Saturday, February 27
I immediately ran off to see what Alton Brown of Good Eats had to say about cooking turkey. (You can see the entire episode on Youtube. It's called "Romancing the Bird", lawls.)
Everybody swears by brine. My sister-in-law does, and so does Alton Brown. His brine, however, calls for all kinds of things that I didn't have at the time, like veggie stock. Also he says to soak your turkey in a 5-gallon bucket. I have many serviceable buckets, but none of them are the 5-gallon variety.
So I puzzled and puzzled 'til my puzzler was sore ... and came up with THIS.
"Aha!" I thought to myself. "When you marinate chicken, you do it in a plastic bag. I'll just wrap the turkey in a trash bag! I'm a genius with a capital J!"
I whipped up four cups of brine. I seemed to be running low on all my salts, so I mixed them. What you see here is two tablespoons of chicken bouillon, a bunch of table salt, a bunch of seasoned salt, and about 1/4th of a cup of garlic salt. It's called brine for a reason. Anyway, I popped it in the microwave for 5 minutes to get it boiling, then stuck it in the freezer to cool it off.
And applied liberally to bird. I added another four cups of cold water, just to fill the bag up a little more.
And bagged it up neat as you please. This went into the fridge for two hours. Then I rolled it over and let it marinate for another two hours.
I followed the baking directions, i.e. toasting it at 500 degrees for 30 minutes, then cutting it back to 350 for two hours. And adding the foil hat to the breast, which I sadly forgot to take a picture of. Isn't it gorgeous?
Check it out. The juiciest, most flavorful turkey I've ever had. All that chicken bouillon masked some of the turkey musk, and the white meat was juicy instead of being all dry.
So that's how to brine a turkey when you lack a bucket and all those fancy seasonings. Just plain old salt does the trick every time.
Here's Alex, playing with the broom and riding on his airplane.
That's his soda over there on the blue chair. It explains his energy level.
And here's one of my mom's cats.
She was such a pretty picture, all framed by the Chinese maple on the porch railing.
Anyway, our sidewalk is all flooded again, but I've already posted pictures of how that looks.
Friday, February 26
It made Holly happy.
So happy she just couldn't contain it!
Alex found a popped balloon and asked me to fix it.
But alas, I had to explain that even mama can't fix broken balloons.
Here are the boys later, all equipped with vehicles. And a dog. Who is babysitting.
They should have named her Nana.
Tuesday, February 23
Especially at 3 in the afternoon, when it's too early for dinner and too late for lunch. In Britain, they call it teatime.
So when I saw that Smitten Kitchen had posted a recipe for thick, chewy granola bars, I couldn't wait to give them a shot.
I changed a few things in the recipe. The only nuts my family agreed to eat was almonds, so I only used those. And I didn't use corn syrup (Me at the store: "Three and a half bucks? Screw that!"). Instead I made the same amount of liquid sweetener by using 4 parts sugar to 1 part water, cooking it down into a syrup, then melting the butter into it. Then this wonderful toffee-like mixture is what got tossed into my dry ingredients.
I also split my recipe. In one batch I omitted raisins and replaced them with chocolate chips.
Mmm, sweet chocolatey goodness.
And now with the fruit:
So pretty. And blurry, because I took the picture in my dark kitchen.
I've been eating them like crazy since I made them. They aren't long for this world, I assure you. Go make them right now!
Monday, February 22
See these computers? The one on the bottom was the major high-speed box of awesomeness that my brother gave me. Well, that's the one that exploded. It has its back to us in shame. We tested its parts individually in the computer directly in front of it (with the white disk drives), and we think it's the hard drive that crapped out. Which is a shame, seeing as it's 80 gigs. We thinking of reformatting it and reinstalling Windows.
Anyway, the computer with the black drives is my old computer. It works all right, but it doesn't play games.
With a toddler who is addicted to Roller coaster Tycoon, this is not an option.
So I'm on the compy with the white disk drives, my husband's old Frankenstein. It works all right, so at least I have a semi-fast game computer.
All this computer shuffling initiated spring cleaning.
This was our living room. Now picture the two munchkins frolicking about in the mess. I took them down to McDonalds and the grocery store while my husband worked on cleaning it.
We went down and bought some new storage units, too.
We could have done with two or three more of those shelf-towers, actually. One was not nearly enough!
And now .... drumroll, please ...
Ta-da! All tidy and spiffed up! It makes our living room feel so much bigger.
So yeah, it's been a heck of a weekend.
Coffee, you are my greatest friend.
Not my photo. I can't take photos this good.
Sunday, February 21
I'll update once I have something to show you.
Thursday, February 18
Here's Alex, wearing all the hats he had discovered around the apartment. I believe there's three there.
Then we went to the park to enjoy our lovely 70-degree weather while it lasted.
Holly had fun in the stroller.
I took her up on the equipment and went down slides with her in my lap. She didn't seem to enjoy it much, but she didn't complain, either. And boy did it make my rear end sore. Kids are a lot tougher than we adults realize.
Then I went chasing after Alex with my camera, trying to get a decent picture of him. He kept running away from me, but I did snap this as he went through a tunnel.
It came out kind of weird and artistic.
Anyway, my other computer went 'foom' last night, and it kind of put a crimp in my style. And my internet posting. I'm now on my husband's computer, but more on that later.
Tuesday, February 16
Both babies frolicking Ryan. He begged for mercy, but I had to get a picture first. Alas, I should have turned the flash on.
Look at Holly's hand. Looks like she's digging into his sternum. I rescued him shortly after this was taken. *grin*
Monday, February 15
We walked in at the same time as a large Muslim family. I wouldn't have known they were Muslim, except that the mom was in a long black dress with a white head covering, and all the girls but one had head coverings. And otherwise normal clothes. Obviously they've been in the states a while. I'm so racist.
Anyway, I watched them the whole time we were eating. There were five kids, all the same ages as my siblings, and they kind of acted like zombies.
Then after lunch, I needed to use the restroom. Of course this fast food place has the kind of restroom where there's only one toilet, and the door was locked. As I was waiting outside, the Muslim mother walked in and knocked, because one of her girls was inside. I smiled and said that she had a nice family. She told me (in that funny Middle Eastern accent) that they lived in Orange County, they had been to a convention in Sacramento, and had been driving since 6 AM.
Which explains the zombieness of the kids.
Anyway, all I could think of was, "Gosh, I must look like a complete and total infidel." I mean, look at me.
Add it all up and what do you get? Infidel!
I'm so bigoted. :-)
Sunday, February 14
Which is all dark and dramatic. And slightly out of focus, because it's really hard to tell when the little LCD screen is actually in focus.
I tried again.
I succeeded in a shallow depth of field, making the foreground in focus and the background blurry. Unfortunately, I seem to be allergic to all flowers bulb-related, so I was trying not to get too close as I took the picture.
Anyway, Alex was busily playing with Lego bricks, his current love. His REAL current love is for me to sit and build him houses and towers and cars.
And Holly's current love is to knock everything down.
Saturday, February 13
I need to grab some pictures of the camellias around here before they stop blooming. I heard mockingbirds singing today, and it sounded like spring. And the air smelled so good!
Here's some oddball flowers from my mom's strawberry tree.
For some reason they crack me up. They're like little hearts.
Thursday, February 11
She has a thing about carrying things in her mouth. She carries the darnedest things sometimes.
And here are both of them on Alex's new toddler bed, courtesy of Grandma and Grandpa Carroll:
You can hardly see the bed itself, since it has a sleeping bag and two kids on it. Plus it's jammed into the closet, which doubles as Alex's bedroom. But hey, they like it, and I can get the thing unfolded all the way, so we're good.
Wednesday, February 10
I let A. out on our little front step with a spoon and a bowl, and left him happily sailing the bowl around and filling it with water. I went inside, did some stuff, and checked on him five minutes later. This is what I found:
I rolled my eyes and watched him shuffle around in the water. He came up to me to show me how wet his pants were, turned around, tripped, and face-planted into the water.
He was very, very wet. I took him in and gave him a bath.
Tuesday, February 9
We woke up this morning before dawn to hear the tell-tale chinking of Lego bricks in the living room.
Seems A. had gotten into his Dad's Legos and was taking apart the furniture to do so. Needless to say, he was chased back to bed pretty quickly.
But when we got up, I took pity on him and let him play with his own, much less dangerous, Legos.
Then the other night ...
...H. comes crawling in with my scarf draped around her shoulders. Nine months old and already playing dressup!