Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving Tips And Crowd Pleasing Pumpkin Pie

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Now the holidays have officially kicked-off. And, that makes me oh so happy. Cooking for the holidays is one of my most favorite things to do.

I figured I’d share a few little tips I’ve found over the years while preparing my family’s Thanksgiving dinner.

Turkey Tip Number 1. Use an oven bag. Who ever invented those things was a genius!

Turkey Tip Number 2. When you’re readying your Turkey for placement in the bag, rub a packet of dried Italian Salad Dressing mix on the bird. The flavor is amazing! You know I wouldn’t lie to you.

Cranberry Sauce Tip Number 1. Forget the canned jelly stuff. Make it yourself. It’s super easy and so much better. Just follow the directions on the bag of cranberries.

Cranberry Sauce Tip Number 2. When you’re making the cranberry sauce try adding in a capful (or two) of coconut rum. The alcohol content will cook away and the coconut brings the cranberry flavor to a whole new level.

Potato Tip Number 1. If mashed potatoes are a must, try making a “loaded” style. Mix in chive flavored cream cheese, or sour cream, with some shredded cheese, and maybe some green onions.

Potato Tip Number 2. If mashed potatoes aren’t a half to, change it up a bit and make a potato casserole.

I don’t really have any special tips for Green Bean Casserole, just make it. It has to be on our Thanksgiving table.

Sweet Potatoes Tip Number 1. Try adding a layer of marshmallows between the layers of sweet potatoes. They make it even more gooey and delicious.

Sweet Potatoes Tip Number 2. When you want to brown the marshmallows on top, try broiling on low.

The most important tip I could share is to not stress. Enjoy yourself. If preparing the meal feels too much like a daunting task then there is no point.

Take short cuts where you can and get your family involved.

Thanksgiving is meant to gather families and neighbors together so we can give thanks for all the good we have and the bad. The bad? Yes, the bad teaches us to appreciate the good and be grateful.

On to the recipe.

Ever since I was a little girl I’ve looked forward to November, not just because it’s my birthday month either. I looked forward to pumpkin pie.
It’s not thanksgiving without pumpkin pie, right?
So here it is

Perfectly Easy But Still Crowd Pleasing Pumpkin Pie
You’re going to need

1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin (about 2 cups)
1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk

2 large eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust

Start by heating your oven to 425°F.
In a medium mixing bowl you want to whisk the pumpkin, the sweetened condensed milk, the eggs, the spices and salt together until it’s all smooth.

Now poor the pumpkin mixture into the pie crust.

You want to bake it for 15 minutes (at 425), and then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F; now bake an additional 35 to 40 minutes or until a knife inserted 1-inch from crust comes out clean.
Cool, and garnish as desired. We like cool-whip around here.

This year, as you gather around tables, take a moment and remember all the good and give thanks. Remember your neighbors, family and friends no longer with us, teachers, law enforcement, fire fighters, and other public servants.
Remember our troops.

And, if you have a little extra food left over, maybe make a plate and take it to the gas station, or store employee that’s stuck at work instead of being home with their family.

Best Wishes for the Happiest Thanksgiving Holiday.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

I'm Thankful! And Soon, You'll Be Thankful Too

Back in August I attended the Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged Conference. Myself and 70+ women joined together for a weekend of fun, laughter, learning and boots!!

When I was planning to attended the conference I had no idea what to expect. I knew I was going to be 3 hours from home with 70+ women, most of which I had never met, and we were staying in a state park.

Sounds fun right? (It was a freaking blast!)

I went in fearing the unknown but, I didn't go alone. I manged to drag my girl Heather along for the ride and together we dragged another Shannon along with us.

Our road trip there was awesome!

We sang, we talked about how Okies drive 90+ mph till we hit a curve then drop to 25 mph, and we debated the oxford comma.

We also had some really nasty McDonald's because we waited to long to stop and eat and ran out of choices.

Even the register at McDonald's was taunting us.

The AWB hosted several "twitter parties' to give each of us attending a way to connect with each other prior to packing up and heading down.

During one of the twitter parties Country Outfitter joined us.

That was a dang good twitter party!

By the end of it, I had a sponsor paying my way, an invitation to pick out any pair of boots I wanted, up to $150 value), and a gift for you!

Now, I know you're all distracted by the whole "gift for you" and don't worry I'll get to that.

First though, let me tell you about these BOOTS! Hey it is my blog ;) I should get to brag a little.

Look at these beauties!


I took roughly 2 weeks deciding which pair of boots I wanted. And I couldn't be more pleased!

I picked a pair by Justin. The Justin Women's Burnished Tan Boot to be exact!

They have survived hospital stays, mid terms, and divorce court. (Not mine! I'm a legal secretary, remember.)

Last week my giveaway was suppose to "go live". It didn't.

It didn't because last week I was in the hospital with my baby girl.

She was at her dad's for the weekend and while there she suffered a seizure like episode. We met up at the ER and after 5 hours of worry filled testing we were admitted.

Here is where the thankful part comes in.

While I was waiting with my daughter in the hospital some of the lovely women I've met through AWB were calling, texting, emailing etc. They were asking what they could do to make things easier.

They were sending positive vibes, and lots of prayers. They offered me dinner, or laundry, entertainment, or a shoulder to cry on. They just wanted us to know we weren't alone.

They cared!

Today as I type this I want to say I am thankful for my daughter's recovery.

I am thankful for my sweet Daniel's support.

I am thankful for Heather, Jasmine, Stephanie, Logan(who isn't a woman, but is a great Arkansas blogger), Kim, and so many others.

I am also thankful for good boots! They make the days easier sometimes.

Last but not least, I am thankful for you!

And, thanks to Country Outfitter you can be thankful for good boots too! (Yep, here's where that gift for you comes in.)

Country Outfitter would like to give one of my readers the gift of good boots (up to $150 value).

And, we've made it pretty simple for you.

1. Click HERE and submit your email address. (You may receive additional emails or offers from Country Outfitter it's totally worth it though! )

2. Leave a comment here on the blog telling me what you're thankful for and that you've submitted your email address.

A random winner will be selected in two weeks, November 29, 2012, after 9 p.m.

(DISCLOSURE: Country OutīŦtter, a retailer of Justin's Women's Boots gave me these Justin Women's Burnished Tan Boot to review, and as you can tell, I love them!)
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