Thursday, December 30, 2010

$3 Rockin' Horse

Look at this homely balding little rocking horse I found at the thrift store for $3.00. It's amazing what a fresh hairdo and a new set of eyes can do. :)
This was Brenna's favorite Christmas present this year, which is funny since it was probably the cheapest. :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Turkey

Ok, so this past Thanksgiving I made the BEST turkey ever!!!!! If you are looking for a recipe for the perfect meal for your Christmas Dinner... Look no further! My husband and I had been at a friends for a Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner and the turkey was to die for... so I asked our friend what he did and he told us that he had simply Brined it...
Now, with all the experience that I had in my short culinary program experience (didn't get to finish :( but plan to!) and my LOVE for cooking, I had heard of it, but never tried it. I don't know why I hadn't cause it's the best thing ever!

Anyway, the recipe that I found was similar to the one our friend made for us. I found it on The Food Network website. It's from "Good Eats" Alton Brown. The reviews for this recipe had me begging to try it! Perfect 5 stars! (And might I add I don't think I have ever made anything of Alton Brown's that wasn't fabulous! And let me tell you... He knows his stuff)

So, here it is... (you can also find the link here) Hope you try this! It is DEFINITELY WORTH the extra effort! And yes, my turkey looked just as beautiful as the Food Network picture (below) when it came out of the oven!

(FYI Allspice Berries are just whole allspice!)

Good Eats Roast Turkey

  • Cook Time:

    2 hr 30 min

  • Level:


  • Yield:

    10 to 12 servings


  • 1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey

For the brine:

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 gallon vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
  • 1 gallon heavily iced water

For the aromatics:

  • 1 red apple, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 6 leaves sage
  • Canola oil


Click here to see how it's done.

2 to 3 days before roasting:

Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.

Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.

Early on the day or the night before you'd like to eat:

Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.

Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skinliberally with canola oil.

Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Upcycled shirt to a sweater dress

This old shirt was just taking up space in my closet and not getting worn. So I decided to turn it into a cute little dress for Brenna.

Since I already had the shirt to use for fabric this project only cost me 92 cents!

I think she likes it because she keeps saying "I pretty mommy" and twirling around.

So here's how you make one:

Step 1: Cut off the sleeves and bottom along the seams.

Step 2: I used one of Brenna's dresses that fits her just right as a pattern. I turned the shirt inside out. Then I lined up the neck of the pattern dress with the neck of the shirt and traced the bodice with a marker. I did this for the front of the dress on the front of the shirt and for the back of the dress on the back of the shirt. If you are new to making your own pattern there is a wonderful tutorial here.

Step 3: Cut along the marker lines. (This is a picture of the back piece).

Step 4: Next, cut the sleeves down to kid size and sew them closed. (I did this by holding the original sleeve over Brenna's shoulder to mark it before cutting). Also sew the sides of the dress together.

Step 5: Sew along the top of only 1 side. (I added snaps later so Brenna can actually get her head through this dress, I have made that mistake a few too many times).

Step 6: Pin the un-sewn shoulder together and flip the dress inside out.

Step 7: Pin the sleeve in place to sew on. I do this by turning the dress inside out and leaving the sleeve right side out. Then I line up the seam of the sleeve with the seam where the armpit goes of the dress and pin them together. Then I slide the sleeve inside the dress and pin all the way around. If you are new to sewing sleeves on there is a helpful tutorial here.

Step 8: Once everything is pinned pull the sleeve back out of the dress. It will now be inside out as well. (I always turn the dress right side out to check it before sewing the sleeve on. There is nothing worse than having an inside out sleeve sewn on).

Step 9: Sew the sleeves on and turn the dress right side out.

#10: Take the material that was at the bottom of the shirt originally and sew it into a tube the same size as the bottom of the dress.

#11: Pin the tube and the dress together for sewing. I do this by turning the dress inside out and leaving the tube right side out. Then I line the seams up and slide the tube inside the dress and pin the edges together. Then flip the tube out and it will be inside out as well.

#12: Sew the tube and the dress together.

#13: Sew snaps into the open shoulder.

Embellishing (optional)


Step 1: Using the extra material make tattered rosettes. I used this tutorial.

Step 2: Next, hot glue tule to the back of the rosettes.

Step 3: Hot glue all 3 rosettes with tool backing onto some felt to keep in place.

Step 4: Hand sew snaps onto the felt and also onto the dress. (This way you can remove the flowers when washing the dress. I don't know how well hot glue washes, but I don't really want to try :)


Step 1: Using a scrap of fabric sew a tube.

Step 2: Then sew a button onto each end of the tube.

Step 3: Using a seam ripper open a small hole on each side of the dress.

Step 4: Cut the tube in half. Trim each side to the desired length.

Step 5: Slide the end of the tube into the open hole.

Step 6: Sew the tube into place while sewing the hole closed.

Step 7: Sew the buttons into place on the dress.

If this is confusing at all please leave me a comment of send me an e-mail and I will clarify. Thanks!

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