How is it December Already?


Where has this year gone? I blinked and it's already December; I didn't even do a Thanksgiving post! Totally slacking over here.

I hope you and your 'ohana had an excellent Thanksgiving. We had Thanksgiving dinner up at my parent's house (no run away dogs this time), but I cooked a few items here at our house since we had a gigantic bird this year. I was lucky enough to snag a locally raised turkey from Puna Chicks Farm in Kea'au. It was a big boy at 21 pounds and my oven was the only one big enough to cook it. It took about five days to thaw in my refrigerator and I cooked it for about four hours (with a resting time of about 60 minutes). There was one little spot under the wing that was a touch pink, but it turned out really well and you can really taste the difference between a locally raised turkey vs. a typical Butterball in the store. I'm not knocking anyone's Butterball, but there is an obvious taste difference that we enjoyed.

We did a team effort for the whole menu and mom made her special stuffing, sautéed brussels sprouts, and a pumpkin pie. My in-laws brought up drinks and veggies, and my sister and her family brought more drinks and ice cream. We added the mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, turkey, cranberry sauce, chutney (this was purchased at the St. James Christmas event and was very delicious), kale/cabbage salad with a mustard honey dressing, pickled vegetables (which turned out a bit too sour due to too much vinegar and not enough sugar), and a caramel apple cake with cream cheese frosting that I got from Molly Yeh's website. I made the cake in a bundt pan instead of a loaf, and my caramel came out a little anemic looking. I still haven't got the hang of making a nicely colored caramel, it's either too light or too grainy. I've also scorched too many pans to count trying to get it right (just like the Great British Bake Off contestants). BUT, the cake was a huge success and I will definitely be making it again.

With Thanksgiving done, we've been pushed right into the Christmas season (and Hanukkah! We lit candles last night) and frankly, I am ready for this whole dang year to be finished. It's been a tough one and I'm ready to see 2018 come to a close.

I really am feeling the need to get back into a lot more baking. After all, isn't this blog supposed to be about baking (and boxers, duh). I'm really letting down all 5 of my readers! Lately we've been consumed with so much going on in our lives that I have not made the effort or time to do some serious baking. I did make some scones that other day that I planned to do a blog post on, but they were HORRIBLE. I'm not sure how you mess up scones, but these were sad, unpleasant tasting scones. I was experimenting with lavender and lemon zest, but they were so bitter tasting and there was no taste of lavender. My notes have YUCKY written over the top of the recipe. So it's time to up my baking game if I want to do the things I'm working on for next year.

That being said, we are getting way too excited for Christmas dinner over here. We're lucky that our families all live close and we can plan the dinner together. Even though I see my family almost everyday (we spend A LOT of time together), we're practically giddy over planning the menu. So far, we're thinking a roast might be a nice change of pace (that Thanksgiving turkey was great, but we need a break from turkey), mashed potatoes (obviously), gravy, a few vegetable side dishes, a big green crunchy salad with winter veggies, popovers, rolls, and a Buche de Noel (log cake). I've never made a Buche de Noel and I'm feeling a bit nervous about the whole rolling the cake and hoping it doesn't crack thing (hello, Great British Bake Off!). This recipe from Saveur looks like it might work well. Hopefully it won't end up like my poor awful, sad scones.

(Image courtesy of allrecipis.co.uk)

This is what I would like to create (including those adorable little mushrooms), but the execution of said Buche de Noel may be a little different than what is pictured above. I will keep you posted!

Happy holiday baking!


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