Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving Leftover Casserole

Upon returning home from band, I threw together dinner for myself, using this recipe as a loose guideline.

Thanksgiving Leftover Casserole

  • 2-3 c. leftover turkey, shredded
  • 1½ c. cranberry sauce
  • 3-4 c. leftover mashed potatoes
  • 2 c. corn
  • 1-2 c. turkey gravy
  • ⅓ c. milk
  • 4-5 c. leftover stuffing
  • ¼ - ⅓ c. chicken broth (or to taste)
  1. Preheat oven to 400-degrees.
  2. Combine turkey and cranberry sauce and spread evenly on the bottom of a 9x13 glass baking dish.
  3. Evenly press on leftover mashed potatoes and sprinkle corn over the top.
  4. Mix together milk and leftover gravy and spread evenly over potatoes and corn.
  5. Sprinkle on leftover stuffing and lightly drizzle chicken broth over the top (this will keep the stuffing from drying out).
  6. Cover with tin foil and bake at 400-degrees for appx. 35-40 minutes or until heated through.
In a small casserole dish, I layered turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy and stuffing, and baked it for 30 minutes at 400°C. Yummy!

Ravens vs. Chargers

Oh, so disappointing! The Ravens lost to the San Diego Chargers, 33-34. I can't say I'm surprised, especially when the Ravens, who were leading the entire game, failed to get a touchdown on their next-to-last possesion, and settled for a field goal, closing their lead to only six points.
On the other hand, the band performed a fabulous half-time show! We played a medley called "Six for Six," six songs from six decades. The selections were "Love is Strange," "Think," "Stayin' Alive," "She Drives Me Crazy," "Right Now," and "Back in Time." It was a fun arrangement.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Green Xmas Cookies

For the Tidewater cookie exchange, I actually signed up to make these cookies - my favorite Christmas cookies.

Wreath Cookies

  • 1/3 cup margarine or butter
  • 1 package (10 oz. about 40) regular marshmallows OR 4 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 teaspoon green food coloring
  • 6 cups Kellogg's Corn Flakes® cereal OR 6 cups Kellogg's Frosted Flakes® cereal
  • Red cinnamon candies
  • Prepared vanilla frosting
  1. Melt margarine in large saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Stir in food coloring.
  2. Add KELLOGG'S CORN FLAKES cereal. Stir until well coated.
  3. Portion warm cereal mixture evenly by using a 1/4 cup dry measure coated with cooking spray. Using sprayed fingers, quickly shape into individual wreaths. Dot with cinnamon candies, using prepared frosting to hold candies in place. Store in single layer in airtight container.
Now, my recipe is slightly different (it's an old family recipe), but this seems to be the official one - straight off of the Kellogg's web site.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Fleece Fringe Scarves

For the past two years, the Flute section has been doing fun Christmas activities, including a Secret Santa. Being the Section Leader, I've also included in the gift giving a gift for everyone in my section. I decided that for my gift this year, I'd make fleece scarves. I checked out Pinterest for directions, and found many different styles to attempt to make, so I settled on three styles. I figured I'd rotate three colors, along with a Ravens patterned fleece, in order to make each one unique. The girls can pick and choose as they please. Tonight, I finished the first three.

They were super simple, with minimal use of the sewing machine. The hardest part was cutting the fleece so that it was straight, and I still don't think I got it right. Luckily, the fringes hide the imperfections. Oh, and my hand is TIRED from making so many snips!

Gingerbread Pinwheels

The Pillsbury e-newsletter had a few recipes that sounded good, so I made these, too - Gingerbread Pinwheels.

Gingerbread Pinwheels

  • 1 roll (30 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated gingerbread cookies
  • 1 roll (30 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated sugar cookies
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  1. Cut each roll of dough in half. Wrap and refrigerate one half of each dough for another use.
  2. Place 17x12-inch sheet of waxed paper on cookie sheet. Cut remaining gingerbread cookie dough in half lengthwise. Arrange halves, side by side, on cookie sheet. Top with second sheet of waxed paper. Roll dough to form 14x9-inch rectangle. Freeze 5 minutes.
  3. Repeat on work surface with sheets of waxed paper and remaining sugar cookie dough. Freeze 5 minutes. Remove top sheet of waxed paper. Lifting dough with waxed paper, turn sugar cookie rectangle over onto gingerbread rectangle. Gently pat doughs together. Refrigerate 15 minutes.
  4. Remove waxed paper from top of dough. Using remaining waxed paper, and starting with 1 long side, roll up stacked dough, without rolling paper into roll. Wrap roll of dough securely with waxed paper. Freeze about 45 minutes or until very firm.
  5. Heat oven to 350°F. Unwrap dough; cut into 4 equal rolls. Work with 1 roll at a time; keep remaining 3 rolls in freezer until ready to slice. Cut each roll into 13 or 14 (1/4-inch) slices. On ungreased cookie sheets, place slices 2 inches apart, reshaping into rounds as necessary. Sprinkle each cookie with sugar.
  6. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks.
Somehow, Tom got a hold of a couple of these cookies and ate them. He said they were delicious. I'll reserve judgment until Monday.

Peppermint Crunch Sugar Cookies

Another cookie I decided to make for the Tidewater's cookie exchange is Peppermint Crunch Sugar Cookies, which I learned about from an e-newsletter from Pillsbury.

Peppermint Crunch Sugar Cookies

  • 1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated sugar cookies
  • 1 1/2 cups white vanilla baking chips or semisweet chocolate chips
  • 8 round hard peppermint candies, crushed (1/4 cup)
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, break up cookie dough. Stir or knead in 1/4 cup all-purpose flour until well blended. Shape dough into 36 (1-inch) balls. Bake 10 to 14 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 5 minutes.
  2. In small microwavable bowl, microwave vanilla chips and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil uncovered on Medium (50%) 2 to 3 minutes, stirring once halfway through microwaving, until melted. Stir until smooth.
  3. Dip half of each cookie into melted chips mixture, allowing excess to drip off; place on waxed or parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. Sprinkle each with about 1/2 teaspoon crushed candy. Let stand until set.
Neither me nor Tom have tried them out, yet, but the cookie exchange on Monday will be the big day. I can't wait to see how they turn out.

Wild Turkey Ball Brownies

We're having a cookie exchange at the Tidewater, and one of the cookies that I decided to make was something that a co-worker posted on my wall on Facebook. It's Wild Turkey Ball Brownies from the Tipsy Bartender.

Wild Turkey Ball Brownies

  • 10 ounces Nilla Wafers, crushed
  • 1 cup pecans, ground
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 6 ounces chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup Wild Turkey
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
I'm waiting until the actual cookie swap to try them out, but what do you think, next time try it with Fireball Whiskey?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Eggplant and Zucchini Gratin

For Thanksgiving dinner, I wasn't sure what to do for vegetables, so I found a recipe on Pinterest for an Eggplant and Zucchini Gratin.

Eggplant and Zucchini Gratin (simple version of ratatouille)

From: Julia and Jacques Cooking At Home
Yield 6-8 servings
  • 1/2 cup or so olive oil
  • 1 large or 2 medium eggplants
  • 1 tablespoon herbes de Provence
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 medium zucchini, about 1 pound total
  • 3 or 4 ripe tomatoes, about 1 pound total
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
For bread-crumb topping
  • 1/2 cup or so fresh bread crumbs, not too finely ground
  • 1/3 cup or so freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Preparing the vegetables
    Arrange the rack on the lower-middle level of the oven and preheat to 400. Smear a baking sheet generously with 1/3 cup of the olive oil. Trim off ends of eggplant and slice on the diagonal into ovals 1/2" thick. One at a time, lay the slices on the sheet, press to coat lightly with oil and turn them over. Arrange the slices, oiled side up, in a single layer and sprinkle on 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and herbs de Provence. Bake for about 15 minutes until the eggplant slices are soft and somewhat shriveled; allow to cool briefly. Leave the oven on if you will be baking the gratin right away. Meanwhile, trim the ends off the zucchini and cut lengthwise into slices no more than 1/4" thick. Salt the zucchini and let it sit for about 15 minutes then wipe the salt & moisture off - otherwise your casserole can be too watery. Core the tomatoes and cut into slices 1/4" thick. Spread out the slices and sprinkle them lightly with 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper.
  2. Assembling the gratin
    Film baking dish well with 1 teaspoon olive oil and sprinkle a teaspoon of the dried herbs all over the bottom. Lay one or two eggplant slices, lengthwise, against a narrow side of the dish. Arrange a long slice or two of zucchini in from of the eggplant, then place 2 or 3 tomato slices in front of the zucchine. Repeat until the pan is full of alternating rows of eggplant, zucchini, and tomatoes. Arrange each new row of slices so the colorful top edges of the previous row are still visible.
  3. Topping and baking
    Mix the bread crumbs, Parmesan and teaspoon of herbes de Provence. Add a tablespoon of olive oil, then toss and rub it in with your fingers to coat the crumbs but keep them loose. Sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the vegetables and drizzle remaining oil over all. Place dish in center of oven and bake for 40 minutes until vegetables are soft, the juices are bubbling, and the top is a deep golden brown. If the crumbs need more browning you can stick them under the broiler for a few moments. Serve hot directly from the baking dish.
Note: gratin can be assembled (don't add oil until baking), covered and refrigerated for several hours. Preheat oven and drizzle on last olive oil just before baking.
Enjoy - this is luscious!
I must say it was delicious. The picture doesn't show the wonderful colors of the various vegetables that I used. Tom didn't try it, so there's no report from him.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Prince Who Loved Me

How quick of a read was this book? It only took a day!

"The Prince Who Loved Me," by Karen Hawkins was a cute little Cinderella story. The heroine has a step-mother and two step-sisters, and a prince to fall in love with. I thought it was an adorable story.

Monday, November 24, 2014

An Excellent Mystery

Well, I must say that "An Excellent Mystery," by Ellis Peters was a good book, but not an excellent mystery.

I read the first couple of chapters, then the back of the book to see what it was supposed to be about, and thought I knew what happened. Towards the end I started to doubt myself, but in the end, I was right. Although I love this series of books, my biggest problem with this particular one is how much it lingered on the politics of the nation, and not so much on the mystery at hand.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Moist Delicious Cornbread

I had the night off from work, and had decided a while ago that the next night I had off would be chili night. With that in mind, I decided to make cornbread to go with it. The recipe I decided to use came from

Moist, Delicious Cornbread

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. margarine, melted
  • 2 c. Bisquick or other baking mix
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 5 T. yellow cornmeal
  1. Grease and flour an 8 inch square pan. Set aside. Combine the beaten eggs, milk and melted butter. Stir until well blended. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients, a little at a time and stir lightly. To keep a light texture to the cornbread, don't over-stir. The batter may still be slightly lumpy. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake 30-40 minutes at 350°.
It was pretty tasty. Tom was concerned that the cornbread was too crumbly, but the flavor was good, the bread was moist, and it had a tiny bit of sweetness to it, which I liked.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Reggie's Vet Visit

I got home from band tonight to see the best surprise in the world - a slightly woozy, but otherwise functional, boy cat!

We had taken Reggie in to the vet on Monday because he hasn't been eating, and we were really worried about him. The vet said Reggie's gums were infected, and recommended having dental work done, which included days of hydration and anesthesia on the day of the actual dentistry/surgery. Considering his age - almost 16 years old - his chances were 50-50 as to whether or not he'd come out of the surgery alive. He stayed at the vet most of Monday to get hydrated, and I dropped him off yesterday for another full day of hydration, which could only increase his chances of survival. This morning, Tom took him in for his big day, and all we could do was wait. Around lunchtime, I learned that the surgery went okay, but the vet needed to keep him to see if he came out of the anesthesia all right. I left for band before Tom picked Reggie up. Now, it's up to us. We'll have to administer pain meds and antibiotics, and make sure he eats, all while keeping him warm and happy.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Ravens vs Titans

The Ravens played the Tennessee Titans today, and the Ravens won 21-7. I was quite worried about the outcome after the first quarter, but luckily the Ravens got it in gear and dominated the remainder of the game.
The band didn't do a halftime show today, the Marine's Silent Drill Team performed instead, but we did do the halftime show from last year's Veteran's Day for our pregame show. After we exited the field and player introductions were made, a really large flag was unfurled over the field by service members.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Craft Show - Take 2

Mom and Dad came to visit for a few days, so that they could help me out with the booth at the annual High School Music Booster Club craft show. We participated last year, and didn't make enough to pay for the booth, but Tom had encouraged me to pre-pay for a booth for this year. This year, I'm happy to say, we made enough to break even for both years and even walk away with a profit of $16!

I was so worried that this year would be a complete waste of time, like last year. I have never been so glad to be proven wrong, I would have hated for it to be a waste of time for Mom and Dad.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Fort Delaware Paranormal Investigation

As a "birthday gift," Tom and I had discussed going away for the weekend - either a train ride in Pennsylvania or a bus tour in New York City. Then, Amy turned me on to ghost hunting tours held at Fort Delaware in the month of October. I looked it up and discussed the option with Tom, and we decided to do that instead.

We took the five hour tour, over the midnight hour, and had a few items of interest in our investigation; Officer's Kitchen - K2 meter readings, Prisoner's Barracks - nothing, Tent - nothing, Officer's Quarters - K2 meter readings, Enlisted Men's Quarters - nothing, Endecott Section - K2 meter readings, the Casemates - nothing. The whole evening, while enjoyable and nice to get out for a change, seemed a little anticlimactic. But upon further consideration, I think our encounters were more substantial than I initially thought.
Our first encounter was in the Officer's Kitchen, and there were just K2 meter readings that seemed kind of random. In the Officer's Quarters, I had one really big K2 meter reading, but it was when two people had just walked into the room. I initially figured that they hadn't turned their cell phones off, and that caused the spike on the K2 meter. There were also a few smaller blips on the meter. On to the Endecott section. Three of us in our group had simultaneous K2 meter readings that were pretty strong that continued for several minutes. They stopped after we discounted the readings. Now, after getting home and thinking about it, these K2 meter readings could have been more than we realized. If I held the K2 meter right up to my phone or to an electrical outlet, I got a really weak reading. What we got in our investigation was considerably stronger on several occasions. Knowing what I know now, I would go on another tour with more sensitivity and better questions and suggestions on how to interact with any potential spirits.