Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My first & Only Thanksgivukkah

For the first time since 1888 — and the only time for 79,000 years! —Thanksgiving lands during Hanukkah. My friends Adam and Leah decided to celebrate the once in a lifetime holiday by hosting a Thanksgivukkah party. 

And many other Jewish Americans have been planning special  festivities. One AP article described a Jewish School's elementary students making classic handprint turkeys with finger paint — but adding small flames to the top of the finger feathers to create Turkey Menorahs.  Others are fusing Jewish and traditional Turkey Day dishes. 

Adam and Leah made the customary Potato Latkes with Thanksgiving yams, aka sweet potatoes. And, they were delicious. 

A Thanksgivukkah plate, clockwise: Leah's yummy kugel, traditional latke,
SWEET POTATO latke & cranberry yam salad. 

Sweet Potato Latkes 

Leah and Adam sent this Latke Guide ... 

Thank you to the wonderful hosts, Adam and Leah, for making these! 
And Food 52 for the recipe

1 medium sweet potato makes 3 latkes 
Purple onion 
salt & pepper
Peanut or Vegetable Oil

Skin and coarsely grate potatoes. 
Gather shreds in rag and wring out water. 
Beat one egg and mix in shredded potato and onion — 1 egg per two pounds of potato. Add 1-2 tbs flour per egg. 
Mix well. Season with salt & pepper — and maybe spices of your choosing. 
Heat oil in sauce pan and drop spoonfuls until patties are golden brown on both sides. 
Serve with apple sauce, sour cream or Cranberry Sauce for a Thanksgivukkah twist!

Sweet Potato Latkes! 

Regular latkes — made the same way just different potatoes. 


Scenes from Thanksgivukkah
Thanks to Leah and Adam

Me & My sister wearing the autumn wreaths Leah made. Via Instagram

Leah and Adam's fur baby Oscar, love his bow tie! 

It isn't Thanksgiving without pecan pie ... this one was chocolate.

Julie & Leah

Cranberry Sangria 

Julie & Louie

The Po' Girls

Friday, November 22, 2013

Slapsgiving, Hanksgiving & Turkey Day TV

I do something that is pretty weird ...  

I like to watch holiday TV shows in the week leading up to whatever holiday I'm jazzed about.  What's the catch? I don't have a TV where every channel is packed with festive shows and commercials. So, I have to rely on Netflix for Holiday cheer. When Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas or Valentine's role around, I google what shows had fun, seasonal episodes. Then I find them on Netflix. 

The hunt has become a game.  Although, Christmas is a little too easy.  I decided to put this compulsion to good use and create a Turkey Day Netflix Guide for you guys, if you want to join in the Thanksgiving fun! 

Thanksgiving TV Streaming Now on Netflix

New Girl
Season 1, Thanksgiving (Meet Hank the Turkey, Hanksgiving)
Season 2,  Parents 

How I Met Your Mother 
Season 1, Belly Full of Turkey (My personal favorite)
Season 3,  Slapsgiving
 Season 5, Slapsgiving 2: Revenge of the Slap
Season 6, Blitzgiving 
Season 7, The Rebound Girl 

Ugly Betty
Season 1, Four Thanksgivings and a Funeral

Season 4, A Lilith Thanksgiving
Season 7, The Apparent Trap 

Season 1, My Day Off

The League
Season 3, Thanksgiving

Other shows streaming with Thanksgiving Cheer: 
That '70s Show, Cheers, The West Wing, Raising Hope, Everybody Loves Raymond

Not on Netflix, but Honorable Mentions:
Friends (All 10 T-Giving Episodes)
South Park, Helen Keller The Musical
Gilmore Girls, A Deep Fried Korean Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Louie's 1st Birthday

Hi Guys, it's me Rasco! My mom is so busy this week she asked me to help her out and tell you guys about my big weekend!

Oh wow, this is embarrassing — how did this get here? Me, you know, just acting casual. 

This weekend, my mom went out of town and left me with my Aunt Julie and Uncle Andrew.  I had a good time with my little cousin Louis, even though he gets on my nerves sometimes ... And I can be a little um finicky. 

It was a special weekend — Louis turned one.  Naturally, we had a big pawty. 

Happy Birthday Lou! 

Louis told me it was a really special day for him.  Because he never thought he would have such a great birthday.  You see, Louis was found when he was a couple of months old in rural Louisiana in a yard filled with big, mean, grown-up guard dogs. 

Here is a picture from my mom's instagram of the day we rescued Louis
— he is already taking the good toys! 

He went from the field to the shelter.  And he was one lucky little guy for my family to rescue him and give him food and love and a birthday party. I honestly didn't care for him at first, he took all the attention. But, hey the kid grew on me! 

Louie & me taking a nap a few months back. He is bigger than me now. 

The Puppy Party was double the fun because it was also our friend Oscar's 5th Birthday. My boys had a joint party and a lot of our human friends came — so did Oscar's friend Bruno. 

Oscar the birthday boy, looking dapper in his party hat & bow tie. 

Oscar, Louie, Rasco & Bruno

My Aunt Julie made the Dog Cake Balls. Oscar's mom made the Pupcakes and monogram party hats!

Here's how you can bake for your party animals! 

Dog Cake Balls 
Done in a Jif ... & Jiffy  

Bake Cornbread as directed.
Mash cornbread with peanut butter until a dough is formed.
Roll into 1" balls. 
Woof 'em up! 

Banana Peanut Butter Pupcakes 
PB + B ...   

1 ripe banana (mashed)
1/2 banana (for garnish)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup peanut butter (for "icing")
1/2 cup wheat or rice flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
Water - maybe 1/4 cup - (enough that the consistency becomes gloopy like a cake mix)

In a medium sized bowl - mash banana, and add peanut butter to mix. In a separate bowl sift or toss flour with baking soda. Add dry mix to PB and banana. Add 1/4 C of water or more until the mixture becomes gloopy like a cake mix. Pour batter into greased mini muffin pan and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Makes about 16 mini pupcakes. After cakes have cooled, top with PB and banana slice. 
Chow down! 

Check out The Old Country Blog's other Doggy Recipes!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Birthday Scenes

As you already read, I had a birthday last week. I was nervous about this birthday because it was my first one far from home.  But, it ended up great and home came to me. 

Via Instagram.
As it was a surprise party, this phone pic is my only shot. 

My birthday kicked off a few days earlier than anticipated with a Day of the Dead surprise party. You guys remember how much I love Day of the Dead, right? Thanks to everyone who helped throw me a fabulous fiesta, especially my big sister.  

Agora + Starbucks freebie + Sprinkles. Via Instagram.

My mom visited and we celebrated my birthday weekend with little adventures to Sprinkles cupcakes, Starbucks for a free birthday beverage, Eastern Market, brunch and my birthday dinner of Turkish Tapas at Agora — which ended in pistachio heaven.
My mom's the best.

I also got this adorable Dear Creatures dress for my birthday. 
Naturally, I had to take it out for a spin. 

Thanks for all of the birthday wishes! 
Cheers to my mid-twenties — yikes.

Friday, November 8, 2013

23 Lessons from 23 & 25 Before 25

Today I turn 24! And, to be totally honest, I am ready for this new year.  

via Pinterest.

I decided to write a list of 25 things to do before I turn 25. In making this list, I ironically realized how much I learned and lived during age 23.  I ended up writing a lessons learned list first and it became apparent 23 was a significant year. I really learned to set my Type-A persona aside and live without grades and accolades.

23 Lessons from 23
From an overachiever ...  

1.     Loss.
2.     Sometimes things just don’t go how you planned.
3.     Make a new plan.  But know it could change too.
4.     In fact, there are a lot of situations where it is better to just be flexible.
5.     Take Chances! Make Mistakes! Get Messy!  -- Ms. Frizzle 
6.     Be a little fish in a big pond.
7.     Long distance.
8.     Taking care of myself, even when I didn’t feel like it.  Like having a fever when mom was 1,000+ miles away.
9.    Date yourself.  Go for gelato, instagram a fancy lunch, stare sideways at modern art.  Basically, enjoy a "Me Party" every now and then — Preach Piggy! 
10.   Getting my butt from point A to point B.  No matter where that is.
11.   Diligence.  Writing my book.
12.   Have a more grown-up closet. 
13.   You catch more flies with honey.
14.   People make a place home.
15.   And, those people love you. Be thankful for them. 
16.   Little things can brighten even the worst days.
17.   It’s ok to be a little aimless — but have an expiration date.
18.   And, as weird as that sounds, enjoy it.
19.   Achievements are incredibly different from person to person after college. There is no rubric for success and different people get there at different times.
20.  Make time for the people you love. Write notes, send texts and call your mother already!
21.   Things don’t happen on a neat schedule. Time frames are messy and unceremonious after graduation.
22.  Feel comfortable in your own skin. I can like myself after dessert or without make-up. 
23.  If you aren’t happy, change it.  Oma used to say, "When you are under 25, there is nothing you can do that you can't undo." 

via Pinterest

25 Before 25 
With lessons in mind, I'm ready for a good year! 

1.    Keep blogging.
2.    Lock down publishing my book.
3.    Start a second book.
4.    Lower my cholesterol.
5.    Work out more consistently. 
6.    Make time for Robert.
7.    Archive my oral history work nationally.
8.    Go abroad again.
9.    See my parents consistently.
10.  Read one book a month.
11.  Finally watch The Wire.
12.  Grow my hair.
13.  Pitch stories to new publications.
14.  And old …
15.  Get Rasco to stop barking at other dogs on the street. Tips please! (He is trained otherwise.) 
16. Run a 5K. 
17. Don't let my driving skills get too rusty. 
18. Cajun Mardi Gras. 
19. Make perfect macarons. 
20. Make the family baklava recipe. 
21. Spread more joy to my friends and family. 
22. Volunteer — This does not mean pro bono freelance work. 
23. Budget. 
24. Work hard. 
25. Have fun. 

Note: I understand some of these are vapid. But everyone has the right to be vapid sometimes. Right?

Cheers to you, 24! 

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