Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving wrapup and Christmas preparations

Our Thanksgiving dinner turned out very well, with good food and excellent company, and a good time was had by all. I learned that my new(ish) crockpot will actually cook if left on "low," so next time I need to hold mashed potatoes I have to figure out how to turn it to just "warm" or else just leave it off until shortly before serving. The potatoes weren't bad, but they were sort of twice-cooked which made the texture a little weird. As for the buttermilk biscuit rolls, the changes I made to the dough recipe - 3/4 cup Crisco and 1/4 cup butter, 2 tsp salt - came out fantastic. The first batch baked on Thanksgiving burned quickly, however, and so I think the baking temperature of 400 degrees is just way overkill especially if you're putting the rolls on the bottom rack. I made up the last of the dough on Friday and used 375 degrees instead, and they came out absolutely perfectly. They could probably even be baked at 350 degrees and turn out just fine, which would be helpful since so many chicken and pork things I make are baked at 350.

The bacon-wrapped turkey was fantastic, with lots of bacony flavor in the meat. We may not repeat this, as I think both Chris and I prefer a more traditional turkey, but it was very good and I'm glad I did the experiment.

Yesterday I put up the Christmas lights on the house, as I try to do each year over Thanksgiving weekend if the weather permits. It just gets dark too early to try and do it after work in the evenings, so a weekend or vacation day is really the only opportunity to do it safely. I pulled out the Bin O' Outside Lights and started testing them - four icicle strands had bit the dust, but luckily there were three boxes of new icicle lights in the bin so I figured I was all set. Up to the roof I went, after going up and down to set up the extension cord off the side of the house and into the garage, and the long string of icicles went up first with no problems. I opened up a new package of lights, only to discover they had polarized plugs (one blade bigger than the other) - and the first set I had put up did not, so I couldn't chain them together. So I had to take down the long string, and start over using the new lights...which worked great until I found that the new strands were much shorter than the ones they had replaced, meaning I didn't have enough to cover the roofline that I wanted to cover. Back down to the ground I went, on to the computer to look up where to buy them, a call to Home Depot to see if they were in stock, and finally a trip to go buy more.

By the time I got home with the new lights, Chris had gotten up and was ready to work on the ground stuff while I finished up the roof. The new icicle lights finished up the roofline handily (and I really like them much better than the others - GE Commercial Grade Icicle lights), and I now have three strands of multicolor lights available since we bought LED lights for the tree this year, so those went up on the roof as well. I was able to make a double line along the edge of the gutter (just above the icicles), as well as outline the little detail roof peak above the garage. Chris put the blue and white lights into the bushes, outlined the walk with the green rope light, and the front door in purple lights. I want more blue/white lights for the bushes and maybe another rope light for the other side of the walkway, but what we have looks good for sure.

And last night I got to come home after flyball to a lit-up house, which is a wonderful thing.

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