The Best Turkey

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is A WEEK AWAY! How did this happen? It was basically summer five minutes ago, and now we’re getting so close to the holidays that I’m making Christmas shopping lists, and planning out New Year’s Eve.

But, before all of that, Ryan and I had are annual – we cooked Thanksgiving Dinner at the beginning of November – meal.


We typically spend Thanksgiving with Ryan’s family (except last year when we were in DISNEY WORLD!).

A few weeks before Thanksgiving, we like to cook our own Thanksgiving dinner. I think we started doing this because we hosted Thanksgiving a few years ago, and wanted to perfect our turkey cooking skills. Since then, we’ll be in the supermarket and see the abundance of turkeys and just buy one. It’s almost become a tradition. And, we’ve gotten pretty good at making a delicious turkey.

We mostly follow Tyler Florence’s oven roasted turkey with sage butter recipe.

Where our spin on the recipe differs is that we don’t make a stuffing. Instead, we stuff the cavity with quartered lemons, carrots, onions, and celery. We put the remaining vegetables in the bottom of the roasting pan, and pour in a few cups of chicken stock, white wine, and fresh squeezed lemon juice so that the whole pan is covered.

As the turkey cooks, we had more chicken stock, to keep the bottom from burning. We also baste the turkey about every 30 minutes.

Once the turkey is cooked, we use the drippings, additional chicken stock and lemon juice as needed, to create a gravy. We bring the drippings to the stove top, add in some butter and flour to create a roux – and that’s it. It’s simple, and so good.


If I had my choice, every Thanksgiving meal would include crispy roasted brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes, but I’ll post about that another time.

Plated Review

We love eating and cooking. Usually a big portion of our Sundays is dedicated to meal planning, grocery shopping (Whole Foods, Stop and Shop, and Trader Joe’s) and then cooking a few meals to get ahead on the week.  If you asked either of us, we would tell you that Sunday afternoon cooking is one of our favorite times of the week – especially when it’s cold outside. Picture a cozy house, crackling fire, music in the background, a bottle of wine and spending a few hours hanging out and cooking – it’s really a great time.

Sometimes, though, we’d rather have a fun Sunday out of the house and not dedicated to chores. The other problem is that we usually will need to cook again later in the week, which is tough since we often get home from work around 8pm.

We’ve brainstormed ways to limit the time we spend on grocery shopping and meal planning, and tried making quick frozen meals over the week when we don’t have time to really cook, but neither have been a solution.

So finally we decided to try one of the cooking subscriptions and see if it made a big change for us. We started with Hello Fresh, which was JUST OK. I’ll compare the strengths of Hello Fresh as it compared to my review of Plated below.

Last week we tried Plated, and we’re actually getting a second Plated box this week. img_5996


The first meal we tried through Plated was chicken marsala, and it really was delicious. We also tried the Korean Beef Tacos, which I liked but didn’t love.  With both recipes, the ingredients were all high quality, and fresh. There were a lot of meal choices that should appeal to most people, even picky eaters like me. I would say he Hellp Fresh meals were maybe a little more health conscious? But they didn’t taste as good, and there were strange choices to pick from that weren’t appealing to me. 

Here’s where Plated fell a little short – the packaging was not as nice as Hello Fresh which has a separate box for each meal. The packaging in Plated were a lot of plastic bags, and they were less clearly labeled. Additionally, the Plated meals are more complicated and time consuming (30-45 minutes) – you’ll have to pound chicken, you’ll need to have your own eggs, you’ll need to be doing multiple things at once such as baking potatoes in the oven and sauteing chicken on the stove.  That was totally fine for us, but it’s more work if you want something that’s truly simple.  Finally, the biggest shortcoming for us is that we like to eat a lot of vegetables at dinner, and Plated doesn’t rule out our need to go to the supermarket.

Why are we doing a second week of Plated? Because the meals were really good and still a time saver. I can’t see us doing it every week, but it’s perfect on a short week (like Thanksgiving), or if you know you’re not going to have time to shop and cook.

My Birthday

I didn’t really plan on celebrating my birthday this year. It fell over a work retreat, and after the election results, I wasn’t feeling excited or in the mood to celebrate.

But luckily, my husband had other plans. He threw me a surprise birthday dinner with my closest friends and planned the whole thing himself – based upon my favorite foods, favorite drinks, favorite desserts.  And I had so much fun! It was a small, intimate gathering (which are my favorites), and it was great to just spend a few hours with my closest friends, laughing, eating, and NOT discussing politics.

I have to admit, getting older isn’t the easiest thing in the world once you pass 30… It starts feeling like you’re REALLY getting older. BUT! That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate (or feel REALLY old). My party ended up reminding me of that – being alive and healthy, having great friends, having an incredible husband, these are all reasons to celebrate and I’m going to try to carry that as a reminder this year. IMG_6144.JPGIMG_6146.JPGIMG_6145.JPG



Weekend Vibes

I’ve become a morning person, and daylight savings finally seems to be working to my advantage. 

This morning I slept until 7am (6am with daylight savings) and I went out for coffee and did my weekly grocery shopping and was home by 8am. 

I checked out the friends and family sale at the  gap, and picked up these cute pajama bottoms: 

We took Hunter to the dog park, did some cleaning, lit a fire, and cooked dinner. We roasted a turkey, which I will post about tomorrow. 

We also ordered a plated trial for this week, which I’m excited to try. We got hello fresh a few weeks ago and liked it,  but I haven’t been too inspired by the weekly recipes since. So far plated is seeming a bit more interesting/delicious so we’ll see how it goes. 

Right now I’m fining sitting down on the couch and watching a little TV.  I just opened my laptop and contemplating doing some work to get ahead on the week. I feel the most relaxed I’ve felt in weeks, so I can’t complain.

I’m sad to see another good weekend go. It’s been these quieter weekends that I’m enjoying most. Laying low near the house, spending time with Ryan and Hunter. I have a busy week ahead – the election (😬), an overnight work conference/retreat, and my birthday! 

DIY Christmas Presents 

I’ve always loved crafting, painting and drawing. Each year I try to come up with a homemade Christmas gift idea to give everyone. 

In the past I’ve done: 

Snow globes – these were really popular at anthropologie that year, and I made a copycat version.

Then I did personalized mugs one year, which I can’t find a picture of. 

Earlier this week, I saw an instagram account I follow post these hand painted Christmas ornaments:

I love love love them! These will be my DIY Christmas gift this year. I’ll post a before and after. 

Weekend Adventure

I love a mini fall getaway, even if it’s just for the day. We woke up early on Saturday morning, and I told my husband that fall was going to be over before we knew it and that I needed to get my fall fix in before it was too late. We brainstormed a few ideas (apple picking, pumpkin carving, watching scary Halloween movies), and decided on taking a drive to Cold Spring, NY to see the fall foliage and explore the cute town.

The drive didn’t disappoint.


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Sunday Vibes 

Today was an active lazy Sunday. Slept until 8am, which for me, is late. Stumptown coffee from my new favorite coffee shop in Ridgefield, Ross Bread Shoppe & Coffee House followed by a visit to the dog park (second time this weekend for the lucky pup). Greasy diner food to cut my post Halloween party hangover. Couch cuddles and SNL. Grocery shopping at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

Sudden downpour, thunder and lightning. Running from the store to our car to stay dry. Failing!!! Back home for more cuddles with the pup, who is absolutely terrified of thunderstorms.

Cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning. Bathroom floors, kitchen counters, vacuum, mail sorting. Nothing better than a clean house on Sunday to start the week off right. Cooked our homemade sauce and meatballs.

Started a fire in the fireplace. Lit some candles. Feeling cozy and getting ready to eat dinner.

Trader Joe’s Mini Pies

I have the biggest sweet tooth of all time, and really need dessert every night, otherwise I’m cranky! 

I got these mini pies from Trader Joe’s last year and they recently came back in stock. These lies are so cute, taste completely decadent, and are only 160 calories per pie. I know I had two, but you really only need one to get your fix. 

Even you know who needed to get involved in these little blueberry pies. 


I wasn’t planning on celebrating this year, but got invited to a 1950s themed party, which seemed too fun to turn down.

I got a great vintage dress from Etsy, and plan to try to style my hair like the picture below. 

I actually never would’ve thought of etsy to pick out a dress had my friend not suggested it.

They really have an amazing selection of reasonable vintage clothing.

I’m going to pair the dress with black gloves, and a vintage fur jacket. I’ll post a picture of the finished look. Now I just need to start working on my husband’s costume.