We Hosted Our First Thanksgiving.

When it comes to cooking a Thanksgiving meal, I've heard some horror stories. Everything from forgetting to thaw the turkey, to forgetting to take out the giblets, to overcooking, to under cooking, to putting the thermometer in the wrong part of the meat, to the thermometer not working, etc.

That, coupled with my not-exactly-stellar cooking abilities meant the potential for things going wrong this Thanksgiving was in a zone I'd like to call "EXTREMELY HIGH".

Did I mention, neither Boyfriend nor I had ever made a turkey before...?

So Boyfriend and I were in shock and awe over the TOTAL MOTHER FUCKING SUCCESS that was Thanksgiving 2011. We pretty much high-fived each other all day long.

The menu went as follows:

TILTE and Boyfriend in charge of...
-mashed potatoes
-rice pilaf
-sweet potato casserole
-cranberry relish

Mom in charge of...
-apple pie
-pumpkin pie
-cranberry fluff

Sisters in charge of...
-cheese ball appetizer

Our preparations actually began probably two weeks before, when I started hoarding non-perishables like the people on those crazy couponing shows. Except, like an asshole, I totally forgot to buy my fresh herbs until the day before the dinner (which was actually the day AFTER real Thanksgiving). I went to two local grocery stores and both "herb" sections were picked clean. Except for Tarragon because nobody fucking buys Tarragon.


The produce guy at Albertson's was my superhero when he brought me a "Thanksgiving Plant" that had the exact three herbs I was looking for: Sage, Rosemary, & Thyme.

My next hero was a pack of Knorr Homestyle Stock that was a freebie from BlogHer. I used two little tubs to make stock for basting the turkey. Adding stock to the bottom of the roasting pan was a savior. And as a non-turkey-maker, I had no idea anything even needed to be added to the pan.

Since I'm not a big fan of plain old turkey, we opted for one of those fancy looking, "herby" birds. The recipe we used for the herb-butter can be found HERE. It was delicious tasting and looking. And it made the house smell like we were legit chefs and shit.

The house was all set up for guests.

People started arriving. While Boyfriend and I slaved away in the kitchen, everyone mingled and ate homemade cheese ball.

All the food was ready for serving by 5:30.

Only 30 minutes late, which is great if you ask me because I'm always late and with a menu like this, things were destined to not only be late, but really awful too. But they weren't awful. In fact, everything turned out great. AND it was all ready at the same time due to meticulously planning out how long each item will take to prep/ cook and noting exactly what time to start said item.

The blessed turkey.

The herb-butter was a hit. However, next time I would probably cook it for a tad longer.

Table 1 of 3. With some extra tables, everyone was able to eat in the dining room. All twelve guests.

That's right.

We fed twelve people without making anyone sick. And trust me, if we had made anyone sick, they would have called to complain by now.

Afterwards, everyone split up around the house and found their preferred lazy spot.

Mom and sister watching TV in the bedroom...

Brother and his middle finger...

Boyfriend relaxing from our victory...

And yours truly. Practicing my greasy Barbizon model pose for the camera.

Awww, and Biscuit with her hologram eyes. (Contrary to what you've heard about Jersey Shore's Sammy the Sweetheart, BISCUIT is actually the sweetest bitch you'll ever meet.)

All the kids had their own thing going on. And since they had free reign to do whatever they wanted as long as no one was being an asshole, there was lots of running and hiding and it seemed uncomfortably close to Lord of the Flies.
Also, there were costumes.

And just because I don't want any of you thinking my nephew is some kind of bohemian hooligan, here's a picture of him being "normal" with a mouth full of whipped cream.

Also. A pic of my sister. So there's that.

And just so we end NOT on a note that points out how weird we all are, here's a shot of some pie.

Now that you've basically participated in a home cooked TILTE Thanksgiving, are you as impressed as I am??

Probably not.

But it was a completely success in my eyes.

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Pre-Partying: Thanksgiving Edition

Meet my coworkers.

Today we celebrated our office "Thanksgiving". The boss said he was thankful for having all of us rad people to work with. (Damn, he stole my line.) It was a success and everyone pigged out.

I even tried Tofurky for the first time. It was kind of like thinly sliced bologna. Not turkeyish at all. Meateaters will not be fooled by it. With that said, it wasn't so bad. I was actually pleasantly surprised.

There was even some of this.

And this.

But surprisingly, no one had any.

It's because we didn't want to ruin our focus. We're dedicated employees, you see.


I'll be going to Boyfriend's family's house for the real Thanksgiving day. And then...


We'll be hosting our first official "hosted" "holiday" "event" on the following Saturday.

Crazy, right?

Shut up. Yes it is crazy. You've seen the way I cook. Plus, three days of holiday food in one week is a lot, even by my standards.

Are there any helpful cooking hints I should be aware of before I start on this downward, drunken turkey-hating spiral...?
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White Bean and Sausage Rigatoni.

I'm pretty sure I don't even need to say "I found this wonderful recipe in my FAVORITE magazine, Anyone Can Cook" because just about everything I make comes from there.


I found this wonderful recipe in my favorite magazine, Anyone Can Cook.

It's for baked pasta.

And if there's one thing I like to do, it's eat the shit out of some pasta.



-6 cups (or one box) dried rigatoni
-8 oz. cooked kielbasa
-1/2 of a 6 oz. can Italian-style tomato paste
-1/4 cup dry red wine or reduced-sodium chicken broth
-2 10 oz. packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained
-2 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes with basil, oregano, and garlic, undrained
1 15 oz. can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup grated or finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375F. Cook rigatoni according to package. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

Cut kielbasa in half lengthwise, then cut into bite size pieces. In a small bowl, combine tomato paste and chicken broth.

Add kielbasa, tomato paste mixture, spinach, tomatoes, and beans to the rigatoni; stir to combine. Transfer to an ungreased 3-quart rectangular baking dish.

Bake, covered, about 25 minutes or until heated through. Uncover; sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake, uncovered, about 5 minutes or until cheese melts. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

-I used chicken broth instead of red wine.
-20 oz of spinach is way too much, IMO. Next time I think I would take it down to 10-12 oz.
-I couldn't find Great Northern beans at my grocery store. I went with standard "White Beans" and I loved it. Boyfriend wasn't so crazy about the beans in general, but I think it was actually my favorite part.
-Add as much Parmesan as you want. It's impossible to have too much. Also, only used fresh. It's way better than the dusty canned stuff.

This is a pretty hearty meal and it's simple to make. Perfect for rainy days or a quick family dinner.

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New Things to Keep Your Eyeballs Enterainted While You Sit at Your Desk and Pretend to Work.

Both of my sisters started blogs.

Crazy shit, right?

Shut up. Yes it is crazy.

You would think it was crazy if you actually knew them.

Check out their blogs during down time in between my posts. Which basically means ANY time because I hardly ever post these days.

Unnamed sister A (Bigger Than Average Mom) is writing about trying to lose weight and UTIs at Ramblings of a Bigger Than Average Mom. Apparently, talking about TMI runs in the family. Who knew.

And unnamed sister B (the NumberWhisperer) is writing about random family stories and work stuff at Original Thoughts of an Unoriginal Thinker. She has three young sons and I'm pretty sure she hates life sometimes (ironically, those two things aren't even related).

When comparing all of our blogs, mine probably fits right in between their two. Which, coincidentally, is pretty much how we are in real life, too.

Make sure to check those mofos out.



(Picture courtesy of my new favorite site, codyketchum.tumblr.com)

I just get a little excited, okay.
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Semi-Homemade Cupcakes.

I originally had these cupcakes at my friend Rachel's birthday party for her one year old son. They were delicious.

And although I was tentative and skeptical at first because they're vegan (VEGAN??!?), I ended up fucking inhaling it in two seconds flat. And then I had another. Because I like even numbers.

Trader Joe's Vegan Cupcakes

-Trader Joe's cake mix
-3 tbsp flax seed powder
-Canola oil
-9 tbsp water
-Almond Breeze Vanilla

-Combine flax seed and water until mixed. Set aside.

Follow cake directions, substituting flax seed mixture for eggs AND Almond Breeze for water. Bake according to package.

When cupcakes are done (Use a toothpick to check- if it comes out clean, it's done.), set aside to cool.

-Trader Joe's White Frosting Mix
-Canola Oil
-Almond Breeze

Follow directions according to package, substituting oil for butter AND Almond Breeze for water. Frost your cakes.

Top each cupcake with slices of fresh strawberry.

Eat it.

Worth Noting:
-Rachel used Trader Joe's Vanilla Bean cake mix; I used Golden Yellow cake mix. Both came out great, IMO.
-I noticed buttermilk was one of the ingredients in the cake mix. I'm not sure if that totally cancels out this whole "vegan" thing I have going on here.
-Do NOT omit the strawberry. It seriously makes the cupcake.
-I had some problems with my frosting. At first I thought it had too much oil, so I added some powdered sugar to soak it up. Then it was too clumpy. Boyfriend suggested adding more Almond Breeze. The combination of the extra Almond Breeze and several minutes with the electric mixer resulted in a perfect consistency.
-I LOVE these cupcakes. In fact, just posting these pictures has been making my mouth water. However, not everyone in my family was as impressed with them. My mom complained about tasting canola oil, my nephew Hogan grinned from ear-to-ear when he politely said "I hate it.", and a couple of other family members thought they tasted more like banana-nut bread or corn bread muffins. Just a heads up.
-You can also just make these totally non-vegan.

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A Halloween Post. And Yes, I Know I'm a Week Late.

Last year, Halloween ended up being a bust because I wound up with a migraine ON Halloween night. And when I finally came out of my Excedrin-induced coma, I was pissed that all my hard work had gone to waste.

I was Gallagher.

This year, I recycled one of my old costumes (I have PLENTY.) and dressed up for work. Here are some highlights from the office.

Neo from The Matrix

A kitty playing with a ball

A scary grim reaper

Yours truly as Pippi Longstocking

And my favorite: Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation. (This guy gets major cred because he actually grew his moustache for a month preparing for this costume. Well played...)

Since Boyfriend and I weren't going to have Pearl on Halloween night, we took advantage of a local pre-Halloween event and got all dressed up the Saturday before. There was a costume contest (that Pearl would have killed in, but she was too scared) and lots of downtown shops were giving away candy so kids could trick-or-treat safely during the daytime.

Here are my top three faves from the day...

#3: Old school scaryass clown

#2: CATS the broadway musical

#1: Albert Einstein

Pearl's makeup was inspired by this tutorial. Her dress was a $30 steal from Home Goods. In my head, I'm going to say she was Claudia from Interview with a Vampire. In Pearl's words, I think she was actually something like Zombie Vampire Dead-Girl Doll-Princess.


Step 1: Powder face...

Step 2: Create "sad eyes" (and I don't mean "Sad Eyes" the homegirl from down the street)...

Step 3: Draw some wicked cool eyebrows (like "Sad Eyes" from down the street)...

Step 4: Add some contouring and lipstick...

And voila. Your Claudia from Interview with a Vampire Zombie Vampire Dead-Girl Doll-Princess look is complete.

I love that she's not all girly-girl'd out. Also, Biscuit's trying to go in for a smooch. She's a lover, not a fighter.

Speaking of Biscuit...

This bitch loves Halloween.

And lastly, we'll end on a "normal family" note. We went to the pumpkin patch.

I'm still large and in charge. Diets are for suckers.

How was your Halloween??

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