butter looks like a turkey

We Are Hosting A Simple Thanksgiving Dinner. Probably.

As I’ve mentioned as many times as possible in as many places as possible, we are hosting Thanksgiving for 10-15 people this year. YES WE ARE.

We are doing an open house, laid-back style Thanksgiving dinner at lunchtime so no one we know would be alone on Thanksgiving and our kids (and us) would be at our happiest instead of our most tired.

I’m planning a basic menu heavy on butter, turkey and potatoes and light on seating assignments, garnish and cleaning the upstairs. I also asked anyone who offered to bring dessert since my history with baked goods is mostly lumpy and gray.

I only made one request of my husband beyond moving a few things out of the hallway.

These are more Halloween mattresses.

Me requesting to Scott: Whittle me a butter turkey.

Scott: What?

Me: Make the butter look like a turkey.

butter looks like a turkey
There’s a non-whittling how-to to go with the photo by Foodista. I am not impressed.

Scott: NO. What happened to our simple Thanksgiving, Alex?

This Thanksgiving IS simple. Last time I hosted my son was 3 months old, and I baked bread in our dining room buffet and made butter like some sort of ritual blood-letting to prove my worth as a stay-at-home mom.

The man whittles wood for fun. He built me a porch swing as a birthday gift because I offhandedly mentioned I liked them. Granted, it tried to kill me right before a microbiology exam by flipping me over and into a rock, and I nearly failed the course. However, I’m sure a butter turkey would be less dangerous unless he used the same tools without washing them…

Of course, Scott and his brother are planning to deep fry the turkey, and the only craft my kids have shown any interest in is my digital Turkey hand so I’m pretty sure our Thanksgiving is going to be more ER than Martha Stewart anyway, and I mean ER literally.

Digital Turkey Hand

I don’t think I’m asking too much here when I request a little butter turkey to make me smile. But then it snowballs. The butter turkey google search leads to vegetable tray turkeys. A freader suggests my digital turkey hand would be a cute seating assignment, and I start to doubt my lack of seating assignments. Suddenly, I wonder if having the football game on will be such a good idea. I worry about not having the kids handprints as a darling centerpiece and I realize that we never ordered the cheese tray because I am too overwhelmed by the fancy french names to design my own. WHAT IS A THANKSGIVING DINNER WITHOUT A CHEESE TRAY?

I should’ve never flipped through that Better Homes and Garden because I just assumed my garden would be dead by now. Instead there’s an entire winter planter scene I’m supposed to be embracing. And Real Simple Magazine is only simple if you real lot of time on your hands. All I have a real lot of potatoes on my hands. CRAP.

So this might be my only post between now and Thanksgiving since I’m going to be very busy ignoring magazines and other blogs whiles cooking food and hiding clutter. (Seriously, I’m walking around with a laundry basket on Wednesday to fill with downstairs clutter and hiding it upstairs until everyone leaves.)

Plus, I’ve got butter to carve.

Happy Thanksgiving freaders! I’ll let you know how it goes.

This is how it all turned out: Thanksgiving Dinner: Even The Turkey Survived. Kinda.

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Lumpy Fudge

I’m on a mini-vacation so reworked one of my favorite guest posts I wrote for The Kitchen Witch.

When a parent decides to become a better cook, all recipes and cookbook she looks at should flash with a warning:

Let’s take the day I decide to make my friend’s easy-to-make fudge:

    • 1 package (16 oz) of chocolate chips (the better the chocolate, the better the fudge, so don’t buy the generic stuff)
    • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk (14 oz)
    • 1 tablespoon of butter (optional)

Heat chocolate chips, butter and condensed milk in microwave in 30 second intervals until melted, stirring well each time.
Pour into deep pan lined with wax paper or parchment.
Chill for at least 2 hours.
NOTE: Do not over cook. (She said this multiple times so I took it very seriously.)

I put the ingredients on a grocery list just before Christmas thinking this would be a fun project during our holiday break. By “listing the correct ingredients” I mean “writing white chocolate chips” because my son and I do not like milk or dark chocolate at all. I also mean “forgetting to list the other main ingredient: sweet condensed milk.” Basically, I got BUTTER right.

I notice my mistake the following week and decide to stay quiet about the fudge. In the process, I stay quiet about needing the can of condescended milk and move on to other crafty holiday projects like reindeer handprints and choreographed Christmas songs.

In March, I notice this delicious bag of white chocolate chips, and I think of my friend’s fudge. And I say the vocal equivalent of digging my grave: HEY KIDS! LET’S MAKE FUDGE.

YAYAYAYAYAYAY fills my home.

I pull out the chocolate and the recipe. While my kids munch on the chips, my stomach sinks at the ingredients list: a bag of chocolate chips, butter, sweet condensed milk. I scan my pantry for sweet milk just in case a packet of sloppy joe spices made condensed babies with the walnuts that have lived on the shelves for years.

I turn to Google for substitutes.

I am pleasantly surprised by how many recipes for a homemade version of sweet condensed milk exist until I realize every recipe calls for a can of evaporated milk. Guess what foodies? If I don’t have sweet condensed milk, I probably don’t have evaporated milk just hanging around waiting for its time to shine.

My kids are getting restless and plying them with chips is not enough. The drums begin: FUDGEFUDGEFUDGE.

I take matters into my own blender and decide to make sweet condensed milk with low-fat milk, sugar and hot water from my Keurig.

I mixed it all up, throw in the rest of the chocolate, pop it in the microwave then the fridge and announce like the optimistic moron that I am: When you wake up in the morning, we’ll have fudge!

I should’ve at least ended that sentence in a question mark because at the 2-hour-of-required-refrigerated-fudge-recipe time, the kids are asleep and the fudge is more like a frozen lake. One which is very unsafe. In other words, I have a single layer congealed fudge-ish on the top and liquid goo underneath.

I made the global warming of fudge.

I stir and re-refrigerate hoping the kids don’t ask about the fudge in the morning. They don’t, but the next day, I determinedly dip some strawberries in it like I meant to make lumpy fondue and end up sick to my stomach.

Yes, lumpy fudge actually is as good as it looks. I was not able to pull off the looks bad, tastes good usual Alex creation. I mourn for those white chocolate chips lost.

The moral of the story is possibly:

Don’t make your own sweet condensed milk.
Don’t eat my cooking.
Send fudge.

Probably the latter.

Alex Iwashyna
PO Box 17952
Richmond, VA 23226

But email me first. I haven’t check my PO Box in 4 months, which is probably how long I should’ve left my lumpy fudge in the fridge.

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