you prefer)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
½ cup oil
3 tablespoons cold water

Chocolate chips or M & M’s Mix cake mix, oil, egg, vanilla and water. * (less water makes a more crisp cookie) Form into balls. Press as many chocolate chips or M & M’s as you wish for each cookie into dough. Bake on large cookie sheet at 350 degrees until lightly browned.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


For all of those apartment-dwellers out there who would love a fluffy furball to pet and snuggle but can't bear to trap one inside your yardless dwelling, take a gander at these six puppies, just hanging out, on a webcame that their owners set up so they could check on them while at work. When I first looked, there were over 40,000 people watching. It's like the Truman Show, with chew toys.

How to Survive Premarital Counseling... Part 3 of 3

Saturday night we stayed out a little late (1am? Eep!), making Sunday morning a little harder for the "get up and go." It started earlier (out the door at 8:45), but it was also our last day (woohoo!), so that put a little pep in our step(s).
We started again with breakfast, then started with a talk called Marriage...In the Beginning. You guessed it, we were talking about Adam and Eve. One thing I thought was interesting was that the priest focused on the verse Genesis 3:16, which basically says, "You will long for your husband and he will rule over you."

This isn't God's command, it's his warning to us, and a direct result of the fall (along with painful childbirth--thanks, Eve.) and, scarier yet, I get it. It's like in the movie Knocked Up (stay with me here), when the Friends' guy says:

"How can Debbie like me? She likes me. I mean, she loves me. The biggest problem in our marriage is that she wants me around. She loves me so much that she wants me around all the time. That's our biggest problem. And I can't even accept that? Like, that upsets me?"

In the all-boys talk, they warned B about that-- that, when he got home from a long day of talking to adults, I might be really tired of having talked baby talk all day. So while he wants quiet, I might need adult interaction.

I can see how this would be a big thing. Even now, there are days that I just want to talk to him, to be near him, and, while he wants to talk and be near me (I mean, who wouldn't?), it's in his nature to also seek peace. Calm. Talk-free zones. I'm more of a talk-zone person myself.

The key is, so says the priest, is finding that balance. While I am more than happy to have b lead our new little family, he will also do it while keeping me (and my wants/needs) in mind. The priest said to rule is also to serve. Fine balance.

We had a talk about "true love" and, to the priest's credit, he did say that this particular talk always reminded him of The Princess Bride. The next talk was about the roles of the husband and wife in a marriage, then we had mass, which was really neat. Nothing special, per se, but just a nice time to reflect on the weekend. Plus, we got a blessing, which is always nice.

I'm not Catholic. Not sure I ever will be, but there's something about having someone literally, verbally call out to God and ask for his hand to be in your lives as a couple as you work together toward your wedding and, more importantly, your marriage. It's like my sister once said in regards to praying to the saints. "I'm not sure if I believe it does anything, but in case it does, I can sure use all the help I can get."

Now B and I have a nice certificate that we have to fax to his home parish that says we completed 20+ hours of marriage prep, which brings our church-based preparations to a close. We need only meet with his home parish to wrap things up, then get a firm answer from a priest to perform the ceremony. I'll think about that tomorrow...

Laugh of the Day

Maybe you were the person whose senior portraits were perfect. Even in the days before photoshop you had nary a hair out of place. That wasn't everyone. I think my favorite shot of me was perched on a fence, though even then it had to be cropped because I was wearing shorts and shorts were a no no in my Christian high school.
If you need a Thursday laugh, check out this selection of arguably 1990s senior portraits, complete with (mostly clean) explanations.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


My family is big on Alabama football, so it's no surprise that, when my parents were watching the game with my oldest brother and his family this weekend, my other older brother called to say hello. And then that my brother-in-law beeped in a few minutes later to chat about the game.

They three-wayed the conversation and were all talking when one lamented the fact that B couldn't be on the line, too, and that he was trapped at Pre-Cana during such a big game. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Please notice that they were missing and feeling sorry for B, not for me. The Alabama girl. Carry on.]

My brother-in-law piped up. "What? I've been texting with B all afternoon!"

Busted. But come on, can you blame us? We had to know the scores and, until the Natural Family Planning portion of the programming, we were only texting during breaks. And lunch. And free time.

How to Survive Premarital Counseling... Part 2 of 3

Saturday morning came way to quickly and B and I were soon up and headed back to Roswell, Georgia for day two of premarital counseling. We had a quick breakfast at the Mission Center (hello, orange juice) and then they split us up into boys and girls for a morning talk.

In high school, we got divided all the time for split chapel, the time the staff took to talk to girls about being wives and not being so catty and to talk to boys about not having sex and being leaders. Pre-Cana (shocker!) is a little different. Sure, we girls got some info about being good wives, but instead of teaching us how to relate to each other, we learned about relating to our husbands. Some of it sounded kinda of 1950s ("He's had a long day, he doesn't need to hear your problems when he gets home"), but at the same time I understood the underlying message: You're a team, support each other as such.

I heard once that people don't treat their spouses as well as their coworkers. At work, they're hesitant to dump extra work or be short with the guy in the next cubicle, but at home, we'll shout out orders or snap about undone chores. And that's to the person we love, not the one we have to share a microwave with. The lady leading the girls' seminar had a similar concept--Don't treat your girlfriends better than you do your husband. "When a girlfriend calls, even if I'm rushing out the door, I'll take time for her and listen," she said. "When my husband calls, sometimes I'll give him the 'I-don't-have-time-to-talk-Can't-we-talk-later-Ok-Bye' routine. And that's not ok." Don't treat your girlfriends worse, just make sure you give your spouse the same respect and attention that you give others in the world. Common courtesy. That kind of thing.

She also talked about not tearing each other down, even in jest. "He can't fix a tire to save his life." "Sure she can cook, if charcoal counts as a food group." You're a team, she told us. Don't pick each other apart to others in jest, even if you're both laughing. This time, it was about respect.

I'm not sure what all they told B in his "How to Really Love Your Wife" session, so I may have to ask him this weekend (or he can post anonymously, hint hint), but I do know he looked a little struck by the, um, specificity in which they dictated that, er, marital relations should happen. That's right, a sex talk. Bless his heart.

We heard lots of interesting stuff that day, from a psychologist talking about how men and women interpret things differently to a gynecologist talking about the medical benefits of Natural Family Planning. I'm not going to lie, B was getting score updates (Alabama and Georgia Tech games) during that 90 minutes and I couldn't have been happier. He's of the mindset of "I don't need to know," and, you know what? I'm of the mindset of "I don't want to talk about it." He never had sisters or female cousins in the same age bracket. Some things are just better left alone.

That's what we thought, though the couple that gave us the "real life" info on NFP seemed to feel differently. They guy was all into talking about, keeping up with, and (lucky us) sharing the details of his wife's cycles and their journey toward fertility. TMI, if you ask us.

The lady told us that taking birth control was like saying, "I love all of you except your fertility." B looked at me and said, "I love all of you including your fertility, but can't we put that on hold for just a little while?" Deal. Yea, teamwork!

The last session of the day was about Principle-Centered Finance, basically living debt free, within your means, and with a gift back to God. Check. Good to hear, nice to reaffirm we were on the same page, even if the priest leading the session seemed a little off and very determined to instill the difference between a charge card and a credit card which is, at best, theoretical, though we did see his point.

We headed home at 6 to catch the last few minutes of the Alabama game and the overtime victory before heading out to dinner with B's parents at Paul's. After, we met up with his high school buddies at a local dive bar where we were peppered with questions about NFP and our adventures at Pre-Cana.

B and I have laughed at the weekend, and at some of the sessions in particular, but you know what? It did bring us closer, if only because we spent a weekend totally together focused not on ourselves and our wants or even on our wedding day, but on our upcoming marriage. I can't wait.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

How to Survive Premarital Counseling... Part 1 of 3

B and I took the weekend off to fulfill the premarital counseling portion of our marriage prep. While we had planned on having to navigate a six-week course, we found out that through the Atlanta diocese, we had three options:
1) One 8am to 8pm day in downtown Atlanta being talked "at, not to" (according to our first would-be priest). Boring at best was the impression we were given.

2) Engaged Encounter--Three days in a remote Atlanta motel overnighting with your fellow married wannabes. In a word, "intense," we were told.

3) Three to Get Married-- Again, three days in a remote Atlanta location, but you sleep and eat where you'd like. Our priest's pick and, ultimately, ours, though we're sure not positive if it's three days to get married or three beings (Myself, B, and the Trinity, though that might make it "Five to Get Married").

We didn't want to do the one-day session. Seemed like a sure-fire way to get yourself disqualified, picking the shortest option right off the bat. Plus, it's marriage, right? So we may as well go for the best option we can get.

Engaged Encounter sounded like a little much to us. The cost, which wasn't overly expensive, certainly wouldn't be enough to cover two hotel rooms. Were we meant to share? Was that the first test? Would they put us with our gender-segregated couples to bunk for the weekend in a rundown HoJo for the weekend? Too many questions, and none pertaining to our upcoming nuptials. Next!

Three to Get Married sounded good. From the schedule we saw online, it looked like a good mix of seminars and couple-specific discussion time. We weren't sure what the questionnaires and discussion questions would be, but the priest had assured me that they'd be concrete and helpful-- finance, family, conflict, etc... Not so much theoretical and strictly faith-based. While I value a weekend retreat discussing faith, that's not what B and I were looking for solely out of marriage counseling. We wanted the whole deal. Well, at least I did and B is sweet enough to roll with just about anything.

So we signed up a few weeks ago for the November session. The priest said we could wait until February, but "I find it's best to get things out now," which I guess means "Hey, some people don't make it through this. May as well get it moving before you put down any more deposits." Classy.

Last week I was really nervous. Things are crazy at work and, let's be honest, I'm not a fan of meeting new people, so the prospect of spending three days with six other couples talking about things that I find pretty personal and may or may not agree with was pretty daunting. B and I discussed options for playing hooky, being sick, and generally laying low, then he shook me out of my Negative Nancy state and said all would be fine.

We headed out the door of his parent's house on Friday night at 5 for the first session, which started at 6 and ran until 10 that evening. First, we got lost (I knew that Starbucks on the corner was too good to be true), so while we had hoped to be late, it looked like now we might actually be late. And that made me more nervous.

As it turned out, we were the first couple to arrive. We met the leaders/hosts for the weekend (and their 12 week old kiddo, a babbling advertisement for NFP) and got settled in with our binder (yes, binder, with a photo of Jesus and our names on the front) and our name tags (also, ironically, with a photo of Jesus and our names). Some of the name tags were messed up, leaving Jesus with, as B put it, a "fivehead."

We settled in for "Happy Hour," the first item on our itinerary and got ready for individual interviews (think Miss America with fewer world peace references). I, for one, was thrilled that Happy Hour actually came with wine and beer. Woohoo! Break the ice with a little pinot and, I promise you, I'll be a less-stressed person during these personal sessions. Then again, pinot before interview? Dangerous.

I got called back and met with the female half of the couple who asked me the same questions I'd gotten when we met the priest. Are you here under force? Are there conditions to your marriage? When is divorce permissible? Do you resolve conflict or sweep it under the rug? Do you get along with your fiance's friends/family?

And then, right there in the Atlanta Mission Center, I told my first Pre-Cana lie. "What method do you plan to use: birth control, natural family planning, or none of the above?" Sitting in my uncomfortable office chair, the kind meant to make you want out of your boss's office, with tiny amounts of loestrin running through my veins, I squeaked, "Well, we're still discussing that, but we're definitely open to NFP."

When I got back to the main room, other couples were arriving and heading off to their interviews. B was still gone. He stayed gone for a long time. Turns out he and the guy were just chatting, but in the meantime I had no idea. As soon as he got back, I cracked. "I lied!" I confessed. "I lied at Pre-Cana!" "About what?" he said, shocked. "I said I was open to NFP," I replied. He laughed. "That's funny, because I told them you were totally on the pill," he said. Here's hoping those interviewers don't compare notes.

The rest of the night was interesting. The first speaker, who talked about the Sacramentality of Marriage and the Formation of the Conscience opened by saying, "The divorce rate in America is at 50%, so, when you propose, you may as well take a six-shooter, put three bullets in it, and hold it to your fiance's head. Pull the trigger and those are your odds." Crickets.

The talk was interesting though, just hearing about the state of marriages in America and the "good for you" attitude we take toward just about everything.

Before we left, we heard another talk by a couple called Marriage, the Early Years, in which they talked about the benefits of color-coding your kids' (and husband's) things. I'm sure they mentioned other things, but mostly I just remember seeing overwhelmed parents of three that had been married five years. He's in law school and she's a teacher. That's a lot.

We headed out the door just after 10pm and got home in time to catch up with B's parents and head to bed around 1am. We knew the next morning would come early-- we had to be back at the Mission Center at 9:15.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday, Monday

Twenty-one more people fired today, bringing the two-week total up to 52, unofficially. After a long weekend that prompted many thoughts of faith and trust, it seems like now is the time to have a little of both.

Wedding Planning Moment of the Day

This weekend, B and I were at Pre-Cana (premarital counseling classes for the Catholic church) and, as I'll post about tonight, we had some fabulous conversations, encounters, and laughs (some at, some with). But, the best part of the weekend (laugh-wise), by far, was this exchange during our Natural Family Planning session, where the basically tell you the benefits of not using birth control and instead relying on something that is not the rhythm method (lots of negative reinforcements in these statements, yes?).
So Dr. lady is talking to us and B is trying hard not to listen to words like "cycle" and "mucus," when Dr. lady starts explaining the finer details of NFP, which basically involves tracking cycles and watching for temperature spikes.

Dr. lady: "It's not like it used to be. These days, you buy a special thermometer to chart your temperature" (clicks to archaic image on her slide show-- yes, slide show, not PowerPoint)

B: (turns to me horrified with a look of shock and horror on his face) "Thermometer?"

Me: "In the mouth!! In the mouth!!"

B: (silent relief)

The look of shock stayed there until the lady stopped talking, but at least we had football score update text messages keeping us engaged. Oops. :)

Countdown Milestone

So I have lots to update from our weekend o' fun at premarital counseling, but for now I'll leave you with the information I used to freak out my soon-to-be mother-in-law last night:

Yesterday was six months from our wedding date. Eeep! Yea! Go clock, go!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Ironic: I-ra-nik; adj.

1. relating to, containing, or constituting irony

2. given to irony

3. starting birth control the day before the Pre-Cana retreat

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Behind the Scenes: Thanksgiving in 2 Hours or Less

After two full days of no-cooking recovery (yea leftovers!), I'm finally ready to post about the adventures of making a ten-dish Thanksgiving dinner in 120 minutes. I wrote about it here on my work blog, but that was the nice version, clean from swearing and frustration that sometimes chases our little cooking adventures. Somehow I didn't think my boss wanted to read about me saying "Melt, damn you! Melt!" to the cheese sauce at 6:58. Or the quote of the day, uttered at 7:03, "Holy shit, we did it."

Oh it was a fun day. J got to my house around 5ish, so we didn't get started until 5:15. After she saw my minute-by-minute schedule, we decided it'd be easier to set the clocks back than try to adapt the timetable as we went.

Full disclosure-- Anything I could do ahead of time (legally), I did. Therefore, if you could buy it chopped, diced, or sliced, then I went ahead and chopped, diced, or sliced it, starting with the apples for the crisp and ending with the celery and onions for the stuffing which, by the way, would have been delicious had I remembered to make it!

That's right. After we finished cooking, I did a little inventory to see what exactly hadn't made it. I'd cleared a pantry shelf so, at the end of the day, it should have been empty. Instead I found all the makings for stuffing, the coconut (for the ambrosia), and the turkey seasonings for the gravy. The lesson here? Making a full dinner can be done that fast, but I don't advise it.

That said, J and I had a blast. From figuring out how to bind the turkey to where to put it when it was done (what counter space?), it was a blast. I loved hearing her yell, then coax, her little yeast rolls to rise, which they finally did, and it was even more fun when our other friends showed up and realized that no one knew how to carve. Thank God L had watched before or at least pretended she had.

There's something so fun about having a big family-style meal with friends. Last year we cooked Fauxgiving for everyone at the apartment and it was a blast, but sitting around a table with my four dear Birmingham friends was just fabulous. Plus we had Finding Nemo on in the background, so it was definitely the kids' table atmosphere.

No disasters this year, though I did learn (through a search, not necessity) that my apartment doesn't have a fire extinguisher. Good to know!

Don't get me wrong, I have full confidence in my cooking, but last year we did set the stove on fire. A friend brought the turkey and managed to spill the grease all over the range without telling anyone. Perhaps it speaks to my cleaning abilities, but when I went to boil a pot of water the next day, flames. Literal flames.

I put it out and called my mother, "Sounds like an electrical fire," she said. "What did you do?"

"Um, I dumped the water on it?" I replied.

"On. An. Electrical. Fire?" she asked, pointedly.

"There were flames!" I replied.

"Use flour, sweetie! Or put a lid over it." she said.

But I assure you, looking for flour and stretching my hand out over those flames were the last things on my to-do list that day, so water it was.

I told my roommate the next day not to use the stove until we figured it out and her friend, the turkey bandit, piped up. "Oh, um. Yeah. About that..." he said, then confessed to the great grease spill of 2007.

So the fact that there were no flames (yet) makes this "Fastgiving" an upgrade from last year's "Fauxgiving." Plus there's the satisfaction of knowing that yes, I could cook a whole freakin turkey dinner and still live to talk about it. Next year, I think we'll slow it down some, though.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I'm Dreaming of a Standing Mixer

My Mom knows that, since college, I've dreamed of having a standing mixer. Ah, to make a layer cake without the arm going numb from the vibrations of the hand mixer! To be fair, this is not a daily struggle--I'm not aching to make my own pasta or anything, but I'm just enchanted by them. They symbolize all things good to me. Pound cakes. Holidays. Family recipes. Time in the kitchen with Mom and Grandmas. Christmas cookies. Plus they're pretty.

That said, my brother nailed it on the head a few years ago when he said, "I don't think you like to cook. You like to bake." And that's true. Granted, I've expanded my interests these days, hence the Thanksgiving adventure (still to come!), but still.

So when Mom sent me this comic strip, it just warmed my heart down to my toes. Thanks, Mom!

To make it bigger where you can read it, click on the strip. If you still can't read it, follow along below:
Cathy: The electric mixer is a classic symbol of comfort and home. During this time of economic angst, I'm ready to take the helm and fill our house with happy, reassuring homemade tastes and smells!
What's His Name: Really?? You're going to start cooking dinner every night??
Cathy: Don't be silly. Dinner can be ordered. I do desserts!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Send a Sugar e-Cookie... with Mixed Results

We got a new tool on the work website, so I sent a bunch of sugar e-cookies to friends and family wishing them well. You can decorate gingerbread girls, gingerbread boys, and Christmas trees with "icing" and little "sprinkles." I got so caught up in the sending that I forgot (eep!) that it's November. Early November. A point a dear sweet friend just reminded me of in the best possible way, with a sugar e-cookie of her own. I've got to tell you, whatever you have to say, it sounds better when it comes on a sugar cookie.
Want to make your own? Check it out.

Roll Tide!

Two of my favorite monkeys on game-day. I called the little cheerleader over to sit on one knee and I assumed her big brother would stand beside me as I squatted. No dice. He lowered his shoulder and barreled into me and little cheerleader, knocking all three of us over. Now I've got this sweet picture and a nice-sized bruise on my bum to remember the day by.

The best was my sweet niece who, as her brother and I laughed, bounced between almost-tears and laughter, as if saying, "What the heck are you two laughing about? I just got knocked over! Whatever, I'll laugh too, I guess."

More Reasons to Vote Starbucks coffee. 44% off Kenneth Cole all day today. And apparently, free sex toys? Check out the article on about the perks that come with voting. I mean, beside furthering democracy and having a hand in your own future.

I think the funny part is the comments--people are all worked up about how this will get people out to vote that don't really care. I'm sorry, no matter how much I'd like a free cup of coffee, waiting in line at the polls is way not worth it if the freebie is my only motivator.

While you're waiting for the results, don't forget to grab a cone at Ben & Jerry's!

Stop, Drop (what you're doing), and Vote

It's cliche, but if you're reading this, I hope you took a few minutes today to go vote. Regardless of your party choice, regardless of if your choice is not to choose, I think it's really important that you vote. And if you don't vote, should we encounter any political angst or trial over the next four or eight years ("fingers crossed for 16!"), feel free not to complain.

Holy Good Gas Prices, Batman!

Never mind that "good gas prices" used to mean $.97 a gallon and that I distinctly remember when prices soared over $1, and that it used to take $50 to fill up the boat, which I found astronomical.
Today, I got gas, a full, full tank of gas, for under $40. At times it's been almost $60, and I don't have a huge tank, probably 16 gallons, or 16.2 if I let it go really empty (like my receipt says today).

Hurrah for small victories! ...and for the societal brainwashing that leads me to think that spending less than $40 on a tank of gas is a real victory.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Wedding Planning Moment of the Day

Ok, so sometimes I do weird things when I'm bored an online, like I was last night just before going to bed. After I'd run through my usual list of stalling sites (tmz, cnn, msn, facebook, this blog...), I decided to go googling. I googled my name, but no luck... there are a million of me, including one very famous childhood star with lots of fan websites. To actually google me, you have to know one other defining characteristic, like where I went to college or high school.
But B, B's name is very distinct. I'd never googled him but, hey, it'll be my name soon too, so I may as well check out what comes up when you google his last night.

There it was-- a fake wedding website listing empty registries! I guess the bridal show I went to sold my name and info to vendors (for my convenience. Sure.), so when you googled his name (which friends might do when hunting a wedding website for us), these two empty registries came up for JCPenny and Bed, Bath, & Beyond.

Oh, I'm on it. I already called both and asked for the accounts to be deleted, and have since hit up, where the registries (empty, mind you) were hosted. Hopefully it'll go away soon. I'm not sure what's worse, having people find our registry when the simply google our names, or having them find a empty registry when searching our names. Oy.

It was weird though to google his name and see mine pop up. Looks like the web is about six months and a few days ahead.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Two-Hour-or-Less Thanksgiving: Shopping Edition

As I was first starting to plan for this big "fastgiving" event, as J as dubbed it, I pulled together a menu of all my favorites that scream Thanksgiving to me: turkey, gravy, sweet potatoes, creamed corn, green beans, ambrosia, rolls, and stuffing. Ok, full disclosure, I don't normally even eat turkey on Thanksgiving. Hello? There are sweet potatoes to be eaten!
I've helped mom with Thanksgiving for a long time, starting with making place cards and napkin rings (brilliant, mom) and now by helping with sides. So obviously I've never cooked a turkey, much less purchased one and prepped it (explaining why I woke up this morning at 7am in panic because I didn't have a turkey thawing in the fridge yet. Thank God for fresh turkeys!)
Another new one for me-- everything is from scratch. While we generally do all sides and, of course, the bird homemade, we have a kind of tradition at our house of having a cake from a specialty store and Sister Schubert yeast rolls. When my grandma was alive, she used to make the rolls, but since then, we've gone the Sister Schubert route and, if you've ever had them, you know- perfection. And we don't mess with perfection.
So off I go this morning to Publix at 8am (thank you daylight savings time) and pick up, literally, a ton of ingredients, and way more groceries than I've ever purchased. It only took an hour, which is pretty good, especially since I can't tell a green onion from a shallot. The shopping list included two kinds of rice, lots of fresh fruits and veggies, three herbs, and a delicious fresh turkey.
Tomorrow's the big day. Wish me, and my poor kitchen, luck!

Countdown to Two-Hour Thanksgiving

It's November 2nd and it's 70 degrees outside. What? Sign me up. J and I went out for a five-mile walk and it was gorgeous, and the perfect lead-in to tomorrow. What's tomorrow you ask? Let me tell you a little story.
Once there was a little girl named A. A had a great job at a food website. The food website had monthly planning meetings. At one planning meeting, A said, "I have a great idea for our Thanksgiving package. Let's do a quick-cooking menu that can be done in a small kitchen. And let's see if we can do it in two hours or less!"
There was much rejoicing and A's editors loved the idea. Which is how A, oh this anonymous A, found herself buying $176 worth of groceries on her work credit card and selecting a turkey on November 2nd.
That's right, kiddos. Tomorrow I'm embarking on a two-hour journey (with J, my cooking buddy) that will encompass all of the Thanksgiving staples, made from scratch, in less than 120 minutes. Twelve-pound turkey? Check. Sweet potatoes? Check. Creamed corn? Check. Gravy? Check... and so on. If you want to see the full menu, check out my work blog:
When I'm able to move again (after cooking and eating my body weight in green beans and stuffing), I'll update how the meal went.