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Nov 20 14

How to Host Your First Holiday Dinner

by Karen

 

Pilgrims Going To Church, George H. Boughton, American 1833-1905

Pilgrims Going To Church, George H. Boughton, American 1833-1905

This painting hung in school rooms across the country when I was growing up,  I attended six different schools in Florida, North Dakota, California, and Texas and it was a staple in all.

My husbands’ mom grew up in Boston and gave the painting to us, obviously it figured in fairly large in her life living so close to Plymouth. Each year we rotate it into the dining room during the holidays to remind us of the challenges our ancestors faced.

We are lucky, our biggest challenge at this time of the year is hosting family gatherings. If you are hosting your first holiday dinner the mere idea of being the host can make you want to crawl back into bed and stay there.

Here is an easy checklist for hosting your first holiday dinner:

___Delegate

Figure out what you want to make and ask for help.  The host generally prepares the main dish, so for Thanksgiving we agree to do the turkey and the gravy, a few pies, and make-ahead mashed potatoes.  I always do the gravy prep work then turn it over to my husband to put it together because he just has a way with gravy, what can I say?  Find that person in your group and delegate, delegate, delegate!

make ahead mashed potatoes

make ahead mashed potatoes

For side dishes, desserts, and beverages ask that they all be prepared in advance and only need rewarming for 30-40 minutes.  Think about your oven and microwave space, keep lots of aluminum foil on hand to cover the dishes once they come out of the oven to keep warm until serving time so the oven can be used to warm other items. read more…

Nov 16 14

Pie Plate Primer–Metal, Glass, Ceramic

by Karen

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There are many pie plates these days.

Some are so big you need to double a standard recipe just to fill it up.

Over the years I have used a wide variety of dishes to bake pies but I always come back to my standard glass dish for the best, consistent results.

Which Pie Plate for Best Results?  Metal, Glass, Ceramic

I consulted a favorite “science of cooking” book Cookwise by Shirley Corriher. She notes that the crust needs to cook fast. read more…

Nov 15 14

Setting the Thanksgiving Table–How to Shop Estate Sales

by Karen
Mad Men style glassware from Culver

Mad Men style glassware from Culver

Estate sale shopping is the best way to find a dining room table and everything you need to cook the meal and set the table. If you start this weekend you might even find a few things you need for this holiday season.

Every photo in this post shows items purchased at estate sales.

Silver, cool Mad Men glassware from Culver, pots and pans, —all purchased at 1/3 of retail or better and all in excellent condition. Dining room tables, chairs, sideboards, linens, you name it there is an estate sale every weekend in your area with high quality discounted items.

Top 10 Estate Sale Shopping Tips

There are a few tricks to finding the best estate sales and negotiating a deal: read more…

Nov 10 14

Seattle Knife Sharpening–Holiday Prep

by Karen

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I have delayed having our knives sharpened for months….no years…..and for a family that cooks as much as we do this is crazy. I finally did it and wonder why did I wait so long?

As you prepare for the coming holidays, sharpening your knives may be the best thing you can do to save time and be more efficient. Our knives now cut through everything like butter, they have never looked or performed this good—even when they were brand new. read more…

Oct 28 14

Mixed Berry Pie

by Karen

 

 

our farmers market pie crust

our farmers market pie crust

I had a friends’ mom over the other day to bake pie and this is what we made.  It has become a new favorite.

I am preparing to share my farmers market pie crust later this week so we have been baking and photographing and eating…..

Oct 28 14

Monday Night Dinner–Chipotle Chili with Cilantro Lime Cream

by Karen
Chipotle Chili with Cilantro Lime Cream

Chipotle Chili with Cilantro Lime Cream

 

I made a big pot of this Monday night and every last morsel …….gone. read more…

Oct 20 14

Chicken Piccata-Easy Weeknight Meal

by Karen

 

carmen 2014

Our daughter graduated from college this year and despite all the odds, landed a job in her chosen field– she had 3 days of summer vacation before starting her career. In September she moved out with roommates and is officially on her own! read more…

Oct 15 14

Gluten Free Popovers

by Karen

 

the latest recipe for our new book

the latest recipe for our new book

 

 

 

I am pretty excited about a new discovery recipe for our upcoming book.  Last year we had a neighbor friend introduce us to popovers.  After recent testing I discovered it can be used for both mini popovers or the large standard size.  This is a big deal because the old recipe I used for the large popovers was ALOT of work which means I never made them.

Oct 4 14

Jane E. Brody- A Common, but Elusive, Diagnosis

by Karen

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I read Jane Brody’s column in the New York Times pretty regularly– this article on Celiac Disease (link) it is a quick snapshot with some good information. read more…

Sep 27 14

New Inspiration

by Karen

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Just before the recent International Food Bloggers Conference I took a food photography class….just to check it out….see what I could learn….did I need a new camera?…..and as I look at the detail of the cookies above…. the answer is yes ……all the nooks and crannies pop out with visible grains of sugar,  you can get so close with a macro lens.  Now I want to take pictures of everything! read more…