Sunday, November 28, 2010

All about food....

Yesterday, Ryan and I made our first Thanksgiving dinner...complete with a turkey, cornbread dressing, and bread pudding. We weren't sure how dinner would turn out because it was a meal full of firsts for us...but I think the food coma we were in afterwards was a sign of our success. I am far too lazy to upload pictures of food...but I will share recipes:)

Turkey Time! I convinced my husband that we needed a 14 lb turkey. People thought I was crazy...but it happened. I found some Creole Butter at the store that Ryan injected all over our big bird. Then, we grilled it. For like 4 hours. And, it was amazing. It was juicy and full of flavor and perfect. And now, we have a huge bag of leftover turkey. It will taste delicious in the Turkey Tetrazzini we are making this week!

Cornbread year-long craving. My family eats this every year at Thanksgiving and Christmas. It isn't a holiday without it for me. So I made some for the first time ever, and I loved it! It definitely hit the spot. I will share the recipe, but I must tell you that this recipe isn't for people who like exact measurements.

2 boxes cornbread mix (and eggs and milk)
Seasoning blend (chopped onion, celery, and bell pepper)
1 sleeve of saltines
4-5 slices of bread
1 carton of chicken broth
1 crock pot chicken
1 can cream of chicken
1 can cream of mushroom
4-5 hard boiled eggs, chopped
poultry seasoning
salt and pepper

Ok, let's see if I can word this in a way that makes sense...The day before we cooked the dressing, I made the cornbread according to the package. I cooked a double batch of it and also added the seasoning blend before baking. Once it was done, I covered it and let it sit overnight. The next day, I started tossing stuff in a bowl. Crumble the cornbread, saltines, and bread. Add some chicken broth until the mixture is moist. Stir in the chicken, soups, eggs, and seasoning. Add more chicken broth until the mixture is moist enough. This part is kinda a guessing game. I just added stuff until it felt right. Pour your mixture into a greased large dish and back at 350 for 45-60 minutes or until warm and browned on top. Reserve about 1/2 cup dressing for the gravy!

Now for the gravy...another crazy guessing game recipe. I acutally called my mom a few times during this process because I realized I had absolutely no clue what I was doing. I started with 1/4 cup turkey drippings and heated it in a skillet on the stove. Next I added 1/4 cup flour. The plan is to make a roux, but mine was too clumpy. So, we added more turkey drippings until it thinned out and continued stirring over medium heat until it was light brown. Once it was the "right" color, whatever color that is, I added the dressing and 2 more chopped eggs. Then I added water until it was the consistency I wanted and I seasoned with a little extra poultry seasoning and salt until I liked it. It turned out really well....and who knows if I will ever be able to recreate it.

Time for dessert. Bread pudding to be exact. The stuff dreams are made of. I am a pretty picky bread pudding person. This recipe is from The Pioneer Woman. And it is amazing. Seriously, I can't say enough about it. It rocked my socks off. Everyone should try it. I mean...everyone. It's Bread Pudding with Whiskey Cream Sauce. How could anyone say no to that?

2 eggs
2 tbsp melted butter
2 tablespoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups sugar
3-5 cups sourdough bread, but into 1-inch cubes
1/3 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 325. Beat together eggs, butter, vanilla, and milk. Mix in sugar until it is dissolved. Arrange the bread cubes tightly in a 9 inch baking dish. Keep the crust facing up around the edge of the dish. Pour the sauce over the bread cubes and sprinkle pecans on top. Bake for 55-70 minutes or until the top of the bread is golden brown.

While your bread pudding is finishing up, make the most amazing Whiskey Cream Sauce ever.

1/2 cup sugar
1 stick butter
1/2 cup cream
1/4 cup whiskey

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a low boil, then remove from heat. Serve over bread pudding. And lose your mind because it is so delicious.

Overall, we were very happy with our first Thanksgiving dinner. We should probably plan the next one when we have 10 people to feed though...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Things to be thankful for...

I bet Mom is thankful I have been more diligent with my blogging:) It seems like there is so much to blog about this time of year. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with our Ohio family and I ate way too much food...which I am totally ok with. Tomorrow, Ryan and I are making our first "official" Thanksgiving dinner. The menu includes turkey (all 14 pounds of it), cornbread dressing (just like Mom makes it), and a very interesting bread pudding recipe from The Pioneer Woman. I will update everyone on how this feast we will be eating for the next 2 weeks turns out!

Now for a has been way too long since I've put one up. Tonight we made Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo. We recently discovered the most amazing restaurant near us...Mama DiSalvo's. Yep. It's legit Italian. Mama DiSalvo makes everything fresh everyday...including the pasta. The first time we ever ate there, the sauces blew our minds. So tonight, I decided to attempt to recreate her alfredo sauce. I borrowed some from PW's recipe for Fettuccine Alfredo, and added a few extras of my own. Here is the finished product. Looks don't do it justice.

8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 lb shrimp (or any meat you prefer)
1 lb fettuccine pasta
Lemon juice
1 stick butter
1 cup whipping cream
2 cups Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Cook your pasta according to package directions. We used fresh basil pasta for our dish. Season shrimp with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Saute in oil or butter until done. In a seperate pan, saute mushrooms in oil or butter. Once mushrooms are tender, add butter and cream. Stir until butter is melted and mixture is heated. Add lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste. The lemon juice gives it an amazing flavor! Add your shrimp to your butter and cream mixture.

In a large serving bowl, spread half of the parmesan cheese. Pour the butter and cream mixture over the cheese and allow it to sit while you drain the pasta...don't stir it yet. Reserve some of your pasta water in case it is needed to thin out the sauce. Pour the piping hot pasta over the cheese and sauce mixture and gently toss. Add the remaining cup of parmesan cheese and mix in. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. I am oh so thankful for this dish!

For our bread, I sliced a loaf of french bread in half and covered it in softenend butter and garlic salt. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Then turn oven to broil and allow butter to get dark. This bread is fantastic...and another PW steal. Although she uses far more butter than I do:)

It is hard to believe Thanksgiving has come and gone. Well...almost gone if you live in the McCormick house. We have so many things we are thankful for this year. We consider ourselves so lucky to have the friends and family that we do. Saying we are thankful for McBaby would be an understatement:) And I know my husband is thankful that it's Christmas decoration time!!!! Bah. But I am:) Here is a preview of our Christmas decorations. We haven't decorated our tree yet, but it is already so beautiful!

Here is the tree skirt I made this year. And I will never make another one again. If I mention it, please stop me. I love how it turned out, but my fingers are paying for it. I saw a tree skirt similar to this in a magazine for $200. Can you believe it?! I don't have a people skirt that cost $200. Why on earth would anyone spend $200 on a skirt for a tree? Hmmmm....Once we finish our decorations, I will post more pictures:)

Merry Thanksgiving from the McCormicks!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

Today is a very special day in the McCormick house. It is our first wedding anniversary! In some ways, it feels like this year has flown by! It seems like just yesterday we were in Louisiana with our friends and family getting hitched. In another way, it feels like we have been married for forever. I just don't remember my life before Ryan was in it. We had a great weekend together. We were actually quite productive with house projects...and of course I have pictures:)

We finished our grapevine swag for the front door! I'm not sure if there is some magical grapevine store to buy these things already made....we made it ourselves. I bought some wound up grapevine from Hobby Lobby to make ours. We let in soak in water for 2 days in an ice chest. Most people recommend soaking it in a bathtub, but real grapevine comes with real broken bits of twigs and dried leaves that I did not want in my bathtub...hence the ice chest. Once it had soaked and was easier to manipulate, we unwound the grapevine and shaped it around our patio table so it would dry in the shape of our front door. We left it like this for a few more days. Ryan put small hooks all around our front door and we attached the swag to the hooks with twine. We added white lights today for the holidays. I love the final outcome! This swag is definitely the most involved project I have come up with.

Our framed fabric is done! It was far easier to finish and the swag:)

Here is a close-up of the fun design on the fabric.

Back to anniversary fun! I thought this would be a good post to tell "The Proposal" story. It was March 1st, 2009...a Sunday:) I had a meeting that day and when I was done, Ryan and I were discussing our dinner plans. While I was at my meeting, Ryan had called my parents to ask permission! We were planning on making gumbo that night, which is a pretty involved dish. After my meeting, I really didn't feel like cooking. I was trying to convince Ryan to order a pizza and he was not having it. Soon he started saying all kinds of sweet things to me. He was telling me that he loved me more than anything and he had never been more sure of a decision in his life. I was thinking, "wow, he really wants to make gumbo tonight." So I finally told him we could make gumbo if it was that important to him. Before I knew it, he was on one knee and asking me to marry him. I was so shocked that I believe my first response was "now?" Then I realized what was happening and I said yes, obviously:) Soon we are going to cut into our cake topper made by the fabulous Melanie Fuglaar!

14 weeks until McBaby arrives! We can't wait to meet our wiggle worm:) Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Finally Fall...

Yes, I am way behind on blogging. My mom reminds me:) So here are some overdue pictures of my fall decorations!

I created these fun arrangements to place around the house. The pots came in a set from Southern Living.

This flower pot was painted with chalkboard paint. It usually holds our bread, but I love it with the gourds as a centerpiece!

I love these coffee filter wreaths! It was hard to get good lighting for this picture, but the ribbon is brown with gold trim. I have some red ribbon to hang them with for christmas! I got this idea from Lindsey's blog!

Now on to baby things. We are at week 25! The swollen ankle syndrome has begun. Apparantely it's to be expected when you spend 8-9 hours a day on your feet....It is still disturbing me. Here is an update on the vote so far! And no...I don't have a vote:)

My best friend, Brittany, sent me a fun surprise this week! A LSU maternity shirt! It's pretty cute:) I couldn't get a good picture that included the belly and the you just get the words for now. I'm sure at least one person will give me a hard time for this...

I have a few art projects on the docket. I am working on a framed fabric series for carpet room and a tree skirt. We are also finishing up our grapevine swag for the front door! I guess Ryan thought swag was only appropriate during Christmas. I see it as a year round decoration....I think once we finally get it up, it won't be moving anywhere. Ever. Like whoever buys this house from us, gets a grapevine swag.

Enjoy the week!