November movies!

I’ll be the first one to agree that The Muppet Movie should be included in this post, but my down-in-the-dumps Thanksgiving extended to getting around to seeing this even though I’ve been looking forward to it since the very first trailer. Soon, though!

I like Ben Stiller – even more when he’s not in a movie where embarrassment is the source of the humor – so I thought this would be a fun movie. And it was! It wasn’t as good as I think it could have been, but as mindless fun, it fit the bill pretty well. The comedy’s not very subtle and there are a few holes in the plot (Why did he invite along Matthew Broderick’s character?), but I’m willing to overlook those. Note: You will get sweaty palms during a few scenes, I’ll tell you that right now! 😉

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But to more cheerful things now!

I dragged the tree and all my decorations up from the storage unit last night – it’s very lovely and cozy and festive in here now! I’m busy planning my menus for the holidays – my goal is to tone down the number of dishes so I’m not exhausted, but still make some special meals. I’m thinking easier, but I make a Christmas Eve dinner, a Christmas Day brunch, and a Christmas Day dinner. Maybe. We’ll see…

Of all the years to double recipes…

Well, the food poisoning really brought down the Thanksgiving spirit – we pushed dinner back to Friday, but I didn’t really have my full appetite back by then even, so I didn’t fully enjoy the food. 😦 We made our usual stand-bys and mixed up our miscellaneous three side dishes and the desserts and I’m afraid to say that none of them were a true hit.

Ugh, Photobucket's collage program is being a bitch at the moment - ignore the red Xs in the corners.

While we were waiting for everything to warm up, we started with some veggies and dip, brie en croute (which was yummy at the time, but we think didn’t agree with us after the fact), and hot cider (with or without alcohol).

The new side dishes were macaroni and cheese, a different Brussels sprouts gratin, and a corn pudding with goat cheese and mushrooms. They all sound really good, right? I think the macaroni and cheese was too thick and heavy and had too much crunch on top (though Heather loved it); I undercooked the Brussels sprouts in the gratin so they were kind of chewy and it wasn’t nearly as cheesy as I was hoping it would be (last year’s was better even though I didn’t butter the dish and kind of burned the topping), and the corn pudding was just a wild miss. Wild. I prefer the one we had last year that was a little sweet – the flavor combinations of this one (which are all things I love, by the way) just did not mesh at all.

For dessert, I made a pecan pie (just the recipe off the caro syrup this year), an apple cider pie, and a gingerbread-pumpkin trifle. I used the food processor to make the pie crusts and, despite the fact that I’m sure I’ve made them this way before, it completely ruined the dough – I made it twice and both times it was nigh on unusable! My mom took over and even she got frustrated – and she never gets frustrated in the kitchen! I found the apple cider pie to be pretty bland. Of the three, the gingerbread trifle was definitely the best – I’d think about making it again. Just a tip: It definitely gets better the longer it sits – everything just sort of mushes together and the pumpkin mousse (which was pretty bland the first day) picks up notes of the gingerbread. Yum!

So better luck next year, I guess!

Know what puts a damper on Thanksgiving?

Food poisoning.

That was Monday. I just started eating solid food last night – until then it was just Gatorade and the occasional yogurt.

Alas, I still didn’t have the energy to be in the kitchen yesterday so we’re pushing Thanksgiving until tomorrow to give me the time in the kitchen I missed out on.

So happy Thanksgiving (if you’re celebrating) and happy birthday, Claire (the 24th, right?)!

Yummy leftovers!

I had some sour cream left over and was going to make another round of sugar cookies, but, alas, it had gone bad by the time I got around to it. Which left me with leftover pumpkin puree to use up and, by a lovely, tasty coincidence, I stumbled across this recipe for Pumpkin Spice Pull-Apart Bread which needed just the amount I had stored in my fridge!

I tried to make it last night and thought I killed my yeast by not letting the butter and milk mixture cool down enough, but I tried it again tonight and waited good and long before adding the yeast and it looked the same. I figured I didn’t have much time anyway before the pumpkin puree went bad and decided to have a go anyway. Luckily I did because it turned out just right! Even the Jimmy John’s delivery guy said it smelled really nice in my apartment when I opened the door. And Heather scraped the pan clean to get a taste while the rest of the loaf was cooling.

Three out of three can’t be wrong!