December Already?!


Hard to believe it’s finally here, anyone else NOT ready?!

Alrighty, I am quite literally stealing away time to write and share this post with you all today. It’s a couple of days overdue and I know I’ve gone a lot longer without posting anything at all(for that I hope you can all forgive me). I trust everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We had a nice quiet and simple Thanksgiving. I did manage to post a picture on my @nok_amandagayle Instagram account of our Thanksgiving meal. We tried a different method of cooking the turkey this year. Normally my Mom stuffs the turkey with vegetables and places it all in a roasting bag. But this year I wanted to try something new…well, new for us. We spatchcocked the turkey, not as easy as I read it would be, turkeys have a decent backbone that has to be removed. Had to get my Dad in there to help me press down on either side of the breastbone! I do think though, if we ever did this again there are a couple of difference things I do. But it did have a wonderful flavor and the skin was nice and crisp(my favorite)!


Happy Thanksgiving Feast

We decided to keep things a bit more rustic. We served our spatchcocked turkey with country style green beans, smooshy potatoes, Mom’s homemade yeast rolls, and homemade cranberry sauce on the side for those who wanted it. The meal was quite tasty and we were all left feeling pleasantly full instead of overstuffed. 

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Even the bird was a beauty! Juicy and tender! The garlic herb butter added a deliciousness to it that I think I’m going to add to some other poultry recipes in the future.

There were a bunch of post holiday links for recipes on what to do with leftover turkey. I was actually hoping to get out of cooking on last Friday but the family didn’t want to eat more leftovers. So, I took a recipe I had glanced over, tweaked it, and added turkey! My Dad was impressed and wants me to make it again soon hehe!!!


Cheesy Hash Brown and Turkey Soup

1 onion, chopped
2 Tblsp butter
healthy pinch of kosher salt, for sweating the onions
3 garlic cloves, minced
32 ounces chicken broth or stock
2 cans cream of chicken and mushroom soup
1 1/2 cups chopped leftover turkey
1 30 ounce bag frozen hash brown shreds
1 pound Velveeta processed cheese, cubed
2 cups heavy cream or half n half
black pepper to taste
pinch of red pepper flakes

In a large dutch oven pot, melt butter and saute onions with salt. Cook till transparent, add in minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds covered. Pour in chicken broth, canned soups, and leftover turkey. Bring up to a boil and then add the hash brown shreds. Press them down gently and bring back up to a gentle boil for 10 minutes. Reduce temp to medium, gently stirring in cream chicken and mushroom soups, Velveeta, and cream. You don’t want to turn the shreds into mashed potatoes. Re-season with salt, pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Let this simmer for 10 minutes until the Velveeta is completely incorporated. Serve with your favorite crackers or croutons, and salad.

It’s just one of those soups that’s perfect on a chilly night. It’s thick, cheesy, creamy, with a hint of spice. Which you can completely omit if you prefer. It serves about 8–10, so don’t worry if you have a lot of leftovers. It freezes and reheats up well!


Psst…anyone there?

Test…1…2…3…check, check…Well, I’m still alive 🙂 I haven’t forgotten about you all. Things have certainly been crazy around here since we got home. And the exhaustion, I can’t get over how tired I still am. Last night I went to bed before 11pm, I know major shock! Traveling 11 hours will do that I guess. Plus I had to spend Monday doing a bulk of my Christmas shopping online. Love Cyber Mondays but apparently others do too! Will have to get the rest locally and make a few things to make up the difference. Just amazed at how slow certain sites were running.

Short notice, we decided to go down to FL to visit Dad’s folks and kept it a secret that my son and I would be traveling down with him. It sure was a surprise to everyone seeing how we haven’t seen them since G–Man was 8 months old. A lot has changed and grown up in these 9 years 🙂 We enjoyed a nice Thanksgiving meal with everyone and G–Man discovered toys in one of the guests bedrooms!

First Night in FL

He found three or four View Masters and several reels, but that was just the tip of the toy–berg. Once he found the wooden train set boy was he in heaven! He made some nice configurations that I know my Dad got a picture or two of. Will update this post when I can find them 🙂

Of course you can’t have a trip with family and not play a board game 😉

Playing Sorry with Nana Marty

Nana was sweet enough to show G–Man how to play Sorry and patient to endure a game with his toy ladybug Mr. Greg. It was a confusing game, even I got mixed up with whose turn it was and constantly reminding G–Man that he couldn’t slide on his own color or keep sending Nana back to Start instead of Mr. Greg. Can we say cheater?! 😉

But it wasn’t all just fun any games, we did have some tasty treats along the way. Since my Grandpa is a diabetic and on kidney dialysis I offered to make some sugar free desserts but he was content to enjoy the real deal. So we made his favorite, Cherry Pudding. It was lower in sugar than the more traditional recipe, so I didn’t feel as guilty serving it to him. 

I can remember my Grandma Jones (my maternal grandmother) making this and my Mom making it as well. Granted this picture doesn’t do it justice, but thankfully the link under the picture will give you a better idea, though the recipe isn’t anything like what we make. Don’t worry, that recipe is going in another cookbook 😉 Just not the one that’s coming out next May. If you’re not a fan of the tart cherries you can certainly use cherry pie filling, which is what we did. Fortunately it was a light pie filling, not very sweet which I made just a tad sweeter with 1/4 cup Stevia in the Raw. This was a nice treat for us Nole fans and would have been one heck of a victory dessert for those Auburn fans who celebrated an insane win Saturday Night! It’s great warm from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream. 

All in all it was a good trip, one I’m glad I finally took and G–Man is hoping to go back down next year. We’ll have to wait and see 🙂

Four Gen Photo

Four Generation Picture

Thankfully Grandpa’s health is improving and will continue to do so. (And no we didn’t all plan on wearing navy blue in the picture, but it’s funny how that worked out!)


Be Thankful

Be Thankful

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations,
because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes.
They will teach you valuable lessons.


Be thankful when you’re tired and weary,
because it means you’ve made a difference.

It’s easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who
are also thankful for the setbacks.

Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,
and they can become your blessings.

~Author Unknown