Thursday, December 23, 2010

Turkey Intimidation

I've pretty much been doing anything but blogging lately - I think I've been too busy with Christmas break. Wallowing in it, if you will. No more studying, no more papers, no more pretending like I've read for class - just sweet, sweet freedom.

And this week, it's been all about Christmas prep. I don't think I have ever had so much of the responsibility for Christmas, and it's strange, it makes me feel like too much of a grown-up. In fact, I started my very first turkey this morning. There is something crazy intimidating about a turkey, and I don't know why. I just bought a turkey breast, wrapped it in foil, and threw it in the crock pot. Have I mentioned I would die without my crock pot? You should have seen me up at 7am trying to get this bird in the pot though.

Peggy Sue the wonder dachshund was going crazy, I've got a huge turkey breast on the counter which is dripping its horrible turkey juice EVERYWHERE, like all over the counter and down the front of the dishwasher. Meantime, Peggy Sue is acting like this is the best thing that's ever happened to her, standing right under it and trying to lick all of it up while more drips on her head. So I have salmonella central all over the countertop, the dishwasher, the floor, and the dog. And that would be why, after I washed Peggy Sue and every flat surface in the kitchen, I retreated back to bed until ten.

And because this thing is wrapped in foil, I have no earthly idea if it's even cooking. I have this horrible feeling that when I take it out to take to the family get-together tonight, I'm STILL going to have salmonella central. Merry Christmas everyone, here's an intestinal issue, hope you enjoy!

In other news, I have lost my voice. I am certain this is because someone (most likely PB) asked Santa for my voice to be stricken for Christmas. That's why I've been sending out public facebook appeals to Santa that I am certainly less naughty than anyone who might have wished my voice away, and dammit I SHOULD WIN THIS ONE. So far, I still sound terrible. This does not bode well for tonight, because it's Christmas with my mom's side of the family. There are two things we do at that get-together. We eat, and we talk. Everyone talks A LOT. There's a reason I do too, I can't help it, I swear it's genetic. So I'm drinking lots of hot coffee and hoping that somehow has a therapeutic quality.

Sigh. I still have to crank out a green bean casserole, a pumpkin pie cheesecake, a pumpkin gooey cake, and a hashbrown casserole for the various family get-togethers we do between now and Christmas, and hopefully work in some time for some Christmas drinking. I am foreseeing making some Sangria and watching A Christmas Story at least 6 out of the 24 times they play it on TNT this year.

Cross your fingers for no turkey poisoning for anyone, and a voice for me, so that I will not be coming to the battle of the talkers unarmed tonight.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Parties, Cookies, Puppies, Wahoo!

We've had Peggy Sue for a week now, and I kind of feel like I've had a newborn for a week. I knew puppies were a lot of work, but whew! She's either eating something off the floor, she's gotta pee, or she's nomming my commercial law book. We've had so much fun though - as you can see, PB is acting as if he personally has just birthed the puppy:

It's hilarious, he picks her up and talks to her in the PB Puppy Voice, which I would love to surreptitiously record one day, as it is awesome.

The one thing I have never liked about dogs: if they are not pristinely clean, they have a tendency to smell like seashells. But that's easily remedied with Peggy Sue. We gave her a bath in our big kitchen sink the first time, but I figured out yesterday that the easiest thing to do is just throw her in the shower with you and wash her. She chills on the bath mat while you shower anyway, and she doesn't mind the water, so you just grab her, soap her up (I highly recommend the Martha Stewart Pets peppermint shampoo), and rinse her off. She laid down on the towel after that, and I wrapped her up like that, where she stayed for about 15 minutes until she was dry. So cute.

So there's the whole crew, chilling on the loveseat last night. (Back row, Twyla on the left, Tallulah on the right. Obvs Peggy Sue in front.)

At this point, you're thinking that I have become a total crazypants who does not ever have any human interaction and stays home with the dog at all times. You would be right that I am a total crazypants who is with the dog all the time, but the difference is, I've just made her a road dog.

We had an engagement party on Saturday night, which was so much fun! It was just a little redneck get-together in my parents' finished basement - pool-playing, foosball-playing, beer-drinking, low-level gambling. Mom knitted Peggy Sue a party dress so she looked all fancy:

Like I said, it was a redneck party. Note the sketch behind me in the following picture, including a motorcycle and an Indian headdress. Also, I'm pretty sure the words coming out of my mouth at this point would be something like "Hold the puppy so mama can gamble." We played Left/Right/Center, which requires absolutely zero skill, just a little luck, an ability to roll dice, and three one dollar bills. Basically, everyone starts out with three dollars and you roll three dice. If you roll a dot, you keep that dollar. Roll a left or right, and you pass it in that direction. Roll a center and it goes to the pot in the middle. The goal is to be the last person with a dollar in play. And if you are, you win the whole pot! I know it sounds like a caveman game, but it is so much fun, especially at a party after you've had a few. I highly recommend it for your next high-class soiree.

This photo is pretty much a good example of how PB looks most of the time post-puppy:

The party was lots of fun though! I got pasta from a local pizza/pasta place, and it was so delicious. Pretty sure that we had enough for about 900 people to eat for 4 days, because we had baked ziti, baked spaghetti, angel hair with pink sauce (my personal favorite), fettucine alfredo, tons of salad and delicious garlic bread. By the end of the night, we were all just walking around gnawing on big hunks of garlic bread and holding a beer in the other hand. Classy times!

We also got an engagement cake from The Sweet Life, which is where our wedding cake will come from! We got a pumpkin spice cake, which was delicious - my number one priority as it relates to any cake. I really don't care if it looks like something from Ace of Cakes - I just want it to be nomtastic. It got me really excited for cake tasting this weekend! Other flavors in the running, to be decided post-tasting, are Sun Drop pound cake (recipe here - if you live anywhere that you can find Sun Drop soda, it's worth making for Christmas; sort of like a less intense lemon pound cake without that terrible Pine-Sol taste some lemon pound cakes can have), strawberry cake, and hummingbird cake (recipe here - another of my favorites).

Here's how it turned out!

One other thing - last night I went to a cookie exchange. You should host one of these asap because it is the most fantastic thing I've ever heard of. Here's the idea: each person makes 24 cookies, and then you show up with your tupperware. There were other snacks and drinks and socializing during the party, but the main point of the cookies is delicious takeout for later. You pack yourself a whole container of various cookies, and then you have lots of delicious treats at home. I am a fan of any concept that allows me to have fatty snacks in the cabinets.

I made two recipes of cookies to take, and I figured I'd give you my best one. These turned out to be MOST amazing, and they are so easy. As a general rule, I am very against cookie making because they are a big pain in the butt, and the results usually don't reflect what a giant pain in the butt they were. Thus, you will never again find me melting butter, rolling out dough, or doing any of those other not-worth-it tasks.

Here's what I most certainly do advocate for your next batch of cookies. Go to the store, buy yourself a tube of the Pilsbury dough that those nice people do such a good job with, and doctor that junk up.

Here's how - with this recipe from Pilsbury:

Cinnamon-Toffee Pecan Cookies


1 16.5 oz tube of sugar cookie dough
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I used allspice because I was out of nutmeg, and that turned out fine)
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup toffee bits (I used butterscotch chips because I couldn't find "toffee bits," whatever those are - delicious!)


1. Heat oven to 350. Spray cookie sheets with cooking spray. In large bowl, break up cookie dough. This goes much easier if you leave it out of the fridge for 20 minutes or so. Stir in cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla until well blended. Drop on cookie sheet by heaping teaspoonfuls, three inches apart. I use a small ice cream scooper for this - makes it easier.

2. Bake 11-14 minutes, until edges are golden brown. I despise crunchy cookies, so I stick closer to the 11-12 minutes side.

And TA-DA! Delicious, real easy cookies, that taste like you slaved over them.

Now it's back to studying - one more final, a short little paper, and then it is officially Christmas break! The mere thought of that makes me want to cut cartwheels.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pupdate! (forgive me for that, I had to.)

So y'all....the puppy search has come to an end. It was too long for my snap-decision tastes, and it was tough, but it's over.

You remember my post from yesterday about the chiweenie rescue we
were going to see. We did that, because I was really really into getting a rescue and she was the best-looking one we had seen. But we got there, and oh my goodness y'all, it really broke my heart. She is sweet, but she has so many issues. She ran and hid as soon as I accidentally let her leash slide out of my hand while she was on my lap. After the rescue lady went and retrieved her, she begrudgingly sat there while we kind of held her down. And she was just shaking and shaking.

Now her ad said she was okay with cats...but what that meant is that she doesn't chase and/or try to nom cats. She is afraid of them. The rescue lady had one and she said that the dog screams when the cat gets close to her. So ultimately, as much as PB and I wanted to do that, we just realized we couldn't. I was so worried about territory issues with my cats and all of that stuff, and I just felt like she had issues we couldn't overcome. Because my house is not that giant and I have two cats that kind of are giants. Whatever dog we got was going to have to be okay with having cats all up in their grill, all the time. We just knew we probably weren't the best home for her.

So we did what we did not want to do. We made an appointment to go see a puppy. I have a friend that has three dachshunds and I just knew that's what I wanted. She referred me to this kennel, and they are the sweetest little country people in the world. They have the MOST adorable little weenie dogs you have ever seen in your life. And as soon as we got there, they were ready to meet us and play with us. We were open to looking at all kinds, and I was kind of feeling a short-haired dog because Tallulah is a Maine Coon and it is already pethairapalooza up in my house no matter how much I try to stay on top of it. Turns out though, that long haired ones actually shed MUCH less (and are softer on top of that!) Who knew?

So, we met one of their sweet little black and tan long haired weenies. And she liked PB immediately!

Here she is in the yard after we brought her home! I don't have a ton of great pictures of her yet because I sadly had to go to class after we brought her home today. It is terrible, not only do have that awful end-of-the-semester apathy about class, I feel like I've just left my infant at home. She's hanging out with PB right now - can't wait to go home and see her!