Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving 2012 was a fantastically, spectacumagicalistic day!!!!!!!!
I really wasn't looking forward to Thanksgiving this year because thanks to that *$%^*# Teacher Strike that we had this year, my budget has been so completely messed up.  But, I have to thank my wonderful kids for making this year happen.  They took me shopping on Monday, and got me all prepped up for a few days of kitchen slavery. Lol.  It was great though, no complaints.  Well, there is one.  My son Kevin wanted to get the biggest pernil (Pork Leg) that he could find, but little ol' me could hardly lift that monstrosity.  I ended up dropping it on the floor while I was trying to transport it to the kitchen table to get it ready to put in the oven at 4 a.m., thankfully I had it all wrapped in plastic, than I had to move it into the oven.  That when my other son Sean came to Momma's rescue and did all the lifting for me.  My hubby was snoring away, so he didn't even notice.
I started preparing for our meal, on Monday by making my "Pasteles".  
This is the machine that gets it all pureed. 
My hubby is the machine that gets it all peeled first.
He also got the meat all cut up for me to prepare for the inside of the pasteles.
This is the "Masa" or the outer part of the pasteles, which I would describe as a Puerto Rican tamale.  I use bananas, pumpkin, plantain, potatoes and yautia, which is a type of root.
I spread out the masa and spoon in some of the filling.
Then, I wrap it in some aluminum foil.  Traditionally it is wrapped in banana leaves, or some people use cooking paper.
This is what my set-up looks like.
It was great, I expected to make about 25 or 30 and I ended up with 40. YUM!!! More to enjoy!!
One of the highlights of this thanksgiving was going with my daughter and son-in-law to find out the sex of their baby.  IT'S A BOY!!!  I'm going to have a grand-son.  This new year I will be the grand-ma to two beautiful girls and one handsome boy. TO EXCITING!!!
I woke up nice and early to make sure my turkey and pernil were cooking and hopefully be ready about 3ish.  It was all perfect.  After coming back from the ultra sound place (First Peek)  I started on the dessert...banana pudding!!  It came out delicious, if I say so myself. :-)  ( I give myself a little pat on the back).

My table is getting longer every year.  <3  I love it!
That's my boy.  Kevin  <3 LOVES <3 my banana pudding.
Even the family pets were all together, and they had a ball.  Granted, my apartment is NOT big enough for all these guys and gals, but they managed to play around like crazy.  Incredibly enough, we manage to move around that sea of fur and drool.
Ooops, a little spill.  I got that. :-)
After all the feasting, it was time to just sit, relax and let the food settle, and make some room for more dessert, of course.
Yes sir...this Thanksgiving was definitely a very wonderful and memorable one.  I am very thankful to my children, you know who you are ;-), for coming through for the family and for me.  I have never not cooked for Thanksgiving in all my years of being a wife a mom.  I know someday I will be a guest instead of a host, but till then, bring it.
I hope everyone had a special day with their loved ones, whether family or friends, or both.  Remember to take a second out of every day to be thankful for something or someone in your life.  Count your blessing and may your yarn ball never run out. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Wonderfully warm weekend.

Hello there!!!!
Here we are.  Clouds over head, but it's beautiful!!!
Tony and I went back to Illinois State Park this weekend and enjoyed a really nice bike ride.  It was truly exhilarating, mainly because it was very, very windy and there was a constant threat of rain. We got there and took out the bikes and then headed towards the north branch of the park.  I have been there several times but have never gone towards the Marina, so we decided to ride there.  It was a great ride. We rode through forests and a small street.  That lead us towards the power plant where I thought we had reached a dead end, but it turned out to be the entrance to the other area of the park.  The air felt great. 

It's a real shame that a beautiful piece of land was taken over and used for a power plant, and now there is the risk of finding asbestos material wherever you walk.  I just love the rocks at the beach, but then you find the signs warning you not to pick up certain materials due to the risk of asbestos.  I have also read that the lake is still being used as a dump.  Why?!!!  This is a beach that is used by many families every summer, it's a camp ground that is used by locals and tourists.  It scares me to think "what" you are swimming in.

As we continued to ride, after my complaining and venting about the waste and destruction of our beautiful land, we came across a very peaceful and serene area.  It had little mounds and some sand dunes. 

We went up to explore, and it seems to be an area where people come to spend the day grilling and bird watching.  They have these really cool postings of bird types and what they look like in flight.  It was really cool.  I totally want to go back with my binoculars and spend some bird watching time.

We rode some more and finally got to the area of the marina.  Wasn't too impressed.  Just a bunch of empty boat docks and a huge building.  Not sure what was there.  Probably a nice tourist spot, but I prefer the outdoor area.  The sky put on the real show for me.  It got much windier and the clouds started to come faster and it began to drizzle.  That was our cue to skedaddle. 

We rode our little hearts off. Mostly because the wind was strong and we were riding against it.  No wonder we had a smooth ride there, the wind was helping us along, was one heck of a workout.  IT WAS GREAT. On top of that we had to get back before sundown. I sure didn't need to get a ticket or have my car towed.  That was definitely an incentive to move those legs. Lol.

We made it back just in time to get a few pictures of the sunset and catch our breaths before heading out. go get us a nice dinner.  We deserved it after that workout. Culver's here we come.

There is my little beautiful "Jelly Bean". I love that van. :-)
The "Jelly Bean". <3

We stopped at the Culver's for a super delicious burger and some fries....YUMMMMMMM!!!  I don't know if it was as good as it tasted, or I was just starving, but it was GOOD!

After getting out of the Culver's, I spotted a Piggly Wiggly and just had to check it out.  It was OK.  Some things were a good price, others were too expensive and some were the same as any other store.  My around for sales.  It's what I always try to do.

Finally we got home for a well deserved rest and it felt wonderful to take off the shoes, shower and just throw ourselves into bed and veg out to some TV.  AHHHH. I love long weekends.  Still had two more days to enjoy. Tomorrow, just take care of the house and do some crocheting. :-)

Well folks...til the next.  Enjoy your moments and as I like to say, may your yarn ball never run out. :-)