The Holidays: Round 1

20121129-223901.jpgThanksgiving. It might be my favorite of the holiday season. Maybe because it’s the first. It ushers in all things pumpkin, cinnamon and spice. It makes way for Christmas lights and cocktails punched with bourbon(yes, I can have a cocktail again!!). Thanksgiving somehow seems the most Martha Stewart-y of all the holiday season to me. And there isn’t all the pressure of gifts and running back and forth to numerous places trying to cram it all in. Ah Thanksgiving I love you.

In our house however, we try to remember that what were actually celebrating with this holiday is something atrocious. We prefer to simply celebrate family, turkey and each others company.

This year we decided to make everyone come to us. After all we have a baby. It’s our way of prepping our families for the reality of coming to our house for all holidays eventually. You see you get to do that once you have kids, so get ready family!

I made a turkey. A damn fine one if I do say so myself. A perfect turkey first starts with a good bird. None of that butterball crap. A good turkey is very simple. You just need a good meat thermometer, butter and spices. I don’t know why people panic about making Thanksgiving dinner. I didn’t put forth anymore effort then I do any night I make a meal. You just have to time it out right, and be aware that a bird takes time to cook.

20121129-223956.jpgI also made these absolutely delicious apple pie cheesecakes. This was my second time making them. I could eat these things daily. They’re soooooo good.

20121129-224713.jpgAnd then there were leftovers. Oh leftovers how I love you. My favorite part of leftovers is turning them into something new. My fathers cranberry sauce made its way into my weekend breakfast in the form of french toast. It was a phenomenal use of cranberry sauce which I highly recommend. Putting it in a cocktail is always another good use.

This year I hosted my first Thanksgiving. It was easy and laid back. The sweet baby even got her naps in on time.

20121129-225445.jpgAnd this year, she is what I’m thankful for. Every single day.

Perfect Roast Turkey

This isn’t so much a recipe as a method. The ingredients are like a revolving cast of characters, meant to be adjusted as you see fit.

Ingredients

1 fresh turkey
1/2 stick of butter, softened
1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried sage and thyme
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Stock(turkey, chicken or vegetable)
Salt and pepper

Directions

Set oven to 350 degrees. Remove turkey from fridge 2 hours prior to cooking. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels. If needed remove any parts remaining in body cavity. Loosen skin. Mix butter, herbs, zest and salt and pepper. Spread half if butter mixture underneath the skin and remaining half on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour 1 cup of stock in the bottom of the roasting pan. Place turkey on roasting rack in pan. Cook 13 minutes per pound, until temperature registers 165 on a meat thermometer. Remove turkey from oven every 30 minutes and baste with pan juices, adding more stock as needed. Rotate pan position in the oven with each basting to ensure turkey browns evenly. If you choose to stuff your turkey, ensure stuffing also reaches 165 degrees.

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Baby necessities

20121115-231520.jpgI received some questions about my comment regarding what an expectant mother could get a baby. So here’s my list. Keep in mind, my baby is only 2 months old at this point, so this list may grow further down the line.

1. The Arms Reach Cosleeper. We have the mini. I absolutely love this thing. It’s like a bassinet, but it slides right up next to the bed(it even attaches with straps under the mattress). We have a king size bed, which is slightly high, so it sits just lower then the bed, and the mattress acts as its fourth wall. I can sleep with my hand on her if I want, I can easily scoop her up to nurse in the middle of the night and I can hear her breathing all night long. For a nervous mother of a babe with health issues, this thing is phenomenal.

2. The Boba Wrap. This is similar to the Moby, however the fabric is supposed to be more breathable. I am realllly glad we picked this one, as a baby with a heart condition gets sweaty quite easily. She loves her wrap. I put her in it to go to the store and she instantly calms. She takes long naps in it, and it allows me to go about my day, hands free. Some people say this type of wrap is too complicated. Not true! After two uses I had tying it down. It also makes unwanted touching nearly impossible. What’s up with that anyway? Touching a strangers baby is just plain wrong. Don’t do it.

3. SwaddleMe blankets. Baby straight jackets as I call them. At first I was obsessed with Aden+Anais swaddling blankets. I still love them for nursing, or wrapping her during the day, but this little Houdini gets out of a regular swaddle in no time at all these days. SwaddleMe blankets velcro in all the right places and make escaping quite difficult. Not that she doesn’t keep trying.

4. A baby swing. We have this one from fisher price. It has different speeds and vibrates. It plays obnoxious music too if you want, but I ignore that feature. I love this one because its light weight and compact, which means it can go anywhere including the kitchen table when we’re eating dinner, the bathroom floor while I take a bath, and the coffee table while I eat a snack. Warning: calming vibrations may cause extra messy diaper blowouts. It’s ok though because your baby will like their butt jiggled so much you won’t care.

5. This baby monitor. Ok so it’s not a baby monitor. It’s an app. It may be the best $3.99 I have ever spent. After trying numerous free versions I decided to shell out the money for this one, and it is genius. It works with 2 iOS devices(iPhone, iPad, etc…) over wifi. The video quality is amazing. There’s a feature to turn on the microphone on the device you place with the baby and speak to them. It works well in extremely low light, and will run in the background while you check email or use the internet. Similar video monitors sell in stores for upwards of $100.

It’s a short list. Like I said she’s only 2 months old, so I’m certain it will grow. If you have any fresh new babes on your Xmas list I highly recommend any of these, or if you’re expecting a little one. So far being a mom is the best thing I have ever done, like I was born for the sole purpose of being this child’s mother, these things helped to make it all just a little bit easier.

Oh, by the way I promise to get back to writing about food soon. I may be just slightly obsessed with this baby these days, and haven’t been throwing my all into cooking and baking. I’m hosting thanksgiving this year, so I’m sure I will have interesting things to share shortly,

Baby’s first…

20121115-225019.jpgI am not one of those people obsessed with documenting baby’s first… I was given numerous gifts to do so, but have yet to open them. I do however photograph this child’s every move. For me, it means a lot more to make a handmade baby book out of a beautiful sketch book I bought years ago but never had a special enough use for. Well she sure is special.

So with Christmas coming up there is a baby’s first I have been thinking about. Baby’s first Christmas present. I tend to shy away from large displays of grandeur for the holidays. I find one thoughtful gift to be so much more meaningful then a large display of consumerism. I prefer homemade things, books, clothing or jewelry from local stores. My little babe will only be 3 months old this holiday season, so that rules out food. There’s always clothes(can I tell you how obsessed I am with the kids clothes at Playthings?). But really, a 3 month old doesn’t care what she wears. There’s toys,however I have promised her we buy a stuffed animal from the gift shop at the hospital on every visit, including appointments, and well, so far we have four, and two more appointments scheduled. There are books, but I know my mother, the writer will have that covered. I read somewhere you should get your child something you want, something they want, and something they need. That sounds good…but I’m still not sure what those things are. I could tell an expectant mother what to get as I have my favorite baby things, but I already have those. So what does one get a brand new babe for Christmas? I’ll find out and let you know!