Monthly Archives: November 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Happy Thanksgiving! This is the time to focus on those things for which we are thankful. One of the things we are thankful for is the interest people have shown in these blog posts and the nice comments we have received about the craft projects we have presented in the blog entries we have posted here.

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We were trying to come up with a craft for this week but we came to the conclusion that it’s a little late to make Thanksgiving crafts. People are busy cooking and they have their decorations up already. We decided to post pictures (above and below) of the three Thanksgiving crafts we shared in previous weeks. If anyone gets some last minute inspiration to create, you can find the Thanksgiving Banner in “Thanksgiving Post Number One” and the Centerpiece in                 “Thanksgiving – The Third Blog Post”.

Also check out the previous posts for recipes for cranberry sauce variations and sweet potatoes with bananas.

Our favorite craft project for this holiday is the Thanksgiving Tree. The directions are in the blog: “Thanksgiving Continued”. (Past posts are listed in the right hand column of this page – check them out!)

Here is our Thanksgiving Tree.

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Some of the things we put on our Thanksgiving Tree are listed below. We’ve added quite a few since the picture was taken.

  • Wonderful memories
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Good Food
  • Roof over our heads
  • Employment
  • The Arts
  • Creativity
  • New Car
  • New England Patriots
  • Boston Red Sox
  • UConn
  • Health
  • Healthcare
  • Gay Marriage
  • Our Summer Garden
  • Desserts
  • Reading mysteries
  • Vacation
  • Kevin
  • Roy
  • Our readers and followers

As we mentioned above, we are grateful for good food and for our health. We’ve improved our eating habits a lot in recent years. We’ve both lost a few pounds since the Turkey heads picture at the top of the page was taken of us in 2007. Here are a few healthy ideas for Thanksgiving and everyday.

A FEW HEALTHY TIPS:

  • In our stuffing we use a combo of half white bread and half whole wheat bread.
  • For mashed potatoes sometimes we use half potatoes and 1/2 cauliflower to lower the carb amounts and raise the fiber and nutrition factor.
  • Nonfat sour cream adds creaminess and no fat to mashed potatoes.
  • Buttermilk is low in fat and delicious in mashed potatoes. (Can you tell we love mashed potatoes?) Buttermilk is also great as a base for salad dressings.
  • We substitute low fat versions of mayo, margarine, cream cheese and sour cream in all of our recipes. We save lots of calories and have lost weight by doing so. Non-fat sour cream is pretty good, but otherwise we go low fat.
  • In recipes where teaspoons or tablespoons of salt are called for, we only use a pinch if any at all.

JOKE OF THE WEEK:                                                                                                                                         “Knock Knock”   “Who’s there?”   “Phillip”   ” Phillip Who?”                                                               “Phillip a plate and dig in!”  (Source: hubpages)

(Hmmm, maybe they should read the healthy tips first!) 

THANKSGIVING FACT: In 1941, Congress passed an official proclamation and made Thanksgiving a national holiday which would be observed on the fourth Thursday of November every year. (Source: Buzzle)

We wish you, your families and friends a happy, healthy and safe Thankgiving and a wonderful holiday season to come.

Next week – Christmas is coming!

Roy and Kevin

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Thanksgiving -The Third Blog Post

Wow – this is our 6th blog entry already and next week is Thanksgiving. We are focusing on the meal and table today. Every celebration needs a nice centerpiece, and we saw one which showed a flower arrangement in a pumpkin. We did our own take on that. Also, we have a recipe we got from Rachael Ray a few years ago. We’ve changed it up a bit to make it healthier, yet still delicious! Enjoy!

PUMPKIN & FLOWER CENTERPIECE

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Looking for pumpkins the week before Thanksgiving can be tricky. In our area, they are not easy to find (or else we are looking in the wrong places – hmm, could be). Anyway, we adapted and created the pumpkin vase (pictured above) using the plastic pumpkin in the photo to the left.

For an 8-inch plastic pumpkin, you will need: 80 inches of orange (or the color of your choice) twisted paper cord (one brand available in most craft stores is called creative twist), hot glue gun and glue, small pot of mums or your favorite fall flower that will fit into your pumpkin. Our plant is 4 inches in diameter and 12 inches high.

  • Untwist paper cord and cut into eight 10-inch strips. When untwisted, the paper cord is about 4 inches wide.
  • Cover the Jack-O-Latern’s face with one of the crepe paper strips. You may have to cut the strip in 2 and piece them together, depending on the Jack-O-Lantern design. Secure with hot glue. (The face needs to be covered twice for this project so it will not show.)
  • After the face has been covered once, and starting next to a handle, cover the pumpkin by applying the strips vertically. Glue top of strip 1/2″ into inside of pumpkin. Add glue to middle of crepe paper strip and then glue to the bottom. Overlap strips by about a 1/16th of an inch as you go around.
  • Insert plant.

 SWEET POTATOES WITH BANANAS

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We tweaked a great recipe we saw Rachael Ray make so it would be healthier. Go to foodnetwork.com for the original recipe for Rachael Ray’s wonderful Mashed Sweet Potatoes.

Here is our version with less fat and sugar:

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds of sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks.
  • 2 tablespoons light margerine (with no hydrogenated oils)
  • 1 sliced banana
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Directions:

Boil potatoes about 20 minutes until tender, drain and put potatoes aside. In the original pot, add margerine and banana slices.  Cook the banana 5 minutes on medium heat and add the juice of the orange. Allow the orange juice to cook out for about 1 minute. Add the potatoes back to the pot with the stock and brown sugar. Mash together until its well mixed. Season with nutmeg, salt, pepper and orange zest to taste. Mash to combine, top with 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans.  WE LOVE THESE SWEET POTATOES!!

JOKE OF THE WEEK:                                                                                                                                       Can a turkey jump higher than the Empire State Building?                                                             Yes! A building can’t jump at all!

Joke source:  Kidsactivities.net

FUN FACTS: According to the website Life123 the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade took place in 1924. It was known then as the Macy’s Christmas Parade. Today, the parade is attended by an estimated 3 million people and is viewed by approximately 44 million people all over the country.

Thanks so much for reading, following and sharing these blogs. We have been having fun creating and writing.

1 more blog post before Thanksgiving! Gobble Gobble!

Roy & Kevin

Thanksgiving Continued!

Thanks for continuing to check out our blog! Lots to share as Thanksgiving is fast approaching. If you are looking for a fun craft project, take a look at our “Thanksgiving Tree”, which is pictured above. Like most folks this time of year, a big focus of ours is FOOD. This week, we are sharing two of our recipes for variations on cranberry sauce. Enjoy!

THANKSGIVING TREE

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We were brainstorming about what sort of Thanksgiving decoration we could create and came up with our “Thanksgiving Tree”! It is a great way to combine holiday decorating and giving thanks. It’s also a fun way to get kids and guests thinking about all the things they are thankful for this holiday season.

You will need a vase or coffee can, a branch with no leaves, fall-colored cloth large enough to wrap around vessel, raffia (or twine or ribbon), plastic or real leaves (about 4″ across), decorative moss, card stock, hole punch, copy machine, sheets of newspaper, fine marker     and scissors.

  • Find a branch about 3 feet tall. Make sure there are plenty of spots to place the leaves. Place the branch in the vase.
  • Prop branch up in vase with newspaper. You may want to weight your branch with rocks or sand to keep it stable. Add moss to top of vase to cover newspaper.
  • Wrap the vase with the piece of cloth. Secure with tape in the back and tie with raffia or twine.
  • Place four, 4-inch real or fake leaves in the color copier and copy onto cardstock. Five copies will give you 20 leaves. Make more copies as needed. Cut the leaf images out and punch a hole in the top of each leaf.
  • With the marker, write what you are thankful for on the cardstock leaves and hang on the branches. Tie some onto branches with raffia and place others directly onto tree.
  • Have extra leaves and a marker available so that visitors can add what they are thankful for. We covered the marker with a label and wrote the words “Give thanks”. (See photo above.)

We hope you enjoy creating your own Thanksgiving Tree!

CRANBERRY SAUCE VARIATIONS:

It’s easy to make these cranberry sauce variations. They add an interesting twist to any traditional Thanksgiving feast!

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Cranberry Sauce with Jalepeno Peppers                                                     This zingy favorite is sure to surprise!                                                         Heat one 14 oz. can of whole berry cranberry sauce over medium heat until it melts. Finely chop 1 jalepeno pepper (remove seeds and ribs to make less spicy if desired) and add to cranberries. Simmer for 5 minutes. Cool at least 1 hr. until mixture solidifies.

                                

                                                                                                                            

                                                               Orange Walnut Cranberry Sauce    

    Heat one 14 oz. can IMG_2721 (3)of whole berry cranberry sauce over medium heat until it melts. Add 1 teaspoon of orange zest and 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts. Simmer for 5 minutes. Cool at least 1 hr. until mixture solidifies. Garnish with chopped walnuts and orange twist. 

Inspired by cranberry nutbread!

  

JOKE OF THE WEEK:                                                                                                                                       What do you get when you divide the circumference of a pumpkin by it’s diameter? Pumpkin Pi! source: enchantedlearning.com

Thanks everyone for reading, following and sharing this blog.                                                             We are thankful to you all and will add you to our Thanksgiving Tree!

Roy & Kevin

Thanksgiving post number one! The holiday blogfest continues!

Thanks for looking at this blog and at the previous Halloween blog entries. If you haven’t seen the others, please check them out. The fun part for us is creating new things and coming up with fresh ideas every week. This week we show how you can switch things up and make the transition from Halloween to Thanksgiving decorating simple. The Pumpkin About-face Switcharoo takes seconds, and is great for a quick start of your holiday redecorating, and the Happy Thanksgiving banner uses elements of the Halloween banner, for an easy transition.  And it looks great!

PUMPKIN ABOUT-FACE SWITCHEROO! This is a simple trick to switch over from Halloween decorations to Thanksgiving. Simply turn the Jack-O-Lanterns around so the face is toward the wall and the plain pumpkin side faces front. Some of the pumpkins shown above were featured in the 2nd Halloween blog with their smiling Jack-O-Lantern faces. The plain pumpkins are more suitable for Thanksgiving.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING BANNER

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  • Last week, we showed a Halloween banner made with burlap painted with black paint and hung clothesline style and secured with painted clothespins.
  • This week we used the same lines , hung 11″ apart, one over the other, and added 3 more clothespins (18 total for this).
  • For the letters, we cut card stock into 18 rectangles 4.5″ X 3.5″ and cut capital letters out of contrasting paper. (Shortcut: Using 3 X 5 plain index cards would save cutting time and that size works well too.) We used yellow for the base and purple, red and orange for the letters. We had those on hand. Use your favorite colors.
  • Secure letters with glue stick.
  • For the word HAPPY, we hot-glued plastic leaves to the clothespins.
  • For THANKSGIVING, we used scotch tape to secure leaves to the back and bottom of the card stock/index cards. We did the same on the side of the first and last letter .
  • Adjust and center letters for your desired look.
  • Embellish with turkey, pilgrim, cornucopia, or Thanksgiving stickers if desired.
  • Keep it neat, but don’t worry about perfection, the casual look is part of it’s charm.                   (Hmm.. you may be noticing a pattern here!)

A FEW MORE THINGS:                                               

STOCK UP ON STUFFING! According to livescience.com :                                                   “American’s gobble up 46 million turkeys at Thanksgiving” Wow!

THANKSGIVING JOKE OF THE DAY:                                                                                                          If the Pilgrims were alive today, what would they be famous for? Their age!                Source: enchantedlearning.com

Thank you all for following and sharing these blogs! We appreciate your interest!

More next week, including a great craft project and a simple but surprising twist on a classic Thanksgiving recipe! Check it out!

Thanks again,

Roy and Kevin!