Thursday, November 22, 2012

A very Happy Thanksgiving 2012!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
I am thankful for every path I walked that lead me to right where I am...truly where I was meant to be.
I am thankful for my amazing hubby, who stayed up until 2am cooking with me then got up at 6:30am to go to work and bust his butt to provide for us.
I am thankful for my wonderful children, who I love more than I can ever express...even my not quite two year old who snuck into the kitchen before I woke up and started on one of the pumpkin pies LOL.
I am thankful that I'm starting to realize as long as you have your family and friends love and support everything will be OK.
I am thankful that just when we really need something to work out it usually does.
Life is beautiful!!!! Cheers my friends :)

The scene of Jericho's crime spree this morning. I was just groggily coming to this morning when I heard Hayden say to Lily and Xander "Jericho has apple pie." I lay there for a split second, then my eyes popped open and I said "the pie." I jumped out of bed and ran to the kitchen where I see the trio standing at the gate looking in. I peak my head around the corner and see that Jericho, after climbing over the baby gate, was standing on a chair leaning over the oven with his hand shoved into the pumpkin pie. He looks up at me, puts his pumpkiny hand in his mouth and says "MMmmm." He was a mess, pumpkin pie was all over his face and hands. I told him next time he should pay off the older three to be his lookouts. Had he shared the trio would have been quietly eating pie with him and I would have never heard them and come to bust him. Sharing is caring, as Haddie would say :)
I caught him red orange handed, but I was too busy doing damage control to get a "busted" pic LOL. I did later get this picture of the damage. Thank goodness we made two.
Mmmm the homemade mac & cheese...this is always a fave.
Love the crock pot version. We doubled it.
  • 8 ounces medium shell macaroni
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese or a Cheddar blend
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  1. Cook the macaroni following package directions Drain in a colander and rinse with hot water. Drain well.
  2. Generously butter the sides and bottom of a 3½- to 4-quart slow cooker (I use about 2 tablespoons of butter).
  3. Combine the macaroni with the remaining ingredients in the slow cooker and blend well. Cover the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 2½ to 3½ hours, stirring a few times.
  4. If desired, spoon the cooked macaroni and cheese mixture into a baking dish, sprinkle with a little more cheese, and put under the broiler for a minute or 2, just until cheese is melted.
  5. When the macaroni and cheese is done, feel free to spoon into a baking dish, top with a little more cheese, and put under the broiler for a minute or two for that “fresh from the oven” look.
The appitizers this year.
Our fruit and cheese gobbler was very popular last year, so this year I made a cheese ball gobbler :)

You need.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 packages cream cheese (8 ounces each)
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 dashes hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
Tiny pinch coarse salt
Tiny pinch freshly ground white pepper
16 ounces sharp orange cheddar cheese, finely shredded
4 tablespoons store-bought chutney
Dried cranberries, crushed walnuts, almonds and pecans.
Here's how.
1. Put butter, cream cheese, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt, and pepper into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until combined.
2. Stir in cheddar cheese and chutney. Form into a ball. If not using immediately, refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month.
3. Roll cheese ball in cranberries and nuts to coat before serving.

The kids demolished the appitizers. Even the veggies and dip!
Uncle Scott, Auntie Amber and Cousin Hailee were the first to arrive. The kiddos were so happy to see each other :)

Jericho looking spiffy.
Everything cooked up perfectly!

Of course the kids said they didn't like anything, they just wanted to get to the dessert I think. You can see Xander's phone...when Jason took over my old iPhone he let Xan have his old phone, it is not working other than as a crappy camera. Crappy or not Xander has been taking a butt load of pictures. He brought it to Jason today because it stopped taking pictures...apparently 2100 is the max capacity. Goodness child Hahaha! 

We finished up the dessert menu with this Caramel apple cake, it was a tie between the Pecan pie cheesecake and this for top honors LOL.

For the cake:
4 cups flour
2 teas baking soda
1 teas baking powder
1 teas salt
2 teas cinnamon
1 teas allspice
1 teas cloves
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, cut into 1″ cubes , at room temperature
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
4 cups applesauce
For the caramel buttercream:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, soft but still cold, cut into 1″ cubes
1 teas vanilla extract
1 can condensed milk
Crushed peanuts (optional)

First fully submerge the unopened can of condensed milk (label taken off) in a water filled crock pot for 8 hours on low...then let cool until you can handle the can without burning yourself. Or you can buy caramel...but this tastes better :)

-Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease 3 cake pans, line with parchment paper and grease again; Set aside. We only had 2 free pans, so our cake was only 2 layers.
-Combine the flour, baking soda, powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves in a medium bowl. Set aside.
-In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and add the sugar. Beat for about 3 minutes more and scrape down the sides again. Add the eggs, and mix until incorporated. Scrape down sides one more time.
-Mix in the flour and applesauce in 3 additions starting and ending with the flour. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl so that all of the ingredients are well combined. Divide batter evenly among the prepared cake pans and bake for 40-45 minutes, rotating pans halfway through bake time, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
-Transfer pans to wire rack to cool for 20 minuets. Turn cakes out onto racks, remove parchment, and cool completely before icing.

Make the buttercream frosting:
-In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 10-15 minutes, whisking occasionally.
-Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cover and beat on high speed until cool. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter and vanilla; mix until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy. You can cream in some of the a good portion of it to pour on top though.
If the frosting is too soft, place in the fridge for 15 minutes to chill slightly, then beat again until it is the proper consistency.

Assemble the cake:
Place one cake layer on a serving tray and trim to create a flat surface. Spread 1 1/4 cups frosting evenly across the top. Add the next layer, trim and frost it, and add the third layer. Crumb coat your cake and place in refrigerator for 15 minutes to set. Frost the sides and top with the remaining frosting. Drizzle caramel on top and cover the outside of the bottom layer in the crushed peanuts. Set in the fridge for 15 minutes to set before serving. We were in a serious hurry to get the cake done and served, so while it tasted fabulous, it may have looked better had we done this part slower with more cool down breaks.
This cake can be stored covered in the fridge for up to three days.

After dinner, while Jason and I were getting the cake ready, Haddie and Hailee had a little story time with Great Uncle Steve.

Somehow, -Xander-, my camera ended up in the kids bedroom and a bunch of unauthorized photos were taken LOL. The boy is going to LOVE one of his Christmas presents more than all the rest I think :)

Dessert time! They were all scrumptious!

Uncle Chris was threatened with getting "kicked off the calendar" if I didn't get an updated pic of him and the kids LOL.

Time to get going :(
We had a great Thanksgiving, so glad Great Grandpa Frank, Betty, Great Uncle Steve, Grandma, Pop Pop Randy, Uncle Chris, Uncle Scott, Auntie Amber and Cousin Hailee joined us! We have so much to be thankful for...and believe me, we are! Hope it was a good one for y'all too!

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