Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Time to shop...

...for some new stamps and accessories!

Stampin' Up! is having a Holiday Extravaganza sale starting today and running for 5 days, and the prices on these bundles cannot be beat! So, what is for sale? Well, just pop on over to my official SU website at to find out. Once you are there, just click on the shop now button at the top right, then go to specials and "holiday extravaganza". I will be home all day if anyone needs help placing an order, so feel free to give me a ring!

And now, for the official Stamp-a-Rama Thanksgiving menu, complete with a recipie for the best turkey you have ever had in your mouth. Really. It will make you want to cry. It will make men want to give you jewelry. Trust me, I know of what I speak.

This year, we are having roasted brined turkey, cornbread dressing (yummy, sagey dressing!), sweet potato casserole with candied pecan topping, green beans, giblet gravy, and rolls. Dessert will probably be apple and pumpkin pies, both with insane amounts of whipped cream on them. Then I will have water and salad for the next two weeks to cleanse my system of all the rich, buttery goodness of tomorrow. But not today! Nope, today is preparation and tasting day, so that come tomorrow morning I can plop on the couch and watch the Macy's parade and only make minimal trips into the kitchen during commercial breaks only.

So, onto the turkey!

Do you ever get frustrated with trying to roast the perfect turkey? Did your mom used to set the oven to some insanely low temp and cook the turkey all day long, until it ended up like the one on "Christmas Vacation"? Well, no more, I say! Just follow along with me and I will lead you to the promised land of moist, wonderful, delicious turkey. Here is your cast of characters:

Brine ingredients:

2 cups Kosher salt (No, that is not a misprint. I meant cups, not spoons. And I meant TWO. Just get your mind over the fact that you think I am sitting here laughing at you, trying to get you to ruin Thanksgiving. It will all be ok in the end.)

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar (I use dark brown, but light is ok, too.)

1 good handful of whole peppercorns

1 handful of crystallized ginger

several sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme

any other spices or herbs that make your skirt fly up

4 boxes of Veggie or chicken stock (I buy those big boxes instead of the cans, not sure what the volume on one of those is off the top of my head.)

OK, let's get to cooking, shall we?

You want to bring your stock to a boil in a large pot, then add in all of the rest of the ingredients. Stir until the salt and sugar have completely dissolved, then let it simmer on low for about 20 minutes. Keep the pot covered while you are simmering. Take the pot off of the heat and let this cool completely on the stove top. I will be starting my brine as soon as I finish this post so that it can get done and let it cool. This part is very important: do not taste the brine! Just trust me, ok? Don't do it. Your mouth will get all askew and you will feel your tongue start to fold in on itself. It is saltier than you can imagine. We are talking Dead Sea here. Trust that your spices and herbs are working their magic and leave it alone.

Now, onto your bird. You can use any kind of turkey you want. I buy the absolute cheapest turkey in the store. There is no brand name. I'm surprised it doesn't come in the old black and white generic labeling, that is how cheap it is, but trust me, it will be tasting amazing tomorrow! Make sure your turkey is completely thawed out and you have removed the neck and giblets. (I feel compelled to put that disclaimer in here because we all know someone, or have been the someone, who cooked a turkey with the bag o' giblets still up inside of it.)

You will need a container large enough to hold your turkey completely covered in brine and a bunch of ice, so plan accordingly. I use a garbage can that has been deemed "the turkey can". It is only used for turkey, so don't think that I take my trash out and put my bird in. I do have some! Plan on letting your bird soak in the brine for at least 12 hours, so you will need to do the next steps the night before you cook.

I put two layers of trash bags into my can to help me with clean up later. Put the turkey, neck side down, into your can. (If you are using a cooler or some other container where the bird is actually laying down in just put the breast side down.) Pour the cooled brine over the bird. If the turkey is not completely covered you can add enough water and ice just to cover the bird. At this point I roll the bags down over the top of the turkey and pack the top of the can with ice to keep it cool, then I put a towel on top of the ice as an extra insulation layer.

Typically by this time of year it is cool enough that I take my entire can outside and leave it on my deck for the night. The ice will keep the bird below 40 degrees, which is the safe limit. I will say that if you do this and you live in an area where the occassional coyote comes by you might want to put this in your garage so that he doesn't try to make off with a tasty midnight snack.

I know what a lot of you are thinking right now: "Kim, all of that salt is going to pull the moisture right out of the turkey! You have lost your mind!" You are indeed correct. The first few hours the bird is in the brine the salinity of the brine is going to pull most of the moisture out of the bird. You would not want to soak it for say, 5 hours and then try to roast it. That would be a disaster. However, after that first few hours a wonderful thing happens. Nature wants everything to be balanced, to be in a state of "stasis", so to achieve this balance the briny solution is going to start going back into the bird. And guess what! It is going to take the flavor of the broth, pepper, sugar, and herbs with it. It will be a flavor party like no other. Of course salt is like that one party guest that has a bit too much to drink and breaks something, you know the one. In this case, he is going to break down the tough fibers of the turkey. He is going to make them tender and wonderful and make them sing in your mouth. Yea for salt! (Kosher only for this recipe, though!)

So now you have let your bird swim around in his Dead Sea bath for at least 12 hours. Pull your bird out (you should still be seeing some ice in there folks!) and rinse him off, inside and out. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. I know, another leap of faith here, but there is a method to my madness. Fire it up, girls! I want it to feel like star about to go supernova.

Place your turkey on a rack and into a roasting pan. If you don't have one, get out your broiler pan, I have used mine for years and it works. Now it is time for a little turkey massage. Get out some veggie or canola oil and rub your bird down. Make sure to get his little legs and thighs, too! They are tired from all that swimming he did last night! I will also put a cut up onion and apple (just cut into big wedges--no seeds please!) as well as some fresh rosemary stalks and sage into the cavity of the bird. These aren't for eating later, they are for flavor while cooking.

Since our bird is about to go into battle with a smoking hot oven, he needs a little suit of armor for later. Take a large rectangle of aluminum foil and fold it into a square. Take one of the points of the square and place it down where the turkey's little noggin used to reside, then press the foil over the breast so that you completely cover the breast meat and wings, but tuck it so that the legs and thighs stay fully exposed. Get it molded to the shape of your bird, the take it off and set it aside. Remember that this has raw turkey juices on it when you set it down. I usually put my little foil breast plate away from all of my other food to avoid cross-contamination, because nothing says "I love you" like giving your entire family salmonella on Thanksgiving day. The reason you want to make your foil cover now is because when you need it this bird is going to be super, super hot and you won't want to be trying to mold anything to it.

Now, put your greased up, nekkid bird into the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes. There will be some smoking as the oil heats up. Just leave the oven door closed, and keep any older female relatives away from the kitchen because they will try to turn the oven temp down on you, and this will be the death of your bird. After 30 minutes of not allowing anyone near the oven carefully take your turkey out and drop the oven temp to 350 degrees. Place a probe style meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and set the temperature for the thermometer to 161 degrees. Cover the breast meat with the foil and put everything back into the oven.

Now sit back and have a tasty beverage while your bird finishes its roasting. Do not baste. Do not open the oven door. Just let it be. Believe me, it is working right now! When your thermometer alarm sounds that the turkey has reached an internal breast temp of 161 pull the bird out, but leave the probe in place in the meat. Cover the entire bird with foil and let it rest for about 15 minutes before carving. This will let the juices get all settled into the meat and not come running out to lay on your cutting board instead of in your pie hole.

Cut, eat, and enjoy! One downfall, the only one in my humble opinion, about cooking your turkey this way is that you cannot use the pan drippings to make your gravy. They will be far too salty, so don't try it. The great news is there are other ways to make tasty gravy and the way this bird comes out is worth the small sacrifice.

Thanks for sticking with me during this long post, and I hope everyone has a great turkey day. I am going to try to get the hubby to shoot some step by step pictures as I make my turkey so y'all can see it later.

Have a great day y'all, and until next time, Happy Eating!


Sunday, November 23, 2008

I'm baaaccckkk.... stamping and cleaning the house and posting and all that fun stuff! Whew! I have to say that I missed all both of you and am happy to have a little one-on-one time with my computer, although I had more fun than should be allowed in the two weeks that my friend was here. The good news: we did not need bail money. I figure if you can say that after two weeks with your best friend that you haven't seen in 13 years, then you are doing pretty doggone good.

Now, how about a card? I was in a cool weather mood the other day and wanted to play with one of my retired sets, so out came Basket Full of Fun.
This card uses Really Rust and Sage Shadow for the cardstock colors. I ran the sage panel through my Cuttlebug with the Textile embossing folder. Then I went through one of my huge stacks of paper to find a pattern that felt autumnal to me. You know, it is hard to feel "autumnal" when it is still in the 70's everyday, but it is a fun word to say so I had to throw it in here.
I used the masking technique and stamped the leaves all over the ground, then masked a couple sets of them so that the bucket of apples could sit behind them. This was one of the trickier masking jobs I have ever done simply because I realized that I was not going to be able to remember or reproduce the way that I had turned the stamp all willy-nilly to get random leaves down, so I ended up making 3 masks and piecing them together.
Then I got out my trusty ink pads and a blender pen and went to coloring. I tried to draw from the colors of the patterned paper to tie it all together. These apples are one of my better attempts at producing light and darkness using regular dye inks instead of copics. After I finished the coloring I just sponged on some blue for a bit of sky above and some caramel for the ground under the leaves and put everything together.
I hope that everyone has a great day, and look for me to be posting much more regularly again! Now, it is off to work on some Christmas cards of my own, then I am going to figure out a timeline o' cooking for this week so that I can sit and enjoy the Macy's parade myself come turkey day instead of being trapped in the kitchen cooking all morning long. Check back soon for an incredible brined turkey recipe that will make your tummy sing and your guy offer you stamps for life. Yes, it is that good! Also, check back on Wednesday for information about an upcoming Stampin' Up! special as well. Until next time, Happy Stamping!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

And we're back... painful ear infection land with Little Miss.

Last night my sweetie told me that her ear was hurting again really badly, and even after tylenol and ear drops we still spent the bulk of the night awake and trying to deal with it. Little thing is laying on the couch right now, and I am trying to find out if my pediatrician's office has some type of weekend clinic that I can take her to or if we are just going to go to urgent care. I wish I could just take the pain for her.

On the upside, my incredible friend Alondra came into town on Thursday and is spending two weeks with me. I have always felt that if you have even one friend like her you are extremely blessed, and I have a couple that are just like her. You know what they say, "A friend will help you move. A best friend will help you move a body." She is a body-moving friend. (No, we haven't actually done that---yet.)

So, no cards or stamping fun for the past few days as I have been showing Al around town and now dealing with a very forlorn little one. Hopefully I will have something light and pretty and fun to put up a bit later this week. I do hope that everyone is having a great weekend and enjoying the weather! Until next time...Happy Stamping!


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A new addition... the blog. Now you can click the "Share What you Love" button on the right side of my blog and you will be directed to my SU homepage. From there you can shop online, anytime you want, 24/7!

When you click the button, just make sure that you see my name on the top of the page on the right. If you see someone else's name you aren't on my page.

The coolest thing about the shop online feature is the fact that there are special projects on there that are not listed in the catalog or anywhere else! You can look through these projects and not only do you see a great card, but also everything it takes to make it. With one click you are able to add it all to your cart, or just the parts that you need.

So, even if you don't feel like ordering this way, go and check out the projects and all the other features available. If you have any questions, just call or email me and I will be happy to answer them. And as always, you can call or email me to place an order.

Thanks for stopping in! Until next time...Happy Stamping!


It's beginning to look alot.... Christmas? Hard to imagine that Christmas is a mere 7 weeks away when it is still 80 degrees outside! My hubby and I always laugh about buying our Thanksgiving turkey in shorts and sandals, but I do wish it were at least cool enough that I could wear the cashmere sweater he bought me years ago when we lived back East. Oh, well, a girl can still dream!

So in the spirit of that Christmas dream, here are the two Christmas cards that I am featuring during my card class this month. The first one has a little stamping on the inside, but mostly focuses on using your paper and bone folder. Plus, it is making me sit down and use the paper that I have stockpiled up like I am anticipating some type of stamping apocalypse.

Come on, I know you! I know that you have a secret paper stash somewhere in your house! It's ok, you are among friends here. We understand and do not judge at Stamp-a-Rama. This is the paper-hoarder's "safe place".

The next card is so easy, and I really think that the simplicity of it is what makes it. This one uses the faux metal tag technique that is just a lot of fun! I think I might have settled that this is going to be my one, true card this year, but I am figuring out the logistics of making 60 of these tags. I still think it will be easier than the year I did 60 watercolored extravaganza cards....yikes! Too. Much. Work.

If these cards tickle your fancy, then let me know, and feel free to check out my calendar over at to see what else I have in store.

Now, onto "Confessions from Kim" time.

I think my UPS man is getting ready to break up with me. I didn't want to believe it was true, but I have been noticing some changes with him lately, and I must say I don't like them one bit. I have to admit, I only have myself to blame. I let my hubby answer the door last week, and between the fact that he was shirtless and had all kind of scary hair going on I believe he scared Mr. Brown and put him into some kind of post-traumatic stress disorder state that he hasn't fully recovered from.

Yesterday I vowed to make it up to him. I knew he was coming by, and I had kicked the hubby out to go to work and then prepared myself for his arrival. I decided that this time I would not stalk him like I normally do. I put the dogs up (no dogs--no early arrival warning system for me), got Little Miss occupied on an activity, and even put on just a dab of Bigelow's Peppermint Lip Gloss. OK, I did not put the lipgloss on for him. That was purely for me, but just give me some poetic license here, ok?

I saw my knight pull up on his shiny brown steed, and made myself promise not to fling the door open at the first sign of the box hitting the step. I heard his quick little cat-like footsteps come up to the door, the box drop, and the bell ring. And when I opened the door, I saw my Mr. Brown in the truck and some new Mr. Brown (I'll call him MB 1.2) walking back to the truck! Apparently my guy just can't take it anymore and has decided to pass the torch onto MB 1.2 and he didn't even tell me!

The new guy smiled and waved and thanked me, but I am heartbroken. After all this time, all these years, I didn't even see it coming. I am still holding out hope that my guy is just training MB 1.2 and that when he grows up he will get his own route and let me continue to scare/stalk my guy the way I like. I don't think I can train the new guy in the ways of the Stampin' Up box. In fact, I don't think he can handle the SU box.

OK, that is enough of that! Mr. Brown, if you are reading this today I just want to say I'm sorry. And I'll get rid of that snare trap in front that scares you so badly. And I will never, ever let my hubby answer the door with scary hair and no shirt on again. Stamper's Honor!

Until next time everyone...have a great day and Happy Stamping!


Saturday, November 1, 2008

A few pictures...

...of how we spent our evening last night. Little Miss A is old enough now to have a plan for Halloween that involves getting the most candy she possibly can by using all the cute she can muster. Let me tell you, she can pony up on the cute factor when needed! Here she is all decked out as Cinderella, complete with glass slippers on her nicely painted little piggies. We made a deal last night.

I agreed that she could wear the glass slippers to Miss Lydia's house, but after that we were switching to sandals for the rest of the festivities. This was a simple matter of good planning on my part, because I knew that those slippers not only had a heel on them, but would surely cause her feet to blister up. I, for one, do not relish the thought of being a half-mile from home and carrying an almost 5-year old and her 30 pounds of candy. No thank you!

Here is the little ham showing off her jack-o-lanterns on Wednesday. She and my DH are so much alike. They both wanted to have cool looking pumpkins outside, but neither one wants to touch the "yucky insides". So that left me doing all the initial cut and scoop work by myself. I did force my DH to carve the one on the right (with all the teeth) while I did the one on the left (note the big round "O" mouth that is very easy to do). He actually did reach into the pumpkin to pop the pieces out as he cut, but I noticed the speed at which he got to the kitchen sink to wash his hands off afterward. Coward.
First stop on candy night was a drive over to Lydia's house where the princess scored major loot! All chocolate in the bag...woohoo! She did manage to pose for a couple of pictures for me and on the way home she ate a Reese's cup and then the lack of an afternoon nap tackled her. The sleeping picture is her in the back of the car less than one mile from Lydia's house. I almost made the decision to just bring her home, put her in bed, fill her little candy bag with the stuff at our house and tell her, "Oh honey...don't you remember? You went all over the neighborhood last night getting candy. See? Your bag is full! You did great!"
Then I figured that she is too smart to be fooled by that on and woke her up. It still might have been worth a try!
After we walked all over our neighborhood she shed her costume and we took her to Sonic for a corn dog and ice cream. I know, I know, you are all impressed by what an incredibly good mother I am, looking out for the nutritional well-being of my charge. But, before anyone calls CPS on me, I want to say that there are a few days a year when you just have to kind of pitch all of the rules out the window, and doggone it, Halloween is one of them. We are back to well balanced meals today, I promise.
Besides, while we were at Sonic we got to meet Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin! What are the odds that she would be in Austin last night? I have to say her costume was pretty cute, and her hubby was dressed like the leader of any one of many Middle Eastern countries. I spent a couple minutes talking to this lady after I took her picture and she said she had a gun and a baby in her car for props. I told her that what she should have done was dress her hubby as a moose instead.
All in all, a very fun evening was had. I did not impose a stiff "mommy tax" on the child's candy, but I do admit that a couple of the mini Reese's cups were handed over to me by her as payola. Aren't kids great? Have a fun, safe, hopefully not over-sugared weekend! Tomorrow is the Komen, so I will be taking photos and posting afterward! Until next time everyone....Happy Stamping!