Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanks giving

We had 19 people for Thanksgiving dinner! That was wonderful. Everyone brought a culinary contribution and we ate very well. I made my famous mashed potatoes, which I learned to make from a Julia Child appearance on NPR. Bystanders, however, were a bit shocked by the amount of butter I tossed into the pot. "There's a whole sack of potatoes in there," I replied. "Relax. I'm a professional."

I also made my "dry" stuffing, which consists of, hmm, lots of butter, old bread, raisins, craisins, nuts, sage, rosemary, celery, and onions. I had bought two small turkeys instead of one large one so we could stuff them and still have a reasonable cooking time. My spouse, however, read about cooking turkey in a book by his food network idol, Alton Brown. Alton said stuffing was "evil," causing one to overcook the turkey to bring the stuffing to a safe temperature. "Oh bother," I said. "Folks have been stuffing bread into fowl carcasses for years." My sister added, sardonically, "and people are dying out there."

Well, I ended up dousing the stuffing with chicken stock, putting it in the oven, and, still, it was pretty good.

OK, tomorrow I'm back to work in the basement cubicle.

Usually this year I have Christmas to think about/look forward to. I'm approaching the Yuletide differently this year. I don't believe spending money on gifts is appropriate given the suffering/hunger of many people in our community. I feel more inclined to give money to the local food pantry than to waste it on imported goods. I may give my nieces and nephews modest gift cards to a book store. But that's about the extent of my giving. I really want to help those in need.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Electric candles

I have a love/hate relationship with Walgreens. They are open early and late. If I go out of town and forget my meds I can go to any nearby Walgreens and get them. The pharmacy staff, however, is sometimes impatient, overworked, and rude.

Their buyers are magicians, though. They stuff so much cool stuff into one little store, that I enjoy going in there and seeing what I can find. Environmentally friendly shampoo and dish-cleaning liquid? yep. Plain and simple unsalted bulk almonds? A great bargain.

The other day I came across tea light candles powered by tiny watch batteries. I love candles, but often worry about the fire hazard, especially with two kittens in the house. I bought some neat little metal pastry bakers, put the electric candles in them, and placed them in the windowsill. Lovely light and if the kitties knock them down, flames won't erupt.

I also bought an electric pillar candle (with vanilla scent no less) that runs on AAs. I keep it by my bed. When I awake in the middle of the night, I love its soft, comforting glow.