Tag Archives: antiques

Cast Iron Turkey & Dumplings

30 Nov

If you still have turkey leftover from Thanksgiving, you MUST try this recipe.  If you don’t, go bake another turnkey because you MUST try this recipe.

I will admit, it is not particularly sophisticated, but it is perhaps the most comforting comfort food on the planet.  It’s from Mary Janes Farm magazine, but I couln’t find it anywhere online, so I took a picture of the little well-worn recipe card that I pulled out of the magazine over a year ago.

I use a cast iron dutch oven that I found at a little hole-in-the-wall antique store that was going out of business a few years ago.  It has a lid and everything and was perfectly seasoned already.   If you don’t have a cast-iron pot, a stainless steel pot with a lid will work just fine.

First, you need to make the spice mix.  In a small bowl, mix together 1 t sea salt, 1 t Italian seasoning, 1 t pepper, and 1/2 t paprika.

Then, in your pot, heat 1/4 cup oil (I use coconut oil or grapeseed oil) over medium-high heat.  Add 5 small new potatoes, diced, 3 diced carrots, and 1/4 of the spice mix.  Cook for 12-14 minutes, stirring and scraping bottom of pan every 3 minutes.

Add 2 stalks of finely diced celery, 1 finely diced onion, 1 T minced garlic , 1 cup corn, 1/4 of the spice mix, and 2 T oil.  Cook for 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and spread vegetables out on a cookie sheet to cool.

*If you forget to cook the carrots and potatoes together first (like I did), don’t fret, just put them in the oven at 400 degrees and roast, watching carefully for another 10 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. This picture was taken before I put them in the oven.

Cooking is really all about improvisation, right?

Let your pot cool down a bit, then add 1/2 cup butter and melt over low heat.  Whisk together remaining spice mix with 1/2 cup flour; add to butter, stirring constantly for 1 minute.

Add small amounts of broth at a time to the roux while constantly whisking.  By the time you have added 4 cups of broth, you will be left with what looks like a thin gravy with a layer of better on top.  Turn-up the heat to medium, cover, and cook for 5-7 minutes.  Stir in 1 cup hot water, cover, and cook for 3-5 minutes.

Add cooked vegetables and turkey into the pot, leaving space around the rim to add the dumplings.  Reduce the heat to medium-low so the mixture just simmers but does not boil.  See how soft the potatoes look know?

Now to make the dumplings:  In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup flour, 1 1/2 t baking powder, 1/2 t salt, 1/2 t pepper and 2 T chopped parsley.  With a fork, gradually stir in 1/2 cup milk until just combined.

Drop dumpling batter into simmering liquid in 12 heaping spoonfuls, evenly spaced around the outer rim.

Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes more.  You may need to increase the heat a bit to fully cook the dumplings.

Serve immediately…as if you could wait.

Enjoy!

 

 

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Thanksgiving Wrap-up

29 Nov

Wow, what a week!  It feels like I haven’t posted in forever!  I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving weekend with much love and family and/or friends.

My Thanksgiving was wonderful…mostly, but I’ll get to that.

I tried to spend all day Wednesday in the kitchen in the attempt to get everything pre-made as much as possible so all I would have to do Thursday is the turkey and gravy.  Nice thought, but real life happened and I only got a few things done in advance.  Thankfully, my sister-in-law, Kelly, and her family stayed with us and she was a HUGE help all day Thursday.  We would have eaten on Friday if it wasn’t for Kelly.  Thanks, Kelly!

We chopped, we assembled, we baked, we washed dishes, repeat.

We made delicious food, I must say.  My little stove got some major action.

I was in charge of the stuffing, of which I made WAY too much!  But, it was delish and I am still eating the leftovers.  I made it with cornbread,  sausage, roasted chestnuts (yes, I roasted chestnuts), mushrooms, and granny smith apples sautéed in white wine. Yum! I love digging through and finding all kinds of treasures.  I’m weird like that.

Then, much to my husband’s chagrin, I made brussels sprouts.  I think I converted a few brussels sprouts haters over to the dark side.  All I can say is everything is better with bacon!  Even my husband loved them.

I wish I had a picture of our turkey!  We got a 27 pound fresh, organic turkey from our store, of course, and it was the best turkey ever.  We brined it in the morning and cooked it without stuffing for about 6 hours.  It was a beaut!

I also made a pumpkin goat cheese cheesecake that was absolutely sinful.  I made it for my mother-in-law, Patti, who was turning 70 on Saturday.  All of her sons were there to sing Happy Birthday to her. Happy Birthday, Patti!

I really wish I had a better camera so I could capture how pretty the table looked, but you’ll have to just use your imagination.  I think it turned-out quite lovely.

We gave each couple a small jar of local raw honey to take home with them since most everyone was visiting from out-of-town.  My new antique dishes mixed beautifully with my china, thanks to my lovely daughter.  Thanks lovely daughter!

I think the coolest part of the table was the thankful tree.  We placed bowls with little paper leaves in them on each table and asked people to write what they are thankful for and hang it on the tree.  That was our centerpiece.  Here is the undecorated tree.

Did I mention I love sparkles?

Here’s a view of part of the table from upstairs.  Don’t look at it too long or you’ll get dizzy, or maybe it’s just me.

Here’s a peak at the kid’s table.

And the “teen table”…

I think everyone had a nice time.  I know I did…until…

I ate something funky that didn’t agree with me.  I know what it is, but I’m not going to say.  I will say that it had oysters in it and cayenne pepper; not a good combo for my tummy, apparently.  One minute I was washing dishes and the next minute I was lying on my bed unable to get up.  Such a bummer!

Not only did I miss the big family picture, but I missed dessert!

Thankfully, the ladies all pitched-in and finished the dishes (all 3000 of them) before they left.  What a blessing!

And I was fine the next day:)

Happy Thanksgiving from the Bradley Bunch!

Thrift Store Blessings

22 Nov

I have been to our local thrift store so many times during the past two weeks, I know the guy who helps unload your car by name; it’s Juan.  Juan and I are becoming buddies.  I may need to bring Juan a Christmas present.

I drive a suburban, and I have filled the back of that baby several times.  Look at the funny face my son is making.

Once I got started, my whole family caught the de-clutter bug.  My two big kids were both in their rooms last week getting rid of clothes that didn’t fit, toys they don’t play with and books they don’t wish to read for the 10th time.

The funny this is, I never asked them to clean-out their rooms, they just did it.

Every morning I get up to find old pants and t-shirts in the trash that my husband doesn’t want anymore.  He got the bug!  I just add them to our thrift store bag to bring to Juan.

I have noticed a peace in my brain that I have not had is several years.  They other day, my hubby came home and said that it seemed quieter in our house.  I looked at him like he was insane because the kids were making a ton of noise at the moment.  I knew what he meant, though.

I had been accumulating “stuff” to do something with “later”.  I really wanted to have a garage sale and sell some of my “stuff” on Craigslist of Ebay.  I had some nice “stuff”.

Every little thing that I was going to do something with, was taking up room in my brain…cluttering my brain.  Like I need more clutter in my brain!

So I let it go!  My brain is much less cluttered! This is good.

Today, after my daily drop-off at the thrift store, I decided to go in and take a look around.  I think I had some morbid curiosity about the fate of my “stuff”.

I found EXACTLY what I needed to complete my Thanksgiving table service;  four white dishes with a gold rim and TEN matching bowls!

Aren’t they purdy?  Not only are they classy, but they are antiques!  I looked-up the marking on the back and discovered they were made by Zeh Scherzer & Co from Bavaria, Germany.  The mark on the back commemorates their 50th anniversary in 1930.

Just for giggles, I tried to find some other pieces online on Ebay and Replacements.com and the closes I found cost $25 per plate.

Want to know what I spent?  $4.99 on the whole box!  SCORE!  That’s, like .36 cents per piece.  My dear hubby is so proud of me:)

It just goes to show you, give a little to bless others and you will surely be blessed.

Antique Store Miracle

14 Nov

I am so proud of myself:)

I have been looking around for a good deal on dishes for Thanksgiving.  I am serving 27 people and currently have 14 mismatched dishes.  The problem is that I have champagne taste and a beer budget.  I also love antiques.  Antiques equal pricey…usually.

So I drug the kids to an antique mall near my house and scoured each space for a set of dishes that I could use for Thanksgiving.  I found several beautiful sets that ranged from $250-$600.  A bit over my budget.  Not to be discouraged, I continued to hunt.  Low and behold, way down on a bottom shelf far off in a dark corner, sat MY dishes.  Well, they weren’t mine yet, but they were just SCREAMING my name.

Check-out these beauties:

Cute huh?

OK, so it’s not a complete set, but you’ll never guess what I paid.  Forty-five dollars!  I was doing the happy-shopper dance right there in the store.  My kids would have thought I was nuts, but they  were too busy glued to the TV set in the corner.  Those kids are like moths to a flame around a TV.

Anyway, I just love the delicate flowers and the gold around the rim.  It is going to be perfect for my Thanksgiving table.  The set is by Smith Taylor circa 1930’s and is made in the USA.  It came with 10 dinner plates, 10 soup bowls, a platter, a covered vegetable dish,  5 tea cups with saucers, 3 salad plates, a few little dessert bowls, and a sugar dish with no lid.

It was such a crazy deal that the lady at the register called the vendor just to be sure it wasn’t a mistake.  As she removed each price tag from the dishes, I asked her if I could keep them to show my husband what a great deal I got.

When I got home, I started showing him this huge pile of price tags that ranged from $6 per plate to $29 each for the veggie dish and platter.  He was getting very nervous.  Then I showed him my receipt for $45.  He kissed me and said “Good job.”

SCORE!

Maybe it was not quite a miracle, but God was smiling on me for sure.