Brace Yourselves; Weird Thanksgiving Food Fusions Are Coming

Brace Yourselves; Weird Thanksgiving Food Fusions Are Coming

Thanksgiving is nearly here, y’all.  “But it’s three weeks away!”, you say.  Y’all don’t even know.  Thanksgiving is THE holiday meal of the year in my family.  We do it big and we do it good.  Even Christmas dinner, which is usually gumbo or maybe a ham, can’t light a candle to Turkey day for us; it’s simply tradition.  It’s a tradition I’m glad to pass down to and share with my little ones.  Our counter tops are loaded down with fried turkey, spiral ham, praline topped sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, and cranberry sauce, among other things.  We are Thanksgiving traditionalists — not much passes the threshold that is wild and wacky.  That said, there have naturally been some exceptions: pumpkin pie cheesecake, pecan pie cheesecake, sausage balls and even a brisket (or two) has been known to make a rare guest appearance every now and then.  But there are some things I’m relieved to say will likely NEVER make way to our Thanksgiving smorgasbord — things that I’ve only ever seen before in nightmares and brief cameos in Ye Olde Medieval Festivals.  Here are just a few that made my stomach absolutely churn:

  1. Deep Fried Stuffing on a Stick.  There is so much wrong with this, I don’t even know where to begin.  bb2600a6e2dad2279413b46ac9a0c90dJust knowing there are people who have fed this to their kids makes me feel less guilty about “Chicken Nugget Tuesdays” at our house.  Not much less guilty, but I’ll take what I can get.
  2. Turkey Cake.  No, this isn’t a Cake Wars confection that is actually a cake cleverly disguised as holiday fowl.  No, no.  This is essentially a meatloaf (only… with turkey) “frosted” with mashed potatoes and other varied toppings — depending on the “chef”.  Really, it’s a festive shepherd’s pie.  Thanks, but I left school lunch back in 2006 where it belongs.
  3. Regular holiday food — Fear Factor style.  Picture this: the scene is perfect.  Dad’s carving the turkey, mom has made her famous Pecan Pie (puh-kahn.. not PEE-can), and grandma is passing around the croissants.  Every one is settling down to dive in and — wait, what’s that?  Is that… a mealworm?!  Yep.  From my native state of Louisiana, comes “buggy” food.  The folks down at the Audubon Insectarium in NOLA topped their turkey day noms off with things of the protein-rich variety — and we’re not talking vitamin supplements.  No worries; most of us southerners can smack down on a holiday meal, mealworm and cricket free.
  4. Gravy soda.  Once again, I have no words.  All I can imagine is someone opening jarred gravy, pouring in some soda water, and going to town.  850860b0afc0e156ae6adf3b8df1d6caKill me now.
  5. Tofurkey.  This poor food item (if you could call it that) has been the butt of everyone’s Thanksgiving day joke since… well, since someone thought it was a good idea and served it to their family.  I would love to have been a fly on the wall for that Thanksgiving dinner nightmare:  “‘Let’s have Thanksgiving with the cousins’, you said.  ‘It will be fun’, you said.  I told you we should have gone to the Chinese buffet!”  Ah, sweet memories.
  6. Turbaconucken.  This just sounds like congestive heart failure waiting to happen.  And perhaps it could be if it is paired with Deep Fried Stuffing.  On a stick.  Basically, this is one of those Turducken things… but wrapped in bacon.  I’m all about bacon.  And turkey.  And chicken.  Nooot so much duck, admittedly.  But turbackonucken?  If I have a hard time saying it, I don’t think I want to eat it.
  7. Jarred gravy and canned cranberry sauce.  As a southern girl, this hurts me to my very core.  nothing-says-annual-thanksgiving-dinner-contribution-like-jarred-gravy-cff48Two of the most important facets of “the dinner” itself, and you can’t take the time to make it?  Tsk, tsk.
  8. Gluten-free rolls.  I understand people who have an allergy to gluten or just do not or cannot eat it for health purposes.  That said, I’d cut off my left, big toe for gluten.  Actually, that really explains a lot about where I carry all my weight.  But damnit, what good is a roll without gluten?  It’s carb blasphemy!  I just can’t even.
  9. Turdunkin.  Listen, y’all.  I love turkey.  And I freaking love donuts (as per the size of my backside).  And while some breakfast foods may pair well with some not-so breakfast foods (check you out, chicken and waffles!), some things absolutely do not hold the same reputation.  54f942e51ccad_-_turdunkin-turkeyEnter: Turdunken.  Basically, this is a turkey basted in Dunkin Donuts’ Coolattas and stuffed with, get this, Dunkin Donuts.  I have a legitimately hard time believing this could possibly taste worth a damn.  What a waste of good donuts.
  10.  And last but not least, Twinkie Stuffing.  Is there really an explanation necessary for this particular dish?  No, I think we can all gather what kind of food mutiny is going down, here.

I’m sure there are a few here and there that I missed, but these dishes managed to wrangle their way into my mind and burn themselves into the deepest recesses of my memory.  That said, I am going to go over my menu for, oh, the millionth time.  Any strange family holiday dishes you’d like to share?  I’d love to know what the “black sheep” of your Thanksgiving menu may be.

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On Budgeting and Monthly Menus

On Budgeting and Monthly Menus

We’ve been getting our business going at full throttle here lately and because of this we’ve had to do some serious budgeting.  I’m not sure if any of you have ever started a business, but those of you who have know what I’m talking about.  New business = Ramen noodles and cold cuts.  Unless, of course, you were like… born into money.  In which case, send some of that cash-flow over our way.

At any rate, we’ve been cutting back here and there where we can.  I took this as an opportunity to cut back on grocery shopping because: A) I loathe Wal-Mart, but it’s the only grocery store around here that doesn’t price gouge and, B) I’ve been meaning to start a monthly menu that doesn’t completely revolve around grilled cheese, chicken nuggets, and applesauce cups (don’t judge… at least I was feeding them.  Right?).

So I seized the day.. er.. Pinterest boards… and we’ve been monthly menu-ing it since February.  Let me just say… I freaking love it.  I go to the store ONCE, that’s right — ONCE, for our “big grocery shopping trip”.  I go with list in hand and buy only what’s on that list.  Nothing else.  The only things I go back for are milk, bread, and weekly produce, which I get on the weekends.  I’m in complete love with this system.  It’s infinitely cheaper (you would not believe how much money we were spending at Wal-Hell) and so much easier for all of us.  I typically go on the last Thursday of the month while Gabe is at OT & speech therapy.  I’m in and out in an hour.  Until February, I believed there was some unspoken law that no one could get out of Wal-Mart alive before his or her two and a half hour time slot.  It was something that I’d do on a Saturday morning, and by morning I mean 3:30.  PM., which would completely ruin the day and moods for all involved.  I’d grocery shop and would pick up take-out because hell no I’m not cooking for you heathens right now.

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Anyway.  It works like a charm and I’m a little embarrassed that I never did this before.  Some days we veer a little off track.  Like a few weeks back we were with the kids at the ER for various sick-ish reasons and I was not cooking Monterey Jack Chicken at midnight.  Sonic really stepped up their game that night.  And, really… who doesn’t love a late-night grilled cheese?  Just me?  Hmm.

I even stepped up my game and made an Excel spreadsheet of item costs.  A little above and beyond, you say?  Did you miss the part about budget?  I’ve allotted us a $350 grocery budget for the month.  And, truth be told, that’s a little extreme.  Because for the four of us for the month, weekend produce/milk/and bread trips included, I’ve been coming in well below that.  Like, ~$200 – $250 kind of below that.  It’s amazing.  If prices change (excluding sale and coupon costs), I simply change the amount on my spreadsheet.  I always know exactly how much I’m going to be out-of-pocket before I even make it to the register.  Seriously, y’all… if you haven’t tried this system, you really ought to give it a look-see.  It’s wonderful.  And for those of you who have been using this method for years?  Why haven’t you helped a girl out?  Secrets don’t make friends, guys.

Because this little venture turned out so beautifully, I’m branching out to other ideas and household organization tools.  This weekend I’m working on a chore chart/reward system for the kids.  Yes, kids.  If Connor, the 1.5 year old, can go put his plate in the trash and clean his tray by himself, then he can do other little things around the house.  Plus, I’m beyond tired of hearing, “Moooooom!  I’m bored!”  Trust me, they’ll never know what hit ’em.  And maybe my baseboards will stay clean.  Hashtag: wishful thinking.

Birthdays, etc.

Birthdays, etc.

My birthday was Monday.  Whoopee.  Actually, it was a nice day and we had an even better weekend.  Last weekend some friends and I went out for my birthday a little early… this past weekend was family time.  We went to Lafayette where I had my camera fixed & whatnot.  On the way home we stopped by Prejean’s for an early birthday dinner.  Gabe, being the food connoisseur that he is, decided on the grilled cheese & french fries.  I bet you didn’t know that you must rub your grilled cheese in your hair to make it taste good.  Gabe, apparently, knew the secret and thus peeled the sandwich apart & rubbed it all in his hair.  He had Velveeta in places Velveeta should never be.  Wish I’d have thought to get a picture, but my camera was in the truck.  If you know my son, you know that his hair could easily be compared to Einstein’s ‘do.  So not only was the cheese practically glued to his head (the cheese was gooey… looked like a damn good sandwich to me — even without the hair follicles), but it was even kind of jutting out in places.  It was pretty funny, and I didn’t really mind since we were only going home anyway.  We ended Saturday on an excellent note, and fell asleep in the chair watching — you guessed it– Frasier.  Pure happiness.  🙂

Monday Gabe & I woke bright & early to take his old bed to the Salvation Army.  My boy is in his own “big boy bed”, complete with big boy sheets (sports themed, of course.  but what else for a growing quarter back??).  Before heading out, however, there was the struggle of fitting a rather large baby bed into my rather tiny Mazda 3.  She thought she had won the battle, but in the end, I won.  Guess who won’t be doing that ever again.  I think I’d have had an easier time toting it onto the city bus than cramming it into my car.  But we got it up there, and thankfully it came out much more gracefully than it went in.  Afterward, we went to Aunt Casey, Aunt Neen & Uncle Dale.  We had a nice visit, so of course it only seemed right to ruin our high spirits with a trip to Wal-Mart.  I don’t know why I do it to myself.  When we finally got home, we enjoyed a nice lunch of bar-b-que’d ribs, potato salad, and garlic bread (my favorite part).  I even made cupcakes.  Because, you know, I’m painfully thin & all.  psh.

 

Dark chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter buttercream.  OMIGOSH.  Freakin’ awesome.  Gabe even had one — sans the peanut butter icing.  His was just buttercream.  🙂  But this is how I found him:

 

Pretty sure he liked it.  He’ll be okay to have peanut butter when he’s (officially) two.  So for his birthday I’m planning on making him banana cupcakes (he loves bananas. I about have to blindfold him when walking through the produce section lest he burst into tears) with the same buttercream.  Think that’ll be pretty good.  But that’s two months away… I think I’ve got a little time to plan.

Happy Wednesday… we’re almost there!