Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cooking: Thanksgiving Turkey Sandwiches (Recipe)

I don't know about you, but our family may enjoy the meal the day after Thanksgiving even more than the big day's feast. In year's past my mother-in-law has been responsible for some critical parts of the menu: the cranberries, the stuffing and the sweet potatoes, which meant that we went back to her home after dinner with those yummy leftovers. And we've always roasted a turkey of our own to have on hand for a day-after dinner with turkey sandwiches. My husband's family is strong in tradition, and for good reason when it comes to the food they fix--it's delicious!
Things were different this year. My sister-in-law made the cranberries and the sweet potatoes, which were as good as ever, but not easily packed home on a plane, and someone else made the stuffing, which meant it wasn't exactly the same, and not as available for leftovers. So when our little family of five (not so little I guess) returned home after our Thanksgiving travels we had in our bags a loaf of the traditional rye bread purchased from a Jewish bakery and a plan to buy a turkey breast to roast for sandwiches. I ran away with the idea and decided to fix the important parts of the meal. So I bought sweet potatoes and all the ingredients for my mother-in-law's stuffing and spent Monday afternoon cooking. Happily, I had made some cranberries before we left so they were there waiting for us, cool and crimson, and sweetly tart (I love these cranberries!).
I know food tastes better to us because of the tradition imbuing it, but these sandwiches are pretty good in their own right! So I thought I'd share how my husband's family makes a leftover Thanksgiving turkey sandwich.

You'll need:
  • Jewish Rye bread sliced thin and lightly toasted
  • Russian Dressing (recipe follows)
  • Roasted turkey breast sliced thin
  • Crisp bacon
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Avocado (optional)
  • Fresh tomato slices (optional)
For the Russian Dressing combine equal parts ketchup and mayonnaise and add some fresh lemon juice and a bit of ground pepper. I used 1/3 cup ketchup and 1/3 cup mayo and the juice from 1/4 of a large lemon. Mix well.
To make the sandwich, spread the Russian Dressing generously on one side of each of your bread slices. Pile some turkey on one side (it's best if it's a messy pile rather than laid out flat) and put your lettuce and bacon on the other half.
Sometimes I add avocado, and less often tomato, but this sandwich is good in all those combinations. You could also skip those and the bacon and spread on some cranberry sauce.

The bottom line is that this is one of the best sandwiches I've tasted! It's especially nice nestled among some fresh cranberries, stuffing and candied sweet potatoes. You've got starchy, sweet, tart, salty and tangy all on one plate. See what I mean? It may be the best part of Thanksgiving. Except for part about being surrounded by family. I missed them as I sat down to eat our traditional Thanksgiving leftovers.

If you still have some leftover turkey in the fridge, go get some rye bread and try this sandwich. You just may end up with another happy tradition.

Monday, November 26, 2012

FYI: Crochet Pouf Pattern at Tip Junkie

Making up your list of gifts to give this Christmas? If giving handmade is high on your list I wanted to let you know about a new pattern I designed for TipJunkie. It's for a crochet pouf!

I think the pouf is the perfect "little something extra" for any outfit--sweaters, jackets, even a winter coat. You may need to make one for yourself too. It's pretty festive; the yarn has sequins sewn in.

I think it's adorable on little girls too.

You can find the tutorial and free printable pattern here on TipJunkie.

Friday, November 23, 2012

FYI: Shop Sale for the Big Weekend

I hope you all had a wonderful day of Thanksgiving yesterday if you were celebrating. Now of course begins the season of giving. I like to think of it more as giving than shopping, but I realize shopping is often a necessary step in that. So I'm offering 20% in my Etsy shop through end of day Monday, November 26th.

Enter the code CYBER20 in your shoppping cart. Good luck with the hunt!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Winner: The Twelve Knits of Christmas Book

I love using for picking winners, because it is indeed random. This time it picked number 1!
Lizzy said...
My favorite gift includes the swans a swimming.
November 10, 2012 8:19 AM
So there you go, Lizzy! I hope you enjoy The Twelve Knits of Christmas! You can knit the swans and the whole menagerie. Please send me an email with your address so we can get it mailed out to you.

FYI: Guest Posting at Delia Creates Today

The lovely Delia of Delia Creates is hosting the perfect series for this time of year: Soup of the Day. Yes, please, I'd like some every day! It's the perfect meal in my opinion. She has a great list of contributors sharing recipes and I am happy to be there today sharing one of my favorites. if you have a minute check it out here.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Design: Faux Bois Thanksgiving Printables (Free Download)

I can't wait to pause next week and spend a day surrounded by family expressing gratitude for all of our many blessings. This year has not been without some significant challenges, but it has also been filled with grace and mercies, and we are thankful. There is always much to be thankful for, if we can be still for a few minutes to let the realization sink in, right?

I am not hosting the dinner this year, but if I were, I would have the table set in a monochromatic spread of bleached pine cones and twigs and acorns, and white linens, and china with touches of gold. I would also use some faux bois placecards and place a printed copy of one of my favorite Thanksgiving Hymns at each place. There are so many beautiful words to help us observe this holiday. I love the words of Henry Alford, and Martin Rinkart, and the 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation of Abraham Lincoln.

I also love an idea I saw somewhere, of creating a Thanksgiving tree. A branch from outside would be perfect for hanging little cards with inscriptions or drawings from all of our guests. I am thankful for health, and a beautiful landscape around me that changes with each season, and the opportunity to be a mother and wife, and my eyesigh,t and the ability to use my hands to make gifts for those I love, and my faith, and so much more...

Though Thanksgiving invitations are usually offered over the phone or via email, I love the idea of sending a more formal one with a RSVP to help me plan.

I made these faux bois Thanksgiving printables last year after Scarlett's Woodland Picnic birthday party. Judging by Etsy and Pinterest the birthday printables were well-liked and I thought they would lend themselves to Thanksgiving, with a few tweaks. So I made them and I'd like to share them with you.

The set includes invitations and envelopes, place cards (or food labels, or whatever), "Thankful" cards, hang tags and circle tags to use as placecards or gift tags or something else you may come up with, and bottle wrappers (napkin rings?), and even a little bunting. The PDF file can be customized because it includes form fields for you to type in. I've also included some versions "as is" of sayings that should work well for most gatherings but the rest have placeholder text you can type over.

These printables come in a bleached, or Flemish Oak and in a darker Mahogany brown, both with touches of a golden yellow. There are coordinating printed papers in faux bois and gingham for lining trays or cutting cupcake wrapers or anything else you can think of!

To use these printables you simply need Adobe Reader, which is a free download here. You can select the pages you wish to print, and even print some double-sided. The invitation and envelopes are designed to be double sided and look so fun that way with the gingham peeking out. If you use hanging tags they would look great double-sided too. (Note that Adobe Acrobat provides more flexibility such as re-ordering pages and deleting pages.)

For best results I take my files on a USB drive to a local print shop because the color is always more vibrant compared to my home printer. Be sure to use bright white 90 lb (or heavier) card stock when you print yours.

I know time is short already but maybe you can still use these, or if not this year, you can get a jump on next year! You can download my Faux Bois Thanksgiving printables in two parts here and here

Monday, November 12, 2012

Review: Martha Stewart Crafts Circle Edge Punch

I don't consider myself much of an expert in the paper crafts department, but I have accumluted a few paper punches over the last few years of birthday parties and can't seem to get over the delight of punching out perfectly formed, intricate shapes just like that. Presto! Such a time saver. So I was excited when I heard about the new Martha Stewart Crafts Circle Edge Punch and said, "yes!" please send me one to try out.

Martha Stewart will be demonstrating this cool new tool on HSN tomorrow, November 13th. Look here for the details. I wonder if she'll be wrapping for the holidays, making placemats, party hats, cupcake wrappers, note cards, or simply beautiful doilies? I love doilies...

In just a few minutes I made a bunch of 6 inch and 8 inch doilies in white and kraft colors. I love the idea of these wrapped around my Christmas gifts. I even made a little gift tag to match. I know the amazing thing about this tool is the perfect circles it creates, but the tag is pretty cute too!

The Martha Stewart Crafts Circle Edge Punch is simple and fun to use. I had Scarlett helping me with the punching once I had the paper positioned. Click through for a little demo, and to get a coupon code for 20% off Martha Stewart Crafts supplies! (Sorry, but this code does not apply to the Circle Edge Punch.)

Room Design: Bleached Tablescape for Thanksgiving (Tutorial)

Last year I decided on a "bleached" tablescape for Thanksgiving: I gathered fallen branches, pinecones and acorns from my backyard, dusted them with white paint, and arranged them in different glass containers for a monochrome effect.
I varied the scale by mixing in some similarly whitewashed pumkins and gourds and grounded it all on a crisp white tablecloth. What I love about this look is that everything else pops--the bit of gold on the china, and especially whatever food will be served on those plates.
I shared the steps for this DIY in a Kirtsy slideshow last year and now I'm bringing the tutorial home. Click to read about bleaching your own tablescape.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Review: New Fiona Goble Knits Books (Giveaway)

I just love the cover shot of Fiona Goble's new "The Twelve Knits of Christmas."  Looks like a family portrait to me! Maybe it's because I have family photos on the brain... Do I try and arm wrestle my group into one for the annual Christmas card? Or should I not attempt it and instead put my energy towards some handmade goodies? If you are smart you've already started your projects. I haven't. But I'm thinking it would be pretty great to set some things aside and curl up with one of these knit books.

I love the idea of my girls playing with characters from Goldilocks and Three Bears knit by their mama. That story is just one of the six Fairy Tales covered in "Fairy Tale Knits: 20 Enchanting Characters to Make."

I am amazed at the creativity that went into these patterns! It's not just a matter of having three pigs and a wolf for example, but the pigs each have adorable sweaters. Each character has a unique outfit with great colors and cute details and embroidery. Look at Hansel and Gretel for instance: I love Hansel's lederhosen and cap, and Gretel's dirndl...

...and the witch has "warts and a weird tooth" and looks positively spooky tucked into her hooded coat.

"The Twelve Knits of Christmas" would be too too cute for one of our family traditions, which is to sing that carol on Advent Sundays.

In her signature style, Fiona has designed a set of adorable characters, birds and, of course, five gold rings. I love the gold rings.

There are so many things to love in this book. I would like a coat like the one this leaping Lord is wearing!

Ready to knit some characters? I've got a copy of The Twelve Knits of Christmas to giveaway!
To enter, leave me a comment and let me know your favorite gift from the traditional carol. Is it the nine ladies dancing, or the french hen, or perhaps the lone partridge? One entry per person please. Giveaway is open until November 16 and then I'll pick a winner. Good luck!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Party: Prairie Rose Cowgirl Birthday for Scarlett (Printables)

We celebrated Scarlett's birthday! About a month ago, actually. She wanted a "cowboy" party, but of all my girls, Scarlett is girly-girl, so it called for a feminine flourish. "Yes," to the horse part, and cowboy hats, and some western elements, such as burlap, but I was also thinking about the strong women who could ride fast with the boys when they needed to, but also made rough prairie houses beautiful homes, and appreciated floral calico and roses and refined touches, such as tablecloths, to balance out the leather and dust. I guess that's the kind of cowgirl I imagine Scarlett would be. So I arrived at a Prairie Rose Cowgirl idea.

We invited some family and friends over for pony rides. We had ponies (horses really) at one of Audrey's parties too. Such a great way to entertain a bunch of little guests. Not only can they ride the ponies, but they can feed them too, with carrots and apples and sugar cubes. Getting that little palm flat is the only trick.

But because they all can't be on a horse at once, I thought another game would be a good idea. I made some personalized kraft paper wallets and printed play money for the little cowgirls and cowboys to shop at the general store. I don't know about you but visiting a general store always sounded like a highlight to me: everything from food staples to toys to fabric, clothing and tools, fresh produce, and of course, candy!

Seemed better than handing them a bag of goodies and they loved it! They had to work to fill their paper bags by redeeming play money in increments of one and five. Audrey played the shop keeper and took her job fairly seriously. I probably should have explained the role a bit better!

My favorite part of the whole event was that the girls set up the store themselves (with a bit of help from their father). I brought them glass jars which they filled and priced with kraft hang tags. They then carried everything out to our storefront (our playroom puppet theater actually, which I embellished with a rough sign and calico curtains) and organized it: bushels of apples, bins of bandanas, and stacks of cowboy hats in front, art supplies and toys on the right and candies on the left. It was so much fun!

The serving table was decked with a burlap tablecloth I made and some incredible faux patchwork cotton-linen japanese fabric in a strawberry-rose calico print I purchased here. (The only questions is what to do with it next--it's so great!)

Above the table hung a bunting made with strips of calico knotted in half along some jute twine. And on the table were red striped napkins (IKEA dishtowels tied with twine) in a galvanized bin (from IKEA long ago...) and bamboo plates, carrot and celery sticks with ranch dip (of course!), corn on the cob, tater tots, and everyone's favorite (especially the adults!): fried chicken tenders. The fried food was purchased because I couldn't make it better if I tried, and I've realized it's not possible (or worth it) to try and do it all...

And, of course, the cupcakes! They were a triple-tiered batch of vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream frosting (my go-to recipe found here minus the lemon flavoring and plus some vanilla) sprinkled with raw sugar and wrapped in strips of burlap. Yum!

To wash down all that sugar? Rootbeer, of course! Scarlett's request...

The girls wore things I had sewn for them. Audrey in a Prairie Rose Dress of my design (which she promptly changed out of into an outfit of her choosing once she had the chance...she didn't love the dress, sadly, even though she picked the fabric--Sweet Tweet), Tess in a little Angel Sleeve dress I made for her this summer (for once I planned ahead!), and Scarlett in a Prairie Blouse and Prairie Ruffle Pants (patterns are coming, just not as quickly as I was hoping! UPDATE: Pattern info here.). I adore Scarlett's blouse fabric--it's a gorgeous voile I found here. I had thought about full culottes for her but went with a bit narrower wide-leg ruffle pant (the same design I made for Tess here) in a turquoise stretch denim from Joann. 

We had a great time! Thank goodness my sister-in-law and her friend were in town to help me along with my husband and girls in the last minute crunch (last couple hours actually). No matter how much of a headstart you get (and I really didn't get enough in this case) it still seems to be a bit of a sprint at the end. But a fun one! Especially now that these girls are getting old enough to really help! I love that!

If you are interested in printables inspired by by this Prairie Rose Cowgirl party (those shown here including the wallets and play money plus more) you can find the party printables suite here in my Etsy shop.

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