Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. I broke down and invited some old aunties over for a simple lunch. I didn't go nuts (local style), and I limited the food to traditional fare: turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing, candied yams, roasted asparagus, cranberry sauce, rolls, and pumpkin crunch cake. Everyone took home enough leftovers for at least another meal, and I was left with a manageable amount of everything. I'm sure my mom pooh-poohed the amount of food, but I think I made more than enough. Kikukat Mom grew up in Hawaii, so by her measure, if I didn't make enough to hold the party 3x over, I really didn't make enough. Well, I don't care if she thought that because the whole thing was over by 2:40! That gave The Help enough time to help Kikukat Mom with her printer troubles.
It was nice to see the old aunties. ABetty (of corned beef hash fame) is doing much better and moving around well. . .well enough to help herself to a second serving. AJanice asked me if there was a book she could get which defines slang and text jargon. She said she is currently reading a J. K. Rowling book with all kinds of profanity. "I know what fuck and shit are, but I don't know what snogging means," said AJanice. I had to laugh. AJanice earned a living as a speech therapist just outside the Beltway, so "fuck" and "shit" were enunciated with utmost precision as ABetty looked on unfazed. ABetty, the older of the two is closing in on 90, but even she will say a "fuck" here and there. If I ever live that long. . .
The Ds popped in for a short time to get changed for a brunch. D1 looked towering in her heels, and D2 looked so pretty in a floral dress. Nice to see her wearing something other than a t-shirt and shorts. Neither D is big on turkey so I hope their brunch served other things as well.
Even though the leftovers were manageable for me, I'm turkey'd out for a while. I decided to buy a turkey breast roast (even if the whole turkey was much cheaper). Nobody here really cares for dark meat so I figured the thighs and drumstick would only get in the way. Glad I did. The turkey breast cooked in under 3 hours, and because I brined it, it was juicy and seasoned throughout. 3M offered to deep fry my turkey, and I may take her up on it next year...if I buy a whole turkey.
I'm also kinda ham'd out. I made Sugar Bath Ham. The Help and I had ham sandwiches for a few days. I like ham, but after 3 days, even ham loses its welcome. I'm looking forward to eating "plain" food now.
Oahu and Kauai were under flash flood watch this past weekend, and I couldn't help but wonder if the rains would eventually reach us here. While the weather wasn't all that great, it was primarily dry. The Help watched a lot of football in between doing his chores (taking care of animals, washing car, etc.). I managed to throw together this soup in the crock pot. It was a nice break from turkey & ham. It also went well with the leftover rolls from turkey day (giant bag from Safeway was $6.99). Although the instructions say to initially add the barley to part of the vegetables on the stove, I'm quite certain everything could be just thrown into the crock pot.
With the craziness of Thanksgiving behind us, its now time to do the countdown until the next break: Winter Vacation!!! 15 work days stands between now and another break. If I call in sick or take personal leave, I can shave off a day or two too!Beef & Barley Soup
1- 1 1/2 lbs beef chuck, cut in 3/4" cubes
1 tbsp oil
1 c chopped onion
1 c diced carrots
1/2 c diced celery
1 clove garlic, minced
12-16 oz mushrooms, cut in quarters (or smaller)
3 sprigs thyme
1/2 c pearl barley, rinsed and drained
1 can beef broth
1 can chicken broth
2 c hot water
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
fresh Italian parsley
Heat oil in large skillet. Saute beef cubes til no longer pink. Using a slotted spoon, remove meat to 4-quart or larger crock pot. Add beef broth, cover, and cook on high. Using same skillet, add onion, carrots, and celery. Cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic, mushrooms, and thyme. Cook for 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, place at least half of vegetable mixture in crock pot. To remaining vegetable mixture, add pearl barley and chicken broth. Bring to a boil then add to crock pot, along with hot water, pepper, and salt. Cook on high for 5 hours. Remove thyme sprigs before serving. Garnish with parsley.