Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Wreaths

This year I made two wreaths. One for me and one for a friend. Wreaths are really easy to make, and it's so nice to be able to personalize them. Since I'm stuck on the beachy theme, I had to do something with starfish.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas Things

We all had a wonderful Thanksgiving here. The food was fabulous and the company was even better. So now we're on to the next holiday, Christmas. While reading some of my favorite blogs I stumbled across these great ideas for making beachy Christmas ornaments.
You can buy the empty clear glass ornament balls at Michael's craft store, then all you need to do is fill them up with sand and sea shells. How easy and cute is that! To get the full story and all the details you can visit the blog The Stories of A to Z, where I found the top photo.

(Top photo from Tales from an oc cottage, bottom photo from Completely Costal.)
These are also super cute, glitter starfish Christmas ornaments. All you need is white finger starfish, glue, glitter, and ribbon. Another 15 minute easy craft that would make a great gift for someone.

While you're making these great Christmas Ornaments I recommend listening to Chris Tomlin's new Christmas CD, "Glory in the Highest". I just picked it up today and I can't stop listening to it. It is sure to put you in the Christmas spirit while reminding you what Christmas is really all about.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Making Of The Brine

Less than 48 hours till Turkey Day! So that means it's time to start making the turkey brine.

I'll let the brine chill over night in the fridge so it will be nice and cold for the turkey tomorrow night. Mmmm I can taste the moist delicious turkey already.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Turkey Day

Thanksgiving is now less than a week away. It's time to start prepping for the big day. Each year I make the turkey and have used the same recipe every time. The turkey always comes out perfectly moist and delicious. I usually brine the turkey in a 5 gallon bucket, you can buy a new/never used one at Lowe's or Home Depot. Then I just store the bucket in the fridge overnight to keep chilled. Or if you don't have the room in your fridge, I have also brined the turkey in a medium size cooler. With the ice in the brine and the cooler lid kept tight, the turkey will stay at a safe cold temperature over night. Since the brine needs to be completely chilled before soaking the turkey in it, I usually prepare the brine 2 days before Thanksgiving. Then the night before Thanksgiving day all I need to do is clean the turkey and soak it over night in the brine. It couldn't get any easier. Follow the directions exactly as the recipe states for cooking the turkey. Yes the recipe is correct for cooking the turkey at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. This gives the turkey that fabulous golden color that is picture perfect. This high temperature may cause a lot of smoke from the fat drippings. Adding watering into the bottom of the pan may help reduce the smoke. After you decrease the oven temperature to 350 degrees, place tin foil (AKA *turkey triangle) over the turkey breast, and place the temperature probe into the turkey, you can sit back and relax. Don't touch the oven door till you hear that thermometer alarm. I encourage you to view this video found at the Food Network website for more information about this recipe, specifically on roasting the turkey and using the *turkey triangle.

Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy!

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown


  • 1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey

For the brine:

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 gallon chicken 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

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 skin liberally with canola oil.

Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Make a * turkey foil triangle * and place it over the turkey breast then 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.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Very Spicy Chili

I found a new recipe for chili from the blog I'm Just Beachy and Publix. This chili is quick and easy to make with a pretty good kick if you like things spicy. Here is the recipe with the changes I made.

Warm You Up Chili


1 onion (chopped); I used 1 tsp of onion powder instead since I don't like the texture of onions

1 lb ground beef

3 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons cumin (my addition)

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 (10.75-ounce) can condensed tomato soup; although I used the condensed soup this time, I think next time I will just use a can of tomato sauce

1 (14.5-ounce) can Rotel (whatever kind you like, I used hot) (undrained)

2 small cans diced green chiles (undrained); I only added 1 can

1 (16-ounce) can chili beans in mild sauce (undrained); I added a can of corn instead since I don't like these beans

1 (15-ounce) can black beans (drained)

1 bottle of beer (any kind); I used Blue Moon, only about 3/4 of the bottle.

Preheat large saucepan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Place beef, chili powder, pepper, and onion or powder in pan. Cook 4–5 minutes, stirring to crumble meat, or until meat is brown and no pink remains. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to low; simmer 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, to blend flavors.

Serve with shredded cheese, crackers, and sour cream for toppings.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Breast Cancer 3 Day Walk

While we did not participate in the 3-Day 60 mile walk to benefit the Susan G. Komen foundation, the fire departments of Treasure Island and St. Pete Beach were out to cheer them on. We built a pink ribbon out of balloons were many stopped to have their picture taken, and a cold water mister to help keep the walkers cool.

The firemen wore specially made pink t-shirts as their part of their uniform for 6 days to show their support.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!