What is my idea of a perfect Sunday?  Well, it starts off with some nasty weather that takes leaving the house off of your to-do list.  Plenty of time in the kitchen coupled with a few hours of NPR listening is an added bonus.  We topped it it all off with a Snowy Day walk with the kids.  I was a very happy woman.  Think my day couldn't get better?  It did!  My grandmother dropped off half of a home-made carrot cake and my house was reasonably clean because my little helper came on Friday.   My dinner (made from left-over turkey) turned out delicious.  Everyone loved my Turkey with Homemade Noodles.  Tomorrow night is the Christmas parade, and I made White Lightening Turkey Chili.  Would it be too nerdy to put it in thermoses for eating during the parade?  I just might do it anyway, nerdiness be damned.


1. My stomach, um, I've had four kids.  Let's not even talk about my stomach.
2. Pie is what I ate the most of on Thursday.
3. The yard is a disaster.
4. A Lake Michigan beach is where I'd rather be at any given time.
5. The smell of bleach reminds me of underwear (Wha?  It's the first thing that came to mind).
6. A pedicure is what I need right now!
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to shopping online, tomorrow my plans include seeing John Fleming in tights in the Nutcracker and Sunday, I want to get ready for a busy week!


Holidays stress me out.  Even Thanksgiving, which I love.  Usually we have to leave home to go to a relative's house for dinner.  Going anywhere with four kids is a hassle, let alone trying to bring food anywhere.  I always offer to bring plenty, due to the many mouths I bring with me.  Plus, when you have a reputation as a decent cook, one tends to get a wee bit vain about food.   Anyway, Thanksgiving always sneaks up on me.  Either the night before I find out that I'm missing some key ingredient or else I never really make my mind up about what I'm cooking until the morning of.  Maybe I perform better under a little pressure, I don't know.  This year I was in charge of bringing the nebullus "sweet potato dish".  I didn't decide which direction I was going with the sweet tubers until one hour before our scheduled departure.  What resulted was actually a really good dish. 

Sometimes things work out, sometimes they don't.  Actually, things always work out, but I'm always afraid they won't.  Will my kids look like slobs because I didn't have time to give them haircuts and I didn't pick out Thanksgivingy clothes?  Will anyone eat my food?  Will someone say something snippy to me or about my kids/clothes/food?  Is everyone this damn insecure?  The answer to most of these questions is no, and if the answer happened to be yes would it really be that big a deal?  I can already feel the nerves gearing up for Christmas.  What's a narcissistic nut-job to do?  Get over myself, that's what.  I need to focus on the big picture here.  My husband is an amazing man, I am a mother of four terrific, healthy sons.  We have a house that is warm and comfortable.  I have a job that I absolutely love.  Who cares about anything else this holiday season.

Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers.  And hey, if you're out there, leave a comment.  I'd love to hear from you.


It's the best time of year movie-wise.  The hard thing is finding enough quiet evenings to watch them all.  It'll be hard, but it's my parental obligation to make sure my sons are exposed to this stuff.  ABC Family network helps out a lot.  If you check out their TV listings you can get all of the Rudolph and Frosty stuff taken care of.

10.  Love Actually

9.  A Christmas Carol (the one with George C. Scott)

8.  Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

7.  Frosty the Snowman

6.  Planes, Trains and Automobiles

5.  How the Grinch Stole Christmas

4.  White Christmas

3.  A Christmas Story

2.  National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

1.  It's a Wonderful Life


Wikipedia ruined my favorite movie for me.  Every year since 1984 I have watched White Christmas, often before Thanksgiving.  How I would love to live in Pine Tree, Vermont, watching the Haynes sisters rehearse and spending nights in the gingerbread cottages, roasting wieners in the lodge fireplace.  What a simple, beautiful, stylish place and time.  Throw in a couple of old soldiers and a little romance and you've got yourself a great movie.

Vera Ellen, the actress who plays Judy Haynes has always fascinated me.  Her dance routines in this movie are so graceful, her clothes so stylish, her waist so tiny.  Vera's legs seemed to go on forever and her ankles were slimmer than a fawn's.  With each viewing of White Christmas my sister Karen and I would marvel at her amazing body and dancing talent.  What ever happened to Vera Ellen?  Why don't I remember seeing her in any other movies?  Wikipedia* to the rescue!  What I discovered wasn't flattering, and it colors my enjoyment of the movie.

Yes, wise reader, you've figured it out.  Vera Ellen was a raging anorexic.  Her illness was so severe that by the time she made White Christmas in her early 30's she had to wear outfits that covered her neck because she was aging so severely.  Her anorexia ended her career.  For twenty or more years I've viewed Vera Ellen as the cat's meow body-wise, and it's all been a fraud.  Who the hell sleeps in pajamas with a Neru jacket?  Why didn't I see her for what she was?  Poor, sick woman.  Poor sick me for idolizing a woman who's thin physique was the result of a deadly illness.  Hey, at least she didn't have worms.

*Follow the link to her biography on IMDB.


1. The last band I saw live was Mar Lee School Band (and before that, BNL).
2. What I look forward to most on Thanksgiving is no presents, good food, and time with my husband's family (sort of).
3. My Christmas shopping is in my online shopping cart but not ordered.
4. Thoughts of moving to a new house fill my head.
5. I wish I could wear more fitted shirts.
6. Bagpipes can be annoying.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to Joe's birthday party, tomorrow my plans include a haircut and dinner with Amy and Camille, and Sunday, I want to take Joe to the pet store to buy a hamster!


Doesn't that sound better than Brown Sauce?  It's delicious and nutritious and I made it for dinner in my pressure cooker.  My parents made this for the first time way back in the eighties when they were experimenting with Italian food.  I googled it, and found a recipe for Salsa Bruna, but it was written in Italian.  Looked the same to me.  This is one of my husband's favorite dinners, and the kids like it too. 

Salsa Bruna

Separately in a food processor, pulse until finely chopped (dump in the crockpot or pan as you go):

1/2 pound ham

1 large carrot or a handful of baby carrots

1 stalk celery

1 small onion

1 can mushrooms

2 cloves garlic

Now add to it:

1 small can tomato paste

1 cup of dry red wine

1 cup of beef broth

Some thyme and a bay leaf

Salt and pepper

Cook on low in the crock pot until all is tender.  Blend with a stick blender until smooth.  Okay, this next part always seems strange to me, but I do it.  Toss a few tablespoons of flour in a dry skillet over medium-high heat.  Keep the flour moving until it is brown.  Add the flour to the sauce and bring it to a boil for a few minutes.  Toss with hot pasta and plenty of grated parmesan cheese.



I have made the same Toll House Cookies for years, and time after time they end up rather flat.  Good, but flat.  No more.  I've discovered Alton Brown's Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Melt the butter before creaming with the sugar?  You must be joking.  Use bread flower?  No way!  I mean it, no way.  I don't have any bread flour.  I gotta tell you, they were not any harder to make than my old stand-by and they really were much chewier.  These cookies just have a lot more body.  Love 'em. 


OMFG.  I accidentally deleted my blog.  Over a month's worth of writing gone.  Gone.  Gone.  How did I do it?  I accidentally renamed my blog page and then published some other junk over it.  At least I think that's what happened.  Snip, snip, let it go.

What did we have for dinner today?

Spiral Cut Ham with Brown Sugar-Spice Glaze

Swiss Beans

Sweet Potato Custard

Deviled Eggs