PYRC #54: Belated Thanksgiving Feast

I figured since Christmas was nearing, I should wrap up my post on Thanksgiving, and here it is two days after Christmas, and I’m just now posting (whoops). Considering we have to wait an ENTIRE year for Thanksgiving and Christmas again, maybe this post will inject a dash of inspiration to whip up something for a good ‘ole (non-holiday) family feast… or you can wait till Easter.

This year we hosted a two-day Thanksgiving slumber party with Jeff's family at our house. And to feed the 8-adult, 5-kid crew, we did nothing less than what every Thanksgiving American longs for each and every year - prepare a turkey meal fit for an army.


The menu: Cajun fried turkey, oyster dressing, giblet gravy, fresh cranberry sauce, roasted root vegetables, cauliflower mash (maybe potato, can’t remember), baked cauliflower with b├ęchamel sauce, roasted brussels sprouts with prosciutto, brussels sprouts goat cheese gratin, Pioneer Woman creamy mac n' cheese, rolls and three different types of delicious, not pictured, pies (pecan, chocolate/pumpkin, apple).


Sadly, my favorite dishes were actually things that I did not cook (tear), but that's the gamble of cooking new things. So, to my tackled Pinterest recipes: Pioneer Woman macaroni and cheese and brussels sprouts goat cheese gratin.

Pioneer Woman Macaroni and Cheese


If you've followed my cooking efforts at all, you know I've previously been unhappy with the "gritty" texture of homemade mac n' cheese (effort 1 and effort 2). It's not that my mac n' cheese hasn't been 'da bomb,' it just hasn't been as creamy as I wished. So, someone shared with me THE. BEST. mac' cheese recipe, from Pioneer Woman, who never fails. So I made it - the rue, the sauce, assorted cheeses, the breadcrumbs, baked in a cast iron pot...


...and wahhhhh, it was pretty, but not perfect. I want PERFECTLY CREAMY macaroni and cheese, which I about give up on at this point. I can't tell if I'm just overly hard on myself, if I was just too full on Thanksgiving to appreciate it or if there really is better homemade macaroni and cheese out there. I do think my version could have used less noodles so that the cheese sauce was more ooey gooey with each bite. However, I'm still on a "the best homemade mac n' cheese" mission, so if you've got a recipe for me, please share… along with any must-do tips and tricks.

Don't get me wrong, though, you really can't go wrong with Pioneer Woman's mac n' cheese recipe.

Brussels Sprouts Goat Cheese Gratin


I'm a brussels sprouts feign, which I've shared before. And when people weren't totally excited when I told them about the amazing brussels sprouts recipe I was going to make for Thanksgiving, I wanted to fall over in shock. How can anyone snub their nose at brussels sprouts WITH GOAT CHEESE? I had been dying to make this recipe, so when we switched Thanksgiving back from a Mexican theme to traditional, this was first on my list.

The recipe called for slightly steaming brussels sprouts and fresh cranberries, making a goat cheese sauce, combining the veggies and sauce in a baking dish, topping with pecans and bread crumbs, and then baking the dish in the oven.


Can I say "wahhhhh" again? I for sure thought this would be a rock star recipe, but it just wasn't. Brussels sprouts are ridiculously amazing roasted (my favorite is this balsamic reduction recipe), and I think steaming them and coating them with cheese kind of took away from their natural flavor. The cranberries were also extremely bitter (not sure if I did something wrong there), so I actually think they took away a little credibility from the dish. I also think goat cheese is ridiculously amazing fresh, so the melted version did not do it justice. It ALSO didn't help that there was a better version of brussels sprouts on the table... with prosciutto.

But hey, if you're not a brussels sprouts nut like me, there's a good chance you'll have better luck. Find the brussels sprouts goat cheese gratin recipe (which still sounds ridiculously amazing) here from Cinnamon and Spice and Everything Nice.

Hope your holidays were wonderful!



XOXO

Kendra

Don't forget to visit my shop, Kitsy Co!

PYRC #53: 5-Ingredient Easy White Chicken "Chili"

Y'all, I've never been dubbed a soup maker, but I'm starting to realize that it really doesn't take much to make some really awesome soup (of course topped with a pile of cheese). Here's another Pinterest recipe that had my household scrambling back for seconds, 5-Ingredient Easy White Chicken Chili, aka salsa verde chicken soup.






As I always say (broken record, yeah yeah, I know), "THIS RECIPE IS EASY." Actually, really delicious at-home soups that don't have fancy pantsy names do tend to be less complex, so I'm starting to learn. Maybe that's why people make soup so much.

Brain (and Life) Overload

A horoscope break down once described Pisces as "overwhelmed by the enormity of the universe." Well, as I lie here in bed unable to sleep, I feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the universe. I'm a hobby hopper, idea junkie, daydreamer and everything in between. I think, I brainstorm, I do and do and do. Then repeat.

I've spent the past two days at the Dallas Digital Summit. The conference was (for the second year in a row) great. I met Siri (yes, there's a human behind the voice and her name is Susan), got great tips and advice from Randi Zuckerberg (Mark Zuckerberg's sis), and was lucky enough to hear THE Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, speak.



I also heard many other great speakers and walked away with... brain overload (as if digital overload at a digital summit isn't enough).

Holly Jolly Kitsy Co

The temperatures are dropping here in Texas (despite the fact that I gush for warm weather), and the Christmas holiday is officially knocking at our door - Kitsy Co's first ever holiday season. How might I have prepared? How about by delving into a delectable selection of printable holiday cards and invitations.

A few holiday photo cards...









Lots of specialty party invitations...

PYRC #52: Three-Cheese Pasta Bake

A family member was in an accident (everything is ok), so we made some bulk food to assist with the cooking situation for a short while. Jeff was making the meat. I was making the side. Best place for "too much too eat" family-friendly recipes? Pinterest. There's so much ooey gooeniess that I never cook for just Jeff and me, so I chose a "Three-Cheese Pasta Bake."
 





#gradyedwardswedding

"We're all a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love."

- Dr. Seuss

 

When a save the date starts with that quote and picture, you're pretty sure it's going to be one awesome wedding with one awesome couple. BUT THEN the invitation comes and you see this...

PYRC #51: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Reduction

Brussels sprouts! Brussels sprouts! Bru-ssels-SPROUTS! Also synonymous with that ooogie vegetable you do. not. want to eat as a kid. What?!? Who lied to me?!? I LOVE brussels sprouts, including these Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Reduction.


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Yum! I also love vinegar soooooo this recipe was meant for me. I mean, I've already made it twice... in a month. And the word "recipe" is kind of an overstatement. This recipe is really just roasted brussels sprouts with a no frills balsamic reduction.

Oh, have I piqued your attention? Here's a breakdown:

Dog Disasters, Dog Run, Dog House

My two terrors called dogs have pushed about every limit possible lately. They do things like eat our shed door...


Or maybe even eat our shed wall...

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Or eat anything they possibly feel like eating, such as the electrical wiring for Jeff's trucks's tow package. It's bad enough we had to start shutting our garage door so that half of our garage wouldn't end up in the yard (or get eaten), but now we can't even trust the dogs in the yard.

PYRC #50: Lazy Day Shrimp Scampi

I bought shrimp and parmesan cheese to make a pesto shrimp recipe, but it turns out that the recipe was for cilantro pesto, not basil pesto, so I diverted to plan two - making any Pinterest recipe that I had the ingredients for. I wasn't really in the mood to cook, actually, so this oven garlic butter shrimp was perfect (aka Lazy Day Shrimp Scampi).

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I don't have a link to credit. My directions were simply the following caption:

On My Own Time Art Show Year 3

I am happy to announce that for the third year in a row, I scored first place prizes in the Ben E. Keith On My Own Time art show (my husband's company). My winning pieces were...

My beloved 2109 Meadow Lane reclaimed art piece (first place in mixed media)


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And one of my Kitsy Co pieces, Chirp! Chirp! (first place in works on canvas)

Happy Two Year Wedding Anniversary!

Today is October 15, 2013, which means it's a happy two year anniversary to the hubby and I! This year has had one too many memories to even count, so rather than drowning you with my sap, how about a throw back Tuesday wedding recap?!?! Buckle in - wedding photos here we go!

Reclaimed Texas Art Piece from House Scraps - Part 2

TIME OUT! If you missed the first part of my Texas reclaimed art project, read about it here.

At this stage I had already:
  • Gutted and re-assembled a pallet base
  • Gathered and cut scrap material to fit inside of the pallet
  • Painted the scraps vibrant colors

Next, diving into part 2 of the project, came assembling a "lid" to my art piece. The end goal? A top (front) panel for the pallet with the shape of Texas cut out, to create a shadow box-style effect. For this part I used a section of paneling from our living room remodel.

Reclaimed Texas Art Piece from House Scraps - Part 1

And now to introduce hands-down my favorite project of 2013 - the Meadow Lane Texas reclaimed art piece.


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I did it! After a year of talking about it, I finally made it! A reclaimed art piece made of only reclaimed scraps from our house remodel - trim, base boards, shelving hangers, fence wood, pallets, paneling, old screws, etc.


I took a ton of photos throughout the process, so being as brief as I possibly can, here's my beloved mixed media art project, inspired by artist Dolan Geiman.





PYRC #49: Ham and Cheese Sliders

At my family's 2011 Super Bowl party, my cousin brought the. best. ham and cheese sliders. I completely forgot to snag the recipe, but when a similar one passed me by on Pinterest (who knows, could have been the same recipe), it was pinned and immeidately on my radar. I've been waiting (for way too long) for the perfect opportunity to test these sliders, and low and behold came a work baby shower... for twins! Opportunity prevailed. Ham and cheese sliders. Done.

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Chocolate Covered Banana Split Skewers

Birthdays in the office = treats! Needing to make a gluten free friendly recipe, I settled on banana split skewers.

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How to Shred Chicken with a KitchenAid Mixer

Of all of the nifty tips that have come across my email or Pinterest account, I'm pretty sure this one is my fave - shredding chicken with a KitchenAid mixer. I've done this multiple times for recipes requiring shredding chicken (or any sort of meat), and it could not be more genius and efficient.


The first time I shredded chicken with a fork - while making crockpot buffalo chicken - it could not have been messier or more time consuming. So the next time I stumbled upon a recipe requiring shredded chicken (for example, baked buffalo chicken rolls), I threw the cooked breasts in my KitchenAid mixer, set it to a medium to high speed, and shred away.


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5 Groceries I Can't Live Without

I'm weirdly infatuated with certain things, including food. Of course I have to really "love" these things to be infatuated. With that being said, here are 5 grocery items you would not be surprised to find in my kitchen. Healthy or not, tasty or under-par, these 5 items are some of my faves.

#5 - Jarred Minced Garlic
 
 
Almost nothing is better to cook with than garlic, especially if you're seeking natural flavoring. And almost nothing is better than fresh garlic... unless you're strapped for time and absolutely hate mincing garlic. The answer? Jarred minced garlic. Costs about $5 bucks, lasts a good while and saves a ton of time. Is this stuff even real? I don't know. I don't care. I love garlic... easy garlic!

DIY Modern Floating Mantel Feature on Remodelaholic

As part of our living room remodel, we created a modern floating mantel to replace our clunky brown one (original post here). Lucky for Pots, Pans and Paintbrushes, one of my favorite home remodeling/DIY blogs, Remodelaholic, is featuring the project today on their blog. Check out the feature here. And thanks to Remodelaholic for the post!



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Reclaimed Wood Planter Box Fences - Part 2

Since our dog was using our non-planted-but-one-day-would-like-to have-plants-in-it planter box as digging grounds, I decided to make more reclaimed wood planter fences to protect it.


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I basically repeated the garden fence project - cut the wood, laid it out, assembled - except rather than using old fence pickets to make stakes, we used stakes that we already had in place for a failed chicken wire protective barrier. Since the stakes didn't match the reclaimed wood, I painted them red with Behr exterior "Apple Polish" red paint.

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