wan-na find something?

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

cooking for a small army

thanksgiving was pretty low-key for us this year, which is honestly never a bad thing.  we'd actually originally planned on going non-traditional and doing lasagna for our meal.  but when we realized that it would be our houseguest's first american thanksgiving ever, we decided that we had to switch gears and do a complete 180.  and so on thanksgiving morning after my morning workout, i put on my thanksgiving t-shirt and got to work.

i'd picked up a much smaller turkey this time around - i think this little guy was only about 7 pounds.  

while he was in the oven i decorated some cookies that we'd take to my uncle's house later that evening.

and speaking of cookies, these made for a nice little thanksgiving hustle this year - turkey leg-shaped sugar cookies, served with "mashed potatoes" (buttercream dip) topped with a slab of "butter" (a lemon starburst candy) plus "peas and carrots" (sixlets candy and orange starbursts).  

because the turkey was so small, he was done in a lot less time than i expected.  luckily, the rest of the meal came together pretty easily - with the help of the old lady, who had done some prepping at home.  and of course, we had the canned cranberry sauce just for the old man.  it's not thanksgiving without it for him.


the hub had carving duty, as he always does.

and thankfully, everything was delicious.  and filling!  for some reason, even though there were just six of us we'd somehow cooked for, like, 20.  we had leftovers for DAYS.

because i'd screwed up and didn't order the pie on time, i decided that this was my year to try my hand at making it myself.  i looked up a few different recipes for french apple pie, ordered some pie weights crust shields and busted out a homemade crust using a really easy recipe that had me using the food processor to put it together.  i was a little concerned that the recipe i settled on didn't have me pre-baking the crust, but i just went with it.  and it looked pretty good, if i do say so myself.


i found out later, as the old lady sliced it up and served it, that i should have trusted my instincts and at least partially baked the crust before filling it.  the middle was a little doughy and underdone, but otherwise the reviews were good. 

i'd made a second with the bean in mind - a brownie pie that did have me pre-baking the crust before filling.  and i used the deepest, darkest cocoa i could find which made it look kind of like a bowl full of tar (or poop, but i tried not to think of it that way).  but it turned out really nicely, even if the hub said he thought it was weird to make a pie out of brownies.  pfffft.



as we've done for the last few years, there were advent calendars for everyone.



and then before the old lady had to leave for work, i gathered (almost) everyone around for a family photo.  the hub had snuck off for a post-thanksgiving meal nap and i'd already bugged him to come out for the advent calendars, so this is what i got:


i'll try again on christmas.  i'll definitely get a complete photo then.

Monday, December 19, 2022

disneyland, the holiday version

our last big outing for the break was a predictable one...disneyland, of course.  we'd booked the holiday tour, and after the last one we'd done i was a little apprehensive about it but i was still hopeful that it would be a good time.  after all, it's disneyland - it's always a good time.  and who doesn't love to see the parks all decked out in their holiday best?



just like last time we headed to the little guided tour hut right inside the park entrance to check in, where we were handed cute little lanyards to wear along with the headset so that we could hear our tour guide from wherever we were.



we began our tour by crossing the esplanade and heading over to california adventure, where we were greeted by a smiling plaid.


our guide told us a few stories about the display windows along buena vista street and the hundreds of ornaments used to decorate the giant tree.

we went inside the candy store, where we received our first treat...a fresh cake pop.


heading back into disneyland, we gazed up at the huge tree on main street and then headed on down the street to continue our tour.  as i usually do, i glanced up into the window above the fire department and saw not the lamp, but a nicely decorated christmas tree.


in another window high above the ground, there's a menorah that i'd never noticed before.

heading into adventureland, we spied more fun holiday decor.


and in new orleans square, there's an angel sitting above the doors that used to open into the court of angels.



i'm not gonna lie, i wasn't super impressed with this tour thus far.  our tour guide, while friendly and seemingly knowledgeable, was rattling off a spiel as we walked along that he had clearly memorized word-for-word.  but at least we got to skip the line and take a bit of a breather on the holiday-themed "it's a small world." 





it was also the first time i got to see the newest addition to the final scene, a doll in a wheelchair.


and then we headed back out to main street, where we got to what i considered the highlight of the tour - our own reserved spot along the route for the christmas parade.  


it was a nice big space roped off just for us, and as we all took our seats the guides began handing out our final treats to enjoy during the parade:  a cute travel mug filled with disneyland's delicious hot chocolate, a generous portion of gingerbread, and a commemorative pin.




we've seen this parade many times over the years, but it's always fun to watch and really brings the christmas spirit.  

























we couldn't leave disneyland without a trip to the haunted mansion.





oh, do you like my christmas sweater?


castle photos are also a must.



bye, disneyland! thanks for a fun day as always!

new year's is for the dogs (literally)

much like the last few new year's eves, we kept it super low-key and stayed home.  the old lady and the old man, being child-free 20-som...